Giants

Giants, A's raise the stakes of the Bay Bridge Series with 'The Bridge' trophy

Giants, A's raise the stakes of the Bay Bridge Series with 'The Bridge' trophy

The stakes have been raised for the Bay Bridge Series.

Bragging rights are no longer the only thing on the line.

On Monday, prior to the game between the two teams at AT&T Park, the Giants and A's, in conjunction wtih NBC Sports Bay Area and California and Caltrans, unveiled "The Bridge" trophy that will be awarded to the winner of the regular season series. 

The trophy will be made from steel salvaged from the East Span of old Bay Bridge, will stand approximately 18 inches tall and will weigh 30 pounds.

There are a few rules that come along with the trophy:

  1. The Bridge will be awarded to the team that wins more games in the regular-season Bay Bridge Series. 
  2. If the series finishes tied, the winner of the final game shall win The Bridge.
  3. If one or more games is postponed and the series has not yet been clinched, The Bridge will not be awarded until the postponed game(s) can be made up. If the postponed game(s) can not be made up, the standing of the series at the end of the season shall determine the winner of The Bridge. Whether or not postponed games are made up, if the series ends in a tie, the team that wins the final game will be awarded The Bridge.


Once the Bay Bridge Series is clinched, the trophy will be awarded to the winning team. If the Bridge is won by the home team, the trophy will be awarded on the field right after the game. If the series-winning team is the road team, it will be presented in the clubhouse.

“I can not think of a better symbol of our cross-bay rivalry than a trophy fabricated from the steel of the original San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The Giants-A's interleague games are always great fun for our fans and we are excited to get this season underway. We look forward to proudly displaying The Bridge at AT&T Park," said Giants President and CEO Larry Baer.

The two teams will play six times during the 2018 season. From July 13-15, they will play at AT&T Park in San Francisco. They won't see each other again until after the All-Star Break when they play July 20-22.

“The Bay Bridge series has always been exciting for our fans. What better way to enhance the friendly rivalry with our cross-town neighbors than with The Bridge trophy uniquely made from steel from the original San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge? We’re excited to claim bragging rights in the Bay and hoist the trophy up at the Coliseum," said A’s President Dave Kaval.

The design and construction of The Bridge is a collaborative effort by Scientific Art Studio – whose work includes two popular features inside AT&T Park’s Fan Lot, the Giant Glove and Coca-Cola Bottle Slide – and The Crucible, an Oakland-based industrial arts school.  

The Bridge is comprised of four components, several of which are interchangeable: a bronze Oakland Athletics logo, a bronze San Francisco Giants logo and a bronze baseball with an engraved “Bay Bridge Series” logo.  They are attached to a T-base with a horizontal foundation in the form of a Bay Bridge bottom chord (or horizontal support beam) and an upright section, with an NBC Sports logo, derived from a vertical member of the old Bay Bridge truss.  Winners of the Bay Bridge Series will be engraved on a plate attached to the side of the trophy.  Each year, the arrangement of the trophy components depends on the outcome of the Bay Bridge Series.  Should the A’s win the series, the A’s logo will be mounted on top of the trophy.  Should the Giants win the series, the Giants logo will mounted on top of the trophy.  Construction of The Bridge trophy is expected to be completed in June. The trophy will be approximately 18 inches tall and weigh approximately 30 lbs.

“The Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants fans are among the most devoted and passionate fans in Major League Baseball,” said Tom Stathakes, Senior Vice President and General Manager of NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California.  “In addition to the spirited bragging rights among the fans, The Bridge will elevate the friendly cross-bay rivalry and raise the stakes during the teams’ annual Bay Bridge Series.”

Giants and A's media services contributed to this report.

Giants Mailbag: Could young starters be headed for bullpen?

Giants Mailbag: Could young starters be headed for bullpen?

While the Bay Area focused on the 49ers this week, the Giants had their eyes on a different patch of grass. They're currently holding their developmental camp in Scottsdale, giving prospects an early chance to impress before the real fun starts next month:

We're two weeks from FanFest, and a few days after that, the players will actually take the field under Gabe Kapler for the first time. Baseball season is coming fast, so let's run through another round of Giants questions (from my Instagram followers) as we wait for pitchers and catchers to report ... 

"In all seriousness Alex -- why should I watch/spend money on the Giants in 2020?" -- erniepomin

Well, first of all, we have a new state-of-the-art set that'll allow us to do a lot of cool things on the pre-game show next season, so that's a start. Plus, Kruk and Kuip! Come on, that's all you need. 

As for the team, I've long said that I'll never tell people how to spend their money when it comes to the Giants. It can get expensive, so if you'd prefer to sit out a couple years, you have every right to do so. But, I do think this season is going to be more interesting than the past couple. 

I happen to think "youth breaking through" is an intriguing storyline, so Mauricio Dubon and Tyler Beede and Logan Webb could provide plenty of reasons to watch early on. Joey Bart will be up at some point this year, and there's a chance that a Jaylin Davis or Chris Shaw finally puts it together. Every Johnny Cueto start has the chance to provide plenty of entertainment regardless of the team's record.

Regardless of your feelings about Gabe Kapler, I do think it'll be interesting watching a different manager pull the levers for the first time in over a decade. If you're tuning in expecting to watch a win, you'll be disappointed more often than not. But if you try and view this as the start of something, I think you'll have a lot more fun in 2020. 

Are the Giants one of the rumored teams to have made a multi-year offer to Ozuna?" -- mgmatter17

I never once heard of any interest in Marcell Ozuna this offseason, and the fit wasn't really there. He's a good player, but not a game-changer, the type you change all your (rebuild) plans for. And if he was looking to reestablish his value as a power hitter, Oracle Park is a terrible place to play. 

