Parking lot barbecues and Balfour rage, or garlic fries and panda hats. Third and King or Hegenberger. Oakland Athletics or San Francisco Giants.
Since 1968, the two teams have split the allegiances of baseball fans throughout the Bay Area.
Heated rivalries exist around baseball like Yankees-Red Sox and Giants-Dodgers. Does the Giants-A’s rivalry qualify as a rivalry similar to those other ones?
The Battle of the Bay is not a new term to even the most casual of baseball fans in the Bay Area. With one team having won the World Series, and the other having won their division, the rivalry must surely be bursting at the seams.
“I think there is (a rivalry) because of their location,” Giants fan and LPC student Luis Jimenez said.
For some, the rivalry truly began over 20 years ago.
“The rivalry goes back to the Battle of the Bay. The World Series,” said A’s fan and LPC student Robert Cornejo.
Cornejo is referring to the infamous Bay Bridge Series in 1989, when the two teams met for the first and only time in the World Series. The Loma Prieta earthquake stopped Game 3 before it even started, and the A’s went on to win their fourth World Series title.
Although the teams are in close proximity with each other, some fans do not exactly consider it to be a civil war when the Giants and A’s go to battle.
“It’s not a huge rivalry in my opinion,” Giants fan and LPC student Nick Nunez said. “When they play each other, it’s a pretty good back and forth.”
The Giants and the A’s have played against each other head to head since 1997, when Bud Selig, the commissioner of MLB, introduced interleague play. Since then, the A’s and Giants have played against each other 92 times in the regular season. According to baseballreference.com, the Giants have won a total of 45 games and the A’s have won 47.
The heckling amongst fans seems to be in good spirit. Fans understand that when it comes down to it, they have respect for each other because they come from the same place.
“It’s because we’re so close together,” A’s fan and LPC student Nick Belker said. “It’s just Bay Area love.”
With the teams separated geographically by the San Francisco Bay, it’s clear that a rivalry based on territory would exist. The rivalry between the A’s and the Giants can almost be seen as a family rivalry where each year, one tries to outdo the other. Unlike the Giants and the Dodgers or even the Niners and the Raiders games, the A’s and the Giants games do not have a casualty count.
“That’s just the maturity on the fans’ part,” Cornejo said.
The animosity between the two clubs seems to exist as a sideshow, and bench clearing brewhahas are a rarity.
Ultimately, this Bay Area rivalry is not and will probably never reach the level of intensity that some of the other classic rivalries in baseball history reach. However, that won’t stop the fans from claiming bragging rights when their team wins.