My Baby Sent Me a Letter: More Chaos in San Jose Lawsuit


Oct 27, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; MLB commissioner Bud Selig attends a press conference to present the 2013 Hank Aaron Award prior to game four of the MLB baseball World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

As widely reported throughout the Bay, MLB had officially given the A’s notice that their move to San Jose would not be approved, prior to the filing of San Jose’s lawsuit, a whopping one day before said filing.  Apparently, this bon mot originates in a joint court filing within San Jose’s lawsuit against MLB, of which, of course, in a weird turn of events, the A’s happen to be a party.

This announcement has been widely greeted with cries of “AHA!,” followed by puzzled head-scratching.  What does this really mean?  Legally, not a whole lot.

The San Jose lawsuit is braindead.  Sure, it’ll accept glucose through a tube, but it ain’t rising and walking anytime soon.  The meat of the case was dismissed on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the legal equivalent of saying to a judge, “this complaint is so stupid, it fails to say anything that makes the slightest sense.”  What’s left are state law contractual claims that are going nowhere, will likely be scuttled on summary judgment and, even before this latest news, were alarmingly full of holes.  San Jose, legally, is the equivalent of the kid caught playing Dungeons and Dragons, by himself, in his Spiderman Underoos, who rather unconvincingly proclaims, “My Mom says I’m cool!”  Well kid, she’s wrong.  And so is San Jose, and this lawsuit is past due for a bullet behind the ear.

Now, legally, the revelation that MLB technically did what the San Jose lawsuit demands it do, almost five years into the process and the day before it probably knew litigation was coming stinks to High Holy Heaven.  (It also smells precisely like the sort of hamfisted, public relations snafu that Bud Selig is justly celebrated for.)

But who cares?  If it’s not legally dispositive, why should we give a hoot?  Well, the really interesting thing about all of this, is that San Jose apparently, didn’t know about that letter until the A’s disclosed it.  Meaning, until it had a legal obligation to cough it up, the Athletics sensed no reason to share it with anyone in San Jose before they embarked on their noisy and quixotic tramp to federal court.  And what does that tell us?

Well, I think it should certainly be sobering news to anyone who believes the city fathers of San Jose and Athletics’ ownership are working hard, hand in glove, to move the team south.

On the other hand, it shouldn’t be cause for huzzah’s in Mayor Quan’s office either.  The letter (which hasn’t been disclosed) apparently only radiates displeasure for this THIS plan to move the team.  Not any plan, to any destination, including San Jose.

But it does expose some fissures in the supposed united front of San Jose and the Oakland Athletics.  As an Athletics’ fan, I’ll take good news where I can get it.

Divide and conquer.