The Sacramento Bee is celebrating its 160th anniversary this year. This story is part of our ongoing coverage.
July 2, 2014: Apparently, Sacramento really is a soccer town, at least as long as the U.S. and hometown Republic FC teams are playing.
Thousands of fans clad in red, white and blue turned out throughout the region Tuesday to cheer, scream, drink and groan as the American soccer team played a hard-fought – but ultimately losing – effort against Belgium in the 2014 World Cup.
“It’s just unfortunate,” said 23-year-old Sacramentan Dylan Beaty, who squeezed into de Vere’s Irish Pub downtown just before the doormen cut off entry because the bar had reached its capacity of 299 patrons.
Beaty, a musician who stood pressed against a wooden pillar with his 23-year-old friend Kyle Sullivan for more than four hours to watch the match, is one of the countless enthusiasts who refer to the game as “football” and hope it someday will gain the popularity in the United States that it enjoys in the rest of the world.
“I would love for football to become as popular as it is in other countries,” said Beaty, who got hooked on the sport after spending last year studying music in Germany. “It would be amazing, but from past experience I don't think it’s going to happen, unfortunately. I think the hype’s going to die down.”
Maybe, but you couldn’t tell that Tuesday before the final 2-1 score sent the Americans packing from the World Cup.
Hundreds of people packed downtown Sacramento bars and restaurants to new capacity limits, adorning themselves with U.S. flags painted on their cheeks or planted in back pockets, bike helmets, socks or belts.
Chants of “USA!” echoed out of pubs and onto sidewalks, where spectators who didn't arrive early enough to get inside stood watching through windows.
Mary Cabranes Slater and her friend Natalee Pecorelli played it smart, arriving at Hot Italian at Q and 16th streets by 10:30 a.m. for the 1 p.m. match and staking out tables with their 13-year-old sons by covering one with a huge American flag.
The boys – Gabe Slater and Jacob Warren – are both soccer fans who had no intention of missing Tuesday’s match, and their mothers made it clear who they were rooting for.
“We do not eat Belgian waffles,” Cabranes Slater said emphatically.
Such sentiments were common Tuesday, especially after Belgium scored the first goal late into the match and the crowd at de Vere’s began chanting suggestions about possible uses for waffles.
19th century Folsom-to-Sacramento power hailed
July 13, 1895: At 4 o’clock this morning the booming of 100 guns announced the birth of the New Sacramento.
At that hour the lighting from the electric power-house at Folsom, twenty-three miles away, generated by the water power from the American River, caused an armatured magnet in the power-house in Sacramento to whirl so fast that its motion would hardly be discovered.
The incandescent glass bulbs on the switchboard leaped into life, as though touched with fire from heaven, and the steady buzz and hum of the whirling magnet was the sweetest song ever heard in Sacramento, for it was the music of the new birthday hymn, proclaiming to the world that Sacramento is not only city in the world to receive electrical energy from a distance so great, but it is to-day the only in the world that contains so large an electric plant.
Sacramentans do not fully appreciate the full force of this statement. It means in other words that Sacramento has become the most favored spot in the United States, if not the world, for manufactures, for here may be obtained the cheapest and the most economical power, with a broad free river to transport the manufactured products to deep sea water, and with lines of railway in all directions.
Throughout the day the power house in this city was visited by hundreds of people, many of whom had doubted the enterprise would be a success.
From the files of The Sacramento Bee