Monday, October 17, 2016

How to Be a New York Football Fan In Los Angeles -- 2016 Edition

I'm cheating a little bit with this one: While the New York Giants are playing away to the Los Angeles Rams this coming Sunday, both teams are playing away. Far away: To Twickenham Stadium in London.

Therefore, I'm doing this one twice: Covering the Giants' trip to London, and imagining a Giants' trip to L.A. to play the Rams in their once-again hometown. (That could happen in this year's Playoffs.) This is the L.A. version.

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. Check the weather forecast on the Los Angeles Times' website before you, so you'll know what to bring. Currently, projections for Sunday are in the mid-80s in daylight, and the mid-60s at night. So much for Autumn: It's going to be hot in L.A.!

Los Angeles is in the Pacific Time Zone, which is 3 hours behind New York. Adjust your timepieces accordingly.

Tickets. The Rams drew 91,046 fans to their home opener. But that was to be expected, because of the hunger for the NFL after 21 years without it. For their 2nd home game, against the Buffalo Bills (not a rival, geographic, historic or otherwise), they drew 83,679. At least officially, that's more seats than any NFL team normally puts up for sale, including the Giants and Jets at 82,500 at MetLife.

So getting tickets might be difficult, as long as the novelty hasn't worn off. And they'll be expensive: Lower row seats are $106, upper row tickets are $90. (The Coliseum really only has 1 level of seats.)

Getting There. It's 2,779 miles from Times Square in New York to City Hall in downtown Los Angeles, and 2,793 miles from MetLife Stadium to the Los Angeles Coliseum. In other words, if you're going, you're flying.

After all, 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... 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), either in Los Angeles or near the stadium or Disneyland in Anaheim), you’ll get off I-15 at Exit 109A, and get on Interstate 10 West, and almost immediately onto U.S. Route 101 North, the San Bernardino Freeway. That will take you into downtown L.A.

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 and a half hours hours; for a total of 46 hours and 30 minutes. 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 and Amtrak. Greyhound will take about 68 hours, changing buses twice, $550 round-trip, although it can drop to $414 with advanced purchase. The station is at 1716 E. 7th Street, at Lawrence Street.

If you go by Amtrak, it's about 85 hours. You'd leave Penn Station on the Lake Shore Limited at 3:40 PM Eastern Time on Thursday, arrive at Union Station in Chicago at 9:45 AM Central Time on Friday, transfer to the Southwest Chief at 3:00 PM, and arrive and Union Station in Los Angeles at 8:15 AM Pacific Time on Sunday. It's $466 round-trip, Union Station is at Alameda & Arcadia Streets).

Flights will be more expensive, and you'll almost certainly have to change planes at least once, probably in Chicago or Dallas. But if you play your cards right, you can get a round-trip flight for a little under $600. The LAX2US bus will take you, as its name suggests, from Los Angeles International Airport to Union Station, taking 45 minutes and costing $8.00; from there, bus and subway connections can be made to downtown. 

Once In the City. Los Angeles was founded in 1781 by Spain as a Catholic mission, and means "The Angels" -- and so, that was the name of the Pacific Coast League team, and the subsequent American League team: The Los Angeles Angels. The city continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and is now just under 4 million people, making it the 2nd-largest city in North America, behind New York. (Unless you count Mexico, and thus Mexico City, as "North America" instead of "Central America.") The metro area has about 18.6 million people.

The "centerpoint" of the city, where east-west and north-south addresses begin, is 1st Street and Main Street. Numbered streets are east-west.

The Los Angeles Times is the leading (most-circulated) newspaper in the Western United States, and has long been known for a great sports section. The legendary columnist Jim Murray has been dead for some time now, but if you watch ESPN's Around the Horn, you'll recognize the names of Bill Plaschke and J.A. Adande.

The sales tax in the State of California is 7.5 percent, in the City of Los Angeles 9 percent. A single ride on a bus or subway is $1.75. A 1-day pass is $7.00, and a 7-day pass (which might be a better value even if you're only staying for the 3 games of the series) Is $25.

Yes, L.A. has a subway now, the Metro, with Red, Blue, Green, Gold, Purple and Expo lines. (Expo? It goes from Los Angeles all the way to Montreal? No.)
Going In. The official address of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is 3911 South Figueroa Street, about 4 1/2 miles south of downtown. If you're taking public transportation, take the Number 40 or 42 bus. If you're not, you should be: Private lots are charging $50 and up for Rams games. There are public parking lots that allow tailgating, as long as you limit your activities to your own parking space.
The Coliseum. In the foreground, the Sports Arena.
In the background, to the left, the Olympic swimming stadium.

