June 2011 Sports Calendar
by Jonathan Zeller, 05/18/2011
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This June, the New York City sports scene takes on a distinctly international flavor. Elite athletes from all over the world come to Icahn Stadium to compete in the Adidas Grand Prix, The Tour de Brooklyn brings a bit of French cycling tradition to Kings County (perhaps participants would like to carbo-load beforehand with a bagel from the borough's French-Canadian deli, Mile End; oh là là). The NYC Mayor's Cup gives high school athletes a chance to shine at cricket; long popular across much of the British Commonwealth, in recent years the sport has begun to take root in the United States. An extensive lineup of soccer events leading up to July's Major League Soccer All-Star Game brings teams from Greece, Ecuador and beyond to the five boroughs. And in the Maloof Money Cup, skilled skateboarders pull off such tricks as the Double Indy Nosebone and the Method Air Grab, terms that at least sound like they're in a foriegn language. And the aforementioned events are just the beginning when it comes to the wide world of NYC sports in June. Read on for even more picks.
Mets and Yankees Baseball
All month long; Citi Field and Yankee Stadium
New York's baseball clubs hit the meaty part of the season and try to establish pennant race position. At press time, the Yankees are locked in a tight AL East race with Tampa Bay, and their archenemies, the Red Sox, will be looking to claw their way back into the discussion when they visit Yankee Stadium June 7–9. The Mets, meanwhile, still hold out hope to gain some traction in the NL Wild Card hunt (it's a long season, and they do remain within striking distance). A few wins early in the month against the rival Braves June 3–5 certainly wouldn't hurt. To see your options for going out to a ballgame, check out the Yankees' and Mets' full schedules.
Red Bulls Soccer
June 4, 7:30pm; June 10, 8:30pm; Red Bull Arena
With the acquisition of midfielder Dwayne De Rosario—a two-time Major League Soccer (MLS) Cup MVP and one of the league's flashiest goal scorers—the Red Bulls have added another star to a formidable lineup that already included Thierry Henry. The team hopes to build some momentum heading into July's MLS All-Star Game (which pits Manchester United against the league's best players), a major showcase for their gorgeous stadium. For a full accounting of games taking place all season long, check the Red Bulls' schedule.
Maloof Money Cup
June 4–5, time TBA; skate park at Flushing Meadows–Corona Park
This is the Maloof Money Cup's fourth year—and the second time the professional skateboarding event has come to New York. We're pretty stoked that 48 top professional skaters will compete in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park for nearly half a million dollars in cash and prizes, but we're even more stoked about the skate course. Built by California Skateparks for last year's Maloof Money Cup (with a design inspired by the streets of NYC), it's used by skaters year-round. So if you're stirred by Geoff Rowley's moves, you (and the rest of the skating public) can try to imitate them yourself later on. Buy tickets at maloofmoneycup.com, or get them for free at giveaways throughout the City.
Tour de Brooklyn
June 5, check-in at 8am, ride starts at 9am; Prospect Heights High School
This 18-mile bike tour is much shorter than the French version, and there's another important difference—it's a friendly ride, not a race (as the organizers put it, the pace is "slow"). Participants stop in the middle of the tour for rest and refreshments at Canarsie Pier. For more information, and to register, visit tourdebrooklyn.org.
Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic
June 5, 2:30pm; Governors Island
This annual free-to-watch polo match draws a glamorous crowd to Governors Island. In 2009, that even included Prince Harry, who played in the game. Gates open at 11am; arrive early to soak in panoramic skyline views before watching the sport of kings. For more info, visit vcseason.com.
NYC Mayor's Cup Softball
June 5, 2pm; College of Staten Island
All-stars from the City's Public School Athletic League (PSAL) and Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) tangle on Staten Island—striving, of course, to be named "Best in the City." For more information, visit nycmayorscup.com.
Soccer: Ecuador vs. Greece
June 7, 8pm; Citi Field
The first-ever soccer match at Citi Field in Flushing should be a good one. Queens has the largest Ecuadoran population of any county in the United States, while Astoria has the largest number of Greeks outside Greece—so there's sure to be plenty of spirited support in the stands as two highly ranked squads go at it on the pitch. For more info, visit 507tixx.com.
Father’s Day Baseball Memorabilia Events
June 8 and 14 at Bergino Baseball Clubhouse
If your dad is a baseball nut, he may be interested in this month’s events at Bergino Baseball Clubhouse. On June 8, Shawn Murray—grandson of baseball photographer Bruce Murray, Sr.—comes to the shop in an event honoring his grandfather. Of course there will be pictures for sale. On the 14th, meanwhile, author Matthew Silverman discusses his book New York Mets: 50 Amazing Seasons (he’s a season early, but we forgive him). Even if you’re not in the market to buy collectibles, these events feature free refreshments—including, naturally, Cracker Jack.
Adidas Grand Prix
June 11, 1pm; Icahn Stadium
International track-and-field superstars Allyson Felix, Tyson Gay and a slew of other elite athletes compete for glory and prize money on Randalls Island on June 11. It's a day of professional events ranging from the 100-meter dash to the pole vault to our personal favorite, the steeplechase. Plus, some lucky youngsters will compete for the title of Fastest Kid in New York. For tickets, visit ticketalternative.com.
