Friday, March 16, 2018

Ed Charles, 1933-2018; Tom Benson, 1927-2018

When the Jackie Robinson film 42 came out in 2013, it showed Jackie, played by Chadwick Boseman - yes, kids, the guy who plays Black Panther - waving from the train going north from Spring Training to a black kid, played by Dusan Brown, waving back. The kid had been shown earlier in the film, and now, looking at Jackie, he had a look on his face, as if to say, "Someday, that's going to be me."

I knew that kid was going to make it, or else why would they have made a big deal out of showing him? In literature, this is known as "Chekhov's Gun": The Russian playwright Anton Chekhov once wrote, "Remove everything that has no relevance to the story. If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it's not going to be fired, it shouldn't be hanging there."

At the end of 42, graphics were shown, giving updates on the principals, and the boy's identity was revealed: He was Ed Charles.

He did make it to the major leagues. And, while not as significant as Jackie Robinson's first major league game, on April 15, 1947, Ed's last major league game was a significant day in New York baseball history.


Edwin Douglas Charles was born on April 29, 1933 in Daytona Beach. Long before it was known for spring break and NASCAR, Daytona was known for segregation. But Jackie Robinson changed things.

Not everything, though: Ed Charles was signed by the Boston Braves in 1952 -- they became the Milwaukee Braves the following year -- and Eddie Mathews was their 3rd baseman. As would be the case with future major league managers Dick Williams, Gene Mauch and Sparky Anderson, stuck behind Pee Wee Reese as the shortstop for Jackie's Brooklyn Dodgers, Charles was stuck. As a result, he remained in the minor leagues, while most of the Braves' farm teams were in the South.

Years later, in Ball Four, Jim Bouton (white) noticed that, while the major leagues admitted black stars to their ranks, if you weren't a star, they were more reluctant. He noted in 1969 that the defending World Champion Detroit Tigers had only 3 black players on their roster: Willie Horton, Detroit native and All-Star outfielder; Earl Wilson, All-Star pitcher; and Gates Brown, Detroit native and then regarded as the best pinch-hitter in baseball. Meanwhile, 3rd baseman Don Wert batted just .200, and shortstop Ray Oyler only .135. Surely, they weren't good enough with their gloves to justify keeping them in the lineup. Surely, there was a black player somewhere in the Tigers' system that could hit major league pitching better.

And it's not as though Major League Baseball was loaded with great 3rd basemen. From 1957, the year Charles turned 24, through 1961, the last year before he was finally promoted, these were the 3rd basemen in the All-Star Game:

* National League: Eddie Mathews (Hall of Fame), Don Hoak, Frank Thomas (not the later HOFer), Ken Boyer. Ron Santo (Hall of Fame) hadn't gotten there yet.

* American League: George Kell (Hall of Fame), Frank Malzone (the only 3rd baseman on the AL roster in the 1958 Game), Harmon Killebrew (Hall of Fame slugger but a terrible fielder), Brooks Robinson (Hall of Fame, the only 3rd baseman on the AL roster in the 1961 Games). Clete Boyer, Ken's brother who starred for the Yankees and was about as good a fielder as Brooks Robinson, was not selected.

Surely, there had to be a black 3rd baseman good enough to get in there. But Ed Charles would not be that man. The racism he experienced, both from Southern spectators and his own organization, led him to write poetry about it.

Finally, in 1962, the Braves traded him to the Kansas City Athletics. The A's were terrible, so they gave him a chance. He made the most of it, batting .288 with 17 home runs, 74 runs batted in, and 20 stolen bases, as a 29-year-old "rookie." He remained a good power hitter for the A's, in spite of Kansas City Municipal Stadium not being conducive to home runs.
In 1967, he was traded to the Mets for Larry Elliot and -- probably of more interest to cheapskate A's owner Charlie Finley -- $50,000. The Mets were a young team, and Charles would be their oldest regular. They were already known for going through 3rd basemen like tissues, and they needed help.

Despite it only being his 6th major league season, at 34, Charles was able to provide veteran leadership. Right fielder Ron Swoboda said, "Ed Charles was this guy, you wanted to sit on his knee and hear how he made it. He had a physical and emotional grace that most of us didn't seem to feel. He would say, 'Don't wrestle with what feels like complexity.'"

Early that season, he dove to his left and stopped a grounder from becoming a sure hit. Pitcher Jerry Koosman told him, "You sort of glide to the ball. That's it: You're The Glider from now on."

The Mets did get better in 1967 and 1968, although it was not a dramatic improvement. The dramatic improvement came in 1969. The Mets -- whose major league debut was on the same day as Charles', April 11, 1962 -- seemed to get 7 seasons' worth of bad luck evened out in 7 months. Now 36, Ed was being phased out as the starting 3rd baseman in favor of Wayne Garrett, a younger white player. More racism? Probably not: Ed's batting average had dropped to .207, and the Mets' 2 best offensive players were left fielder Cleon Jones and center fielder Tommie Agee.

Nevertheless, the Mets stayed within range of the Chicago Cubs in the newly-created National League Eastern Division through August 13, when they were 10 games back, and then surged, surpassing them a month later. The Division was clinched on September 24, with Charles hitting his last major league home run off Steve Carlton of the St. Louis Cardinals at Shea Stadium. They swept Charles' former organization, now the Atlanta Braves, in the NL Championship Series, to win the Pennant.

He didn't play in the NLCS, but played in every game of the World Series except Game 3. He went just 2-for-15 with no RBIs, but scored the winning run of Game 2 on Al Weis' 9th inning single. He was at 3rd base for the final out in the clinching Game 5, and was thus in the celebratory photo with pitcher Jerry Koosman and catcher Jerry Grote.
The Mets released him, and he retired. He finished with a .263 lifetime batting average, a 103 OPS+, and 86 home runs.

He later served the Mets as a scout and a minor-league coach, and worked with inner-city youth. He remained in the Mets' home Borough of Queens, living in East Elmhurst. In 1985, he passed the civil service exam, and worked with poor kids at a house complex in The Bronx. He attended reunions of the 1969 team in 1994, 1999 and 2009, and the last game at Shea Stadium in 2008.
He died yesterday, March 15, 2018, at age 84. No cause has been given, only an admission by his family that he "had been ill for several years." He had been married and divorced, and was survived by his sons Edwin Jr. and Eric, his sister Virginia, and his brother Charlie.


Also dying this week was Tom Benson, owner of the NFL's New Orleans Saints since 1985, and of the NBA's New Orleans Pelicans in 2012. Although at first he wanted to replace the Superdome, and looked like he would move the Saints out of his hometown if he didn't get a new stadium, especially after Hurricane Katrina, he was shamed into keeping the team in town.
Then he bought the New Orleans Hornets, allowed Charlotte to reclaim the name for the replacement expansion team that had been the Bobcats, took the name Pelicans, and saved a 2nd sport in New Orleans. He's now generally regarded as a hero in Louisiana.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Top 10 Athletes From Maine

And, completing the 50-State Sweep:

March 15, 1820: Maine is separated from Massachusetts, and admitted to the Union as the 23rd State, as part of the Missouri Compromise of 1820, with Missouri becoming the 24th State: 1 new State were slavery was legal, 1 where it was not.

Top 10 Athletes From Maine

Of the 26 NFL players born in Maine, the best was probably John Bunting of Portland, a linebacker who won an NFC Championship with the Philadelphia Eagles and a USFL Championship with the Philadelphia Stars, but he grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, a D.C. suburb, so he's out. Nobody else looked like a good candidate.

Bob Stanley of the star-crossed 1978 and 1986 Boston Red Sox was born in Maine, and leads all such men in wins with 132 saves, and also won 115 games. But he grew up in Kearny, New Jersey. Not that I, as a native of North Jersey, would want to claim him.

Jeff Turner is the only NBA player to have been born in Maine, in Bangor, and won a Gold Medal with the U.S. team at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. But he grew up in Florida, so he qualifies there.

Honorable Mention to Louis Sockalexis of Old Town. A member of the Penobscot tribe, the outfielder starred with the Cleveland Spiders of the National League as a rookie in 1897, batting .338 with 16 stolen bases.

But his drinking problem, all too common among Native Americans, had already gotten him expelled from Notre Dame. And on July 4, when the brothel he was visiting was raided by the police, he jumped out of a 2nd-story window and wrecked his ankle. He was never the same player.

The circumstances surrounding the 1899 Cleveland Spiders are too convoluted to briefly summarize, but they were the worst team in Major League Baseball history, and they were his last major league team. (They released him on May 7. If they'd kept him, despite all his trouble -- he was hitting .273 -- maybe they wouldn't have finished 20-134.) He died of tuberculosis in 1913, only 42 years old.

It was long presumed that the Spiders' American League replacements, originally called the Blues, then the Broncos, and then the Naps in honor of 2nd baseman and manager Napoleon Lajoie, were renamed the Indians in 1915 in honor of either "Sock," the 1st Native American to play in the major leagues, or the tribes that once lined the shore of Lake Erie. Neither story is true: Baseball is a monkey-see-monkey-do game, like most sports, and the year before, the World Series had been won by the Boston Braves.

Honorable Mention to Bill Carrigan of Lewiston. A decent catcher, he wasn't much of a hitter. But he played on 3 World Series winners for the Boston Red Sox, in 1912, 1915 and 1916. For the last 2, he was player-manager, and is the only man since 1898 to manage a Boston baseball team to back-to-back Pennants. The Red Sox elected him to their team Hall of Fame.

Honorable Mention to Clyde Sukeforth of Washington. He was a good-field-no-hit catcher, although he did bat .354 in 262 plate appearances for the 1929 Cincinnati Reds. But he's best known for 2 contributions to the lore of the Brooklyn Dodgers -- 1 positive, 1 negative.

In 1945, team president and part-owner (the operational owner) Branch Rickey sent him around the country to scout Jackie Robinson, whom Rickey had heard could be the right man to be the 1st black player in modern baseball. Not only did Sukeforth send Rickey a good report, but he turned out to be Robinson's 1st major league manager -- albeit on an interim bases, following the suspension of Leo Durocher, managing only Opening Day 1947 before turning the team over to Burt Shotton.

In 1951, "Sukey" was in the bullpen watching pitchers warm up during the Playoff game that would decide the National League Pennant, between the Dodgers and their arch-rivals, the New York Giants. When Don Newcombe ran out of gas in the bottom of the 9th, manager Charlie Dressen called the bullpen and asked how the pitchers were doing. Sukeforth said that Carl Erskine was having control problems, but Ralph Branca was throwing well. Dressen told him to send in Branca.

Big mistake. The batter was Bobby Thomson, who could hit nothing but a fastball. Branca had nothing but a fastball. Although a year away from becoming a star, Erskine may already have had the best curveball in the NL. Had Sukeforth remembered that, or if he had realized Thomson was the next batter, Erskine might have gotten Thomson out, and the Dodgers might have won the Pennant, instead of Thomson hitting the most famous home run of all time.

Honorable Mention to Jim Beattie of South Portland, who helped the Yankees win the 1978 World Series. His career record as a pitcher was 52-87. He later served as general manager of the Montreal Expos and the Baltimore Orioles, and is now a scout with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Honorable Mention to Cindy Blodgett of Fairfield. She is the all-time leading scorer, male or female, in Maine high school basketball, leading Lawrence High School to an 84-4 record. At the University of Maine, she led women's college basketball in scoring all 4 seasons.

She played for the WNBA's Cleveland Rockers and Sacramento Monarchs, and later returned to UM as head coach. She is now an assistant coach at Boston University, under former Sacramento teammate Kady Steding.

10. Chet Bulger of Rumford. A 2-way tackle, he was a starter on the line of the Chicago Cardinals team that won the NFL Championship Game in 1947 and lost it in 1948.

9. Del Bissonnette of Winthrop. A 1st baseman, he got stuck in the minor leagues, not making his major league debut until he was 28, with the 1928 Brooklyn Dodgers. But had there been a Rookie of the Year award then, he surely would have won it, with a .320 batting average, 25 home runs and 106 RBIs.

Had there been an All-Star Game then, he would have made it every year through 1931. Then he got hurt, missed the entire 1932 season, and was never the same. He only played 35 games in 1933, never appeared in the majors again, and hung on in the minors for a while. His 66 home runs lead all Maine-born players, as does his .305 lifetime batting average for all Mainers with at least 400 major league plate appearances.

He managed the Hartford Chiefs to the 1944 Eastern League Pennant, and briefly managed the Boston Braves. But he was fired in 1946, never returned to the major leagues in any capacity, and committed suicide in 1972.