The east end is considered the main entrance, and features an arched "peristyle." In front of it are a pair of statues, dedicated for the 1984 Olympics, one of each gender, naked and spectacularly fit -- but no heads on them, presumably so that the viewer can imagine him/herself as one of them.
The model for the male statue was Terry Schroeder, then a 25-year-old American water polo player, who won Silver Medals with the U.S. team in 1984 and again in 1988. He is now a 58-year-old chiropractor in the Los Angeles suburb of Agoura Hills. The female model was Jennifer Innis, a long jumper from the South American nation of Guyana, who had competed in 1980, and did so again in 1984, but did not win a medal. The only information that I can find about her now is that she is alive, married, and using her married name, and that she values her privacy enough that she won't give out any additional information.
The peristyle and torch, during the Opening Ceremony
of the 1984 Olympics

Opening on May 1, 1923, the Coliseum is probably the most famous building in the State of California, unless you count the HOLLYWOOD sign or San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge as "buildings." The list of teams that have called it home over its 93 years is extensive: 

* The Olympic Games, the events for which it is best known: The Coliseum was the centerpiece of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, and for a time in 1932, was officially named "Olympic Stadium."

* College football: 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 the Rose Bowl, a stadium that could arguably be called USC's other home field.

* Pro football: The NFL's Los Angeles Rams from 1946 to 1979, after which they moved to Anaheim; and again in 2016, and also for 2017 and 2018, before they move into the City of Champions Stadium that is now being built in Inglewood. The NFL's Los Angeles Raiders from 1982 to 1994, after which they moved back to Oakland. The All-America Football Conference's Los Angeles Dons from 1946 to 1949. The American Football League's Los Angeles Chargers in 1960, before moving down the Coast to San Diego. The United States Football League's Los Angeles Express from 1983 to 1985. And the XFL's Los Angeles Xtreme in 2001.

It would likely be a stopgap home for the Raiders or the Chargers if they should move back. Oddly, since both teams moved away after the 1994 season, the Oakland Raiders seem to be the most popular NFL team in Los Angeles County, but the much closer San Diego Chargers, 90 miles away, are the most popular team in Orange County.

* Professional soccer: The United Soccer Association's Los Angeles Wolves in 1967. The National Professional Soccer League's Los Angeles Toros in 1967. The North American Soccer League's Los Angeles Aztecs in 1977 and 1981, but only those 2 seasons.

* Major League Baseball: The National League's Los Angeles 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 won the 1959 World Series while playing here, the 1st title for a team playing west of St. Louis.

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.
The 2008 exhibition game

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 1st Super Bowl, held here on January 15, 1967 (Green Bay Packers 35, Kansas City Chiefs 17) was only 2/3rds sold -- the only Super Bowl that did not sell out. Super Bowl VII (Miami Dolphins 14, Washington Redskins 7) was also played here.

Super Bowl I

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. The field is real grass, and, unlike most American football fields, due to the sun, it is aligned east-to-west.
Ready for the Rams

Next-door to the Coliseum, at 3939 S. Figueroa, the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena 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 there 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, the former over North Carolina and the latter over Florida State), 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 was often used for movies that need an arena to simulate a basketball or hockey game, a prizefight (including the Rocky films), a concert, or a political convention. Lots of rock concerts were held here, and Bruce Springsteen, on its stage, called the building "the joint that don't disappoint" and "the dump that jumps."

Demolition began in August. Banc of California Stadium, the home of Major League Soccer expansion team Los Angeles FC, will be built on the site, to open in time for the 2018 season.

The Coliseum area is 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.

Because of its proximity to Hollywood, the Coliseum has been in many movies. Its 1st was in 1944, The Falcon in Hollywood. It served as both the Rams' home and the site of the Super Bowl in Heaven Can Wait in 1978. It was also used in the football-themed films North Dallas Forty, The Last Boy Scout and Jerry Maguire. It stood in for Memorial Stadium in Baltimore in the baseball film 61*, and was destroyed by the Army in World War Z.

On TV, it was 1st used in 1972 for Columbo and Banacek. Charlie's Angels shot 3 episodes there. It was used on The Incredible Hulk, Quincy, M.E. (not the episode on which Rosey Grier guest-starred), CHiPs, Full House (for a Beach Boys concert at which the Tanner family were guests), 24, and, standing in for the Berlin Olympiastadion, Alias.

