Oakland Athletics: Former Executive Andy Dolich Says San Jose’s Lawsuit is a ‘Brushback Pitch’ Thrown at MLB


April 1, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; General view before the game between the Oakland Athletics and the Seattle Mariners at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Fed up with four-plus years of nothing, coupled with the San Francisco Giants blocking their path, San Jose filed a lawsuit against MLB on Tuesday, claiming a “blatant conspiracy” over baseball’s desire to control the location and relocation of its franchises.

They are also challenging MLB’s exemption to federal antitrust laws, which states that the league is not interstate commerce and can impose its own regulations.

So far, the lawsuit has drawn mixed reaction. Some are calling it an act of desperation, while others believe it will force Bud Selig to make a move in the still-pending case of the Oakland A’s proposed move to San Jose, a move that should have happened if the Giants did not own the territorial rights to San jose.

Andy Dolich, a marketing executive with the A’s back in the 1980s and 90s, calls it a “brushback pitch.”

“Trying to sue MLB to overturn the antitrust exemption is a herculean task — very, very difficult,” he told GoldenGateSports.com. “Nobody’s been able to do it in 91 years. To me, I look at it as a brushback pitch thrown by the city of the San Jose to the commissioner and baseball in general.

“What happens in a brushback pitch is you’re either warned, thrown out of the game, or there’s some kind of bench-clearing altercation. And in any of those circumstances, that complicates the game.”

Dolich, who made sure to point out that he is not an attorney, says that this issue can be better resolved if the two sides talk it out behind closed doors.

"You can say, ‘what the heck, let’s throw this lawsuit out there or let’s throw the brushback pitch, what do we have to lose?’ That seems a bit illogical, because if you look at many lawsuits, ultimately many of those get resolved when the two parties get together behind closed doors before any particular case might get heard in a court of law."

Although A’s owner Lew Wolff may think otherwise, Dolich strongly believes that the A’s new stadium should be build in Oakland.

“If you look at the reality of Oakland, the A’s and Raiders cannot continue to play in the old, joint-used stadium, ” he said. “I believe that if in fact you had all parties together – the A’s, the city, the county, and the business community — you could do a retrofit on the existing O.Co Coliseum and make it a football-only stadium, and build a baseball-only stadium on the Coliseum site for much less than you would build it in San Jose or Jack London Square or the Howard terminal or any other place.”

The city of Oakland has offered several locations for the A’s to build a new home, such as Coliseum City or a waterfront stadium, yet Wolff has continued to say that all options in Oakland have been exhausted.

“My view of all this is that there is absolutely a need for the A’s to have a new, single-use stadium for baseball,” Dolich said. “I just happen to believe with every fiber that I have that that stadium should be built in Oakland, without any reason for the team to move to San Jose or anyplace else.”