Alyssa Nakken became the first female coach on a major league staff in baseball history Thursday when she was named an assistant under new Giants manager Gabe Kapler. Major League Baseball confirmed Nakken is the first woman coach in the majors. Nakken is a former softball standout at first base for Sacramento State who joined the club in 2014 as an intern in baseball operations. She and Mark Hallberg, who was also named as an assistant Thursday, will work to promote high performance along with a close-knit team atmosphere. Kapler, who expressed during the winter meetings that he would hire some coaches for nontraditional roles, said in a text message Nakken (nack-in) will be in uniform. The team said Nakken has been responsible for “developing, producing and directing a number of the organization’s health and wellness initiatives and events.” The NBA has several female assistant coaches. The NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, playing in this Sunday’s NFC championship game, have Katie Sowers as an offensive assistant. At Sacramento State from 2009-2012, Nakken was a three-time all-conference player and four-time Academic All American. She went on to earn a master’s degree in sport management from the University of San Francisco in 2015. “Alyssa and Mark are highly respected members of the organization and I’m delighted that they will now focus their talents on helping to build a winning culture in the clubhouse,” Kapler said. “In every organization, environment affects performance, and baseball clubhouses are no different. That’s why in addition to assisting the rest of the coaching staff on the field, Mark and Alyssa will focus on fostering a clubhouse culture that promotes high performance through, among other attributes, a deep sense of collaboration and team.”
Alyssa Nakken became the first female coach on a major league staff in baseball history Thursday when she was named an assistant under new Giants manager Gabe Kapler.
Major League Baseball confirmed Nakken is the first woman coach in the majors. Nakken is a former softball standout at first base for Sacramento State who joined the club in 2014 as an intern in baseball operations. She and Mark Hallberg, who was also named as an assistant Thursday, will work to promote high performance along with a close-knit team atmosphere.
Kapler, who expressed during the winter meetings that he would hire some coaches for nontraditional roles, said in a text message Nakken (nack-in) will be in uniform.
The team said Nakken has been responsible for “developing, producing and directing a number of the organization’s health and wellness initiatives and events.”
The NBA has several female assistant coaches. The NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, playing in this Sunday’s NFC championship game, have Katie Sowers as an offensive assistant.
At Sacramento State from 2009-2012, Nakken was a three-time all-conference player and four-time Academic All American. She went on to earn a master’s degree in sport management from the University of San Francisco in 2015.
“Alyssa and Mark are highly respected members of the organization and I’m delighted that they will now focus their talents on helping to build a winning culture in the clubhouse,” Kapler said. “In every organization, environment affects performance, and baseball clubhouses are no different. That’s why in addition to assisting the rest of the coaching staff on the field, Mark and Alyssa will focus on fostering a clubhouse culture that promotes high performance through, among other attributes, a deep sense of collaboration and team.”
Juul Labs Inc. announced Monday that it will stop supporting a ballot measure to overturn an anti-vaping law in San Francisco, effectively killing the campaign.
The largest U.S. maker of e-cigarettes said it will end its support for Proposition C after donating nearly $ 19 million US. It was virtually the only financial backer of the measure.
“Based on that news, we have made the decision not to continue on with the campaign,” Yes on C said in a statement.
However, the proposition will still appear on the November ballot.
Proposition C would have allowed the sale of vape products to adults, partially overturning the city’s June ordinance that as of next year would ban sales of e-cigarettes and vape products not reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The move was part of a broad review of company policies in the wake of a leadership shakeup.
“I am committed to seeing that Juul engages productively with all stakeholders, including regulators, policymakers and our customers,” newly appointed chief executive officer K.C. Crosthwaite said in a statement. “This decision does not change the fact that as a San Francisco-founded and headquartered company we remain committed to the city.”
However, Larry Tramutola, who directs the No on Prop C campaign, was skeptical, noting that about $ 7 million in Juul’s campaign donations remain unspent.
“This could very well be yet another of a series of lies and exaggerations from Juul and Big Tobacco,” he said in a statement.
