I'm a third generation Oakland A's fan, my grandpa's teams were the 1972, 1973 and 1974 teams, and my dad's teams were the 1988, 1989 and 1990 teams. My grandpa very much disliked the Baltimore Orioles of the early '70s. My dad didn't like the Blue Jays and Red Sox of the late 80s and early 90s. For me, I dislike the Yankees, Rangers and Angels because they are either rivals or have very few "good character players" and they spend like we dream we could. But my disdain for those teams is nothing compared to my feelings about the team across the Bay.
Ever since the team residing in San Francsico constructed their new stadium in 2000, their fans have become nothing short of fairweather. And yet, for some inexplicable reason, they have the guts to test their knowledge of the game against A's fans, and feel that because of recent success that their team is the Bay's superior one. Fat chance, my friends. Call me up when you win your fourth title and build a mini-dynasty with a payroll less than one-third of your competitors. Moreover, the Giants' front office and ownership have shown no respect to their cross-bay counterparts. They have attempted to thwart our new stadium deal because of their "territorial rights" to the South Bay, which were given to them by - wait for it - generous former Oakland A's owner Walter Haas. Now, with our team being the one in a dire stadium situation, we politely asked for the rights back so that we could set up shop in San Jose and start this franchise anew. But no. They wouldn't have it. Whether you want this team to stay in Oakland or to move to the South Bay, you cannot deny that the actions of the Giant brass have been deplorable and disrespectful. Because of all these reasons, I believe you should take my lead and root against the Giants even harder than you root against the Angels, Rangers and Yankees. Seriously. This is Jedi vs. Sith stuff going on here. Now, to the baseball side of things.
Since the 2002 season, the greatest A's moments for me have, not coincidentally, been in games against the Giants. Before I delve into how amazing some of the Bay Bridge Series games have been, I have a quick personal A's-Giants moment I'd like to share. In 2007's exhibition game between the A's and Giants at the Coliseum, I had a bit of fun with Barry Bonds. I was sitting on the first base side only a few rows from the Giants dugout and heckled him constantly. Since I was only 14 at the time, I figured he thought it was funny. After he hit his second homerun of the game, I looked him dead in the eyes and yelled "CHEATER" and "HGH." He responded with a lovely gesture and a glare that actually made me afraid for my life. What an awesome day!
Anyways, in my not so humble opinion, there is nothing like an A's-Giants game. The atmosphere is electric, the fans are as excited as they would be for a postseason game because this series is about more than just baseball and the standings, it's about bragging rights. And young A's fans like me sure know what the Giants' fairweather "faithful" are capable of when their team finally wins a title for the first time since approximately the Jurassic Era. The games have become perpetual sellouts, in recent years filling 36,000 seats at the Coliseum and 40,000+ at AT&T. Big moments that happen during these games are heightened to legend status, and the first of these moments was in 1999. Down 9-8 in the bottom of the ninth, with 2 outs, and facing Robb Nen, the unheralded Olmedo Saenz cranked a 3 run bomb over the left field wall to give the A's an 11-9 victory. In a season where the A's didn't make the playoffs, this game served as the moment of the year. A back-and-forth affair that ended in a green triumph.
There were plenty of amazing moments in the 2000-2002 seasons, but the Giants' series were not really high points. We had a script to write (you're welcome, Jonah Hill) and playoff games to play and records to break. In the 2003 Bay Bridge series, the Giants were coming off of a World Series loss and the A's were coming off their most amazing season since 1990. In front of 55,413 in Oakland, the A's were down 5-2 in the bottom of the third, when Miguel Tejada launched a 3 run homer to tie the game. That was easily the loudest I have ever heard the Oakland faithful cheer in my life. Louder than the 2006 playoffs, louder than any walk-off I've seen. While still standing and cheering for a Tejada curtain call, Erubiel Durazo smacked a solo shot to send the Coliseum into an absolute frenzy. In literally one minute, the A's went from 3 down to 1 up and were able to pitch 6 consecutive scoreless innings to close it out. Nothing like a packed house and a great game of baseball.
Next season, in front of the largest baseball crowd in the history of the Coliseum, Marco Scutaro hit a walk-off single to beat the Giants in the bottom of the tenth. It was 7-3 A's in the ninth, and most of the San Fran fans had left, but Octavio Dotel blew the lead to send it into extras. With 2 outs, and an almost exclusively home-team crowd, Scutaro delievered the first of his many clutch moments in the green and gold.
There are plenty of other great moments in the series' history. Mark Ellis's grand slam off the left field foul pole to put the A's up 15-3, Eric Byrnes' cycle in SF, Landon Powell's game winning homer to sweep the series in Oakland last year. But the real essence of the series is that there is nothing, NOTHING, like beating that team across the bay. You can't find the elements of disdain, the ballpark atmosphere and the tension between teams in any other series played in the Coliseum. These games matter, whether they matter or not. If that makes any sense. This year, the Angels are spending like a Real Housewife with a credit card and the Rangers have a lineup that appears to be unbeatable. We likely aren't going to win a whole lot of games against them, and a 75 win season would exceed expectations. But, for Pete's sake, if you're going to spend some money on A's tickets this year, make sure you make it to one of the games on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of June. We need you. This is my World Series. This is A's vs. Giants at the Coliseum. This is what every game could be like if we were a powerhouse. This is baseball at it's finest and our fans at our loudest. Let's go Oakland! And, as always, Bleep the Giants. Parker v. Lince-bum tonight @ 7, game 4 of 6. Giants vs Athletics coverage