8. Eric Weinrich of Gardiner. Though born in Roanoke, Virginia, he grew up on the Kennebec River near the Maine State capital of Augusta, and had a 17-year career as an NHL defenseman, starting in 1989 with the New Jersey Devils and carrying through Chicago, Montreal, Boston, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Vancouver. He finished his career with 70 goals and 318 assists.

Of the 7 NHL players who were actually born in Maine, 2 active players, Brian Dumoulin of Biddeford and the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Garnet Hathaway of Kennebunkport and the Calgary Flames, have, between them, scored 63 points. Danny Bolduc of Waterville and the late 1970s Detroit Red Wings, had 41. The other 4 have a grand total of 1.

7. Freddy Parent of Sanford. He was the shortstop of the Boston Americans, forerunners of the Red Sox, that won the 1st World Series in 1903, and the American League Pennant again in 1904. He was the last survivor of those teams, living until 1972. In a 12-season major league career, he batted .262 with 184 stolen bases.

6. Mike Bordick of Winterport. A shortstop, he reached the World Series as a rookie with the 1990 Oakland Athletics, and the American League Championship Series with them that year and in 1992. He reached the ALCS again with the 1997 Baltimore Orioles, and made the All-Star Game and won a National League Pennant with the Mets in 2000. The Orioles named him to their team Hall of Fame.
Rip Black of Bailey Island.

He's lucky I don't have the sports journalism profile that Chris Berman, nicknamer par excellence, has, because I thought of what sounded like a sure "Bermanism": Mike "I Need Viagra For My Bored Dick."

5. Bill Swift of South Portland. With the 1992 San Francisco Giants, he went 10-4, and led the National League with a 2.08 ERA. In 1993, he went 21-8. In 1995, he helped the Colorado Rockies, in only their 3rd season, win the NL Wild Card. He finished 94-78, with 17 saves, and his 767 strikeouts lead all Maine-born pitchers.

4. Joey Gamache of Lewiston. The WBA briefly recognized him as Super Featherweight Chamion in 1991 and Lightweight Chamion in 1992.

3. Jack Coombs of Waterville. He was known as Colby Jack, because he attended Colby College in his hometown. Although he could throw some high cheese. He arrived with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1906, nearly helped them win the American League Pennant in 1907, and did help them win it in 1910, 1911, 1913 and 1914.

In 1910, he went 31-9, and won 3 more games in the World Series, leading the A's over the Chicago Cubs. The A's also won with him in 1911 and 1913, in each case over the New York Giants. In 1916, he won a National League Pennant with the Brooklyn Robins. (The once-and-future Dodgers were nicknamed for their manager, Wilbert Robinson.)

His final total was 158-110, making him the winningest Maine-born pitcher. He died in 1957, and the Phillies later named him to the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame. His brothers Bobby and Danny were also major leaguers, albeit briefly.

2. George Gore of Hartland. A center fielder known as "Piano Legs," he starred for the Chicago White Stockings, forerunners of the Cubs. In 1880, he won the National League batting title, helping start a string of 5 Pennants in 7 seasons for the White Stockings. In 1881, he set a record with 7 stolen bases in a game; in 1885, another with 5 extra-base hits.

He last played in 1892, but his 1,612 career hits and his OPS+ of 136 still lead all Maine-born players. His lifetime batting average is .301. Nobody alive today saw him play, but he probably should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. But, unlike his teammates Adrian "Cap" Anson, Mike "King" Kelly, Edward "Ned" Williamson, Frank "Silver" Flint and John Clarkson (no known nickname), his nickname was considerably more colorful than he was, and he got forgotten. (Anson, Kelly and Clarkson are in the Hall.)

1. Joan Benoit of Cape Elizabeth. Although part of the large French-Canadian community in New England, she pronounces her name Benn-OYT instead of the proper French Benn-WAH. And she now goes by her married name, Joan Benoit Samuelson.
She won the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983, each time setting a new course record for women. She won the 1st-ever women's Olympic Marathon, in Los Angeles in 1984. In 1985, she received the James M. Sullivan Award, for the outstanding American amateur athlete of the year.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

How to Be a Devils Fan In San Jose -- 2018 Edition

This coming Tuesday night, the Devils will be in the San Francisco Bay Area, to play the San Jose Sharks. This is the 31st and last Trip Guide for the 2017-18 NHL season.

This could be a bit upsetting to any Devils fans visiting. Not because there's any rivalry with the Sharks, or anything particularly unlikable about either the team, or the arena, or the city, but because the Sharks' current head coach is Peter DeBoer, who guided the Devils to the 2012 Eastern Conference Championship, then proved over the next 2 1/2 seasons that the team got there in spite, not because, of his coaching. We can now say the same for the 2015-16 season's Sharks.

Before You Go. The San Francisco Bay Area has inconsistent weather. San Francisco, in particular, partly because it's bounded by water on three sides, is the one city I know of that has baseball weather in football season and football weather in baseball season. Or, as Mark Twain, who worked for a San Francisco newspaper during the Civil War, put it, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."

The websites of the San Jose Mercury News and the Oakland Tribuneand, the website of the San Francisco Chronicle, should be checked before you leave. For most of next week, they're predicting the low 60s during the day and the low 50s at night, with rain on Tuesday, the day of the game.

San Jose, the Bay Area as a whole, and the entire State of California are in the Pacific Time Zone, 3 hours behind New York and New Jersey. Adjust your timepieces accordingly.

Tickets. The Sharks are averaging 17,347 fans per game this season, about 99 percent of capacity. So, even though the Devils are not a regional or historical rival, getting tickets could be very difficult.

Seats in the lower level, the 100 sections, are $125 between the goals and $80 behind them. In the upper level, the 200 sections, they're $60 between the goals and $42 behind them.

Getting There. It's 2,906 miles from Times Square in Midtown Manhattan to Union Square in downtown San Francisco, and 2,928 miles from the Prudential Center in Newark to the SAP Center at San Jose. This is the 2nd-longest Devils roadtrip, behind only Vancouver. In other words, if you're going, you're flying.

You think I'm kidding? Even if you get someone to go with you, and you take turns, one drives while the other one sleeps, and you pack 2 days' worth of food, and you use the side of the Interstate as a toilet, and you don’t get pulled over for speeding, you'll still need over 2 full days. Each way.

But, if you really, really want to drive... Get onto Interstate 80 West in New Jersey, and – though incredibly long, it's also incredibly simple – you'll stay on I-80 for almost its entire length, which is 2,900 miles from Ridgefield Park, just beyond the New Jersey end of the George Washington Bridge, to the San Francisco end of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

If you're driving directly to San Jose (i.e., if your hotel is there), then, getting off I-80, you'll need Exit 8A for I-880, the Nimitz Freeway – the 1997-rebuilt version of the double-decked expressway that collapsed, killing 42 people, during the Loma Prieta Earthquake that struck during the 1989 World Series between the 2 Bay Area teams. From I-880, you'll take Exit 3A, for Santa Clara Street.

Not counting rest stops, you should be in New Jersey for an hour and a half, Pennsylvania for 5:15, Ohio for 4 hours, Indiana for 2:30, Illinois for 2:45, Iowa for 5 hours, Nebraska for 7:45, Wyoming for 6:45, Utah for 3:15, Nevada for 6:45, and California for 3:15. That's almost 49 hours, and with rest stops, and city traffic at each end, we're talking 3 full days.

That's still faster than Greyhound and Amtrak. Greyhound does stop in San Jose, at 70 S. Almaden Avenue at Post Street, within walking distance of the arena. But the trip averages about 80 hours, depending on the run, and will require you to change buses 2, 3, 4 or even 5 times. And you'd have to leave no later than Saturday morning to get there by Tuesday gametime. Round-trip fare is $448.

On Amtrak, to make it in time for a Tuesday night puck-drop, you would leave Penn Station on the Lake Shore Limited at 3:40 PM on Saturday, arrive at Union Station in Chicago at 9:45 AM Central Time on Sunday, and switch to the California Zephyr at 2:00 PM, arriving at Emeryville, California at 4:10 PM Pacific Time on Tuesday. Round-trip fare: This week, a really expensive $1,231. For whatever reason, if ever there was a week to fly rather than take the train this is it. Then you'd have to get to downtown San Francisco or San Jose.

Amtrak service has been restored to downtown Oakland, at 245 2nd Street, in Jack London Square. Unfortunately, it's a half-mile walk to the nearest BART station, at Lake Merritt (8th & Oak). For A's and Raiders games, the station at the Coliseum site, which is part of the BART station there, might be better. 700 73rd Street. And yet, for either of these stations, you'd still have to transfer at Emeryville to an Amtrak Coast Starlight train.

Getting back, the California Zephyr leaves Emeryville at 9:10 AM, arrives in Chicago at 2:50 PM 2 days later, and the Lake Shore Limited leaves at 9:30 PM and arrives in New York at 6:23 PM the next day. So we're talking a Saturday to the next week's Saturday operation by train.

Newark to San Francisco is sometimes a relatively cheap flight, considering the distance. This week, you can get a round-trip nonstop flight on United Airlines for a under $400. BART from SFO to downtown San Francisco takes 30 minutes, and it's $8.65. San Jose does have its own airport, named for the still-living former Congressman Norman Y. Mineta, but it's a little more expensive, and it won't be nonstop.

If you're trying to get from downtown San Francisco to San Jose, a 48-mile trip, CalTrain takes an hour and a half, and it's $19.50 round-trip to Diridon Station, 65 Cahill Street, 2 blocks south of the arena.

Once In the City. San Francisco was settled in 1776, and named for St. Francis of Assisi. San Jose was settled the next year, and named for Joseph, Jesus' earthly father. Both were incorporated in 1850. Oakland was founded in 1852, and named for oak trees in the area.

With the growth of the computer industry, San Jose has become the largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area, with a little over 1 million people. San Francisco has about 870,000, and Oakland 420,000. Overall, the Bay Area is home to 8.7 million people and rising, making it the 4th largest metropolitan area in North America, behind New York with 23 million, Los Angeles with 18 million, and Chicago with just under 10 million.

San Francisco doesn't really have a "city centerpoint," although street addresses seem to start at Market Street, which runs diagonally across the southeastern sector of the city, and contains the city's 8 stops on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) subway system.

Most Oakland street addresses aren't divided into north-south, or east-west. The city does have numbered streets, starting with 1st Street on the bayfront and increasing as you move northeast. One of the BART stops in the city is called "12th Street Oakland City Center," and it's at 12th & Broadway, so if you're looking at a centerpoint for the city, that's as good as any. San Jose's street addresses are centered on 1st Street and Santa Clara Street.
A BART train

A BART ride within San Francisco is $1.75; going from downtown to Daly City, where the Cow Palace is, is $3.00; going from downtown SF to downtown Oakland is $3.15, and from downtown SF to the Oakland Coliseum complex is $3.85. In addition to BART, CalTrain and ACE -- Altamont Commuter Express -- link the Peninsula with San Francisco and San Jose.

The sales tax in California is 6.5 percent, and it rises to 8.75 percent within the City of San Francisco and the City of San Jose. It's 9 percent in Alameda County, including the City of Oakland. In San Francisco, food and pharmaceuticals are exempt from sales tax. (Buying marijuana from a street dealer doesn't count as such a "pharmaceutical," and pot brownies wouldn't count as such a "food." Although he probably wouldn't charge sales tax -- then again, it might be marked up so much, the sales tax would actually be a break.)

ZIP Codes for the South Bay area, including San Jose and Santa Clara, start with the digits 943, 944, 950, 951 and 954. The Area Codes are 408 and 831, overlaid by 669.

Important to note: Do not call San Francisco "Frisco." They hate that. "San Fran" is okay. And, like New York (sometimes more specifically, Manhattan), area residents tend to call it "The City." For a time, the Golden State Warriors, then named the San Francisco Warriors, actually had "THE CITY" on their jerseys. They will occasionally bring back throwback jerseys saying that.

Going In. Named the San Jose Arena from its 1993 opening until 2001, the Compaq Center at San Jose until 2002, and the HP Pavilion at San Jose until 2013, the SAP Center at San Jose, a.k.a. the Shark Tank, is easily identifiable by its triangular, "shark-toothed" roof. Naming rights are owned by SAP SE, a German software company.
The official address is 525 W. Santa Clara Street, across Los Gatos Creek, just to the west of downtown San Jose. It's 48 miles southeast of downtown San Francisco, and 42 miles southeast of downtown Oakland.

