SAN FRANCISCO -– Mike Aldrete is getting his first taste of the Bay Bridge Series, regular-season style. He views it from a unique perspective.
Aldrete, in his first season as the A’s bench coach, spent three years of his playing career with the Giants (1986-88) and three with Oakland (1993-95). He experienced the exhibition version of the Bay Bridge Series, but had played his final big league season by the time interleague play arrived in 1997.
He’s enjoying being a part of the current rivalry, as the teams are playing three games at AT&T Park this weekend before a rematch in Oakland in late September.
“I think there’s a little chip (on the shoulder) from the Oakland A’s standpoint, and deservedly so,” Aldrete said. “The Giants are the darlings of baseball, the Bay Area, because of all their success recently. From the A’s standpoint, there is another team here, and we play a pretty good brand of baseball.”
It was the opposite dynamic during Aldrete’s playing days with the Giants. Though San Francisco won the NL West in 1987, it was the A’s who were rising in prominence nationally with Bash Brother mania beginning to take hold behind Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire.
Both teams, of course, were the toast of baseball in 1989 when they met in the World Series, with the A’s sweeping in four. By then, Aldrete was wearing a Montreal Expos uniform.
“It was a good competitive (rivalry),” Aldrete said. “You wanted to play the best and beat the best. And the fact that in the late 80’s and early 90’s, both teams enjoyed some success, it was good for the Bay Area, good for everybody.”
Aldrete spent the last three seasons as the St. Louis Cardinals’ bench coach, but he’s now reunited on a Bob Melvin-managed staff for the third time. Aldrete served as Melvin’s first base coach with Seattle in 2004 and hitting coach with Arizona from 2005-06. (The two were Giants teammates on those late 80’s squads).
His current job has brought Aldrete back home, or very close to it. He was born in Carmel, attended Monterey High and Stanford, and has always made his offseason home in Salinas. He’s enjoyed the chance for he and his wife, Gina, to be near their three children.
“It’s great being with the A’s, a team I spent just as much time with as I did San Francisco,” Aldrete said. “And the best part about it is, I get to go home. I’ve been home over a dozen times. All those years in St. Louis and other years coaching, I’d go seven months without sleeping in my own bed.”