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City of San Jose could sue San Francisco Giants

Mar 3, 2013, 6:00 PM EST

Division Series - Detroit Tigers v Oakland Athletics - Game Four Getty Images

Well, this is interesting. San Jose has been an oft-discussed new locale for the Oakland Athletics if they were to move, but the San Francisco Giants have been a thorn in their paw, so to speak. San Jose may be ready to flip the script.

Sam Liccardo, the San Jose CityCouncil member whose district includes most of the proposed downtown ballpark property, wants the city to sue the Giants. They continue to claim territorial rights to the South Bay and, empowered by Major League Baseball’s antitrust exemption, have used that claim to block the A’s quest at every turn.

Liccardo’s strategy, if affirmed by his council colleagues, could be a game-changer. It would be a cunning reverse twist on the Giants’ own veiled (and nonveiled) threats to pursue legal action against San Jose and other entities if the A’s are allowed to move south.

“The concern that seems to be broadly discussed is about litigation on behalf of the San Francisco Giants,” Liccardo said the other day at his City Hall office. “But the San Francisco Giants should become concerned about the threat of a lawsuit by the city of San Jose.”

Liccardo goes on to say that a “conservative” estimate of the financial benefit of San Jose hosting a baseball team would be in the neighborhood of $30 million over 30 years.

Oakland has finished in the bottom-five among all 30 Major League teams in average attendance dating back to 2006, including finishing dead last in 2009 and 2011. Their ballpark, the O.co Coliseum, is 46 years old and is the last remaining multi-purpose stadium as it plays home to both the A’s and the Raiders. A move, which would include a new stadium, could provide a significant windfall to one of baseball’s poorer teams.

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