August 2012 Sports Calendar
by Jonathan Zeller, 07/24/2012
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Great New Yorker Billy Joel—who has a nice Madison Square Garden résumé of his own—once said, "Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes." What we're trying to say is, cry for the loss of Jeremy Lin to Houston, but don’t be Linconsolable (sorry, we just had to get one more pun in there). Rest assured, there will be a tomorrow. Why, just check out all the fun events coming up in August. Say hello to the colorful vessels of the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, back for another year; a matchup between soccer superpowers AC Milan and Real Madrid, passing through the Bronx during their visit to the United States; and the world's best tennis players, in town for the US Open. The latter event also gives you an opportunity to bid adieu to the song of the summer ("Call Me Maybe"), as Carly Rae Jepsen performs during Arthur Ashe Kids' Day. Finally, let's not forget the Yankees and Red Bulls, who can solidify their playoff positions this month, and the Mets, who hope they won't be "Movin' Out" of the NL East race. Take heart—and peruse the rest of the month's sports highlights, below.
All month long; Yankee Stadium
Despite losing Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera to freak injuries, the Yankees came out of the second half of the season with the best record in baseball and a healthy lead over the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the AL East. Things are going well for the Bronx Bombers, and there's not much reason to expect anything less than an eleventy-billionth* playoff appearance from Granderson, Teixeira, Canó, Jeter and company. Plus, now they have Ichiro! The Red Sox visit August 17 to 19; grab bleacher seats to hear some very spirited commentary. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
[*Ed.: We haven't fact-checked this number, but it seems about right]
All month long; Citi Field
The Mets’ topsy-turvy season continues to take more surprising twists and turns than an R.A. Dickey knuckleball. After heading into the break feeling pretty good about themselves, they promptly dropped nearly every game in the first three series of the second half, hurt by a starting staff suddenly beset by injuries and erratic performances. Can the surprising lads from Queens stay within striking distance of a wild card long enough for general manager Sandy Alderson to find them some bullpen help? Stay tuned. For tickets, visit mets.com.
Cyclones and Staten Island Yankees Baseball
All month long; MCU Park and Richmond County Bank Ballpark
New York City’s minor league clubs are in the thick of their own pennant races, so head out to the park and cheer them on—especially nycgo.com's favorite minor-league baseball player, Brandon Nimmo. As far as promotions go, there's nothing on the ridiculousness scale of Williamsburg Night or Jurassic Ballpark—themes of previous events at MCU Park—but fun Cyclones promotions include giveaways of a Bobby Parnell T-shirt (August 21) and a 1904-style jersey (August 23). For Cyclones tickets, visit brooklyncyclones.com. For Staten Island Yankees tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
Rumble on the River
August 2, 7pm; Pier 84, Hudson River Park
This amateur Muay Thai kickboxing event pits some of New York's best fighters against one another, and admission is free. It's sure to be an exciting way to pass a summer night. For more info, visit hudsonriverpark.org.
Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival
August 4–5, 9am; Flushing Meadows–Corona Park
In addition to the athletes speeding their boats through Meadow Lake, this event features an array of entertainment to mark the fifth month of the lunar calendar. Past years have included kung fu demonstrations by the Shaolin Temple warrior monks; traditional music, dance and art from China, Mexico and Peru; and a diverse, delicious selection of international foods. Expect a similarly fun-filled, multicultural weekend this time around as well. Of course, the central happenings are still the dragon boat races themselves, during which more than 170 teams vie for trophies and cash prizes all weekend—piloting long, colorful vessels that are as delightful a spectacle as the competition itself.
EmblemHealth Bronx Tennis Open
August 5–12, Crotona Park
If you can't wait for the US Open to satisfy your tennis cravings, there's a great appetizer in the Bronx. This warm-up tournament features a number of female professional players who will soon participate in the main event, and you can watch them play here for free (except the finals on August 12, to which admission starts at a paltry—but still more than nada—$10). As an added bonus, the festivities also include free tennis lessons for children (August 6 to 11, from 5 to 7pm). For more information, visit emblemhealth.com.
AC Milan vs. Real Madrid
August 8, 8pm; Yankee Stadium
Prepare for a rumble in the Bronx between two of the world's winningest soccer teams: nine-time European champions Real Madrid and seven-time champs AC Milan. Madrid's roster includes star Cristiano Ronaldo, and Milan's owner is Silvio Berlusconi. For more info, visit yankees.com.
