Ninth Circuit upholds MLB’s antitrust exemption in San Jose case

We’ve been waiting for the Ninth Circuit’s ruling for a few months now, though we had an idea how it would turn out. From Nathaniel Grow:


Looks like Joe Cotchett will get his wish of filing with the Supreme Court.

The opinion is available here. More on the case can be found in the first legal link to the right.

Lew Wolff chimed in from Phoenix, where Bud Selig was given the title Commissioner Emeritus as part of his sendoff.

New commissioner Rob Manfred also had a comment.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said shortly after the opinion’s release that he wants to take this up to the Supreme Court. The pressure, it would seem, is on him to “play nice” with Manfred and MLB by dropping the lawsuit.

The Merc’s Howard Mintz has a full writeup, including comments from Grow.

Liccardo’s office released the following statement:

When the City Council decided to pursue this lawsuit, we knew that success would likely require a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court, because only the Supreme Court can revisit its century-old decision that created an anti-trust exemption that no American industry other than Major League Baseball enjoys.   San Jose should be allowed to compete with other cities for major league teams, and I expect the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm the nation’s fundamental predisposition toward fair and free competition. 

Since taxpayers do not have to foot the bill for this litigation, San Jose has nothing but upside to continue to pursue this to the Supreme Court, as a successful result will enable a half-billion dollar, privately-financed stadium in the heart of our city.  A privately-funded stadium would also bring millions of dollars of tax revenues to help our City pay for more police officers, road repairs, libraries, and other critical services.”

139 thoughts on “Ninth Circuit upholds MLB’s antitrust exemption in San Jose case

    • anti-trust exemption that no American industry other than Major League Baseball enjoys

      If only. There’s another one – the McCarran-Ferguson Act.

      You might’ve heard or read a little about their business called Health Insurance.

  1. These judges are just cowards. Why can’t they rule based on evidences instead of precedences? I hate it when these judges claim they can’t over-rule previous rulings. What do you mean you can’t? I bet they know the ATE is stupid but they are afraid.

    We know Congress is nicely bought and paid for so unless politicians get a nice chunk of money, it will not change. But SJ should appeal to the US Sup CT.

    • “Why can’t they rule based on evidences instead of precedences?”

      Because that’s not how our legal system works. Laws are made by legislatures and binding interpretations (i.e. precedent) are made by higher courts. If you have lower courts overruling the decisions of higher courts, you don’t have a legal system.

      The precedent in this case, blindingly stupid though it was, was always crystal clear and this outcome all-but-preordained. On to the SCOTUS, which was always the end game. We’ll see if they’re ready to overrule nearly a century of precedent. I certainly hope they are, though I have my doubts.

  2. Going as expected. Now, if the Supreme Court takes the case, MLB can start shaking. Meanwhile, it looks like the new commissioner, by meeting with Chuck Reed, is already questioning MLB’s strategy of fighting tooth and nail against a large city with lots of disposable income that would be perfect for an MLB franchise. Just to keep the Giants happy while the A’s stay handicapped in a subpar market in an awful stadium. Nice victory today MLB – now please keep making those 8-figure revenue-sharing checks out to “Lew Wolff.” And to the other owners – please send in your annual A’s contributions to the commissioner’s office at once.

  3. Time for Liccardo/SJ to give up the court fight and put forth a REAL effort to get MLB to our fine city:

    1) Acquire ALL the land at Diridon or find another site that’s less troublesome to acquire.
    2) Offer some form of a public subsidy such as Mello-Roos (it’s working for Santa Clara! ) for an A’s ballpark.

    Depending on Wolff to buy the Diridon plot AND pay for the ballpark will always be a no win for MLB. This ruling could offer us a fresh start in SJ…

    • I’m with you. I think it would be best for San Jose to proceed as you suggest, but I guess there are a lot of variables we don’t know about.

    • Dropping the lawsuit now would be silly: this fight was never going to be resolved in the 9th Circuit. They’ve come this far, might as well see if the SCOTUS is willing to take this on. Simply having the court grant cert would give SJ a lot more leverage.

      Also, no reason they can’t pursue both paths simultaneously – stick and carrot.

  4. Refresh the post for more including reactions from Wolff and Manfred.

  5. I like Manfred 😉

  6. Manfred: “Hopefully, this will be the end of the San Jose litigation.” Translation: Work with MLB, don’t fight it? Of course, San Jose had no choice given Selig’s refusal to even meet with San Jose and his relegation of San Jose to nothing more than a Frisco suburb. MLB forced this upon San Jose. Now if we’ll excuse Manfred, he has to go make sure the other owners have contributed the proper amount needed to continue subsidizing MLB’s money-losing Oakland operation in that embarrassing “ballpark.”

    • I see no reason whatsoever why SJ would drop this lawsuit, absent indication from MLB that they will approve the move. The lawsuit isn’t costing SJ anything, and the SCOTUS was always the end game.

      • Perhaps he’s indicating if San Jose drops its lawsuit MLB will finally give them what they want. Because they’re not going to give SJ jack squat under duress. Ask Baltimore.

      • @Dan I understand what’s he saying, but I don’t buy it in the slightest. MLB is big business, they’re not taking the lawsuit personally and they’re not going to cut off their nose just to spite their face.

        “Duress” is a normal part of business negotiations. If the SCOTUS actually grants cert (a big if), absolutely it will put pressure on MLB to move in San Jose’s direction.

        Thinking “if we just drop the lawsuit, MLB will play nice with us out of gratitude” is truly naive. If San Jose does they’re not going to get another shot at it, so it would be a really misguided leap of faith.

        I think at this point SJ will see if they can get cert, as they should.

  7. Of course, by not commenting on the Oakland park, Manfred puts Oakland on the clock, in case Oakland thinks MLB will make sure the A’s never leave. A Raiders deal for the Coliseum site probably will have MLB pulling the plug on Oakland very quickly. There is hope for San Jose (although I wish Oakland would get something done for the A’s). We all saw Oakland trying to stampede through an Olympic/Raiders stadium last week that would forced the A’s out of town.

