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  • Best 49er

    Patrick Willis

    Last year, kicker Joe Nedney took our Best Of award — which was as much an honor to him as a dishonor to a team with precious few standouts. But things are starting to look up in Niners land, and it's obvious now that the kicker isn't the team's best player. That honor belongs to third-year linebacker Patrick Willis, who earned Defensive Rookie of the Year honors and a Pro Bowl berth in 2007, and followed those with another monster... More >>

  • Best Giant

    Randy Johnson

    Tim Lincecum was sensational last year in his first full season as a Giants pitcher. He led the league with 265 strikeouts, the most in a single season in Giants history, and won baseball's prestigious Cy Young Award. But as the 2009 season gets under way, Lincecum stands in the shadow of an even greater giant, his new 6-foot-10 teammate Randy Johnson. Johnson enters his 22nd year in Major League Baseball as the most dominant left-handed power pitcher of all... More >>

  • Best Giants Promotion

    1989 Team Reunion, Saturday, June 13, at AT&T Park

    October 17 marks the 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta quake that pancaked an East Bay freeway, dislodged a section of the Bay Bridge, and turned a few blocks in the Marina to jelly and flame (sending one-time S.F. Seal Joe DiMaggio scurrying through his house to retrieve a garbage bag filled with under-the-table autograph-show cash). It also marks the only time our local teams met in the World Series, with the powerhouse A's administering a four-game waxing to the... More >>

  • Best Octogenarian Badminton Player

    Ed Leong

    The comedian Alexei Sayle once said, "You can't fight City Hall, but you can crap on the steps and then run like mad." Apparently, you can do both, and Ed Leong is living proof of it (at least the fighting part). When the city imposed a $4 fee on badminton players in January — while basketball and volleyball players on the same court played free — the 87-year-old Leong got mad. The retired S.F. building inspector besieged Supervisor Carmen Chu... More >>

  • Best Sports Bar

    Kezar Pub and Restaurant

    People who run sports bars don't have it easy. They could install all the nicest light fixtures and import a huge selection of draught beers to impress patrons, but it would all be for naught if all those patrons were pulling for a loser. And who are we kidding? Sports fans are not a charming bunch. We make lots of noise, and sometimes we knock over furniture, even when we don't mean to. At Kezar Pub, the staff look past... More >>

  • Best New Place to Skateboard

    Potrero del Sol Park

    Since forever, San Francisco has been a magnet for hard-core skating, and hard-core skaters have been magnets for cops. It hasn't been pretty. In 2008, however, the city finally did what nearly every last suburban township has done: It built a skate park in which the locals can skate. Sure, it came decades too late, but it's challenging enough to make or break someone's reputation, heart, or head. S.F. skaters, countless legends among them, seem pleased that they got something... More >>

  • Hottest Yoga Studio

    Bikram Yoga Castro

    Not everyone is a fan of the Bikram approach to yoga. Some call it macho; others call it a cult. But one thing's for sure: When you cram a bunch of mostly naked people into a studio heated to 105 degrees at 40 percent humidity, then guide them through a series of 26 postures over the course of 90 minutes — well, everyone will be a sweaty mess by the end of it. The key is finding an instructor who... More >>

  • Best Unpretentious Yoga Studio

    Bernal Yoga

    It isn't New Agey and it isn't full of intimidating Beautiful People — can it really be a yoga studio? Yes, indeed: Owned by local brother-and-sister team Bill and Savonn Wyland, Bernal Yoga offers classes for just about every level and aesthetic. Love the idea of occasionally hearing Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog" during your Downward-Facing Dog? Sign up for Flow with Megan Windeler. Just need to slough off the tough workday with soothing mantras? Gentle and Restorative Yoga with Britt... More >>

