June 24, 2006

A's Fans Don't Hate the Giants

Cross-posted at McCovey Chronicles

Disclosure: I'm an A's fan, and have been since I was young enough to distinguish between teams. I also am fairly active on Athletics Nation, McCovey's sister site. Residing on the peninsula, I of course have friends, neighbors and coworkers who are Giants fans, and my Dad has always been a Giants fan, growing up in the Mays/McCovey era, not that he could tell me anybody besides Bonds on the current Giants roster...

In reading yesterday's game thread on this site, there was a lot of discussion on why the A's hate the Giants, or why the A's fans should hate the Giants or their fans, or any of that nonsense.

Here are my thoughts - it's not really there. Of course it is fun to root for your favorite team against another in close proximity, and of course it is fun to grandstand and argue superiority of A's vs. Giants, but the truth is that we don't really think much about the Giants when we're not playing them. We would much rather HATE the Angels or HATE the Yankees than HATE the Giants.

What have the Giants done to hurt the A's ever? Nothing, really. In the only series that counted, 17 years ago, you guys rolled over. In interleague play, the games have been very even, with the exception of a random 16-0 blowout at our place, or an Eric Byrnes cycle at your place every once in a while. When Barry Bonds came to our place and hit 714, we cheered. We stood and applauded. And then we booed his ass when he got back in the box the next time up. That's part of being a fan.

Is it part of being a fan to talk trash? Absolutely. One of the lines I most commonly use is, "AT&T Park is a great stadium. It's too bad they couldn't find a major league team to play there." Not very nice, I guess... but in good fun. And when I went to AT&T Park for a recent Colorado Rockies series, I wore my A's cap down in the recessed bullpen seating area. That got me a lot of attention, some amusing, and some not so good, but I deserved it for being so blatant. One Giants fan in her fury, said, "What are you doing? That's like wearing a Yankees cap to Fenway Park!?"

But I didn't think it was the same. The Giants fans tend to try to look down on the A's fans, and the A's fans have somewhat annoyed ambivalence about the Giants and their fans. It's not hatred the way I hate Derek Jeter or Mike Scioscia. They can rot in hell. (And they will!)

I would say that part of the quasi-smug ambivalence comes from knowing the Giants occupy a certain role here in the Bay Area. They are to compete and play hard, but not ever go all the way. The Giants, seemingly every year in the last few decades, has challenged for the division and in many cases, made the playoffs, but even in 2002, we didn't really think you were going to win it all. Now, if you had, things might be different around here. The Giants fans could hold that over our head, and say 1989 is a distant memory, one played by confessed juiced superstars and rendered irrelevant due to the Loma Prieta issue.

So what's left? Mostly issues off the field. Everybody knows KNBR occupies a special place in the radio dial. They are a force to be reckoned with. It would be great to dream that KNBR could have a Giants/49ers station on 680, and the A's/Raiders station on 1050, but until I hear otherwise, that's pure fantasy on our part. The A's have played the lesser step-children on the radio dial, and major media like the San Francisco Chronicle for some time, and we should have to just eat that. As for the stadium, I happen to really like McAfee Coliseum. But that's probably due to memories and nostalgia, as it's clearly not due to modern amenities. It was a beautiful park before Mount Davis, and now it's just a great place to see a great team play a great game.

The A's don't hate the Giants. It would be giving your team too much respect to say that we do. Even coming at the issue from a neutral standpoint, it's hard to see how the Giants team is even worth getting gussied up about. Bonds is a force of nature (and chemistry), and is to be respected. But the rest of the team (Finley, Alou, etc.) doesn't overwhelm anybody on paper or on the field. Why get frustrated or noisy about this current squad? It's not even worth it. Jason Schmidt? A great pitcher. Matt Cain? A good pitcher with streaks of great. Even Ishikawa is fun to see hit. But that's just about where it begins and ends. I don't see the Giants contending in the future the way the A's are prepared to do unless Giants owners pony up the cash once Barry leaves. Otherwise, we might see one good team and one bad team here in the Bay Area for awhile. And we won't really hate that either.
Listening to ''Matter Of Fact'', by Roni Size/Reprazent (Play Count: 6)

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