Wednesday, July 12, 2017

How to Be a Red Bulls Fan In San Jose -- 2017 Edition

This coming Wednesday night, the New York Red Bulls will host the San Jose Earthquakes at Red Bull Arena. They've already visited New York to play New York City FC. But neither New York team goes out to San Jose this season.

Therefore, I'm going to take this opportunity to profile them as if it was the other way around: If Metro were going. After all, they made their 1st trip to the new Avaya Stadium last year, so, yes, as Burt Bacharach (through New Jersey's own Dionne Warwick) would say, they do know the way to San Jose.

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 Tribune, and SFgate.com, the website of the San Francisco Chronicle, should be checked before you leave. For next Wednesday, they're predicting low 80s during the day and high 50s at night. So a scarf, a traditional soccer accoutrement, would be appropriate for the night game, but not in daylight.

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 Earthquakes averaged 19,930 fans per home game last season, a sellout. But this is soccer, and tickets are set aside for visiting fans, so you have a chance. Section 134, at the upper right corner of the horseshoe, is where away supporters are assigned. Tickets are $24.

Getting There. It's 2,906 miles from Times Square in Midtown Manhattan to Union Square in downtown San Francisco, and 2,925 miles from Red Bull Arena in Harrison to Avaya Stadium in San Jose. This is the 2nd-longest Red Bulls 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 3, for Coleman Avenue.

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. 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 Sunday morning to get there by Wednesday gametime. Round-trip fare is $542, but it can drop to $470 with advanced purchase.

On Amtrak, to make it in time for a Wednesday night kickoff, you would leave Penn Station on the Lake Shore Limited at 3:40 PM on Sunday, arrive at Union Station in Chicago at 9:45 AM Central Time on Monday, and switch to the California Zephyr at 2:00 PM, arriving at Emeryville, California at 4:10 PM Pacific Time on Wednesday. Round-trip fare: $655. Then you'd have to get to San Jose by 7:30 PM local time.

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 Thursday to the next week's Thursday operation by train.

Newark to San Francisco is sometimes a relatively cheap flight, considering the distance. This time, a round-trip flight will cost around $600. BART from SFO to downtown San Francisco takes 30 minutes, and it's $8.65. However, San Jose does have its own airport, named for the still-living former Congressman Norman Y. Mineta, and round-trip flights (again, nonstop) can be had for under $700. And Avaya Stadium is right next to that airport.

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 cities 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 875,000, 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 BART system switched from subway tokens to farecards in 2005.)
CalTrain

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 San Francisco start with the digits 940 and 941, and the Area Code is 415, overlaid by 628. 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. Avaya Stadium, named for a local communications technology company, opened in 2016 at 1123 Coleman Avenue & Newhall Drive. It is 3 1/2 miles from downtown San Jose, 41 miles from downtown Oakland, and 46 miles from downtown San Francisco. It is between San Jose's Norman Y. Mineta International Airport (named for a former Congressman) and Santa Clara University.
If you're driving, parking is $25. If you're taking public transportation, you take ACE (Altamont Commuter Express) to Great America-Santa Clara.

The stadium it is soccer-specific and seats 18,000 people. They do not share it with anyone. The stadium is a horseshoe, with the open end pointing northeast, and its surface is natural grass.
It has hosted matches of the U.S. women's soccer team, but not yet the men's team. It has also hosted rugby. Last year, it hosted the MLS All-Star Game, with North London giants Arsenal defeating the MLS All-Stars 2-1.

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.

Avaya Stadium is said to feature "the largest outdoor bar on the West Coast." I don't know if that's true, but the possibility will appeal to some of you. There are concession stands all over, but nothing particularly specialized aside from a Beers of the World stand, and no chains. The team website specifically mentions:
  • Vegan Pizza: Pizza crust topped with a roasted squash purée, hummus, fennel, mushrooms, onions and herbs
  • BBQ Pulled Pork/Brisket Mac N’ Cheese: Creamy Macaroni and Cheese topped with a choice of house-smoked pulled pork or beef brisket
  • Asian Chicken Wrap: Tender grilled chicken, broccoli Brussel sprout slaw, and Thai basil dressing all wrapped up in a spinach tortilla
  • Grilled Big Dog: Ten inch all-beef hotdog with grilled peppers and onions, sauerkraut and mustard on a freshly baked roll
  • Portobello Sliders: Fresh Portobello mushrooms marinated in Balsamic, herbs and olive oil with roasted Poblano Chilies and pesto served on mini Brioche rolls
Team History Displays. Like the Seattle Sounders, the Portland Timbers, the Vancouver Whitecaps, and the Small Club In Brooklyn (formerly Hempstead), the Earthquakes use the name of a team in the old North American Soccer League, in a vain attempt to convince people that their history precedes MLS.
In their case, it's actually a bad idea, since not only was the new version, founded with MLS, known as the San Jose Clash from 1996 to 1999, but it has been more successful than the old one. They've won the MLS Cup in 2001 and 2003, and the Supporters' Shield in 2005 and 2012. (Actually, Quakes 2.0 was moved after the 2005 season to become the Houston Dynamo. Quakes 3.0,while officially having the history of Quakes 2.0, began in 2009.) But there doesn't seem to be any representation of that in the spectators' viewing area. They do, however, wear 2 stars, for the 2 MLS Cups, on their club crest.

