Can Athletics Fans Root for the Giants?

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A’s fans don’t need to root FOR the Giants but there’s no foundation for rooting AGAINST them either. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

There seems to be some tension between fans of the Oakland Athletics, who failed to go the distance this year, and fans of the San Francisco Giants who, for the third time in five years, are playing game one of the World Series tonight. Does the Giants’ success truly have a bearing on the ability for A’s fans to adore their team? Is petty jealousy the source of all the tension or is it, like is often the case, the loudest extremes speaking on behalf of a fairly indifferent majority?

The tension is centered around who A’s fans will root for in the World Series this year. Do they root for the team that took them out of the race or do they root for the cross town rivals because they’re a local team? I can make a case for rooting for either team but some fans on Twitter, Facebook and this very Fansided network will have you believe that rooting for the Giants is an abomination and that you are not a true fan of the Oakland Athletics. Those people are fueled by blind hate, jealousy or ignorance, take your pick.

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The Giants, aside from being the closest team to us, are not Oakland’s rivals. The Athletics have played one world series against the Giants and they won in a four game sweep. If anything, Giant’s fans should hate the A’s but not really the other way around. Until interleague play began, the two teams had never met outside of spring training games and since meeting in the regular season the A’s have dominated San Francisco so there is really no history to build a rivalry over as there is between the Giants and Dodgers or, now, the Athletics and the Tigers. I hate the Tigers. I mean, I really can’t stand that team. Do I hate the Giants? No, why should I?

The fact of the matter is that every die hard Athletics fan has been to AT&T Park. We’ve all been given tickets by our Giants fan friends and enjoyed a day at their beautiful park because, first and foremost, we love baseball. We listen to the radio and watch games in sports bars and become familiar with the players on the team. Most of us, I would assume, can name more players on the Giants roster than any other team in baseball other than the Athletics. So why root against them?

The Athletics are MY team. I root for nobody else to win but in instances like we have tonight, I’m not going to root against a team just because they’re local or have had better luck this past decade than my team has.* The Giants are my national league team when it comes down to those terms because I know more about them than any other national league team and anybody that will challenge my love for the Athletics based on that sentence is an idiot. You don’t have to be a fan of the Giants because they’re local but you also don’t have to blindly hate them to maintain some “fan” integrity.

The problem is that this seems to be a one sided argument, for now, because the Athletics haven’t made it to the big game in so long. The die hard Giants fans, I believe, would support Oakland if they were in the world series and the band wagon fans don’t know anything about baseball anyway so who cares what they think. It’s very fashionable for Athletics fans to dismiss Giants fans because there are so many casual fans, like there are for the Yankees and the Red Sox, but this isn’t about the casual fans it is about the die hards. Die hard Giants fans love baseball just as much as die hard Athletics’ fans, they just picked a different team to support. The difference is, over the past decade, the die hard Giants fans have had the bragging rights and now certain A’s fans are getting petty and vicious and mean.

That doesn’t make you any better than the Giants fans you profess to hate.

If I hear someone say “real fan” one more time (and I’ve heard it a lot lately), I’m going to lose my mind. Rooting for the other local team when your team gets knocked out does not put your fanaticism into question. What’s the difference between rooting for the Giants and the Royals? Neither one is YOUR team. In fact, to root for the Royals means you’re rooting for the team that beat you 75% of the time in regular season and stole the wildcard game from you. That seems like a bigger betrayal to your A’s credibility than rooting for the team across the bay who you know all of the players for and who you beat more often than not during the regular season and who had no impact on your post season dreams.

When push comes to shove, root for whichever team you want tonight and tell anyone who tells you you’re not a true A’s fan to shove it because we’re all rooting for a good game and that’s what’s most important. If the Giants win it all and their fans start saying “three in five years!” simply remind them that the stat is actually three in 56 years and that the Athletics still have them beat!

*All that being said, I think Kansas City is going to win the series in five games

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