Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Winless and Cold in Columbus

Columbus is a nice city, a mixture common in the Midwest of brick buildings—some built in the 1800’s—and flashy modern glass and steel buildings built more recently. High Street (not “Main”) is the major thorough fare and historically the road traveled by explorers and politicians from the East to St. Louis. Now a free shuttle bus travels along High, from German Village to Short North, past the limestone State House, for the benefit of residents and tourists like me. (Short North is the area between the OSU campus and Nationwide Arena.)

Food wise, Columbus must be famous for two specialties: Jeni’s ice cream, which offers flavors like roasted strawberry buttermilk, whiskey pecan, and pear Riesling; and Buckeyes, a chocolate confection nearly spherical in shape with a peanut butter center visible on top—a look-alike to the botanical version.

The weather was cold while I was there for this pilgrimage to St. John Arena where Tara fueled her fame as a basketball coach. Before Stanford’s game against OSU, Tara was honored as a former coach and member of the Hall of Fame and met by several of her past OSU players, including our Amy Tucker. The cab driver referred to St. John Arena as “the old one,” and, built in 1956, it did indeed have old wooden, back-less bleachers on the floor level and only marginally comfortable seats above. The Jumbo Tron installed above center court failed to display the correct team statistics, but at least showed the progressing score and individual player stats. (The OSU men’s team was playing in a newer OSU basketball arena.)

St. John Arena seats about 13,000, and we had nearly 6,000 in attendance for this Friday night game. Amy’s Ohio family, Tara’s sister Beth, and a large contingent of Shannon Coffee’s family and friends from Dayton were among the attendees. The OSU fans were knowledgeable and pleasant, but quiet compared with our fans in Maples.

Although the first half of the game was promising for our young team, Stanford could not keep up with OSU’s rebounding or scoring. We led only in turnovers. The best part of our game was Brit’s ability to play well despite her possible ankle injury last week.

Our Sunday game was in Nationwide Arena, which is new, big and beautiful—fitting for the site of the 2018 Final Four. The game against UConn did not go well; however, our rebounding improved.

An interesting trip, and I’m glad I went. But I’m so glad to be back in warmer California.

Harriet Benson
Author, Boosters Always Win! The Fans of Women’s Basketball

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Cal Tickets now on sale

Tickets for the Stanford game at Haas are now on sale. Seats from row L up are available in section 1, 2 or 3. Click on this link and then select section 1 (behind the visitor bench) or 2 to see available seats.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

PAC-12 tournament tIckets officially on sale

A month ago we gave you a number to call for early access to PAC-12 tournament tickets. If you didn't take advantage then, no worries: the official sale is now open.

That link takes you to the Seattle Storm's ticket page where you can buy all-tournament passes. Tickets will also be available through the Stanford Ticket Office in the days preceding the tournament, but if history is a guide, the seats you can get now are better than the school allocation later.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Oregon trip tickets on sale

Both the Ducks and the Beavers are now selling single-game tickets. If you plan to make the Oregon trip this season, you should buy tickets for both games soon. Both teams draw big crowds.

Here is the website for the Ducks.

Here is the website for the Beavers.

We found both websites to be quite frustrating and difficult to use, and it took multiple trials using different browsers before we managed to actually purchase tickets. If you would rather deal with a human, the number for OSU tickets is 800-GO-BEAVS (800-462-3287), and for Oregon, 800-WEB-FOOT (800-932-3668).

Monday, October 9, 2017

USF Tickets available

update 13 October with tentative parking information.

Stanford plays at USF at 7pm on Wednesday, 29 November. You may recall that the Dons play in a fairly small arena, War Memorial Gym at Sobrato Center which has a capacity of 5300. The arena was renovated in 2009; and this year the seats in the lower sections have been replaced with new ones.

USF has single-game tickets on sale now, if you want to get some. Note that the ticket page may still show the game time as 2pm. This is incorrect; the USF schedule and the Stanford schedules both show 7pm.

Except for "courtside" and "baseline" seats, all seats are general admission. The arena is not likely to sell out in advance; however it is nice to have the tix in hand if you are arriving late owing to traffic.

