Despite playing on different coasts and rarely seeing each other, the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants have a low-key rivalry.
In baseball, rivalries usually develop between teams playing in the same division or city. The New York Mets have a rivalry with the rest of the National League East teams plus the New York Yankees.
However, there is one team a little further away from Flushing that certainly qualifies as a low-key major rival of the Mets. They are the San Francisco Giants.
Despite playing on the other side of the country, the Giants and Mets have a deep connection. The organization once called New York home until they packed everything up for California in the late 1950s.
The rivalry goes beyond this. Even in recent years, there has been a little fuel.
The last time the Mets made it to the postseason they faced off against the Giants. In a one-game Wild Card playoff matchup, Madison Bumgarner outlasted Noah Syndergaard and helped his team survive another day.
This was the second time these two organizations matched up in the playoffs. Back in the year 2000, the Mets eliminated the Giants in the NLCS in four games.
These two series don’t tell enough of the story behind the rivalry. It’s quite amazing how many former members of the Amazins somehow landed in San Francisco and managed to put together some incredible seasons.
As Rising Apple’s John Guarneri covered in his piece about the top Mets who got away, plenty found their way onto the Giants. Jeff Kent and Kevin Mitchell even won MVPs while in San Francisco after their days with the Mets. There probably isn’t another team out there who has benefited more from ex-Mets. Although, their individual achievements certainly overshadowed the team’s performance. Neither of them won a World Series with the Giants.
The Mets and Giants only see each other about twice a year for a total of around six games. The imbalanced MLB schedule only allows a minimal number of opportunities for the rivalry to grow on the field.
In 2019, they split the season series. With each team struggling to have a big year since the 2016 Wild Card Game, there hasn’t been a whole lot more to this often overlooked, nearly natural rivalry.
These two organizations have shared some pretty important players. Edgardo Alfonzo went to the Bay Area when he hit free agency. The Mets also made a huge trade at the start of the last decade when they swapped Carlos Beltran for Zack Wheeler.
Going back even further, it’s worth mentioning the brief time Willie Mays spent in Flushing at the end of his career.
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A pair of teams on two different coasts rarely have as much of a connection as the Mets and Giants appear to. Nearly natural because of the geography both shared yet never at the same moment, the history between these two is a lot closer than most in the east and west.