Friday, August 30, 2019

Two Months to Tell the Tale

Today is the anniversary of my grandfather's birth. If you think I am too much of a Yankee Fan, blame him. He grew up in The Bronx, within walking distance of Yankee Stadium. He could walk down the street and watch the original Stadium being built in 1922 and '23. He sat in those bleachers and watched Babe Ruth, before Lou Gehrig. Half a century later, in the 1970s, he introduced me to the team, and the rest is history. Well, family history, anyway.

He would have been pleased at the Yankees' nice recovery from a bad start to their Pacific Coast road trip, and he would have been pleased at the Yankees are so far ahead in the American League Eastern Division right now.

Although he would have been puzzled by the fact that the team that is, allegedly, chasing the Yankees is in Florida. He got old, living to be 78, and he did live in a retirement community, but it was near the Jersey Shore, not in Florida. He would never have gone to Florida.

The Yankees begin their road trip by getting swept  in 3 straight games by the Oakland Athletics, and that brought back some memories. Those coast road trips used to hurt the Yankees very badly in the 1980's, and we're a big reason why they were usually in the AL East race in August, but out of it by the time September began.

But then the Yankees played an Interleague series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and took 2 out of 3, and the only loss was just 2-1. In other words, the big concern going into this road trip, the thought that the starting pitching was insufficient, proved not to be the case. Then they went up to Seattle, and took 3 straight against the Mariners. The road trip started out 0-3, and ended up 5-4. I'll take a 5-4 coast road trip any season.

There are still injuries, but Mike Ford has stepped up in the absence of 1st baseman Luke Voit.  Aaron Judge has finally gotten hot. So has Gary Sanchez, although he's been doing it most of the season. The fact that the Yankees hit so well in Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and T-Mobile Park (until this season, known as Safeco Field) in Seattle, both known to be pitcher-friendly, is also encouraging.

As for the pitching, our presumed weak spot:

* Domingo German got hit hard in the opener in Oakland, a 6-2 loss. But he was very strong in the finale in Los Angeles, a 5-1 win that advanced him to 17-3 on the season. He is a serious candidate for the AL's Cy Young Award.

* J.A. Happ got hit hard in the 2nd game in Oakland, a 6-4 loss; but bounced back just enough to get the job done in the opener in Seattle, a 5-4 win.

* Masahiro Tanaka did not pitch well in the finale in Oakland, a 5-3 loss; but was sensational in the 2nd game in Seattle, shutting the Mariners out for 7 innings, allowing just 3 runs and 1 walk while fanning 7. Luis Cessa, so often ineffective this season, was trusted to finish off a 6-0 lead, and it ended 7-0 to the Yankees.

* James Paxton pitched spectacularly in the opener in Los Angeles, striking out 11 and walking none, getting home runs from Judge, Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, and 2 from Didi Gregorius, en route to a 10-2 win. He also pitched decently in the finale in Seattle, a 7-3 win.

* CC Sabathia struggled in 4 innings in his start in the 2nd game in L.A., a game the Yankees ended up losing 2-1, including a 9th inning timeout call that may have screwed them out of a tying run. But, between them, Cory Gearrin (a recent waiver pickup, a 33-year-old righthander from Georgia, the Yankees being his 6th team since his 2011 MLB debut), Chad Green, Adam Ottavino and Zack Britton pitched 5 scoreless innings, allowing only 1 hit (Gearrin) and 1 walk (Ottavino). Between them, the 5 Yankee pitchers struck 12 Dodgers out.

So: Good news for the bullpen and Paxton; mixed news, but nice bounce-backs, from German, Happ and Tanaka; and continued concern for the soon-to-retire Sabathia.

*

So where do the Yankees stand now, going into Labor Day Weekend? They are 88-47, on a pace to win 105 games. They lead the AL East by 11 games over the Tampa Bay Rays. The all-important loss column does not change that. Their Magic Number, the total number of Yankee wins and Rays losses that would clinch the Division, is 17.

I don't care how many they need to clinch at least a Wild Card berth: It's been 7 years since they won the Division, and that's inexcusable, and winning the Division puts you in a much better position than even winning the Wild Card Game does.

The Yankees lead the Western Division-leading Houston Astros by 1 game for the best overall record in the AL. They are half a game ahead of the National League Western Division-leading Dodgers for the best overall record in all of MLB. In other words, if the current standings hold to the end of the regular season, on September 29, 27 games from now, the Yankees would have home field advantage (HFA) in the postseason for however far they advance.

If said standings hold until the end, the Division Series would be as follows:

* AL: Yankees with HFA over winner of Oakland Athletics at Cleveland Indians; Astros with HFA over AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins.

* NL: Dodgers with HFA over winner of Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals; NL East-leading Atlanta Braves with HFA over NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals.

If you're wondering about the Mets: Their flirtation with the NL Wild Card berths took a major hit with their sweep at home at the hands of the Cubs. They are now 5 1/2 games out of the 2nd NL Wild Card, with 29 to play. I've often said that it is fair to ask a good team to be able to gain 1 game per week, but, counting this weekend as half a week, there are 4 1/2 weeks left. The Magic is not coming back.

*

What about the Yankees' endless string of injuries? Here is the latest update, in order of expected return from most recent to furthest away:

* Luke Voit, 1st base: Tonight. He's been called up. That's the good news. The bad news is who he's replacing. More on that momentarily.

* Ben Heller, pitcher: Early September. His recovery from Tommy John surgery is nearly complete, as he is already pitching in Scranton. He could even be a 40-man roster callup on September 1, this coming Sunday. But don't count on him being put on the postseason roster, unless he ends up pitching better than he ever has.

* Jordan Montgomery, pitcher: Early September. He's already pitching for Scranton, and could be a September 1 callup. He might need a little more time than that, though. But if he's available for the postseason, it gives Aaron Boone some flexibility, especially if Sabathia and Happ continue to struggle, Paxton goes back to doing so, and Severino can't come back strong.

* Dellin Betances, pitcher: Early September. He is set to face hitters in a simulated game tomorrow. If he's okay, he could begin a minor league rehab assignment. He could be as little as a week away, but the Yankees need him more for the postseason, so they shouldn't rush him.

* Luis Severino, pitcher: Mid-September. He's been cleared to make his 1st rehab start for Scranton on Sunday. If he can give us a postseason that's anything like what he was before he got hurt, it would be a huge lift. A postseason rotation of Severino, Tanaka and German (not necessarily in that order), with Paxton as the 4th guy when necessary, would be much more encouraging than a rotation of Tanaka, German, Paxton, and either Sabathia or Happ.

* Gio Urshela, 3rd base: Mid-September. He was injured in Seattle, and was place on the 10-Day Injured List to make room for Voit's callup. If it is only a 10-day thing, that will be a big relief.

* Giancarlo Stanton, right field/designated hitter: Mid-September. He took batting practice in Seattle, but there is, as yet, no timetable for rehab games for the man who, currently, stands as the biggest bust, divided by money, in the history of Yankee acquisitions.

* Edwin Encarnacion, 1st base/designated hitter: September. He has been taking batting, fielding and throwing practice, but hasn't yet faced live pitching in any form. Not a guy who needs to be counted on, but would be a nice option for the postseason.

* Jonathan Holder, pitcher: September. Another guy who doesn't need to be rushed back.

* Stephen Tarpley, pitcher: September. Ditto.

* Thairo Estrada, utility player: September. A spare part, the kind of guy Joe Torre loved to count on, including in the postseason. Probably not necessary, though.

* Aaron Hicks, center field: Possibly September. Given that his injury is a flexor strain in his elbow, the Yankees don't want to take any chances. He might end up getting shut down for the year. But he would be a big help in the postseason.

* Greg Bird, 1st base: Unknown. Given his string of injuries, and his contract situation, and the performances of Voit, Encarnacion and DJ LeMahieu, he may never play for the Yankees again.

* Jake Barrett, pitcher: Unknown. He hasn't pitched since May 25, but he has resumed throwing.

* David Hale, pitcher: Unknown. He hasn't pitched since July 26, threw 30 pitches in the bullpen on August 8, but had a setback, and has been shut down. If he ever plays another game in Pinstripes, I'll be surprised.

* Miguel Andujar, 3rd base: Spring Training of next season.

* Jacoby Ellsbury, outfield: Spring Training of next season. However, with his contract running out, it is unlikely that any return he makes will be for the Yankees.

*

Today is August 30. If the World Series goes to a Game 7, with no postponements due to weather or anything else, Game 7 would be played on October 30. In other words, one way or another, the baseball season ends in two months.

These next 2 months will tell the tale. Will the Yankees finally do the business for the 28th time? Or will they come up short? If they come up short for the 18th time in the last 19 seasons, will it still seem encouraging enough to justify giving Brian Cashman another year as general manager, another offseason to make deals, another trading deadline in July 2020?

It is possible that we could lose without blowing a postseason series. Sometimes, the opposition is simply better, and you have to give them credit. Of course, if that opposition turns out to be the Houston Astros, a team that strengthen itself in part due to Cashman's in action in both 2017 and 2019, that would be an ignominious defeat, and Cashman should have to answer for it.

At any rate, the Yankees have returned home, and face the A's in a return series of the road trip's beginning. The remaining schedule:

* Tonight, and tomorrow and Sunday afternoons: Home to Oakland. The A's are currently in position to get one of the AL Wild Card slots.

* Monday afternoon (Labor Day) and Tuesday and Wednesday nights: Home to the Texas Rangers. They are not going to make the Playoffs.

* Friday night, Saturday late afternoon, and Sunday and Monday nights: Away to the Boston Red Sox. It looks like The Scum are out of the Playoff hunt, which is a relief. I guess they didn't re-sign their pharmacist.

* The following Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and Thursday afternoon: Away to the Detroit Tigers. They are in rebuilding mode.

* The following Friday night, and Saturday and Sunday afternoons: Away to the Toronto Blue Jays. Their awful season is coming to a close.

* The following Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights: Home to the Los Angeles Angels. They're not making the Playoffs.

* The following Friday night, and Saturday and Sunday afternoons: Home to Toronto.

* The following Tuesday and Wednesday nights: Away to Tampa Bay. I wouldn't mind at all if the Yankees clinched the Division in either of these games. Of course, I wouldn't mind them going into this series having already clinched.

