I meant to reply earlier. Really, I did. Bad enough it was a day old by the time I read Grant’s post. It took another day or two to even begin to drum up a response, and here we are now, weeks later.
So why post it now? Blame my OCD.
I meant to reply earlier, but you know, life. I have constructed this piece as carefully as possible. I haven’t decided whether or not that is a good thing.
Let’s get a few things out of the way right off the bat:
I am not speaking on behalf of Athletics Nation or on A’s fans worldwide. This is one person’s view. So even if it says "we" down there, it really means "me".
I think Grant is as good as it gets. (This can also be called "67MARQUEZ states the obvious.")
I think his post on the psyche of an A’s fan would have been better received had he, I don’t know, asked an A’s fan.
Fandom is often irrational. Same for anti-fandom.
To answer the Raider fan question, the determining factor is dependent on the year that fan was born. So for those born in the 1980’s they only knew the Los Angeles Raiders. Needing a football team to latch on to, a good number of the 80’s babies narrowed it down to proximity. (That the 49ers decided to build a dynasty during that time had no bearing at all – cough – on their rooting interests. Oh, I kid.)
In short, those A’s fans – and there are plenty – loathe the Raiders and Mount Davis.
And now on to our story. Er, my story.
The Athletics’ franchise, dating back to the Philadelphia days, has always seemed to play second fiddle to somebody else. For my Talladega Night fans, perhaps you recall the famous quote that Will Ferrell’s daddy taught him when he was just a lad: "If you ain’t first, you’re last."
With the A’s, it’s more like, "If you’re first, you’re second."
From John McGraw’s "White Elephant" remark to the Team that Time Forgot. From shuttling future stars to the Yankees during the Kansas City years to the ranking of the 70’s champions as Finley’s Freak Show first, and really, really good baseball players second. From constantly playing in the Raiders’ shadow to their last World Series victory remembered more for Mother Nature’s wrath than for their record-setting dominance.
All this and more only adds to our RHS (Redheaded Stepchild Syndrome). What do the Giants have to do with any of this? Nothing!
I realize that Giants’ fans simply see this as a role reversal. I get it...kinda. Although I grew up in a family that hated the Giants, I spent most of my youth paying very little attention to the team on the pretty side of the Bay.
I remember when I was in high school I told my friend Mike Santos that as long as I was alive, the Giants would not win the World Series. I told him that, not in a vicious manner, but in jest. (And also because I really believed it.)
But alas, the Giants won, not one, but twice, and damn my good genes for allowing me to make it this far.
Now this whole thing about the A’s being the model franchise in the late 80’s and early 90’s was true. And the part about them having a high payroll was true. And the Coliseum being better than Candlestick Park was true. Even the part about the fans – the A’s had a more sophisticated following, while the Giants’ crowds often resembled the rowdy Raider Nation – was true.
But off the field, we were still Oakland and you were still San Francisco, and well, it’s like that scene in The Outsiders where Randy says "You can’t win, even if you whip us. You’ll still be where you were before – at the bottom. And we’ll still be the lucky ones with all the breaks."
See it’s not about territorial rights or erecting billboards in the East Bay or cellphone-using, Panda hat-wearing, bandwagon jumpers. Ok it is, but those are side dishes. It’s how the world sees Oakland and San Francisco. It’s how San Franciscans see Oakland and San Francisco. (Or worse, how they don't see Oakland, like that cute brunette in homeroom who had no clue of my existence).
It’s how the sports pages – even the East Bay publications – scream Giants first, win or lose. It’s how the local news stations will suddenly gush over "our A’s" when the going is good.
That’s where the chip on the shoulder comes from. And it was there long before "2 in 3 years."
At least from where I sit, the Giants have some likeable players. Sure they happen to be ex-A’s but the point is, the reason we want the Giants to lose so badly is because we don’t want to see San Franciscans happy. They’re happy enough already, damn it.
I didn’t say it was rational. It’s not. Nor does it have it to be. Because, sports.
From a personal and small sample-size standpoint, I have had the misfortune of running into some really obnoxious Giants fans over the years, and I assumed that you were all like that.
I like to think I have grown up since then – and certainly since this – and perhaps coincidentally my experiences at A’s-Giants games the last couple years have gone without incident.
I am not here to troll. I actually think the "F**K the Giants" thing has gone too far. I am likely to lose a few friends over this post (and certainly for the previous sentence).
I am just one A’s fan trying to explain the venom. It will probably come off as whining. Not that any of you will care. Or notice.