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West Grand Stand for America's Cup - San Francisco

West Grand Stand for America's Cup

2013 America's Cup Spectator Sports Review

During summer of 2013, the 34th America's Cup sailboat racing was held just off shore from the Marina Green, Fisherman's Wharf, and several Piers on the northeast shoreline. I bought $75 tickets on-line hoping that despite the high price, we would have the advantage of an unobstructed view. This was for the most part true, as the grandstand seating provided an elevated view of the races. But, several obstructions block our view in places. First, the finish line around to the east was not visible from the West Grandstands because the buildings and piers of Fisherman's Wharf blocked the view. Second, the Yacht road provided a jetty full of spectators that had a great view. Finally, our view was also blocked in part by the big screen TV set up for our benefit to view the entire race by video. The seats were short and plastic, but otherwise the seating was generally worth the price for those able to afford it. See links to the website for more information.

We watched two races on the second day of the finals, Sept 8th. Prior to this, the Emirates/Kiwi boat had won the right, by a series of preliminary competitions known as the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup, to challenge the American team sponsored by local billionaire, Larry Ellison, the previous winner of the America's Cup. On Saturday, Sept 7th, the Kiwis won both races, and during the first race on Sept 8th, we watched as the Kiwis won again. So, it was by good fortune that we watched as the American team managed to get their first victory. Best of 17 races determines the final of the America's Cup race.

Equipment: These boats are multi-million dollar boats that are only used for this race because the victory gets to decide what the criteria will be for the next America's Cup challenge. The boats are known as the AC72 wing sail catamaran, which are only used for the finals in this race. These are very fast sailboats capable of sailing twice the wind speed, and on the day of our races, we saw speeds ranging between 30 and 40 knots (35-45 mph). The speed of these boats is increased largely because of the underwater wing like foils that actually elevate the boat hull out of the water, or hydrofoil. The high speed and unstable nature of the hull hovering over the water increases the risk to the 11 sailors aboard. We saw several near miss situations where the boats almost collided with each other during the race. We also saw an abrupt and dangerous dive of the hull to the water by the American team that inadvertently knocked the wing foil. During preliminary competitions, several of these boats pitchpoled and broke apart, and one sailor died in such an incident on the Sweden's Artemis boat. Oracle Team lost a boat that pitchpoled, broke apart, and was swept under the turbulent waters of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Directions: Races are best seen in the Marina Green area of the Marina District. See website.

Other Contact: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/201

Theme: Boating/Sailing

Website: http://www.americascup.com/en/sanfrancisco

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Sep 9, 2013
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San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club - San Francisco

San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club

Lawn Bowling

The San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club was founded in 1901 and claims to be the oldest municipal lawn bowling club in the USA. Bowlers must wear all white while on the green. The lawns are located the eastern corner Golden Gate Park, near Sharon Meadow and the Children's Carousel.

Theme: Other

Website: http://sflb.filesforfriends.com/index.php?page=home

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  • Updated Feb 27, 2011
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Walking Dali in the Mission District in Winter - San Francisco

Walking Dali in the Mission District in Winter

Dog Walking in SF

Walking the dog is very popular in San Francisco, but laws are very strict about picking up after one's pooch. Bring plastic bags to pick up dog litter, and drop off in any available garbage can. Also, while there are a few special dog parks where roaming off-leash is allowed, the general law in the city is that all pets must be leashed.

Theme: Other

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  • Written Feb 27, 2011
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Union Square Ice Rink - San Francisco

Union Square Ice Rink

Ice Skating on Union Square During Winter Holidays

Sponsor by Safeway, a local grocery store chain, the Union Square ice rink is a popular tourist opportunity to have some exercise and fun skating right in the center of downtown! See the link for more details, as the use of the rink is divided into "sessions". The link offers the possibility of purchasing tickets on-line. What a great way to enjoy the lights of the Christmas tree and other decorations around Union Square during the holidays.

Equipment: Equipment rental is the norm here, but I assume use of your own skates is OK too.

Theme: Other

Website: http://unionsquareicerink.com/

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  • Updated Dec 25, 2010
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SF Giants Culture: The Thong SBC Park / SF Giants Review

First Baseman Aubrey Huff was possibly the Giants biggest offensive player during the 2010 season, having a batting average of .290, 26 home runs, 86 RBIs (Runs Batted In), 100 runs, and 7 stolen bases. But, in August he found himself in a batting slump. Now baseball players are superstitious, leading them to do anything that will bring them luck. Jason Giambi, the 2000 American League MVP during his time with the Oakland A's, revealed in 2008 that he wore a gold thong as good luck. The concept also was featured in the comedy movie Zoolander, where the antagonist male model, played by Owen Wilson, stuns the audience by pulling off the impossible--reaching into his pants and pulling off his thong as a trophy to show off. Perhaps Huff picked this up, as he revealed that his wife's red thong was producing results. Using a thong as good luck fit well with San Francisco's whacky fans, and shortly before the World Series a whole box of women's red thongs were delivered to the Giant's locker room. During his Civic Center celebration, Huff raised and stretched the thong over his head in victory. The thong certainly beats the Terrible Towel as the fan garment. Check out the link with various images of Huff displaying, biting, and otherwise showing off his wife's thong!

