This New York summer of sports is anything but a bummer

We’re in the middle of a summer heatwave in New York, and we don’t mind the heat. We like to let the sun into a landscape that is all too often shrouded in darkness. Even the Icemen come from Madison Square Garden and into our hearts, Boys of Winter join Boys of Summer in the Bronx and Flushing.

Of course, even the worst of times are the best of times here as there is something for everyone – if not a star not to be missed, then an event not to be missed to pass by.

Rangers-Lightning (June 5)

Igor Shesterkin and the Rangers captivated the city when they faced the defending Stanley Cup champions in Game 3 of the Conference Finals. Will their cup runs be over or can they continue to shock the world? Isn’t that Giants head coach Brian Daboll and Giants general manager Joe Schoen cheering wildly?

Belmont Stakes (June 11)

There won’t be a Triple Crown winner, but the oldest of the Triple Crown events, with a capacity of 50,000 spectators in New York, will be unforgettable considering COVID-19 limited the gathering to 11,000 last year. Derby winner Rich Strike returns, but not as an 80-1 long shot. Never before in Triple Crown history has a horse won the Kentucky Derby, skipped the Preakness, and won the Belmont Stakes in a year that the Belmont was raced after the Derby. The Champion’s Test is a grueling 1 1/2 mile.

Rangers fans celebrate a goal in Game 2.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

NYCFC – Red Bulls (June 22, July 17, Sept 17)

The bitter rivals meet in the Hudson River Derby, which features two games at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ and a late summer game at Yankee Stadium. The fan bases can’t stand each other.

NBA Draft: (June 23)

The Knicks own the 11th pick at Barclays Center. Leon “The Sphinx” Rose would have plenty to talk about if he traded for combo guard Jaden Ivey. How about a sign-and-trade for unrestricted free agent Zach LaVine? Or a deal for Malcolm Brogdon? Or what if Rose made a splash and dished out the pick to land a third wheel alongside RJ Barrett and Julius Randle? Or maybe trade Randle? Or draft center Jalen Duran or center Mark Williams to replace Mitchell Robinson? Or solve the endless point guard problem, shouldn’t the Mavericks pay up and keep Jalen Brunson? The Nets would have picked 23rd, but postponed the 76ers’ unprotected first-round pick to 2023.

NBA Free Agency (July 1)

Will the Nets continue their flagging championship quest with controversial lightning rod Kyrie Irving having a $36.5 million player option? Bruce Brown and Andre Drummond will be unrestricted free agents, Nic Clayton will be a restricted free agent and Patty Mills has a $6.2 million player option. Robinson will be an unrestricted free agent. This will be Rose’s third season. Bing Bong! Remember when Randle triumphantly proclaimed: “We here.” You where?

Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving
NBAE via Getty Images

Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest (July 4th)

Joey “Jaws” Chestnut devoured a record 76 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes last year for his sixth straight mustard belt and 14th overall at Coney Island. Michelle Lesco won the women’s title (30 ³/₄ hot dogs).

Jacob deGrom Returns (TBD)

He pitched 85 on July 7th and appeared on his way to a third Cy Young Award…and hasn’t pitched since (stress reaction in his right shoulder blade). The race is on between deGrom and Max Scherzer (oblique) to return to the mound, likely in early July when Mice and Mets’ best plans are possible again.

Max Scherzer return (TBD)

He has his eyes – the blue right one and the brown left one – on a return in early July. Mets owner Steve Cohen has placed a three-year, $130 million bet on the three-time Cy Young winner.

Keith Hernandez number retired (July 9)

The 1986 World Series Champion, five-time All-Star and 11-time Gold Glove first baseman joins Tom Seaver (#41), Mike Piazza (#31), Jerry Koosman (#36), Gil Hodges (#14) and Casey Stengel (No. 37). They dubbed the Mets’ first captain “Mex,” and the old No. 17 has become a treasure at the SNY booth alongside red-headed teammates Ron Darling and Gary Cohen.