Red Bulls Soccer
August 10, 8pm; August 19, 7pm; Red Bull Arena
As of press time, the Red Bulls remain in the mix at the crowded top of the Eastern Conference table. August brings home matches against Houston (August 10) and Portland (August 19)—wins that would go a long way toward helping Thierry Henry and company keep pace with DC and Kansas City. For tickets, visit newyorkredbulls.com.
Ironman US Championship
August 11, 6:50am
"Has he lost his mind?" Just like Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath's legendary 1970 hit "Iron Man," you'll be asking that question of the competitors who, in this race, swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles—back-to-back-to-back. But no, they haven't lost any mental acuity at all (though water weight is a different story). Rather, these athletes have smashed the traditional boundaries of human stamina. Marvel at their achievements, or sign up through a charity and compete yourself (but, please, not if you haven't already started training). For more info, visit ironmanusachampionship.com.
Gotham Girls Roller Derby
August 11, 5pm; Abe Stark Rink
The competitors of Gotham Girls Roller Derby skate fast and hit hard. You may not know what a jammer, blocker and pivot are when you enter the gym, but longtime followers can tell you that it won't be long before these ladies turn you into a hard-core fan. And as if the action in the rink weren't enough, the event also features spirit-boosting "jeerleaders." For tickets, visit brownpapertickets.com.
Chile vs. Ecuador (Soccer)
August 15, 8pm; Citi Field
Lately, rumors have swirled that there could soon be an MLS team in Flushing, but soccer fans needn't wait to see their game in the neighborhood; the national teams from Chile and Ecuador are set to square off at the Mets' home, Citi Field. Ecuador helped draw a big crowd last summer when they tied Greece in the ballpark's first-ever soccer match, and their opponents figure to attract their fair share of support as well—the New York City area is home to a big Chilean population. For tickets, visit mets.com.
August 16 and 30; Prudential Center
It's been a rough season so far for the Liberty, but they're still within striking distance of a playoff spot as August begins. Here's hoping that the Olympic break leaves the Libs refreshed and ready to climb in the standings when they return to the court. If you haven't yet taken a trip to the Prudential Center to see New York's favorite WNBA squad play, now's as good a time as any. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
19th-Century Base Ball
August 18 and 25; Governors Island
Enjoy an afternoon of "base ball" the way you remember it from 150 years ago. Indeed, the contest between the wayback team Gotham BBC and their challengers should still be a grande olde tyme. They'll don vintage uniforms, play by 19th-century rules and eagerly await the invention of Cracker Jack. For more info, visit 1864gothams.com.
US Open Tennis Championships
August 27–September 9; USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
More than 650,000 people attended the US Open last year, and more than 53 million watched the event on TV, both to see great tennis and to be part of a sport that has produced icons—like the Williams sisters, Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova—who have ascended from mere sports stardom to full-blown celebrity. Most importantly, Carly Rae Jepsen ("Call Me Maybe," your favorite song) is playing at Arthur Ashe Kids' Day on August 25. Make sure to get your tickets early if you want good seats for prime matches. Visit usopen.org for said ducats.
NFL Back to Football Run
August 30, 6pm; Central Park
Celebrate the return of NFL football—including the Jets and Super Bowl–champion Giants—with races for adults and families (but, despite the gridiron theme, please don't tackle your opponents). For more info, and to register, visit nyrr.org.
All month long; various locations
Incredible athletes—including pros, future pros and NCAA standouts—hit the asphalt throughout the City all summer long for the fast-paced, hard-nosed, inimitable variation of hoops known as "streetball." These courts have seen the likes of Anthony Mason, Julius Erving and Kemba Walker—NYC streetball legend Ed "Booger" Smith even once appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, though he sadly never did reach the NBA. And if your budget can't sustain the cost of courtside seats for the Knicks, Nets or Liberty, you're in luck—it costs nothing to watch. For more info, check out our full streetball roundup.
September 5: Giants home opener vs. Dallas Cowboys, MetLife Stadium
September 9 : Jets home opener vs. Buffalo Bills, MetLife Stadium
October 2: Devils vs. Islanders (preseason), Barclays Center
November 1: Rangers home opener vs. Dallas Stars, Madison Square Garden
November 5: Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, John McEnroe and Patrick Rafter, Madison Square Garden