Address: 801 Third Street

Directions: Between Kind, 2nd, 3rd, and China Basin.

Other Contact: http://backporch.fanhouse.com/20

Phone: (415) 468-3700

Theme: Sports Watching

Website: http://sfgiants.com

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  • Updated Nov 7, 2010
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SF Giant Fan--Fear the Beard - San Francisco

SF Giant Fan--Fear the Beard

SF Giants Culture: Fear the Beard, Giant Torture SBC Park / SF Giants Review

Baseball, being a very ritualistic and superstitious sport over a rather long season, tends to generate in its players some very bizarre behavior. This is particularly true for closing pitchers who do so much in maybe just one or two innings. Perhaps following upon the handlebar mustache of Oakland A's great Rollie Fingers, Brian Wilson chose to wear a boot black dyed beard. Below the baseball cap, Wilson sports a mohawk style hairdo.

Wilson's pitching antics became noticed when he began to win games. His 48 saves during the 2010 season led the major leagues. He had an incredibly low 1.81 earned run average and a record 93 strikeouts over 74 2/3 innings--better pitching than any San Francisco closer since Robb Nen in 1998.

Bringing the spectator to the edge of his seat during the final minutes of the game, Wilson's closing style also often included a scarry run up in the number of balls pitched before he got the batter swinging. During several nail biting 9th innings, Wilson actually walked tying runs onto base before finally closing down the game with the last strike out. Wilson's signature end to the game is a double armed cross, a defiant gesture some might confuse with religion.

See the link below for the Santa Cruz fans who first popularized the "Fear the Beard" slogan by wearing fake beards to Giant games, but it's also notable that another Giant relief pitcher also wears a beard, resulting in an end game sequence of beard SF pitchers! Sergio Romo, a native Californian Giants pitcher whose of Mexican-American heritage, began lengthening his beard as the 2010 season continued.

During 2010 Romo was primarily used as a "set-up" pitcher, meaning that he pitched in the late innings while trying to save a game or protect a lead, prior to the last inning closer--Brian Wilson. Romo bridged the gap between the starter's tired arm in the 5th to 8th innings, and the one inning only closer, who depends upon a very rested arm. Romo's record was very good, with a major league win/loss record of 13 to 6, an ERA of 2.63, only one blown save during the 2010 season. Thus, as the 2010 season continued, opposing teams and stadium fans became mesmerized by a sequence of spooky bearded closing pitchers--who were also outstanding in their game.

Address: 801 Third Street

Directions: Between Kind, 2nd, 3rd, and China Basin.

Other Contact: http://www.santacruzsentinel.com

Phone: (415) 468-3700

Theme: Sports Watching

Website: http://sfgiants.com

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  • Updated Nov 7, 2010
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Cody Ross Passes By - San Francisco

Cody Ross Passes By

2010 World Champion Giants Baseball Parade SBC Park / SF Giants Review

Since the SF Giants had never before won a World Series (they had been there three times and lost), fans really went crazy with this win. Attached are some images of the huge crowd that appeared for the World Championship celebration parade. During my own attendance, I had to endure about an hour and a half of parking and ticketing hassles at the BART Pittsburg-Bay Point Station--which was overwhelmed with Giant Fans heading for the city. BART added 13 trains to handle the some 200,000 plus attending the parade. The parade itself began with police motorcycles and fire trucks clearing the way along Market Street, from the corner at Montgomery Street in the Financial District all the way to the Civic Center where a stage was erected in front of city hall. Then, various fan floats sponsored by Levis, NBC, and various tech companies brought in music. Antique cars followed with retired greats--Willie Mays, Bobby and Barry Bonds, Willie McCovey, which were in turn followed by politicians--Mayor Gavin Newsome, Senator Diane Feinstein, and others. Numerous other floats with various corporate and civic dignitaries joined the parade, and so last were the cable car like rides of the individual players. The pressure of the crowd was so great that I could only spot a few of the players. I saw pitchers, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, and Jonathan Sanchez waving from their cars, but missed Brian Wilson because he chose to walk the route. I also saw catcher Buster Posey, and the great outfield batter Cody Ross. After the parade passed, I had lunch with friends at a Japanese restaurant in the Financial District, before walking alone toward the Civic Center. San Francisco was filled with wild fans!

Address: 801 Third Street

Directions: Between Kind, 2nd, 3rd, and China Basin.

Phone: (415) 468-3700

Theme: Sports Watching

Website: http://sfgiants.com

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  • Updated Nov 7, 2010
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