  8. @ All
    I have a question; many off you know more about the legal stuff then me, so I would appreciate any thoughts on this.
    Is it true that congress has to take up the question of the ATE in MLB? (By vote) I keep hearing contradictive statements, as to whether the San Jose law suite, is ultimately up to the Supreme Court or congress to resolve, if either chooses to act on it.

    • No. Either the SC or Congress could overturn it by itself.

      • @ SMG
        Thanks. Well, I guess the best hope for San Jose would be the SC, if they take the case. I really can’t imagine the Congress doing anything about it.

      • None of this ever had a strong chance of working. Direct negotiations with MLB were always the best shot the A’s have had at an SJ move.

    • There’s some nuance in the answer to that question.

      The ATE itself was created by the SCOTUS (based on questionable premises) and has been reaffirmed by it several times. Ordinarily the SCOTUS could overrule its own precedent as long as doing did not clearly conflict with the Constitution or applicable statute.

      Since the Court’s original ruling, Congress has passed legislation that could be interpreted as codifying the ATE. Of course, it’s the SCOTUS itself that will make the interpretation whether that is the case.

      Stare decisis is a fundamental principle of the American legal system and the overruling of Supreme Court precedent is rare in the best of circumstances. It could happen, but especially given Congress’ apparent endorsement of past precedent in this case, it seems unlikely here.

      However, given what’s at stake the mere threat of this happening could be enough to get MLB to the bargaining table, which is really the point.

      • @ bartleby
        Thanks, really appreciate it.

      • One correction: Overturning 1920’s Commerce Clause decisions based on the Lochner Court reasoning is NOT rare, or if it is, it’s only because pretty much all the others have ALREADY been overturned.

  9. Manfred’s comment was interesting – the new MLB commissioner appears to be leaning towards SJ more than his predecessor.

    • See my previous comment: Manfred knows applauding this ruling and emphasizing a “new ballpark in Oakland” means the city of Oakland can sit back and continue to do what it’s done for the A’s (as in nothing), since MLB won’t let them leave. By not reaffirming Oakland, the A’s are in play and could end up somewhere else. San Jose, San Antonio, we’ll see.

    • That’s not news. It was Manfred who openly threatened to let the A’s go to San Jose when Oakland/AlCo/JPA were flip-flopping on the lease agreement.

      • SMG – wrong answer about the 9th Circuit Court ruling – what they determine likely has little or no influence on what the SC might do (That’s why MLB would prefer the San Jose drop the lawsuit and play ball with MLB) That appears to have little chance of occuring though – both Liccardo and Joe Cotchett are 100% behind taking the case to the SCOTUS.

      • I don’t think “wrong answer” means what you think it means.

      • @jeffreyaugust
        You took the words right out of my mouth. Doing Inigo Montoya proud.

  10. Can’t help but point out, the whole standing/antitrust injury issue has been a sideshow to this point, as I predicted it would be. The 9th Circuit just blew that argument off with a footnote in the opinion. We’ll see if the SCOTUS has a different view of it.

  11. Interesting that the ASG announcement to San Diego happened the same day. Seems to indicate to the city of San Jose that if you play nice you get rewarded like SD just was. If you oppose MLB, you get nothing like the Orioles. And with Manfred’s seeming non-committal stance toward Oakland it would be a good thing for San Jose to sit down, shut up, and let Manfred do his thing. I know we’re all impatient, but rocking their boat isn’t likely to get them to side with SJ either.

    • And then there’s the Tampa Bay counterexample. It would be foolish to lay down a weapon you’re not going to get back in hopes of generating good will.

      Ultimately, MLB will act in its own best interest. If the SCOTUS grants cert, it will give MLB a much more powerful reason to move in SJ’s direction than, “boy, we’re sure grateful you stopped suing us.” If the SCOTUS denies cert, MLB is not going to forego a compelling business opportunity out of spite.

      Counterexample #2: Oakland and the Raiders, who just a few years ago were involved in bitter litigation and are now working together towards common objectives.

      • Who knows? Maybe MLB wants the Supreme Court to take the case just so it can settle with San Jose and beat back the Giants. “You want us to risk losing our ATE just for you? Time for you – at long last – to start acting in the best interests of baseball instead of in your own selfish interests.”

      • Counterexample #3 Seattle suing the American League after Selig moved the Pilots out of the city.

  12. Sigh… it continues.

  13. Any bets that 10 years from now we will be in this same spot? Appreciate your insights bartleby- and agree with your assessment- question is – assuming SJ goes forward how long before SC decides whether to hear the case?

    • Nah. The Raiders’ future, which is a big part of what CC hinges on, will be clarified well before that. I really believe that the Raiders will never get a new stadium in Oakland. It’s either Santa Clara or LA for them (or a very slim chance of somewhere else entirely). The A’s at least have a shot at staying in Oakland if the Raiders’ leave and the city/county lets Wolff takes the wheel on development.

      • Raiders will never get a new stadium in Oakland, but the A’s have a shot in Oakland if the Raiders leave (?). As always, interesting…
        (Carry on)

    • @GoA’s Thank you for your kind words. Not a litigator, so can’t really speculate on how long it will take SCOTUS to act.

      • @GoA’s Further to your question, this according to SFGate: “Phil Gregory, a lawyer for San Jose, said the city had expected the ruling and would file its Supreme Court appeal within 90 days. If the court agrees to review the case, it would hold a hearing in the term that begins in October and issue a ruling by mid-2016.”

  14. @bartleby- Nathanael grow questions what was going on behind scene based upon time it took for decision and lack of concurring opinions- any insights?

    • I’m not a litigator so have no insight into the time it took for decision. Absence of concurring opinions may just suggest a high degree of unanimity on a fairly straightforward issue. (Concurring opinions are usually written to say, “I agree with the majority on the outcome but for different reasons”). Do you have a link to the Nathaniel Grow article?