Food. The Coliseum is set up for college football, so don't look for anything particularly unusual or named for the Rams or any legends thereof. The Coliseum has Healthy Choices Stands at Sections 104, 116 and 126; Artisan Sausage Stands at 105, 109, 121 and 125; Combo Meal Stands at 106, 113, 117 and 124; Pizza Stands at 110 and 120; Chicken Sandwich Stands at 111 and 119; and Burger Stands at 112 and 118.

Team History Displays. The Rams hung banners from the roof of the Edward Jones Dome. However, the Coliseum doesn't even have a roof. I don't know how they're going to note their history there, but they may end up simply saving their banners for the new stadium.

They hung banners for their 3 NFL Championships, 1 won in each city, and for their Conference and Divisional titles:

* Cleveland: The 1945 NFL Championship.

* Los Angeles: The 1951 NFL Championship; the 1949, 1950, 1951 and 1955 NFL Western Division Championships; The 1979 NFC Championship (losing Super Bowl XIV); the 1967 and 1969 NFL Coastal Division Championships; and the 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1985 NFC Western Division Championships. (The Rams also reached the 1989 NFC Championship Game, via the Wild Card route.)

* St. Louis: The 1999 NFL Championship (winning Super Bowl XXXIV), the 2001 NFC Championship (losing Super Bowl XXXVI), and the 2003 NFC Western Division Championship.

The Rams are the only team to win NFL Championships in 3 different cities. The others to win them in at least 2 are the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts, the Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens franchise, and the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders. In addition, the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs franchise won AFL Championships in 2 different cities.
The Rams have retired 8 numbers: 7, quarterback Bob Waterfield; 28, for running back Marshall Faulk; 29, for running back Eric Dickerson; 74, for defensive tackle Merlin Olsen; 75, for defensive end David "Deacon" Jones; 78, for offensive tackle Jackie Slater; 80, for receiver Isaac Bruce (who had been, until the 2016 return, the last active Los Angeles Ram); and 85, for defensive end Jack Youngblood.
Three of the retired numbers,
as they were hung in St. Louis

Unless you count the retired numbers, the Rams do not have a team Hall of Fame. Rams in the Pro Football Hall of Fame include:

* From the 1951 NFL Champions: Waterfield, quarterback Norm Van Brocklin, running back/receiver Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch, tight end Tom Fears, defensive end Andy Robustelli (also a member of the 1956 NFL Champion Giants), and owner Dan Reeves. Reeves was not related to the later Dallas Cowboys running back of the same name, who later coached the Denver Broncos, the Atlanta Falcons and the Giants. Their head coach, Joe Stydahar, is in the Hall, but that's due to his playing with the Chicago Bears team that won 4 titles in the 1940s.

* From the 1955 team that reached the NFL Championship Game, but not yet there in 1951: Linebacker Les Richter.

* From the 1967 and 1969 Division Champions: Reeves, Olsen, Jones, guard Tom Mack, and coach George Allen. Olsen, Jones, defensive tackle Roosevelt "Rosey" Grier and defensive end Lamar Lundy (the latter 2 not in the Hall) were a line known as the Fearsome Foursome, although the AFL's San Diego Chargers had a line that beat them to that nickname. Being the most famous defensive line of their era made them stars, and led to Jones being cast in Miller Lite beer commercials, Olsen's long career as a sportscaster, and both Olsen and Grier becoming renowned actors. Now 84 years old, Grier is the last surviving member. He graduated from Abraham Clark High School in Roselle, Union County, New Jersey, was a member of the '56 Giants, is an ordained minister, and is still a community activist in Los Angeles.

* From the 1979 NFC Champions: Youngblood and Slater. Quarterback Pat Haden, running back Wendell Tyler and safety Nolan Cromwell could also be considered.

* From the 1985 Division Champions who went to the NFC Championship Game: Dickers and linebacker Kevin Greene, who was still there for the 1989 NFC Championship Game.

* And from the St. Louis team that won Super Bowl XXXIV and lost Super Bowl XXXVI: Faulk and offensive tackle Orlando Pace. Bruce, quarterback Kurt Warner, receiver Torry Holt, and head coach Dick Vermeil are not yet in the Hall of Fame.

NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle and Dallas Cowboys general manager Tex Schramm, both in the Hall, had previously been Rams executives.

