December 2012 Sports Calendar
by Jonathan Zeller, 11/19/2012
- more in nyc sports/
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The holiday season often means getting together with friends and family you haven't seen in awhile—including some with whom the reunion may be a bit awkward. It just so happens that the same kind of thing is going on in New York City sports in December. Take, for example, the Knicks, who welcome coach Mike D'Antoni and point guard Jeremy Lin back into their home for games against, respectively, the Lakers and Rockets, and then visit the new neighbors, the Nets, at their shiny new digs in Brooklyn. There's plenty of fighting during the holidays, too, with bouts pitting Miguel Cotto against Austin Trout and officers of the NYPD against FDNY firefighters. Fans of the Jets, meanwhile, are wishing for nothing short of a Christmas miracle to climb in the standings after a very rough start, while Giants backers hope their squad has enough left in the tank to stay atop the NFC East and place another playoff appearance under the tree. To unwrap more details about these and the rest of the month's sports highlights, read on.
Miguel Cotto vs. Austin Trout (Boxing)
December 1, 5:45pm; Madison Square Garden
Austin "No Doubt" Trout defends his WBA Super Welterweight title against Miguel Cotto, who's had some memorable moments in the City—winning title contests at Madison Square Garden and Yankee Stadium. For more info, visit thegarden.com.
New York Jets Football
December 2, 1pm; December 23, 8:20pm; MetLife Stadium
ESPN couldn't have imagined anything better than a 3-6 Jets team with Tim Tebow waiting in the wings to take over starting quarterback duties from Mark "Mr. Handsome" Sanchez, but so far Rex Ryan is sticking with his guy, believing that he gives Gang Green the best chance to win. Most of the locker room seems to agree—so, for the time being, it's Sanchez's job to lead them out of the woods. So far, so good; he led the Jets to a victory over the Rams, bringing them to 4-6 and leaving some slim hope of salvaging the season. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
Battle of the Badges: NYPD vs. FDNY (Boxing)
December 8, 8pm; The Theater at Madison Square Garden
This event pits New York's Finest against New York's Bravest in a series of slugfests. Who will win when NYPD gets pugilistic and FDNY fights more than fire? As is the case with their lifesaving work, the answer must be the public at large—it's sure to be an entertaining evening. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
New York Giants Football
December 9, 4:25pm; December 30, 1pm; MetLife Stadium
The Giants hit a bit of a speed bump in November losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals, but don't worry about them too much. At this point, Eli Manning and company's blueprint for a successful season revolves around sneaking into the playoffs, even by the narrowest of margins, and making a run from there. Of course, at least a couple of wins in December might help put that plan in motion. The game on the 30th is against the division-rival Philadelphia Eagles. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
Brooklyn Nets vs. New York Knicks and More
December 11, 7pm; and all month long; Barclays Center
The Nets, having spent a long time building a new brand (hello, tons of black-and-white merch and less-cuddly mascot BrooklyKnight; see you later, Sly), are also off to a solid start when it comes to actual basketball. December 11 marks the second time they'll host their cross-river nemesis. The mix of Knicks and Nets fans ought to make for a fun atmosphere. For tickets to these and other December games, visit ticketmaster.com. For the Knicks contest, you might also want to check out stubhub.com.
Major League Dreidel Spin the Dreidel Tournament
December 13, 8pm; Full Circle Bar
It might be surprising to see the words "major league" modify a seemingly noncompetitive staple of Jewish childhood, but that's far from the only incongruous aspect of this Brooklyn shindig—the celebration also features Hanukkah-themed metal songs. Plus, the version of dreidel that "major leaguers" play doesn't have much to do with the traditional game; instead of having the tops' Hebrew letters determine who wins gelt (gold-foil-wrapped chocolate coins), players at this year's tournament will compete at something called "target tops," billed as "dreidel meets cornhole and shuffleboard." In past years, they vied to see who could keep a dreidel spinning the longest in a so-called Spinagogue (a miniature stadium for spinning). For more info, watch this commercial from the event's creators, which features brash, anthropomorphized dreidels, and visit brewskeeball.com.
