San Francisco threatens to sue if the A's move to San Jose

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San Francisco.JPGNot 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.

Minor League Baseball eclipses 40 million in attendance for 14th consecutive season

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Minor League Baseball announced on Wednesday that, for the 14th consecutive season, the league has eclipsed 40 million in total attendance. 20 teams set single-game attendance records and seven teams set franchise records for single-game attendance in their current parks.

ESPN’s Keith Law, who has been covering the minor leagues for quite a while, did the math:

Minor League Baseball president and CEO Pat O’Conner, whose most prominent stint in the public eye involved him disingenuously justifying the underpaying of his players, said, “Minor League Baseball continues to be the best entertainment value in sports, and these numbers support that. For us to top 40 million fans for the 14th consecutive season despite the weather challenges our teams faced in April and May is a testament to the continued support of our loyal fan bases and the creative promotions and hard work done by all of our teams across the country.”

Major and Minor League Baseball are quite happy to make money hand over fist on the backs of their players, but are too cheap to pay them adequately for their labor.