MLB All-Star Game (July 19)

The Dodgers will host the Midsummer Classic for the first time in 42 years after COVID-19 denied them the honor in 2020, and relocated New Yorkers will rave about the number of Yankees and Mets crowding the celebrations led by the AL MVP candidate Aaron Judge. Clay Holmes, now Aaron Boone’s closer, was a revelation and Nelson Cortes has emerged as Boone’s ace. Pete Alonso is still the polar bear, and Met’s closer Edwin Diaz has become everything former GM Brodie Van Wagenen thought he was. Jeff McNeil has had a convincing bounceback season. Many thanks to Will Ferrell for the shoulder dance. The popular Home Run Derby takes place on July 18th. Alonso proclaimed, “I think I’m the best power hitter on the planet” after repeating as champion last year.

Subway Series (July 26-27, August 22-23)

The Citi will be on fire when Judge comes to a game-within-a-game HR derby with Alonso in July. Then the Bronx will burn when Buck Showalter returns to Yankee Stadium as an enemy in August. And if we’re lucky, we’ll get the first Subway World Series since 2000.

Zach Wilson trains for the Jets
Bill Kostron

MLB Trade Deadline (July 28 – August 3)

What if deGrom or Scherzer or both suffer a setback, and who knows about Tylor Megill? Frankie Montas and Luis Castillo could be considered. If Brian Cashman is in the catcher’s market, the Cubs’ Willson Contreras, a pending free agent, could be up for grabs. Cashman bought Joey Gallo a year ago, but now he could be a salesman. The Post’s Jon Heyman reported that the Yankees are also eyeing Montas.

Yankees Classic Car Day (July 30)

Since the first in 1947, nobody has celebrated Classic Car Day quite like the Yankees.

Giants Training Camp (July)

Fans will be welcomed back to camp in East Rutherford, NJ for the first time since 2019, and they’ll be keeping their eyes peeled for first-round picks Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal, returning talent Kadarius Toney and Saquon Barkley and, of course, Daniel Jones. New head coach Brian Daboll is adept at building relationships and he will be a huge crowd favourite. Eli Manning will get a rousing ovation whenever he shows up.

Jets Training Camp (July)

A stronger Zach Wilson will be scrutinizing every shot from the faithful who will pack the stands in Florham Park, NJ, eager for a look at first-round picks CB Sauce Gardner, WR Garrett Wilson and DE Jermaine Johnson II and to throw at the runner-up. Round selection, RB Breece Hall. The faithful will be crossing their fingers that LT Mekhi Becton can return to his rookie form and DE Carl Lawson has mostly recovered from his Achilles tendon rupture.

Freedom (ongoing through August)

All summer long at the Barclays Center, watch Sabrina Ionescu, Natasha Howard and the best of the WNBA.

Paul O’Neill Day (21 August)

The Warrior’s No. 21 becomes the 23rd Yankees jersey retired and the first since Derek Jeter’s No. 2 was anchored at Monument Park in 2017. Apologies to Marv Albert: Yes!

Paul O’Neill
Robert Sabo

Mets Classic Car Day (August 27)

This is the club’s first Classic Car Day since 1994. More than 60 former Mets will join Pedro Martinez, Darryl Strawberry and Doc Gooden – including Mike Piazza, Johan Santana, Tim Teufel, Josh Thole, John Franco, Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling, Al Leiter, Ed Kranepool, Frank Thomas, Ron Swoboda, Jon Matlack, Felix Millan, Mookie Wilson, Howard Johnson, Bobby Ojeda, Robin Ventura, Turk Wendell, Endy Chavez, Cliff Floyd, Billy Wagner and Daniel Murphy – previously to a game at 19 Watch against the Rockies.

Giants Jets (August 28)

Sunday at 1 a.m. for the third and final preparation game. Without a scorecard, you can’t tell the players in these games. But the fans enjoy it. And will keep our fingers crossed that one of their key players doesn’t get injured.

US Open Tennis (August 29 – September 11)

Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, 19, has wowed tennis fans with his meteoric rise. Who wouldn’t want a 42-year-old Roger Federer to decide to return for a shot at his 21st Grand Slam title after dropping out last year due to knee surgery? Will Novak Djokovic be banned for not being vaccinated? Serena Williams, who retired from the Open last year due to a hamstring tear, has indicated she has no retirement plans and hopes to pursue her sixth US Open championship and first since 2014, less than a month after her 41st birthday. Can Rafael Nadal win his 22nd Grand Slam title? Danill Medvede won it last year. Emma Raducanu defends her women’s title, but Iga Swiatek has No. 1 in the rankings.

New York Sports Summer: Anything but a bummer. Especially this summer.

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