June 11, 6:30pm; Belmont Park
The final leg of horse racing's Triple Crown, and by far the area's biggest horse-racing event, takes place in Elmont (yes, that's Elmont, just east of Queens—not Belmont, the Bronx neighborhood), New York. The main attraction doesn't start until 6:30pm, but you can arrive before noon for a full day of races. For more information, visit belmontstakes.com.
New York Liberty Home Opener
June 11, 7pm; Prudential Center
NYC's WNBA team will spend the next three summers in Newark, NJ, as Madison Square Garden undergoes renovations. We say you should cross the Hudson River and check them out—the Prudential Center's just a short PATH train ride away from Herald Square or Lower Manhattan, and the Libs look poised to make a deep postseason run after finishing last season with a strong 22–12 record. The Indiana Fever comes to town for the home opener. Fans can also find the Liberty's full schedule here.
CONCACAF Gold Cup
June 13, 7pm, Red Bull Arena; June 18, 5pm, New Meadowlands Stadium
The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football brings some of its choicest Gold Cup matches to the New York City area as group B—Honduras, Guatemala, Jamaica and Grenada—plays a doubleheader at Red Bull Arena on June 13. Surviving teams from throughout the tournament (potentially including the United States) square off in quarterfinal matches at New Meadowlands Stadium on June 18. For more information and to buy tickets, visit goldcup.org.
NYC Mayor's Cup Baseball
June 17, 7pm; MCU Park
Some of the best baseball players from the Public School Athletic League (PSAL) and Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) square off in Coney Island for the coveted Mayor's Cup and municipal bragging rights. Arrive early and see some of the City's top talent swing for the fences during a hitting contest. For more info, visit nycmayorscup.com.
Staten Island Yankees Home Opener
June 17, 7pm; Richmond County Bank Ballpark
Richmond County Bank Ballpark is worth the trip just for the breathtaking views of New York Harbor and the skyline. Throw in that the Baby Bombers introduced New Yorkers to Robinson Cano and Chien-Ming Wang, that they're facing their crosstown rivals, the Brooklyn Cyclones, and that the team will put on a postgame fireworks display, and it's hard to imagine a better way to spend a Friday night. If you can't make it to this one, worry not—the Staten Island Yankees play all summer long.
Brooklyn Cyclones Home Opener
June 18, 6:30pm; MCU Park
On Saturday, the Verrazano-Narrows series moves across the strait to Brooklyn, where the Cyclones will attempt to defend their home turf against the Staten Island Yankees. Again, postgame fireworks will follow the action on the field. And, as with the Yankees, there's no need to fret if you can't make opening night—the Brooklyn Cyclones play a full slate through September. The team is famous for its fan-friendly promotions—for example, attendees are invited to take part in pregame, on-field catches before every Sunday home game this season.
Harlem Skyscraper Cycling Classic
June 19, noon; Marcus Garvey Park
Every Father's Day for 38 years, this race has encouraged bikers to speed around Marcus Garvey Park. Participants run the gamut from professionals who give their all for 50 miles to youngsters pedaling through their very first race on a much shorter course—it's a beloved tradition for New York sports fans, cyclists and the Harlem community. Register for amateur races on the day of the race. For more information, visit skyscraperclassic.com.
Showdown in Chinatown
June 22, 6pm; Sara D. Roosevelt Park
Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash joins a ragtag group of hoops stars and professional soccer players for an eight-a-side soccer game on the Lower East Side. Exhibition or not, the action on the pitch is competitive (and Nash can really play—watch for a sweet bicycle kick). The event is free to watch, and always draws a huge crowd. The Showdown also serves as the centerpiece for a number of related charity events benefiting underprivileged children. For more information on the event and surrounding festivities, visit stevenash.org.
June 23, 7pm; Prudential Center
NBA teams choose the best players leaving the college ranks in front of a rapt crowd of fans and basketball geeks. Coveted hoopsters this time around include Arizona forward Derrick Williams, Duke guard Kyrie Irving, BYU superhuman scoring machine (OK, technically, point guard) Jimmer Fredette and UConn guard Kemba Walker, who caught fire at The Garden during March's Big East Tournament and probably still hasn't cooled down. For more info, visit prucenter.com.
NYC Mayor's Cup Cricket
June 25, 10am; Spring Creek Park
New York City's best high school players compete to be named, yes, "Best in the City." Many New Yorkers may not be aware that NYC boasts high school cricket players, and those who have grown up without the game may not even know the rules (we'll be honest—it's not easy for us to follow)—so this presents a terrific opportunity to see skilled athletes compete and to learn more about one of the world's most popular sports. For more info, visit nycmayorscup.com.
Major League Soccer All-Star Game
July 27, 8:30pm; Red Bull Arena
No, it's not in June, but we're excited (and if you want tickets, you'd better start planning now). The MLS All-Stars take on Manchester United in the biggest NYC soccer event since Pelé played for the Cosmos. Last year's MLS roster included Landon Donovan, Brian Ching and Juan Pablo Angel, and Manchester United is one of the most famed franchises in all of sports—so it's fair to say that snagging one of the approximately 25,000 seats in Red Bull Arena will be tougher than sneaking a strike past Manchester goaltender Edwin van der Sar. Still, just as we hope the MLS All-Stars can score enough to secure the win, we hope you manage to find a way into the building. If you can't make it in person, you can still watch on ESPN2 or Galavision, or, in Canada, on TSN.