New York Knicks vs. Los Angeles Lakers (with Mike D'Antoni), Houston Rockets (with Jeremy Lin) and More
December 13, 8pm; December 17, 7:30pm; and all month long; Madison Square Garden
It wasn't even a year ago that New York City was gripped by the phenomenon known as "Linsanity." In the midst of that ecstasy, it was hard to imagine that the team's head coach at the time, Mike D'Antoni, and their new star point guard, Jeremy Lin, would appear as Garden visitors in December 2012. But here we are! Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks were the NBA's last remaining undefeated team this season, so they're looking strong as they prepare to host D'Antoni's star-filled Lakers squad and Lin's up-and-coming Rockets, who also feature scoring machine James Harden. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
Grapple at the Garden (College Wrestling)
December 16, 10:30am; Madison Square Garden
Those who enjoy old-school wrestling—which emphasizes hard work and good technique rather than over-the-top story lines, and where breaking a chair on the mat would most likely result in disqualification—have an option in the Grapple at the Garden, the first-ever college wrestling event at MSG. Powerhouse NCAA teams attending the meet include Ohio State, Cornell, Hofstra and Iowa, among a dozen more. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
WWE Presents TLC: Tables Ladders and Chairs
WWE Wrestling Raw Holiday Tour
December 16, 7:30pm; Barclays Center
December 27, 7:30pm; Madison Square Garden
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has become one of America's most popular and enduring pastimes, hooking generations of viewers through an in-your-face mixture of athleticism and theatricality. December brings two WWE performances to NYC, one in Brooklyn and one in Manhattan. (Visit ticketmaster.com for tickets to the shows at Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden.) And, oh, by the way, have you heard about WrestleMania hitting the New York City area in 2013?
"Rivals for Relief" Hockey Game
December 22, 7:30pm; Madison Square Garden
The NHL lockout is dragging on, but some former Rangers and Islanders are nevertheless set to take the Madison Square Garden ice. Patrick Flatley (Islanders) and Rod Gilbert (Rangers) are among those scheduled to skate alongside the NYPD and FDNY hockey teams in this Saturday-night game. MSG's website says that some of the money from ticket sales will go to the Red Cross and the Stan Lee Foundation. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
December 29, 3:15pm; Yankee Stadium
It's a rumble in the Bronx as the Syracuse Orange and the West Virginia Mountaineers square off for postseason glory (and the George M. Steinbrenner Trophy) at Yankee Stadium. For more info, visit pinstripebowl.com. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
Emerald Nuts Midnight Run
December 31, 11:45pm; Central Park
Get a head start on your New Year's resolutions. While many folks are eating, drinking and reveling to extremes that may have them feeling guilty the next day, you can begin running four miles the moment the clock strikes midnight. Whenever you finish, savor the satisfaction of knowing that, so far, you've exercised every day in 2013. For more info, visit nyrr.org.
There's also a New Year's Eve 5K in Prospect Park. For more on that one, visit nycruns.com.
All month long; citywide
NCAA hoops season gets going in earnest during December. Highlights include tournaments on the Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center hardwoods, notably the woman's Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden on December 9; the Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival, featuring Michigan and West Virginia, among others, on December 15 at Barclays Center; and Syracuse vs. Temple on December 22 at MSG. All the locals are in action on campus, too. Check out the individual schedules for Columbia, Fordham, LIU, Manhattan, NYU, St. Francis, St. John's and Wagner, and visit our college basketball roundup for details.
January 4–6: Pro Bull Riders, Madison Square Garden
January 18–24: JP Morgan Tournament of Champions Squash, Grand Central Terminal
February 11–12: Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, Madison Square Garden
February 16: Millrose Games, New Balance Track & Field Center
March 12–16: Big East Men's Basketball Tournament, Madison Square Garden
March 14–17: Atlantic 10 Men's Basketball Tournament, Barclays Center