Baseball’s Day in Court

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By Paul Mahaney

“Do you know the way to San Jose; we’re up in Oakland moving down the freeway, do you know the way to San Jose, trying to make a home down in the South Bay by the way.” Everybody in the jury sing with me!

“Objection your honor, the prosecution is attempting to make a mockery of these proceedings.”

“Mr. Mahaney the prosecution will present its case in a way that befits this courtroom, is that clear?”

Yes your honor and I wish to apologize to Burt Bacharach and Hal David for changing the lyrics of their song.

“Please proceed with your case then.”

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we intend to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Major League Baseball and Commissioner Bud Selig were never really serious about looking into the Oakland A’s proposed move to San Jose, and furthermore never appointed a committee to investigate the possibilities for said move.

My colleague’s client, Commissioner Bud Selig, said four years ago he appointed a committee to look into the A’s moving down to San Jose. It seems however that a funny thing happened; the committee went missing, and has not been seen or heard from since. I guess they weren’t blue ribbon after all.

“Objection again your honor, my client never said they were Blue Ribbon”

“Mr. Mahaney you will please keep your remarks confined to the facts.”

Yes your honor, but maybe now Mr. Selig can appoint a committee to look for the committee that vanished without a trace.

“Mr. Mahaney!”

Sorry your honor. We the prosecution wishes to explore why the now absent committee was appointed in the first place since they have not been seen or heard from for four years.

Furthermore the party of the first part, the Oakland Athletics, and particularly the party of the second part, San Jose, had yet to receive a straight answer from Major League Baseball that is until this week, when San Jose finally felt compelled to file suit against Major League Baseball.

We would also like to submit, that majority owner Lew Wolff, feels that playing in the Oakland Mausoleum (okay a bit of poetic license there I admit) has become an intolerable situation for them and their fans, not to mention me a season ticket holder.

“Objection”

“Overruled”

It was at one time a cookie cutter style type stadium that unlike the others of their day had open views in the outfield of the lovely Piedmont Hills out in the distance. Well suffice it to say it has now lost its once subtle charms, having been replaced by Mt. Davis beyond the outfield walls.

IMG_20130623_023107_850Oakland constructed Mt. Davis to appease the late Raider owner Al Davis, god forbid he were to move back to L.A. again, which by the way he did consider. Now this monolith to the football Raider god does nothing for the baseball park atmosphere.

After all, while big Al and the Raiders deserted Oakland the A’s did not, thus the Athletics reasoned, why penalize us?

Then there is the long-suffering Mr. Wolff, majority owner of the Athletics. He erected a huge unsightly tarp to cover the top deck of seats, thereby denying larger crowds additional seating, thus implying the stadium was full during last year’s playoffs, when in truth it was way short of capacity.

In fact there have been countless occasions where fans have come out and could have used those seats. For example, this past weekend when over 100,000 came out to see the Mariners, yes those Mariners.

I put it to you bluntly sir, and to paraphrase our late President Ronald Reagan, “Mr. Wolff, tear down that tarp!”

“Objection your honor counsel is badgering his own client!”

In addition Mr. Wolff do you really believe that adding another eyesore to the Coliseum after last week’s sewage debacle, which forced the A’s and Mariners to share the Raiders locker room after the game, is actually going to help your plight, or contribute to it?

“Objection, he’s leading the witness your honor.”

“One more outburst counselor and I’ll have you found in contempt of court”

Thank you, your honor.

“And that goes for you to Mr. Mahaney.”

Yes your honor. At this time we the prosecution would like to offer exhibit A, the issue of San Jose filing a lawsuit pertaining to baseball and its antitrust exemption. I believe this all hinges on the subject of free enterprise, you know, striking a competitive balance?

The response from baseball’s executive vice president of economics and league affairs Rob Manfred said earlier this week, and I quote, “The lawsuit is an unfounded attack on the fundamental structures of a professional sports league. It is regrettable that the city has resorted to litigation that has no basis in law or in fact.”

But Mr. Manfred also went on to say, “In considering the issues related to the Oakland Athletics, Major League Baseball has acted in the best interests of our fans, our communities and the league,”

I would like to have the stenographer read that back for the court if I might your honor?

“No”

Why not?

“Don’t ask”

What a grump.

“What’s that?”

I was just going to say what a bunch of malarkey. Baseball has NOT ACTED at all, in the last four years, either in the best interest of not only baseball (namely Oakland and its fans or its community), but in the best interest of its league either, as San Jose would better support the A’s financially.