Nor do they have any retired numbers. They do have a team Hall of Fame, which includes "Builders" Milan Mandaric and Peter Bridgewater, and 7 players: From the old Earthquakes, England's Paul Child, Scotland's Johnny Moore and Croatia's Momcilo Gavric; from the new Clash/Quakes, Americans John Doyle, Troy Dayak, Ramiro Corrales and Joe Cannon, and El Salvador's Ronald Cerritos. Northern Ireland legend George Best briefly played for the old Quakes, but is not in the team 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 Avaya Stadium, and no Earthquake players, old version or new, have yet been inducted. Indeed, the only soccer figure yet elected is Stephen Negoesco, a North Jersey native who was the longtime coach at the University of San Francisco and was widely involved in youth soccer in the Bay Area.

Of course, that will eventually change for Landon Donovan, who may have been the greatest American soccer player ever (so far), and was a forward for the Quakes from 2001 to 2004, including both of their MLS Cups. The fact that he also played for arch-rival L.A. complicates things.
Stuff. There are 6 Team Stores located throughout the stadium. There is no 20th -- or even 40th -- Anniversary team history video. But, last year, in conjunction with the new stadium opening, Gary Singh published The San Jose Earthquakes: A Seismic Soccer Legacy, which looks at the history of Bay Area soccer all the way through.

During the Game. 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 an Earthquakes game. While they despise their fellow Golden Staters the L.A. Galaxy (their rivalry is called the California Classico), you will be safe wearing your Red Bulls colors.

The Quakes' supporters groups, including the San Jose Ultras, the 1906 Ultras (named for the San Francisco Earthquake of the same year), Club Quake, Soccer Silicon Valley, The Casbah and The Faultline, take violations of visitors' safety seriously: In April 2013 at Buck Shaw Stadium, a Portland Timbers fan taunted them, and a Quakes fan assaulted him. The Quakes fan was arrested, and kicked out of the group.

The ultras do, however, make a lot of noise. Like South American soccer fans -- and Sharks fans, and college football fans at the University of Mississippi -- they are known for ringing cowbells. And, while they don't tolerate violence from their groups, they can get mean.
They have, however, forgotten that Pamela Anderson
is from Vancouver, not Seattle.

Lars Frederiksen wrote a theme song for the Earthquakes, "Never Say Die," and recorded it with his band, which certainly sounds like a British soccer hooligan firm: The Old Firm Casuals. He says they're "the most punk rock team in MLS."

I'm not sure about that: When you think of the Bay Area and music, you think jazz in the 1950s, psychedelic rock in the 1960s, heavy metal in the 1970s and 1980s, and grunge in the 1990s (though they were secondary to Seattle in that regard). Punk? Well, the Sex Pistols did play their last concert at Winterland in San Francisco in 1978. Though San Fran psychedelic band Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love" could easily be tweaked into a soccer chant.

The "Casbah" firm name comes from the fact that the current version of the team was originally named the Clash, and The Clash had a song titled "Rock the Casbah." Their songs include some originals, such as "Since I Was Born," with its "Oh, San Jose" chorus.

They hold auditions for National Anthem singers, instead of having a regular. The mascot is Q, a blue thing with white hair. He kind of looks like a Muppet version of Bernie Sanders.
After the Game. Again, Quakes fans are not Raider fans. And Avaya Stadium 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, In-N-Out Burger, MOD Pizza and Smart Cookies are all just to the east of the stadium. Lillie Mae's House of Soul Food is just up the block at 1290 Coleman Avenue (albeit with a Santa Clara address, not San Jose).

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. Of course, you’ll have to get back to San Francisco to get there.

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.

Lefty O'Doul's, named for the legendary ballplayer who was the longtime manager of the Pacific Coast League's San Francisco Seals, was at 333 Geary Street, corner of Powell Street, just 3 blocks from the Powell Street BART station and right on a cable car line. But a dispute between the operators of the restaurant and the owners of the building meant that it closed 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.

