Best Sports & Recreation

Best Throwback Warriors Jersey
Matt Barnes

Kudos are in order to any Warriors fans who kept their Matt Barnes jerseys in a closet for nearly a decade and who can now rock them once again. Barnes, of course, was part of the iconic 2007 “We Believe” Warriors squad that beat the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs. After leaving the Warriors in 2008, Barnes went to play for … wait for it … the Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, and Sacramento Kings. Thankfully, he’s now back in blue, having been signed to fill the void caused by Kevin Durant’s injury toward the end of the regular season. How much he’ll see the court during the team’s current playoff run is up in the air, but there’s never been a better time to dust off your Barnes jersey and get a little crazy.

Best Giant to Have Your Back in a Fight
Michael Morse

Who knows exactly why you might find yourself a few drinks deep with a member of the Giants as a brawl gets under way, but if you do, there’s no one more suited to the task than outfielder Michael Morse. Recently returned to the roster after stints with Miami and Pittsburgh, Morse will be forever remembered as a home run-happy key figure in the team’s 2014 World Series run. Basically, the dude can mash — and he looks like he could easily be a background character in a Vin Diesel movie. It might be fun to play video games with Hunter Pence or have a stoic round of golf with Buster Posey, but if it’s bar fights we’re talking about, you’ve got to roll with Morse.

Best Sports Protest
Colin Kaepernick Kneeling for the National Anthem

He may no longer be a 49er, but Colin Kaepernick remains a winner for taking a Black Lives Matter stand — namely, not standing for the National Anthem. Kaepernick made global headlines for his simple act of defiance last August, and numerous NFL players and high school students around the country joined him. His kneeling even landed him the cover of Time. Right-wing media cast Kap as a traitor, but the quarterback quietly took the high road, making donations in excess of a million dollars to Meals on Wheels, Love Army for Somalia, and other charitable causes. Kaepernick remains unemployed in the NFL, an organization that employs countless repeat domestic-violence offenders.

Best Warrior Not in the Playoffs
Steve Kerr

There’s something missing from this year’s iteration of the Golden State Warriors’ delightful and dominant playoff run. Our thoughts and prayers go out to coach Steve Kerr, who’s sidelined with a spinal-fluid leak resulting from a complication from back surgery two years ago. Kerr is the architect of this Warriors team, but the return of his back ailments leaves him indefinitely unable to captain his own ship. His return is uncertain, and it’s a sad but real possibility that Kerr might never be able to coach again. But his heart and persistence through excruciating physical pain remind us that basketball is just a game, and the real warrior is Steve Kerr.

Best Presidentially Pardoned San Francisco Giant
Willie McCovey

Like any U.S. president, Barack Obama issued a flurry of pardons in his final days in office. You may have heard about Chelsea Manning’s commutation, but among the 273 other people Obama pardoned was San Francisco Giants Hall of Fame first baseman Willie McCovey. The namesake of McCovey Cove, he was convicted of tax evasion back in 1996 and sentenced to several years’ probation. It’s not like McCovey was a huge tax cheat — he simply failed to report some income from signing autographs at memorabilia shows. He paid his fine and completed his probation long ago, but the pardon removes any restrictions on McCovey’s right to vote, run for office, and exercise other civic abilities.

Best Athlete to Appear on Bill Nye the Science Guy’s Show
Hunter Pence

As of press time, the San Francisco Giants are dead last in the NL West standings. It’s one of those years for which the high point might be seeing a player make a TV show cameo — and in this case, it’s crazy-eyes right fielder Hunter Pence on the new Netflix series Bill Nye Saves the World. Pence took his signature frizzy hair and fearsome bat to demonstrate the concept of panspermia — the hypothesis that life on Earth was introduced by bacteria from meteoroids striking the planet. To demonstrate this, Pence hit a baseball toward a model version of Earth. When his ball struck the planet on the set, he exclaimed, “I panspermia’d all over the place!”

Best Yoga Class to Tone and Tan Your Body
360 Third St., 415-534-5049 or

CardioTone offers classes in interval training, spin, TRX, and yoga. Since the summer of 2015, the SoMa location has also offered Rooftop Yoga classes Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and on Saturday mornings. This being San Francisco, there are some perks to hosting classes outdoors; namely, that you don’t have to worry about heat, humidity, sun stroke, or sunburn. Of course, the rain pretty much quashes these classes in the winter and spring, so you might want to try flexing Warrior Two from the top of a skyscraper while you still can.

Best New Gym
17th Street Athletic Club
3265 17th St., 415-250-2419 or

Don’t expect a soundtrack of pop songs, an instructor wearing eyeliner, or a disco ball in these spin classes. 17th Street Athletic Club, which opened last fall on 17th and Capp streets, is a multi-purpose gym that caters heavily to the experienced cyclist. Spin classes feature top-of-the-line bikes taught by a number of badass women — many of whom race semi-professionally. The classes are fast-paced and sweaty, and the crowd is remarkably diverse: people of all ages, genders, sizes, and ethnicities show up to spin it out.