"Is Sean Hjelle going to be one of the main focuses for at least early spring training?" -- aedinbratton18

Hjelle, the organization's top pitching prospect, is always going to be a focus purely because of his height. You can bet that early in camp someone will tweet out a photo of him dwarfing his fellow pitchers. 

But seriously, he will get plenty of attention for what he's capable of. He spent limited time in San Jose so we haven't really seen much of him, and it's going to be fascinating to see what his mechanics look like in early bullpen sessions. Hopefully he's able to get into a game or two before getting sent to minor league camp. 

"Who will be the Giants' ace now that Bum is gone?" -- dianebertocchinoonan

Cueto has done it before, but he is coming back from Tommy John and there's a decent chance he gets traded before the end of his deal. Long term, this is a hell of a question. Beede and Webb have the stuff to get there eventually and Hjelle is their top pitching prospect, but the organization is pretty thin on high-end starting pitching prospects. I don't think you can look at anyone the Giants have right now and think, "He's going to start on Opening Day in 2022."

"If Beede or Webb don't make the rotation, do you think they'd let them pitch out of the bullpen?" -- _juanvillaseno_

This is a question we'll legitimately be asking in a couple weeks, because Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Drew Smyly and Kevin Gausman have the inside track on four spots. Either one of these young guys could be a good bullpen piece, but the Giants aren't ready to go there. 

They really made a commitment last year to giving Beede a shot in the rotation, even when he had some brutal starts, and he showed what he's capable of at times. The Giants are going to give him every opportunity to make the rotation his long-term home. As for Webb, there's been enough "innings limit" talk this offseason that it seems likely he starts the year in the minors, but he's still definitely a starter. 

[RELATED: Giants sign veteran Drew Smyly]

The caveat here is that I do think the Giants will try some new things this year, using semi-regular openers and potentially "piggybacking" guys, allowing them to go 3-4 innings at a time. That might lead to some "relief" appearances for young starters. 

"Why will Logan Webb have an innings limit this season?" -- tyler.j.burton

Webb threw 104 2/3 innings in 2018 but was limited to 103 across all levels last season because of the suspension. Ideally, he would have gotten around 130-140 last year, but that wasn't possible, so the Giants will hold him back a bit this season so he's not jumping from 103 to 160-170. 

Remember, he just turned 23. His health is a priority right now, even if that costs him some time in the Majors. 

"Will ticket prices drop this season with the current state of the team?" -- rioscristian15

I'm not sure of exact rates -- the Giants usually talk about that side of the business at their media day in March. I will say, it's pretty easy to find a cheap ticket to a game on the secondary market during the season. A lot of fans told me they were getting in for like $6 the last couple of seasons. Take advantage of the lack of interest while you can. 

"Which core veteran player is most likely to have a good bounce back year?" -- shockmaan

I know the staff is really excited about working with Brandon Belt and there's a belief that Buster Posey will be much more productive after a normal offseason. I don't know which veteran is most likely to bounce back, but I will say I'm most curious to see what kind of season Brandon Crawford turns in. 

He's 33 now, but he's athletic enough that the age shouldn't be an issue yet, and he's not far removed from All-Star caliber play. Crawford hit .292./.363/.462 in the first half of 2018 and basically carried the lineup for weeks at a time. There are newcomers to the organization who have looked back at that stretch to see what the difference was, because it really wasn't that long ago. 

"Any way to find out if they are adding anything crazy to the menu like a 25 inch corndog?" -- takem84

The Giants traditionally unveil new menu items and giveaways at their media day. Last year, I asked my bosses if a cameraman could follow me around as I ate every single thing at the stadium and they somehow said yes. That ultimately led to me standing in the heat at SunTrust Park eating a burger covered in chicken tenders, nacho cheese and tater tots. Life comes at you fast. 

"Favorite restaurant to hit up during spring training?" -- uscgabe

The lock of the spring is that every Giants beat writer and a dozen team employees will be at ChopShop after the first team workout on February 12. That's the go-to for lunch, and The Mission is the place you have to hit up for dinner. I also try to visit Rudy's BBQ a couple of times because it's a Texas treasure that has somehow found its way to Arizona.

(Full disclosure: There's a Chick-fil-A outside half the Cactus League ballparks and a Shake Shack in the Scottsdale mall, so spring training is peak "This place doesn't exist in San Francisco so I might as well go here 17 times while I'm in Scottsdale" season.)

MLB rumors: Giants sign Korean-leaguer Darin Ruf to minor-league deal

MLB rumors: Giants sign Korean-leaguer Darin Ruf to minor-league deal

The Giants reportedly have signed first baseman and outfielder Darin Ruf to a minor league contract.

The Athletic's Jayson Stark was the first with the news on Ruf who spent the last three seasons playing in Korea.

The 33-year-old batted .313/.404/.564 with 86 home runs, a .968 OPS and 350 RBI in 404 games across those seasons in the Korean Baseball Organization. He certainly made an impression overseas.

Ruf was drafted by the Phillies in the 20th round of the 2009 MLB Draft and played in the organization for five seasons. His numbers weren't anything to brag about when he hit .240/.314/.433 with 35 homers and 96 RBI from 2012-16.

He was part of a trade in 2016 with the Los Angeles Dodgers that sent him and Darnell Sweeney to LA for All-Star infielder Howie Kendrick.

[RELATED: Zaidi expects Giants to be aggressive promoting top prospects]

Ruf was then released by the Dodgers in February of 2017. 

His contract reportedly will also include an invite to major league spring training.