  • Best Gym

    Valencia Street Muscle

    Maybe you like big corporate chain gyms. They have their perks. The anonymity, the way they jerk you around with the prices and contracts and ask, "How much weight do you want to lose?" Oops, getting bitter ... let's focus on the positive. For those of us not into big corporate gyms, there is Valencia Street Muscle, which plays a lot of Sleater-Kinney over the sound system, and every time we go in there, we see the authors of books... More >>

  • Best Tap-Dance Teacher

    ODC Theater

    All the teachers at ODC are good. But someone new has come along who deserves a big holler: tap dancer Tyler Knowlin. This former New Yorker seems to have perfected that handsome scarecrow Savion Glover style: It's all relaxed, swinging arms on top, with deceptively loose ankles and precision shuffles on the ground. Unsurprisingly, he has performed among the giants in New York City, including Glover and the late, great Gregory Hines. In Knowlin's Rhythm Tap classes, loud-footed students thrive... More >>

  • Best Place to Learn to Hunt Online

    Pacific Rod and Gun Club

    For most city dwellers, shooting and gutting your own food is a lost art. There's some reason to believe that's changing: If Berkeley prof and local-food guru Michael Pollan could devote a whole chapter of his landmark food treatise, The Omnivore's Dilemma, to hunting wild pigs, who are we to gainsay him? Ethical considerations aside, the average urbanites are still impeded in their quest for bloodsport by lack of firearms savvy and inexperience in stalking prey. That's where the Pacific... More >>

  • Best Place to Race Your Model Yacht

    Golden Gate Park, Spreckels Lake

    Spreckels Lake was created in 1903 as a place for the town's citizenry to sail their model yachts, a charming notion that has endured through a century of war, strife, and economic deprivation. On any given Sunday, you're likely to see a regatta of scale-model steamboats, clippers, barges, trawlers, runabouts, ferries, and tugs — even submarines — maneuvering around the lake's thousand-foot girth and the big concrete turtle that emerges from its shallow depths. Many of the boats are intricately... More >>

  • Best Slides

    Bernal Heights Mini-Park Slides

    There are three things required of a good slide. It's gotta give a long ride. It's gotta be fast. And although many people overlook this crucial aspect, we say it's gotta have a good view at the top. And just so you know, the all-popular Seward Street Slides, while 60 feet long and pretty damn fast, do not have a good view at the top. They're boxed in by fancy Noe Valley homes. There's another pair of slides, however, that... More >>

  • Best Bad-Idea Swing

    Billy Goat Hill

    Billy Goat Hill in Noe Valley offers a lush, green field; great views; and quite possibly one of the most treacherous rope swings you should totally not try to swing on. The swing, which is routinely cut down by smarter citizens and then replaced by stupider ones, is strung from a tree that sits solo in the middle of the hill. No tires or wooden seats await those who seek out this plaything. Just tuck your foot in the hole... More >>

  • Best Ping-Pong

    AMDT Table Tennis Club

    For people who are serious about table tennis, we suggest you report immediately to AMD Trading Company. This largely undiscovered table-tennis learning center and store features two tables (which can be reserved for $3 per person per hour) and all the latest equipment, including ball-feeding robots. The newest version of one such robot, the TW2700-08, uses double-spin technology (whatever the heck that is) to feed you serves with topspin, underspin, sidespin, or no spin. AMD is hugely popular with the... More >>

  • Best Urban Sports Mecca

    Mission Playground SF

    In this new age of recession-induced frugality, pricey gym memberships are being jettisoned in favor of annoying necessities like food, rent, and well drinks. But your biceps need not atrophy faster than your 401(k). The Mission Playground is there to pump you up for free. With black-top soccer, two tennis courts, and pickup basketball, there's no shortage of urban sporting endeavors to keep you in peak physical condition. And, for a small fee, there's the Mission Pool. Neurotic overachievers have... More >>

  • Best Place to Punch It Out

    Fight and Fitness

    You may be angry at your boyfriend, your roommate, the boss who just laid you off, or the co-worker you still have. Let's face it: As the economy goes down the crapper while the barons of high finance make off with gilded bonuses, there's no shortage of things to get fighting mad about. And there's no better place to blow off steam than at Fight and Fitness, an unprepossessing SOMA boxing gym down the street from the Hall of Justice.... More >>