If you're driving in, there's plenty of parking, as it's a mile west of downtown, and it's cheap at $9.50. Most likely, someone who drove in would enter from the north or the west gate. The rink runs northeast-to-southwest. The Sharks attack twice at the northeast end.
The arena also hosts the San Jose Barracudas of the American Hockey League. The Golden State Warriors played the 1996-97 season there, while their arena at the Oakland Coliseum complex, now named the Oracle Arena, was being renovated. The San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League played there, making the Playoffs 16 times, winning 10 Division titles and 4 ArenaBowls: 2002, 2004, 2007 and 2015. And yet, despite being the current holders of the league title, the SaberCats have suspended operations.

In the entire world, only Madison Square Garden, the Manchester Evening News Arena in England, and the Air Canada Centre in Toronto are stadiums or arenas that sell more tickets to non-sporting events, including concerts and wrestling.

If you're a fan of the TV show The West Wing, this was the convention center where the ticket of Matt Santos and Leo McGarry was nominated.

Food. San Francisco, due to being a waterfront city and a transportation and freight hub, has a reputation as one of America's best food cities. San Jose's arena benefits from this.

Classix stands are at Sections 103, 113, 116 and 128. These have Nachos, Polish sausage, salad, fruit and snacks. Show Dogs has a specialty hot dog and baked potato stand at 104. Gordon Biersch, at 106, has the classic made famous at Giants games, Garlic Fries.

At 109 and 123, GrillWorks has Philly-style cheesesteaks, burgers, fries, onion rings and sausage. At 110, Sweet Spot has ice cream, cupcakes and cotton candy. At 117 and 127, Rio Adobe has Mexican food. At 118, Le Boulanger has sandwiches, salads and chowder bread bowls. At 120, Panda Express has Chinese food. At 121, Amici's has pizza. At 126, Togo's has deli sandwiches.

In the upper level, at 206, Armadillo Willy's has barbecue. At 210, The Carvery has deli sandwiches. At 220, Sonoma Chicken Coop has chicken dishes. And at 223, Pasta Pomodora has Italian food.

Team History Displays. The Sharks haven't yet won a Stanley Cup. Last season was the 1st in which they won a Western Conference Championship. In only 4 seasons have they even reached the Conference Finals: In 2004, 2010, 2011 and 2016. They did win the President's Trophy, for best overall record in the League, in the 2009 season, for which they also hang a banner for being "Western Conference Regular Season Champions." And they've won 7 Division Championships: 2002, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2016. They have banners reflecting these titles, hanging from the rafters at the northeast end.
Photo taken before the 2016 Conference title

Despite celebrating their 25th Anniversary in 2016, the Sharks have not yet retired any numbers. There are 5 players who played for them who have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, but, between them, played less than 9 full seasons for them: Igor Larionov, Ed Belfour, Rob Blake, Sergei Makarov and Teemu Selanne.

The Sharks did, however, have fan voting for their 25th Anniversary Team, as follows: Forwards Patrick Marleau, Owen Nolan, Joe Thornton, Jonathan Cheechoo, Joe Pavleski and Mike Ricci; defensemen Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Dan Boyle and Douglas Murray; and goaltenders Evgeni Nabokov and Arturs Irbe. Thornton, Burns, Vlasic and team Captain Pavleski are still with the Sharks.

Mark Pavelich, a member of the Gold Medal-winning 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, lasted long enough in the NHL to become an original Shark in 1991-92, even assisting Craig Coxe on the team's 1st-ever regular-season goal.

No players who had yet played for the Sharks, and no players from the Seals franchise, where named to The Hockey News' 100 Greatest Players in 1998. Nor were any selected last year for the NHL's 100th Anniversary 100 Greatest Players.

Former owner George Gund III was given the Lester Patrick Trophy, for contributions to hockey in America. Irbe was elected to the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Hall of Fame.

The Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame (BASHOF) is unusual in that its exhibits are spread over several locations. No induction plaques are on display at the SAP Center. Owen Nolan recently became the 1st Shark inducted. None have yet followed him. Nor have any Seals.

Stuff. The Sharks Store is on the south side of the arena, on the ground floor. They also have team stores throughout the Bay Area. These stores include hats with shark fins on them.

The Giants, the A's, the 49ers, the Raiders, and even the Warriors are historic Bay Area sports teams, with 17 World Championships and 25 finals appearances between them. But in a quarter of a century, the Sharks have never been to a Stanley Cup Finals. So there is no video retrospective, and even books about them are few and far between. You would think that the 25th Anniversary would have changed this, but this doesn't seem to be the case.

In 1994, entering their 4th season and coming off 2 awful expansion seasons and a 3rd with an epic 8th seed vs. 1st seed Playoff upset of the Detroit Red Wings, Steve Cameron wrote Feeding Frenzy! The Wild New World of the San Jose Sharks. In 2001, Ken Arnold wrote Decade of Teal: 10 Years With the San Jose Sharks. And, in 2015, Michaela James wrote the Sharks' entry in the Inside the NHL series.

During the Game. A November 19, 2014 article on The Hockey News' website ranked the NHL teams' fan bases, and listed the Sharks' fans 15th, right in the middle: "Fans come out in droves, but middling ratings otherwise push them down."

This is not a Raider game, where people come dressed as pirates, biker gangsters, Darth Vader, the Grim Reaper, and so on. Nor is this a Giant game where you might be wearing Dodger gear. This is a Sharks game. While they're not particularly fond of their fellow West Coasters -- the Los Angeles Kings, the Anaheim Ducks or the Vancouver Canucks -- you will be safe wearing your Devils colors.

This Sharks-Devils game features one of the dumbest promotions I've ever seen in sports. (How dumb is it, Uncle Mike?) It's a shirtless, lumberjack-bearded bobblehead doll of Joe Thornton.

The Sharks skate onto the ice through a large shark mouth around the tunnel entrance, to the tune of Metallica's "Seek and Destroy." They have a variation on the "Hey, you suck!" chant by yelling it at the entire opposing team after they're introduced.

They hold auditions for National Anthem singers, instead of having a regular. After years of having "Rock and Roll Part II" by Gary Glitter as their goal song, they wisely dropped the convicted sex offender's song and had new "Hey Song" written and recorded for them by a local group called SixxAM.
The mascot is S.J. Sharkie (S.J. for San Jose), although he looks more like a weird dog than a man-eating fish.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the library.

As a Sharks power play begins, the theme from Jaws plays, and the fans move their arms like shark jaws, similar to the University of Florida Gators gesture. When the familiar "Da da da DAT da DAAAA!" is played, instead of "Charge!" the response is "Sharks!"

And, trying to copy the tradition from Detroit of throwing an octopus onto the ice, Sharks fans have taken to throwing leopard sharks, a small variety of the fish, onto the ice.
No, I'm not kidding.

After the Game. Again, Shark fans are not Raider fans. And the San Jose arena is far from any crime issues. Don't antagonize anyone, and you'll be fine.

If you want to go out for a postgame meal or drinks, across the railroad tracks, Santa Clara Street becomes The Alameda, and at 754 The Alameda is a place with a name that sort of ties into the Sharks' theme: Bluefin Sushi & Japanese Restaurant.

If you want something on the go, a Whole Foods is at 777 The Alameda. The Poor House Bistro is just down the block at 91 S. Autumn Street. Henry's World Famous Hi-Life, a renowned Bay Area barbecue joint, is just across the Guadelupe River at 301 W. St. John Street.

There are three bars in the Lower Nob Hill neighborhood of San Francisco that are worth mentioning. Aces, at 998 Sutter Street & Hyde Street in San Francisco's Lower Nob Hill neighborhood, is said to have a Yankee sign out front and a Yankee Fan as the main bartender. It's also the home port of Mets, NFL Giants, Knicks and Rangers fans in the Bay Area.

R Bar, at 1176 Sutter & Polk Street, is the local Jets fan hangout. And Greens Sports Bar, at 2239 Polk at Green Street, is also said to be a Yankee-friendly bar. A recent Thrillist article on the best sports bars in every State named as California's the Kezar Pub, at 770 Stanyan Street, opposite the new Kezar Stadium in Golden Gate Park. Number 7 bus. Of course, you'll have to cross the Bay by car or by BART to get to these bars.

The Kezar Pub is also rated as one of the best bars to watch European soccer games. If you visit the Bay Area during that sport's season (which is in progress), these San Francisco bars are also recommended, due to their early openings: Maggie McGarry's, 1353 Grant Avenue, Bus 30; The Mad Dog in the Fog, 530 Haight Street, MUNI N Line or Bus 6; and Danny Coyle's, 668 Haight Street, MUNI N Line or Bus 6.

One place you definitely won't be able to go is Lefty O'Doul's, named for the legendary ballplayer who was the longtime manager of the Pacific Coast League's San Francisco Seals, at 333 Geary Street, corner of Powell Street, just 3 blocks from the Powell Street BART station and right on a cable car line.

This is because a dispute between the operators of the restaurant and the owners of the building meant the closing of Lefty O'Doul's on February 3, 2017. The owners of the building say they will renovate the current location and reopen under the Lefty O'Doul's name, while the operators of the restaurant say they will open at a new location under the Lefty O'Doul's name. Who has the legal right to operate under the name has not yet been decided.)

Sidelights. The San Francisco Bay Area, including the East Bay (which includes Oakland), has a very rich sports history. Here are some of the highlights:

* AT&T Park. Home of the Giants since 2000, it has been better for them than Candlestick -- aesthetically, competitively, financially, you name it. Winning 3 World Series since it opened, it's been home to The Freak (Tim Lincecum) and The Steroid Freak (Barry Bonds).

It's hosted some college football games, and a February 10, 2006 win by the U.S. soccer team over Japan. 24 Willie Mays Plaza, at 3rd & King Streets.

* Oakland Coliseum complex. This includes the stadium that has been home to the A's since 1968 and to the NFL's Oakland Raiders from 1966 to 1981 and again since 1995; and the Oracle Arena, a somewhat-renovated version of the Oakland Coliseum Arena, home to the NBA's Golden State Warriors on and off since 1966, and continuously since 1971 except for a one-year hiatus in San Jose while it was being renovated, 1996-97. Various defunct soccer teams played at the Coliseum, and the Bay Area's former NHL team, the Oakland Seals/California Golden Seals, played at the arena from 1967 to 1976.

The Oakland Coliseum Arena opened on November 9, 1966 -- 50 years ago this month -- and became home to the Warriors in 1971 -- at which point they changed their name from "San Francisco Warriors" to "Golden State Warriors," as if representing the entire State of California had enabled the "California Angels" to take Los Angeles away from the Dodgers, and it didn't take L.A. away from the Lakers, either.

The arena also hosted the Oakland Oaks, who won the American Basketball Association title in 1969; the Oakland Seals, later the California Golden Seals (didn't work for them, either), from 1967 to 1976; the Golden Bay Earthquakes of the Major Indoor Soccer League; and select basketball games for the University of California from 1966 to 1999. It's also been a major concert venue, and hosted the Bay Area's own, the Grateful Dead, more times than any other building: 66. Elvis Presley sang at the Coliseum Arena on November 10, 1970 and November 11, 1972.

In 1996-97, the arena was gutted to expand it from 15,000 to 19,000 seats. (The Warriors spent that season in San Jose.) This transformed it from a 1960s arena that was too small by the 1990s into one that was ready for an early 21st Century sports crowd. It was renamed The Arena in Oakland in 1997 and the Oracle Arena in 2005. The Warriors plan to move into a new arena in San Francisco, the Chase Center, for the 2019-20 season.

* Seals Stadium. Home of the PCL's San Francisco Seals from 1931 to 1957, the Mission Reds from 1931 to 1937, and the Giants in 1958 and '59, it was the first home professional field of the DiMaggio brothers: First Vince, then Joe, and finally Dom all played for the Seals in the 1930s.

The Seals won Pennants there in 1931, '35, '43, '44, '45, '46 and '57 (their last season). It seated just 18,500, expanded to 22,900 for the Giants, and was never going to be more than a stopgap facility until the Giants' larger park could be built. It was demolished right after the 1959 season, and the site now has a Safeway grocery store.

Bryant Street, 16th Street, Potrero Avenue and Alameda Street, in the Mission District. Hard to reach by public transport: The Number 10 bus goes down Townsend Street and Rhode Island Avenue until reaching 16th, but then it's an 8-block walk. The Number 27 can be picked up at 5th & Harrison Streets, and will go right there.

* Candlestick Park. Home of the Giants from 1960 to 1999, the NFL 49ers since 1970, and the Raiders in the 1961 season, this may have been the most-maligned sports facility in North American history. Its seaside location (Candlestick Point) has led to spectators being stricken by wind (a.k.a. The Hawk), cold, and even fog.

