There’s little point to the Bay Bridge Series trophy. I mean, really. It’s only for pride, and mostly on the A’s side as the Giants’ perpetual little brother in the region. There’s no money being involved, other than potential fan interest pushing attendance (again, Oakland really gets more benefit out of that).
But, honestly, it’s harmless. It’s not changing the game. This isn’t robot umps with light up basepaths and landmines in center field turning baseball into a 1990’s SEGA futuristic baseball game. It’s fun for the fans who like silly stuff, and it’s annoying to the traditionalists…and frankly, it’s fun to annoy them.
After all, when you talk about “The Axe” between Stanford and Cal, does that really “matter”?
So, in the interest in being a capitalist and beat a fun idea to a money-colored pulp, what other “Rivalries” could the Giants take part in that would be fun and annoying?
Norcal Vs. Socal - Giants vs. Dodgers
Okay, this isn’t creating a rivalry, this is just formalizing one of baseball’s oldest and best rivalries.
Let’s give it a trophy that the teams can trade back and forth. Let’s make it something the players root for, and get into. Let’s get the local broadcast networks to go back and forth on it…even if the majority of Los Angeles fans won’t get to see theirs.
And let’s give it a name. The I-5 Series? That doesn’t quite work, since I-5 doesn’t go to San Francisco, and honestly, I don’t want to give a nod to LA by putting a preposition in front of a freeway number. The Peter Thiel series, named after he who is constantly trying to split the state up?
Name or trophy aside, this rivalry deserves something more, and it’d be the easiest sell to fans right now. (But let’s get a better tiebreaker than “Whoever wins the last game,” okay?)
The Grizzly League - Giants, Dodgers, Padres, A’s, Angels
This is a little more ambitious.
Take the five California teams, add up all the games they play against each other in a season, and whomever has the best record in in-California games wins the trophy (which should obviously be the Grizzly Bear from the state flag).
Does this mean that some teams will play more in-state games than others? Sure, the Padres don’t have an interleague opponent in state the way the other four teams do. Does this mean the number of games that count each year will be different based on interleague schedules? Yes! Who cares? This is for fun, not a ring. Don’t overthink it.
But let’s add some real stakes here. Maybe each team puts $50,000 through their local community funds up, and the winning team gets the funds for their community. Or perhaps whichever team wins will get all five teams to contribute to building/rebuilding an awesome little league/high school field in their market. Those renovated/new fields could stand with recognition of which year’s league went how, and not only promote youth playing of baseball but also remind young players of the teams that won (and lost). Perhaps each team could designate which community they are going to build in ahead of time, to build a rooting interest in each community.
Sure, the Giants/Dodgers rivalry is obvious, but this one I love the most. Make it happen, Larry Baer.
The New York Heritage League - Giants, Dodgers, Yankees, Mets
Yeah, sometimes it’s all about New York.
These four teams have an intertwined past, including some amazing history of the Mets’ namesakes long before the Giants and Dodgers moved away, and how it related to both teams. And of course, those Damn Yankees, and the San Francisco natives that are a part of their history, like Joe DiMaggio and Lefty O’Doul.
This is a tougher four-way to make happen, and maybe it becomes more special by only happening every three years, when Interleague Play has East play West. But then, in those three years, the best record in games between all the teams wins the title.
Bonus: Make the trophy the Polo Grounds III, which was home stadium to three of the four teams. Eh, maybe you could put Ebbets in the distance…
The “Happy We’re Not You” Rivalry - Giants vs. Rays
Tampa holds a special place of disdain among Giants fans. Well, really, it holds disdain from all of baseball in regards to the Tropicana Dome, but among Giants fans it’s more personal. Tampa nearly took our team. I’m still bitter, especially seeing the environment that the Rays (a consolation expansion prize for the Giants being kept in SF) play in there. I can’t imagine such a venerable franchise playing in such a horrible stadium. Even Candlestick was better than the Trop.
Does Tampa hold some disdain for the Giants? For teasing them before expansion came their way, and they got satanic names with rainbow-ish colors? Even if they don’t over that, hell, they probably hate us for taking Evan Longoria from them. So let’s play on that! Sure, taking Longoria was just probably karmic payback for the Rays dumping Matt Moore on the Giants, but still…
Every three years, let the teams’ hash out their fans’ feelings about the past and the present, about legacies that were stolen and nearly stolen (stolen being very loosely applied, but this is about feelings, not the law!). Make the trophy a palm tree, which are ironically more visible at AT&T Park than in Tampa.
Wait, why are palm trees all over AT&T Park anyway? That’s more SoCal and Florida, now that I think about it…
Eh, I’ll blame the Rays for that as well.
The Best Giants In The World - San Francisco Giants vs. Yomiuri Giants
I dream big.
Okay, a bit of history…if you don’t know, Lefty O’Doul was a big part of why baseball is so big in Japan. He was a part of pre-World War II barnstorming tours, and then helped organize new ones after World War II to Japan as a part of a cultural healing exercise between the two countries. And it worked. He’s in the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame…and he’s not in the U.S. HoF.
There’s a long history about the Yomiuri Giants, and some of the stories indicate that O’Doul’s influence helped Tokyo’s biggest team take on the colors and name of the then-New York Giants. They are considered the “Yankees of Japan”, the team everyone over there hates.
I love it. Let’s get the two Giants’ teams playing each other.
Not every year, mind you. But let’s say every four years. First, the Giants go over to Japan to partake in a season opener in Japan (as has happened in the past), but as their final Spring Training warm-ups, they play three games against the Yomiuri Giants. Then, four years later, Yomiuri comes to San Francisco to play exhibition games before the start of the season here.
It’d essentially cancel the preseason Bay Bridge Series, which would upset three people not employed by either team…do you think that’s okay?
Let’s get the international competition back. It’d be a fun rivalry to have. Not to mention, the mascot fun between Lou Seal and Giabbits. Who is Giabbits? I’ll leave that to your Google (he looks cooler in the Yomiuri logo.)
So…what do you think? Would these rivalries excite you? Are there ones I missed?