Judge Rejects San Jose’s Antitrust Claim Against Major League Baseball

A U.S. District Court judge has dismissed San Jose’s antrust claim against MLB, but allowed the contract interference claims to remain. A story describing the dismissal can be seen here.
The court said that the antitrust exemption for baseball, first found in the Federal League case in 1921 and upheld most recently in Flood v. Kuhn in 1972, said that the exemption remains in place until congress acts to change it. Congress did act in the 1998 Curt Flood Act that granted antitrust rights to players but did not alter the exemption as it applied to the business of baseball. This act is interpreted as congressional action that supported the exemption for baseball. Of interest is that the lesser claims will continue. Antitrust claims allow treble damages against a defendant, so that dismissal is a significant victory for MLB.

Final Four, MLB Money Counts

The Tigers with the fifth highest payroll beat the A’s with the twenty-sixth last night as Justin Verlander dominated the A’s and won a 3-0 game that was never close. Verlander took a no hitter into the seventh inning, giving up two singles in eight innings pitched. Closer Benoit gave up another hit in the ninth. A’s rookie pitcher, Sonny Gray, pitched well and only made a single mistake that allowed Miguel Cabrera to hit a two run homerun in the fourth.  The A’s had been pitching Cabrera on the outside corner, but Sonny Gray tried to get one buy inside and Cabrera hit it out.

What this means is that the final four in the race to the World Series are all high salary,  large market teams. The Dodgers at number two, $216,302,909, the Red Sox number four at $158,967,286, the Tigers at number five at $149,046,844, and the St. Louis Cardinals at number eleven at $116,702,085.  When the playoffs began, I was hoping small markets in Oakland, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati (a wild card contender) would prevail. It was not to be.

In the day of wooden war ships where ships fired broadsides at each other with their cannon, the weight of the broadside, computed as number of guns times weight of each cannon ball, was often the determing factor. So, too, in MLB today, the weight of the broadside, measured by the dollars paid to players, is the determing factor. 

We are off the the League Championship Series and the World Series. In the morning paper, I noted a decline in interest in these games. It is nearly the middle of October, afterall.