Lane, Jones and Olsen were named to the NFL's 75th Anniversary Team in 1994. Those 3, plus Dickerson and Hirsch, were named to The Sporting News' 100 Greatest Football Players in 1999. Those 5, plus Van Brocklin, Warner and Faulk were named to the NFL Network's 100 Greatest Players in 2010.


Tours of the Coliseum -- the most historic sports venue in the world, now that Yankee Stadium and London's Wembley Stadium have been replaced -- are available Wednesdays through Sundays, from 10 AM to 4 PM, except on game days. The price is $25.

The Rams broke the NFL's color barrier in 1946 -- a few months before Jackie Robinson did so in baseball. They had to, since the Coliseum was publicly owned, and the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors (City Council) insisted upon it.

Appropriately, it was with a man who played on the UCLA football team with Jackie: Kenny Washington. After his senior year, 1940, George Halas wanted to sign Washington for the Bears, but the other NFL owners blocked him, and Commissioner Elmer Layden (formerly of Notre Dame's Four Horsemen) backed them up, forcing Washington to play semi-pro ball. By 1946, Layden was out, former Philadelphia Eagles owner Bert Bell was in, and Washington was signed.

Washington was soon joined by an earlier UCLA player, Woody Strode. At the same time, in the new All-America Football Conference, the Cleveland Browns signed University of Nevada running back Marion Motley and Ohio State guard Bill Willis, so pro football had 4 "Jackie Robinsons."

Playing on the West Coast helped to insulate Washington and Strode from much of the racism of the time, but Washington had bad knees and Strode was already 32, and so they didn't have the kind of impact that many hoped. Strode left after 1 season, went to Canada, and helped the Calgary Stampeders win the 1948 Grey Cup. Washington retired after the 1949 season, became a cop in L.A., and died of kidney failure in 1971. Strode became an actor, and died in 1994, shortly after being interviewed for the NFL's official 75th Anniversary video, saying, "If I had to integrate Heaven, I wouldn't want to go."

The Rams have one other big contribution to NFL history. Fred Gehrke (1918-2002) was a 2-way back who played most of his career with Los Angeles-based teams, including the Rams, but was on the Cleveland edition of the team in 1940, and again in 1945 when they won the NFL Championship. He was also what we would now call a graphic artist. In 1948, which turned out to be his last season in the NFL, he thought about painting his helmet. Bob Snyder, head coach of the Rams and a former player, suggested painting ram horns on it. He did, and the other players liked it, and wanted it, and owner Dan Reeves approved it. And so, the Rams became the 1st NFL team to have a helmet logo.

However, Gehrke isn't in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for this contribution. (Men have been elected to halls of fame for less, and he was a decent player.) And the idea of helmet logos had happened in college first. The University of Chicago had used a "wishbone C" that was later adopted by the Chicago Bears. And Fritz Crisler put "wings" on the Princeton helmets, and he took the idea with him when he was named head coach at the University of Michigan.

The Coliseum has a "Court of Honor" that serves as a hall of fame for the building, and also for the Sports Arena. The Rams honored are Hirsch, Washington (more for his UCLA play and his pioneering as anything he actually did for the Rams) and owner Reeves.

Stuff. Another problem with groundsharing with a college team, as the Minnesota Vikings discovered while waiting for their new stadium to be built on the Metrodome site, is that you don't get dibs on space. Therefore, there is no official Rams team store at the Coliseum, only a few souvenir stands. I wonder if they have any caps with fabric ram horns on them?

Unlike the Dodgers, who have had entire forests chopped down to make the paper for the books that have been written about them, books about the Rams are few and far between. The best books about them are from the St. Louis era. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports staff commemorated the Super Bowl XXXIV win with On Every Play Eleven Men Believed: The Story of How the St. Louis Rams Rose from the Cellar to the Super BowlIn 2009, Robert Mullen invoked the nickname of that era's Ram team in the title of his book: The Greatest Show on Turf: The Story of 99-01 St. Louis Rams. The NFL has also released a commemorative DVD of the Rams' Super Bowl triumph.

For their 1st Los Angeles era, pickings are slim: Amazon.com mentions Joseph Hession's book The Rams: Five Decades of Football, and this even includes their Cleveland era -- but was published in 1986, 30 years ago. Gretchen Atwood just published Lost Champions: Four Men, Two Teams, and the Breaking of Pro Football’s Color Line, about the 1946 reintegration of the sport.

