Best of 2019: Sports & Recreation

BEST REASON NOT TO MOVE IN THE FENCES AT ORACLE PARK

Taunting Relief Pitchers

When outfielder Mac Williamson was assigned to rejoin the San Francisco Giants this month, he was asked about the bullpens. You see, unlike the vast majority of major league ballparks, Oracle features bullpens on the field of play. Williamson suffered a concussion last season after tripping on the bullpen bump where the pitcher stands. Asked if he’d favor moving the bullpens in, Williamson confirmed that he felt safety outweighed all other considerations. The truth is Williamson is absolutely correct, but should the Giants act on his request — and there are early signs they might — it will be a shame to lose the time-honored tradition of making nonsensical noises for every pitch and catcher throw the opposing team’s bullpen makes. Fair trade, but let’s be sure to get all our robot noises out this season. See you in Section 105.

BEST SPORTS TWITTER FOLLOW

Carmen Kiew

@carmenkiew

In the pit of despair known as sports social media, Carmen Kiew is a healing light. Often heard talking baseball with KNBR’s Marty Lurie, Kiew is now part of the Triples Alley post-game crew on NBC Sports as well. A fierce defender of Brandon Belt and maker of most excellent (and timely) gifs, Kiew has curated a feed that eschews hot takes for nuanced insight and uses logic and humor as its foundation. With the San Francisco Giants battling some historic doldrums this season, following Kiew may be a necessary survival tactic. If you need more evidence, just ask her good friend Hunter Pence.

MOST FRUSTRATING FAREWELL

Bruce Bochy

What do Connor Joe, Michael Reed, Gerardo Parra, and Yangervis Solarte have in common? These four players — all part of the San Francisco Giants’ 2019 Opening Day roster — are now off the team. Two of those players (Reed and Joe) were actually starters for the Giants’ first game this year. This collection of misfit toys has not displayed the moxie and resilience of prior Giants’ squads, leaving manager Bruce Bochy with precious few options in his final season as manager. For a man who’s overseen three championships in his tenure as San Francisco’s skipper, it’s a tough goodbye season. We all would’ve liked to see Bochy go out on top, but at least they’ve let Pablo pitch.

BEST SPORTS ANNOUNCER

Renel Brooks-Moon, San Francisco Giants announcer

The first woman to announce a championship game in any major pro sport, Giants PA announcer Renel Brooks-Moon is a living legend and a cherished part of the San Francisco Giants’ live ballgame experience. The former KISS-FM and KMEL personality has been the Giants home ballpark announcer for nearly 20 years, and her handwritten 2010 inning scorecard was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. The Giants won the World Series that year, but Giants games are great even during the leanest of years with the irreplaceable Renel at the mic.

Courtesy of Daybreaker 

BEST SOBER MORNING RAVE

Daybreaker

daybreaker.com

Although it bills itself as a sober party, the early morning dance massive Daybreaker brings out the freakiest specimens of the San Francisco dance scene. These early morning Friday or Saturday dance parties are held on boats, on Treasure Island, at industrial venues, or even under the dome in the Westfield Centre directly below SF Weekly’s offices, but generally feature crowds more interested in vitamin smoothies than another gin-and-tonic. But the big-name DJs are off the hook, and Daybreaker has become as well-respected a dance party as the drug-addled forebears that paved the way for it in the first place. 

BEST SUMMER CAMP FOR KIDS

SF Skate Club

635A Divisadero St., sfskateclub.com

Every summer, groups of kids can be seen skating around Western Addition, often led by a petite woman with long black hair. SF Skate Club is far more than a chance to learn how to do a hardflip or an ollie; owners Sean and Thuy drive kids all over the Bay to explore different skateparks, teach them safety skills and confidence, and introduce them to famous pro skaters. In a city where kids and kid-friendly activities are few and far-between, SF Skate Club continues year after year to empower groups of young people, both on and off the board.

BEST ANNUAL BIKE RACE

Mission Crit

missioncrit.com

Mission Crit started out in 2012 as a cutty bike race, but with the approval of the city and an expansion of its loop has gradually become a destination for professional cyclists from all over the world. Each spring, thousands gather to watch packs of racers on high-speed track bikes duke it out over a 40-minute race that often results in blood, sweat, and tears. Brooklyn’s Red Hook Crit is on hiatus, and Los Angeles’ Wolfpack Hustle has wound down, propelling Mission Crit into one of the top criterium races nationwide. Whether you’re riding or watching, it’s always a good time — and each year its organizers manage to make it even stronger than the year before.

BEST PLACE TO TRAIN FOR THE AIDS/LIFECYCLE

17th Street Athletic Club

3265 17th St., 17thstreetathleticclub.com

If you’ve ever walked into a workout studio and immediately bemoaned the crowd of skinny, white clientele then this is the place for you. 17th Street Athletic Club’s indoor cycling, TRX, and strength-training classes are as diverse as they come, with all ages, gender identities, races, sexual orientations, and sizes welcome. Part of this inclusivity comes from being a center of the AIDS /LifeCycle training experience. Sign up as an ALC member, and classes are deeply discounted.

BEST YOGA STUDIO

Love Story Yoga

473 Valencia St., lovestoryyoga.com

Despite a corporate yoga chain slowly taking over San Francisco, independent studios are still thriving. Love Story Yoga — which opened in a former vintage store on Mission Street — has become a hot spot for practitioners from all over the city to gather and sweat it out. The multi-level classes, teacher training programs, and queer-safe yoga on Friday nights draw a diverse crowd, from tattooed nonprofit workers to hip tech employees. Even if you still bemoan the loss of Clothes Contact and its tacky rock facade, chances are the minute you step past Love Story Yoga’s hipster neon sign and into their studios you’ll feel like you’ve come home.

BEST NEW DISPENSARY

Moe Greens

1276 Market St., moegreens.com

If you’ve ever dreamed of dressing in your Mad Men finest and lighting one up in the comfort of a stylish, mid-century smoking lounge, Moe Greens will see you now. The new dispensary from the team behind the speakeasy-themed Barbary Coast features three consumption spaces: The High Roller (for joints and flower), the Playground (for vaping), and the Vault (for dabs). Gold wallpaper and sleek fixtures tell the story of Moe Greens, which is hoping that today’s San Franciscans will view consuming a little cannabis as the modern-day alternative to a Martini (or two) with lunch. The atmosphere won’t necessarily appeal to everyone, but with more and more dispensaries tailoring their image to stand out from the crowd, Moe Greens is one place you won’t soon forget.

BEST PLACE TO WATCH A GAME AND GET HIGH

Barbary Coast Dispensary

barbarycoastsf.com

Any stoner who wants to smoke out and watch live sports can do no better than the Barbary Coast Dispensary consumption lounge, where you can smoke ’em if you got ’em (as long as you bought ’em there). Five big HDTV screens serve sports fans with whatever game they wish at any hour from 8 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. with bongs, rolling papers, and grinders galore all available for the lending. You can only stay 30 minutes, but if you hold onto your Barbary Coast receipt you can re-up for another 30 minutes later in the day or the next day.

BEST CHEAP HIGH

Dollar Dabs at Urban Pharm

Up415.com

The dabs really are just $1 for a whole lung-busting rip at Urban Pharms’ steampunk dab bar from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday nights. They’ll also lend you bongs, grinders, and rolling papers to smoke your own onsite anytime, but Dollar Dabs’ hits of high-powered concentrate are easily the cheapest cannabis buzz available anywhere in town. Urban Pharms’ ambient and spectacularly decorated seating area does enforce a 30-minute time limit when the joint is packed, but they’re less strict about that when the crowds have died down.

Tags:

Related Stories