“Until they return the $ 7 million unspent dollars that is in their political account, until they suspend their mail, their advertising, their paid phone calls and lay off their consultants we do not believe them.”
The move came as a 14th U.S. death linked to vaping was reported in Nebraska. Hundreds of people have suffered lung ailments tied to vaping, although no major e-cigarette company has been linked to them and many patients said they vaped products that included THC, the intoxicating chemical in marijuana.
Even so, critics contend that vaping products are being marketed to minors through the use of social media popular with teens and the production of candy- and fruit-flavoured vaping capsules.
Last month, India banned the sale and import of electronic cigarettes, warning of a vaping “epidemic” among young people and dashing plans of companies such as Juul and Philip Morris International to sell products in the country.
Juul had aimed to launch its e-cigarette in India in late 2019 and had hired several senior executives in recent months, Reuters has previously reported.
Washington announced Tuesday it is joining several other states in banning the sale of flavoured vaping products amid concern over the mysterious lung illness that has sickened hundreds of people and killed about a dozen across the country.
Michigan, New York and Rhode Island also recently banned flavoured vaping products. President Donald Trump has said that the federal government would act to prohibit thousands of flavours used in e-cigarettes because they appeal to underage users.
Juul has said it doesn’t market to young people, and its products are meant to be an alternative to smoking. However, the company’s advertising is under federal investigation, and the company recently announced it will stop advertising its e-cigarettes in the U.S.
E-cigarettes have been largely unregulated since arriving in the U.S. in 2007. The Food and Drug Administration has set next May as a deadline for manufacturers to submit their products for review.
Health experts generally consider e-cigarettes less harmful than traditional cigarettes, because they don’t contain all the cancer-causing byproducts of burning tobacco. But there’s virtually no long-term research on the health effects of the vapour produced when e-cigarettes heat a liquid with nicotine.
With files from Reuters
San Francisco will become the first major city in the United States to ban the sale of e-cigarettes as officials look to control the rapid uptick in teenage use of nicotine devices made by companies such as Juul Labs.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors — the equivalent of a city council — approved the ordinance on Tuesday, banning the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes until they have approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
States and cities across the United States have already moved to ban flavoured e-cigarettes and raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco products to 21, but San Francisco’s new approach is the most far-reaching yet.
No other major cities have proposed a similar hardline ban, though San Francisco’s move could lead others to consider it. In Canada, it is against the law to sell vaping products to individuals under 18 years old.
The city council in Beverly Hills, Calif., this month approved a ban on the sale of tobacco products beginning 2021, though it carved out exceptions for some cigar lounges and hotels. Juul, which is based in San Francisco and has grown to be the dominant e-cigarette maker in the United States, has been at the centre of the debate. As its sales soared over the last two years, so did its popularity among teenagers.
Federal data last year showed a 78 per cent increase in e-cigarette use among U.S. high schoolers, and state and local lawmakers have been grappling with how to regulate Juul and other similar products. Data in Canada suggests a similar trend.
San Francisco city attorney Dennis Herrera, who spearheaded the ordinance earlier this year, praised the move and said it was necessary because of what he called an “abdication of responsibility” by the FDA in regulating e-cigarettes.
E-cigarette makers originally faced a 2018 deadline to submit applications to the FDA to sell products, but the deadline was pushed back several years.
“This lack of clarity is causing tremendous confusion at the same time that a whole new generation of young people are getting addicted to nicotine,” Herrera told Reuters. “The explosion in youth use and the health risks to young people are undeniable.”
After Tuesday’s vote, Juul spokesman Ted Kwong said the ban “will drive former adult smokers who successfully switched to vapour products back to deadly cigarettes, deny the opportunity to switch for current adult smokers, and create a thriving black market instead of addressing the actual causes of underage access and use.”
FDA spokesman Michael Felberbaum declined to comment on the San Francisco ban, but said the agency is “committed to continuing to tackle the troubling epidemic of e-cigarette use among kids,” including limiting access to flavoured e-cigarettes and cracking down on companies and retailers who sell to minors.
E-cigarettes are generally thought to be safer than traditional cigarettes, which kill up to half of all lifetime users, according to the World Health Organization, but the long-term health effects of the nicotine devices remain largely unknown.
