Baseball: San Jose files lawsuit against MLB

The city of San Jose filed a federal anti-trust lawsuit against Major League Baseball on Tuesday after four years without progress on a potential move of the Oakland A's to San Jose.

The San Jose Mercury News reported the lawsuit claims Major League Baseball giving territorial rights to San Jose to the reigning World Series champion San Francisco Giants amount to an unlawful restraint of trade.

"For years, MLB has unlawfully conspired to control the location and relocation of major league men's professional baseball clubs under the guise of an 'anti-trust exemption' applied to the business of baseball," the city said in a 44-page complaint filed in US District Court in San Jose.

The lawsuit calls Major League Baseball's actions a "blatant conspiracy", the newspaper reported.

"Whereas baseball may have started as a local affair, modern baseball is squarely within the realm of interstate commerce. MLB clubs ply their wares nationwide, games are broadcast throughout the country on satellite TV and radio, as well as cable channels, and MLB clubs have fan bases that span from coast to coast," the lawsuit said.

The A's have considered a move from their aging stadium to a possible new San Jose ballpark, but team owner Lew Wolff told the newspaper that, "I'm not in favor of legal action or legal threats to solve business issues."

Major League Baseball's federal anti-trust exemption originated with a 1922 US Supreme Court ruling that baseball is not interstate commerce subject to federal antitrust regulation. That decision was upheld in 1953 and 1972.