June 2012 Sports Calendar
by Jonathan Zeller, 05/22/2012
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Yes, the Olympics are slated to start in London this July. But all that glitters is not gold medals. (For one thing, the Rangers think a Stanley Cup is much shinier.) In June, a whole month early, New York City is getting a jump on the action with a slew of international sporting events. Track-and-field athletes like David Rudisha, Carmelita Jeter and Kelly-Ann Baptiste are headed to Randall's Island for the Adidas Grand Prix, while the Brazilian and Argentinian soccer teams are set to square off at MetLife Stadium (with rosters that have much more star power than their young Olympic analogues). Plus, the City's teeming with sports that the Olympics have excluded. Baseball? Not in London, but the Mets, Yankees, Cyclones, Staten Island Yankees and the old pros and up-and-comers of La Caribe League are all swinging the lumber in NYC in June. Roller Derby? No one's putting laurels on their heads, but the Gotham Girls are in action at Hunter College. And, lest we forget, a monster truck rally—an event that is inexplicably omitted from the Olympics—will rock East Rutherford, NJ. For details about these and other June sports highlights, read on.
Rangers in the Stanley Cup Finals
Dates and times TBA; Madison Square Garden
As of press time, dapper Henrik Lundqvist and the Blueshirts are still battling the New Jersey Devils for the right to compete for the Stanley Cup (against the Twitterific LA Kings), but we have little doubt that they'll prevail. Then, they'll have a shot at their first NHL title since 1994. For tickets, go straight to StubHub.
Mets Baseball (Including the Subway Series)
All month long; Citi Field
Hey, the Mets will host the All-Star Game in 2012! Fun! And they're also still playing the 2012 season, during which they've had their ups (4–0 start, sweeping the Phillies on the road) and downs (at times, the entire bullpen, especially the performance of new signee Frank Francisco). Still, considering the expectations heading into this campaign, fans have to be happy with a squad that's hanging around the playoff race with David Wright batting around .400 (yowza!). In addition to starting the month against the defending-champion St. Louis Cardinals, the Mets host the Yankees from June 22 to 24. Wins in two out of three would make for some happy fans. For tickets, visit mlb.com.
Yankees Baseball (Including the Subway Series)
All month long; Yankee Stadium
Speaking of New York's American League team, Yankees fans may still be recovering after legendary closer Mariano Rivera went down for the season with a freak injury during batting practice. And, as of press time, the Bronx Bombers are hovering around .500. But things could get better in June, fast—the first half of the month brings series against divisional rivals the Tampa Bay Rays and a slate at Yankee Stadium against the Mets (June 8 to 10)—so the Yanks have opportunities to climb in the standings and secure bragging rights. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
All month long; Prudential Center
NYC's WNBA team is spending some time in Newark, NJ, as Madison Square Garden undergoes renovations. We recommend that you cross the Hudson River and check them out—the Prudential Center is just a PATH train ride away from Herald Square or Lower Manhattan, and the Libs, led by veteran Cappie Pondexter, hope that this is the year they bring home their first title. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
All month long; various locations
All summer long, incredible athletes—including pros, future pros and NCAA standouts—hit the asphalt throughout the City 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.
NYC Mayor's Cup Lacrosse All-Star Games
June 2, 11am; June 3, 1pm; Poly Prep (Middle/Upper School), Brooklyn
All-star high school lacrosse players from public, Catholic and independent schools compete for bragging rights and hardware. The spirited competition is sure to be fun to watch—and a great chance to see just how much the sport has grown in New York City. For more info, visit the official NYC Mayor's Cup Facebook page.
Tour de Brooklyn
June 3, 9am; starting at Commodore Barry Park
This 21.5-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. For more information and to register, visit tourdebrooklyn.org.
June 9, first post at 11:35am, Belmont Stakes at approximately 6:30pm; Belmont Park
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. And it's even bigger this year, as I'll Have Another attempts to become the first horse since Secretariat in 1973 to capture horse racing's Triple Crown. There's certain to be a massive crowd on hand, and fans all over the world will watch on TV. The main attraction doesn't start until a bit after 6:30pm, but you can arrive before noon for a full day of races. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
[Update: 6/8/2012] Unfortunately, I'll Have Another has been scratched from the Belmont Stakes. It should still be a fun day of races, though.
Adidas Grand Prix
June 9, 1pm; Icahn Stadium
International track-and-field stars David Rudisha, Carmelita Jeter, Kelly-Ann Baptiste and a slew of other elite athletes compete for glory and prize money on Randalls Island. It's a day of professional events, including the 100-meter dash, the pole vault and 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.
Soccer: Brazil vs. Argentina
June 9, 3pm; MetLife Stadium
After dispatching the US national team in a game here last season, the Brazilian side returns to MetLife Stadium for a match against Argentina. The game is being promoted as a "Clash of the Titans," and it's hard to argue with that notion. Brazil and Argentina are two of the world's most imposing soccer teams—Brazil has won a record five World Cups, and Argentina has won two. Their rivalry is among the most storied in sports, and they'll write another chapter with the NYC skyline as their backdrop. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
Also, on June 7, Red Bull arena will host an open practice by the Argentina team. For tickets, visit newyorkredbulls.com.
NYC Mayor's Cup Softball All-Star Game
June 10, 2pm; College of Staten Island
Top PSAL and CHSAA softball players compete for the right to call themselves the "Best in the City." For more info, visit the official NYC Mayor's Cup Facebook page.