  15. Is San Jose as attractive an option for the @ A’s as it was 10 years ago? A new stadium on their own dime will cost many tens of millions more in 2016-2018, and the 49ers have since planted their flag and sucked up much of the potential corporate sales and sponsorships..

    Nice trick by MLB that they can both deny San Jose the A’s but still keep it as the relocation hammer over Oakland (given the lack of other realistic options.) Shrewd.

    • @mark- I think the gints conti used blocking of SJ and their refilling of the S4SJ lawsuit answers your question- yes- very very attractive market-

    • More attractive than ever my friend!

      • More attractive than 200 acres to redevelop at a BART stop? 😉

        I saw GoA’s 10 years from now comment above…this staredown goes until somebody blinks Not sure about 10 years, but I can sure see another couple years of this.

        Who-among the leagues, teams, cities–really *has* to do something? It’s all just leverage plays Unless Mark Davis decides to cash out.

      • $J will ALWAYS be more attractive to Wolff than 200 acres in East Oakland. 😉

  16. Interesting. Not a single pro Oakland comment on this topic? How about Lew Wolff stop playing games now and finally start working on a new ballpark in Oakland. The Supreme Court will never overturn this. Do you think the Repubican Supreme Court will ever defy MLB? No way.

    • What are you not understanding about the term ‘EXCLUSIVE Negotiation Agreement’?

    • Hey, Elmano: What do you think about the commissioner not commenting about the A’s getting a new ballpark in Oakland? Looks like he wants to hold Oakland’s feet to the fire. Any antics such as giving the Coliseum site to the Raiders and trying again to steer the A’s to the DOA Howard Terminal site will be met with MLB’s ire, I’ll bet. We can also be sure MLB is pretty fed up with all the hate-Wolff commentary.

    • re: Republican Supreme Court. You mean the same one that reaffirmed ObamaCare?

    • Time to retire the phrase “stop playing games.” Working to achieve the most economically advantageous site and venue for your ballclub is not “playing games.” It’s business.

      While you’re at it, you can retire “fabric of the community” as well.

  17. I get what you’re saying now Bartleby: Lawsuit not being taken personally by MLB (ie meeting between Manfred and Reed) and part of the whole negotiations process. So in that sense YES, lawsuit should be continued to SC.

    But at the same time I want SJ to become more proactive in getting the A’s and not feeling entitled to MLB (see my above comment on land and public financing).

    In business you don’t get what you deserve…you get what you negotiate. Get er done SJ!

    • I agree with you that SJ should do everything thing it can to progress the issue concurrently with the legal case, including buying land, putting the issue before voters and even working toward public funding. Didn’t agree with the decision to postpone the public vote at MLBs request -and submit the lack of action aftert that accommodation as further evidence of how well “playing nice” with MLB works.

  18. MLB may have won this battle, but they do know that they could very possibly lose the war, if it gets to the SCOTUS. MLB also knows that this ongoing battle to preserve their sacred ATE has very possibly just gotten another step closer to the SCOTUS. In no way does MLB want to risk losing their ATE at the highest court in our land, especially over a case that involves a MLB franchise’s right to move anywhere within its very own existing market. I do believe that if the A’s(Wolff), Oakland, and MLB are unable to work out a mutually acceptable new ballpark deal in Oakland, then MLB will have little choice but to grant approval for the A’s to move to San Jose. To do otherwise, MLB could potentially have too much to lose. MLB will never take that risk.

  19. To clarify further my views on the SCOTUS: I believe most likely the SCOTUS will deny cert without comment. However, if they grant cert that is a MAJOR indicator they may be open or even likely to reconsider the issue. If that happens, I think MLB will take the possibility very seriously in their calculations.

  20. A time frame for the SC taking the case might be 2 years – 6 months for SJ to prepare their case for the SCOTUS – another 6 months before the SC hears the case. If the SC agrees to take the case – it would be placed in their docket and year’s wait before they take it to trial.

  21. I think I’ve paid a fair amount, actually an inordinate amount of time over the last several years to this saga, and so I’ll ask a pretty basic question that I’m almost embarrassed to be clueless on: what exactly does San Jose win if the antitrust exemption is struck down? Since the lawsuit, Wolff has obviously towed the line for MLB and there’s nothing that will compel him to negotiate even if the ATE went away – is the assumption just that he would get over any hurt feelings regarding the lawsuit to jump at the chance to get into San Jose at that point?

    • @ Joe : If SJ wins, the A’s can pick up the shovel and start digging in SJ. I am sure Frisco will sue and all that but they can’t stop the A’s from moving into SJ.

    • Eliminating the ATE would make it dubious whether MLB could legally prevent the A’s from moving to San Jose. Wolff would not have any “hurt feelings” over a move that benefited him tremendously, and even if he did it certainly wouldn’t prevent him from making the best business decision. While he has publicly disclaimed responsibility for the lawsuit for diplomatic reasons, at no time has he even implied he wouldn’t move to SJ if it were successful.

  22. Lew Wolff’s 10 year love affair with San Jose is nothing but an impedement to the A’s reading their full potential in the 2.6 million resident Oakland market and to maximizing their wonderful central Bay Area location.

    We’ve already seen what relocating to the South Bay has done to the Forty Niners and their fans.

    • You’re HILARIOUS Elmano! (LOL!). Have a great evening bro…

    • “Lew Wolff’s 10 year love affair with San Jose is nothing but an impedement to the A’s reading their full potential in the 2.6 million resident Oakland market and to maximizing their wonderful central Bay Area location.”

      The centrality of the location is made irrelevant by the fact of a dominant competitor serving functionally the same location. Only a complete nitwit would fail to see this.

      “We’ve already seen what relocating to the South Bay has done to the Forty Niners and their fans.”

      Yes – given them a beautiful, state of the art stadium far closer to the majority of their fans, dramatically improved the fan experience compared to the monstrosity that was Candlestick, and provided gigantic new revenue streams that will secure the long term competitiveness and future of the team.