* The following Friday and Saturday nights, and Sunday afternoon, away to Texas. These will be the last games ever played at the stadium the Rangers opened in 1994, known as The Ballpark in Arlington through 2004, Ameriquest Field through 2006, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington through 2013, and now as Globe Life Park in Arlington. That's only 26 seasons. Its replacement, Globe Life Field (not "Park"), is being built to the south. The existing stadium will be left standing, as the home of the reborn XFL's Dallas Renegades.

*

Days until Rutgers University plays football again: None. They are about to kick off the season, right now, at Rutgers Stadium (a.k.a. SHI Stadium -- no, I didn't name or rename it), against the University of Massachusetts.

Days until the New York Red Bulls play again: 1, tomorrow night at 7, home to the Colorado Rapids at Red Bull Arena.

Days until Arsenal play again: 2, on Sunday, at 11:30 AM New York time, home to arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the North London Derby at the Emirates Stadium.

Days until the next North London Derby: See the previous answer. It is unusual for Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur to play each other so early in the season, but not unprecedented: As recently as the 2013-14 season, they did so on September 1. As it was on that occasion, to get higher TV ratings, the game was moved from Saturday to Sunday.

Days until the next Yankees-Red Sox series begins: 6, next Thursday night, September 5, at Fenway Park.

Days until East Brunswick High School plays football again: 7, next Friday night, at 7:00 PM, home to arch-rival Old Bridge. Like most of the local rivalries that were once played on Thanksgiving Day, this one has been moved back to the opening game. It will also be the head coaching debut of Andy Steinfeld, a longtime assistant and a two-way lineman on the school's 1984 Conference Champions. It will also be the start of a Yankees-Red Sox series. So I'm getting a double dose of "Scum" on the night. Lucky me. At least it'll be at Jay Doyle's Green Grove off Cranbury Road, instead of at the purple shit pit on Route 9.


Days until the U.S. national soccer team plays again: 7, next Friday night, at 8:30, against Mexico, at MetLife Stadium at the Meadowlands. This will be their 1st match of any kind since their bottlejob against Mexico in the Final of the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Days until the Red Bulls next play a "derby": 23, on Sunday night, September 22, against the Philadelphia Union, at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls next play D.C. United the following Sunday, also at RBA. They will not play New York City or the New England Revolution again during the regular season. However, all 4 of these rival teams remain potential Playoff opponents.

Days until the New Jersey Devils play again: 35, on Friday night, October 4, at the Prudential Center, against the Winnipeg Jets. Just 5 weeks.

Days until the New Jersey Devils next play a local rival: 40, on Wednesday night, October 9, against the Philadelphia Flyers, a.k.a. The Philth, at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The season's 1st game against the New York Rangers, a.k.a. The Scum, will be on Thursday, October 17, at the Prudential Center. The 1st game against the New York Islanders will be on Thursday, January 2, 2020, at the Barclays Center.

Days until the next Rutgers-Penn State football game: 92, on Saturday, November 30, at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. Exactly 3 months.

Days until my 50th Birthday, at which point I can join AARP and get discounts for travel and game tickets: 110, on December 18, 2019. A little over 4 months.

Days until the premiere of the final Star Wars film, Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker: 112, on December 20, 2019.

Days until the Baseball Hall of Fame vote is announced, electing Derek Jeter: 144on January 21, 2020. Under 5 months.

Days until Euro 2020 begins, a tournament being held all over Europe instead of in a single host nation: 287, on Friday, June 12, 2020. Under 10 months.

Days until the next Summer Olympics begins in Tokyo, Japan: 329, on July 24, 2020. Under 11 months.

Days until the next Presidential election, when we can dump the Trump-Pence regime and elect a real Administration: 431on November 3, 2020. A little over a year, or a little over 14 months.

Days until a fully-Democratic-controlled Congress can convene, and the Republicans can do nothing about it: 492, on January 3, 2021. Under a year and a half, or a little over 16 months.

Days until Liberation Day: 509at noon on January 20, 2021. Under a year and a half, or under 17 months. Note that this is liberation from the Republican Party, not just from Donald Trump. Having Mike Pence as President wouldn't be better, just differently bad, mixing theocracy with plutocracy, rather than mixing kleptocracy with plutocracy.

Days until the next Winter Olympics begins in Beijing, China: 889, on February 4, 2022. Under 2 1/2 years, or a little over 29 months.

Days until the next World Cup is scheduled to kick off: 1,179, on November 21, 2022, in Qatar. A little over 3 years, or a little under 39 months. The charges of corruption against Qatar may yet mean that they will lose the tournament, in which case it will be moved to a nation where it would not be too hot to play it in June and July.

Days until the next Women's World Cup is scheduled to kick off: As yet unknown, but probably on the 2nd Friday in June 2023, which would be June 9. That would be 1,379 days, a little under 4 years, or a little over 45 months. A host nation is expected to be chosen on March 20, 2020. Since 2 of the last 3 host nations have been in Europe, North America (Canada) hosted in 2015, and Asia (China) hosted in 2007, my guess is that it will be in either Asia (Japan, possibly Korea, but not China) or Oceania (Australia, possibly a joint bid with New Zealand).

Monday, August 26, 2019

How to Be a New York Soccer Fan In Vancouver -- 2019 Edition

This Saturday night, New York City FC will visit the Vancouver Whitecaps, at BC Place in Vancouver, British Columbia. The New York Red Bulls will not visit them this season.

Before You Go. At 49 degrees, 16 minutes North latitude, BC Place is further north than any U.S. major league sports venue. (Seattle's CenturyLink Field is the northernmost in the U.S., at 47 degrees, 35 minutes.) This will be mid-August, Summer. So, despite being in Canada, cold will not be a factor.

Like the American Northwest cities of Seattle and Portland, it rains in Vancouver. A lot. The city has been nicknamed "Raincouver." However, the Vancouver Sun is not predicting rain until Sunday, the day after the game. For Saturday, gameday, the temperatures should be in the low 70s by day and the low 60s by night. Your time outdoors should be fine. And the game will be "outdoors," as the retractable roof is kept open for soccer games unless there's actual inclement weather.

This is Canada, so you will need your passport. You will need to change your money. At this writing, C$1.00 = US 75 cents, and US$1.00 = C$1.32. And I advise you to call your bank and let them know that you will be in a foreign country, so they won't see credit or debit card purchases from a foreign country pop up and think your card has been stolen.

Also, remember that they use the metric system. A speed limit of 100 kilometers per hour means 62 miles an hour. And don't be fooled by the seemingly low gas prices: That's per liter, not per gallon, and, in spite of Canada being a major oil-producing nation, you'll actually be paying more for gas up there. So, in order to avoid both confusion and "sticker-shock," get your car filled up before you reach the border.

Vancouver is in the Pacific Time Zone, so they are 3 hours behind New York and New Jersey. Adjust your timepieces accordingly.

Tickets. The Whitecaps are averaging 19,973 fans per home game this season, nearly a sellout. (Only the lower level is opened.) Getting tickets will be tough. However, this being soccer, seats are always set aside for visiting fans.

The Whitecaps supporters' club website recommends that away supporters contact a club intern at sales@whitecapsfc.com, in order to get tickets in the designated away supporters' sections, 218 and 219, in the northeast corner. They specifically say to avoid Sections 201-207 and 248-254, in the north end, as those are reserved for official 'Caps supporters clubs. Tickets for 218 and 219 are a whopping C$68 -- that's about US$51.

Getting There. It's 2,969 miles from Times Square in Manhattan to downtown Vancouver, and 2,957 miles from Red Bull Arena to BC Place. It's 31 miles from downtown Vancouver to the closest border crossing, the Peace Arch in Blaine, Washington. This is the longest roadtrip the Red Bulls have. If you can afford to fly, you should.

NOTE: This is Labor Day Weekend, so availability may be lower, and thus fares may be higher, than usual.

Air Canada has 11 flights between New York and Vancouver International Airport every day, but only the one leaving Newark at 6:20 PM Eastern Time, landing at 9:03 PM Pacific Time (5 hours and 40 minutes), is nonstop. Otherwise, to get from either Newark or LaGuardia to Vancouver, you'll have to change planes in Toronto or Ottawa. And, round-trip, it will cost you nearly $1,200.

The other options aren't too good, because they're a lot longer. For example, here's your schedule if you take Amtrak and the connecting bus service:

Leave New York: 3:40 PM Wednesday
Arrive Chicago: 9:50 AM Thursday
Leave Chicago: 2:15 PM Thursday
Arrive Seattle: 10:25 AM Saturday
Leave Seattle: 1:45 PM Saturday
Arrive Vancouver: 5:15 PM Saturday, and you'll need a hotel
Kickoff: 7:00 PM Saturday
Game ends: Around 9:00 PM Saturday
Leave Vancouver: 11:30 AM Sunday
Arrive Seattle: 3:30 PM Sunday
Leave Seattle: 4:40 PM Sunday
Arrive Chicago: 3:55 PM Tuesday
Leave Chicago: 9:30 PM Tuesday
Arrive New York: 6:35 PM Wednesday

And that's $634 round-trip.

Is taking the bus any better? Not really: You'd have to leave Port Authority at 10:15 PM on Tuesday, changing buses twice -- in Toronto and Winnipeg -- in order to arrive in Vancouver before kickoff. It's $594 round-trip, but can be as little as $449 with advanced purchase.

The VIA station, Pacific Central Station, is at 1100 Station Street at National Avenue, while the Greyhound station is at 1150 Station Street, not quite next-door, but close. Main Street-Science World Station to Stadium-Chinatown Station in 6 minutes.

Could driving be any worse? 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 to get there. One way.

But, if you really, really think driving is a better alternative... Get onto Interstate 80 West in New Jersey, and stay on that until it merges with Interstate 90 west of Cleveland, then stay on 90 through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, into Wisconsin, where it merges with Interstate 94. Although you could take I-90 almost all the way, I-94 is actually going to be faster. Stay on I-94 through Minnesota and North Dakota before re-merging with I-90 in Montana, taking it through Idaho and into Washington, getting off I-94 at Exit 2B to get on Interstate 5.

You'll take I-5 up to the border, past Exit 276. You'll present your passport, and you'll answer whatever questions the Customs agent has. Presuming you have everything in order, and you don't do anything stupid to make him (or her) keep you out of Canada, I-5 becomes BC Highway 99, the Sea to Sky Highway. Once you cross the Lions Gate Bridge, you're in downtown Vancouver.