It was open to the Bay until 1971, including the 1962 World Series between the Yankees and the Giants, and was then enclosed to expand it from 42,000 to 69,000 seats for the Niners. It also got artificial turf for the 1970 season, one of the first stadiums to have it – though, to the city's credit, it was also the 1st NFL stadium and 2nd MLB stadium (after Comiskey Park in Chicago) to switch back to real grass.

The Giants only won 2 Pennants there, and never a World Series. But the 49ers have won 5 Super Bowls while playing there, with 3 of their 6 NFC Championship Games won as the home team. The NFL Giants did beat the 49ers in the 1990 NFC Championship Game, scoring no touchdowns but winning 15-13 thanks to 5 Matt Bahr field goals. The Beatles played their last "real concert" ever at the 'Stick on August 29, 1966, 50 years ago this summer. Only 25,000 people came out, a total probably driven down by the stadium's reputation and John Lennon's comments about religion on that tour.

The Giants got out, and the 49ers have now done the same, with their new stadium opening last year. The last sporting event was a U.S. national soccer team win over Azerbaijan earlier this year, the 4th game the Stars & Stripes played there (2 wins, 2 losses). It has now been demolished, and good riddance.

Best way to the site by public transport isn't a good one: The KT light rail at 4th & King Streets, at the CalTrain terminal, to 3rd & Gilman Streets, and then it's almost a mile's walk down Jagerson Avenue. So unless you're driving/renting a car, or you're a sports history buff who HAS to see the place, I wouldn't suggest making time for it.

In spite of the Raiders' return, the 49ers are more popular -- according to a 2014 Atlantic Monthly article, even in Alameda County. This is also true for the Giants, more popular in Alameda County than the A's. The Raiders remain more popular in the Los Angeles area, a holdover from their 1982-94 layover, and also a consequence of L.A. not having had a team from then until the Rams' 2016 return.

* Kezar Stadium. The 49ers played here from their 1946 founding until 1970, the Raiders spent their inaugural 1960 season here, and previous pro teams in the city also played at this facility at the southeastern corner of Golden Gate Park, a mere 10-minute walk from the fabled corner of Haight & Ashbury Streets.

High school football, including the annual City Championship played on Thanksgiving Day, used to be held here as well. Bob St. Clair, who played there in high school, college (University of San Francisco) and the NFL in a Hall of Fame career with the 49ers, has compared it to Chicago's Wrigley Field as a "neighborhood stadium." After the 49ers left, it became a major concert venue.

The original 60,000-seat structure was built in 1925, and was torn down in 1989 (a few months before the earthquake, so there's no way to know what the quake would have done to it), and was replaced in 1990 with a 9,000-seat stadium, much more suitable for high school sports. The original Kezar, named for one of the city's pioneering families, had a cameo in the Clint Eastwood film Dirty Harry. Frederick & Stanyan Streets, Kezar Drive and Arguello Blvd. MUNI light rail N train.

* Emeryville Park. Also known as Oaks Park, this was the home of the Pacific Coast League's Oakland Oaks from 1913 until 1955. The Oaks won Pennants there in 1927, '48, '50 and '54.

Most notable of these was the 1948 Pennant, won by a group of players who had nearly all played in the majors and were considered old, and were known as the Nine Old Men (a name often given to the U.S. Supreme Court). These old men included former Yankee 1st baseman Nick Etten, the previous year's World Series hero Cookie Lavagetto of the Brooklyn Dodgers (an Oakland native), Hall of Fame catcher Ernie Lombardi (another Oakland native), and one very young player, a 20-year-old 2nd baseman from Berkeley named Billy Martin.

Their manager? Casey Stengel. Impressed by Casey's feat of managing the Nine Old Men to a Pennant in a league that was pretty much major league quality, and by his previously having managed the minor-league version of the Milwaukee Brewers to an American Association Pennant, Yankee owners Dan Topping and Del Webb hired Casey to manage in 1949. Casey told Billy that if he ever got the chance to bring him east, he would, and he was as good as his word.

Pixar Studios has built property on the site. 45th Street, San Pablo Avenue, Park Avenue and Watts Street, Emeryville, near the Amtrak station. Number 72 bus from Jack London Square.

* Frank Youell Field. This was another stopgap facility, used by the Raiders from 1962 to 1965, a 22,000-seat stadium that was named after an Oakland undertaker – perhaps fitting, although the Raiders didn't yet have that image. Interestingly from a New York perspective, the first game here was between the Raiders and the forerunners of the Jets, the New York Titans.

It was demolished in 1969. A new field of the same name was built on the site for Laney College. East 8th Street, 5th Avenue, East 10th Street and the Oakland Estuary. Lake Merritt BART station.

* Cow Palace. The more familiar name of the Grand National Livestock Pavilion, this big barn just south of the City Line in Daly City has hosted just about everything, from livestock shows and rodeos to the 1956 and 1964 Republican National Conventions. (Yes, the Republicans came here, not the "hippie" Democrats.)
The '64 Convention is where New York's Governor Nelson Rockefeller refused to be booed off the podium when he dared to speak out against the John Birch Society – the Tea Party idiots of their time – and when Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona was nominated, telling them, "I would remind you, my fellow Republicans, that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And I would remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." (Personally, I think that extremism in the defense of liberty is no defense of liberty.)

Built in 1941, it is one of the oldest remaining former NBA and NHL sites, having hosted the NBA's Warriors (then calling themselves the San Francisco Warriors) from 1962 to 1971, the NHL's San Jose Sharks from their 1991 debut until their current arena could open in 1993, and several minor-league hockey teams.
A Sharks game at the Cow Palace

The 1960 NCAA Final Four was held here, culminating in Ohio State, led by Jerry Lucas and John Havlicek (with future coaching legend Bobby Knight as the 6th man) beating local heroes and defending National Champions California, led by Darrall Imhoff.

The Beatles played here on August 19, 1964 and August 31, 1965, and Elvis Presley sang here on November 13, 1970 and November 28 & 29, 1976. It was the site of Neil Young's 1978 concert that produced the live album Live Rust and the concert film Rust Never Sleeps, and the 1986 Conspiracy of Hope benefit with Joan Baez, Lou Reed, Sting and U2. The acoustics of the place, and the loss of such legendary venues as the Fillmore West and the Winterland Ballroom, make it the Bay Area's holiest active rock and roll site. 2600 Geneva Avenue at Santos Street, in Daly City. 8X bus.

In addition to the preceding, Elvis sang at the Auditorium Arena (now the Kaiser Convention Center, near the Laney College campus in Oakland) early in his career, on June 3, 1956 and again on October 27, 1957; and the San Francisco Civic Auditorium (now the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, 99 Grove Street at Polk Street) on October 26, 1957.

While Fresno is nearly 200 miles southeast, it's closer to San Jose than it is to Los Angeles. Elvis sang at Fresno's Selland Arena on April 25, 1973 and May 12, 1974. 700 M Street at Ventura Street.

* Levi's Stadium. The new home of the 49ers, whose naming rights were bought by the San Francisco-based clothing company that popularized blue jeans all over the world, opened in 2014. It is known as "The Field of Jeans."

This past February, it hosted Super Bowl 50, with the Denver Broncos beating the Carolina Panthers; and an NHL Stadium Series outdoor hockey game there this past February, with the Sharks losing to their arch-rivals, the Los Angeles Kings.

On June 3, it hosted a game of the 2016 Copa America, its 1st match by the U.S. national soccer team, but we lost 2-0 to Colombia. It annually hosts the Pacific-12 Conference Championship Game, and in 2019 (for the 2018 season) it will host the College Football Playoff National Championship.

Before construction, the address of the site was 4701 Great America Parkway at Old Glory Lane in Santa Clara, next to California's Great America park, outside San Jose. Now, the official address of Levi's Stadium is 4900 Marie P. DeBartolo Way, after the mother of former 49ers owner and newly-elected Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Eddie DeBartolo. If you're going to apply to the U.S. Postal Service to make it 4900, why not 4949? The intersection is Marie P. DeBartolo Way and Tasman Drive. It's 46 miles southeast of downtown San Francisco, 39 miles southeast of downtown Oakland, and 9 miles northwest of downtown San Jose.

CalTrain from downtown San Francisco to Santa Clara station. California's Great America theme part is next-door. From downtown San Jose, take the 916 trolley.

* Avaya Stadium. The new stadium for the Earthquakes opened last year. It is soccer-specific and seats 18,000 people. On July 28, 2016, it hosted the MLS All-Star Game, with North London giants Arsenal defeating the MLS All-Stars 2-1. It has hosted matches of the U.S. women's soccer team (the men's team will make its debut there on March 24, in a World Cup Qualifier against Honduras), and has also hosted rugby.

1123 Coleman Avenue & Newhall Drive. It is 3 1/2 miles from downtown San Jose, 41 miles from downtown Oakland, and 46 from downtown San Francisco. ACE (Altamont Commuter Express) to Great America-Santa Clara.

This is actually the 3rd version of the San Jose Earthquakes. The 1st one played in the original North American Soccer League from 1974 to 1984, at Spartan Stadium. This has been home to San Jose State University sports since 1933, it hosted both the old Earthquakes, of the original North American Soccer League, from 1974 to 1984. It's hosted 3 games of the U.S. national team, most recently a 2007 loss to China, and games of the 1999 Women's World Cup.

1251 S. 10th Street, San Jose. San Jose Municipal Stadium, home of the Triple-A San Jose Giants, is a block away at 588 E. Alma Avenue. From either downtown San Francisco or downtown Oakland, take BART to Fremont terminal, then 181 bus to 2nd & Santa Clara, then 68 bus to Monterey & Alma.

San Jose State was also the alma mater of Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the Gold and Bronze Medalists in the 200 meters at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, who then gave their glove-fisted salute for civil rights (most people still don't understand that it wasn't a "Black Power" salute) on the medal platform, to short-term anger and long-term praise.

In 2005, SJSU dedicated a statue commemorating the occasion, with the Silver Medal part of the platform, where Australian runner Peter Norman would have stood, empty so people can pose with the Smith and Carlos figures. Outside Clark Hall, where 6th and San Antonio Streets would have met.
Smith and Carlos at their statue

The 2nd version of the Quakes played at Spartan Stadium from 1996 to 2005, but ran into financial trouble, and got moved to become the Houston Dynamo. The 3rd version was started in 2008, and until 2014 played at Buck Shaw Stadium, now called Stevens Stadium, in Santa Clara, on the campus of Santa Clara University. Also accessible by the Santa Clara ACE station.

Despite all its contributions to women's soccer, the Bay Area no longer has a professional women's team. The San Jose CyberRays of the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA), captained by 1999 penalty hero Brandi Chastain, played at Spartan Stadium from 2001 to 2003, winning the 2001 league title.

FC Gold Pride won the 2010 title in the league named Women's Professional Soccer (WPS), but couldn't sustain itself financially, and folded immediately thereafter. Pioneer Stadium, Hayward. 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd., on the campus of California State University-East Bay, in Hayward. About 28 miles from San Francisco, 19 from Oakland, 28 from San Jose. BART to Hayward, then Bus 60.

* Stanford Stadium. This is the home field of Stanford University in Palo Alto, down the Peninsula from San Francisco. Originally built in 1921, it was home to many great quarterbacks, from early 49ers signal-caller Frankie Albert to 1971 Heisman winner Jim Plunkett to John Elway. It hosted Super Bowl XIX in 1985, won by the 49ers over the Miami Dolphins – 1 of only 2 Super Bowls that ended up having had a team that could have been called a home team. (The other was XIV, the Los Angeles Rams losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Rose Bowl.)

It also hosted San Francisco's games of the 1994 World Cup, a game of the 1999 Women's World Cup, and the soccer games of the 1984 Olympics, even though most of the events of those Olympics were down the coast in Los Angeles. It hosted 10 games by the U.S. national team, totaling 4 wins, 2 losses, 2 draws.

The original 85,000-seat structure was demolished and replaced with a new 50,000-seat stadium in 2006. Arboretum Road & Galvez Street. Caltrain to Palo Alto, 36 miles from downtown Oakland, 35 from downtown San Francisco, 19 from downtown San Jose.

No President has ever been born, or has ever grown up, in the San Francisco Bay Area. But Herbert Hoover, 1929-33, was part of the 1st class at Stanford, from 1891 to 1895, and he and his wife, Lou Henry Hoover, maintained a home there from 1920 until her death in 1944, at which point he moved to the Waldorf Towers in New York. The house is now the official residence of the president -- of Stanford. It is not open to the public. 623 Mirada Avenue, across the campus from the stadium.

Stanford runs a think tank named for the 31st President, the Hoover Insitution, and exhibits inside the Hoover Tower on campus. 550 Serra Mall.