Say nothing of not acting in the best interest of San Jose (the tenth largest city in the nation), also home to one of the wealthiest areas in the country, namely Silicon Valley.

“Your honor, counsel is trying to twist the words of my client”

“I’ll take it under advisement, proceed counselor”

Yes your honor.

In addition whenever a team from the Bay Area had an issue with their stadiums San Jose was always mentioned as the option for relocation.

For instance the San Francisco 49er’s, and Giants both went as far as to suggest they were off to San Jose when San Francisco refused to help modify, or contribute towards a newer facility for those teams.

Each time San Jose got the shaft, while Santa Clara got the Niners, and San Francisco got to keep the Giants, albeit in a privately financed ballpark, although Tampa Bay nearly got the Giants in that one. Now the Rays are complaining about their digs and who can blame them.

“I object your honor; the prosecutor is trying to turn this hearing into a circus”

Really, where’s the elephant? Oh that’s right he’s still in Oakland!

“Sustained however, counsel will stick to the facts as they pertain to this case.”

Yes your honor, but I thought I was as the mascot for the A’s is an elephant.

“Point taken, please continue.”

San Jose Mayor, Chuck Reed” has said that free enterprise is about competition, and I believe, and correct me if am wrong on this, and I am sure my colleague will try to do so, but isn’t that the fundamental structure of any sports league?

Baseball and Mr. Selig and their entire law firm, and all the kings horses, and all the kings men, may refuse to admit that San Jose has a compelling argument, but they do.

“Make your point counsel.”

I’m about to your honor and it goes something like this. If baseball actually feels about the issue the way they say they do, how come it took four years to come to that conclusion? I mean it seems to me baseball had made up its mind on this issue long before appointing a phantom committee.

Isn’t it true that the real reason for this four-year delay was because Major League Baseball and Bud Selig are afraid to confront the Giants over their claim that the San Jose area belongs to them. Since when is a city owned by a sports franchise? Acting in the best interest of the fans, it’s communities, and the league? Baseball was quite willing to let the Giants go to Tampa Bay, until Peter McGowan and his group stepped in.

In truth, the Giants would survive the A’s in San Jose, as will the A’s. And the Giants would continue to draw in what must be considered arguably the best park in the majors.IMG_20130623_023338_187

I put it to you, Major League Baseball, with all its money, never really attempted to act in the best interest of the A’s by at least attempting to negotiate a deal with the Giants regards territorial rights to San Jose.

I want to remind the court that the A’s made that concession to the Giants, because their cross bay rival wanted to head south to San Jose to leave old dilapidated Candlestick Park. Does that sound familiar, just answer the question please.

“Objection we aren’t on trial here your honor”

Plus the issue was only addressed upon the filing of the suit against Major League Baseball, with the response being it was regrettable that San Jose resorted to litigation, really? What other recourse did they have? No more questions your honor, the defense rest.

“We object your honor!”

“Will both counsels please approach the bench? I want to remind both of you this is a court of law, and I will not stand for this kind of behavior in my courtroom, is that understood?”

Yes, but might I ask just one more thing your honor?

“And what might that be Mr. Mahaney?”

( Whispers) Do you think the committee appointed by Mr. Selig wound up like Mr. Hoffa?

“Oh for god’s sake that’s it. Mr. Mahaney, who do you think you are, Perry Mason?”

I’m a prosecutor your honor, I think that makes me Hamilton Burger, not Perry Mason.

“Well I’m a judge and I’ll have you disbarred. Bailiff escort Mr. Mahaney back to Baseball Revival. Courts adjourned!”

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Posted on June 23, 2013, in 2013 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Love this, Paul! Such a clever formatting! My law knowledge (from hours for “Law & Order”) has finally paid off!

  2. LOL thanks glad you enjoyed it Melissa. I didn’t think anyone would take the time to read it, because it was so long, but I got inspired. I thought maybe I was the only one who appreciated those who practice law without a license, fortunately American justice has been spared. Thank you for taking the time.

  3. A good read and despite being long it flowed with laughs. I love the points about how baseball is virtually ignoring the situation, hoping it will just go away. The part about removing the tarp was classic. You made me feel like I was in a real courtroom. Who was Hamilton Burger though?

  4. Whoa two comments on a post I never even thought would get one thanks Melinda! Yeah I was going for what it might sound like if Major League Baseball were in court, which they will be. Hamilton Burger was the guy who battled Perry Mason in most of the Perry Mason episodes, but I confess I have only seen a few of those shows. Thanks again for reading.

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