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 hours, Wisconsin for 3:15, Minnesota for 4:30, North Dakota for 6 hours, Montana for a whopping 13 hours (or 3 times the time it takes to get from New York to Boston), Idaho for 1:15, 8:45 in Washington, and half an hour in British Columbia. That's 52 and a half hours, so, with rest stops, you're talking 3 full days.

On October 14, 2016, President Obama finally ended the ban on bringing Cuban cigars into America. This also applies to rum, for which Cuba is also renowned. It is still considerably easier to buy these items in Canada than in America, but, now, you can bring them back over the border.

Once In the City. Originally named Gastown, in honor of its founder, mill baron John "Gassy Jack" Deighton, Vancouver was a product of the 1859 Western gold rush that also founded Denver. Europeans first settled in the area in 1862. Gassy Jack founded a tavern on July 1, 1867, Canada's Confederation Day (effectively, its independence from Britain although it was still part of the Empire and remains part of the Commonwealth).

It was renamed for George Vancouver, an officer of Britain's Royal Navy, who explored and charted North America's Pacific Northwest in the early 1790s. Despite having a name that could be French (VAHN-koo-VAIR, instead of Van-KOO-ver as we say today), and the city being in a country with French as a 2nd official language, he was English through and through. The city of Vancouver, Washington, across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon, is also named for him, as are places in Australia and New Zealand, which he also explored.

Vancouver was made possible by its selection in 1884 by the Canadian Pacific Railway as its terminus. It was incorporated as a city in 1886, and, shortly thereafter, was consumed in a Great Fire, much as Chicago had been in 1871 and Boston in 1872. Like those cities, Vancouver rebuilt quickly, and the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897-98 was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Like New York, Vancouver is a city of islands. Unlike New York, for whom the Catskills count as "mountains," Vancouver has real mountains. On a clear day, it is one of the most beautiful cities in the Western Hemisphere. On ground level, however, it is as plagued by problems -- especially poverty, homelessness and crime -- as any city. At least it's cleaner than most American cities.

The city is home to a little over 630,000 people, including the largest percentage of Asian residents of any city in North America, about 41 percent (30 percent East Asian, 11 percent South Asian), to about 52 percent white, 2 percent Aboriginal (what we used to call "Indians"), 2 percent Middle Eastern, 1 percent black and 1 percent Hispanic.

Vancouver is Canada's 8th-largest city, behind Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Ottawa, Edmonton, Toronto's neighbor Mississauga and Winnipeg. (Neighboring Surrey is 12th, with 470,000, and nearby Burnaby and Richmond are in the top 25.) But with 2.4 million, "Greater Vancouver" is Canada's 3rd-largest metropolitan area, behind Toronto and Montreal.

Main Street south of Vancouver Harbour, and Lonsdale Avenue north of it, divide city addresses into east and west. There is no divider into north and south, although north of the Harbour are the separate cities of North Vancouver and West Vancouver. Burnaby, New Westminster and Coquitlam are to the east, Surrey to the southeast, Richmond to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Vancouver has no highway "beltway."

TransLink runs the B-Line bus service, the SkyTrain rapid rail service, the West Coast Express commuter rail, and the SeaBus ferry service. A 1 Zone fare is $2.75, 2 Zone $4.00, and 3 Zone $5.50. After 6:30 PM on weekdays and all day on weekends and holidays, discount fares apply, and buying a $2.75 1 Zone ticket will allow you to travel through all zones.

And remember, that's C$2.75, making it about US$2.10, making Vancouver's SkyTrain and buses cheaper than New York's Subway and buses. A DayPass costs C$9.75, or US$7.46.
Passing by the Harbour Centre tower

The drinking age in British Columbia is 19. Postal Codes in the Province, appropriately enough, begin with the letter V. The Area Codes are 604 and 250, with 236 and 778 as overlays.

Going In. The official address of BC Place -- that is the official name, not "British Columbia Place" -- is 777 Pacific Blvd. It is downtown, across Georgia Street from Rogers Arena, home of the NHL's Vancouver Canucks. Stadium-Chinatown station on SkyTrain. If you drive in, there's lots of parking near the stadium, but the price varies wildly.

It opened in 1983 as the home of the CFL's B.C. Lions and the original version of the Vancouver Whitecaps of the North American Soccer League, for whom the current team was named. (No other name was considered, even that of the interim team, the Vancouver 86ers.) It was hoped that it could bring in a Major League Baseball team. That's never happened. But it did stand as the centerpiece of the 1986 World's Fair (Expo 86), and the main stadium for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Before the renovation

It originally had the same kind of air-supported white fabric dome that covered the Metrodome in Minneapolis and the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis, but its renovation after the Olympics replaced it with a cable-supported retractable roof that looks a lot better, and is opened for all soccer games.
Roof closed

The field is artificial, and is aligned northeast-to-southwest, but, for practical purposes, the northeast end is considered the north end, and the southwest end is considered the south end. Capacity is 54,313 for CFL games and MLS Cup matches, but limited to 22,120 for regular-season Whitecaps matches.
Roof open. Note Rogers Arena across the street.

The Whitecaps are 1 of 6 MLS teams currently groundsharing with a professional football team. BC Place has hosted the Grey Cup, the championship game of the Canadian Football League, how many times, Ed Rooney? "Nine times!" Most recently in 2014. This includes 1994 and 2011, when the Lions won it on home turf. They've also won it with BC Place as their home field in 1985, 2000 and 2006, and in 1964 when they were playing at Empire Stadium, for a total of 6 Grey Cups.

BC Place also hosted the 2011 Vanier Cup, the National Championship of Canadian college football, won by Hamilton's McMaster University over Quebec City's Université Laval; the 2014 NHL Heritage Classic, with the Senators losing to the Ottawa Senators; and games of the 2015 Women's World Cup, including the Final.
Food. Vancouver is Canada's premier western port. Which means, like San Francisco and Seattle, it is a great food city. BC Place reflects this.

Starting from behind the north goal, and working around: Dawson's Dogs (hot dogs) are behind Sections 201, 215, 226, 233, 241 and 248; Lionsgate Grill (burgers) at 206, 215, 228, 242 and 253; Breyer's ice cream at 211 and 215; Lemonheaven lemonade at 211, 224 and 239; The Poutinerie (serving poutine, that foul concoction of fries, gravy and cheese curd) at 212 and 239; Gastown Grill (burgers) at 218 and 237; Montreal smoked meat (deli sandwiches) at 218; Vij's (Indian food) at 221 and 245; Commercial Drive Pizza at 222; Cafe Fresh (salads) at 238; Steveston's Fish & Chips at 244; and Asian Steamed Buns at 250. (If your buns are steamed, that's a good sign that you've had too much to eat.)

Team History Displays. The current version of the 'Caps has only been playing since 2011, and their only major trophy -- if you can call it "major" -- is the Canadian Championship, effectively Canada's version of England's FA Cup. They won it in 2015, but lost the Final in 2011, '12, '13, '16 and '18.

This gets even more pathetic when you realize that this tournament has only been held since 2008, and that, until the Canadian Premier League began play this year, there had been only 5 teams participating: MLS clubs the 'Caps, Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact; and, from the new version of the North American Soccer League, FC Edmonton and the Ottawa Fury. (Toronto's won it 7 times, Montreal 3, and Edmonton and Ottawa, not surprisingly, have never even reached the Final.)

In the original NASL, the original Whitecaps won the title in 1979. They won their Division in 1978, 1979, 1981 and 1983. They were coached by Leeds United legend Johnny Giles, and had some seriously pedigreed players: Alan Ball of Everton, Arsenal, and the 1966 England World Cup team; Kevin Hector of the Derby County team that won the League in 1972 and 1975; Phil Parkes of the Wolverhampton Wanderers that reached the Final of the 1972 UEFA Cup and won the 1974 League Cup; and Dutch stars Ruud Krol of Ajax and Frans Thijssen of Nijmegen.

There was also Vancouver native Bob Lenarduzzi, a longtime defender who played for Canada in its only World Cup (so far) in 1986, managed the Vancouver 86ers and the national team, is now the Whitecaps' president, and was elected to both the U.S. and Canadian Soccer Halls of Fame. (Basketball Hall-of-Famer Steve Nash, who grew up in Victoria, British Columbia, is also a part-owner of the 'Caps.)
Bob Lenarduzzi

As for the current 'Caps, their greatest player has probably been their former captain, Jay DeMerit, former defender for the U.S. national team. None of the preceding players and honors has a display in the fan-viewable areas of BC Place. There is, as yet, no team hall of fame. Nor are there any retired numbers.

The Whitecaps, the Seattle Sounders and the Portland Timbers -- all named for teams that played in the NASL -- have competed for the Cascadia Cup since 2004. The Whitecaps won it 6 times: In 2004, 2005, 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2016 (despite the Sounders winning the MLS Cup). Seattle have also won it 6 times, Portland 4. (UPDATE: As of the end of the 2019 season, it's Seattle 6, Vancouver 6, Portland 4.)
The Cascadia Cup, with BC Place in the background

The Vancouver 86ers won the Canadian Soccer League title in 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991.

Stuff. There are 4 retail locations situated within Level 2 of the concourse inside the stadium. However, as they are inside the stadium, they are only open on matchdays.

As a relatively new and unsuccessful team in a relatively new league in a sport with, at least in North America, a spotty history, there are no books or videos about the Whitecaps.

During the Game. Whitecaps fans don't much like MLS' other Canadian teams, Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact. Nor do they care for the U.S.' West Coast teams, the Seattle Sounders, the Portland Timbers, the San Jose Earthquakes, the Los Angeles Galaxy, or Los Angeles FC. But despite a minor rivalry between the original versions of the 'Caps and the New York Cosmos in the late Seventies and early Eighties, they have no particular problem with RBNY or NYCFC fans. If you behave yourselves, they'll behave themselves.
Hui are ya?

