Wednesday, March 14, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

San Francisco doesn't really have a "city centerpoint," although street addresses seem to start at Market Street, which runs diagonally across the southeastern sector of the city, and contains the city's 8 stops on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) subway system. Interstates 280 and 680 form a "beltway" for San Jose.

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

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

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

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

San Francisco's electric company is called Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). In addition to being the wealthiest metro area in the country, ahead of New York and Washington, the Bay Area is one of the most ethnically diverse, with 32 percent of the population being foreign-born.

Of the 9 Counties usually included in "the Bay Area," 42 percent of the population is white, 24 percent Hispanic (the vast majority of those being of Mexican descent), 18 percent East Asian (highest in the world outside of Asia, except for Vancouver), 7 percent black, 4 percent South Asian, 4 percent Middle Eastern, and half a percent each Native American and Pacific Islander.

San Francisco became well-known for its Chinatown, as Chinese and Chinese Americans are the largest ethnic group in San Francisco itself, with 21 percent. Daly City, just south of the city, home to the Cow Palace arena, is 58.4 percent Asian, the highest percentage in the U.S. outside of Hawaii. San Jose has more Filipinos than any city outside the Philippines, and more Vietnamese than any city outside Vietnam. In total numbers of Asians, New York ranks 1st in the nation, Los Angeles 2nd, San Jose 3rd and San Francisco 4th.

The City also became well-known for its North Beach neighborhood, which became its "Little Italy," and the West Coast hub of the Beat Generation in the 1950s. The Mission District, once mostly Irish, is now mostly Central American, particularly Salvadoran and Guatemalan.

Despite its name, Russian Hill hasn't had much of a Russian presence in over 200 years. That was not the case with the Castro District, where even after Russia sold Alaska to the U.S. in 1867, there were significant numbers of people from the Russian Empire, including, at the time, Finland. In the early 20th Century, it was known as Little Scandinavia, because Norwegians, Swedes and Danes joined the Finns there.

During the Great Depression, just as Southerners went to Southern California in search of work, working-class people of Irish, Italian and Polish descent went to San Francisco, especially the Castro. And many closeted soldiers and sailors, returning from the Pacific Theater of World War II, decided to stay instead of going home, and built the largest gay village in America except for New York's Greenwich Village. Just as Haight-Ashbury led the way for the Hippies, for gay America, the Seventies were their "Sixties."

Oakland has a black majority, and became known as the birthplace of the Black Panther Party and, along with South Central Los Angeles, the West Coast rap scene. As recently as 1970, 1 out of 7 San Franciscans was black, but as the black middle class grew, they were able to afford better places to live, and, in recognition of Oakland's role, abandoned "The Harlem of the West," once the home of a thriving jazz scene (part of what attracted the Beat writers), and headed for the East Bay. San Jose has a Hispanic plurality, which may be a big reason why Major League Soccer put a team there, instead of in San Francisco or Oakland.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UPDATE: On June 7, 2018, the last operator, Nick Bovis, announced a deal for a new Lefty O'Doul's, to open at Fisherman's Wharf, at 145 Jefferson Street. Light Rail E or F to Jefferseon & Powell.

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

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

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

* Oakland Coliseum complex. This includes the stadium that has been home to the A's since 1968 and to the NFL's Oakland Raiders from 1966 to 1981 and again since 1995; and the Oracle Arena, a somewhat-renovated version of the Oakland Coliseum Arena, home to the NBA's Golden State Warriors on and off since 1966, and continuously since 1971 except for a one-year hiatus in San Jose while it was being renovated, 1996-97.

The Oakland Clippers, the only champions the National Professional Soccer League would know, played at the Coliseum in 1967 and 1968, beating the Baltimore Bays 4-1 in the 2nd leg of the 1967 NPSL Final to win 4-2 on aggregate, before the NPSL merged with the North American Soccer League the next year. The Bay Area's former NHL team, the Oakland Seals/California Golden Seals, played at the arena from 1967 to 1976.

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

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

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

* Chase Center. The new home of the Warriors is expected to open for the 2019-20 season -- that is, next year. It will seat 18,064, and be located off the Central Basin of San Francisco Bay, on land bordered by South Street, 3rd Street (north-south), 16th Street (east-west) and Terry A. Francois Blvd., across from the campus of the University of California at San Francisco, and 8 blocks south of the Giants' AT&T Park. Light Rail K or T to UCSF/Mission Bay.

* 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 be 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 1st stadiums to have it – though, to the city's credit, it was also the 1st NFL stadium and the 2nd MLB stadium (after Comiskey Park in Chicago) to switch back to real grass.

