As a Bay Area native, I’ve found it curious how the perceived rivalry between the A’s and the Giants has now reached such a bellicose state. Growing up in the 70s, the A’s were so fun and successful that I never really gave the Giants much thought. I would usually go to one game a year at Candlestick, just for the novelty of being in a two-team market and watching the boring chess match that is National League baseball. My friends and cousins who were Giants fans would boast, “there’s more managing in the Senior Circuit.” Yeah, that’s why I came to the game: to see … managing. Despite my disdain for the automatic out every ninth hitter in the NL, I held no ill will toward San Francisco. There was simply no tangible reason to do so. I suspect that’s why I still feel the same way.
While I’m not a Giants fan, I do admire an organization which puts winning first and locks up their talent for the long haul. But I’m not jealous of them. I suppose since I’ve seen the A’s on the mountaintop four times with my own eyes, it doesn’t bug me that the Giants have done the same thing three times recently. Yet I believe I’m now in a very small minority of A’s fans who aren’t bothered by the Giants. There exists many Oakland fans who are absolutely obsessed with the Giants, and savor their defeats with as much relish as an A’s victory. In contrast, many San Francisco fans are exactly the same way. I used to think it was impossible to have a baseball rival that plays in an entirely different league, but the masses keep telling me I’m wrong. Outside of the four to six games they play against each other every summer, how are they rivals? Well, folks have pointed out the fight for revenue, fans, ticket sales, merchandise, and especially territorial rights as viable reasons. But none of those are the main reason. I think the real culprit is social media.
When I was a kid, if you wanted to say “your mama” to somebody, you had to say it to their face or at least over the phone. Now you can say it 24/7 in the comfort of your home. Or on your handheld device whilst on BART. Or on your laptop at Peet’s. Remember, there are no cowards on Facebook or Twitter. Many users write under nom de plumes with a fake picture. This is the perfect breeding ground for relentless attacks back and forth. On the 95.7 Facebook page, we could post something that says, “listen to the Super Bowl right here” and the comments will rapidly devolve into a communal bashing of one side of the bay versus the other. I believe if we posted a picture of a bowling ball with no text, there would soon be a littany of “A’s suck/Giants suck” in the responses.
I’m not going to act like I don’t have biases myself. Listen, I have a long list of teams I hate, like the Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, Angels, Rangers, Mariners, etc. Those teams actually play against the Raiders and A’s in their divisions. Most of the razzing and arguments come from family, friends and co-workers. The banter and teasing over the local bragging rights are certainly there when it comes to the bay teams, as we have all experienced. Was it fun to see the Niners look awful and lose at the Coliseum this season? Certainly. But a win for the Raiders in the AFC West is technically more important. The last thing I’ll ever do is suggest to people which team to like/hate or how to root. I don’t appreciate fans who think they’re better because they buy more gear or attend more games. Some fans don’t have the time or the money to do those things and that doesn’t make them less of a fan. If you despise the Giants or A’s, it’s none of my business. I’m merely pointing out that it wasn’t always so vicious.