Marie Hui, a Burnaby native who is emblematic of Vancouver's status as the most Asian city outside Asia, has been the Whitecaps' regular singer of the National Anthems since they debuted in 2011. Their mascot is Spike, a belted kingfisher, a bird common to the Vancouver area. He wears Number 74, indicative of the original Whitecaps' foundation in 1974.
The main supporters' group for the 'Caps is the Vancouver Southsiders, who sit in Sections 248 to 254. The Rain City Brigade sit in 201. La Doce -- a way of saying, "The 12th Man" -- was a Hispanic supporters' group that has since been folded into the Curva Collective, who sit in 203 and 204.

At the start of each half, the Southsiders sing "Boundary Road," to the tune of John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads," a tribute to the current Whitecaps' origins at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby. On opposing goal kicks, instead of the "You suck, asshole!" formerly heard around the league, including at Red Bull Arena, they yell, regardless of the actual girth of the goalkeeper, "You fat bastard!"

Like the Red Bulls and many others, they sing the variation on Little Peggy March's "I Will Follow Him": "We love ya, we love ya, we love ya, and where you go we'll follow, we'll follow, we'll follow, 'cause we support the Whitecaps, the Whitecaps, the Whitecaps, and that's the way we like it, we like it, we like it, oh whoa oh ohhhh... " They adapted Chelsea's song: "Carefree, wherever you may be, we're from Vancouver, B.C.! And we don't give a toss, wherever you may be! We're from Vancouver, B.C.!"

To the old standby, "Vamos (Team Name)," they sing, "Come on, come on Vancouver, we're together, supporting you tonight!" They sing Depeche Mode's "Just Can't Get Enough." To "Hava Nagila," they sing, "Whitecaps, Vancouver Whitecaps, Vancouver Whitecaps, Vancouver, hey hey hey!" To "Anarchy in the UK," they sing, "I Am a Vancouverite!" They sing "The Blue and White Forever," to the tune of the Canadian patriotic song "The Maple Leaf Forever."

Remember the Stonecutters episode of The Simpsons? They do a variation on that:

Who makes the (other team) turn white?
Who keeps their sisters warm at night?
We do! We do!
Who berates the referees?
Who does what the hell they please?
We do! We do!
Who drinks all of your fav'rite beer?
Who gets more drunker each year?
We do! We do!
Who makes your goalkeeper cry?
Who thinks divers ought to die?
We do! We do!
Who stands up through thick and thin?
Who cheers the Caps on lose or win?
We do! We do!

When the 'Caps score, they do "Seven Nation Army" by the White Stripes: "Oh, whoa-oh a ohhhh, ohhhh!" When the opposing team scores, they sing a variation on the Doris Day classic, inspired by a former coach's remark about the substandard Swangard pitch:

Que sera, sera!
Whatever will be, will be!
It's not bloody Wemberly!
Que sera, sera!

In other words, don't celebrate too hard, visiting fans. In the 86th minute, as a tribute to their roots, they sing, to the tune of the Beatles' "Hey Jude," "Na, na na, na na na na... na na na na... Eight-six!"

After the Game. Canadians generally don't believe in fighting with opposing fans, they have a healthy attitude toward guns (they don't need them to feel safe), and they certainly have nothing (or next to nothing) against New York (in spite of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals) and New Jersey. Don't go out of your way to antagonize anyone, and you'll be fine.

The stadium is in downtown Vancouver, so there will be places to go after the game. I don't know of any place that is a known hangout for visiting or expatriate New Yorkers. The International Village Mall is 2 blocks north of the arena, at Abbott Street and Keefer Place. However, since the game starts at 7:00 Pacific Time, and should end at around 9:00, the mall will soon be closing.

One place you might want to think very carefully about visiting is Doolin's Irish Pub, at 654 Nelson Street. It's the official pub partner of the Vancouver Southsiders. However, their website says, "If you are travelling in smaller number (less than 20) and without idiots, we welcome you to join us... We do ask that you email events@vancouversouthsiders.ca before though, so you're expected." Around the corner from Doolin's, at 932 Granville Street, is another partnered place, The Roxy.

If your visit to Vancouver (for a Whitecaps game, a Canucks game, a Lions game, or anything else) is during the European soccer season (as we are once again in), the following bars host supporters' clubs for certain teams. All are downtown unless otherwise stated:

* Arsenal and Celtic: Library Square Public House, 300 W. Georgia Street, 4 blocks west of the stadium. If your team is not listed here, this is probably your best bet, unless you really, really don't like Gooners or Bhoys.

* Manchester United: Lamplighter Public House, 92 Water Street, about a 15-minute walk north of the stadium.

* Manchester City: Blackbird Oyster Bar, 905 Dunsmuir Street, about a 20-minute walk north of the stadium, or SkyTrain to Burrard.

* Liverpool: The Butcher and Bullock, 911 W. Pender Street, also about a 20-minute walk north of the stadium, or SkyTrain to Burrard.

* Chelsea: The New Oxford, 1144 Homer Street, about a 12-minute walk south of the stadium. Bus 6 to Davie & Mainland.

* Tottenham Hotspur: The Bimini, 2014 W. 4th Avenue, over the Lions Gate Bridge from downtown. Bus 4, 10 or 14.

* Rangers: Dover Arms Pub, 961 Denman Street, and the western end of the island. Bus 19.

* Italian clubs: Abruzzo Cafe, 1321 Commercial Drive, in the Strathcona section of town. Bus 20 or 22.

* Real Madrid: The Manchester Public House, 1941 W. Broadway, over the Lions Gate Bridge from downtown. Bus 4, 10 or 14.

* Bayern Munich: Red Card Sports Bar & Eatery, 560 Smithe Street.

There are local supporters' clubs for Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, but I can find no listings for matchday viewings.

Sidelights. Vancouver has been a big sports city since Canada's dawn, and these are some of the other places you should see, to get a feel for it:

* Rogers Arena: Across Georgia Street from BC Place, the official address is 800 Griffiths Way. It was named for Frank Griffiths, the media mogul who owned the team from 1974 until his death in 1994 and funded the Arena. The actual streets around it are Expo Blvd. to the west and north (separate by the elevated Dunsmuir Viaduct), Abbott Street to the east and Georgia Street to the south. Like BC Place, the Arena can be reached by SkyTrain at Stadium-Chinatown station.
It was named General Motors Place from its 1995 opening until 2010, when it was temporarily renamed Canada Hockey Place, since Olympic rules forbid corporate names on venues. (Yes, I know: Hypocritical IOC is hypocritical.) Like the Rogers Centre in Toronto and the soon-to-open Rogers Place in Edmonton, it's named for Canadian network Rogers Sportsnet.

The NBA's expansion Vancouver Grizzlies played there from 1995 to 2001, but never caught on, and moved to Memphis. As the NBA's only remaining Canadian team, the Toronto Raptors play a preseason game there every year. The Arena is Vancouver's main concert venue, as was the Canucks' previous home, the Pacific Coliseum. Neither Elvis Presley nor the Beatles ever performed in Vancouver.

With the Grizzlies and the Seattle SuperSonics both gone, the closest NBA team to Vancouver is the Portland Trail Blazers, 314 miles away. But according to an article in the May 12, 2014 New York Times, the most popular NBA team in Vancouver is easily the Los Angeles Lakers, well ahead of runners-up the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls.

* Pacific National Exhibition. This was the home of Vancouver sports from the 1950s to the 1990s. The building here that is best known to Americans, because of their NHL viewing, is the Pacific Coliseum. Opening in 1968, it was the last home of the Western Hockey League's Canucks (1968-70), the 1st home of the NHL Canucks (1970-95), and the home of the World Hockey Association's Vancouver Blazers (1973-75).
Because of its interior appearance, and Vancouver's status as a place where filming movies gives studios tax breaks, it stood in for Madison Square Garden for the filming of Miracle, about the 1980 U.S. hockey team. The real-life Soviet team made an appearance there in 1972, as it hosted Game 4 of the Summit Series. It was also the venue for figure skating and short-track speed skating for the 2010 Winter Olympics. It is currently home to the Vancouver Giants, a minor-league hockey team.

The PNE grounds are also home to the Vancouver Forum, a 1931-built arena that was home to the minor-league Canucks from 1938 to 1968. It has remained a concert hall, although in 2007, fans at a Smashing Pumpkins concert took the band's name too literally, and a fan died in the mosh pit.
Back when the Commonwealth Games were still known as the Empire Games, Vancouver hosted them in 1954, and the 32,729-seat Empire Stadium was built at the PNE. The British Columbia Lions played there until 1982, moving into BC Place the next summer. The Empire also hosted the city's North American Soccer League teams, the Royals (1967-68) and the original version of the Whitecaps (1974-83).
In 1970, it became Canada's 1st stadium with artificial turf. It was demolished in 1993, and a temporary stadium was put on the site in 2011, to house the new Whitecaps while BC Place was being renovated with a new roof. This new site was quickly demolished.

The Hastings Racecourse, a thoroughbred horse venue, and Playland Amusement Park are also on the grounds. 100 N. Renfrew Street at Miller Drive, on the grounds of the Pacific National Exhibition. Number 4 bus.

* Swangard Stadium. Vancouver Sun sportswriter Erwin Swangard wanted a stadium for the suburb of Burnaby. William Andrew Cecil Bennett -- a.k.a. Cecil, CeCe, W.A.C. or "Wacky," the longest-serving Premier (think "Governor") of the Province of British Columbia, made it happen, and dedicated the 5,288-seat facility in 1969, naming it for Swangard.
The stadium has a stands on only one side. It hosts local football -- both the 12-man, 3-downs, 110-yard field, 25-yard end zone Canadian variation on American football, and soccer -- and track & field competitions. This includes being the home field of Simon Fraser University.

From 1987 to 2010, it was home to the team that became today's Whitecaps, known as the Vancouver 86ers until 2000. Much of the current Whitecap fan culture began there, before their 2011 promotion to MLS. 3883 Imperial Street in Burnaby. Bus 996 or 999.

* Thunderbird Stadium. Opened in 1967, this is the home field for the University of British Columbia. Founded as the Western Canada extension of Montreal's McGill University, UBC's main campus is at the western edge of Vancouver Island, about 6 1/2 miles west of downtown. They and the aforementioned Simon Fraser University (SFU) are local arch-rivals.
It only seats 3,411 people, but "festival seating" can raise it by 5,000. The playing surface is named for Vancouver businessman and former UBC football star David Sidoo, who financed improvements to the stadium. It is also home to the Whitecaps' developmental squad, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2.

