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Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Mar-6-2014

Hi-Five Sports Zone moving into former Walgreens space near 18th & Geary

What was once a former Walgreens at 5411 Geary near 18th Avenue is soon to be a Hi-Five Sports Zone, a 5,000 square foot sports facility designed for private events and athletic development.

According to their website, Hi-Five’s “classes, leagues, and camps are designed from Hi-Five’s proprietary curriculums that have been proven and tested for over 20 years”.

The facility, which includes a large basketball court, can also be used for birthday parties, team practices and other athletic events for $100 per hour.

We spoke to Ryan Tuchman, CEO of Hi-Five Sports which started as a family business in Chicago in 1990. The company also offers its programs, designed for kids age 2-10 years, in Menlo Park, Atherton and Scottsdale, AZ.

The Geary location is the first brick-and-mortar location for Hi-Five Sports, which typically relies on venue rentals from schools, Rec & Park or other indoor venues for their programs.

Ryan says that the new location will feature “kid-sized” equipment. The basketball court will be large enough for adults to play on, but hoops will be a bit lower, and it can be covered in turf to accommodate soccer, flag football and tee-ball games.

Hi-Five chose the Richmond District for their first location because “it’s in a residential part of the city where families live, and there is a lack of indoor sports facilities there. And the space was perfect for what we needed.”

The company has hired General Manager Chris Tabarez, a former San Francisco State Gator and professional basketball player in Mexico, a teacher, coach, and athletic Director to run the new facility.

Ryan says construction is already underway inside the space and they anticipate opening in May or June of this year.

The company’s icon is Mascot Murphy, a French bulldog decked out in athletic gear. Ryan said to look for him around the neighborhood and that a possible “Murphy for Supervisor” campaign may be in the works.

It will be great to finally have that space occupied on Geary. Pressure’s on, Alexandria!

Thanks to cub reporter David H. (and other readers) for the tip.

Sarah B.

2:08 pm | Posted under Business, Kids, Sports | 14 comments
Jan-31-2014

Watch Super Bowl XLVIII on the big screen at the Balboa – FREE!

This Sunday, the Balboa Theater will host its annual Super Bowl party, featuring the Denver Broncos versus the Seattle Seahawks.

Doors open at 2:30 and kick off begins at 3:15. Pop star Bruno Mars will entertain at half time, plus you’ll get to see all the new commercials.

If attendees are really lucky, maybe they’ll show some of the 2014 Kitten Bowl – we think that’s what everyone will be talking about on Monday.

The Super Bowl event is free so come by the watch the big game on the Balboa’s huge screen in surround sound, with plenty of popcorn to go around.

Sarah B.

5:04 am | Posted under Events, Sports | 1 comment
Jan-6-2014

City’s first batting cages, INField, open on Clement Street

“Build it and they will come” was the prophetic declaration from James Earl Jones’ character to Ray Kinsella, played by Kevin Costner, in the film The Field of Dreams.

Michael Falzone’s reason for opening INField Batting Cages on Clement near 20th Avenue was not inspired by Hollywood, but instead by complaints from his Little League players and parents about not having easy access to a practice facility.

Falzone coaches his own sons in SF Little League, and decided he would try opening his own batting cages. His full-time job is as a park police officer in the Presidio, where he also lives. He initially tried to open INField in the Presidio, but could not get approval for a space from the Presidio Trust.

So instead he leased a former restaurant space at 1888 Clement that had been vacant for two years. It’s a deep space with high ceilings in the back, which was perfect for two side by side batting cages. There’s also a tee-ball hitting station in the front of the space for younger players.

For now, INField operating hours align with after school and weekend schedules, welcoming swingers in from 4pm to 7pm Tuesday through Thursday, and until 9pm on Fridays. Saturday hours are 12noon until 9pm, and Sundays til 5pm. They are closed Mondays.

You can call in advance for reservations (699-3670) or just drop in. Additional hours can also be arranged by email.

Each cage features a variable speed pitching machine for baseballs. Falzone says the machines have a softball accessory but for now, he’s just offering baseball hitting.

Prices are $25 for a half-hour of pitching machine time for batters age 7 and up ($40 for a full hour). Under 7 can hit off the tee for $10 for a bucket of balls. Special rates are also available for teams.

Each machine offers up a variety of pitches, allowing hitters to refine their swing on just a specific pitch, or get some swings in on all the pitches (fastball, left and right hand curveballs, knuckleball, slider and sinker). Available pitch speeds range from 40 to 90 miles per hour.