During the Game. A Thrillist article published last season, on "The Most Obnoxious Fans In the NFL," ranked Rams fans 20th -- but that was when they were St. Louis fans, saying, "Rams fans are basically people from St. Louis with nothing to do when the Cardinals aren't playing. Either that, or you just enjoy watching football in a Costo. Minus the noise and energy." Thrillist hasn't updated the article, so we don't know what they think of Los Angeles fans.

Although the Coliseum and the Sports Arena are on the edge of South Central, you will probably be safe. The Rams and the Giants don't have much of a rivalry, although the classic New York/Los Angeles all-sports rivalry may come into play. But the fans probably won't bother you, unless you wear San Francisco 49ers gear.

The Rams hold auditions for singing the National Anthem, instead of having a regular singer. The L.A. version of the Rams had a classic fight song, but I don't know if it's been brought back.

In the last few years in Anaheim, they had a mascot named Ramster, but he was never accepted by the fans, who seemed to think he looked more like a rat than a mature male sheep with weaponized horns. Since 2010, the team's mascot has been Rampage the Ram, and they've taken him to Los Angeles.

He wears a Number 1 jersey, and doesn't look much toward either extreme: He's neither especially cuddly to appeal to kids, or intimidating to appeal to hardcore football fans. Indeed, splitting the difference was intentional: According to Kevin Demoff, the Rams' current executive vice president of football operations, Rampage "has the coating of a stuffed animal, but the build of a superhero."
After the Game. If you head north after walking out of the Coliseum, you should be fine. Rams fans won't bother you, and USC students won't have any interest in you. With all that L.A. has put into getting the Rams back, you can, as they said in Beautiful Downtown Burbank in the late Sixties, bet your sweet bippy that the LAPD will protect the cars.

There are no classic "sports bars" around the Coliseum. But for a simple postgame meal, snack or drink: To the north of the stadium, there's a Starbucks at Figueroa Street and Exposition Blvd. To the east, n Figueroa, there's a Chick-fil-A, a Chipotle, a Subway, and Figueroa Philly Cheese Steak -- which might upset some people if I were doing this guide for Philadelphia Eagles fans. To the south, at Vermont Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, there's a Pizza Hut and a Yoshinoya. To the west, there's a McDonald's on MLK and a Little Caesar's on Vermont.

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.

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. 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 bar across from the apartment building, the Regal Beagle.)

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.

If your visit to Los Angeles is during the European soccer season (which we are now in), 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.

UPDATE: On February 3, 2017, Thrillist made a list ranking the 30 NFL cities (New York and Los Angeles each having 2 teams), and Los Angeles came in 12th, in the top half. In July, L.A. was awarded the 2028 Olympics.

And while L.A. is still a car-first city, it does have a bus system and even has a subway now, so you can get around.

* Site of Wrigley Field. Yes, you read that right: The Pacific Coast League’s Los Angeles Angels played at a stadium named Wrigley Field 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 won 12 PCL Pennants, the last 5 at Wrigley: 1903, 1905, 1907, 1908, 1916, 1918, 1921, 1926, 1933, 1934, 1947 and 1956. Their rivals, the Hollywood Stars, shared it from 1926 to 1935. It hosted a U.S. soccer loss to England in 1959 and a draw vs. Mexico the next year.

Its capacity of 22,000 was too small for the Dodgers, and the AL Angels moved out after 1 season. 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 just been acquired by the Yankees and whose 61 in '61 season had yet to happen). And while Willie Mays, Duke Snider and Gil Hodges were on it, and all did briefly play for the Mets, the Mets hadn't gotten started yet, so no one on the show wore a Met uniform.

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. A football field, Gilmore Stadium, was adjacent. The Stars won 5 Pennants, the last 3 at Gilmore: 1929, 1930, 1949, 1952 and 1953. 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.

* 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 attacks on the Pacific Coast 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 Super Bowl 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 last October 10; 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 what American soccer was like in the Seventies.

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

Dodger Stadium. Now the 3rd-oldest stadium in the major leagues behind Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, the Dodgers have played here since 1962, winning the Pennant in 1963, 1965, 1966, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1981 and 1988, and the World Series in 1963, 1965, 1981 and 1988.

Because of its proximity to Hollywood, Dodger Stadium can be seen in lots of movies, including Superman Returns, where the Big Red S safely deposits a distressed airliner on the field. (A skyline for Metropolis was CGI'ed in behind the bleachers, where one would normally see the San Gabriels.) A space shuttle wasn't so lucky in The Core, crashing into the stadium.

