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San Jose to appeal A’s ballpark ruling

Oakland AthleticsSan Jose will appeal a federal court decision denying the city the chance to host a new Oakland Athletics ballpark near the Diridon rail station.

San Jose and the A’s had worked on plans for a privately financed ballpark, but Major League Baseball and Commissioner Bud Selig have refused John Fisher and Lew Wolff permission to move the team. In fact, MLB informed A’s ownership in June that permission to move the team had been denied. Meanwhile, in October the lawsuit attempting to force Major League Baseball to allow the move of the Oakland Athletics to a new downtown San Jose ballpark was mostly tossed by U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte, who ruled the sport’s antitrust exemption was still law of the land.

Viewed by many observers to be a very weak argument, San Jose lawyers said MLB illegally colluded to keep the Athletics from building a new ballpark, despite the wishes of A’s ownership. However, Whyte wrote that the argument was indeed weak, ruling that baseball’s antitrust exemption allowed for the existence of territories — in this case, the San Francisco Giants’ claim on Santa Clara County and much of Silicon Valley. From the San Jose Mercury-News:

Phil Gregory, one of San Jose’s lawyers, said he disagrees with Whyte’s conclusion, finding it “hard to believe Major League Baseball is not subject to the same antitrust rules that apply to other sports.”

The judge also recently dismissed other legal claims made under state law, which focus on allegations MLB has undermined San Jose’s economic interests by thwarting the city’s option agreement with the team to buy land for a downtown ballpark. At Whyte’s direction, San Jose’s lawyers on Thursday refiled those claims in Santa Cruz County Superior Court in a separate lawsuit.

The city filed paperwork with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, seeking to overturn the decision. In the meantime, Oakland has put together two alternative ballpark sites and are willing to move ahead with them, leading to some mixed messages from Wolff and crew.

RELATED STORIES: Judge: San Jose has no right to the A’s; Selig: We’ll solve Oakland ballpark issue before I leave office; Selig: Oakland Coliseum a pit, but it’s our pit; Legal settlement could pave way for new Oakland ballpark; San Jose suit against MLB a weak one, saye experts; San Jose files suit against MLB in quest for A’s; Selig to San Jose Mayor: Sorry, no time to meet; Progress on new A’s ballpark? Not likely; Athletics propose five-year lease for Coliseum; What drives Lew Wolff?; Wolff: No more delays on A’s ballpark decisionSan Jose ballpark land deal under formal reviewCould Giants-A’s battle be settled in court?Waterfront site emerging as new A’s homeMLB committee meets with Oakland, San Jose officials about future of A’s; Developer: I can build new A’s ballpark with private financingSan Jose: A’s ballpark land safe — for nowWolff meets with Knauss, has clear message: A’s not for saleGiants: Nothing would tempt us to give up Silicon Valley territorySelig: A’s can leave Oakland — just not for San JoseCal to San Jose: Slow down on new ballparkA’s expected to push for ballpark decision at owner’s meetingsToday’s A’s/Giants update: nothing newWolff: A’s aren’t for saleSuitors emerge for Oakland Athletics


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