UBC has won the Vanier Cup in 1982, 1986, 1997 and 2015. Their hockey team, however, has won no major trophies. 6288 Stadium Road. Bus 14.

* Denman Arena site. Built by the Patrick brothers in 1911, this 10,500-seat arena was the largest in Canada at the time. The Pacific Coast Hockey Association's Vancouver Millionaires played here until 1926, winning the 1915 Stanley Cup. When the PCHA folded, the Vancouver Lions of the Northwest Hockey League took over in 1928, and played here until 1936. It was also home to a women's hockey team, the Vancouver Amazons.
That was when, mere hours after hosting a fight by former Heavyweight Champion Max Baer, the arena, brick-faced and supposedly fireproof, fell victim to a nearby fire. Sounds suspicious. Devonian Harbour Park is now on the site. 561 Denman Street at Georgia Street. Bus 240 from downtown.

* Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium. Home to Vancouver baseball since 1951, and originally known as Capilano Stadium, in 1978 it was renamed for Bailey, a local restaurateur and civic booster. Scotiabank bought naming rights in 2010. It seats only 6,013, so it's small even by Triple-A standards. But it has the old-time look, complete with support poles holding up an overhanging roof.
The stadium was built by Emil Sick, who also built the ballpark of the Pacific Coast League's Seattle Rainiers, which would later be home to the ill-fated Seattle Pilots of the American League. The Vancouver Mounties would play PCL ball there from 1956 to 1969, and would finish as they began, as a Seattle farm club.
The city would be without professional baseball until 1978, when the Vancouver Canadians joined the PCL. They won Pennants in 1985, 1989 and 1999. But in 2000, right after winning the Pennant, they were moved to Sacramento, and were replaced by a new Canadians team, in the Northwest League, a short-season Class A league like the New York-Penn League that includes the Staten Island Yankees and the Brooklyn Cyclones.

By 2011, they were the only affiliated minor-league baseball team in Canada (all the others are now in independent leagues), and became, perhaps appropriately, a farm club of the country's only remaining major league team, the Toronto Blue Jays. They won Pennants in 2011, 2012 and 2013. In 2015, they had a pitcher named Tyler Burden -- not Tyler Durden. 4601 Ontario Street at 30th Avenue, in Queen Elizabeth Park. Number 3 bus.

The closest MLB team to Vancouver is the Seattle Mariners, 144 miles away. In spite of this, national pride is still the determining factor, rather than distance: According to Vancouver Sun poll on April 2, 2015 -- before the Jays made the Playoffs for the 1st time in 22 years -- the Jays are easily the area's favorite baseball team, with a 56 percent share of the market, to the Mariners' 13.

If Vancouver were to pursue teams in the sports they do not currently have at the major league level, they would rank 28th in population in MLB, ahead of only Kansas City, Cincinnati and Milwaukee; and 24th in the NBA.

* Museum of Vancouver and Vancouver Maritime Museum. Montreal has Pointe-à-Callière, Toronto has Fort York, and Vancouver has the MOV and the VMM. The MOV is the largest civic museum in Canada, and shares facilities with the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre. And while it was founded as a Gold Rush town and a railroad terminus, the VMM shows that there's no escaping that Vancouver is a port city. 1100 Chestnut Street at McNicoll Avenue, in Vanier Park. Number 2 bus.

* Science World at TELUS World of Science. This is the glass sphere seen in so many photos of Vancouver. 1455 Quebec Street at Terminal Avenue. Main Street-Science World station on SkyTrain.

There's also the Forbidden Vancouver Tour, which takes visitors to naughty sites in Gastown, and places that sent booze to America during Prohibition (and took in Americans looking for a drink, as the border is 31 miles from downtown Vancouver, further than Windsor but closer than Montreal or Toronto). Cathedral Square, Dunsmuir and Richards Streets. Granville station on SkyTrain.

The only one of Canada's 23 Prime Ministers to have come from British Columbia is Vancouver native Kim Campbell, the 1st female head of government in North American history -- unless you want to go back to, and count, Queen Anne in the early 18th Century, before either the U.S. or Canada gained independence from Britain. Campbell served for just 4 months in 1993, after the resignation of Brian Mulroney and before the ensuing election, for which he let her take the fall. She is still alive, so there is no historic site in her honor.

* Victoria. The capital of the Province of British Columbia, and the home of the 1925 Victoria Cougars, the last team from outside the NHL to win the Stanley Cup, and the last B.C. team to win it, is 72 miles southwest of Vancouver, 106 miles northwest of Seattle, and 25 miles from the closest border crossing, the ferry from Port Angeles, Washington. From both Vancouver and Seattle, it can be reached without a car, but, in each case, you'd need to take a bus and a ferry, since, like Vancouver, it's on an island.
The British Columbia Parliament Building in Vancouver

It's not a very big city, home to around 80,000 people, which is why it's never had an NHL team. But, like Edmonton over Calgary, it is Victoria, not Vancouver, that is the Provincial capital. It is the hometown of basketball star Steve Nash (grew up there after immigrating with his family from South Africa) and singer Nelly Furtado (who, in her song "Promiscuous," asked collaborator Timbaland, "Is your game MVP like Steve Nash?").

If you're just that much of a hockey history fan, and want to see where this legendary team played -- Game 2 of the 1925 Finals against the Montreal Canadiens was played at Denman in Vancouver, but Games 1, 3 and 4 were played in Victoria -- the Patrick Arena, also built by the Patrick brothers in 1911 (and, suspiciously, also destroyed by fire, in 1929), was at what's now 2100 Cadboro Bay Road, at the corner of Epworth Street, about 2 miles east of downtown.
A replacement, the Victoria Memorial Arena, a.k.a. The Barn on Blanshard, was built in 1949, hosted 2 new teams called the Victoria Cougars, and a Victoria Maple Leafs in between and (I swear, I'm not making this up) the Victoria Salsa afterward.

This time, it was legally demolished, because it was cheaper to build a new arena on the site from scratch than to maintain the old one. The new one is named the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, seats 7,000, and hosts the Victoria Salmon Kings of the ECHL (whose official name is now just those letters, "ECHL," because it would be stupid to call yourself the East Coast Hockey League and have a team on the West Coast of Canada). 1925 Blanshard Street, corner of Caledonia Street downtown.
The Barn on Blanshard, and its replacement on the same site

The Canadian Premier League, an attempt at a top-flight soccer league for the country, was founded in mid-2017, and began play this year. Pacific FC plays at Westhills Stadium in Langford, which will be expanded to 8,000 seats. 1089 Langford Parkway, 9 miles west of downtown Victoria (Bus 50), and 76 miles southwest of downtown Vancouver.   
The tallest building in Vancouver, and in the Province of British Columbia, is an apartment tower called Living Shangri-La, 659 feet tall. 1128 West Georgia Street at Thurlow Street. Burrard station on SkyTrain.

Nearby, at 355 Burrard Street, is the Marine Building, which stood in for the Daily Planet Building on Smallville, the recent re-imagining of the Superman story. Due to Canada's tax breaks for film studios, Vancouver has become the country's Hollywood. Other TV shows filmed there include Airwolf, MacGyver, 21 Jump Street, The Commish, The X-Files, the Stargate series, Dark Angel, Seven Days, Highlander, The L Word, The 4400, Eureka, Fringe, Psych, Arrow and Once Upon a Time.

Movies filmed in Vancouver include First Blood (the 1st Rambo film), The Accused, Legends of the Fall, Intersection, Jumanji, the Air Bud films, the Blade films, the Scary Movie films, the Final Destination films, the previous round of Fantastic Four films, the Night at the Museum films, the Percy Jackson films, Timecop, Titanic, Van Wilder, Juno, 2012, Hot Tub Time Machine, Watchmen, the execrable Twilight films, and the Superman reboots Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. (Those did not use the Marine Building to stand in for the Daily Planet.)

*

Vancouver is Western Canada's leading city, and a West Coast gem fully able to stand alongside Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. And it has a strong sports heritage, including the Vancouver Whitecaps. The city still hasn't won a major soccer championship in 39 years. But then, as a traveling Red Bulls fan, that works in your favour (as it would be "spelt") there. Good luck.

How to Go to the Rocky Mountain Showdown: Colorado vs. Colorado State

Once again, this college football season, I'm going to do Trip Guides for some teams from outside the Tri-State Area, even if they don't play, let alone host, any Tri-State Area teams.

This coming Friday night, the new Mile High Stadium in Denver will host "The Rocky Mountain Showdown" between the 2 biggest teams in its State, Colorado and Colorado State.

Before You Go. The Denver Post is predicting mid-80s for Friday afternoon, low 60s for the evening. This is far from Aspen ski weekend weather, so you won't have to swap Summer clothes for Winter gear.

Denver is in the Mountain Time Zone, so you'll be 2 hours behind New York time. And there's a reason it's called the Mile High City: The elevation means the air will be thinner. Although the Rocky Mountain region is renowned for outdoor recreation, if you're not used to it, try not to exert yourself too much. Cheering at a sporting event shouldn't bother you too much, but even if the weather is good, don't go rock-climbing or any other such activity unless you've done it before and know what you’re doing.

Tickets. Good luck. The game is already sold out, so you'll have to go to an outside source. Upper deck seats can be had for as little as $32, but if you want to get closer, be prepared to pay more than $100.

When available, tickets for UC games at Folsom Field run $104 in midfield, $60 in the end zone, and $46 in the upper deck. For CSU games at Canvas Stadium, it's $65 in the lower level and $33 in the upper deck.

Getting There. It's 1,779 miles from Times Square in New York to downtown Denver, 1,793 miles to Folsom Field in Boulder, and 1,758 miles to Canvas Stadium in Fort Collins. You're probably thinking that you should be flying.

NOTE: This being Labor Day Weekend, prices may be higher than normal.

You can get a round-trip flight for Thursday night will run you over $1,200, depending on what time you want to fly. If you're going to a game at either team's campus, you're better off renting a car at Denver International Airport and driving the last 42 miles to Boulder, or the last 69 miles to Fort Collins.

Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited leaves Penn Station at 3:40 PM Wednesday, arrives at Union Station in Chicago at 9:50 AM Thursday (that's Central Time). The California Zephyr leaves Chicago at 2:00 PM Thursday and arrives at Denver's Union Station at 7:15 AM (Mountain Time) Friday. The round-trip fare is $466.

