Having just returned from Spring Training with the Giants, it got me thinking about the best places to see the very best sporting events. Though I have completed my lifetime Sports-Fecta (see previous emails), I still see a few venues on the horizon for future trips. Scottsdale is one of the great places to visit in the late winter and early spring. Besides the ballgames, the area offers great food, desert golf, and lots of plastic surgery of the female variety. But where else might a diehard sports fan want to go?
Indianapolis Home of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing”, the Indy 500. I have been to the race, as well as the parade, and the Indy 500 Museum. Indy is also home to Lucas Oil Field, and the NCAA Museum. Dinner at the famous St. Elmo Steak House is a treat, as are the famous barbecued turkey legs out at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, located in the most appropriately named city of Speedway, Indiana.
Cleveland and Canton Though I have been to both, I have not been to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, nor the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. My preference is for the music! I cannot say that Canton or Cleveland offer anything else of note.
Upstate New York Cooperstown is the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Any baseball fan would love to visit this shrine to the “greatest game”. Nearby, I would also want to visit the U.S. Military Academy, fondly called, West Point, by the cadets and everybody else. Lake Placid and Niagara Falls are not far away either. While in New York, I would definitely attend “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon.
Iowa corn fields The movie, Field of Dreams was filmed here. I have no desire to visit, though I think the movie was next to baseball genius. I love the Burt Lancaster role of Dr. Archie “Moonlight” Graham, and the references to the famous Chicago Black Sox scandal. You can keep your Iowa corn fields, though I have been to Ottumwa, Iowa, the mythical home of MASH’s Corporal Walter “Radar” O’Reilly. Of course, Wrigley Field in Chicago is not far away. It the baseball equivalent of the Taj Mahal or the Vatican!
San Diego Who does not like San Diego? Great weather, nude beaches, Petco Park, the Gas Lamp District, and great seafood. It is also home of the Surf Museum and LEGOLAND, as well as the world-famous San Diego Zoo. I have nothing but fond memories of San Diego. After all, that is where I met the famous Sixty Minutes broadcaster, Andy “Mickey” Rooney!!!!
Louisville It is pronounced “Loo-ville” down there. Home to the most exciting two minutes in sport, the world-famous Kentucky Derby, as well as the Louisville Slugger Museum, the Muhammad Ali Museum, and lots of bourbon. Bring your hat, whether it be a baseball cap, or an elegantly plumed hat for the Derby. And Maker’s Mark bourbon is a must visit.
Philadelphia Not only home to the Liberty Bell, but also the Army Navy football game, the Philadelphia Art Museum, three professional sports teams, and a wealth of useless “Rocky Balboa” venues. But Philly does have the greatest cheesesteak. And the city is brimming with history of our great country.
Vegas, baby! I do not think of Vegas as a great sports town, but rather a great sports betting town. The Super Bowl weekend is a big deal here, as are most of the title fights in boxing, despite the lack of quality heavyweights. Food is cheap and plentiful, and there is plenty to do. Add conference basketball tournaments, All Star games, auto races, and bikini football, Vegas becomes a highlight in the sports world.
North Carolina The area is big on college basketball and bumper car racing (NASCAR). But North Carolina also has some great barbecue, and some of the best golf in the world at Pinehurst. The triangle is home to several great universities, lots of sports, and some of the best collegiate rivalries in our great country. A word of warning” tobacco built the area, and smoke is omnipresent!
New England Of course, Fenway and the Boston Garden are two must visits for any serious sports fan. It is also home to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, and nearby in Rhode Island, the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Boston offers great seafood, a wealth of venues highlighting the birth of our country, and nearby Salem, home of the famous witch trials.
Wisconsin The area offers great gold up in Kohler at Whistling Straits, as well as the cutest little team in all of pro football, the community owned Green Bay Packers. It is also home to the Friday Night Fish fry, as well as great beef, cheese, and ice cream. Little known fact, the Allen Edmonds Factory Shoe Store is located between Madison and Sheboygan. Just promise me that you will not buy a cheesehead hat!
Baltimore Home to Babe Ruth, Camden Yards, Cal Ripken’s record, and lots of good seafood. Pimlico is not far away, nor is the beautiful campus of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. I almost went to grad school there, at Johns Hopkins, back in the Seventies. And home to my newest best friend from Super Bowl 47, Dirty Pat.
Dallas I see no redeeming feature for Dallas, other than their state bird, the mosquito. The Texas sized steaks are good too. But I am going to the NCAA Final Four at Texas Stadium, but mostly for the free Bruce Springsteen concert in between the semis and finals. It is also home to Dealey Plaza, where President Kennedy was assassinated.
I think we missed a few. Los Angeles has a wealth of sports legacy, including both the Lakers and the multitude of UCLA basketball championships. Chicago is another city with a rich sports history, with the long-suffering Cubs, the champion Blackhawks, and the rise and fall of the Chicago Bears NFL team. Great food and theater too. Put them all of your sports bucket list. You can’t go wrong!