It is easily the most-hated venue in the history of North American sports. But its finest hour came on October 17, 1989, just before Game 3 of the World Series, when the Loma Prieta Earthquake struck. Over 60,000 people were inside the stadium, and they all got out okay, because the stadium's reinforced concrete held, with only minor damage.

The Giants only won 2 Pennants there, and never a World Series. But the 49ers 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 there in the 1990 NFC Championship Game, scoring no touchdowns but winning 15-13 thanks to 5 Matt Bahr field goals. ABC and ESPN hosted Monday Night Football at Candlestick 36 times, the most of any stadium.
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 Levi's Stadium ready for the 2014 season.

The U.S. national soccer team played their 4th and final match there in 2014, a win over Azerbaijan. MLS' San Jose Earthquakes are scheduled to do so on July 27, which ended up being the last competitive sporting event held there. On July 12, nearly 30 years after their Super Bowl XIX matchup, legendary quarterbacks Joe Montana of the 49ers and Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins led teams in a flag football game there, with the proceeds going to charity. And Paul McCartney, having played its 1st concert with the Beatles 48 years earlier, played its last concert on August 14, the last scheduled show before the place was demolished.

A plan to build retail and housing units on the site has stalled, and it remains vacant. Ironically, since it replaced the original Kezar Stadium, 5,000 of Candlestick's seats went to the new Kezar.

The best way 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 blame you if you crossed it off the list.

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

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

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

After the 49ers left, it became a major concert venue. Rocky Marciano defended the Heavyweight Championship of the World there on May 16, 1955, knocking British fighter Don Cockell out in the 9th round.

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. It hosted 1 fight for the Heavyweight Championship of the World, with Ezzard Charles defending the title by beating Pat Valentino on October 14, 1949.
A Sharks game at the Cow Palace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UPDATE: It has been selected by the U.S. Soccer Federation as a finalist to be one of the host venues for the 2026 World Cup.

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

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

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

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

This is actually the 3rd version of the San Jose Earthquakes. The 1st one played in the original North American Soccer League from 1974 to 1984, at Spartan Stadium. This has been home to San Jose State University sports since 1933, it hosted both the old Earthquakes, of the original North American Soccer League, from 1974 to 1984. It was a neutral site hosting Soccer Bowl '75, in which the Tampa Bay Rowdies beat the Portland Timbers 2-0. It's hosted 3 games of the U.S. national team, most recently a 2007 loss to China, and games of the 1999 Women's World Cup.

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

UPDATE: On November 19, 2018, Moneywise compiled a list of their Worst College Football Stadiums, the bottom 19 percent of college football, 25 out of 129. Spartan Stadium, now named CEFCU Stadium, came in 5th: The article called the New Deal era stadium "tired," and cited bad concessions and the fact that the field was Astroturf, the original artificial turf that has proven so dangerous, and not a more modern, safer synthetic grass like FieldTurf.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Mechanic's Pavilion. Knowing that the drying up of the Gold Rush had put many of the original "Forty-Niners" out of work, with no educational background to support them, a group of charitable San Franciscans opened the Mechanics' Institute in 1854. It offered classes in woodworking, mechanical drawing, industrial design, electrical science, applied mathematics and ironwork. It is often said to be the predecessor of the University of California system.

In 1865, the adjoining Mechanic's Pavilion was built, hosting several major events, including a speech by President Theodore Roosevelt on his 1902 tour of the country.

This also included 4 fights for the Heavyweight Championship of the World, each time with a Californian defending the title: "Gentleman Jim" Corbett against Tom Sharkey on June 24, 1896 (a draw, thus allowing Corbett to retain the title); Jim Jeffries against Gus Ruhlin on November 15, 1901; Jeffries against Corbett on August 14, 1903 (the 10th-round knockout turning out to be Corbett's last fight); and Jeffries against Jack Munroe on August 26, 1904 (after which Jeffries retired, only to return and get clobbered by Jack Johnson in Reno in 1910).

The 1906 earthquake and fire destroyed Mechanic's Pavilion, but the men running the Mechanics' Institute kept it going and helped with the rebuilding of the city. Today, membership in the Institute is still open to the pubic, offering the full services of the library, and to the chess room, home of the oldest continuously operating chess club in the Western Hemisphere. 57 Post Street, off Kearny Street, downtown.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For legal reasons, the CBS medical drama Trapper John, M.D., starring former Bonanza star Pernell Roberts as Dr. John McIntyre, was said to be a sequel to the film version of M*A*S*H, where Trapper was played by Elliott Gould, not the TV show, where he was played by Wayne Rogers. Thus we have the oddity of Trapper working in a hospital in San Francisco, the hometown (well, the neighboring suburb of Mill Valley, in Marin County, was) of the man who replaced him at the 4077th MASH, B.J. Hunnicutt (Mike Farrell).


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

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