(OAKLAND) -- The Oakland Athletics have few peers in the hierarchy of major-league baseball success in the modern era of divisional play.
Since MLB split both leagues into divisions in 1969, the A's have been a dominant franchise in Oakland, winning 16 division titles in 45 seasons of play -- not to mention four World Series championships.
Only the New York Yankees have more World Series wins (seven), and only the Yankees (18) and the Atlanta Braves (17) have won more division titles.
Oakland has been THAT good since moving here from Kansas City in the late 1960s.
Tonight, the A's franchise has a chance to win more glory for Oakland, as they take on the Detroit Tigers in Game One of the 2013 American League Division Series at the O.co Coliseum in front an expected sellout crowd of 48,146 rabid baseball fans -- now that the tarps have been taken off the third-deck seats for the first time since 2006.
Game time is 6:37 p.m., as Oakland sends Bartolon Colon (18-6, 2.65) to the mound to face Detroit's Max Scherzer (21-3, 2.90).
Last year, this same series took place, although MLB had an odd format in place where the higher-seeded team started with two road games. The A's lost both games in Detroit and recovered to win Games Three and Four at home before losing yet another Game Five to end their season.
Five of Oakland's previous six trips to the ALDS have ended in Game Five losses, including four at home (2000, 2002, 2003 and 2012). So the A's are in a familiar position, yet one they would like to conquer thoroughly to break these disturbing trends.
The last Oakland World Series win came in 1989, when no other franchise had even three championships in the divisional era, and the A's have only been back to the AL Championship Series three times since that last title (1990, 1992 and 2006).
The Tigers, in particularly, have been a recent nemesis for Oakland, knocking the A's out of the playoffs the last two times the Green and Gold got here: in 2006, Oakland advanced to the ALCS by sweeping the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS, but the Tigers swept the A's out of the postseason.
So there's a lot on the line for the Oakland organization as they enter the national consciousness yet again in October baseball: they want to prove a small-market team with a $60 million payroll can compete with the big boys (Detroit has a $150 million payroll), even though the Moneyball concept is long copied and perhaps even outdated.
One thing is for sure: Games One and Two taking place tonight and tomorrow night at the O.co Coliseum should be experiences unlike any seen here in ten years, at least.
The A's, their fans and perhaps the nation can't wait for it all to unfold tonight at 6:37 p.m.