But while it filled in for Anaheim Stadium in The Naked Gun (Reggie... must kill... the Queen), Rookie of the Year had a scene set at Dodger Stadium, but because they were filming all in Chicago, they used the White Sox' U.S. Cellular Field as a stand-in for Dodger Stadium.

It hosted an NHL Stadium Series game on January 25, 2014, a local rivalry game, with the Anaheim Ducks beating the Los Angeles Kings 3-0. In 2013, it hosted games of the International Champions Cup soccer tournament, featuring hometown team Los Angeles Galaxy and renowned European soccer teams Real Madrid (of Spain), Everton (Liverpool, England) and Juventus (Turin, Italy). London's Arsenal hasn't played there, but in the film Rock of Ages, set in L.A. in 1987, Tom Cruise played the lead singer of a band named Arsenal, who played the stadium in the film's closing scene.

The Beatles played their next-to-last concert at Dodger Stadium on August 28, 1966, before concluding their last tour up the coast at Candlestick Park the next night. It didn't host another concert until 1975, when Elton John sold it out on back-to-back nights (wearing a sequined Dodger jersey designed by Bob Mackie), and then not again until the Jacksons' 1984 Victory Tour. Pope John Paul II delivered a Mass there in 1987, and the Three Tenors held a concert there, telecast worldwide. During a 2008 concert, Madonna brought on Britney Spears (they didn't kiss this time) and Justin Timberlake as guests.

The address used to be 1000 Elysian Park Avenue. In honor of the legendary broadcaster, who just retired after 67 seasons with the franchise, an all-time major league record, it has been officially changed to 1000 Vin Scully Avenue. It's about 2 miles north of downtown, in the Elysian Park neighborhood. Public transportation in L.A. is a lot better than it used to be, with the addition of the Metro -- and now, the Dodger Stadium Express bus. It will pick up fans at the Patsaouras Bus Plaza adjacent to the east portal of Union Station and continue to Dodger Stadium via Sunset Blvd. and Cesar Chavez Avenue.

* Edwin W. Pauley Pavilion. Following their 1964 National Championship (they would win it again in 1965), 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 parties and support Ronald Reagan for Governor.

Speaking of politics, 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, Dukakis chose to hold 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 the 720 bus, then walk up Westwood Plaza to Strathmore Place. "Westwood" is the name of the neighborhood that UCLA is in, and Coach Wooden was known as "the Wizard of Westwood."


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. And also his brother Mack Robinson, 1936 Olympic Silver Medalist.

On the way up Westwood Plaza, you'll pass UCLA Medical Center, now named for someone who died there, Ronald Reagan. Wooden, John Wayne and Michael Jackson also died there. The UCLA campus also has a Dykstra Hall, but 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. From 1988 to 2003, it was named 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, in 1993, losing it to the Montreal Canadiens.

Now owned by the Madison Square Garden Corporation, thus run by James Dolan, which means it's going to be mismanaged. Elvis Presley 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 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 in time for the 2019 NFL season, and, by then, may host another NFL team as well. It has been awarded Super Bowl LV, to be played on February 7, 2021. If the U.S. ever gets to host another World Cup (the next available one is 2026), it would likely be a site, possibly even for the Final (as the Rose Bowl was in 1994).

UPDATE: The Chargers have also moved to L.A., and will play at the StubHub Center in Carson as a stopgap. However, construction delays have set the City of Champions Stadium back to the 2020 NFL season. Since the NFL has a rule that any Super Bowl venue has to have 2 full seasons under its belt, to make sure all the kinks have been worked out, Super Bowl LV was moved to Tampa, and the new L.A. stadium has been conditionally given Super Bowl LVI, to be played on February 6, 2022.

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.)


Before the Rams, the Los Angeles Buccaneers were admitted to the NFL in 1926, but were a "traveling team," and never played a game in Los Angeles. They were made up of players from California colleges, but were based in Chicago. The Los Angeles Wildcats of the 1st American Football League were the same deal, a traveling team made up of West Coast athletes, naming them for George "Wildcat" Wilson of the University of Washington. Both teams folded the next year.



That same year, Abe Saperstein would found a basketball team in Chicago, but, like the Bucs and the Cats, make them a traveling team, and name them for a place that wasn't their real home: Since they were all-black, he named them the Harlem Globetrotters.