San Francisco city officials last year approved a ban on flavoured tobacco and e-cigarette liquids, a move upheld by voters.
Juul last month filed paperwork in San Francisco for another ballot measure that experts say would make the flavour ban and Tuesday’s e-cigarette ban unenforceable.
If approved, the measure would put in place regulations favoured by Juul, which the company says would “ensure that underage access and use is addressed comprehensively but adults aren’t driven back to cigarettes.”
The e-cigarette ban will go into effect early next year, according to the city attorney’s office, and will apply to both online and brick-and-mortar sales in San Francisco.
City officials also passed a separate ordinance prohibiting the manufacture and distribution of all tobacco products on city property.
When the legislation was first proposed in March, Herrera said the city needed to prohibit e-cigarette sales until the FDA formally authorized the products.
E-cigarettes have existed in a regulatory grey area for years. The FDA in 2016 gave e-cigarette makers two years to submit applications, a deadline the agency pushed back to 2022. Amid the surge in teenage use, the FDA in March moved up that deadline to 2021.
A separate court case from anti-tobacco groups may force the FDA to set an earlier deadline.
Juul, in which Marlboro maker Altria Group has a 35 per cent stake, has already pulled popular flavours such as mango and cucumber from retail store shelves and shut down its social media channels on Instagram and Facebook. Many flavoured Juul products are still sold in Canada.
The company has pledged to introduce technology that would better track underage use and hold retailers accountable for selling to minors.
SAN FRANCISCO — It was as much a competition as it was an exhibition.
The battles on the pitch at the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens were intense, but competitors immediately became cordial once the final whistle blew.
There appeared to be minimal animosity between rival fans in the crowd. Supporting multiple squads was commonplace, especially when everyone's second favourite team besides his or her home country was usually Fiji.
It's something that players and fans alike take pride in: you may beat the stuffing out of each other for 14 minutes, but you'll have a laugh and a chat about it afterwards. The in-game tackles are delivered with the same enthusiasm as post-match hugs, without a hint of irony.
"That's the great thing about our game," said Gareth Rees, the first Canadian player inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame who's working as a producer and commentator for the international broadcast at the tournament.
"To put it in a business term, I think it's a competitive advantage we have over other sports, that we are very linked from the very top of the game to the bottom of the game."
Most rugby fans would agree that there's no better way to spend a day than by watching the sport they love. But watching it is hardly a passive experience, especially live at a major tournament like the World Cup.
Diehard supporters are well-practised at having a good time – which does often involve a drink of some kind – but know how to pace themselves through a weekend's worth of action. New fans are immediately attracted to the Technicolor outfits in the crowd and the Netflix-like queue of quick games in front of them.
"Why the costumes?" is as frequent a question asked to rugby devotees as "why not pass it forward?" Jerseys and face paint are self-explanatory, while others getups require a bit of vexillology when a sea of baby blue erupts with every play by the black-and-white clad Fijian team (hint: Google the country's flag)
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RWC7s?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RWC7s</a> fun fact No. 4: Fiji fans travel well, seriously 🇫🇯<br><br>Countless baby blue flags here in San Francisco, and they’ve been waving nonstop throughout the quarter-final against Argentina<br><br>Watch live on <a href="https://twitter.com/cbcsports?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@cbcsports</a>: <a href="https://t.co/eBX0LYLzM5">https://t.co/eBX0LYLzM5</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cbcrugby?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#cbcrugby</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/rugbyunited?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#rugbyunited</a> <a href="https://t.co/BwjkTMNehM">pic.twitter.com/BwjkTMNehM</a>
And since the World Cup was in San Francisco, there were enough fans dressed as Alcatraz prisoners that you wouldn't be shocked if Sean Connery showed up to once again out-crazy Nicolas Cage.
Appreciating the moment
All of that could be written off as just "only at sevens," but the same expression also aptly describes a tournament where access to the athletes is as simple as mingling with them during the opening ceremony.
"That's way different than what you have with the 15s," said Canadian fan Marge Thompson, referring to the 15-a-side version of rugby union.
