Programming note: Giants-A's coverage begins tonight at 6:30 p.m. with A's Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California!
OAKLAND -- Boasting the best record in baseball, the NL West-leading Dodgers sweep at the hands of the Oakland A's had every baseball fan in Northern California cheering. That harmony will be short lived however. On Friday, the Giants enter Oakland, instantly reminding Bay Area baseball fans of the Bay Bridge-sized rift dividing them.As the Battle of the Bay rivalry starts anew. The A's couldn't be more excited about it. "There's going to be a lot of A's and Giants fans here going at it," A's manager Bob Melvin said before Thursday's game. "I think that's good for baseball in the area. All eyes are certainly on that series when we're playing them."Melvin has reason to be excited. He is a Bay Area baseball fan himself. He attended Cal, and wears former A's captain Sal Bando's number 6 as a tribute. The sentimental manager admits to sometimes having to remind himself he is there to manage and not get lost in watching the games unfold. "Certainly for me, I am excited about it," he said. The A's hold a 46-43 edge all-time in the Bay Bridge series. In Oakland, the A's have won 26 of the last 17 contests. They have also won the last six home games against their Nor-Cal rivals, dating back to June 24, 2009. "It'll be fun," third baseman Brandon Inge said after Thursday's game. "I was on the DL before when we were playing them there. So I am excited to be able to play these guys here at our ballpark." ""We're going to have fun with it." With the Giants, come big crowds to the often sparsely attended Coliseum. It is a more festive atmosphere as Bay Area fans are firmly rooted in their rooting interests. "It's always exciting to play in front of more people," closer Ryan Cook said on Thursday. "Get the extra fans out there and try to put on a good show for them and play well." While the players try and insist the Battle of the Bay games don't mean any more, or less to them, they do want to send their representation of fans home happy. "I hope we come out on top," Cook said.