The San Jose Giants, a minor-league Class-A Advanced California League baseball team and an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, have been central to the city’s slice of our national pastime for the past 60 years. Still basking in the 108-stitched glow of their 2009 victory in the California League championship, the Giants look to stomp through another winning season, with former major-leaguer Brian Harper at the managerial helm. Cheer on the Giants as they gnaw on healthy bubble gum instead of troublesome tobaccy while bunting, batting, and base-stealing their way to diamond glory. This Groupon is good for regular-season or playoff games, so fans can show up for any of the August and September bouts or hitch their star to the fair-weather bandwagon come post-season time.
Since 1960, the city of Modesto has been the minor league home to six different big league franchises including the New York Yankees, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Oakland Athletics. But despite all the bouncing around, the Nuts have consistently won, and have captured five California League championships over the years. Now affiliated with the Colorado Rockies, the team is still looking for its first title under the Nuts moniker, which it officially adopted in 2005 as a nod to the region's farming products and any fans who try to catch foul balls in their mouths.
Though they operate more than 200 locations in upwards of 30 states, the team behind U.S. Baseball Academy aims to make each young athlete's experience a personal one. Their four- or six-week camps are taught by local instructors who are current or former coaches at the high school or college level, and typically offer a 6:1 or better player-to-teacher ratio for intense, professional-style training. The Academy's proven itinerary of hitting, pitching, fielding, and baserunning drills was developed by an advisory board of college coaches and Major League players, including Cy Young Award–winner and ace pitcher Brandon Webb.
The Stockton Ports, a class-A minor-league affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, slug spheres and cater to the cheers of hometown spectators at the storied [Banner Island Ballpark]. MVP seats afford a player’s-eye view of the base-spangled diamond from box seats directly behind home plate and extending toward both team benches. Ballgame enthusiasts can immerse themselves in the game while following the emerging talent of future big-league stars—the team’s 70-year history has witnessed the launch of numerous major-league careers, such as those of Ben Sheets, Trevor Cahill, and Stomper the elephant.
World Events teaches the fundamentals of baseball, flag football, basketball, and other sports to children ages 4–17 with its series of NFL-, MLB-, NBA- and WNBA-affiliated clinics, leagues, and camps. The noncompetitive Rookie League baseball league teaches children how to catch, throw, zip between bases, hit pitches from a strike-throwing machine, stand in the most flattering light for baseball-card photos, and more, and younger players can practice the same skills in T-ball lessons. Flag football and basketball leagues for boys and girls focus on speed, agility, and strategy, with occasional dodgeball sessions and punting or shooting competitions. Each flag football, basketball, and baseball team plays six to eight regular-season games (starting at $65/team membership). Students spend full days training in baseball, football, basketball, and more ($140/week) during the one-week summertime camps. World Events also proffers dance classes ($45/month) and martial-arts instruction for kids tired of hearing their dad follow them around acting as a sports announcer (starting at $45/month).
Unfortunately, when it comes to getting fit, hard work is not enough. To reach their fitness goals, athletes need to know what kind of workouts will help them shed pounds or build up the bulky muscles needed to fill out a gorilla suit. Knowing this, Velocity Sports Performance’s crew of certified trainers leads clients through personalized workouts inside a sprawling 18,000 square-foot facility. There, they show guests how to master balance boards, power lift, and perform parachute sprints on Astroturf, depending on their agenda. Athletes with similar ambitions can be taught in group sessions including speed camp for kids aged 9–18, boot camp classes just for the ladies, and workouts designed for pros such as Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller.