Thurm: MLB, the Giants, and the law job the A’s … again

From SABR member Wendy Thurm at Deadspin on January 16, 2015:

Major League Baseball is breathing a huge sigh of relief after a federal appeals court upheld a broad scope of the league’s exemption from federal antitrust law on Thursday. But the league’s win comes at a high price for the Oakland A’s—and adds to the literal shitstorm the A’s are in at the old and dilapidated Oakland Coliseum.

On Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a unanimous opinion in a case filed by San Jose, Calif. The city charged MLB with violating federal antitrust law by refusing to rule on the A’s request to build a new ballpark in San Jose on land the team had agreed to purchase from the city. The A’s need MLB’s permission to move because the San Francisco Giants hold the exclusive territorial rights to San Jose, thanks to the A’s goodwill back in the 1990s when the Giants were desperate for a new ballpark.

San Jose argued that the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1922 decision in the Federal Baseball case —which created the league’s exemption from antitrust law—had been narrowed by later Court rulings, and no longer applied to issues of franchise location. San Jose also rightly claimed that MLB’s exemption from antitrust law is an antiquated and unnecessary legal protection for a $9 billion industry, and one that no other professional sports league in the U.S. can claim.

But the Ninth Circuit did what appeals courts do. It relied on U.S. Supreme Court cases that make no sense in today’s world but that have not been overturned by the Court or Congress.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: January 16, 2015. Last Updated: January 16, 2015.