Lawyer Finds Loophole to Keep Houston Astros in National League
A Houston attorney says he has found a way to keep the Houston Astros in the National League. He says moving to the American League could violate the team's stadium lease agreement with the Harris County/Houston Sports Authority.
Major League Baseball has given final approval to the sale of the Astros to Houston businessman Jim Crane, and one of the provisos is that Crane must move the team to the American League in 2013.
Houston lawyer Kevin Yankowsky -- who is against the move -- says not so fast there. Yankowsky says the team's lease spells out in unambiguous terms that the Astros cannot play at Minute Maid Park as anything but a National League team without the consent of the Harris County/Houston Sports Authority, which owns the stadium.
Yankowski says the Sports Authority can prevent the league switch by simply refusing to renegotiate their lease.
“All they have to do is stand on their rights and let Major League Baseball know that come 2013 they intend to stand on their right. Then it’s up to baseball."
"Baseball can either sue the Sports Authority or give in. The Sports Authority doesn’t have to sue anybody. They can sit back and say, ‘We’ve got a valid lease, this is what it says, and we’re going to enforce it.’ ”
Yankowski says the bottom line is that "come opening day of 2013, the Sports Authority can refuse to let them play because it’s not a permitted use of the stadium. They can ... lock the doors and say, ‘No, it’s not a permitted use.’
Yankowski says it just got under his skin to see Major League Baseball force this league change on a city where almost no one likes it.
The Chairman of the Sports Authority says Yankowski raises some interesting points, and he will ask the Authority's attorneys to review the matter.
Stay tuned. This is going to be fun to watch.