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Posts Tagged ‘Battle of the Bay’

To commemorate the day of the Loma Prieta earthquake, or really the morning of, here’s the story (and picture below) by Marc Sandalow that appeared on the S.F. Chronicle’s front page on Oct. 17, ’89:

Candlestick Park will host its first World Series game in 27 years tonight as the San Francisco Giants try to reverse the one-sided Battle of the Bay.

Trailing the Oakland A’s two games to none in the best-of-seven series, the Giants and their fans tried to put the best face on their prospects. But in Oakland, they were already planning a victory parade.

“The mood has really chilled,” said David Yachimowicz, who stood on Geary Street across from Union Square, selling Giants T-shirts. Sales were abysmal.

“It was supposed to be a battle of the Bay, not a steamroller by the A’s,” he said.

The A’s are just two victories away from winning their first World Series crown since 1974. The Giants have not won a World Series during their first 21 seasons in San Francisco, and they must win four of the next five games to triumph this year.

LONG FACES

In the East Bay, the mood was one of quiet confidence. In San Francisco, long faces revealed a begrudging acceptance that this year’s baseball bragging rights may belong to Oakland.

“The A’s are playing just as great as everyone expected,” said Mac Dunn, a Giants fan from Sebastopol. “I don’t want to be negative, but the Giants are in their late season slump. A lot of us were expecting it even earlier.”

Tonight’s contest begins at 5:35, and temperatures are expected to fall into the upper 50s. To the disappointment of some Giants fans, who had hoped a traditional Candlestick fog would dampen the A’s bats, weather forecasts call for clear skies with 10- to 20-mile-per-hour winds from the west.

Giants manager Roger Craig said yesterday that he will make some lineup changes for tonight’s game. He will play Ken Oberkfell at third base and move Matt Williams to shortstop in place of Jose Uribe and will play Pat Sheridan in right field in place of Candy Maldonado.

“THE WEST COAST WINS’

Regardless of the outcome on the field, some San Franciscans let it be known that they consider it a major accomplishment even to be hosting baseball’s Fall Classic.

“The West Coast wins again, and the East Coast loses,” said a smiling Nick Spina, a contractor putting the final touches on a new downtown store. “If the Giants lose, they lose, but we’ve got the World Series.”

The last time the Giants hosted a World Series was in 1962, when Willie Mays played center field and BART was just a concept. The Giants lost that series to the New York Yankees in seven games.

Gala Party

Last night, a gala party sponsored by the Giants filled the grand ballroom at the St. Francis Hotel, with an invitation list including Commissioner of Baseball Fay Vincent and the owners of all 26 Major League teams. Giants first baseman Will Clark and Williams attended a party in their honor, given by their agents, at a South of Market club.

For the record, yesterday was a travel day, and hundreds of representatives from Major League Baseball and the media staying in Oakland packed their bags and drove across the Bay Bridge, checking into San Francisco hotels.

Some Giants fans found reason for hope in the change of ballparks. They said the familiar fans, contours and winds of the park will provide their team with the winning margin.

Others said National League rules, which will be enforced in Candlestick, will favor the Giants. The National League requires the pitcher to bat, while the American League allows a team to designate another player to hit for the pitcher.

“Now the A’s will have to play real baseball,” said Keith Angerman, a civil engineer from Marin and an avid Giants fan. “No more sissy rules.”

VICTORY PLANS

In Oakland, cautious fans began preparing for a celebration. If Oakland continues its domination, the A’s could be World Series champions as soon as tomorrow.

Plans were already being made for a victory parade – much like the one that was scrapped last year after the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the A’s – and a fireworks celebration.

Civic boosters announced that a parade will be held on the first business day after the conclusion of the series, if the A’s win. The parade would proceed six blocks down Broadway, from 20th Street to 14th Street, and end up at City Hall, where the team would be honored by city leaders.

“We’re not banking on it – we’re just planning for it,” said an extremely guarded Tim Gallen of the Celebrate Oakland committee. “We’re cautiously optimistic, but after last year, no one is going to break the spell, man. We’re still superstitious and hoping.”

SOME SYMPATHY

Even if most Oakland fans seemed sure that the series will soon be over and the A’s quest for a world championship will be fulfilled, in the sober sunshine of the city’s financial district, there was little in the way of rubbing it in.

“No one forgot what it felt like last year,” said Cassie Arnold, a third-generation Oakland resident. “We know what it’s like to get killed, so I’m sympathetic.”

For those who are not among the 62,000 fans with tickets to this week’s games at Candlestick, a big-screen television will broadcast the games at Oakland’s Jack London Waterfront.

The picturesque scene may not be comfortable for Giants fans, however. Of the 39 teams who have trailed 2-0 in the World Series, only 10 have come back to win.

“We’re down, our backs are against the wall,” Giants manager Craig conceded after the latest loss Sunday night.

“This thing could turn around at home. This game can humble you in a minute. You win a couple games and you’re riding high. I’m not saying Oakland is like this, but all of a sudden, it can turn around.”

(The game was scheduled for 5:35, with Bob Welch and Don Robinson pitching, and KSFO, KNBR, KCBS, KNTA, and KLOK all carrying the game on radio.)

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A collector’s pin commemorating the Battle of the Bay and providing the header image for this blog.

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