* California Memorial Stadium. Home of Stanford's arch-rivals, the University of California, at its main campus in Berkeley in the East Bay. (The school is generally known as "Cal" for sports, and "Berkeley" for most other purposes.) Its location in the Berkeley Hills makes it one of the nicest settings in college football.

But it's also, quite literally, on the Hayward Fault, a branch of the San Andreas Fault, so if "The Big One" had hit during a Cal home game, 72,000 people would have been screwed. With this in mind, the University renovated the stadium, making it safer and ready for 63,000 fans in 2012. So, like their arch-rivals Stanford, they now have a new stadium on the site of the old one.

The old stadium hosted 1 NFL game, and it was a very notable one: Due to a scheduling conflict with the A's, the Raiders played a 1973 game there with the Miami Dolphins, and ended the Dolphins' winning streak that included the entire 1972 season and Super Bowl VII. 76 Canyon Road, Berkeley. Downtown Berkeley stop on BART; 5 1/2 miles from downtown Oakland, 14 from downtown San Francisco, 48 from downtown San Jose.

Yankee Legend Joe DiMaggio, who grew up in San Francisco and later divided his time between there and South Florida, is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma, on the Peninsula. 1500 Mission Road & Lawndale Blvd. BART to South San Francisco, then about a 1-mile walk.

The Fillmore Auditorium was at Fillmore Street and Geary Boulevard, and it still stands and hosts live music. Bus 38L. Winterland Ballroom, home of the final concerts of The Band (filmed as The Last Waltz) and the Sex Pistols, was around the corner from the Fillmore at Post & Steiner Streets. And the legendary corner of Haight & Ashbury Streets can be reached via the 30 Bus, taking it to Haight and Masonic Avenue and walking 1 block west.

San Francisco, like New York, has a Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), at 151 3rd Street, downtown. The California Palace of the Legion of Honor is probably the city's most famous museum, in Lincoln Park at the northwestern corner of the city, near the Presidio and the Golden Gate Bridge. (Any of you who are Trekkies, the Presidio is a now-closed military base that, in the Star Trek Universe, is the seat of Starfleet Command and Starfleet Academy.) And don't forget to take a ride on one of them cable cars I've been hearing so dang much about.

Oakland isn't much of a museum city, especially compared with San Francisco across the Bay. But the Oakland Museum of California (10th & Oak, Lake Merritt BART) and the Chabot Space & Science Center (10000 Skyline Blvd., not accessible by BART) may be worth a look.

The San Jose Museum of Art is at 110 S. Market Street. The Tech Museum of Innovation, something you might expect to see in the capital of Silicon Valley, is a block away at 201 S. Market. Both are downtown.

The tallest building in Northern California is the new Salesforce Tower, downtown, at 415 Mission Street, rising 1,070 feet. It surpassed the iconic Transamerica Pyramid, 853 feet high, opening in 1972 at 600 Montgomery Street, also downtown. Unlike its anchor to the north, San Jose isn't a big skyscraper city. Its tallest building is "The 88," at 88 San Fernando Street, just 286 feet high.

Earl Warren, then Governor, was nominated for Vice President by the Republicans in 1948, before becoming Chief Justice of the United States, but, while he went to Berkeley and lived in Oakland, he grew up in Bakersfield. Pat Brown, whom Warren crossed party lines to support for San Francisco District Attorney, was elected to 3 terms as Governor, but his 1960 Presidential bid fizzled. His son Jerry was both the youngest (1975-82, 36) and the oldest (2011-present, almost 78) Governor in the State's history, but his 1976, '80 and '92 Presidential runs also went nowhere. And no Bay Area politician has even gotten that close since.

As I said earlier, the Republicans had their 1956 and 1964 Conventions at the Cow Palace, nominating Dwight D. Eisenhower successfully and Barry Goldwater unsuccessfully, respectively, for President. The Democrats had their 1920 Convention at the aforementioned Civic Auditorium, nominating Governor Jim Cox of Ohio, who lost to Warren Harding in a massive landslide. They returned in 1984, to the Moscone Convention Center, named for Mayor George Moscone, elected in 1975 assassinated in 1978, along with Supervisor Harvey Milk. 747 Howard Street, downtown.

The Palace of Fine Arts isn't just an art museum, it has a theater that hosted one of the 1976 Presidential Debates between Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter -- the one where Ford said, "There is no Soviet domination in Eastern Europe." 3301 Lyon Street. Bus 30.

While San Francisco has been the setting for lots of TV shows (from Ironside and The Streets of San Francisco in the 1970s, to Full House and Dharma & Greg in the 1990s), Oakland, being much less glamorous, has had only one that I know of: Hangin' With Mr. Cooper, comedian Mark Curry's show about a former basketball player who returns to his old high school to teach. And San Jose hasn't had enough that much.

In contrast, lots of movies have been shot in Oakland, including a pair of baseball-themed movies shot at the Coliseum: Moneyball, based on Michael Lewis' book about the early 2000s A's, with Brad Pitt as general manager Billy Beane; and the 1994 remake of Angels In the Outfield, filmed there because a recent earthquake had damaged the real-life Angels' Anaheim Stadium, and it couldn't be repaired in time for filming.

Movies set in San Francisco often take advantage of the city's topography, and include the Dirty Harry series, Bullitt (based on the same real-life cop, Dave Toschi); The Maltese Falcon, starring Humphrey Bogart; Woody Allen's Bogart tribute, Play It Again, Sam; The Lady from Shanghai, the original version of D.O.A.48 Hrs., and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home -- with the aircraft carrier USS Ranger, at the Alameda naval base, standing in for the carrier USS Enterprise, which was then away at sea and unavailable.

The Fan, about a fan's obsession with a Giants player, filmed at Candlestick Park. So did Experiment In Terror, Freebie and the Bean, and Contagion.

The 1936 film San Francisco takes place around the earthquake and fire that devastated the city in 1906. And Milk starred Sean Penn as Harvey Milk, America's 1st openly gay successful politician, elected to San Francisco's Board of Supervisors in 1977 before being assassinated with Mayor George Moscone the next year.

Movies set in San Francisco often have scenes filmed there and in Oakland, including Pal Joey, Mahogany, Basic Instinct, the James Bond film A View to a Kill, and Mrs. Doubtfire, starring San Francisco native Robin Williams.

San Jose hasn't yet been as lucky. No notable TV show has been set or filmed there. Alfred Hitchcock filmed Vertigo and The Birds in and around San Francisco, but used San Jose's Diridon Station as a stand-in for a Connecticut station for his 1964 film Marnie.


So, if you can afford it, go on out and join your fellow Devils fans in going coast-to-coast, and take on the San Jose Sharks. Just be nice to your hosts, and ignore Peter Da Bore, and you should be all right.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

How to Be a Devils Fan In Anaheim -- 2018 Edition

Next Sunday night, the New Jersey Devils will be in Anaheim to take on the Ducks.

From their start of play in 1993 to 2006, the Anaheim Ducks were officially named the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. I called them the Mighty Dorks and the Mighty Schmucks. Then they changed their name to just the Anaheim Ducks -- and won the next Stanley Cup. Coincidence?

Before You Go. Unlike the Seattle and San Francisco Bay Areas, the Los Angeles area has very consistent weather. It's a nice place to visit. If you don't mind earthquakes. And mudslides. And wildfires. And smog.

For the moment, The Angels' hometown (well, home County, anyway) newspaper, the Orange County Register, is predicting the days to be in the high 50s, and the nights in the mid-40s. In other words, a little warm for us, but below normal for them. The region's (and indeed the Western U.S.') largest newspaper, the Los Angeles Times, mostly concurs. So you might want to not bring a Winter coat to Newark/JFK/LaGuardia Airport/Penn Station/Port Authority. If you're driving in, leave the Winter coat in the back seat once you get past the Rocky Mountains.

Anaheim is in the Pacific Time Zone, 3 hours behind New York. So there will be some clock & watch fiddling.

Tickets. The Ducks are averaging 16,557 fans per home game this season. That's a little over 96 percent of capacity. Getting tickets might not be hard.

Seats in the lower level, the 200 sections, are $826 between the goals and $108 behind them. Seats in the middle level, the 300 sections, are $158 between and $143 behind. Seats in the upper level, the 400 sections, are much cheaper: $48 between and $20 behind.

Getting There. It's 2,791 miles from Times Square in New York to City Hall in Los Angeles, and 2,773 miles from the Prudential Center in Newark to the Honda Center in Anaheim. In other words, if you're going, you're flying. A round-trip flight from Newark to Los Angeles International Airport (a.k.a. LAX) can be had for under $700.

Driving all that way, and all that way back, is not a good idea: Even if you get someone to go with you, and you take turns, one drives while the other one sleeps, and you pack 2 days' worth of food, and you use the side of the Interstate as a toilet, and you don't get pulled over for speeding, you'll still need over 2 full days. Each way.

But, if you really, really want to... Take Interstate 80 West across New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska. Just before leaving Nebraska for Colorado, you'll get on Interstate 76, and shortly before reaching Denver you'll get on Interstate 70 West. You'll take that all the way to its end in Utah, where you'll take Interstate 15 south. You'll go through a short strip of Arizona before getting into Nevada (where you'll see the Strip, Las Vegas), before getting into California.

Assuming you're not going to a hotel first (and you really should, keeping in mind that those near the stadium will be cheaper than those near Disneyland or in downtown L.A.), you'll get off I-15 at Exit 106, and get on State Route 60, the Pomona Freeway. You'll get off Route 60 at Exit 24, for State Route 57, the Orange Freeway. Take Exit 2 to Katella Blvd. The arena will be on your left. Angel Stadium will be on your right.

Given an average speed of 60 miles an hour, you'll be in New Jersey for an hour and a half, Pennsylvania for 5:15, Ohio for 4 hours, Indiana for 2:30, Illinois for 2:45, Iowa for 5:15, Nebraska for 6 hours, Colorado for 7:15, Utah for 6 hours, Arizona for half an hour, Nevada for 2 hours, and California for 3 hours; for a total of 46 hours. Factor in rest stops, you'll need more like 3 full days. And, remember, that's just one way. And if you end up using Las Vegas as a rest stop, well, you might end up missing the game and end up, yourself, as what "stays in Vegas."

That's still faster than Greyhound (about 65 1/2 hours, changing buses at least 3 times, $570 round-trip, but it could drop to as little as $395 on advanced purchase) and Amtrak (about 62 hours, and really expensive this week, $1,320). The station for both is at 2626 East Katella, between the arena and the stadium.
Anaheim Station, a.k.a. the Iceberg

If you do go all the way to Los Angeles for your hotel, it's a 40-minute drive from downtown L.A. to Angel Stadium down Interstate 5, and a 45-minute trip on Amtrak ($30 round-trip) or a 50-minute trip on the Metrolink Orange County Line ($17.50 round-trip) from L.A.'s Union Station to Anaheim's Amtrak station.
Once In the City. The sales tax in California is 7.5 percent, although it's an even 8 percent in Orange County. The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) sells daily bus passes for $5.00.

Orange County, California is home to 3 million people, about 330,000 of them in the City of Anaheim, a city founded in 1857 and, since its first settlers were German, named for the German for "home by the Santa Ana River."

That total of 330,000 people would make Anaheim smaller than the smallest of New York City's Boroughs, Staten Island; but larger than any city in New York State other than New York City (topped by Buffalo with 260,000), New Jersey (Newark has 275,000) or Connecticut (Bridgeport has 145,000). Add neighboring Riverside County, and there's over 5.2 million people that are, by the standard I use for each of the various teams' spheres of influence, in the Angels' "market."

Still, while that puts them in the Los Angeles market, 2nd to New York in both MLB and NHL, on its own, the Anaheim market ranks 13th in MLB and 14th in the NHL. That's higher than such cold-weather cities as Minnesota, Denver, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and every Canadian city that's ever been in the NHL except for Toronto -- but it still doesn't make Anaheim a good hockey market. (Quick success has done that.)

But while the Angels have changed their name over the years to reflect the market for which they're shooting -- going from "Los Angeles" to "California" in 1966, to "Anaheim" in 1997, and to "The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim" in 2005, as if they could get all of California or even the Los Angeles region -- the Ducks have never pretended to be anything other than Orange County's team. They knew the Kings had a 26-year head-start on them, even if they were able to win the Stanley Cup 5 years sooner than the Kings did (in real life, whereas in franchise life they did it in 14 years compared to the Kings' 45 years), so they knew they had to build their own fanbase, rather than trying to get bandwagoners from the Kings' territory.