  • Best New Outdoor Basketball Courts

    Mission Creek Park

    Tucked under Highway 280, just a Muni stop away from AT&T Park, lies a perfect outdoor basketball court. Desirable for its forgiving rims and indoor-style Plexiglas backboards, this court attracts local, after-work ballers for highly competitive five-on-five games. Because it's sandwiched among the boxy high-rises of Mission Creek, the court is often dominated by the UCSF and luxury condo crowd, but there's also an ethnically diverse mix of kids from the low-income housing across the way and over the train... More >>

  • Best Dance Studio

    ShoeBox Studio

    So you find it impossible to haul ass to the gym or get up at a reasonable hour to go jogging by the shore before work, eh? Then gird your loins and head over to ShoeBox Studio, an inviting SOMA dance space that accommodates harried schedules by offering weekend and evening classes. Whether you have tons of rhythm or two left feet, ShoeBox is just the place to dispense with your inhibitions and get moving. The dance offerings include capoeira,... More >>

  • Best Place to Go Fish

    Municipal Pier

    Maybe there's something about the flotsam and jetsam that has accumulated among the pilings of Municipal Pier since it was built 78 years ago, but this 1,400-foot arc of crumbling concrete attracts an impressive bounty of sea creatures good enough to eat. Smelt, sole, sand dabs, cabezon, flounder, rockfish, skate, the occasional leopard shark, and perch (especially perch) are caught here annually, along with rock crab, perhaps the most delectable of all. (Not Dungeness crab, note: Poaching S.F.'s favorite crustacean... More >>

  • Best Renovated Playground

    Koret Children's Quarter

    According to traditional thinking, the city isn't a good place to raise kids. But traditional thinking hasn't seen Koret Children's Quarter. After a $3.8 million, 18-month renovation, the playground reopened in 2007, and it's a sight to behold. The two-plus-acre site features concrete slides on the hillside, a river to make wet sand, and a frankly terrifying rope tower the height of about eight 5-year-olds, stacked disheveled hair to scuffed heel. The Quarter has all the latest in fort, seesaw,... More >>

  • Best Bike Ride with the Kids

    Golden Gate Park Panhandle to S.F. Zoo

    Among the pleasures of raising a family in San Francisco is riding bikes with your children. The city's linked series of oceanside and bayside parks and weekend street closures in Golden Gate Park and on the Embarcadero mean it's possible to tour some of the world's most beautiful landscapes without having to worry about the wee ones getting run over. Key to such two-wheeled family outings is plotting routes uninterrupted by highly trafficked streets. Riding from the eastern tip of... More >>

  • Best Yoga Deal

    City College of San Francisco

    Most yoga studios charge more than $100 a month of yoga, with a full year ringing in at more than $1,000. Those prices are hard to swallow, even if you are paying for peace of mind and a tight bod. Enter the eminently affordable City College of San Francisco, which offers beginning, intermediate, and intensive classes. There's even a Senior and Restorative class. Main Campus classes take place in a yoga studio with bamboo floors and lots of natural light.... More >>

  • Readers' Poll Winners

    Best Bike Path The Wiggle Best Hike Land’s End Best Place to Skateboard Embarcadero Best Fitness Gym San Francisco CrosSFit Best Bike Shop Pedal Revolution Best Ski/Snowboard Shop SFO Best Public Tennis Court Dolores Park Best Golf Course Presidio Best Place to Walk the Dog Fort Funston Best Jog Golden Gate Park Best Yoga Studio Mission Yoga Best Sportswriter Ray Ratto, San Francisco Chronicle Best Sportscaster Gary Radnich, KRON4 and KNBR Best Sports Bar Kezar Bar Best Giant Tim Lincecum... More >>

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Best Of Award Graphics 2009