Even with those differences between the two versions of the sport, it's all still rugby for Tim Powers, the board of governors chairman for Rugby Canada.
"We don't want to let the code of the sport, be it sevens, 15s or league get in the way of a kid running around with the ball," he said, adding the 13-player version of the sport that has gained notoriety in Canada through the Toronto Wolfpack.
Growing the sport in Canada is part of the national union's mandate, and Powers referenced his 13-year-old niece who began playing rugby a year and a half ago as an example of the sport's potential.
"She plays with the boys, they play pick-up games, they play 10s, they play 15s, they play 7s, they run around with a ball in their hand and they're happy and there's lots of pathways for them to grow," Powers said.
There are unquestionably issues facing the sport both in Canada and abroad, and the World Cup isn't above reproach. The knockout-style formula is not popular among coaches, according to Canadian men's boss Damian McGrath, as rumours swirl that it might override the established pool-play setup on the World Rugby Sevens Series and at the Olympic Games.
Rugby sevens is like any other professional sport in that it's a business, but it's still young enough that sometimes it's not so bad to step back and soak in the moment.
"There's still that pressure to perform, just like when I was playing for Canada," Rees said.
"[But] we need to be appreciative, we need to just really value it."
San Francisco has been home to many quirky, forward-thinking technology startups over the years. There have been services that will fill your gas tank, mail you rolls of quarters, and even more ridiculous things. But delivery robots are just going too far — this is where the people of San Francisco draw the line. The city’s Board of Supervisors decided earlier this month to crack down on the delivery robots that have been taking over the city’s sidewalks, limiting where than can go and what they can do.
The robots, from startups like Marble and Starship, employ computer vision technology to cruise down the sidewalk. They can avoid stationary obstacles like mailboxes and light poles, as well as indecisive humans. This is a tough problem when you consider even two humans can sometimes weave back and forth as they approach, unable to decide who will go left and who will go right.
Under the new rules, delivery robots will be restricted to certain areas of the city — mostly industrial neighborhoods with few residents. The sidewalks also need to be at least 6-feet wide, and a human must accompany the robot at all times. The robots also need to emit a warning tone and observe all rights of way. Additionally, the robots can only be operated for research purposes, not to make real deliveries to customers.
These services are still largely experimental, so the changes might not be as detrimental as you’d expect. When someone orders an item or meal from one of the robot delivery services, the machine is loaded by a human and escorted by someone with a remote control. The goal is for the robot to use its array of sensors like cameras and lidar to navigate the crowd, but the chaperone is there in case it gets confused or is about to run someone down. On the street, a self-driving car has lanes and street signs to guide it, but sidewalks are a more open environment.
The lower cost of advanced sensors lets these startups send robots out into the real world with increasing regularity. It’s an interesting trend, but also one even San Francisco is unsure about. San Francisco Supervisor Norman Yee, who authored the legislation, is unconvinced delivery robots will improve the city. “Not every innovation is all that great for society,” said Yee.
It’s possible delivery robots will make a comeback in the Bay Area when the technology is more mature. These companies might also look to focus on testing in other cities with lighter traffic, much as Waymo has done with its self-driving cars in Arizona.
Jurors have found a Mexican man not guilty of murder in the killing of a woman on a San Francisco pier in a case that touched off a national immigration debate in the U.S.
The jury reached the verdict Thursday in Kate Steinle’s death.
Jose Ines Garcia Zarate had been deported five times and was wanted for a sixth deportation when Steinle was fatally shot in the back in 2015. Garcia Zarate didn’t deny shooting Steinle and said it was an accident.
Before the shooting, the San Francisco sheriff’s department had released him from jail despite a federal immigration request to detain him for deportation.
Its “sanctuary city” law limits co-operation with U.S. immigration authorities.
Donald Trump cited the case during his campaign for president in a bid to show the country needed tougher immigration policies.
In an escalating tit-for-tat, on Thursday the U.S. forced Russia to shutter its consulate in San Francisco and scale back its diplomatic presence in Washington and New York, as relations between the two former Cold War foes continued to unravel.