ZIP Codes in Orange County start with the digits 925, 926, 927 and 928; while the Area Code is 714, overlaid by 657.

Going In. The Honda Center, which opened in 1993 as the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim (feeding the "duck" theme, and still frequently called the Ponda Center rather than by its Japanese automaker-bought name), is at 2695 East Katella Avenue.

The Ducks share it with the Los Angeles Kiss, an Arena Football League team part-owned by Kiss lead singer Gene Simmons. Previously, the Anaheim Piranhas played arenaball here in 1996 and 1997. The NBA's Los Angeles Clippers played selected home games here from 1994 to 1999, and UCLA played the 2011-12 season here while Pauley Pavilion was being renovated. It hosted the NCAA Frozen Four in 1999.

The Sacramento Kings tried to move there for the 2011-12 season, but a deal fell through. The company that operates the arena would still like to lure an NBA team, although having 3 teams in 1 sport in 1 metro area hasn't been done since 1957 (baseball in New York), and even with the Clippers doing really well attendance-wise for the first time, I think 3 local sets of hoopsters is a bit ridiculous (especially when you add the college game with UCLA, USC, Loyola Marymount, Cal State-Fullerton, etc.).
As could be expected from a suburban and/or California stadium, there is as much parking as you'll see anywhere. Parking is $16.

If you drive in, you'll most likely enter from the south. The rink is laid out east-to-west, and the Ducks attack twice toward the east end.
Food. Being an international city, you'd think the sports venues in Los Angeles would have great variety. Orange County, loaded with both Hispanics and especially Asians, is no exception. I should not that, unlike most arenas, where the lower level is the 100 sections and the upper level is the 200 sections, the Honda Center labels its lower level Plaza Level and numbers those sections in the 200s, while the upper level is the Terrace Level and its sections are numbered in the 400s.

There's Gelato (ice cream) at 202, Anaheim Pizza Company at 203 and 411, Stoneworks wings (chicken, not duck) and pizza at 210, Burger Bistro at 217 and 408, Outlaws Smokehouse (a barbecue stand, not to be confused with Outback Steakhouse) at 219 and 421, Melissa's Cart (health food) at 225 and 401, Pick Up Stix (Asian) at 226, Wahoo's Fish Taco (a San Diego favorite come up the freeway) at 228, Main Street Deli at 430, Bowl'd Over (more Asian) at 433, and Anaheim Chile (Mexican) at 443.

At 434 is Stick Work, which is not a pun on hockey sticks, but a little bit of everything: Bacon wrapped knockwurst (German), Teriyaki chicken and Tempura vegetables (Japanese), Creole shrimp and Andouille sausage (Louisiana), and several classically unhealthy American items: House made corn dogs, fried apple pie, fried Oreos, S'mores, and a fried peanut butter & jelly brownie. Apparently, the Ducks' message for visiting teams' fans is, "If we can't beat ya, we'll send ya to the emergency room."

Team History Displays. Despite being a relatively new team, the Ducks have had a bit of success. They've won 6 Pacific Division titles: 2007, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. They've won 2 Western Conference titles: 2003 and 2007. (They did not finish 1st in the Division in 2003.) And they've won the 2007 Stanley Cup. They have banners reflecting these achievements.
Clearly taken during the 2014-15 season,
as the 2015, '16 and '17 seasons' Division title banners aren't up yet.

The Ducks have retired 1 uniform number, the 8 of right wing Teemu Selanne, who was with them from 1996 to 2001, was traded, missed the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals against the Devils, was reacquired in 2005, was part of the 2007 Cup win, and retired in 2014.
The Hall currently has 7 players who played for the Ducks. Selanne was elected last year. So was left wing Paul Kariya, who was there for the 2003 Finals but not the 2007 Cup. Defenseman Scott Niedermayer, who helped the Devils win 3 Cups, went to Anaheim to play alongside his brother Rob, and captained them to the 2007 Cup. Defenseman Chris Pronger also played on that team. The other 3 were only Ducks briefly: Left wing Jari Kurri and centers Adam Oates and Sergei Fedorov.

The Devils retired Nieder's Number 27, but the Ducks, as yet, have not. Nor have they retired Kariya's 9, nor Pronger's 44.

Since the team only started play in 1993, no player identified with the Ducks was named to The Hockey News' 100 Greatest Players. Selanne, Pronger and Niedermayer were named to the NHL's 100th Anniversary 100 Greatest Players in 2017. Niedermayer and Ruslain Salei, the defenseman from Belarus who played on their 2003 Finals team and was killed in the 2011 plane crash that wiped out Russian team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, have been elected to the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame. Former general manager Brian Burke has received the Lester Patrick Trophy, for contributions to hockey in America.

The Ducks did not name a 20th Anniversary Team in 2013, nor a 25th Anniversary Team this season. Maybe they will at the start of next season. Then again, the Devils have never named an Anniversary Team.

Stuff. According to the arena website, "The Anaheim Team Store is located on the South side of the Honda Center, and carries a large selection of Ducks merchandise, as well as other NHL team products. The Anaheim Team Store also carries exclusive and game used items!" Exclamation point!

There haven't been a whole lot of books written about the Ducks, in spite of their no longer being an expansion team. Probably the most comprehensive one is their entry in the NHL's official Inside the NHL series, published last year by Nick Day. The NHL released a DVD series about their 2007 Cup win. Other than that, the only videos would be the Mighty Ducks movies, which, of course, don't feature the real-life NHL team. Besides, they're not all they're quacked up to be.

Yes, I went there.

During the Game. A November 19, 2014 article on The Hockey News' website ranked the NHL teams' fan bases, and listed the Ducks' fans 26th -- that's 5th from the bottom. The article was very blunt: "Dominant team can't draw capacity crowds. No fans deserve their team less." Translation: Southern California can't support 2 NHL teams; we know they can't, because, even though both teams are currently good, they don't support them.

Ducks fans don't like the Los Angeles Kings or the San Jose Sharks. They might have bad feelings toward the Devils because of Stevens vs. Kariya in 2003. But there's now an entire generation of Duck fans that doesn't remember that, and most others probably don't care. At any rate, you can bond with them over your shared hatred of the Kings.

The March 17 Ducks-Devils game is

The Ducks hold auditions for National Anthem singers, instead of having a regular, or having celebrities do it. This may be for the best: Before a 1997 Playoff game, Lucy Lawless, the New Zealand-born star of Xena: Warrior Princess, who really is a good singer, sang the Anthem wearing a star-spangled bustier and an Uncle Sam top hat. At the end, the bustier fell, and -- it's not clear whether she had yet realized there was a "wardrobe malfunction" -- she gave a Xena-style war whoop. Needless to say, she has not been invited back.

The Ducks' mascot is a duck named Wild Wing. (No, he's not from Buffalo, he's from Anaheim.) He is a representation of the team's 1st logo, a duck with a white goalie mask altered to fit his beak. Despite making the Playoffs for the 1st time that season, 1997 was not a good year for the Mighty Ducks: In addition to the Lucy Lawless incident, there was another where Wild Wing's routine of being lowered from the rafters to the ice to start the game went wrong, and he was left suspended for the remainder of pregame introductions. Later still that season, a stunt in which he was supposed to jump through a flaming hoop went wrong, and his costume caught fire. The man in the suit was not injured either time.
As Quentin Tarantino might say, he's a bad brother ducker.

The goal song is "Bro Hymn" by Pennywise. "My Baby" by Jeremiah Red is played after a Ducks win. But the fans' biggest chant is stupid: It's, "Let's go, Du-ucks!" "Ducks" as 2 syllables, as in, "Let's go, Yankees!" Not 1 syllable, as in, "Let's go, Mets!" Or even 3, as, "Let's go, An-a-heim!" "Du-ucks!" is even dumber than the "Quack! Quack! Quack!" chant from the Mighty Ducks movies. And you'd think they'd sell "duck call" kazoos, but they don't.

After the Game. The Honda Center is yet another of those suburban islands in a sea of parking, so you won't be in any neighborhood, much less a bad one. You'll almost certainly be safe.

Near the Honda Center, if you're interested in a postgame meal or drink, are J.T. Schmid's Restaurant & Brewery at 2610 East Katella, Rubio's at 2406 East Katella, Noble Ale Works at 1621 South Sinclair Street, and, if you're really desperate, there's a Hooter's. There are several familiar names down Katella from the stadium: McDonald's, Starbucks, Denny's. There's also The Catch.

The closest thing I could find to a Yankee-friendly bar near the Anaheim arena and stadium is the Katella Grill, at 1325 W. Katella Avenue in Orange, about 3 miles away. It's gotten some praise from New Yorkers as a nice place.

In and around Los Angeles proper, there's some places that may interest you. A recent Thrillist article called Big Wangs the best sports bar in the State of California. In this case, "Wangs" is a countrified version of "wings," as in chicken wings. (Although a male rooster is sometimes called a "cock.") 801 S. Grand Avenue, downtown, near the Staples Center.

Rick's Tavern On Main is the home of the L.A. area's Yankees fan club. 2907 Main Street in Santa Monica, 2 blocks in from the beach. Bus 733 from downtown L.A. (While the 1970s sitcom Three's Company was set in Santa Monica, close to the beach, I cannot confirm that Rick's was the basis for the Regal Beagle.) West 4th & Jane is owned by a New Yorker and is an L.A.-area haven for Met fans. 1432 4th Street, Santa Monica. Bus R10.

O'Brien's Irish Pub at 2226 Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica is the home of the local fan club of the New York Giants football team. Bus R10. (Although it's also in Santa Monica, it's 3 miles in from the beach and Rick's.) On The Thirty is the home of L.A. area Jets fans. 14622 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Metro Red Line to Universal/Studio City, then transfer to Bus 150. I have been unable to find a corresponding Met fans' bar.

If your visit to Los Angeles is during the European soccer season (which is in progress), the best soccer bar in the L.A. area is The Fox & Hounds (that's plural), 11100 Ventura Blvd., Studio City. Metro Red Line to Universal/Studio City, then Bus 150 or 240 to Ventura & Arch.

Sidelights. The Los Angeles metropolitan area, in spite of not having Major League Baseball until 1958, has a very rich sports history. And while L.A. is still a car-first city, it does have a bus system and even has a subway now. You may need it if you visit L.A. during the 2028 Olympics, which it has been awarded.

* Angel Stadium. Known as Anaheim Stadium from 1966 to 1996 and Edison International Field of Anaheim from 1997 to 2004, the Angels have called this place home for half a century -- making it the 4th-oldest ballpark currently active, but the 2nd-oldest in the L.A. area behind Dodger Stadium.

Known as the Big A for its A-shaped, halo-topped scoreboard, it was expanded in 1979, with football bleachers for the Rams, taking capacity from 43,000 to 69,000, making it "The Bigger A," as a smaller A-frame was put atop the bleachers, while the original scoreboard was moved out to the edge of the parking lot as a message board. It's still there, 50 years after the stadium's opening.

The Angels have reached the Playoffs 10 times, but only won 1 Pennant, in 2002, defeating the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. The Rams, playing here from 1980 to 1994, didn't have much more success, reaching the NFC Championship Game in 1985 and 1989, but not reaching the Super Bowl. It also hosted the Southern California Sun of the World Football League in 1974 and '75, and the California Surf of the original North American Soccer League from 1978 to 1981. College football's Freedom Bowl was played here from 1984 to 1994.

* Anaheim Convention Center. With the Angels having opened house in Orange County in 1966, prospective owners of teams in other sports began to consider the area. This complex opened in 1967, and includes a 7,500-seat arena.

That year, it became the home of a charter team in the American Basketball Association, the Anaheim Amigos, who couldn't even come close to filling the small capacity, averaging just 1,293 fans per home game. I've been to many a high school basketball game with more attendees than that. So the team moved up the freeway to the L.A. Sports Arena, and became the Los Angeles Stars. They were no more successful there, and moved to Salt Lake City, where, as the Utah Stars, they won the 1971 ABA title.

The ACC was home to the Anaheim Oranges of World Team Tennis in 1978, the California Surf of the indoor version of the old North American Soccer League in 1979-80, the wrestling matches of the 1984 Olympics, and the Big West Conference basketball tournaments (men's and women's) from 2001 to 2010. But if you don't count the ABA, then it's hosted exactly 1 major league sporting event ever, and then only as an emergency: On May 3, 1992, with the South Central riots still raging mere blocks from the Sports Arena, the Clippers moved Game 4 of their Playoff series with the Utah Jazz to the ACC, and won 115-107.

The Los Angeles Kings have never played at the Anaheim Convention Center. Nor have the Sacramento Kings. But the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, sang here on April 23 and 24, 1973 and November 30, 1976.

