Not the San Francisco Giants. The City of San Francisco:
City Attorney Dennis Herrera gave Major League Baseball a little chin
music on Thursday, firing off a letter suggesting San Francisco would
sue the league if it approves moving the Oakland Athletics to San Jose . . . “I need to make sure the interests of the city and its taxpayers are
protected . . . The city and county of San Francisco has a
vital interest in making sure the Giants are successful and viable so
they can make good on their obligations to the city.”
Setting aside the entire issue of the antitrust exemption which could prevent this suit in the first place, on what possible theory would the City of San Francisco have standing to sue baseball over a franchise move that doesn’t even involve (a) the team that lives in the city; and (b) the city itself (here’s a basic definition of legal standing for you non-lawyers out there)?
Sure, San Francisco has a financial interest in the Giants doing well. But so do the ferry companies. So do the beer vendors. So do the people that print giant foam fingers that say “Giants” on them. Would Dennis Herrera admit that they all have standing to sue too? Wait. Don’t answer that. Would a court say they have standing? Doubtful.
I’ve always been dubious of the whole territorial claim the Giants have on San Jose to begin with anyway. Yes, I know they technically “own” that territory, but it doesn’t make any kind of sense for them to be so protective of it. The ballpark in Oakland is a sixteen mile drive from AT&T Park. Downtown San Jose is forty miles away. Which location is more likely to draw people away from Giants’ games? And besides, San Jose was Athletics territory for years anyway. They gave it to the Giants in order to help them out when the Giants had stadium issues. If New York and Chicago can handle coequal team territory, the Bay Area should be able to handle it too.
But good luck with your lawsuit anyway, Mr. Herrera.