Union Station is at 1700 Wynkoop Street at 17th Street, which would be great if you were going to a Rockies game, as it's just 3 blocks from Coors Field. The front of the building is topped by a clock, framed by an old sign saying UNION STATION on top and TRAVEL by TRAIN on the bottom.
Greyhound offers a trip of around 42 hours, usually requiring 1 change of buses. Round-trip fare is $667, but you can get it for $464 on advanced-purchase. The Denver Bus Center is at 1055 19th Street.

If you actually think it’s worth it to drive, get someone to go with you, so you’ll have someone to talk to, and one of you can drive while the other sleeps. You’ll be taking Interstate 80 most of the way, through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska, before taking Interstate 76 from Nebraska to Colorado, and then Interstate 25 into Denver. (An alternate route: Take the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Turnpikes to Interstate 70 and then I-70 through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Colorado into downtown Denver. It won’t save you an appreciable amount of time over the I-80 route, though.)

If you do it right, you should spend about an hour and a half in New Jersey, 5 hours and 15 minutes in Pennsylvania, 4 hours in Ohio, 2 hours and 30 minutes in Indiana, 2 hours and 45 minutes in Illinois, 5 hours and 15 minutes in Iowa, 6 hours in Nebraska, and 3 hours and 15 minutes in Colorado. Including rest stops, and accounting for traffic (you’ll be bypassing Cleveland and Chicago, unless that’s where you want to make rest stops), we’re talking about a 40-hour trip.

From downtown Denver to the CU campus in Boulder: Take U.S. Route 36 West, the Denver-Boulder Turnpike, 29 miles northwest. It should take a little over half an hour. To the CSU campus in Fort Collins: Take Interstate 25 North to Exit 268, and drive about 5 miles west on East Prospect Road; in total, 64 miles north. It should take an hour and 15 minutes.

To reach CU by public transportation, at Market Street Station, 16th & Market, take the BV Bus to the Boulder Transit Center, which is on campus. The ride should take about an hour and 20 minutes. Forget about reaching CSU by public transportation.

Once In the City. Colorado was admitted to the Union as the 38th State on August 1, 1876, 4 weeks after the Centennial of American independence. Hence, ever since, it has been known as the Centennial State.

Founded in 1858 as a gold rush city, and named for James W. Denver, then Governor of the Kansas Territory, from which Colorado was separated, Denver is a State capital and city of 630,000 people, in a metro area of 3.2 million -- roughly the population of Brooklyn and Staten Island combined. It's easily the biggest city in, and thus the unofficial cultural capital of, the Rocky Mountain region.
The State House

The sales tax in the State of Colorado is 2.9 percent, however, the City of Denver adds a 3.62 percent sales tax, for a total of 6.52 percent. ZIP Codes in Colorado start with the digits 80 and 81, with the Denver area running from 800 to 810, Boulder from 80301 to 80329, and Fort Collins from 80521 to 80528. The Area Code for Denver and Boulder is 303, with 720 overlaid; for Fort Collins, 970.
Unlike Denver, with a big Hispanic community and a somewhat smaller black one, the 2 college towns are overwhelmingly white. Boulder, founded in 1858 and named for an abundance of big rocks, is 85 percent white, 9 percent Hispanic, 5 percent Asian, and 1 percent black. Fort Collins, founded in 1864 and named for a local military commander, Lieutenant Colonel William O. Collins, is 82 percent white, 11 percent Hispanic, 3 percent black, 3 percent Asian, and 1 percent Native American.
The Denver Post is a good paper, but don't bother looking for the Rocky Mountain News: It went out of business in 2009. Boulder's main paper is The Daily Camera, while Fort Collins' is named, with as little imagination as the Denver papers, The Coloradoan. Denver is powered by Xcel Energy, Boulder by the Boulder Electric Utility, and Fort Collins by the Platte River Power Authority.

State Route 470 serves as Denver's "beltway," while neither Boulder nor Fort Collins has one. Broadway is Denver's main north-south drag, separating East addresses from West. But the northwestern quadrant of the street grid is at roughly a 45-degree angle from the rest of the city, and this area includes the central business district, Union Station and the ballpark.

Boulder's east-west street addresses increase eastward, while north-south addresses increase from Dartmouth Avenue. In Fort Collins, Laporte Avenue is the north-south divider, and College Avenue (U.S. Route 287) is the east-west divider.

Bus and light rail service in Denver and Boulder is run by the Regional Transportation District (RTD), and goes for $2.25 for a single ride, and $6.75 for a DayPass. Denver switched from tokens to farecards in 2013. Transfort runs Fort Collins' buses.
Don't worry, the weather isn't forecast to look like this during your visit.
I chose this picture for the look of the train, not for the snow and wet streets.

The University of Colorado was founded on March 14, 1876, 5 months before Statehood. In addition to its main campus in Boulder, it has campuses in Denver (a graduate school for liberal arts), Colorado Springs, and its Medical Campus in the Denver suburb of Aurora, including the University of Colorado Hospital.
Notable UC (or, more often used, "CU") athletes, other than football players, include: 

* Basketball: Chauncey Billups and Scott Wedman.

* Baseball: Former Mets catcher John Stearns, and former Yankee reliever Jay Howell.

* Track & Field: Bill Toomey, Gold Medalist in the decathlon at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.

* Skiing: Billy Kidd, Silver Medalist at the Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria in 1964, at a time when an American winning any Winter Olympic medal was a big deal.

* Figure Skating: Debi Thomas, Bronze Medalist at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

* Tennis: Alexandra Stevenson, 1999 Wimbledon ladies' singles finalist, and daughter of basketball legend Julius "Dr. J" Erving.

Notable graduates in other fields include:

* Science: Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross; and many astronauts, including Scott Carpenter (one of the Mercury 7), Jack Swigert (command module pilot for Apollo 13), Stuart Roosa (command module pilot for Apollo 14), Ellison Onizuka (the 1st Asian-American astronuat, died in the 1986 Challenger disaster), James Voss (part of the longest spacewalk ever, nearly 9 hours straight, in 2001), and Kalpana Chawla (the 1st native of India in space, died in the 2003 Columbia disaster).

* Entertainment: Big Band leader Glenn Miller; "Hollywood Ten" screenwriter Dalton Trumbo; South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone; and actors Larry Linville, Joan Van Ark, Lydia Cornell, Christopher Meloni, Brian Dietzen, Jonah Hill, Angus T. Jones. Robert Redford attended, but did not graduate.

* Journalism: Linda Chavez, Dave Briggs and Tom Costello. If you count sportscasting, Rick Reilly, Jim Gray and Chris Fowler.

* Literature: Jean Stafford.

* Politics, representing Colorado unless otherwise stated: Senators Gordon Allott, Hank Brown; Governors George Carlson, Kate Brown, Roy Romer and Bill Ritter; Lynne Cheney, novelist and wife of former Vice President Dick Cheney; President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, the 1st elected female head of state in any African nation; and President Tsakihagiin Elbegdorj, leader of his country's 1990 liberation from Communism, co-author of its Constitution, twice its Prime Minster and once its President.

Colorado State University also precedes Statehood, having opened in 1870. It was known as Colorado Agricultural College until 1935, then Colorado State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts -- or Colorado A&M -- until 1957. Although the teams have long been called the Rams, like a lot of schools who are, or once were, known as "A&Ms," they are sometimes still called the Aggies.

Notable CSU athletes, outside of football, include: Basketball player Becky Hammon, dogsled racer Susan Butcher; swimmer Amy Van Dyken, winner of 4 Gold Medals at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, and 2 more at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney; and Glenn Morris, Gold Medalist in the decathlon at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
CSU Administration Building

Notable CSU graduates, outside of sports, include: Senators Wayne Allard and Cory Gardner of Colorado, and John Ensign of Nevada; Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana; actors John Amos, Keith Carradine and Dominique Dunne; and comedienne Leslie Jones.

Going In. Broncos Stadium at Mile High, formerly Invesco Field at Mile High and Sports Authority Field at Mile High, has been the home of the NFL's Denver Broncos since 2001. Everyone just gives it the same name as the old facility: "Mile High Stadium." It includes the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, and the Broncos' Ring of Fame.

It was built on the site of the McNichols Sports Arena, home to the NBA's Denver Nuggets from 1975 to 1999, the NHL's Colorado Avalanche from 1995 to 1999, and the first major league team called the Colorado Rockies, the NHL team that became the Devils, from 1976 to 1982. The Denver Dynamite played there from 1987 to 1991, made the Arena Football League Playoffs every season, and won the 1st ArenaBowl in 1987. But the cost of running the team was too high, and it folded.

It hosted the NCAA Final Four in 1990, with UNLV (the University of Nevada at Las Vegas) clobbering Duke. (The University of Colorado, in Boulder, made the Final Four in 1942 and 1955, although it wasn't yet called the Final Four. No other Colorado-based school has made it, and none has won a National Championship -- not in basketball, anyway.)

When the time came to play the final concert at McNichols, the act that played the first concert there was brought back: ZZ Top. This fact was mentioned on a Monday Night Football broadcast, leading Dan Dierdorf to note the alphabetic distinction of the long red-bearded men, and say, "The first one should have been ABBA." Which would have been possible, as they were nearly big in the U.S. at the time. However, the fact that the arena only lasted 24 years, making it not that hard for the act that played the first concert there to also play the last, says something about America's disposable culture.

The old stadium was just to the north of the new stadium/old arena. The current address is Mile High Stadium Circle, but the old intersection was W. 20th Avenue & Bryant St. (2755 W. 17th Avenue was the mailing address.) It was built in 1948 as Bears Stadium, an 18,000-seat ballpark.

When the American Football League was founded in 1960, it was expanded to 34,000 seats with the addition of outfield seating. The name was changed to Mile High Stadium in 1966, and by 1968 much of the stadium was triple-decked and seated 51,706. In 1977 – just in time for the Broncos to make their first Super Bowl run and start "Broncomania" – the former baseball park was transformed into a 76,273-seat horseshoe, whose east stands could be moved in to conform to the shape of a football field, or out to allow enough room for a regulation baseball field. The old-time ballpark had become, by the standards of the time, a modern football stadium.