Euro 2012: France vs. England Screening
June 11, noon; Official NYC Information Center
Our very own Official NYC Information Center hosts a screening of the Euro 2012 match between France and England. In addition to the action on the video wall, this event will provide ample soccer-related retail opportunities: NYC & Company member Upper 90 will be on hand with soccer gear for sale. The Red Bulls street team is slated to appear as well, and fans can purchase tickets to the upcoming Trophée des Champions match at Red Bull Arena. For more info, visit the official Upper 90 Facebook page.
NYC Mayor's Cup Baseball All-Star Game
June 15, 7pm; College of Staten Island
Much like their softball counterparts a few days earlier, baseball players from the PSAL and CHSAA take the field to prove that they are the most proficient in the five boroughs at their chosen sport. For more info, visit the official NYC Mayor's Cup Facebook page.
Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam Path of Destruction
June 16, 7pm; MetLife Stadium
Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! Wait a minute…this thing is on a Saturday? Well, we've been waiting for years to list a monster truck rally, and we're not going to let some pesky scheduling details get in the way of our lead. There will be races, a freestyle competition and gigantic trucks with names like Grave Digger, Maximum Destruction and Monster Mutts. It's sure to give you plenty to talk about the next morning (which is Sunday, Sunday, Sunday.) For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
Exciting update: New York City now has a clear rooting interest in an FDNY-branded monster truck, to be driven by Tom Meents (pictured above).
Gotham Girls Roller Derby: Manhattan Mayhem vs. Brooklyn Bombshells
June 16, 8pm; Hunter College Sportsplex
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.
Take Me Out to the Ball Game 1864!
June 17, 1pm; Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum
Is your dad more than 150 years old? If so, this event presents a terrific opportunity to treat him to an afternoon of "base ball" the way he remembers it from childhood. Otherwise, the contest between the New York Mutuals and the Mineola Washingtons should still be a grande olde tyme. They'll use uniforms, bats and balls from back in the sport's early days, play by 19th-century rules and eagerly await the invention of Cracker Jack. For more info, visit bpmm.org.
WWE No Way Out
June 17, 7:45pm; Izod Center
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. On June 17, some of TV wrestling's biggest personalities clash in East Rutherford. Come watch and get in the mood for WrestleMania, which will be held at MetLife Stadium in 2013. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
Brooklyn Cyclones vs. Staten Island Yankees
June 18, 7pm; MCU Park
June 19, 7pm; Richmond County Bank Ballpark
No offense to the Brooklyn Nets—we totally get the significance of the borough's first major league sports franchise since the Dodgers decided they preferred freeway congestion to convenient subway travel—but don't call them Brooklyn's first professional sports team since 1957; the Cyclones have been playing minor league baseball out at Coney Island since 2001. On June 18, they will host the Staten Island Yankees at MCU Park. The Baby Bombers return the favor the next day in their own home opener. For Cyclones tickets, visit brooklyncyclones.com. For Staten Island Yankees tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
NYC Mayor's Cup Cricket All-Star Games
June 23, 10am; Spring Creek Park
Cricket may not be familiar to some New Yorkers—what with its wickets, its bowlers and its creases—but the objective of this game is well-trod territory for those familiar with the NYC Mayor's Cup: top PSAL players battle to call themselves the "Best in the City." For more info, visit the official NYC Mayor's Cup Facebook page.
Red Bulls vs. DC United
June 24, 7pm; Red Bull Arena
Thierry Henry, Ryan Meara and the Red Bulls—in first place as of press time—host their rivals from the District of Columbia in their sole MLS home match of the month. The 2011 MLS MVP Dwayne De Rosario—briefly a Red Bull during part of last season—and his United teammates aren't too far behind the Red Bulls and hope to eat into their conference lead with a win in this one. For tickets, visit newyorkredbulls.com.
Showdown in Chinatown
June 27, 6:30pm; 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—look 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 related festivities, visit stevenash.org.
Kicking + Screening Film Festival
June 27–30. Tribeca Cinemas
Like film and European football? Head down to TriBeCa to see a slate of soccer-themed pictures including world premieres Rivals: Celtic vs. Rangers and 1:1 Theirry Henry, which follows the Red Bulls star during his transition to New York City and Major League Soccer. For tickets, visit kickingandscreening.com.
June 28, 7pm; Prudential Center
The Nets may have left for Brooklyn, but there's still NBA action in Newark: behold, men in suits! Kentucky's Anthony Davis, a shot-blocking machine with distinctive eyebrows, is virtually certain to be the first man in a suit to stride across that stage, and the Charlotte Bobcats have a one-in-five shot of being the team with the opportunity to pick him—although those aforementioned Brooklyn Nets do have a 7.5% chance, too (the lottery that determines the draft order is scheduled for May 30). The Knicks pick 48th. For tickets, visit prucenter.com.
Upcoming Summer Sporting Events:
July 4: Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest, Nathan's Famous
July 22: Chelsea vs. Paris Saint-Germain, Yankee Stadium
July 28: Trophée des Champions, Red Bull Arena (tdf-nyc.com)
July 31: Red Bulls vs. Tottenham Hotspur, Red Bull Arena
August 29–September 9: US Open Tennis, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
September 8: Syracuse vs. USC (football), MetLife Stadium