July 2012 Sports Calendar
by Jonathan Zeller, 06/19/2012
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In July, the space-time continuum may be out of whack when it comes to New York City sports. In the "space" category, NYC seems to have switched places with Europe, as Red Bull Arena hosts visitors from England's Premier League and a trophy match between Montpellier and Lyon of France. Yankee Stadium, for its part, brings a game between Chelsea and Paris. For chronological evidence that we've passed through a wormhole, just watch some 1864-style "base ball" at Governors Island, where games are free of that pesky infield-fly rule. Heck, the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4 has even moved its start time to 3pm in deference to a British monarch—harking back to the days before 1776. Of course, no matter where you are or when it is, some things never change; the Yankees and Red Sox still hate each other. For details about these and other July sports highlights (including, we assure you, reliable dates and times), read on.
All month long; Yankee Stadium
The Yankees are rolling again, finding themselves at the top of the AL East standings. Though no one will ever be Mariano Rivera, Rafael Soriano is doing his best impression (so far, he's 13-for-14 in save opportunities; the Yankees won anyway on the day he let the Mets come back from a late deficit). This month, the biggest series is unquestionably July 27 to 29 against the reviled Boston Red Sox. If you can get a seat in the bleachers, you're in for a few hours you'll never forget. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
All month long; Citi Field
The Mets' up-and-down season (which is a lot better than the down-and-further-down season naysayers predicted) has continued through June. Within a week, the Metropolitans went from the delirium of a Johan Santana no-hitter and a first-place tie to the indignity of a sweep at the hands of their crosstown rivals. Still, there's not much to complain about as New York's favorite National League club finds itself within striking distance of a playoff berth with division rivals the Phillies (July 3–5) and the Nationals (July 23–25) coming to town. Most importantly, you really need to go see R.A. Dickey—knuckleballer, Renaissance man, folk hero—pitch in person. It's an event every time he takes the mound. For tickets, visit mets.com.
Brooklyn Cyclones and Staten Island Yankees Baseball
All month long; MCU Park and Richmond County Bank Ballpark
Brooklyn and Staten Island aren't home to the big leaguers, but they host some of the most enjoyable baseball fun in the City. For the Cyclones, top 2011 Mets draft pick Brandon Nimmo will see some action in July, and promotions include a July 5 Williamsburg Night (discounts for bearded folk, and a chance to run the bases for anyone in skinny jeans) and Jurassic Ballpark on July 7, during which animatronic dinosaurs will roam the stands. The Staten Island Yankees, meanwhile, boast a ballpark with spectacular waterfront views. For Cyclones tickets, visit brooklyncyclones.com. For Staten Island Yankees tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
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.
La Caribe League Baseball
All month long; Crotona Park
On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, up-and-comers and former pros play spirited games that prove the Yankees aren't the only baseball team worth catching in the Bronx. Merengue music blasts between innings, and the players—largely of Dominican descent—produce blasts of their own at the plate as fans watch from the concrete bleachers.
New York Road Runners Races
All month long; various locations
Sports are not exclusively about watching other people compete and work up a sweat. You, too, can participate, and New York Road Runners offers a robust lineup of races in July if you're looking to hit the pavement, track or trail. Highlights include the Queens 10K in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park (July 1) and the Tuesday Night Speed Series at Icahn Stadium (July 10 and 24). For more info and to sign up, visit nyrr.org.
Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest
July 4, 3pm; Nathan's Famous
What does it say about America that among our most cherished Fourth of July traditions is a contest to see who can consume the greatest number of hot dogs in 10 minutes? What does it mean that adults have dedicated themselves to devising new strategies, stretching their stomachs and training—really training—to the point where they can eat more than 60? Cynical folks might say it proves we're gluttonous or frivolous, but we prefer to think it shows we have perfected the art of fun and don't take ourselves too seriously. If you're with us, we'll see you at Coney Island! For more info, visit nathansfamous.com.
Crif Dog Classic
July 4, 11am; Roberta's Pizza
Takeru Kobayashi, still embroiled in a contract dispute with Major League Eating, will scarf down dogs elsewhere in Brooklyn on July 4 while Joey Chestnut and company battle at Coney Island. Last year, he out-ate Chestnut from a distant location. Can he do it again? And just how hard will Wild Yaks (the Official Favorite Band of nycgo.com, circa 2010) rock? For more info, visit crifdogclassic.com.
July 8 and 13; Prudential Center
The Liberty got off to a rough start, dropping all of their games in May. June has been better, though—including a three-game winning streak over Indiana, Atlanta and Washington. Cappie Pondexter and company will look to climb in the standings during July with home games against San Antonio and Washington at the Prudential Center before the Olympics break. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
19th-Century Base Ball
July 14 and 28; Governors Island
Enjoy an afternoon of "base ball" the way you remember it from 150 years ago. Indeed, the contest between Gotham BBC and their challengers (Flemington Neshanock BBC on July 14 and Mutual BBC of New York on July 28) 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.
July 14–15, 21–22 and 28; various locations
Named for the famed New York Cosmos soccer franchise, Cosmos Copa is the kind of event that could only take place in a city as diverse as New York. It's a sort of mini World Cup featuring an "international" cast of teams with players from the five boroughs' many ethnic communities (for example, NYC Poland, NYC Haiti, NYC England and NYC USA). For more info and a full schedule, visit cosmoscopa.com.
Red Bulls Soccer
July 15, 18, 21 and 31; Red Bull Arena
As of press time, Thierry Henry and NYC's MLS side find themselves near the top of the tightly packed Eastern Conference table. In addition to three league games, the July 31 friendly looks like a good one as Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur visits. Having recently parted ways with manager Harry Redknapp, the British side is experiencing some turmoil, but will doubtless provide a worthy challenge for New York's 11. For tickets, visit newyorkredbulls.com.
Chelsea vs. Paris Saint-Germain
July 22, 7pm; Yankee Stadium
Two storied European soccer clubs—Chelsea of the English Premier League and Paris Saint-Germain of the French Ligue 1—are set to square off in the Bronx. Chelsea is coming off its big FA Cup win, and this is the first-ever soccer game at the new Yankee Stadium—so it's sure to be one of the hottest tickets of the summer. For more info, visit yankees.com.
Le Trophée des Champions
July 28, 3pm; Red Bull Arena
The best French professional soccer teams are set to fight for Le Trophée des Champions (the Champions Trophy) at Red Bull Arena. This annual game, dating back to 1949, pits the Ligue 1 champions against the winners of the Coupe de France—and this marks the first time it's been held in the New York City area. For tickets, visit newyorkredbulls.com.
August 4–5: Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, Flushing Meadows–Corona Park
August 8: AC Milan vs. Real Madrid, Yankee Stadium
August 29–September 9: US Open Tennis, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center