The biggest complaint when the Rockies arrived in 1993 wasn't the thin air, or the condition of the stadium (despite its age, it was not falling apart), but the positioning of the lights: Great for football fans, but terrible for outfielders tracking fly balls. But it was only meant to be a temporary ballpark for the Rockies, as a condition for Denver getting a team was a baseball-only stadium. What really led to the replacement of Mile High Stadium, and its demolition in 2002, was greed: The Broncos' desire for luxury-box revenue.

At Bears/Mile High Stadium, the Broncos won AFC Championships in 1977, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1997 and 1998, winning the Super Bowl in the last 2 years after losing the first 4 in blowouts.  (They've now won an AFC title at the new stadium, but not a Super Bowl.) The Denver Bears won Pennants while playing there in 1957 (as a Yankee farm team), 1971, 1976, 1977, 1981, 1983 and 1991 (winning the last one under the Denver Zephyrs name).

The old stadium also hosted the Denver Gold of the United States Football League, the 1983 USFL Championship Game, the Colorado Caribous of the original North American Soccer League, and the Rapids from their 1996 inception until 2001 -- in fact, they played the stadium's last event, before playing at the new stadium from 2002 to 2006. The U.S. national soccer team played a pair of games at Mile High Stadium in the 1990s, and beat Mexico at the new stadium in 2002 (the only game they've played there so far). 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.

While the 2008 Democratic Convention was held at the Pepsi Center, Senator Barack Obama gave his nomination acceptance speech outdoors in front of 80,000 people at New Mile High Stadium.

The Red Lion Hotel Denver and the Skybox Grill & Sports Bar are now on the site of the old stadium. At McNichols, the Nuggets reached the ABA Finals in 1976, and the Avalanche won the 1996 Stanley Cup (albeit clinching in Miami). Elvis Presley sang at McNichols on April 23, 1976.

The complex that included Mile High Stadium and the McNichols Arena was supposed to be the centerpiece of the 1976 Winter Olympics. But in a 1972 referendum, Colorado voters rejected funding that would have built more facilities, and, in what remains the only example of this ever happening, Winter or Summer, a city withdrew as host for an Olympic Games. They were awarded, instead, to Innsbruck, Austria, which already had the facilities in place from hosting them in 1964.

The new stadium, and the site of the old stadium and arena, are at Mile High Station on the light rail C-Line and E-Line.

CU's Folsom Field opened in 1924, known as Colorado Stadium until 1944, when it was renamed for the late former football coach Fred Folsom. It had 26,000 until a 1956 expansion made it 45,000, and a 1967 expansion made it 50,000, which has more or less been capacity ever since. It is a north-south horseshoe, open at the north end. The field was switched to artificial turf in 1971, and back to real grass in 1999.
The address is 2400 Colorado Avenue, less than a mile from downtown. Take the HOP Bus. If you drive in, parking is $30.

The building at the north end is the Dal Ward Athletic Administration Building, named for their 1948-58 head coach. Balch Fieldhouse, their 1937-79 basketball arena, overlooks the west stand. An embankment in the closed south end reads "COLORADO," and can be seen in the closing credits of the 1978-82 ABC sitcom Mork & Mindy, which was set in Boulder, and in which the title characters, played by Robin Williams and Pat Dawber, balance on the goalposts. (Don't try that. You could fall, and end up echoing Mork's Orkan profanity: "Shazbot!")
On October 6, 2017, Thrillist compiled a list of their Best College Football Stadiums, the top 19 percent of college football, 25 out of 129. Folsom Field came in 22nd:

To truly understand why the home of the Buffaloes is such a special place, go to a game at sunset. Seated in the upper reaches of the stadium, watching the sun dip behind the Rockies while the lights shine on the field below is one of the most magical scenes in sports. 

In keeping with Boulder's hippie image, Folsom Field hosted rock concerts before most college football stadiums did. The 1st was by, you guessed it, the Grateful Dead, in 1972. Van Halen played it in 1986, Paul McCartney in 1993, and the Dave Mathews Band in 2001.

Colorado State have used 3 different home stadiums in the last 52 years, a greater turnover than most teams have had. They played at Colorado Field from 1912 to 1967, but at 14,000 seats it was too small for big-time football. It was torn down in 1972, and replaced with Jack Christiansen Memorial Track, named for one of the school's top football and track athletes. 151 University Avenue, about 3 blocks east of the current stadium.
Its replacement opened in 1968 as Hughes Stadium, named for Harry Hughes, head coach from 1911 to 1941. In 2003, the field was named Sonny Lubick Field. In 2006, that playing surface was switched to artificial turf, and the Rams have played their home games on plastic ever since.
But, again, with just 32,000 seats, CSU's stadium was judged to be too small for the demands of major college football. Lubick/Hughes was demolished in 2018. 2000 South Overland Trail, about 5 miles southwest of downtown and 4 miles west of the main campus. Bus 2 will get you to Overland Trail, then walk a mile south.
In the 2017 season, the Rams moved into Canvas Stadium, at 751 West Pitkin Street, about a mile and a half southwest of downtown. Take the MAX bus, and transfer to the HORN bus. If you drive in, parking is $25.
The playing surface is still named for Louis "Sonny" Lubick, for the man who coached them from 1993 to 2007. In 2018, the naming rights to the stadium were sold to Canvas Credit Union. The new stadium seats 41,000, runs north-to-south, and, as I said, has an artificial field.
Food. Being a "Wild West" city, you might expect Denver to have Western-themed stands with "real American food" at its arena. Being in a State with a Spanish name, in a land that used to belong to Mexico, you might also expect to have Mexican food. And you would be right on both counts. Mile High Stadium fits the description, with an emphasis on "Bud & Brats" (Budweiser and bratwurst).

According to CU's website, "Concessions areas are located in Balch Fieldhouse, on the Southwest plaza, the East concourse, the Buff Walk and Indoor Practice Facility. Concession stands are open beginning two hours prior to kickoff until 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter." CSU provides a stadium map, which shows concession stands around the entire concourse.

Team History Displays. The CU Buffaloes have been considerably more successful than the CSU Rams. The Buffs have won 27 Conference Championships: The Colorado Football Association in 1894, 1895, 1896, 1897, 1901, 1902, 1903 and 1908; the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in 1909, 1910, 1911, 1913, 1923, 1924, 1934, 1935 and 1937; the Mountain States Conference in 1939, 1942, 1943 and 1944; the Big Eight Conference in 1961, 1976, 1989, 1990 and 1991; and the Big 12 Conference in 2001. They won the Big 12 North Division in 2002, 2004 and 2005, and, moving into the Pacific-12 Conference in 2011, its South Division in 2016.

Colorado claims the 1990 National Championship, but this is one of the most dubious titles. In their 1st 3 games, they barely managed a tie against then-Number 8 Tennessee in a neutral-site game in Anaheim, squeezed past Stanford at home, then lost away to Number 21 Illinois. Their next 3 games weren't much better: They won a close one away to Number 22 Texas, edged Number 12 Washington at home, and then came "The Fifth Down" that saved them away to Missouri. By all rights, they should have been no better than 3-2-1 at that point.

But they kept winning, including 27-12 away to Number 3 Nebraska. They went to the Orange Bowl ranked Number 1, and beat Number 5 Notre Dame 10-9, finishing 11-1-1. Still, only the sportswriters' poll, the Associated Press (AP), awarded them the National Championship. The coaches' poll, United Press International (UPI), gave it to Georgia Tech, which finished 11-0-1.

Led by running back, and basketball star, and future U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Byron "Whizzer" White, Colorado played in the 1st Cotton Bowl in 1937, but lost it to Rice. They've won the Orange Bowl in 1956 and 1990; the Cotton Bowl in 1995; the Fiesta Bowl in 1994; the Bluebonnet Bowl in 1967 and 1971; the Liberty Bowl in 1969; the Aloha Bowl in 1993 and 1998; the Holiday Bowl in 1996; the Insight.com Bowl in 1999; and the Houston Bowl in 2004.
Byron White

The Buffaloes have not retired any uniform numbers. White, early 1960s guard Joe Romig, 1950s guard John Wooten, mid-1960s safety Dick Anderson (of the Miami Dolphins' Super Bowl winners), late 1960s running back Bobby Anderson (Dick's younger brother), 1990 defensive end Alfred Williams, and 1982-94 head coach Bill McCartney have been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. Not yet in the Hall of Fame is their only Heisman Trophy winner, 1994 running back Rashaan Salaam.
Rashaan Salaam

Other notable Buffalo players include 1950s end Gary Knafelc (from the 1960s Green Bay Packers champions), 1970s receiver Cliff Branch (from the 1970s Oakland Raiders Super Bowl team), 1970s tight end J.V. Cain (who died of heat exhaustion during the St. Louis Cardinals' training camp in 1979), defensive tackle Troy Archer (who played for the Giants and also died during 1979 training camp, in a car crash), 1970s receiver Dave Logan (an All-Pro with the Cleveland Browns), 1990 running back Eric Bieniemy, early 1990s passing combination Kordell Stewart and Michael Westbrook, and 1990s receiver Rae Carruth, an All-Pro receiver for the Carolina Panthers, recently released from prison after 18 years for trying to kill his girlfriend.

Colorado State have won 15 Conference Championships: In the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in 1915, 1916, 1919, 1920, 1925, 1927, 1933 and 1934; in the Skyline Conference in 1955; in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) in 1994, 1995 and 1997; and in the Mountain West Conference in 1999, 2000 and 2002. They have never come close to a National Championship.

They played in only 1 bowl game before 1990, losing the 1949 Raisin Bowl. They've won the Freedom Bowl in 1990, the Holiday Bowl in 1997, the Liberty Bowl in 2000, the New Orleans Bowl in 2001, and the New Mexico Bowl in 2008 and 2013.

They have no players in the College Football Hall of Fame, but one in the Pro Football Hall, 1940s star Jack Christiansen, who played safety for the Detroit Lions and helped them win 3 NFL Championships in the 1950s and coached Stanford in the 1970s. Other than Christiansen, CSU's most notable football player is late 1990s linebacker Joey Porter, an All-Pro for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Jack Christiansen

The Buffaloes don't have a team hall of fame, but the Rams have a Hall of Champions under the west stand of Canvas Stadium.