      • Talk about a smack down! When Bartleby talks, people listen…

      • No, it’s not the same location. The Giants draw most of their fans form the Peninsula and the South Bay. Wolff has the central location, the population base, the great public transit and the fantastic climate. Wolff has told the fans in this great market that he doesn’t value their business. The fans continue to show up despite Wolff and Beane doing everything possible to alianate them.

        Wolff and Fisher have been coveting what isn’t theirs for so long, that they’ve neglected to harvest their own abundant area. What a waste of a market simply because of arrogance, incompetence and greed.

        Oakland is currently thriving right now as evident by the city having the highest increase in rents of any city in the United States including San Francisco and San Jose. In fact, the city of Oakland requested proposals to build high density housing and a hotel in a parcel adjacent to the Fox Theater. Eight separate developers submitted proposals for the housing and hotel. None of these developers, were hotel and housing developer, Lew Wolff.

        Lew Wolff continues to dismiss Oakland and disrespect Oakland at every level, so it’s no surprise that he’s still using Oakland on the cheap with hopes of one day getting to San Jose.

      • bartleby:

        Come around more often. You post quality stuff.

      • Elmano,
        You should just stop while you’re already WAY behind (unless you feel humor is needed in this forum). Good night all…

      • @SMG Thank you, thank you. I’ll be here all week.

        (In serious, I’m always around, I’ve just posted less frequently as the years drag on and the discussion becomes increasingly circular).

      • “No, it’s not the same location.”

        I said it is functionally the same location, and it is – downtown Oakland is a mere 10 miles from AT&T Park. If the A’s move to San Jose, most fans from the North or East Bay will see little or no difference in the travel time to the nearest MLB park, especially considering the number of them that work in downtown SF. The same is not true for South Bay residents traveling to a San Francisco or Oakland venue.

        “The Giants draw most of their fans form the Peninsula and the South Bay.”

        They certainly don’t draw “most” of their fans from the Peninsula and South Bay; I’m not even sure if they draw a plurality from there. Even if they did, I’m fairly sure the difference between the number of fans coming from the East Bay vs the South Bay is not significant.

        ML: My recollection is you published statistics on this at some point, but I couldn’t find the post. Could you post a link?

        My observation from walking around the East Bay these days is that it’s pretty much as much Giants country as anywhere else in the Bay Area. I went to a bar in downtown Oakland last year when both the Giants and A’s were thick in the playoff hunt and both were playing simultaneously. All three TVs were tuned to the Giants game, none to the A’s game. Sad.

  23. Seems like everyone here is saying IF THIS or IF THAT….but….

    1. What criteria need to be met for the Supreme Court to take a case? Is there a unique legal question in this case that has not been addressed before? I hear two similar cases have already been heard in the past by the Court and decided in favor of MLB.

    2. Manfred will be no different that Bud Stupid. Manfred is part of the group that endorsed the so called Blue Ribbon Committee and has given no solid statement or action that he will help solve the stadium problems in Oakland or Tampa Bay.

    3. I’m sorry…expect THIS Congress to address this problem? hahahah….they can’t even pass bird singing legislation….how can ANYONE expert them to address time to this issue.

    In other words……nothing short of a privately financed stadium(money out of Lew Wolf’s and Marc Davis’ pocket) will ensure the A’s and the Raiders stay in Oakland….that’s the bottom line and many people who post here already now that.

    • “What criteria need to be met for the Supreme Court to take a case?”

      For the vast majority of cases, this is entirely discretionary with the court. The justices just have to decide there is a novel issue, that the facts are distinguishable from previous cases, or that different circumstances warrant revisiting previous decisions, and that the underlying issue is important enough for them to decide. It helps the odds of them taking the case if there is a split in the Circuit Courts (i.e. different Federal appellate courts have decided the same issue differently).

      “Is there a unique legal question in this case that has not been addressed before?”

      Not really. However, the logic underlying the original SCOTUS decision (MLB is not interstate business) was questionable to begin with, and has only gotten more so over time. This is the main basis for the plaintiff’s hope of having the case heard.

      “I hear two similar cases have already been heard in the past by the Court and decided in favor of MLB.”

      Three, actually.

  24. Also the state torts case is pending and might be another reason why MLB could cut a deal with San Jose.

  25. Thanks bartleby..good information,………..was hoping this would be the case of all anti-trust cases that settles baseball anti-trust exemption for good. (kind of like Brown v. Board of Education that finally outlawed segregation in schools).

    Not sure what it will take to convince the US Supreme Court of their own stupidity in past cases involving MLB baseball and it’s anti-trust exemption.

    • A few sitting Supreme Court Justices have already spoken out about the ATE (mostly negatively). IF they take the case, I think that they would be likely to end the ATE.

  26. Anyone else think Selig was named “Commissioner Emeritus” because he promised he would have this issue resolved before he left?

  27. How many more years of this Lew Wolff charade are Oakland A’s fans going to have to go through? Just sell the team Lew. The pyramids and the cathedrals in Europe took less time than your obsession with building in San Jose. Build the darn thing in Oakland and let’s put this sorry chapter in Oakland A’s ownerships behind us.

    • Good luck with that as well as your other ongoing delusions. They don’t have any desire to sell and MLB doesn’t have any desire (or ability) to force them to sell. Period. End of story.

      • still waiting for the ownership group that’s willing to spend a billion dollars to buy the a’s and then build them a new park in oakland somewhere, the price tag goes even higher if the grand illusion of a howard terminal a’s park is still out and it certainly is earlier tonight if you read the twitter feed of the owner of this site with a discussion between d.boxer and merc’s purdy.

    • @ Elmano
      This isn’t about Lew (or Fisher). Nobody’s going to spend the money to buy the team and build a new stadium in a place that hasn’t supported the team enough over 45 years.

      If the current ownership sells the team, it’ll be to investors in Montreal or San Antonio.

