Big Rec continue to be San Francisco's premier amateur baseball venue, with a full time maintenance staff and

regular replacement of the infields. But as with all of Golden Gate Park, Big Rec is more them a single-use venue.

Discouraged from the fields, the area around the rim is a favorite areas for dogs and their owners.

Though seldom filled with spectators, the bleachers serve various uses.

The infields occasionally find use for radio controlled cars and boccie ball.

Today, it's not uncommon to see pick-up soccer, football, and Ultimate playing around the edges of baseball and

when baseball leaves, they swell to fill all of the outfield; as many as 125 players where 6 outfielders had stood.

Combining the damage of excess cleats and everpresent gophers, the turf at Big Rec is in crisis. Rodent damage is not new. A Park Commission report noted that in 1936 the fields were closed so that the WPA could scare the varments away. But the level of human use is. As enforcement is near impossible in these times of staff cutbacks, a compromise must be developed where those that must use this space share in it's protection. When the fields are wet and fragile, the effect of hundreds of cleated feet will soon break through the root system and 'blistering', or bare areas of dirt, will occur. Restoration at this point will require complete closure and reseeding and lots of time.

Having raised two sons there, I appreciate the pleasure of running and playing at Big Rec. We rolled down the hills when they were young, and progressed to frisbee and later baseball and soccer in this glorious space, and yes were chased off more then once. I don't want to return to the days when only baseball outfielders were allowed to set foot on this glorious space, and so I call for a policy which will give those using it most a stake in its protection.

Back to