If you’re a frequent hitter, INField also offers memberships ranging from $100 per month to $1,000 for the year, which includes five half-hour sessions per month plus discounts on merchandise, clinics and camps.

For now, INField is the only batting cage facility in the city of San Francisco. Falzone says that previously, he was taking his players to Treasure Island or South San Francisco for batting practice.

Blog reader Grace stopped by INField last weekend and said she “had a blast – made me feel like I was in Little League all over again.”

Batter up!

Sarah B.

5:03 am | Posted under Business, Sports | 11 comments
Nov-22-2013

It’s time for the Stanford v. Cal Big Game, played at 7th & Lake in 1902, 1903

Tomorrow is the 116th Big Game between Stanford University and University of California at Berkeley (“Cal”), one of the greatest and longest running rivalries in college football. This year’s game will be at Stanford and every year, the venue alternates between campuses.

But 111 years ago, things were a little different. The Big Game venue had hopped around the Bay Area since the rivalry first started in 1892. Neither school had a field that could accommodate the thousands of students, alumni and football fans that came to watch, so the first thirteen Big Games were played in San Francisco.

The last two to be played in San Francisco, in 1902 and 1903, took place right here in the Richmond District.

A “SANDY” SITE FOR THE NEW STADIUM
In October 1902, the athletic directors from each school announced they had decided upon a site for that year’s game. It was to be at a site described as “sandy” which is exactly what the neighborhood sits on – tons and tons of sand. Back in 1902, the Richmond District was not richly populated and a lot, bound by Lake Street, 7th Avenue, California Street, and 8th Avenue, was chosen to be the home of the new Richmond Grounds stadium.

Preparations were rushed and carpenters built fences, bleacher seats and grandstand coverings, and horse-drawn wagons brought in load after of clay and loam to put on the sandy surface of the field.

THE EARLY DAYS OF NIMBY-ISM
Things were going swimmingly until Richmond District residents living near the new stadium started to panic, fearing that the new venue would attract the wrong element to their quiet neighborhood. Two weeks before the game, residents went before the Streets Committee of the Board of Supervisors to make their objections known.

After a rowdy hearing, probably much like the recent Beach Chalet hearings, a compromise was reached. The schools would only be allowed to play three additional games at Richmond Grounds, and the stadium would have to be removed by January 1904. With that settled, the 1902 Big Game could proceed.

Three days before the game, the Daily Californian described the new field:

    The new football grounds near the Marine Hospital at San Francisco are the most picturesquely situated that were ever selected for the big Varsity game. They are at Seventh Avenue and California Street, about midway between the Presidio Golf Club house and the Marine Hospital, and are very close to the Maria Kip Orphanage.

    There are splendid great grand stands for seating 13,500 people. The whole east side of the field is one great towering gently sloping hillside of substantial benches under cover, and the entire west side of the field will have similar seats without cover for the college rooters.

A story in the Chronicle mentioned the ticket prices – $2.50, $2.00, $1.50, or $1.00 – but said anyone without the means would be able to sit up on the hillside abutting the Presidio Golf Course and get an excellent view. Perhaps a forefather to Cal’s now infamous Tightwad Hill?

Keep in mind this stadium went up quickly and would not have rivaled what we’re used to seeing college football played on today.

    The fans would not have seen a grass field, but a mixture of clay, sand and loam. The field sloped slightly downhill toward the north goal. Coupled with the day’s prevailing wind from the south, the team defending the south goal had an offensive and a defensive advantage. [Outsidelands.org]

The 1902 game kicked off at 3pm and ended in a shutout, with Cal defeating Stanford 16-0. The game included a field goal (only the second in Big Game history), and a 90 yard punt return for a touchdown.

Revenue from the game totaled $23,000, covering the land lease and the cost of construction of the facility, and netting each team almost $9,000. Local newspaper The Call later estimated that 2,000 people watched the game from outside the field.


The seating chart for the 1902 Big Game at Richmond Grounds. Courtesy of outsidelands.org

THE FINAL TWO GAMES AT RICHMOND GROUNDS
Though the schools had permission to play three more games in the Richmond Grounds, it would only be used twice more. First for the freshmen teams to square off in October, 1903 where Stanford emerged with a 12-0 victory before 5,000 spectators.

The final use for the Richmond Grounds was for the 1903 Big Game that November. Demand for tickets was high as it was shaping up to be the last time that the game would take place in San Francisco.

Residents anticipated big crowds, and requested more police presence, claiming some tightwads from the year before had damaged their houses and trees while trying to see the game.

