Only two major league franchises have won more World Series titles than the Athletics.
Surprised? Well, it has been a while since Oakland sat atop the baseball world. And since 1989, when the A's won their ninth championship, their cross-bay rivals, the San Francisco Giants, built a spectacular waterfront ballpark and added two World Series trophies to their collection.
This season went badly for the orange-and-black, and this week's headlines have been dominated by the government shutdown. But baseball fans in the Bay Area still have something to cheer about: The A's begin their quest for a 10th world title tonight in Oakland.
If you're not familiar with their storied history, the Philadelphia Athletics made their World Series debut in 1905 (losing to the New York Giants). They went on to win five times before moving to Kansas City in 1955 and, 13 years later, to Oakland, where the green-and-gold has won four more times.
Connie Mack's Philadelphia A's of the nineteen-teens were the celebrity team of their era, known for their “$100,000 infield.” (It was quite a sum of money at the time.) This is a decidedly different era of sports economics, and casual fans may know the Oakland A's best for their frugal general manager Billy Beane, who inspired the book and movie “Moneyball.”
Yes, the Oakland Coliseum is dilapidated. And you may have chuckled (or grimaced) at news reports about sewage flooding the clubhouses and the A's dugout. But you also should know that these A's put on a great show with their human-tunnel celebrations after home runs, the drum-beating fans in the bleachers, the home-made banners strung atop the outfield fence and some scrappy baseball between the lines.
Beane's collection of cast-offs and youngsters, led by manager Bob Melvin, won their second division title in as many years. And, like last year, they begin the postseason against the Detroit Tigers, a power-hitting, power-pitching club that made it to the World Series in 2012, losing to the Giants.
Last season ended with a parade down Market Street. Here's hoping the 2013 season ends with a parade across the bay on Broadway.
Let's go Oakland.