As soccer fans, you may also be fans of a European team. However, this being the off-season, you won't get the chance to see your favorite team in action. But if you visit the Bay Area during the season, which starts up again in mid-August, here's where you would go -- all of these being in San Francisco proper unless otherwise stated, and the buses in question leaving from downtown San Francisco:

* Arsenal and Manchester City: Maggie McGarry's, 1353 Grant Avenue. Bus 30. Arsenal also meets at Jack's Bar and Lounge, 167 East Taylor Street, San Jose. Trolley 901 from downtown.

* Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain: The aforementioned Kezar Pub, 777 Stanyan Street. Bus 7.

* Chelsea and Newcsatle: The Mad Dog in the Fog, 530 Haight Street. MUNI N Line or Bus 6.

* Manchester United, Tottenham, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund: Danny Coyle's, 668 Haight Street. MUNI N Line or Bus 6.

* Everton and Crystal Palace: McTeague's Saloon, 1237 Polk Street. Bus 3.

* Celtic: The main Celtic Supporters' Group meets at Fiddler's Green, 333 El Camino Real, Millbrae. BART to Daly City, then transfer to ECR bus toward Palo Alto, to El Camino Real & Taylor. Also known to host Celtic fans is the Abbey Tavern, 4100 Geary Blvd., about halfway between the Presidio to the north and Golden Gate Park to the south. Bus 38.

* Real Madrid: Cafe La Taza, BuzzWorks, 365 11th Street. Bus 9.

* Barcelona: South Beach Cafe, 800 The Embarcadero, near AT&T Park. MUNI N Line.

If you don't see your club listed, most likely, you can find it at one of the top 4 above: Maggie McGarry's, Kezar Pub, the Mad Dog or Danny Coyle's.

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

* SAP Center. 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.
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. The official address is 525 W. Santa Clara Street, and it's right downtown. From San Francisco, ACE to San Jose Diridon Station.

* 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 downtown.

* Oakland Coliseum complex. This includes the stadium that opened on September 18, 1966, and 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, 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 – 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 since.

* 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 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.

It hosts the Pacific-12 Conference Championship Game, and in 2019 (for the 2018 season) it will host the College Football Playoff National Championship.

The NHL hosted a Stadium Series outdoor hockey game there last year ago, with the San Jose Sharks losing to their arch-rivals, the Los Angeles Kings. It is contracted to host 1 San Jose Earthquakes game per year, and last year Manchester United beat Barcelona there. It will host games of the 2016 Copa America.

* Previous Earthquakes Stadiums. The current team 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 was home to the San Jose CyberRays of the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA). It's hosted 3 games of the U.S. national team, most recently a 2007 loss to China. It also hosted games of the 1999 Women's World Cup. Brandi Chastain, who scored the deciding penalty in that game, is from San Jose and also played for the CyberRays.
Spartan Stadium, San Jose

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.
Buck Shaw/Stevens Stadium

Buck Shaw Stadium was also the home of women's team FC Gold Pride in 2009. In 2010, they played at Pioneer Stadium, on the campus of California State University East Bay, in Hayward. 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd. BART to Hayward, then Bus 60 to Carlos Bee Blvd. In that 2010 season, they won the Women's Professional Soccer title -- and then disbanded because they weren't making any money. The National Women's Soccer League that has replaced WPS has no teams in California.

* 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.)
Old Stanford Stadium

It also hosted San Francisco's games of the 1994 World Cup, a match 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.
New Stanford Stadium

* 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 iconic Transamerica Pyramid, 853 feet high, opening in 1972 at 600 Montgomery Street downtown. If all goes according to schedule, it will be superseded next year by the Salesforce Tower, also downtown, at 415 Mission Street, rising 1,070 feet. Another skyscraper will open around the same time in Los Angeles, slightly higher, so the Salesforce Tower won't be the tallest building in California, much less the American West.

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.

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.

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 Enterprise, which was then away at sea.

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.

In contrast, San Jose has not yet been a major location for TV shows and movies. Alfred Hitchcock filmed Vertigo and The Birds in and around San Francisco, but did go to San Jose's Diridon Station to film the Connecticut-based train scene for his 1964 film Marnie.

*

So, if you can afford it, go on out and join your fellow Red Bulls fans in going coast-to-coast, and take on the San Jose Earthquakes. Just be nice to your hosts, and (if you're also a Devils fan) hope that ex-Devils coach Peter DeBoer, now coaching the Sharks, doesn't come of, and you should be all right.

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