Kickoff was at 3pm, but fans began filling the Richmond Grounds as early as 10am. With 15 minutes to go in the game, the score was tied 6-6. Stanford attempted a field goal from Cal’s 36-yard line, but it fell short. Final score: 6-6

Traditionally, the winning team’s supporters rush the field after a Big Game, but the crowd in 1903 didn’t know what to do with a tie. Eventually, BOTH team’s fans rushed the field and each school’s brass bands burst into life.

    Out of their seats, over the rails and onto the field poured a bell-ringing, pennant-waving, horn-blowing, cheering mob. As the shadows lengthened across the Richmond Grounds, two separate bodies of celebrants gathered behind the respective bands. Forming themselves into enormous lines, they serpentined over the field, leaving the final footprints on the field of the Richmond Grounds. [outsidelands.org]

No more games were ever played on the Richmond Grounds and its dismantling began shortly after the 1903 Big Game, since it was due to be removed by January 1904. And so ended the collegiate football history of the Richmond District.

Good luck to both teams tomorrow!

Sarah B.

The content for this post came from a well-researched article entitled The Richmond Grounds and the Big Games of 1902 & 1903 by Angus Macfarlane, who was a Sunset District resident and Cal alum.


Where the Richmond Grounds was built in 1902, bound by Lake Street, 7th Avenue, California Street and 8th Avenue.


Courtesy of “San Francisco’s Richmond District” by Lorri Ungaretti

8:24 pm | Posted under History, Sports | 7 comments
Nov-4-2013

Photo: 10th & goal at the 69th annual Bell Game


George Washington High School vs. Lincoln High School, 10/31/13. Photo by Hugh Stickney

The 69th annual “Bell Game” took place between the George Washington High School Eagles and the Lincoln High School Mustangs last week, on the field with the best Bay view in the city.

Unfortunately GWHS got their lunch handed to them in a 40-7 loss. Let’s hope they can bring the victory bell back next year!

Sarah B.

11:09 am | Posted under Photos, Schools, Sports | 2 comments
Sep-30-2013

Try your hand at lawn bowling! Open House in Golden Gate Park, Oct. 5

You’ve probably seen them when you’ve driven through the Golden Gate Park – adults dressed in pristine white clothes, hurling small, dense balls across smooth lawns. Some in v-neck sweaters with sharp-looking hats.

Wasn’t there a part of you that was just itching to join in?

Well here’s your chance! On Saturday, the San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club is hosting an open house at the club on Bowling Green Drive in Golden Gate Park. Stop by to learn how the game is played and try it for yourself.

The free open house runs from 10am until 4pm and takes place at the Lawn Bowling Club in Golden Gate Park (directions). Be sure to wear flat-soled shoes!

If Saturday doesn’t work for you, they also offer free lessons every Wednesday at 12noon (weather permitting).

Sarah B.

5:16 am | Posted under Events, Golden Gate Park, Recreation, Sports | Comments Off
May-30-2013

Get your photo taken with the America’s Cup at the Legion of Honor, Sunday


Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget

In honor of their new Impressionists on the Water exhibition that opens this weekend, the Legion of Honor will have a special item on display this Sunday: the America’s Cup trophy.

A little history on the impressive trophy:

In the more than 150 years since that first race off England, only four nations have won what is often called the “oldest trophy in international sport.” For some perspective, consider that there had been nine contests for the America’s Cup before the first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens in 1896.

The America’s Cup trophy will be on display on Sunday only, from 9:30am to 5:15pm, in the Legion’s Gallery 12 (on loan from its current home at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club).

Come by to see the trophy up close and have your photo taken with it. Then don’t miss the Impressionists on the Water exhibit, celebrating pleasure boating and competition, and featuring more than 80 paintings and works on paper by Impressionists such as Claude Monet, Gustave Caillebotte, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Camille Pissarro and Post-Impressionists such as Maurice Denis and Paul Signac.

Sarah B.

5:20 am | Posted under Events, Museums, Sports | 1 comment
May-13-2013

“Never. Say. Die” Giants book launch at 540 Club, Wednesday night

Hey Giants fans, this one is for you!

This Wednesday night, KNBR’s Brian Murphy and photographer Brad Mangin will be at the 540 Club to celebrate the release of their new book NEVER. SAY. DIE., chronicling the Giants’ 2012 championship season.

Stop by to meet the authors and dine on good ol’ baseball chow from the Missing Link food cart, which will be parked outside the 540 Club (540 Clement Street). Wild boar link, anyone?

The event begins at 7pm. Go Giants!

Sarah B.

1:26 pm | Posted under Events, Sports | Comments Off
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