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How the Bay Bridge Trophy came to be

@MartinJGallegos
November 20, 2020

The rivalry between the A’s and Giants has always been viewed as a rather tame feud when compared to other heated rivalries around Major League Baseball, aside from their showdown in the 1989 World Series, of course. In recent years, however, efforts have been made to spice things up between

The rivalry between the A’s and Giants has always been viewed as a rather tame feud when compared to other heated rivalries around Major League Baseball, aside from their showdown in the 1989 World Series, of course. In recent years, however, efforts have been made to spice things up between the two clubs.

In the summer of 2017, A’s president Dave Kaval was pitched an idea by NBC Sports Bay Area broadcaster Brodie Brazil to hand out a trophy each year to the winner of the season series between the two Bay Area teams. Immediately taking a liking to the concept, Kaval brought that idea to life by ordering a trophy to be made of salvaged steel from the original eastern span of the recently renovated Bay Bridge that connects Oakland and San Francisco.

Part of Kaval’s fondness for the trophy is rooted in his background in professional soccer -- he previously served as team president of Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes from 2010-17 before joining the A’s. In certain soccer rivalries around the world, the sense of pride runs so deep that winning a trophy against a rival is almost as satisfying as a league championship.

"I saw when I was in soccer the value of the rivalries internationally and what it can do for sports," Kaval said in 2018. "I think we need more of that in baseball, and it will bring new fans in our sport and create excitement here in the Bay Area, a two-team market for baseball. I'm thrilled. I think it looks great. I think it's going to be a great addition to the landscape of Bay Area sports."

Kaval hoped that the 18-inch trophy would add extra significance to the “Battle of the Bay.” Since the trophy’s inception in 2018, the rivalry has certainly been competitive, with the A’s going 10-6 in head-to-head matchups over the past three seasons. Swapping homes during each season so far -- the A’s won the season series, 4-2, in ‘18, and the Giants won it, 3-1, in ‘19 -- "The Bridge" currently sits inside the A’s headquarters at Jack London Square after Oakland wrestled it back from San Francisco in '20 by winning five of six games between the clubs.

While it has not happened yet, there is a plan in place in the event the two teams happen to split a season series. In such a situation, the trophy will be awarded to the team that won the final game of the series.

"Any time you get a chance to win some hardware, that's a good thing," former Giants manager Bruce Bochy said in 2018. "The fact it is a piece of the old Bay Bridge is pretty cool. Whoever came up with that, I tip my cap to them. It's going to be a neat thing. It's going to be added interest, a little bit more pressure with this trophy being presented, but that's a good thing in our game."

Martin Gallegos covers the A's for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MartinJGallegos.