“I can think of people, individuals in the Bay Area who won’t even travel to L.A., or will only under duress,” says Alan Hess, the architectural historian and writer who lives in Orange County but grew up and has lived in both parts of the state. “Too much traffic, too much smog, it’s disorienting, there’s too much freeway.”
“Why so much hate for L.A.?” one native of that city asked in an Internet forum recently.
“And though I know this is a generalization, it's been a consistent experience to hear pejorative stereotypes coming from Bay folks. It's a shame, too, because outside of sports rivalries most folks I know back home in L.A. don’t have much to say about the Bay period, or if they've been there [that they] like it.”
“So why does it continue,” asked the internet poster, “and why does it feel far less playful than it should?”
Much of it has to do with sports, particularly the longtime Dodgers-Giants clash. “Truly the greatest rivalry in baseball history, if not all American sports,” sportswriter Steve Dilbeck says of the on-field and off-field battle of words, water, balls, and occasionally bats that the teams have fought with since both were based in New York.
In his recent book The Rivalry Heard ‘Round the World: The Dodgers-Giants Feud from Coast to Coast, Joe Konte charts how often one team played spoiler by blocking the way to post-season play.
He charts as well such incidents as:
• The ‘Mudville series,’ with the Giants trying to slow down speedy Dodger base running in 1962 by hosing down the base paths.
• Pitchers whose beanballs resembled guided missiles, aimed at frightening and even maiming batters.
Konte, a former sports editor and today news editor of the Marin Independent Journal, says San Francisco fans have reserved their venom for the Dodgers. “If a guy in the stadium walks through with a Cincinnati Reds shirt, no problem. But if it’s Dodger blue, they razz the guy.”