The Buffaloes-Rams rivalry, known as the Rocky Mountain Showdown, began in 1893, and the Broncos' Mile High Stadiums have hosted it since 1998. The Buffaloes lead, 66-22-2, including a 13-0-1 stretch to begin the rivalry, 12 straight from 1934 to 1947, 8 straight from 1987 to 1998 (not played every season), and the last 4 games. The trophy for the winner is called the Centennial Cup, in honor of Colorado's 1876 admission to the Union as "the Centennial State." 
It could be argued, though, that each school is not the other's biggest rival. Due to Colorado's rise in the late 1980s to challenge neighboring Nebraska for Big 8 supremacy, and the nastiness that developed, they see the Cornhuskers as their biggest rival. As Oklahoma dropped in success at that time, Colorado replaced Oklahoma as Nebraska's day-after-Thanksgiving nationally-televised opponent. However, Nebraska dominates the rivalry, 49-19-2.

And Colorado State fans might rather beat another next-door school, Wyoming. Certainly, Wyoming looks at CSU as their biggest rival. The matchup is called the Border War, and is played for a trophy called the Bronze Boot. CSU leads it, 58-47-5. But since the introduction of the Boot in 1968, sponsored by the ROTCs of each school (hence the soldiers in this photo), Wyoming leads 27-24.
(UPDATE: Through the 2019 season, Colorado leads Colorado State 67-22-2, but trails Nebraska 49-20-2. Colorado State leads Wyoming 58-48-5.)

Stuff. The Buffs Team Store is at 2150 Stadium Drive, outside the northeast corner of Folsom Field. The University of Colorado Bookstore is at 1669 Euclid Avenue, about 4 blocks southwest of Folsom Field. The CSU Ram Zone is in the northwest corner of Canvas Stadium. The CSU Bookstore is in the Lory Student Center at 1101 Center Avenue Mall.

Books and videos about the teams are few. David Plati published the Colorado edition of the Football Vault series in 2008, and Folsom Field has an entry in the Fields of Glory DVD series. There appear to be no Colorado State footbal videos. In 2009, John Hirn and Steve Fairchild published Aggies to Rams: The History of Football at Colorado State University.

During the Game. Coloradans love their sports, but they're not known as antagonistic. Stick with the fans of one team, and don't antagonize fans of the other, and you should be fine.

The Golden Buffalo Marching Band forms a block CU at midfield before the game, and plays the fight song, with the rather unimaginative title of "Fight CU." Since 1966, the mascot has been Ralphie the Buffalo, always a female because a male would be too difficult for the "Ralphie Handlers" to control. The current version, Ralphie V, debuted in 2007.
Ralphie IV and her Handlers

She appears at all home games, but for away games, including bowl games, the Handlers appeal to the hosts for permission to bring her. If turned down, they take no for an answer and leave her home.

Colorado State also has a live mascot, CAM the Ram, named for the school's former name, Colorado A&M. Sheep don't live as long, and the current version is CAM 25. Each school also has a costumed mascot, CSU's being named CAM and CU's being named, in a play on buffalo poop, Chip.
CAM 25 and his handlers

After the Game. As long as you don't antagonize anyone, you should be safe. If you're looking for a place to get a postgame meal, you'll have to walk a ways from Folsom Field: Either north to Arapahoe Avenue, east to Denver Boulder Turnpike, or west to Broadway. In the case of Canvas Stadium, places to eat and drink are a little closer, to the southeast, centered along Prospect Road.

Perhaps the most famous sports-themed restaurant near Denver is Elway's Cherry Creek, a steakhouse at 2500 E. 1st Avenue in the southern suburb of Cherry Creek. Bus 83L. It's owned by the same guy who owns John Elway Chevrolet in another southern suburb, Englewood.

If your visit to Colorado is during the European soccer season, it might be hard to find a place to watch the game in either Boulder or Fort Collins. You'd be better off heading to The British Bulldog, 2052 Stout Street, just north of Downtown Denver.

Sidelights. Obviously, the closest major league sports teams to either Boulder or Fort Collins are in Denver: MLB's Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Lower Downtown or "LoDo"' the NFL's Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium, west of downtown; the NBA's Denver Nuggets and the NHL's Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center, west of downtown; and MLS' Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, east of downtown in Commerce City.

The Beatles played Red Rocks Amphitheatre in suburban Morrison on August 26, 1964. It is still in business, and a Colorado Music Hall of Fame is a short walk away. 18300 W. Alameda Parkway, 10 miles west of downtown. Sorry, no public transportation.

Elvis played 2 shows at the Denver Coliseum on April 8, 1956, and 1 each on November 17, 1970 and April 30, 1973. Built in 1951, it still stands, seating 10,500, and is best known for concerts and the National Western Stock Rodeo. 4600 Humbolt Street at E. 46th Avenue, off Interstate 70, 3 miles northeast of downtown. Apparently, no public transportation to there, either.

On June 5, 1897, the Heavyweight Championship of the World was contested in Colorado. The British-born Champion, Bob Fitzsimmons – supposedly, in response to being told he was too small to fight heavyweights, the originator of the saying, "The bigger they are, the harder they fall" – knocked Lew Joslin out in the 2nd round. The fight happened in Leadville, 100 miles southwest of Denver.

Theoretically, it is possible to get there via public transportation. You'd have to take Greyhound from Denver to Vail, and then a local bus for over an hour to Leadville. And I can't find a source that lists the name of the fight's venue, or its address. So, unless you're a fanatic about boxing history and have to see the sites of every heavyweight title fight, I'd say skip this one.

Denver has some renowned museums, including the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (their version of the Museum of Natural History) at 2001 Colorado Blvd. at Montview Blvd. (in City Park, Number 20 bus), and the Denver Art Museum (their version of the Metropolitan Museum of Natural History), at 100 W. 14th Avenue Parkway at Colfax Avenue (across I-25 from Mile High Stadium, Auraria West station on the C-Line and E-Line).

Denver's history only goes back to a gold rush in 1859 – not to be confused with the 1849 one that turned San Francisco from a Spanish Catholic mission into the first modern city in the American West. The city isn't exactly loaded with history.

There's no Presidential Library – although Mamie Doud, the eventual Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower, grew up there, and her house is now a historic site. Mamie and "Ike" were married there, their son John (a future General, Ambassador and military historian) was born there, and the Eisenhowers were staying there when Ike had his heart attack in 1955. The house is still in private ownership, and is not open to the public. However, if you're a history buff, or if you just like Ike, and want to see it, it's at 750 Lafayette Street, at 8th Avenue. The Number 6 bus will get you to 6th & Lafayette.

After his heart attack, Ike was treated at Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center in nearby Aurora, 12 years after Senator John Kerry, nearly elected President in 2004 and now Secretary of State, was born there. It's not a Presidential Birthplace, because Kerry narrowly lost. It is now the University of Colorado Hospital. The Fitzsimmons Golf Course is across Montview Boulevard – it figures that Ike would be hospitalized next to a golf course! 16th Avenue & Quentin Street. Number 20 bus from downtown.

The University of Denver's Newman Center for the Performing Arts hosted a 2012 Presidential Debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. 2344 East Iliff Avenue, about 5 miles south of downtown. The University's Magness Arena hosted the Frozen Four in 1961, 1964 and 1976. 2250 E. Jewell Avenue. Both can be reached via H Line light rail to University of Denver Station.

Byron "Whizzer" White was a star football and basketball player at the University of Colorado in the late 1930s, a Rhodes scholar, a running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Detroit Lions, a Bronze Star-winning Navy officer in World War II, one of Colorado's finest lawyers, the chairman of John F. Kennedy's Presidential campaign in the State, and one of the longest-serving Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. He is buried at the Cathedral of St. John in the Wilderness, 1350 N. Washington Street at 14th Avenue. Bus 6.

Denver doesn't have as many tall buildings as the nation's bigger cities, nor are they as interesting, architecturally. The tallest building in the State of Colorado is Republic Plaza, 714 feet high, at 17th Street & Tremont Place downtown.

The U.S. Air Force Academy is outside Colorado Springs, 60 miles down I-25 from downtown Denver. As with Fort Collins, you'd need Greyhound. Unlike CSU, you might not be able to just go there: Some of the area is restricted.  It is, after all, a military base.

Colorado Springs was also home to the Broadmoor Ice Palace, which hosted what's now called the Frozen Four every year from its inception in 1948 until 1957, and again in 1969. The 3,000-seat arena at The Broadmoor Resort & Spa was home ice to Colorado College from 1938 to 1994. 1 Lake Avenue, across Cheyenne Lake from the main hotel. Its 7,750-seat 1998 replacement, the Broadmoor World Arena, is 4 miles to the east, at 3185 Venetucci Blvd.

A few TV shows have been set in Denver, but you won't find their filming locations there. The old-time Western Whispering Smith and the more recent one Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman were set in old Colorado, but filmed in Southern California. And Greendale, the setting of Community, is fictional.

Probably the most famous show set in Colorado is South Park, and that's a cartoon, so forget seeing anything from that. Not quite as cartoonish was Mork & Mindy, set in Boulder. The McConnell house actually is in Boulder, at 1619 Pine Street.

The most famous show ever set in Colorado was Dynasty, ABC's Excessive Eighties counterpart to CBS' Dallas, starring John Forsythe as Blake Carrington, an oilman and a thinly-veiled version of Marvin Davis, who nearly bought the Oakland Athletics from Charlie Finley in 1978 with the idea of moving them to Mile High Stadium, but the deal fell through.

Right, you don't care about Blake, all you care about is the catfights between the 2nd and 1st Mrs. Carringtons: Krystle (Linda Evans) and Alexis (Joan Collins). The Carrington mansion seen in the opening credits is in Beverly Hills, but the building that stood in for the headquarters of Denver Carrington is at 621 17th Street, while the one that stood in for Colbyco is at 1801 California Street.

Movies set in Denver or its suburbs include The Unsinkable Molly Brown, the original Red Dawn, and, of course, Things to Do In Denver When You're Dead. Films involving skiing often take place in Colorado towns such as Aspen or Vail. City Slickers, a film with loads of baseball references, has a cattle drive that ends in Colorado, but there's no indication of how close that ranch is to Denver. Flashback takes place on the Pacific Coast, but Denver's Union Station stands in for a train station in San Francisco.

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Coloradans love their football, as they've proven with Broncomania. So seeing the State's 2 largest universities go at it should be quite an experience.