  28. Elmano probably believes that the perfect solution will be to see the A’s and Raiders remain @ the Coliseum (maybe fixing the sewers?), until 8 years from now New Governor Jean Quan gets a law passed allowing Eminent Domain Laws to be enacted which would allow Municipalities to seize teams in “The Public Good.” I hate to bring him down to Earth, but he should know the Raiders are not staying past 2015, and all the Games that are being played by the JPA/Oakland Politicians, will ensure the A’s are out of Town as well. By the way, I wonder if they end up in Montreal (getting there before the Rays) instead of say SJ, would that make him realize the error of his ways?

  29. See some of the comments put forth by Oakland politicos on the 9th Circuits decision re San Jose. You will then see why I’ve become anti-Oakland in this whole saga. 20+ years to get the A’s a ballpark and NOTHING to show for it!! Unless you count Oakland ineptitude, pep rallies, circles on maps and happy talk something..

  30. Sam Liccardo said the A’s would end up some place where they can make money. It’s not Oakland and hasn’t been Oakland, he said if it’s not San Jose, it’ll be Raleigh, Austin or some place like that, Liccardo said. Oakland’s mayor, meanwhile, repeated the same old same old “We’re going to keep the team in Oakland where it belongs” while still offering not one penny to make that happen. Oakland’s plan of action for the A’s remains the same: There is no plan, except to hope and pray that the team builds its own stadium without regard to return on investment, point to the DOA Howard Terminal site and bash the A’s owners. (If Oakland wants the A’s more than the Raiders, the give the A’s the Coliseum property, already.)

    • @ pjk
      It’s not all on Oakland. Why should they give the A’s anything without the A’s making a commitment, to build in or around the coliseum area?
      We have talked at great length about Oakland’s refusal to do anything for the A’s over the years, coupled with the fact that they have bent over ass-backwards for the Raiders and Warriors time and again, and while these are well talked about facts the idea that Oakland is holding something back from the A’s or somehow Oakland must make a choice, is ridicules.
      Statements like “Oakland must choose”, or “Oakland is once again, choosing the Raiders”, seem (IMHO) to be patently false, they assume that Oakland has a choice at all, which would on the face of it suggest Oakland in a better position, then some are willing to afford it most of the time.
      Lew Wolff and the A’s have done nothing, in a real way to suggest Oakland has a choice. This may all be by design, as Wolff has made it painfully obvious he would rather be in San Jose, then Oakland, hell he has made it painfully obvious he would rather be anywhere then Oakland.
      All this Wolff is talking to the JPA, or Wolff is willing to pay off the debt on the coliseum/arena, if only Oakland will give him the land in and around in and around the coliseum (poor Wolff), is probably just a load of crap, so Wolff can show MLB he has really made an effort in Oakland (such as it is), in hopes of getting San Jose, obviously he is convincing more than just MLB of his “good faith” effort.
      As a Pro-Oakland fan I have no problem with the A’s playing in San Jose, as I have expressed many times, as a matter of fact I would even prefer it, if it meant that the Raiders and A’s could both remain in the Bay Area, but let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that WOLFF and Oakland haven’t been equal parts of bull sh*t, at different times.

      • The onus absolutely falls on the city first. Just like it did with SF and the 49ers during their search of a new stadium. The Niners had options outside SF (the HQ, practice facility, and many of the players/coaches have been/lived in the South Bay for decades) and the city grossly misplayed its hand under Gavin Newsom’s leadership. The only location options the Niners had in SF were in the parking lot of Candlestick or at the Hunter’s Point Naval Yard. Neither was all that attractive to begin with and the city didn’t give the team any serious reason to pursue either site. It’s similar to what is going on with the A’s. They have an attractive alternative within the Bay Area (in SJ) while Oakland continues to flail around ineptly while giving the team no real incentive to want to stay (including there only being one viable site and them not putting the A’s in the driver’s seat). So yes, the city absolutely bears the majority of the blame here.

      • @ SMG
        “The onus absolutely falls on the city first”
        I agree, but the onus dose not completely fall on the city.
        “Just like it did with SF and the 49ers during their search of a new stadium”
        I also agree, but unlike the 49ers, in San Francisco it could be argued that Wolff has not made the same sort of effort in Oakland, and that the 49ers actually wanted to make it work in San Francisco and only turned to SC when felt it couldn’t.
        “Oakland continues to flail around ineptly while giving the team no real incentive to want to stay”
        I agree again, but within this statement, you imply that there is a reasonable incentive, that Wolff would have been happy with, when I think if we were being honest, we would have to say there is at least a chance, that may not be the case.
        “(Including their only being one viable site and them not putting the A’s in the driver ’s seat).”
        This statement, implies that Wolff wants to be in the drives seat (in Oakland), which again if we were being honest, I think we would have to admit, he may not want to be. Hell Wolff in the driver’s seat? There is nothing, keeping Wolff out of the (Oakland) driver’s seat but himself; oh I forgot Oakland presently really has a choice (sarcasm)
        ‘So yes, the city absolutely bears the majority of the blame here”
        I never said Oakland didn’t bare blame, perhaps even the majority of it but there are more than a few Wolff apologists (INHO)

      • Sorry: (IMHO)

      • There is something keeping Wolff out of the driver’s seat: the ENA with the Kephart group. And Wolff made his money being a property developer. He’d absolutely rather be in control of the development than not. And I think something that is overlooked is that even if the A’s theoretically ended up in San Jose and the Raiders were gone (probably to LA), is that Wolff might very well still be interested in developing the Coliseum area without a sports venue anchoring the site.

      • @ SMG

        Again, if Wolff had control he may not want it.

      • But he has said that he would want to be in charge of any development at the Coliseum site, that the team has no interest in being a tenant, etc. If that’s not desire to be in control, I don’t know what is.

