Monday, July 21, 2008

A night at Titan

Sunday's SuperLiga match was a bit of a change of pace. Instead of the usual Home Depot Center, we gathered at Titan Stadium to take in the action. Back in the day, going to Titan Stadium was a bit of a welcomed change of scenery from the Rose Bowl. Instead of the cavernous American football stadium, we got a to spend time in a cozy little stadium where we were all close to the action. But HDC has changed all that because HDC is such a great place to take in a soccer match.

There were some positives, though, but there were also some drawbacks. For starters, my view from the press box was terrible.

Here's how the plusses and minuses added up.

Plus: For me the stadium was a helluva lot closer than HDC. I left my house at about 3:50 and pulled off the 57 freeway at about 4:20. I shaved about a half hour off my drive. Parking was easy too. For fans, it was five bucks as opposed to the 15 at HDC. For media, all we had to do was show our credentials to park. That would never fly at HDC. It makes too much sense, i suppose. If you don't have a credential at HDC, you've gotta park on Victoria or cough up the cash. I've parked on Victoria plenty of times; sometimes I've parked way up near Central and hiked to the stadium.

Minus: If you don't know your way around the stadium, it's easy to get lost. Cal State Fullerton is a decent sized campus and there are many entrances. There were signs that directed you to the parking but you could easily miss them. HDC is pretty much a straight shot off Avalon or (the way I go) exit Central off the 91 and make a right onto Victoria.

Plus: No one checked my bag when I got into the stadium. I walked right in and the press box entrance was mere steps from the media gate.

Minus: Ah, the press box. Gotta love the view. I almost strained my neck trying to keep looking around that metal thing in front of me. When the ball was on the one side of the field, it wasn't a problem but when it was on the other side of the field, I had to crane my neck around it. Also, the windows don't open up so we could barely hear anything - whistles, crowd noise, players yelling or whatever. Also, there were no TVs so we couldn't exactly watch replays.

Plus: Food was free. It was okay, the chimichangas or whatever they were tasted great. Usually food costs 5 bucks at Galaxy games and 1 buck at Chivas games. It's hit and miss. I don't usually eat at the stadium but I indulged a bit yesterday. Also, they had beer! Except...

Minus: ...they took it away! Oh no! I didn't get a chance to crack open a brew. Not that I would have, actually, but anyone could have during the first half. Someone in charge told me they had no idea where that beer came from and had it taken away. I suppose it was a good thing - otherwise, none of us would have made deadline!

Plus: It was an easy walk down to the mixed zone. And it wasn't really a mixed zone, it was sort of a free-for-all. No locker room access but the players had to walk past the area where we were all at to get up to their respective busses.

Minus: The field was utter crap. I got a good look at it from below. It affected the match and players couldn't stop complaining about it. I don't blame them.


A.C. said...

Free food rocks. Actually, I much prefer it to any free giveaways they sometimes pass around the pressbox. I usually don't pay the five bucks at Galaxy games simply because hey, that's a gallon of gas these days! Freelancers don't get reimbursed for meals when they're covering games, like some salaried writers. But I get hungry, and then it's Del Taco at midnight after the game. It's cheaper than the Galaxy meals and usually hotter and fresher. Some MLS teams charge for press meals, some provide food free - it's hit or miss.
However, the El Salvador/Guatemala match I covered last night had a lot of great Salvie food, even though the press box was practically empty. Pupusas, empanadas, taquitos, rice, beans, sweet bread and ten kinds of soda. Good stuff. (no, I didn't try all ten kinds. I had a Sunkist, then a Coke at halftime to stay awake.)

sinister snarky said...

Plus: The Ultras were loud.
Minus: No one cared.
Plus: No whining from Andrea.
Negative: Whining from Luis.

The Hammer said...

CSUF Student Athletes (namely the soccer players) have been complaining about that field for years.

Martin said...

I have good memories of Titan Stadium. Next to the Rose Bowl and LA Coliseum it is the stadium I have been to the most. I remember seeing the LA Salsa play there in the pre MLS days (Paulinho, Paul Wright, Paul Caligiuri, Ian Feuer, etc.), a couple of pre USA 94 friendlies (US v Switzerland and US v Armenia), some CONCACAF Champions Cup matches and a few Galaxy US Open Cup games there, including one memorable one where Ante Razov then with the Chicago Fire flipped off some Gaalxy fans abusing him!

Good memories and a fun, relaxing place to watch a game without all the corporate hassles of the Home Depot Center. Those cement grandstands opposite the press box were always fun to spread out and enjoy a game with a good view!

The field was never in pristine condition there but I don't recall it ever looking as bad as it did on TV last Sunday.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

I'll say this for Titan Stadium. Despite the press box pillars, you actually get a closer and better view of the action than at HDC. Covering the game for the Boston Herald, I hardly needed my binoculars, even for the action at the far corners.

Martin, I share those memories. It's good that somebody remembers the L.A. Salsa. That team actually played for a league championship its first year. That team could probably beat some MLS teams (New York, San Jose, perhaps the Galaxy) right now.