Driving into SF can be a hassle. Consider taking CalTrain or BART to the city and use Lyft or Uber to get to USF. If you decide to drive, you of course need to park. Parking is tight in USF's neighborhood, but there are two possible campus lots. Here is the information given for the USF Dons men's team:

Free Parking Information

Parking is available free of charge two hours prior to tip-off until one hour after the conclusion of the game in any campus lot, with the exception of designated green parking spots at the top of Hayes-Healy garage on Golden Gate Avenue adjacent to the gymnasium. Campus parking lots of choice include the lot at the Koret Center, located at the corner of Turk and Parker and the Hayes-Healy underground garage, located on Golden Gate Ave. just past the Sobrato Center. View the campus parking map here.

We have written to various WBB people at USF in hopes of getting better information.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Travel page updated with 2017-18 road trip info

The FBC Travel Page has been updated with information on most of the regular-season road trips of 2017-18. Go there for planning info on these trips:

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Plan wayyyy ahead for the PAC-12 Tournament

Did you attend the PAC-12 Tournament in Seattle last year? And are you pretty sure you will attend this coming spring? If so, you can take advantage of a pre-sale of all-tourney passes now. Call Storm ticket manager Jaron Iwakami at (206)272-2553 during office hours and say you got the number from the FBC Travel Blog. He'll help you to reserve center section seats at $115 per seat.

This does not mean that you can't get seats later, from the Storm when they put them on sale, or immediately before the Tournament through the Stanford ticket office. It's simply an opportunity to grab nice center-section seats early.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Vegas for Thanksgiving

Updated 8 September with full info

This year's Thanksgiving tournament is the Play4Kay Shootout to be held in Las Vegas, November 23-25 (Thursday through Saturday).

Everything you need is linked from that site. Here's the schedule. Basically there are four games played on each of Thursday (Thanksgiving), Friday, and Saturday. Stanford plays Kent State at 5:30pm Thursday. Win that, and they will play (probably) Gonzaga at 8pm Friday. Win that one and they will play (probably) Ohio State—yes, the very same Ohio State they played just two weeks earlier—at 8pm Saturday.

Here's the link for ticket sales. A three-day pass is about $60. One-day tickets are also available. The venue looks huge on the seating chart, so you can probably safely wait and buy the tickets on-site.

Travel Logistics

Prices for flights from SFO or SJC to LAS are crazy for this holiday weekend: $350 and up. Normal prices are half that or less. Southwest still has some "wanna getaway" $150 fares for the Thursday, but the return fares for Sunday are all at $300+.

Driving to Vegas from the Bay Area is about 550 miles, and about 8 hours, via Bakersfield (per Google maps). We are looking at leaving on Wednesday and spending a night on the road in Bakersfield or East of it, and should still come in quite a bit cheaper than flying.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Columbus in November

Updated 20 September with Friday game time

Updated 6 September with ticket number and game times

Updated 26 August with game time.

Updated 25 August with ticket info.

Updated 10 August with the UConn game change.

Updated 1 May with info on hotels and SWA flight.

The Cardinal play Ohio State on Friday, November 10th at St. John Arena on the campus of Ohio State, at 6pm. Then on Sunday, November 12, they'll participate in "Showdown to Columbus" at Nationwide Arena, the site of the Final Four. There will be two games in that event: Stanford vs UConn at 1:30pm, and Ohio State vs Louisville following. (Previously Stanford was to play Louisville). Here is a map showing the relation between the two sites. The Ohio State campus is a ten-minute drive from the downtown area and the Arena.

As of 6 September Tickets for both events are handled by the OSU ticket office only (i.e. don't expect the Stanford ticket office to have any). Although the OSU tickets page has not yet been updated, you can buy tickets right now by calling the very helpful Andrew Boppel at 614-292-8098. The Friday game is general admission. Andrew will help you select reserved seats for the Sunday games.

Flight Logistics

John Glenn International Airport at Columbus (code CMH) is not served by any nonstop flights from a Bay Area airport. All flights require a change of planes in Phoenix, Denver, DFW or O'Hare. (Phoenix? Why would there be nonstops from Phoenix to Columbus, but not from SFO?)