      • @ SMG
        The ENA is not holding Wolff back. He may want people to think it is, but he could put together a plan that would kick the Raiders back to LA, and force Oakland to go with him, that is if he wanted to do so. The ENA will expire soon, lets see what Wolff dose about that, I’m guessing nothing.
        Here’s hopping Wolff will give Oakland the difficult choice, many believe is already before them.

      • Saying something, and truly wanting it are two different things. I think we can agree that Wolff has plenty of motive to say one thing, while wanting another.

      • I have no reason to believe Wolff isn’t interested in the Coliseum site in some capacity, with or without a stadium. It’s a site that’s ripe for development and there is money to be made. If the Raiders were out of the picture and the city/county/JPA approved a Wolff-lead development of the whole Coliseum area (assuming the remaining parcels could be acquired), I would bet a sizable amount of money that he’d want to develop the land. It’s what he made his fortune doing. Developing it with a stadium pays for the stadium. Developing it without a stadium just makes it all the more profitable.

      • @ SMG
        “I have no reason to believe Wolff isn’t interested in the Coliseum site”
        RE: I don’t disagree with this statement. I’m only pointing out that the opposite (at least up to this point), is also true. I have no reason to believe Wolff “IS” interested in the Coliseum site. (At least not yet)
        Like I said WOLFF and Oakland have been equal parts of bull sh*t, at different times in this saga. I believe there are just a few to many Wolff apologists (here) to admit that.

  31. “Howard Terminal/Victory Court/Insert hherever else next is MLB’s preferred location. We got the local papers to say so.”

    • It seems likely Oakland advocates will stick to their plan to keep both teams by giving the Coliseum property to the Raiders and pointing the A’s over to Howard Terminal, no matter how many times A’s owners and MLB say they DON’T WANT THAT SITE (caps for emphasis). We’ll hear more pleas for team to be sold to mysterious, anonymous heroes who are ready to spend more than $1 billion to buy the team and build at HT, regardless of return on investment. FWIW, Either MLB or the NFL will have to make a determination that one (or both teams) cannot be accommodated in Oakland and need to go somewhere else, since the city is not going to make this admission.

      • Sorry PJK, I just don’t buy your constant “Oakland is less than” argument.

      • Necessity is the mother of invention. Oakland won’t aggressively find a solution with the A’s until they absolutely have to. San Jose or anything relocation is still years away. Don’t expect Oakland to get desperate until MLB is on the verge of approving an A’s relocation.

      • Briggs,
        Oakland won’t aggressively find a solution for the A’s PERIOD! Doesn’t matter what happens re San Jose or another potential municipality. 20+ years and counting for the town…

  32. I feel bad for San Jose residents as they have to listen to their Mayor make so many false and untruthful assertions in such a short interview.

    First of all, the Oakland A’s have made money in Oakland and can make even more money with a new ballpark at either the Coliseum location or at Howard Terminal.

    Secondly, Austin, Raleigh and Las Vegas are not better markets for MLB than the Oakland Metro area and its central Bay Area location. Everyone who knows any thing about potential MLB markets knows this and Liccardo is making himself look foolish in his attempts to denigrate Oakland as a MLB market.

    Third, it’s very unbecoming of San Jose to the extent of the incredible machinations and efforts that the city goes to in an attempt to poach a MLB team from a neighboring city. I mean, going to the Supreme Court in an effort to take Oakland’s baseball team? Doesn’t the Supreme Court have better and more important issues to deal with other than San Jose’s self entitlement to Oakland’s MLB team?

    Liccardo needs to stop denigrating Oakland with false assertions and start concentrating on retaining police officers for San Jose’s shrinking police force.

    • Yes, the A’s are making money hand over fist in Oakland. That’s why they need an annual subsidy of $35 million from MLB, right, Elmano? San Jose is going to court to try to get the team that Oakland has neglected for decades ($100s of millions of dollars in improvements for Raiders and Warriors, $0.00 for the A’s). It’s as simple as that. Hey, Elmano: If the A’s are the money-making machine you say and building a privately funded ballpark there is the no-brainer that you say, why don’t you find investors who are willing to make Wolff an offer he can’t refuse? To ensure that they mean business, these investors should be prepared to put up about $1.2 billion in a nonrefundable escrow account to ensure the sale of the team and construction of a new Oakland ballpark. Should be no problem if Oakland is the world-class MLB market that you say. Get on the phone, set up some meetings and report to us on your progress in a couple of weeks. MLB will be happy to force a sale once these guys put up the Big $$ to show that they mean business and wouldn’t just spend 7 years re-investigating feasibility and looking at the same looked-at sites and then say, “Sorry, we can’t get it done.”

      • Really? Lew Wolff has been playing virtually rent free at the Oakland Coliseum. In addition Wolff recently extorted five million dollars from Oakland city coffers.

        The only problem with Oakland, is the refusal of people like Wolff and Fisher to invest in the city. As I said in a previous post, plenty of developers are investing in Oakland but Lew Wolff, as always, is missing in action when it comes to investing in anything in Oakland.

        Sorry, I don’t adhere to your theory that Oakland is somehow less than any other city here in the Bay Area. Only people with elitists and racist points of view demean Oakland for being less than the great city it truly is located here in the very center of the Bay Area.

      • Can I see San Jose’s 1.2 billion escrow account?

        The only people who say “sorry we can’t get it done” are Lew Wolff and John Fisher regarding any site in Oakland presented to them by the city.

      • Do you not understand what a funding gap is, Elmano? Rhetorical question. You obviously don’t. If the finances of the situation in Oakland made infallible sense for the Raiders and/or the A’s, something would have gotten done long ago.

      • And btw, playing the race card like that makes you a bad person.

      • Oakland is less economically strong than San Francisco or San Jose. Oakland has less corporate base than San Francisco or San Jose. Oakland is a less desirable location for a privately financed ballpark than San Jose due to the presence of a dominant competitor in functionally the same location as Oakland. So although Oakland is a terrific city with bright prospects that I have great affection for, in these respects, yes, it is “less than” other cities. These are facts, deal with them.

