Supreme Court rejects San Jose appeal to lure A’s away from Oakland

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Supreme Court rejected an appeal from San Jose in the northern California city’s bid to lure baseball’s Athletics from Oakland.

The justices on Monday left in place lower court rulings that dismissed the city’s antitrust claims against Major League Baseball, which blocked the Athletics’ contemplated move to San Jose.

San Jose sued MLB in June 2013 for conspiring to block the relocation. San Jose is in Santa Clara County, part of the San Francisco Giants’ territory under MLB’s constitution. The city said the territory rules violated federal antitrust laws. Baseball has been exempt from antitrust laws since a 1922 Supreme Court decision.

"The court’s decision, while significant, has no impact on our intense and unwavering focus on solving our ballpark issue and providing A’s fans the first-class experience they deserve," A’s owner Lew Wolff said in a statement.

Wolff has been committed to building a new ballpark and leaving the rundown Oakland Coliseum. The A’s averaged 21,829 fans a game this year, 27th among the 30 big league teams.

"Listen, it’d be great to have a new facility," said Billy Beane, the A’s executive vice president of baseball operations. "The facts are the facts. We do our best with what we have."

Major League Baseball declined to comment on the court’s decision.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo suggested the city was moving on without the A’s and a new stadium close to downtown and would turn its attention to developing the areas.

"We knew going into this litigation that getting a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court would be a long shot — the Court hears only a couple dozen out of the more than 2,000 petitions it receives each year," Liccardo said.

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Liccardo noted that the city didn’t spend any money on legal fees fighting the issue in court. Private lawyers who represented the city were to get paid only if they won in court.

Oakland shortstop Marcus Semien, for one, didn’t mind. He grew up in the East Bay in nearby El Cerrito.

"That’s great. This is where I grew up," he said Monday while cleaning out his locker at the Oakland Coliseum. "I grew up here in the East Bay and feel this is home. This is home for the A’s."

The case is San Jose v. Major League Baseball, 14-1252.