Since 1988, the San Jose Giants have teamed up with the San Francisco Giants to showcase up-and-coming baseball stars, 148 of who have gone on to play in the major leagues. Under the expert eyes of a keen coaching staff, the Class A-Advanced California League team has won 11 championships and in 2009 earned the John H. Johnson President's Trophy for most dynamic bubblegum blowing. The 2012 season kicks off in April, with a packed schedule pitting the team against fellow Minor League rivals as often as seven days a week. Groupon holders can fly solo at 10 games or bring up to four of their closest friends, family members, or life-size cardboard cutouts to one game. They also receive a bonus team photo featuring 2011 megastar Gary Brown, whose stats from last year include a .336 batting average, 115 runs scored, 14 home runs, 53 stolen bases, and a partridge batted out of a pear tree. Catcher Tommy Joseph sealed a .270 batting average, swatting 22 home runs out of the park and delivering 95 RBIs. Audiences root for the home game from seats in the historic Municipal Stadium, where the San Jose Giants have played for nearly 70 years.
The ClubHouse Training Schools help aspiring baseball players reach new athletic peaks under the tuition of seasoned coaches and MLB scouts. Well versed in the arts of hitting, pitching, and yelling for bags of peanuts, the instructors hone players' skills in a 17,000-square-foot training facility, which facilitates year-round practice with indoor batting cages and a full on-site gym with free weights and stationary bikes. A regimen of fitness and performance training helps athletes stay in shape on and off the field—sure to be an asset during the ClubHouse's fall high-school baseball league, when students put their skills to the test by pitching crumpled math homework.
The crack of the bat is an exhilarating sound, whether or not the batter is about to run the bases. At Triple Play U.S.A., players can hone their skills in cages that hurl baseballs or softballs at 25–80 miles per hour with more precision than a propped-up leaf-blower. Pitchers can also keep their arms conditioned in the center's pitching tunnel, but they’ll probably have to change up their throwing pattern on the center’s half-basketball court. While resting their arms, patrons can find snacks at the concession stand or catch up on the latest scores on one of two HDTVs.
Brothers Ben and Jon Campopiano didn't start their careers by just appearing out of a cornfield like Shoeless Joe Jackson does in every sports movie. Both Ben and Jon coached baseball at Northgate High School, where they led teams into the post-season and helped youth athletes hone their skills. Today, Ben works as the Director of Baseball Operations at Santa Clara University, and Jon serves as Northgate High School's Vice Principal. At Bronco Baseball Academy, they distill their years of expertise into weeklong camps for players aged 5–13 years. Along with their fellow baseball instructors, the brothers Campopiano lead drills and games that focus on all aspects of the game: throwing, catching, hitting, base running, and everything in between. They also work alongside a certified athletic trainer, who ensures players stay safe and healthy throughout each day of training.
The two soccer fields and batting cages housed inside the San Ramon Sports complex grant athletes of all ages ample space to take kicks and whacks at their sphere of choice. The rubber infill turf fields host year-round soccer leagues for adults and juniors and can also be used for lacrosse-team practices. The batting cages hurl both softball lobs and baseballs at 35–80 miles per hour, allowing batters ample space to practice firing off line drives or psychically altering pitch trajectory.
Cricket Strike Zone's four indoor practice lanes stretch across 6,240 square feet, providing batters ample elbow room to hone their cricket, baseball, and softball skills with friends and teammates. Each lane's expansive length allows ball-swatters plenty of space to enact hypothetical game scenarios, and ICC-regulated cricket nets on all sides forcefully apprehend wayward balls attempting to flee the area. Cricket players can swing the time away as a pair of Bola Professional automatic bowling machines imported from the UK dispense never-ending practice balls. Each lane rental also includes helmets and bats, allowing even the unequipped to safely practice their swings or engage in jousts upon their teammate's backs.
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.