As a former relief pitcher in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, Mike Bumatay brings a decade of pro experience and three league championships to teaching pitching and hitting mechanics. Bumatay individualizes practices to focus on a player’s preferred skills, such as hitting, pitching, fielding, or hypnotizing balls to suddenly roll the opposite the way once it reaches the shortstop. In addition to drilling on technique and mechanics, Bumatay prepares students for the mental challenges of the baseball world, such as accepting hot dogs, peanuts, and Cracker Jacks as the only three food groups.
With more than 120,000 monthly readers, Fresno magazine informs local community-ponderers on the newsworthy people, the time-and-space-altering businesses, and the spirited events happening in Central California. The numerous features, profile pieces, and letters to the editor will provide a plethora of prose for literature buffs to absorb by pressing an issue against the forehead. Each month, magazine-flippers can browse to their cranial cortex's content with the magazine's various informative sections. Find a scintillating seafood restaurant by turning to the dining section, or check out the wardrobe wonderness of the shopping section. The magazine can even provide friendship to homesick airplane passengers during the 28-hour-around-the-world flight from Fresno to Las Vegas.
When 20-year climbing veteran Zeke Federman started a rock-climbing guide service, he needed to situate its headquarters someplace that was more than simply rocky. The spot he settled on falls squarely in Joshua Tree National Park—an area boasting a varied landscape and steady climate that is friendly to year-round mountaineering and offers challenging routes to both beginners and experienced climbers with their own pet mountain goats. Zeke's climbing academy, Joshua Tree Guides, sets its students loose on guided excursions across the region's higher-altitude cliffs. His staff of Professional Climbing Guides Institute–trained guides has won points with clients for combining an easygoing demeanor with a serious attentiveness to safety and the needs of beginners to go slowly. In addition to small groups, the company has also guided successful climbing outings for large corporations such as Google and Frito-Lay.
In the early 1990s, 14-year-old Chris Casado embarked on a hiking trip led by his former fifth-grade teacher, Mike Murphy. This wasn’t just an overnight hike—the group undertook a 75-mile trek across the Sierra region’s mountains. Chris was hooked. Today, Chris has joined Mike as a partner in the expedition. Along with experienced guides Tim Fabbian and Brian Dawson, they continue to lead four expeditions along a similar path through the Sierra every year, limiting each to only 12 participants. The hike traverses the rocky landscapes of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, leading adventurers through pine forests, across wildflower fields, and crossing high creeks to make camp below granite cliffs and on the shores of lakes. The trip culminates in a climb to the peak of Mount Whitney, which lies at an altitude of more than 14,500 feet. On each excursion, guides keep their posse fed and supply all group gear such as tents, water purifiers, and grizzly-bear masks.
The next time you're on the roof of a five-story building, look down at the ground, and you'll get a rough idea of just how high people climb at Touchstone Climbing. The gym's seven locations feature lead walls that rise as high as 50 feet off the ground, though height isn't the only dimension that makes the space feel immense. Each spot has at least 11,000 square feet of climbing terrain, not to mention as much as 3,000 square feet of bouldering.
To prevent newcomers from feeling intimidated by the magnitude of the environment, the gym holds introductory classes. During these sessions, participants learn the basic techniques they'll need if they want to conquer the gym's crack systems and boulder problems. The classes are also an opportunity for students to scope out the terrain features at each location, such as Diablo Rock Gym's steep prow, which juts out crookedly like a thumbs up from a dizzy ballerina. While they're at it, the visitors might notice something else: the social nature of the gym. As the San Francisco Chronicle recounts, the fact that lead climbs require two people means that climbers are constantly asking around for new partners and chatting back and forth as they ascend.
Each location also boasts a weight room, cardio machines, and a studio space for everything from yoga to spinning to core classes.