October 2011 Sports Calendar
by Jonathan Zeller, 09/28/2011
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New York City sports fans are in for a hard-hitting October. Gone are the comforting, tranquil events of the summer. The dignified pastime of tennis, when spectators must remain quiet between points? Replaced by the bloodthirsty wails of Giants and Jets football fans at the newly renamed MetLife Stadium. The relaxed pleasure of long afternoons at the ballpark, knowing that each baseball game is just one of 162 regular-season contests? Supplanted by the cold, hard reality that any playoff loss could send the City's beloved Yankees careening into the off-season. The Rangers take the ice this month, too, laying furious checks on rivals including the Toronto Maple Leafs, whose refusal to properly pluralize their name will doubtless be avenged thoroughly. And we haven't even mentioned the Gotham Girls Roller Derby finals (BAM!) or the championship boxing match at the Theater at Madison Square Garden (POW!). Want more details? Read all about these and the rest of the month's punishing sports highlights, below.
New York Yankees Playoffs
September 30, 8:37pm; October 2, 3:07pm; and October 6, 8:37pm (if necessary); additional dates TBD; Yankee Stadium
The Bronx Bombers embark on yet another postseason, aiming for their 28th World Series title. With an intimidating lineup that includes sluggers Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano, the odds look good that veterans Derek Jeter (he of the more than 3,000 hits) and Mariano Rivera (he of the record 600-plus saves) will add yet another ring to their collections. First things first, though: the Yanks must thwart ace pitcher Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers in the ALDS. For more info, visit yankees.com (or, let's be serious, stubhub.com).
NYC Mayor's Cup Cross-Country
October 1, 1pm; Van Cortlandt Park
During this race, 4,500 high school athletes chug along for 5 kilometers (that's 3.1 miles, Americans) in pursuit of the coveted distinction of Best in the City. Distance runners demonstrate considerable endurance, determination and (perhaps most of all) pain tolerance, and often don't get the recognition with which their football- and basketball-playing classmates are showered. Come out and show them some love. For more info, check the NYC Mayor's Cup Facebook page.
New York Road Runners Races
Norwegian Festival (Grete's Great Gallop/Norway Run/Troll Stroll): October 1, 8:15am; Central Park
Harry Murphy Cross Country 5K: October 2, 11:30am; Van Cortlandt Park
Staten Island Half-Marathon: October 9, 8:30am; starting at Richmond County Bank Ballpark
Kurt Steiner Cross Country 5K: October 16, 11:30am; Van Cortlandt Park
Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff: October 30, 8:30am; Central Park
This month's New York Road Runners events give local athletes of all ages the chance to stay in shape. Race distances start at 1.7 miles and go up to 13.1 miles for three half-marathons. Feel like hitting the asphalt? Visit nyrr.org for a full schedule of upcoming events and info on how to register.
New York Red Bulls Soccer
October 4 and 20, 8pm; Red Bull Arena
The Red Bulls wrap up their regular season this month, with hopes of reaching the playoffs. A protracted skid that left them winless during much of the summer nearly did in New York's side—but buoyed by a victory at FC Dallas, they enter the stretch run with a real chance at the postseason. The October 4 match against David Beckham, Landon Donovan and the LA Galaxy is already sold out, but there are still seats available for the October 20 tilt with the Philadelphia Union. For tickets, visit newyorkredbulls.com.
Gotham Girls Roller Derby
October 8, 8:30pm; Hunter College Sportsplex
October 29, 8:30pm; CCNY Nat Holman Gym
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." The October 29 match is the league championship, between the Brooklyn Bombshells and the Bronx Gridlock. For details, visit gothamgirlsrollerderby.com.
New York Giants Football
October 9, 16 and 30, 1pm; MetLife Stadium
Remember last month when we told you Osi Umenyiora would be back for the start of the season? Our bad. Knee surgery sidelined him for a while. But with the big guy now really back in the fold, the Giants' defense gets a welcome boost heading into a month when they'll play home games against Seattle (October 9), Buffalo (October 16) and Miami (October 30). The banged-up Big Blue better rack up wins now—November brings a challenging slate of games, mostly on the road. If you're thinking of going to a game, check out the Giants' full schedule.
United States vs. Ecuador (Soccer)
October 11, 7pm; Red Bull Arena
America's soccer team, led by new coach Jurgen Klinsmann, takes on Ecuador in its first-ever match at Red Bull Arena. It's just a friendly exhibition, but Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard and company (unfortunately, Landon Donovan is out with an injury) will seek to build cohesion and momentum for 2014 World Cup qualifying, which—believe it or not—they'll begin in June. For details, visit ussoccer.com.
New York Jets Football
October 17, 8:30pm; October 23, 1pm; MetLife Stadium
Mark "Mr. Handsome" Sanchez (we're going to make this nickname stick) and his dashing Jets teammates are sitting pretty at press time, off to a fast start. They hope to keep the momentum going in this month's home games against the Miami Dolphins (October 17) and the San Diego Chargers (October 23). For a full account of the Jets' game dates and opponents this season, check out their schedule.
Nonito Donaire vs. Omar Andrés Narváez (Boxing)
October 22, 7:30pm; Theater at Madison Square Garden
WBC/WBO bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire battles undefeated WBO super-flyweight champion Omar Andrés Narváez, who has moved up in weight class for the bout. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
Tour de Bronx
October 23, 9:30am; starting at Grand Concourse and E. 161st St.
The Tour de Bronx is not only the largest among Transportation Alternatives' popular Tours de Boroughs, it's also the biggest free bike ride in New York State. Participants pedal 25 or 40 miles depending on the route they choose, and, as with Transportation Alternatives' other big events, this is not a race—so there's no need to channel your inner Jan Ullrich. Just relax, keep pace with your fellow riders and enjoy some of the City's most scenic greenways. For more information, visit tourdebronx.org.
New York Rangers vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
October 27, 7pm; Madison Square Garden
New captain Ryan Callahan leads the Rangers as they face off with the Toronto Maple Leafs for their first home game of the 2011–2012 NHL season. The Blueshirts hope to build on last year's strong effort, which brought them back to the playoffs. The excitement of a new hockey campaign will be compounded by the unveiling of the new-look Madison Square Garden; the first phase of the legendary arena's renovation will be wrapped up by then. For more info, visit rangers.nhl.com.
All month long; Coffey Field, Lawrence A. Wien Stadium and Wagner College Stadium
New York City is not College Station, State College or Ann Arbor, but it is home to three lovable Division I (Football Championship Subdivision) football teams who will be in action throughout October. The Fordham Rams, in the midst of a brutal schedule composed overwhelmingly of road games, will play one home tilt at Coffey Field against the Lehigh Mountain Hawks (née Engineers) on October 15. Meanwhile, the Wagner Seahawks host contests against Georgetown (October 8) and Albany (October 29, the homecoming game). Finally, the Ivy League's Columbia Lions play Sacred Heart (October 8), Penn (October 15, their homecoming) and Yale (October 29), all at a stadium that Sports Illustrated called one of America's most beautiful places to watch a football game.