* Staples Center. This new downtown arena has been home to the Lakers, Clippers and Kings since 1999. The Lakers have won 5 Championships here, to go with the 6 they won at the Forum, and the 5 they won in Minneapolis. The Clippers, as yet, have won 2 Division Championships, but have never reached a Finals in any city since their founding in 1970 (as the Buffalo Braves, San Diego or L.A.). The Kings finally won a Stanley Cup in 2012, although, as a Devils fan, I'm trying to put that fixed Finals out of my mind. They've now won another, although, if you're a Ranger fan, you may want to do the same.

According to a recent New York Times article, there is not one place where the Clippers are more popular than the Lakers. Not in the City of Los Angeles, not in the County of Los Angeles, not in Orange County, not even in the Clippers' former home of San Diego (City or County). In fact, there are places in Southern California where the Chicago Bulls, as a holdover from the 1990s, have almost as many fans as the Clippers -- but not, despite all that LeBron James achieved, the Miami Heat or the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Staples Center holds the Grammy Awards every other year (alternating with New York), and hosted the 2000 Democratic Convention, which nominated Al Gore. 1111 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles. The 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. Their relationship also inspired Webb to write "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" and "Where's the Playground Susie" 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 the park has been a magnet for gang violence, although this was significantly reduced in the 2000s.)

* Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Home of the Angels since 1966, and of the Rams from 1980 until 1994, it was designed to look like a modernized version of the old Yankee Stadium, before that stadium's 1973-76 renovation. The football bleachers, erected in 1979, were demolished in 1997 and replaced with a SoCal-esque scene that gives the place some character. Unfortunately, the old "Big A" scoreboard that stood in left field from 1966 to 1979 was moved out to the parking lot, and now stands as a message board.

It was known as Anaheim Stadium from 1966 to 1997, and Edison International Field of Anaheim from 1998 to 2003. 2000 E. Gene Autry Way at State College Boulevard. Metrolink's Orange County Line and Amtrak share a train station just to the north of the stadium.

* Honda Center. Previously known as the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, it is across the railroad, the Orange Freeway and Katella Avenue from Angel Stadium. It has been home from the beginning of the franchise in 1993 to the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks – formerly the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, and I still tend to call them the Mighty Dorks and the Mighty Schmucks.

The Clippers, with their typical luck, had to move one of their few home Playoff games there in 1992 during the South Central riot. It hosted the NCAA's hockey Final Four, the Frozen Four, in 1999. 2695 E. Katella Avenue. Anaheim Metrolink stop.

* 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. Now, for the 2017 and '18 seasons, it will be the home field of the Los Angeles Chargers, 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.

* 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 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. (Metro Red Line to Hollywood/Highland).

** 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).

** 1949-60, Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd. (Metro Red Line to Hollywood/Highland).

** 1961-68, Santa Monica Civic Auditorium (which also hosted 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, 665. W. Jefferson Blvd. (Metro Silver Line to Figueroa/Washington, transfer to Number 81 bus; Elvis sang here on June 8, 1956.)

** 2002-present, Kodak Theater (which also hosted 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 real-life 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 he didn't play either in this film.)

In addition to the above, Elvis sang at the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium on June 7, 1956; November 14 and 15, 1972; and April 25, 1976 (300 E. Ocean Blvd.); the Pan Pacific Auditorium on October 28 & 29, 1957 (7600 Beverly Blvd near CBS and the Gilmore stadiums, 1935-89); the Anaheim Convention Center on April 23, & 24, 1973 and November 30, 1976 (800 W. Katella Avenue, not reachable by public transit); and the Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino on November 12 & 13, 1972, and May 10 & 13, 1974 (1949-81, demolished, 689 S. E Street, 58 miles east of downtown L.A.).

Oh yeah: He also sang at NBC's Burbank Studios, a complex which also includes, among other things, the studio where Johnny Carson from 1972 to 1992, and Jay Leno from then until 2014, hosted The Tonight Show. Elvis taped his "Comeback Special" there on June 24 and 25, 1968. 3000 W. Alameda Avenue. Metro Red Line to North Hollywood, then Bus 501 to Alameda & Olive.

The Los Angeles area is home to a few interesting museums, in addition to those I mentioned at the end of "Going In" as being at the Exposition Park complex. The Getty Center is an art museum at 1200 Getty Center Drive, off I-405. The Autry National Center, 4700 Western Heritage Way, 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 you don't need to see 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., also at the Hollywood/Highland Metro stop).

