Hoodline Highlights: The Story Behind SF's Spiked Baseball Bat Scare

To close out 2016, we've asked our local neighborhood writers to choose their favorite stories from the past year, and to explain why they loved them so.

Today, we hear from former District 5 editor Nuala Sawyer:

The spiked baseball bats chained around San Francisco seemed to be a riddle that nobody could solve, and after hitting some walls with our own investigation we eventually shrugged and gave up. But lo and behold, six months later I got a tip in my inbox that the artist had revealed himself, was having a show two blocks from my house, and was willing to chat with me. The real story behind the spiked baseball bats was much more interesting than I could have anticipated, and it was fun to finally solve the mystery.

Below is an excerpt from the original story, published on May 27th, 2016.


Just after Thanksgiving last year, we noticed something strange: a large number of baseball bats with nails pounded through them had been chained to poles throughout San Francisco. Readers sent in numerous locations where they'd seen the bats, from the Upper Haight to the Marina to Fisherman's Wharf.

SFPD removed all of the bats, saying they could potentially be used as dangerous weapons. But the person or people behind their existence remained a mystery—until now. 

Hoodline tracked down the man responsible for creating and installing the bats around San Francisco: 44 of them in all. Artist Matthew Bajda told us that he designed them as a form of artistic expression, to examine the culture of fear in America. 

Click to continue reading Nuala's favorite story of 2016, "Revealed: The Story Behind The City's Spiked Baseball Bat Scare."

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Hoodline highlights the story behind the sf s spiked baseball bat scare