January 2013 Sports Calendar
by Jonathan Zeller, 12/18/2012
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As Mets partisans get used to the image of beloved ace R.A. Dickey in a Toronto Blue Jays uniform, New York City sports fans will enjoy a number of other, more pleasant novel sights in January 2013. For example: a bull-riding competition in Madison Square Garden and squash on a glass-walled court in the middle of Grand Central Terminal. Most unexpected of all, at least in the eyes of jaded fans who doubted the team's veteran roster, is seeing the Knicks atop the Atlantic Division standings, with the Nets looking to knock them off their perch. On the other hand, given their team's penchant for high drama, Giants supporters shouldn't be surprised that Big Blue finds itself in a desperate fight for a playoff spot. Details about these and the rest of January's sporting events follow.
New York Giants Playoffs?
Dates and times TBA; MetLife Stadium
Despite a skid that's dropped them out of playoff position, Eli Manning and company could still reach the postseason, where they would try to defend their Super Bowl title (setting up for a three-peat in 2014 at their home stadium, or so we prematurely and irresponsibly speculate) and look to top last year's butt-touchdown in terms of entertainment value. We'll keep you posted with game dates, times and opponents as (or if) they become available. Update: unfortunately, despite a season-closing win over the Eagles, the Giants missed the playoffs. Wait 'til next year!
Photo: Laura Miller
Professional Bull Riders Monster Energy Invitational
January 4–5, 8pm; January 6, 1pm; Madison Square Garden
While a bull-riding competition in New York City might seem as incongruous as a kosher deli in Alabama, this Pro Bull Riders (PBR) showdown has quickly become one of the City's most anticipated annual sporting events. The action is fast and tough, and involves trying to hold on to a one-ton bucking bull for eight seconds. For details on how pro bull riding works—as told by one of the sport's greats, Ty Murray—check out our article from 2010's PBR Madison Square Garden Invitational. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions Squash. Photo: squashpix.com
J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions Squash
January 18–24; Grand Central Terminal
This event, held at a gorgeous glass-walled squash court in the middle of Grand Central Terminal, could attract more than a few new fans who might mistake it for the railroad depot's similarly sleek Apple Store. It's free to watch the games through the front wall (though spectators can also buy premium seating right up against the court), and the action moves at a blistering pace as players fling themselves back and forth and sometimes onto the playing surface. Their ruthless jostling for position might remind commuters of their own daily routine, and the matches could draw more foot traffic than the iPhone emporium itself. For tickets, visit tocsquash.com.
World Championship Boxing Tripleheader
January 19, 6pm; The Theater at Madison Square Garden
The Theater at Madison Square Garden hosts three title bouts: Roman Martinez vs. Juan Carlos Burgos, for the WBO Junior Lightweight title; Gennady Golovkin vs. Gabriel Rosado, for the WBA/IBO Middleweight championship; and Mikey Garcia vs. Orlando Salido, for the WBO Featherweight crown. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins and more
January 20, 7pm; Madison Square Garden
With the long lockout behind them and part of the NHL season salvaged, the Rangers are set for a return to the Madison Square Garden ice January 20, when they'll face off with Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Led by skilled, dapper goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, the Blueshirts know it's better late than never to start the drive toward what they hope will be their first Stanley Cup campaign since 1994. For tickets to this and other Rangers home games, visit ticketmaster.com or stubhub.com. Also note that way out in Nassau County, Long Island, the Islanders—who plan on moving to Brooklyn in 2015—start their season January 19 against the Devils.
"East River Rumble," Round Four: New York Knicks vs. Brooklyn Nets and More
January 21, 3:30pm; Madison Square Garden
So this Knicks vs. Nets "rivalry" seems to stand a chance of turning into a rivalry, sans quotation marks, pretty fast. It hasn't hurt that the teams are both good (the Knicks, as of press time, almost shockingly so), have played close games (including one that went to overtime and another settled by a late Jason Kidd three-pointer), and have faced each other a lot early in the season—so much, in fact, that this is their last matchup of 2013…unless, of course, they meet in the playoffs. (And, yes, we're taking this opportunity to name the series.) If you can't make this game, don’t despair; the Knicks have plenty of other matchups throughout the month. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.|
Winter Jam NYC
January 26, 11am; Central Park (Bandshell Area)
Thanks to the NYC Parks Department, the Olympic Regional Development Authority and Gore Mountain, whose reps will blow snow into Central Park for the event, the Bandshell area will be the setting for such cold-weather outdoor fun as snowboarding, snowshoeing, animal tracking, cross-country skiing, and, seriously, Quidditch (the made-up sport from Harry Potter)—all for free! Those with dogs can also let their pets roam in an off-leash play area. For more information, visit nyc.gov/parks.
NYC Mayor's Cup Wrestling Championships
January 26–27; 369 Harlem Armory Center
High school wrestlers grapple for the privilege of calling themselves "The Best in the City" in the 2013 kickoff of NYC & Company's scholastic sports series. For more info, visit the event's Facebook page.
Manhattan Half Marathon. Courtesy, New York Road Runners
January 27, 8am; Central Park
Looking to increase your stamina with a longer road race, but not ready to hit the pavement for 26.2 miles? The Manhattan Half-Marathon is a step up from a 5K or 10K, but not quite as intimidating as a full-blown marathon (still, be warned: the course is hilly). For more info, visit nyrr.org.
Deron Williams of the Brooklyn Nets. Photo: Adam Pantozzi
Brooklyn Nets vs. Miami Heat and More
January 30, 8pm; Barclays Center
Last season a visit from LeBron James and the Heat was one of very few occasions that could bring some excitement to a Nets home game. A move to Brooklyn, snazzy black-and-white jerseys and improved play have changed that, but it's safe to say that the reigning MVP and his merry band of champions will put an extra charge into the Barclays Center crowd when they descend on Flatbush Avenue. The Nets also play several LeBron-less teams throughout January. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
Various dates and times; citywide
January brings the heart of conference season in NCAA basketball, and fans are in for some real doozies in all five boroughs this month.
Columbia opens its Ivy League home slate against Cornell on January 26; Fordham welcomes Atlantic 10 opponents; LIU–Brooklyn and St. Francis (NY) square off on January 25; Manhattan faces a variety of MAAC foes in the Bronx; St. John's takes on Notre Dame at Madison Square Garden on January 15 (the team will also play in Queens at the end of the month); and Staten Island–based Wagner shoots for a strong start in Northeast Conference play.
Basketball nerds may also be intrigued by some Division III action: on January 31, Farmingdale State—led by 7'2" center and NBA prospect A.J. Matthews—visits the Polytechnic Institute of NYU in Brooklyn. Before that, the New York University [Fightin'] Violets begin their home conference schedule with a Friday-night game on January 11.
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
March 16: New York Red Bulls home opener, Red Bull Arena
March 17: Metropolitan Lacrosse Classic, Citi Field
April 1: New York Mets home opener, Citi Field
April 1: New York Yankees home opener, Yankee Stadium
June 17: Staten Island Yankees home opener, Richmond County Bank Ballpark
June 18: Brooklyn Cyclones home opener, MCU Park