Listen close, and you can actually hear the A's fans seething. There is a small group of A's fans who think of the Giants as we would think of the Dodgers after fifty straight Los Angeles championships. It isn't just a rivalry based on geography; it's something that has layers and layers. A's fans want respect for their team, some recognition, and wouldn't mind a new ballpark of their own. They hate that the only sports-only radio setup is monopolized by the Giants, and drones on endlessly about them.
Giants fans don't really realize this. We're too busy comparing ourselves to Greek tragedies and myths, looking for that right mix of self-pity and angst.
See? That one is on the house. We're oblivious to the plight of the A's. There's an old joke which reads:
American: We don't.
Replace "Canada" with "A's", and you have something that almost works, but not quite. The reason it doesn't fully work is that there are a lot of Giants fans who support the A's, and kinda sorta root for them. My name is Grant, (Hi, Grant!) and I actively root for the A's when they are playing every major league team except the Giants. If they lose 16 in a row I don't lose any sleep at all, but, all things being equal, if I'm watching an A's/Yankees game, I'm cheering for the A's. There are more than a few of you out there who share this secret shame, I'm sure.
That doesn't matter to the seething folk described above. The Giants are John Cusack in Stand by Me, and the A's are Wil Wheaton. Everyone mourns and loves the Giants, but what of the A's plight? The green-bleeders had to remember the Bay Area is fickle, and these teacher's pet labels were cyclical. In the late `80s/early `90s the tables were very much reversed. It was hard for Giants fans to not want to burn Candlestick down after a visit to the pre-Davis Coliseum. The A's had the attention of the nation, even though the Giants were putting some interesting teams out there. This late '90s/early `00s version of the A's had a bright general manager, three of the best pitchers in baseball, and nowhere to go but up.
Oh, except for down. The trades made by Billy Beane were defensible, well-timed, and intelligently proactive. They didn't help the team much for this year, though. The trades of Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder aren't the only things keeping the A's down this year; it's the implosion of the entire offense that's the main culprit. The drop from Barry Bonds to Pedro Feliz seems as drastic as you'll find, until you look across the Bay and see Eric Chavez hitting like Mike Matheny. Then, when the A's finally get a pitching performance that should compensate for the lack of runs, they start booting the ball like a group of clumsy French waiters.
The season is still young, and the A's have a whole lot of talent. It's just weird to see a team more snakebit than the current Giants. If things don't get better for the A's, but somehow do for the Giants, however, Canada's going to the store for bags of fertilizer and blast caps. Don't forget to stock up on duct tape and Saran Wrap, Giants fans.