Update 1 May Thanks to a heads-up from fan Gregory Smith we learn that Southwest has one non-stop, OAK-CMH. It departs at 10:35 and arrives at 5:55, somewhat iffy if the game starts at 7 or earlier. SWA also has a one-stop (no plane change) flight departing at 7:30 and arriving at 5pm.

As usual with eastbound flights, one must depart very early to arrive by 5pm. The best selection of flights is from SFO, with both American and United offering multiple departures that arrive in Columbus between 3:30 and 4:30. San Jose also offers at least four departures that arrive before 5pm. All these flights depart around 5-6am. sigh!

If you want to get there way early, both American and United have red-eye flights from SFO that depart around midnight and get in before 10am.

For the return leg, a Sunday return is perhaps just possible. With a game at 1:30, we can't assume leaving the arena before 3:30; allowing a minimum of 90 minutes to return a rental car and check in for a flight brings us to 5pm. United and American both have Sunday departures between 5 and 6pm, arriving either SFO or SJC around 10pm. Southwest has 6pm and 6:50pm departures for OAK.

Hotels

Downtown Columbus has all of the usual hotel chains, with at least four major ones in easy walking distance of the Arena, and several more around the nearby city center. Prices appear to run from $400-$500 for a Friday-Saturday two-night stay. (Add another $150 if you have to stay Sunday night as well.) You can cut that in half by staying on the outskirts of town. If you plan to have a rental car, look for hotels west of town along I-270. We plan to stay downtown and use Uber/Lyft to get around.

Update 1 May Thanks again to Gregory Smith we learn that on the Saturday, Ohio State hosts Michigan State for football. That's likely to be a somewhat big deal in Columbus. It accounts for why booking.com is already showing a few hotels as sold out for this weekend. If you plan on making this trip, it might be wise to book your hotel now, and your flight as early as you are sure you are going.

Columbus Attractions

Columbus is situated on a curvy stretch of the Scioto river (extra points to anyone who already knows the correct pronunciation!). The city is in the middle of the heartland. If you draw a line from Chicago to Washington, DC, and another line from Cleveland to Louisville, Columbus is in the center of that big "X". While it is surely a most worthy city, it doesn't have any famous attractions. Here is Tripadvisor's list of attractions, and here is Yelp's list.

It looks as if one could spend a couple of hours strolling German Village.

These specialized museums might appeal to particular visitors. The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum houses a large collection of cartoon art from all eras with a rotating exhibit of original works. The Jubilee Museum has Catholic devotional art and artifacts. The Central Ohio Fire Museum has restored fire-fighting equipment in a restored firehouse. The Kelton House Museum is an 1850-era Victorian mansion one can tour.

Please feel free to post a comment with more suggestions!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Looking up in Dallas

Dallas is yet another city that we wouldn't ever have visited, except for attending a Final Four. Cultural benefit of following @StanfordWBB! Turns out, Dallas downtown is full of fun big architecture that makes you look up all the time. Here are some pics of that architecture, as grabbed with a little ol' point-and-shoot. Click a pic to biggify it.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Logistics for Dallas

The Women's Final Four will be played at 6:30 and 9pm CST on Friday, March 31st and at 5pm Sunday April 2nd, at American Airlines Center in Dallas TX. Relevant links:

There are many nonstop flights to the Dallas area from both SJC and SFO. Dallas is served by two airports: Love field (code DAL) is closer to town. The gigantic hub Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) is the other choice, twice as far from town. Southwest and Virgin America fly only to DAL. American and United fly to DFW.

As a major city, Dallas has many hotels. Rates for that weekend run from $150/night upward.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Lexington Meetup Friday afternoon

East-coast fan Stephen Perlman suggests a fan meetup on Friday March 24th, at 4pm (the first game is at 7pm local time, and Stanford plays in the second game).

Wear your cardinal clothes and drop in at the Bigg Blue Martini in the Hilton Lexington Downtown. This is a popular drinking establishment a very short distance from Rupp Arena -- it is visible in the map in the previous post.