San Jose loses on its appeal to have Major League Baseball’s antitrust exemption set aside


It’s been a long time coming — the trial court decision came in October 2013 — but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has just ruled against San Jose in its effort to get Major League Baseball’s antitrust exemption set aside. I have yet to read the decision in full. I’ll update once I do. In the meantime:

San Jose has been trying to get the Oakland A’s to move there, but the territory belongs to the San Francisco Giants and sued the league, alleging that its antitrust exemption which allows the league to block a team from moving into another’s territory, was unconstitutional. While I am in total sympathy with San Jose over the antitrust exemption — I believe it is dumb and should be overturned at some point — their case on the merits was really, really weak for a host of reasons.

I detailed the reasons why this was the case nearly two years ago, but the short version is that, even if the antitrust exemption should be overturned, San Jose’s specific case does establish an antitrust injury. Maybe the Athletics are being injured by not being able to move where they want to go, but they’re not the ones suing. San Jose has lost nothing as a result of Major League Baseball’s acts — maybe $75,000 on a land purchase option — and their entire complaint is otherwise based on speculative damages.

But to even get a court to listen to those, someone has to rule that Major League Baseball’s antitrust exemption does not apply. The 9th Circuit has now refused to do that, leaving San Jose with the U.S. Supreme Court. So, let’s meet back here in a couple of years and see how that goes.

UPDATE: Read the decision. It’s a just full-fledged Heisman at San Jose, citing the three big Supreme Court cases giving MLB its antitrust exemption — most recently the Curt Flood case — and saying that San Jose doesn’t even get past the first threshold. MLB’s exemption from the antitrust laws, while not absolute, certainly covers franchise relocation, the court ruled, thus kicking this one to the curb as a matter of law.

San Jose can go to the Supreme Court. But the Supreme Court has itself ruled that it will take Congress acting to change the law as it applies to Major League Baseball in order to have the exemption removed or modified enough to cover cases like this. So, sorry guys.

AP Source: Minor leaguers reach five-year labor deal with MLB

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch
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NEW YORK – Minor league players reached a historic initial collective bargaining agreement with Major League Baseball on Wednesday that will more than double player salaries, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details were not announced.

As part of the five-year deal, MLB agreed during the contract not to reduce minor league affiliates from the current 120.

The sides reached the deal two days before the start of the minor league season and hours after a federal judge gave final approval to a $185 million settlement reached with MLB last May of a lawsuit filed in 2014 alleging violations of federal minimum wage laws.

Union staff recommended approval and about 5,500 minor leaguers were expected to vote on Thursday. MLB teams must also vote to approve and are expected to do so over the next week.

Minimum salaries will rise from $4,800 to $19,800 at rookie ball, $11,000 to $26,200 at Low Class A, $11,000 to $27,300 at High Class A, $13,800 to $27,300 at Double A and $17,500 to $45,800 at Triple-A. Players will be paid in the offseason for the first time.

Most players will be guaranteed housing, and players at Double-A and Triple-A will be given a single room. Players below Double-A will have the option of exchanging club housing for a stipend. The domestic violence and drug policies will be covered by the union agreement. Players who sign for the first time at 19 or older can become minor league free agents after six seasons instead of seven.

Major leaguers have been covered by a labor contract since 1968 and the average salary has soared from $17,000 in 1967 to an average of $4.22 million last season. Full-season minor leaguers earned as little as $10,400 last year.

The Major League Baseball Players Association took over as the bargaining representative of the roughly 5,500 players with minor league contracts last September after a lightning 17-day organization drive.

Minor leaguers players will receive four weeks of retroactive spring training pay for this year. They will get $625 weekly for spring training and offseason training camp and $250 weekly for offseason workouts at home.

Beginning in 2024, teams can have a maximum of 165 players under contract during the season and 175 during the offseason, down from the current 190 and 180.

The union will take over group licensing rights for players.

Negotiating for players was led by Tony Clark, Bruce Meyer, Harry Marino, Ian Penny and Matt Nussbaum. MLB Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem headed management’s bargainers.