Why potential Giants-A's World Series rematch would be different now

Why potential Giants-A's World Series rematch would be different now

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants and A's will walk into Oracle Park tonight in very different situations, but with the same overall goal. Both would like to follow the wild-card path through the postseason and to the World Series, and while the chances are faint, there remains a possibility of a Bay Bridge Series 30 years after the first one. 

If there ever is another one, the series likely wouldn't carry quite the same cachet, and the two games at Oracle Park this week show why. Thirty years ago, a World Series matchup was the only chance for the Bay Area's two teams to play competitive baseball. With interleague play, they'll place twice this week and twice next weekend in Oakland.  

"I loved the fact that those unique rivalries only occurred when you went to the World Series. It was a ballclub that you never saw, and that was really special," former Giants pitcher Dave Dravecky said at a 1989 reunion Sunday. "I can't really speak to what it's like with interleague play because I've never experienced it and don't know that feeling, but I just know how special it was to go up against the other league and compete against the best from that league."

Interleague play was introduced eight years after the A's beat the Giants in the World Series and over time, it has become a normal part of the schedule. The Giants will visit the Twins and Indians on one early-season trip next year. After the trade deadline, they'll pop over to Detroit for two against the Tigers before returning to the National League for four against the Phillies. 

But for decades the leagues were their own entities, which made it a bit trickier to match up if you actually got to the World Series. The Giants faced the A's years before there was full access to video or spin rates or exact tendencies. Nobody was looking at hundreds of games worth of at-bats and shifting seven defenders. The team's preparation for the A's was old school. 

"It would have helped us so much to see them before because you get to see a guy play on a regular basis and you can figure out how to pitch to him and play him, but we just had to go by our scouting reports," pitcher Scott Garrelts said. "Who's hot? Who's not? Not having faced any of them during the season, it was a little uncomfortable."

The Giants won 92 games that year and finished first in the NL West. The A's won 99, taking the AL West. Both teams cruised through a championship series before the A's swept the Earthquake-interrupted World Series. 

"They were strong, powerful, hit home runs, had speed, had pitching, had relief," Garrelts remembered. "They had pretty much everything that you would really want."

That description doesn't fit either Bay Area team this season, but both are still chasing postseason spots. They'll renew their rivalry tonight, starting what has become a yearly series. 

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Perhaps one of these years the midsummer games will be a preview of an October matchup. Outfielder Brett Butler said he didn't think a rematch would be quite as big a deal because of today's scheduling, but then he smiled and added something. 

"But when you go to the World Series," he said, "That's always a big deal."

Dodgers signing Madison Bumgarner would be 'great,' Clayton Kershaw says

Dodgers signing Madison Bumgarner would be 'great,' Clayton Kershaw says

Despite what Giants fans want to believe, Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw are friends.

Before many Giants-Dodgers games over the years, they could be seen talking on the field, in plain sight of everyone.

So it should come as any surprise that Kershaw would love to have Bumgarner on the Dodgers.

"I love Bum," Kershaw said Friday at a Dodgers holiday event according to Dodgers Nation. "If we signed him, that’d be great."

NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic reported Thursday, citing sources, that the Dodgers and Bumgarner have a mutual interest in a deal.

Bumgarner in Dodger blue is the worst nightmare for Giants fans. But it's a real possibility with Los Angeles missing out on top free agent Gerrit Cole.

[RELATED: Padres reportedly looking at Bumgarner]

Kershaw hasn't been able to bring a World Series to Los Angeles on his own, so of course, he would love for a postseason hero to come help him end the Dodgers' title drought.

MLB rumors: Padres 'taking close look' at free agent Madison Bumgarner

MLB rumors: Padres 'taking close look' at free agent Madison Bumgarner

The teams in the NL West appear to really like free agent Madison Bumgarner.

The Padres are the latest team to show interest in the former Giants ace.

MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Friday night that the Padres are "taking close looks" at Bumgarner and former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel.

Bumgarner has been linked to the Dodgers and D-backs this week. The Rockies are the only NL West foe not to be linked to the 2014 World Series MVP. The Angels, in the AL West, reportedly are also pursuing Bumgarner after missing out on top free agent Gerrit Cole.

With Cole, Stephen Strasburg and Zack Wheeler off the free-agent market, Bumgarner, Keuchel and Hyun-Jin Ryu are the best available arms remaining.

NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic reported Thursday night, citing sources, that there is mutual interest between Bumgarner and the Dodgers. The Giants are still talking to Bumgarner's representatives, according to Farhan Zaidi.

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Most Giants fans would like to see Bumgarner return to San Francisco. But if he doesn't, they would probably prefer if he leaves the NL West. It would be tough to watch the longtime face of the Giants come back to pitch against his former team multiple times a year.