Jackie Robinson grew up in Pasadena, at 121 Pepper Street. In a bit of foreshadowing, Pepper Street and Claremont Street are connected by an alley named Progress Lane. Pepper Street extends from Sunset Avenue, and at its foot is Brown Memorial AME Church, which the Robinsons attended. Gold Line from Union Station to Del Mar, then Bus 260 to Fair Oaks & Claremont. Be advised that this is still a private residence, not a museum dedicated to Jackie, and the people living there now will not want to be bothered.

Casey Stengel, the 1st manager of the Mets and the greatest manager of the Yankees, retired to Glendale, in Los Angeles County, and after his death on September 29, 1975, he was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery. So was Don Drysdale, and early 1950s Brooklyn manager Chuck Dressen.

Also laid to rest there are Lou Gehrig's successor Babe Dahlgren, football star turned actor Johnny Mack Brown, 1930s boxing champion Jimmy McLarnin, Chicago Cubs owners William Wrigley Jr. and Philip K. Wrigley, Laverne and Maxene Andrews of the Andrews Sisters, James Arness, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Clara Bow, Lon Chaney Sr., Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole, Sam Cooke, Sammy Davis Sr. and Jr. and Sammy's widow Altovise, Walt Disney and other members of his family (he was not cryogenically frozen), W.C. Fields, Larry Fine (the other members of the Three Stooges are buried elsewhere in Los Angeles County), Errol Flynn, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, Jean Harlow, Rex Harrison, Phil Hartman, Michael Jackson, Ted Knight, Harold Lloyd, Chico and Gummo Marx (but not Groucho or Harpo), Aimee Semple McPherson, Tom Mix, Lone Ranger star Clayton Moore, Mary Pickford, Will Rogers, David O. Selznick, Norma Shearer and Irving Thalberg, Red Skelton, Jimmy Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor and Spencer Tracy. 1712 S. Glendale Avenue. Bus 90, 91, 92 or 94 from downtown.

Roy Campanella is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills. So is another Hall-of-Famer associated with the Dodgers, Leo Durocher. So is John Roseboro, who succeeded Campy as Dodger catcher. So are John Wooden, Gene Autry, longtime Lakers owner Jerry Buss, Steve Allen, Lucille Ball, David Carradine, Bette Davis, Annette Funicello, Marvin Gaye, Andy Gibb, Batman creator Bob Kane, Buster Keaton, Jack LaLanne, Dorothy Lamour, Charles Laughton, Stan Laurel (but not Oliver Hardy), Liberace, Ed McMahon, Ozzie Nelson, Harriet Nelson, Ricky Nelson, Freddie Prinze, John Ritter, Telly Savalas, Lee Van Cleef, Dick Van Patten, Paul Walker and Jack Webb.

Despite his connections to L.A., Jackie Robinson is buried in Brooklyn, at Cypress Hills Cemetery, which is bisected by the Interborough Parkway, now named the Jackie Robinson Parkway. Gil Hodges is also buried in Brooklyn, at Holy Cross Cemetery. Pee Wee Reese is buried in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Duke Snider lived in Fallbrook, California during his retirement, and is buried there, about 100 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

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. Metrolink Orange County Line from Union Station to Fullerton, then Number 26 bus to Yorba Linda.

Nixon's "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 (no longer by the Nixon family), and is not open to the public. So unless you're a major Tricky Dick fan, I'd suggest skipping it, as you'd only be able to stand outside it.

Ronald Reagan's Presidential Library is at 40 Presidential Drive in Simi Valley in Ventura County. (Reagan was born in Tampico, Illinois, about 130 miles west of Chicago.) 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.

The tallest building on the West Coast, for now, is the U.S. Bank Tower, formerly named the Library Tower. It stands at 1,018 feet at W. 5th Street & Grand Avenue downtown. The Wilshere Grand Tower will surpass it in 2017, at 1,100 feet -- unless a tower planned for San Francisco the same year ends up taller -- at 900 Wilshere Blvd. at Figueroa.

However, the two most famous tall buildings in Los Angeles are 444 S. Flower Street, at 5th Street, famous as the location for the law firm on L.A. Law; and City Hall, recognizable from LAPD badges, the early police series Dragnet, and as the stand-in for the Daily Planet building on the George Reeves Adventures of Superman series in the 1950s. 200 S. Spring Street at Main Street.

Did I forget anything important? Oh yeah, Southern California's original tourist destination, outside of the Hollywood studios. 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.

*

The Rams have returned to Los Angeles, where they belong. Alas, the Dodgers will not be going back to Brooklyn. But a Giant or Jet fan should be able to enjoy a visit to L.A. to see his team take on the Rams at the Coliseum.

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