Well I just got back from the Giants-A's game this afternoon and I just wanted to share some observations.
First, Lenny DiNardo is one of the best young pitchers in the game. He's 2-2 with a microscopic 1.22 ERA. He would have recieved the win today except for some fine defense and a fine pitching performance from Matt Cain. He posted a 0 run performance with 4 hits allowed, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts in 6 innings.
Second, Matt Cain is better than his record indicates. He has a very respectable 3.31 ERA but a 2-6 record. This is due to the fact that the Giants are an atrocious hitting ballclub. Today, he pitched well enough to win, only giving up a leadoff home run to Marco Scutaro in the 8th. He was sabatoged by an anemic offense that looked hopeless against DiNardo.
Third, AT&T Park is a unique experience. It is the only ballpark that you can take a ferry and land next to the park. I parked in Oakland, took the ferry from Jack London Square, and after a half-hour ferry ride, landed and disembarked literally right next to the ballpark. It is a unique and highly enjoyable experience, and I would recommend it highly to any Bay Area Giants fan. (It's far cheaper than parking at the stadium as well.)
Fourth, the rivalry the Giants and the A's share is special and rare. While I tend to suppport the A's, I came to the game showing no allegiance to either side. I witnessed several times a Giants fan jawing at an A's fan, or vice versa. However, this trash-talk was always good-natured, and never escalated into anything else. This is what happens when there are two teams so close geographically. Giants and A's fans are neighbors, and the rivalry is nothig but friendly.
Lastly, the atmosphere at a Sunday afternoon Giants-A's game is something special that I have not experienced recently in a baseball game. This is the first time I had attended a Giants-A's matchup, and it is a different atmosphere than a typical Giants game or a game against a more conventional rival, such as Los Angeles. the overall feeling was of a good-natured, friendly Sunday at the ballpark, not a tense, must-win atmosphere of a September game or the genuine hate during a game against the Dodgers. It was the most fun I have had at a ballgame in years.