** A ramble. A rant. Whatever you want to call it, it’s me expressing my thoughts. May not be very coherent, but it’s from the heart.
I am so glad that this Bay Bridge interleague series is over. As much as I enjoy the battle of the two Bay Area baseball teams, it does bring out the worst out of some people. And for one national writer, it brings out ignorance.
What Jon Heyman addressed in his post may have been partially true in terms of stadium differences, but what he failed to realize was that he was comparing apples to oranges. And in reality, there can’t be a comparison because the differences of Oakland and San Francisco are so far different that this baseball “rivalry” is different from any other interleague series in baseball.
Take it from me. I grew up in the Bay Area. I know both very well. I was born in Oakland, raised in Richmond, attended school in Berkeley, went to church in San Francisco, worked in San Francisco, went to college in San Jose. I know the Bay Area. I’ve been all over the place. I understand Oakland. I understand San Francisco.
I’ll be honest though. Because I was born and raised in the East Bay, that’s where my roots truly lie. That doesn’t mean I don’t like San Francisco. I understand the city very well. I love going to the city.
But San Francisco is no Oakland. And Oakand is no San Francisco. The two cities embody two different personalities. Their baseball teams take that on. Their football teams do too. The fans also embody that.
I’m an Oakland A’s fan and a San Francisco 49ers fan. It’s two completely different identities and I am not the only one who likes both these teams. But is there really a “rivalry” or a need to get nasty with each other about it? I mean, yeah, it’s funny every now and then to poke fun at the opposition and their fans. But when do we cross the line?
Oakland is a blue collar working class city. It’s not glamorous and it doesn’t have great historical landmarks recognized worldwide. The people of the city value their city because it continues to work. The identity of Oakland is that fancy things aren’t needed. We like ourselves the way we are and if it works for us, then nobody outside should complain.
San Francisco is the opposite. It’s a gorgeous city that enjoys the privilege of being atop a hill with a gorgeous view of the Bay. The fashion, attraction is high. The people of the city enjoy their home because it provides so much diversity and opportunities. There’s never a dull moment in San Francisco and that’s what makes the city great.
Both are great cities. But they’re both different. And when you tie in the sports teams, we can truly see a reflection of the city in their presentation and fans. The atmosphere at the games are a reflection of their respective cities.
As an A’s fan, I love the working class atmosphere. I like the Coliseum despite the fact that I know the team needs a new park. But the Oakland attitude knows that they don’t need a fancy stadium. If they had to stay the Coliseum forever, they can take it. It’s part of their root. That’s Oakland.
But as a San Francisco 49ers fan, I also get the identity of fans from the city. The new stadium is exciting for me. I can’t wait to see it. I also understand that sometimes going to a 49ers game is not just about going to the game, but it is also to be seen and to experience the experience. Nothing wrong with enjoying what’s good. But it’s different.
So when I see the fans of these two cities fight, it really breaks my heart because they just don’t understand each other. Sure, the A’s and Raiders are this tough, working class group. But it’s admirable. The same goes with the Giants and 49ers group. They enjoy the diversity and the limitless opportunities they have. That’s admirable.
I know people who don’t get it. I have friends from Oakland who don’t get it. I have friends from San Francisco that don’t get it. My Oakland friends think San Francisco is full of snobs with egos the size of hot air balloons. I have San Francisco friends that think Oakland is a dump of a city infested dirt and ugly. These are the people that are the problem. These are the people who enjoy fights like this.
So this is what Mr. #Shame Heyman probably sees because he doesn’t get it either. He isn’t from the Bay Area. He spent a lot of hit time covering the Yankees — the Evil Empire. Baseball is different to him. He expects baseball to be posh and luxurious. And because the Giants are closer to that, he believes they are the Bay Area standard.
And some Giants fans take that feeling too. Well, to rephrase that, Giants fans that are on the bandwagon see it. I respect those who were there at Candlestick and understand the game. They respect the game and they know how it feels to play in a less than ideal situation. But the bandwagon fans, they don’t understand. But I can live with bandwagon fans. They come and go. They’re really nothing to me.
The point I want to make is that as a collective Bay Area, I don’t understand why there’s constant hatred between the two fanbases. Sure there are differences between the two cities, but those differences are beautiful. Don’t let that be the reason you hate on one another.
You may not get the attitude of San Francisco, but it’s no reason to hate. Oakland might not be to your liking, but it still is no reason to hate.
I don’t hate the Giants. I don’t hate the Raiders. I want them to succeed. I want their success to bring joy to the Bay. The Bay Area is my home and I want the entire populous in harmony. What I dislike are the people who don’t want the Bay to succeed. I don’t want people who take a simple baseball matchup and turn it into an ugly hate-filled deal. That’s not what I want. I love Oakland and San Francisco too much to allow it to happen. I will defend them.
Maybe it takes an idiotic statement from a guy like Heyman to really bond the Bay together against ignorance.
Yeah, the two cities are different. The people are different. The venues are different. But it’s what’s different about them that makes this the Bay Area. There is no true rivalry. All it is are just two different neighbors on the same block playing a game of football or baseball together. And when it’s over, we go back to our lives.
That’s what it should be. That’s what it needs to be. There’s no #shame in that.