Best Opportunity to Redo Bike Infrastructure
Turk Street

Oh, Turk Street. This brand-new “bike lane” has been the subject of many a news article, angry tweet, and even a physical protest. As proposed by the SFMTA, it was meant to be parking protected — but opposition from the Fire Department stalled the plan, after they claimed it would inhibit trucks with ladders from reaching flaming buildings. Now, the bike lane is only “protected” by paint, and cars can be seen parked and idling in the crucial cycle pathway daily. As the highly anticipated first bike lane for the Tenderloin, this has so far been an epic failure.

Best New Bike Infrastructure
The Protected Intersection at Ninth and Division streets

We’re at a weird moment in San Francisco cycling policy, where the Bike Coalition has opposed a proposed bike lane for the first time. (It would be on Turk Street, and instead of any separation from parking cars, it would simply be painted on. Take one look at the de-facto Uber parking corridor the Valencia Street bike lanes have become, and you’ll get it.) However, SFMTA did a good job repaving the intersection of Ninth and Division streets with San Bruno Avenue in SoMa, installing pedestrian safety islands and raised crosswalks, with plenty of bright green striping. It’s the first of its kind in the city, and even though it only applies to east-west cyclists, we hope for more. Onward to the Idaho Stop!

Best Neighborhood Bike Shop
Wiggle Bicycles
518 Waller St.,

Walk into Wiggle Bicycles on a Saturday afternoon and there’s more than likely at least one dog, someone sipping on a beer, and a friendly “what can I help you with today?” greeting from the staff. The shop has bounced around a few different storefronts near the corner of Waller and Steiner streets, but its loyal customer base has followed. Part of the appeal is the range of bikes they carry: refurbished vintage rides sit next to to high-end mountain bikes. Cyclists can stop in for a child’s seat for a commuter, or a tune-up on a racing steed. Whatever the need, Wiggle has the neighborhood covered, and the mechanics check any bike snobbery at the door.

Best Urban Spot to See Coyotes
Buena Vista Park

Urban coyotes are not a myth, and there is currently no better place to spot one than Buena Vista Park. These large, undomesticated canines are relatively unafraid of humans, and can often be spotted trotting along behind a jogger, sunning on a rock, or sitting up high on the hillside, perusing the packs of fat little dogs that are walked through the park daily. They’re pretty easy to see — but keep a distance, and don’t feed them. These babies are wild, and should stay that way.

Best Place to Get a Free Workout
Lyon Street Steps

$35 for a SoulCycle class. $75 for a yoga handstand workshop. $150 for a pair of cycling shoes. Working out can be expensive in this city — but it doesn’t have to be. Next time it’s sunny, lace up those worn-out sneakers and head to the Marina to sprint up and down all 332 of Lyon Street’s steps. President Barack Obama once ran them when he was visiting San Francisco, and the view from the top is absolutely spectacular — as are the bragging rights once you’ve climbed the whole thing.

Best Park No One Knows About
Cottage Row Mini Park

This may come as shocking news, but there are more parks in San Francisco than Dolores, Alamo Square, and Golden Gate. Some of them even come in tiny, bite-size parcels, like Japantown’s Cottage Row Mini Park, located on Sutter and Webster streets. The itty-bitty tiered garden is filled with roses and nestled next to a quaint little row of cottages — hence its name. Pick up some cold green tea and onigiri from Nijiya Market for a picnic, and bring a book.

Best AT&T Park Hack

Hanna Quevedo

Hell or High Watermelon, with rind, at The Garden

Going to AT&T Park means you’re overpaying for beer. There’s simply no way around this sad fact of watching live sports. However, for the intrepid drinker, the ballpark does have a few rewards for those willing to seek them. The best of the bunch can be found at The Garden, located behind the center field bleachers. Amidst the fresh produce is a bar where one can order 21st Amendment’s signature Hell or High Watermelon on draft. The ideal light beer for a sunny day at the yard, each one comes with the signature slice of watermelon on the rim, making it a far better bang for your buck than the diluted domestics available elsewhere in the stadium.

Best Team to Follow Before the Bandwagon
San Francisco Deltas

While the Bay Area is hardly a mecca for soccer, there’s nothing worse than sleeping on a team until they make the playoffs. Bandwagon fans are worse than those who outright acknowledge they don’t care in the first place. So now is the time to check out the San Francisco Deltas. Part of the North American Soccer League, the Deltas play out of Kezar Stadium, former home to both the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders. As an added bonus, Kezar now has 3,800 seats refurbished from Candlestick Park. The Deltas seems ready to embrace the history of San Francisco sports, so why not embrace them?

Best Local Sports Podcast
McCovey Chroncast

Let’s face it: The San Francisco Giants are bad right now. Like historically awful, actually. Luckily, baseball aficionados can turn to the McCovey Chroncast, the podcast spinoff of Grant Brisbee’s must-read SB Nation site, McCovey Chronicles. Hosted by Bryan Murphy and Doug Bruzzone, the Chroncast is a great way to hear people who are even angrier than you are about Brandon Belt’s seeming inability to string two good games together. Whether the Giants are getting blown out by the Dodgers or celebrating their latest World Series victory, the McCovey Chroncast is the ideal complement to the long slog that is the baseball season.


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