    • Nice job outright lying. The SC case is not to force the A’s to move to SJ. It’s to give the team the ability to move there if it so chooses. Cities cannot force teams to relocate. Only the teams themselves can choose to pursue a relocation.

      Then again, you’ve never based your “arguments” in reality, so it’s not at all surprising that you can’t understand this.

    • Wow! Would say more but don’t feel like being banned today…

  33. Keep in mind the attorney representing San Jose obviously not a dummy and appears to be convincing (also one would believe he wouldn’t have taken the case on a contingency basis if there wasn’t a good chance of winning it) One of the first comments Cotchett made – after taking the SJ vs MLB case – is that they would take it to the Supreme Court if necessary. None of these judgments by the lower courts have been surprising so far – this isn’t over yet

  34. bartelby is correct, SJ has to keep the lawsuit going in order to make MLB move.

    The case on a contingency so what does SJ have to lose? MLB has proven they cannot be trusted and unless Manfred shows up and changes this tune there is no reason to stop the lawsuit.

    The NFL won on every level vs. American Needle including the 9th Circuit decisively. They forced the case to SCOTUS and were knocked out big time.

    This is why Manfred has said publicly he “hopes this stops the litigation”. He knows full well SCOTUS hears this it is not going to be good.

    SJ needs to keep going, it has been 6+ years since the BRC was appointed. Take it all the way!

  35. If anyone should be filling a lawsuit against MLB and the City of San Jose, it should be the City of Oakland.

    Harm was done to Oakland when MLB colluded with the Giants and rejected a pro Oakland bid led by Andy Dolich. Eventually, Oakland ended up with Lew Wolff, a San Jose businessman with heavy interests in downtown San Jose, as the owner.

    Wolff has been courting San Jose ever since he and Fisher bought the Oakland A’s. If Wolff ever gets his wish and takes the A’s from Oakland to San Jose, he will conspire with MLB to never again locate a franchise in Oakland. The City of Oakland would suffer damages to its economy, its image, its national exposure, its marketability, all due to collusion by MLB, Lew Wolff, and the City of San Jose.

    Oakland would have to be made whole by the courts by forcing MLB to locate a team in the city. San Jose can’t claim damages by MLB when they’re trying to put Oakland in the exact same position that they claim the Giants put them in. By revoking the anti-trust exemption the courts would open up a huge can of worms for litigation against MLB for any city desiring a MLB franchise.

    It’s not going to happen. Lew Wolff needs to give up this delusional pipe dream and start respecting Oakland A’s fans and the City of Oakland. It’s time for Lew Wolff and John Fisher to get serious about building in Oakland.

    • I realize many (here), may not have much regard for what Elmano has to say (perhaps me either), but it does seem like Oakland would have grounds to sue MLB/A’s, themselves. I don’t know a lot about the legal stuff, and even if they had a case I don’t see how it would get them a team, as the Bay Area is barely big enough to support two teams, let alone three, some question whether it can support two.
      Anyway, sure as hell looks like we won’t be getting a new ballpark, in San Jose, Oakland, or anywhere in the Bay Area for one hell of a long time to come, unfortunately.

      • Oakland would have no standing at all. Teams move sometimes. Cities are not guaranteed teams. Like ML said, it’s a privilege, not a right. And before anyone gets confused, right to pursue a team/try to convince a team to move =/= keeping an existing team.

      • SMG hit the nail on the head. We live in a market economy. That means the default rule is, businesses are free to compete for customers and cities are free to compete for businesses.

        San Jose is suing to try to remove an artificial barrier to competing for a business to locate there. Oakland would be suing for…what exactly?

        The mere fact that a business suffers harm from new competition or a city suffers harm when a business leaves is not actionable, it’s just the way our system is supposed to work. Seattle had no claim when Boeing left for Chicago. California has no claim when businesses leave for other states. McDonalds has no claim when Burger King moves next door.

        Believe me, the absolute last person in the universe you want to be taking legal advice from is Elmano (or business advice, for that matter).

    • You have no business ever lecturing anyone about delusions. Ever.

    • Aside from which you have displayed your ignorance multiple times on the same issue 8n this thread alone. The SC can’t force teams to move by overturning the ATE. That is still 100% up to the team having a desire to move in the first place. Everything else stems from that. All you’re doing is spewing profound ignorance, as per usual.

    • Here we go again: “MLB conspired to block a pro-Oakland owner in favor of a pro-San Jose owner so they could……….[wait for it]………BLOCK THE PRO-SAN JOSE OWNER FROM MOVING TO SAN JOSE.” You are surely the only person in the universe who can’t see how insanely stupid that argument is.

      • Bartleby,

        No, the Giants did not want a stable long-term commitment to Oakland. They got just that, except that now Mr. Wolff is trying to bite them in the rear.

        The Giants don’t want a committed ownership in Oakland anymore than they want the A’s in San Jose. The difference is that they can’t stop Wolff from building in Oakland should he so desire.

        Only to San Jose centric people who view the world through a San Jose lens is that argument ‘stupid.”

      • You have yet to make any kind of a coherent argument. Clearly any new owner of the A’s was going to want a new venue in the Bay Area – one of Steve Schott’s first moves was to try to get one in Santa Clara. If anything, given their antipathy to the idea of a competing team in San Jose, one would have thought the Giants would have pulled out all stops to get an “Oakland-only” owner (if such a thing even exists). What exactly is the theoretical end game for the Giants in this delusional conspiracy fantasy of yours, and what exactly is in it for MLB?

  36. Wow. Anyone who doubts the ability of Oakland to get it done for the A’s, since its had decades of not succeeding, is now a racist. When an argument is lost, call names, I guess. I’m the same guy who tells people to bring their little kids to Children’s Fairyland and Oakland Zoo and then has to defeat arguments that Oakland is “too dangerous.” What’s the matter, Elmano? Not interested in scouting out investors for this can’t-lose Oakland ballpark project? Feel free to delete this, ML. I understand. But we do have Elmano calling people racist now.

