Top Spin 

Serves 'em right

2/25-2/29

Ever wonder why Cal sports teams are so well-regarded? It's the coaching. Women's tennis coach Jan Brogan has spent 25 years guiding Cal teams to national recognition, and men's tennis coach Peter Wright has compiled a .603 record. The women are ranked Number 4 nationally; the men are Number 11. Both teams have a full home schedule this week, with the men going up against Utah (Wed.), Arizona (Thu.), and Arizona State (Fri.), all games at 1:30 p.m. The women play Oregon on Saturday, Stanford on Sunday, both games at 12 noon. Info: CalBears.ocsn.com -- Kelly Vance

3/13, 3/21

Arizona Dreams

Finally. It's time for MLB spring training

Once, baseball spring training was to whip home players into shape. But now the annual training sessions have become a place where fans are encouraged to stay out of shape. Today's filthy-rich athlete comes to camp already primed for action. He doesn't need six weeks of "training." But the tradition has not gone the way of the shortstop who did wintertime PR work for a car dealership to keep food on the table. It's a big-money business for communities that host exhibition games -- Phoenix and Scottsdale for the A's and Giants, respectively -- and the ball clubs whose coffers benefit from an extra thirty games of packed houses. Once the sole domain of graying snowbirds looking for something to do prior to the Early Bird Special, the grandstands of today's ST games are filled with vacationing families, shirtless dudes, and spring-breaking coeds looking for fun in the sun. The experience is as much about fish tacos and drinks with a hint of salt and lime as it is about rookie phenoms and grizzled pitchers working the kinks out. And we can hardly wait. For spring training ticket information for both the A's and Giants call 925-762-2277 or visit MLB.com -- A.J. Hayes

2/28, 2/29

Hike Now, Swim Later?

Los Vaqueros Reservoir , north of Livermore and above I-580 in eastern Alameda County, is a popular fishing spot, it seems. But a proposed expansion of the reservoir has environmentalists worried that too much of the 20,000-acre protected watershed recreation area around the reservoir will be submerged, at a net loss to hikers. Save Mount Diablo is sponsoring two nature hikes this weekend to draw attention to Los Vaqueros' wonders. On Saturday at 9:30 a.m., Mike Kelley leads a 4.5-mile hike and climb through Mariposa Canyon. Then on Sunday at 10 a.m., Seth Adams guides a flat, easy walk along trails in Adobe Valley. The idea is for hikers to glimpse the parts of Los Vaqueros that would be lost if the project comes to pass. Bring a lunch. Heavy rain cancels both events. To learn more: SaveMountDiablo.org -- Kelly Vance

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