The ACC is now the largest exhibit facility on the West Coast. 800 W. Katella Avenue, across the street from Disneyland, about 2 miles west of Angel Stadium, and about 2 1/2 miles west of the Honda Center. Bus 50 goes down Katella between the venues.

* Wrigley Field. Yes, you read that right: The Pacific Coast League's Los Angeles Angels played here from 1925 to 1957, and the AL's version played their first season here, 1961. The PCL Angels were a farm team of the Chicago Cubs, and when chewing-gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. bought them both, he built the Angels' park to look like what was then known as Cubs Park, and then named this one, and then the Chicago one, Wrigley Field. So this ballpark was Wrigley Field first. The Angels' PCL rivals, the Hollywood Stars, shared it from 1926 to 1935. Its capacity of 22,000 was too small for the Dodgers, and the AL Angels moved out after one season.

The PCL Angels won 5 Pennants while playing here: 1926, 1933, 1934, 1947 and 1956.  They won these on top of the 7 they won before moving in: 1903, 1905, 1907, 1908, 1916, 1918 and 1921.  So that's 12 Pennants total.  The Stars won Pennants here in 1929 and 1930. It hosted a U.S. soccer loss to England in 1959 and a draw vs. Mexico the next year.

Torn down in 1966, it lives on in ESPN Classic rebroadcasts of Home Run Derby, filmed there (because it was close to Hollywood) prior to the 1960 season. Mickey Mantle was a fixture, but the only other guy thought of as a Yankee to participate was Bob Cerv (then with the Kansas City A's). Yogi Berra wasn't invited, nor was Moose Skowron, nor Roger Maris (who had yet to play his first game in Pinstripes).

42nd Place, Avalon Blvd., 41st & San Pedro Streets. Metro Red Line to 7th Street/Metro Center station, transfer to Number 70 bus. Be careful, this is South Central, so if you're overly nervous, you may want to skip this one.

* Gilmore Field. Home to the Hollywood Stars, this 13,000-seat park didn't last long, from 1939 to 1957.  The Stars won PCL Pennants here in 1949, 1952 and 1953.  A football field, Gilmore Stadium, was adjacent. CBS Television City was built on the site. 7700 Beverly Blvd. at The Grove Drive.  Metro Red Line to Vermont/Beverly station, then either the 14 or 37 bus.

* Dodger Stadium. Walter O'Malley's Temple of Greed has been home to the Bums since 1962 -- shockingly, for those of us raised on the myth of the Brooklyn Dodgers, that not only means it's lasted longer than Ebbets Field did, but it's now the 3rd-oldest stadium in the majors, behind only Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. (Anaheim is 4th, a few months older than the Oakland Coliseum.) However, the place is now in the process of being modernized, little by little, and Magic fully intends that, having seen a 50th Anniversary, the Chavez Ravine amphitheatre will see a 100th.

The Dodgers clinched over the Yankees here in 1963 and took 3 straight from them in 1981; the Yanks took 2 of 3 in 1977 and clinched here in 1978. Just don't wear San Francisco Giants gear here, or they might try to kill you. No, I'm not kidding: Against all other teams, they show up in the 3rd inning and leave in the 7th Inning Stretch; against San Fran, they turn into Raiders fans.

The Angels shared it from 1962 to 1965, printing "Chavez Ravine" (the name of the geological formation previously there) on their tickets instead of "Dodger Stadium."

It has never hosted a pro football or soccer team, but there have been college football games played there. Despite being the designated home team, the Kings lost an NHL Stadium Series game to the Ducks at Dodger Stadium in 2014.

The Beatles played their next-to-last concert here on August 28, 1966. Other concerts include Elton John during the 1975 World Series and again in 1992, the Bee Gees in 1979, the Jacksons' Victory Tour in 1984, U2 in 1992, the Three Tenors in 1994, the Rolling Stones in 1994, Bruce Springsteen in 2003, and Beyoncé in 2016.

1000 Vin Scully Avenue (formerly Elysian Park Avenue), Los Angeles. Too far to walk from the nearest subway stop, and while there is a Dodger Stadium Express bus, it only operates on Dodger home game days.

* Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Probably the most famous building in the State of California, unless you count San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge or the HOLLYWOOD sign.  The University of Southern California (USC) has played football here since 1923. The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) played here from 1928 to 1981, when they inexplicably moved out of the Coliseum, and the city that forms their name, into a stadium that could arguably be called USC's other home field.

The Coliseum was the centerpiece of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games. It was home to the NFL's Rams from 1946 to 1979 and the Raiders from 1982 to 1994, and to a number of teams in other leagues, including the AFL's Chargers in 1960 before they moved down the coast to San Diego.

The Dodgers played here from 1958 to 1961 while waiting for Dodger Stadium to be ready, but the shape of the field led to a 251-foot left-field fence, the shortest in modern baseball history. They got the biggest crowd ever for an official baseball game, 92,706, for Game 5 of the 1959 World Series; 93,103 for Roy Campanella's testimonial, an exhibition game against the Yankees on May 7, 1959; and the largest crowd for any baseball game  played anywhere in the world, 115,300, for a preseason exhibition with the Red Sox on March 29, 2008, to celebrate their 50th Anniversary in L.A.

A crowd of 102,368 on November 10, 1957, for a rivalry game between the Rams and the San Francisco 49ers, stood as a regular-season NFL record until 2005. Ironically, the first Super Bowl, held here on January 15, 1967 (Green Bay Packers 35, Kansas City Chiefs 17) was only 2/3 sold -- the only Super Bowl that did not sell out. Super Bowl VII (Miami Dolphins 14, Washington Redskins 7) was also played here.

It has hosted 20 matches of the U.S. soccer team -- only Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in Washington has hosted more. The U.S. has won 9 of those games, lost 7 and drawn 4. In 1967, as 2 separate leagues bid for U.S. soccer fans, it hosted the Los Angeles Wolves and the Los Angeles Toros. Those leagues merged to form the original North American Soccer League, but the Coliseum only hosted that league in 2 more seasons, for the Los Angeles Aztecs in 1977 and 1981.

Officially, the Coliseum now seats 93,607, and will again be the home of the Rams for the 2016, '17, '18 and '19 seasons, before their new stadium in Inglewood is ready. Oddly, since both the Rams and the Raiders moved away after the 1994 season, the Oakland Raiders seem to be the most popular NFL team in Los Angeles County, but the Chargers, who had been much closer in San Diego, 90 miles away, are the most popular team in Orange County.

* Banc of California Stadium and site of Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. Next-door to the Coliseum, it opened in 1959, and hosted the Democratic Convention the next year, although John F. Kennedy gave his acceptance speech at a packed Coliseum, debuting his theme of a "New Frontier."

The NBA's Lakers played here from 1960 to 1967, the NHL's Kings their first few home games in 1967 before the Forum was ready, the NBA's Clippers from 1984 to 1999, the ABA's Stars from 1968 to 1970, the WHA's Sharks from 1972 to 1974, the 1968 and 1972 NCAA Final Fours (both won by UCLA, over North Carolina and Florida State, respectively), USC basketball from 1959 to 2006, and UCLA basketball a few times before Pauley Pavilion opened in 1965 and again in 2011-12 due to Pauley's renovation.

Due to its closeness to Hollywood studios, the Sports Arena has often been used for movies that need an arena to simulate a basketball or hockey game, a fight (including the Rocky films), a concert, or a political convention.  Lots of rock concerts have been held here, and Bruce Springsteen, on its stage, has called the building "the joint that don't disappoint" and "the dump that jumps."

The dump jumps no more: The Sports Arena has been torn down, and Banc of California Stadium, the soccer-specific stadium for the new Los Angeles FC, has been built on the site.

3900 Block of S. Figueroa Street, just off the USC campus in Exposition Park. The California Science Center (including the space shuttle Endeavour), the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and the California African American Museum are also there, and the Shrine Auditorium, former site of the Academy Awards, is but a few steps away. Number 40 or 42 bus from Union Station. Although this is on the edge of South Central, you will probably be safe.

* Galen Center. The home of USC basketball since 2006, it's just up the block from Exposition Park, at 3400 S. Figueroa.

* Rose Bowl. Actually older than the Coliseum by a few months, it opened in 1922 and, except for 1942 (moved to Durham, North Carolina for fear of Japanese attack right after Pearl Harbor), it has hosted the Rose Bowl game every New Year's Day (or thereabouts) since 1923. As such, it has often felt like a home away from home for USC, Michigan and Ohio State. UCLA has used it as its home field since the 1982 season.

It hosted 5 Super Bowls, including the first ones won by the Raiders (XI) and Giants (XXI), plus the all-time biggest attendance for an NFL postseason game, 103,985, for SB XIV (Pittsburgh Steelers 31, Rams 19, the "home" field advantage not helping the Hornheads). And it hosted the 1983 Army-Navy Game, with Hollywood legend Vincent Price serving as the referee. The transportation of the entire Corps of Cadets, and the entire Brigade of Midshipmen, was said to be the largest U.S. military airlift since World War II.

It's hosted 18 games of the U.S. soccer team, most recently a loss to Mexico on October 10, 2015; and several games of the 1994 World Cup, including a Semifinal and the Final, in which Brazil beat Italy on penalty kicks. It also hosted several games of the 1999 Women's World Cup, including the Final, a.k.a. the Brandi Chastain Game. It was home to the Los Angeles Galaxy from their 1996 inception to 2002, including the 2000 CONCACAF Champions League and 2002 MLS Cup wins.

In NASL play, it hosted the Los Angeles Wolves in 1968, and the Los Angeles Aztecs in 1978 and 1979. They played at Weingart Stadium at East Los Angeles College in 1974, their 1st season, when they won the NASL title; and Murdock Stadium, at El Camino Junior College, in 1975 and '76. Yes, the defending champions of America's top soccer league played at a junior college. This was American soccer in the Seventies.

Rose Bowl Drive & Rosemont Avenue. Number 485 bus from Union Station to Pasadena, switch to Number 268 bus.

* Edwin W. Pauley Pavilion. Following their 1964 (and soon their 1965) National Championship, UCLA coach John Wooden wanted a suitable arena for his ever-growing program. He got it in time for the 1965-66 season, and it has hosted 9 more National Championships, making for 11 banners (10 coached by Wooden).

The building was named for an oil magnate who was also a Regent of the University of California system, whose donation to its building went a long way toward making it possible.  Edwin Pauley was a friend of, and appointee to several offices by, Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, but the student protests of the 1960s led him to switch sides and support Ronald Reagan for Governor.

Pauley Pavilion was the site of the 2nd debate of the 1988 Presidential campaign, where CNN anchor Bernard Shaw asked the question that shattered the campaign of Governor Michael Dukakis – not that the Duke helped himself with his answer. Oddly, he held his Election Eve rally there, despite being a Bostonian. (In contrast, Boston's JFK held his Convention in the Coliseum complex but his Election Eve rally at the Boston Garden.)

Metro Purple Line to Wilshire/Normandie station, switch to 720 bus, then walk up Westwood Plaza to Strathmore Place. A few steps away is Drake Stadium, the track & field facility that was home to 1960 Olympic Decathlon champion Rafer Johnson and another UCLA track star you might've heard of, named Jackie Robinson. On the way up Westwood Plaza, you'll pass UCLA Medical Center, now named for someone who died there, Ronald Reagan. (John Wayne, Coach John Wooden and Michael Jackson also died there.) The UCLA campus also has a Dykstra Hall, but I'm 99 percent sure it wasn't named after Lenny Dykstra.

* The Forum. Home of the Lakers and the Kings from 1967 to 1999, built by their then-owner, Jack Kent Cooke, who went on to sell them and buy the NFL's Washington Redskins. It was known from 1988 to 2003 as the Great Western Forum, after a bank. The Lakers appeared in 14 NBA Finals here, winning 6, with the Knicks clinching their last title over the Lakers here in 1973; the Kings appeared in just 1 Stanley Cup Finals here, losing it. It was also home to the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks in 1997, '98 and '99.

Now owned by the Madison Square Garden Corporation, thus run by James Dolan, which means it's going to be mismanaged. Elvis sang here on November 14, 1970 and May 11, 1974. The Forum is not currently being used by any professional team, but was recently the stand-in for the Sunshine Center, the arena in the short-lived ABC sitcom Mr. Sunshine. 3900 W. Manchester Blvd.

* City of Champions Stadium. This is the current name (which will almost certainly be tossed aside for a corporate one) for the project to build a new stadium for the Rams in Inglewood, on the site of the Hollywood Park horse racing track.