  37. I was referring on the economic disinvestment in certain areas by rich team owners like Wolff, Fisher an the Warriors ownership group. I wasn’t referring to you.

    • Yep. Keep bashing the A’s owners. I’m betting MLB is fed up – fed up – with it. Oakland is on the clock to work with the A’s owners to get something done at the Coliseum site. If that means bye bye Raiders, then so be it.

  38. Nonsense, Wolff is just laying low satisfied playing in Oakland virtually rent free. Wolff will NEVER build as much as a dog house in Oakland. Building in Oakland is not in his DNA.

    Wolff may end up driving the Raiders away by being a road block to this entire project, but even if the Raiders leave he will attempt to extort Oakland and at the end of the day will still be looking at San Jose.

    Wolff is the worst thing to ever happen to Oakland as a sports town.

  39. Bartleby, So you’re advocating for musical chairs for all MLB franchises with the end of anti-trust exemption?

    I see. Perhaps the Indians can just relocate to Shaker Heights because they have more money and may one day want to build a new ballpark. What happens if Oakland decides they want the Tampa Bay Rays and theTampa Rays want Oakland? Does MLB or Lew Wolff have a right to stop the deal?

    What if the Baltimore Orioles decide they want to relocate to Brooklyn? What if the Kansas City Royals decide that they want to pack their truck and head off to Beverly, Hills that is, swimming pools, movie stars, cement ponds everywhere. What a shame, the Dodgers would have no say.

    That’s nuts and it’s not going to happen.

    • None of the other leagues have an ATE. But somehow MLB should? How about no?

    • And that musical chairs doesn’t occur in any other league either. Why would it occur in baseball? Spoiler: it wouldn’t.

      • It would occur because it would be able to occur due to the “market driven system.” Which one of the greedy MLB owners wouldn’t want to tap into the huge LA or NYC market? It’s a horrible idea which will never happen. A MLB franchise is not a burger franchise or a bank where you just move around willy nilly.

        Having the A’s, Forty Niners, Earthquakes and Sharks in the South Bay makes no sense for the vast majority of Bay Area sports fans. So Santa Clara County gets four pro sports franchises while the rest of the Bay Area keeps three and maybe just two teams? That’s insane. San Jose already has pro football, hockey and soccer. That’s greed.

      • Stop avoiding the point and answer the question. You have literally zero evidence to support the assertion that a game of musical chairs would occur in MLB when it already doesn’t occur in leagues without ATEs.

    • The game of “musical chairs” you describe would not happen because of market forces. It is not necessary to put artificial governmental controls in place to prevent it from happening.

      Franchise moves are rare in other sports that are not exempt from antitrust laws; they would be even rarer in MLB given its more challenging economics. Simply put, there are far fewer cities that can support an 81 game schedule in a league with only modest revenue sharing, and those cities for the most part already have teams.

      It is a given that MLB teams all want their own modern, unshared, baseball-only venues with the usual premium seating and other revenue generators to maximize revenues. We’ve seen how hard it is to put deals together to build such venues. It simply won’t happen if the economic fundamentals aren’t there.

      The Indians will not move to Shaker Heights because it lacks the infrastructure, transit and downtown synergies teams crave. It just won’t pencil out. (But if it did, and that’s what the Indians wanted to do, and the citizens of Shaker Heights were on board, so be it – that would be their right).

      The Tampa Bay Rays will not move to Oakland because the economic fundamentals are not there. If they were, the A’s would have built a ballpark already. If the economics don’t make sense for two teams in the region they certainly won’t make sense for three. (But if they did, so be it).

      The Orioles have a gem of a ballpark and a good downtown location; they’re not likely to move. The Royals have a gem of a ballpark and a regional market to themselves, and the citizens of Beverly Hills won’t permit a subway station, let alone a ballpark. (But if the economics were more favorable in Brooklyn or Beverly Hills, and the relevant team(s) could get the local support to get a venue deal in place, so be it).

      New York is the only location of those you mention that might realistically get another team, though it’s far more likely to be the Rays than the Orioles. If so, so be it – major league sports franchises should be situated in the most economically advantageous locations.

      We’ve seen how well centralized economic planning works in other countries. (Not well, comrade). Your grasp of our economic system seems to be even less than your grasp of our legal system.

  40. How may teams in MLB would lose money without revenue sharing?

    I know the San Jose crowd likes to distort the “losing money in Oakland” angle in order to make the case for San Jose.

    Could it be that Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Miami, Cinci, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Arizona, San Diego, Kansas City, etc. are all on the dole? Which teams make the money makes no difference. It’s a league, that’s why they share revenue.

    Taking money from the Giants from San Jose and giving it to the A’s doesn’t benefit the league. What a bogus dishonest argument about the A’s “not making money in Oakland.”

    • Yes, Elmano. The A’s make money hand over fist in Oakland. But the other owners like to give Wolff/Fisher a $35 million subsidy every year because they are such swell guys. That must be it….The A’s charge rock bottom prices and are amongst the poorest-attended teams in MLB, even when they are winning. I think we can all surmise that they are not money.

    • “How may teams in MLB would lose money without revenue sharing?”

      Concrete data on this is hard to come by, but from what’s out there the answer seems to be “not many, and the A’s are one of the primary examples.”

      “Which teams make the money makes no difference. It’s a league, that’s why they share revenue.”

      Great argument. So let’s take the teams from New York, Los Angeles and Chicago and put them in Oklahoma City, Lincoln, Cheyenne, Albuquerque, Des Moines and Little Rock instead. What the hell, it’s a league! It makes no difference! Revenue sharing will make everything just fine.

      “Taking money from the Giants from San Jose and giving it to the A’s doesn’t benefit the league.”

      It absolutely does, if the move grows the pie overall. Moving a team further away from the Giants to San Jose would do little (if any) damage to them, but would allow the league far greater penetration into the Bay Area’s most economically dynamic region.

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