The Trump administration said the move constituted its response to the Kremlin’s “unwarranted and detrimental” decision to force the U.S. to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia. The U.S. gave Russia a mere 48 hours to close its San Francisco consulate, along with smaller Russian posts in Washington and New York.
“The United States is prepared to take further action as necessary and as warranted,” said State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert. Still, she said the U.S. hoped both countries could now move toward “improved relations” and “increased co-operation.”
Russia said it regretted the order and pointed the finger at the U.S. for starting the “escalation of tensions” between the nuclear-armed powers. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the Kremlin would return the volley by retaliating for the U.S. retaliation. The Russian Foreign Ministry said Moscow was studying the decision to determine its response.
U.S. ties to Russia have soured in recent years over deep disagreements about Ukraine, Syria and Russian hacking. To the surprise of those who anticipated that U.S. President Donald Trump’s election would reverse that trend, the feud has only worsened this year, even as investigators continue probing whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Moscow’s efforts to help him get elected.
In addition to its consulate, the Russians must close an official residence in San Francisco by Saturday. Though Russia can keep its New York consulate and Washington embassy, Russian trade missions housed in satellite offices in those two cities must shut down, said a senior Trump administration official. The official briefed reporters on a conference call on condition of anonymity.
The U.S. isn’t expelling any Russian officials, so those who work at the shuttered offices can be reassigned elsewhere in the U.S., the official said. One of the buildings is believed to be leased, but Russia will maintain ownership over the others, the official said, adding that it would be up to Moscow to determine whether to sell them or otherwise dispose of them.
Exchanging diplomatic broadsides
The forced closures were the latest in an intensifying exchange of diplomatic broadsides with origins in Washington’s opposition to Russia’s actions in Ukraine and its interference in the 2016 presidential election.
In December, former president Barack Obama kicked out dozens of Russian officials in the U.S., shuttered Russian recreational compounds in New York and Maryland, and sanctioned Russian individuals and entities. Russian President Vladimir Putin held off on any retaliation, and the next month, Trump took office, having campaigned on hopes of improving U.S.-Russia ties.
But earlier this month, Trump begrudgingly signed into law stepped-up sanctions on Russia that Congress passed in an attempt to prevent Trump from easing up on Moscow. The Kremlin quickly retaliated, announcing the U.S. must cut its own embassy and consulate staff down to 455.
Although Russia said 755 personnel would have to go to reach that number, Washington never confirmed how many diplomatic staff it had in Russia at the time. As of Thursday, the U.S. has complied with the order to reduce to 455, officials said.
That reduction also led the U.S. to temporarily suspend processing non-immigrant visas for Russians seeking to visit the U.S. Visa processing will resume soon, but at a “much-reduced rate” owing to fewer staff to process the visas, the official said. Earlier, the U.S. had said it would start processing visas only at the embassy in Moscow, meaning Russians could no longer apply for visas at the U.S. consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok.
‘Desire for parity’
Despite the exchange of penalties, there have been narrow signs of co-operation between the two countries that has transcended the worsening ties. In July, Trump and Putin signed off on a three-way deal with Jordan for a cease-fire in southwest Syria that the U.S. says has largely held intact.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson conveyed the decision to shutter the Russian posts to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in a Thursday phone call in which he also told Lavrov that the U.S. had complied with Moscow’s order to cut its diplomatic staff. Lower-level officials also spoke to their Russian counterparts in the U.S. about the details of the new U.S. order.
Given the reciprocal nature of the escalating tensions over the past year, it was likely the Kremlin would feel compelled to respond by taking further action against Washington. Nevertheless, the United States argued that the score has been evened.
U.S. officials pointed out that Russia, when it ordered the cut in U.S. diplomats, had argued it was merely bringing the size of the two countries’ diplomatic presences into “parity.” Both countries now maintain three consulates on each other’s territory and ostensibly have similar numbers of diplomats posted, though such numbers are difficult to independently verify.
“The United States hopes that, having moved toward the Russian Federation’s desire for parity, we can avoid further retaliatory actions by both sides,” Nauert said.