Set to seat 70,000, it will have a retractable roof, and be expandable to 100,000 for Super Bowls and NCAA Final Fours. It is scheduled to open for the Rams and Chargers in time for the 2020 NFL season. It will also host Super Bowl LVI on February 6, 2022. If the U.S. ever gets to host another World Cup (the next available one is 2026), it would likely be a site. Prairie Avenue and Arbor Vitae Street, across Pincay Drive from the Forum. For both facilities, use Metro Silver Line to Harbor Transitway station, switch to Number 115 bus. (Be careful, this transfer is in South Central.)

* Staples Center. Home of the Lakers, Clippers and Kings since 1999, and usually the home of the Grammy Awards. The Kings won the Stanley Cup over the Devils here in 2012, and the Lakers have won 5 of their 7 NBA Finals since moving in. The Sparks won the WNBA title in 2001 and '02. The Democratic Convention was held here in 2000, nominating Al Gore.

1111 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, 30 miles from the Honda Center, making it the closest NBA arena to Anaheim. Nearest Metro stop is Westlake/MacArthur Park, 8 blocks away.

Yes, that MacArthur Park, the one where songwriter Jimmy Webb used to take the girlfriend who ended up leaving him and inspiring the song of the same title recorded by Richard Harris and later Donna Summer, and "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" by Glen Campbell, and "The Worst That Could Happen" by Johnny Maestro's later group, the Brooklyn Bridge. The worst that could happen there now, you don’t want to know: Since the 1980s it's been a magnet for gang violence, although this was significantly reduced in the 2000s.

* Titan Stadium. On the campus of California State University, Fullerton, this 10,000-seat facility is better known for soccer, having been used for NCAA Tournament games, U.S. Open Cup matches by the Los Angeles Galaxy, and 8 games by the U.S. national team -- which is undefeated there, winning 4 and drawing 4. 800 N. State College Blvd. Metrolink Blue Line from L.A. to Buena Park, then Number 24 bus. Or Number 57 bus from Angel Stadium.

* StubHub Center. Formerly the Home Depot Center, this 30,500-seat stadium has been home to MLS' Los Angeles Galaxy since it opened in 2003, and Chivas USA from its formation in 2004 until it went out of business in 2014. In 2017, the Los Angeles Chargers began using it as a stopgap facility until the City of Champions Stadium opens.

Aside from the regular-season title of the Western Conference in 2007, Chivas USA, a subsidiary of the legendary Guadalajara, Mexico-based Chivas, won nothing. But the Gals -- yes, they get that feminized nickname -- have won more MLS Cups than any other team, 5: 2002, 2005, 2011, 2012 and 2014, all but the 1st while playing here. They also won the CONCACAF Champions League, in 2000, and the U.S. Open Cup in 2001 and 2005.

It's hosted the MLS Cup Final in 2003, 2004, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2014. It's hosted 12 games by the national team, most recently a win over Canada on February 5, 2016, winning 8, losing 2 and drawing 2. It hosted 6 games of the 2003 Women's World Cup, including the Final, in which Germany beat Sweden.

18400 Avalon Blvd. in Carson, adjacent to Cal State-Dominguez Hills. Public transport is difficult. You'd have to take 2 buses: First, the 910 or 950 Silver Line from downtown to the Harbor Gateway Transit Center, then the 246 San Pedro-Point Fermin line. That will get you to the corner of Avalon Blvd. and Victoria Street, the northwestern corner of the stadium's property.

* Veterans Memorial Stadium. This 11,600-seat stadium, opening in 1948, was the home field for the football program at California State University at Long Beach, a.k.a. Cal State-Long Beach, CSU-Long Beach or Long Beach State, from 1955 until the program was folded in 1991.

On April 28, 1957, it was the site of the 1st game for the U.S. soccer team against Mexico on home soil. Of the 10 previous meetings, starting at the 1934 World Cup, 1 (the 1st ) was in Italy, 1 was in a tournament in Cuba, and the rest were in Mexico City. It was a qualifier for the 1958 World Cup, and it didn't go so well: About 12,500 fans attended, most of them Mexicans coming over the border or Mexican-Americans choosing heritage over homeland, and Mexico won 7-2. Aside from that 1st match in 1934, the U.S. would not beat Mexico until 1980.

Like the old Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, it is locally known as simply "The Vet." 5000 E. Lew Davis Street, about 19 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. Not easy to get to by public transportation: Bus 910 or 950 to Harbor/Century Transitway Station, then Metro Green Line to Lakewood Blvd., then Bus 266 to Lakewood & Michelson, then Bus 112 to Clark & Lew Davis.

* Gersten Pavilion. This 4,156-seat arena opened in 1981 as the home court for Loyola Marymount University, best known for their 1990 postseason run that included the death of Hank Gathers. For this reason, it is known as Hank's House. 1 LMU Drive. Bus 733 to Venice & Lincoln, then Bus 3 to Manchester & Loyola.

* Hollywood Bowl. This 17,376-seat outdoor amphitheater in the Hollywood Hills, with the HOLLYWOOD sign in the background, is one of the best-known concert venues in the world. Opening in 1922, it should be familiar to anyone who's seen films such as the original 1937 version of A Star Is BornDouble Indemnity, Xanadu, and Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl. The Beatles played here on August 23, 1964, and again on August 29 & 30, 1965. 2301 N. Highland Avenue. Metro Red Line to Hollywood/Highland Station, then walk almost a mile up Highland.

* Academy Award ceremony sites. The Oscars have been held at:
** 1929, Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (7000 Hollywood Blvd.).
** 1930-43, alternated between the Ambassador Hotel, 3400 Wilshire Blvd.; and the Biltmore Hotel, 506 S. Grand Avenue, downtown.
** 1944-46, Grauman's Chinese Theater (more about that in a moment).
** 1947-48, Shrine Auditorium, 665. W. Jefferson Blvd., Los Angeles (Metro Silver Line to Figueroa/Washington, transfer to Number 81 bus). Elvis sang here on June 8, 1956.
** 1949-60, Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles.
** 1961-68, Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, which also hosted the legendary televised rock concert The T.A.M.I. Show in 1964, 1855 Main Street, Santa Monica (Number 10 bus from Union Station).
** 1969-87, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Avenue, downtown;
** 1988-2001, Shrine Auditorium again.
** 2002-present, Kodak Theater (which also hosts American Idol), 6801 Hollywood Blvd (Metro Red Line to Hollywood/Highland).

All of these still stand, except the Ambassador, demolished in 2005. The site of a legendary nightclub, the Cocoanut Grove, and filming site of a lot of movies, the last movie filmed there was Bobby, in honor of the building's most tragic event, the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy on June 5, 1968. (Directed by Emilio Estevez, one of its stars was his father Martin Sheen, who may be the only actor ever to play both Jack and Bobby Kennedy, although not in this film.)

In addition to the above, Elvis sang at the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium on June 7, 1956, the Pan Pacific Auditorium on October 28 & 29, 1957; the Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino on November 12 & 13, 1972, and May 10 & 13, 1974; and the Long Beach Arena on November 14 & 15, 1972 and April 25, 1976.

The Los Angeles area is home to a few interesting museums, in addition to those mentioned at Exposition Park. The Getty Center is an art museum at 1200 Getty Center Drive, off I-405. The Autry National Center, 4700 Western Heritage Way at Zoo Drive, was founded by the Singing Cowboy and Angels founder-owner to celebrate and study the Western U.S. and Native Americans. (Metro Red Line, Hollywood/Western.) Also at Griffith Park, the Griffith Observatory, at 2800 E. Observatory Avenue, should be familiar from lots of movies (including Rebel Without a Cause) and TV shows.

The Hollywood section of town (not a separate city) has a few interesting sites,and the studio tours may be worth it, but do yourself a favor and skip the tours of stars' homes. You're probably not going to see any of the celebrities. You've got a better chance of seeing one back home on the streets of New York. And stay away from the HOLLYWOOD sign. You might remember the shot of it in the ESPN film The Bronx Is Burning, when the Yankees went out to L.A. to play the Dodgers in the 1977 World Series, their shot of the sign was accurate: In 1977, it was falling apart, a genuine ruin. A year later, it was restored, but it's still no big deal up close. It was meant to be seen from afar.

Grauman's Chinese Theater, with its cemented signatures and footprints of stars, is the centerpiece of the Hollywood Walk of Fame at the legendary intersection of Hollywood Blvd. & Vine Street (6931 Hollywood Blvd. at Orange Drive, also at the Hollywood/Highland Metro stop).

If you're interested in American history, especially recent history, Southern California is home to 2 Presidential Libraries. Richard Nixon's is not far from Anaheim, built adjacent to the house where he was born in 1913 at 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd. in Yorba Linda, Orange County. (All year long, they are running commemorations of his 100th birthday this past January 9.) Metrolink Orange County Line from Union Station to Fullerton, then Number 26 bus to Yorba Linda. His "Western White House" at San Clemente can be reached by I-5 or by Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner to San Juan Capistrano (the former Spanish mission where, as the song goes, the swallows return on the first day of spring) and then transferring to the Number 191 bus; however, the house, which Nixon called La Casa Pacifica, is privately owned (not by the Nixon family), and is not open to the public.

Ronald Reagan's Library is at 40 Presidential Drive in Simi Valley in Ventura County. (Reagan was born in 1911, in Tampico, Illinois, about 130 miles west of Chicago, and grew up in various northern Illinois towns before moving to California to start his acting career.) Unfortunately, the Reagan Library is next to impossible to reach without a car.

Reagan's Western White House, Rancho del Cielo outside Santa Barbara, is owned by a private foundation that can be contacted for tours. The Reagans lived together at 668 St. Cloud Road, in the Bel Air section of L.A., until Ron's death in 2004. Nancy continued to live there until her death earlier this year. 668 St. Cloud Road, in Bel Air. Metro Red Line to Vermont & Sunset, then Bus 2 to Sunset & Bel Air, and then nearly a half-hour walk.

It's been remarked that the ranch was his home, whereas anyplace they lived in "Hollywood" was her home. Ron was the cowboy and the Western libertarian conservative; she was the "star" who, upon meeting him in the late 1940s, accelerated his move away from the labor movement and toward anti-Communism (her father was a proto-Bircher/Tea Partier).

Did I forget anything important? Oh yeah, Anaheim's original tourist destination. Most people I've talked to who have been to both Disneyland in Anaheim and Walt Disney World outside Orlando, Florida have said that the Florida one is a lot better. Anyway, the address is 1313 S. Harbor Blvd. in Anaheim, and if you're staying in Los Angeles, just drive down I-5. Public transportation is possible, but it's a mile and a half from the closest bus stop to Disneyland's gates.

Also nearby is another theme park, Knott's Berry Farm, which preceded Disneyland by 15 years (opening in 1940). With its association with the Peanuts characters such as Charlie Brown and Snoopy (much as Disneyland and Disney World have Mickey Mouse and friends, and Six Flags uses the Warner Brothers cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny), it remains one of the top 15 most-visited theme parks in North America. Its Supreme Scream rollercoaster, 312 feet tall, is currently the tallest structure of any kind in Orange County.

8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park. About 6 miles due west of downtown Anaheim, 9 miles northwest of Angel Stadium, 22 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. From Anaheim, Number 50 bus to 29 bus. From Los Angeles, Number 707 to Number 460.

While Hollywood is the center of the movie industry, for both studios and location shots, Orange County might as well be on the other side of the world, let alone on the other side of I-5. The only movie I know of that was shot in Anaheim was, as you might guess, D2: The Mighty Ducks, which, unlike the original Disney movie that inspired the name of the expansion team, was shot at the real-life Ducks' arena.

Even the 1994 remake of Angels In the Outfield, which featured the baseball team then known as the California Angels, wasn't filmed there: The Northridge Earthquake damaged the stadium just enough (mainly knocking over the scoreboard) that filming was moved to the Oakland Coliseum.

Among the sports-themed movies set and/or filmed in or around Los Angeles is the 1976 kids' baseball film The Bad News Bears, whose home field was Mason Park, 10500 Mason Avenue in Chatsworth, 29 miles northwest of downtown (Bus 92 to 1st & Olive, then Bus 164 to Victory & Woodman, then Bus 158 to Mason & Devonshire); and the basketball hustlers' film White Men Can't Jump, filmed at the courts at the Boardwalk in Venice Beach (Bus 733). 


So, if you can afford it, go on out and join your fellow Devils fans in going coast-to-coast, and enjoy the Devils-Ducks matchup, with memories of how they beat us in all 3 in Anaheim, but we beat them in all 4 at the Meadowlands. And enjoy the sights and sounds of Southern California.