July 6, 2022

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This New York sports summer is anything but a…

7 min read
This New York sports summer is anything but a...

We are in the midst of a New York sports summer heat wave, and we don’t mind the swelter. We will willingly let the sunshine in on a landscape too often shrouded in darkness. Even the icemen cometh out of Madison Square Garden and into our hearts, Boys of Winter joining Boys of Summer in The Bronx and in Flushing.

Of course, even in the worst of times it is the best of times around here, because there is something for everyone — if not a can’t-miss star to fawn over, then a can’t-miss event no one should want to pass up.

Rangers-Lightning (June 5)

Igor Shesterkin and the Rangers have captured the imagination of the city as they hit the road for Game 3 of the conference final against the defending Stanley Cup champions. Will their cup runneth be over, or can they keep shocking 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 in the oldest of the Triple Crown events, a capacity New York racing crowd of 50,000 will make it memorable 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 any year in which the Belmont was run after the Derby. The Test of the Champion is a grueling 1 ¹/₂-miles.

Rangers fans celebrate a goal during 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 with two games at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., and a late-summer match 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 could trade up 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 dealt the pick in an attempt 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 should the Mavericks fail to pay and keep Jalen Brunson? The Nets would have picked 23rd, but deferred the 76ers’ unprotected first-round pick until 2023.

NBA Free Agency (July 1)

Will the Nets continue their flagging championship quest with controversial lightning rod Kyrie Irving, who has 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 announced triumphantly: “We here.” You where?

Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving
NBAE via Getty Images

Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest (July 4)

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

Jacob deGrom Return (TBD)

He threw 85 pitches last July 7 and appeared on his way to a third Cy Young award … and has not thrown a pitch since (stress reaction in his right scapula). The race is on between deGrom and Max Scherzer (oblique) to return to the mound, probably in early July, when the best-laid plans of mice and Mets are once again possible.

Max Scherzer Return (TBD)

He has his eyes — the blue right one and the brown left one — focused on an early July return. Mets owner Steve Cohen has a three-year, $130 million bet riding 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 (No. 41), Mike Piazza (No. 31), Jerry Koosman (No. 36), Gil Hodges (No. 14), and Casey Stengel (No. 37). They called the Mets’ first Captain “Mex,” and old No. 17 has become a treasure in the SNY booth alongside ginger teammate Ron Darling and Gary Cohen.

MLB All-Star Game (July 19)

The Dodgers will be hosting the midsummer classic for the first time in 42 years, after COVID-19 denied them the honor in 2020, and transplanted New Yorkers will be gushing about the number of Yankees and Mets who populate the festivities, led by AL MVP candidate Aaron Judge. Clay Holmes, now Aaron Boone’s closer, has been a revelation, and Nelson Cortes has emerged as Boone’s ace. Pete Alonso is still the Polar Bear, and Mets closer Edwin Diaz has become everything former GM Brodie Van Wagenen believed he was. Jeff McNeil has had a compelling bounceback season. Thank Will Ferrell for the shoulder dance. The popular Home Run Derby is July 18. Alonso announced, “I think I’m the best power hitter on the planet,” after repeating as champ last year.

Subway Series (July 26-27, Aug. 22-23)

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

Zach Wilson works out for the Jets
Bill Kostroun

MLB Trade Deadline (July 28-Aug. 3)

What if deGrom or Scherzer, or both, suffers a setback, and who knows about Tylor Megill? Frankie Montas and Luis Castillo could be considered. If Brian Cashman is in the catchers’ market, the Cubs’ Willson Contreras, a pending free agent, could be had. Cashman bought Joey Gallo a year ago, but now he might be a seller. The Post’s Jon Heyman has reported that the Yankees have had their eye on Montas as well.

Yankees Old-Timers’ Day (July 30)

From the first one in 1947, no one has done Old-Timer’s Day like the Yankees.

Giants Training Camp (July)

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

Jets Training Camp (July)

A beefier Zach Wilson will have every throw scrutinized by the faithful, who will pack the bleachers at Florham Park, N.J., eager for a look at first-round picks CB Sauce Gardner, WR Garrett Wilson and DE Jermaine Johnson II as well as second-round pick, RB Breece Hall. The faithful will be keeping their fingers crossed that LT Mekhi Becton can return to his rookie form and DE Carl Lawson is mostly recovered from his torn Achilles.

Liberty (ongoing-August)

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

Paul O’Neill Day (Aug. 21)

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

Paul O’Neill
Robert Sabo

Mets Old-Timers’ Day (Aug. 27)

This will be the club’s first Old-Timers’ Day since 1994. More than 60 former Mets are scheduled to 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 — prior to a 7 p.m. game against the Rockies.

Giants-Jets (Aug. 28)

Sunday at 1 for the third and final preseason game. You can’t tell the players without a scorecard in these games. But the fans make it fun. And will be keeping their fingers crossed that one of their key players doesn’t get hurt.

U.S. Open Tennis (Aug. 29-Sept. 11)

Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, 19, has titillated tennis fans with his meteoric rise. Who doesn’t want to see a 42-year-old Roger Federer decide to return for a shot at his 21st Grand Slam title after opting out last year because of knee surgery? Will Novak Djokovic be shut out because he isn’t vaccinated? Serena Williams, who withdrew from last year’s Open because of a torn hamstring, has indicated she has no retirement plans and hopes to chase her sixth U.S. Open championship and first since 2014, less than a month from her 41st birthday. Can Rafael Nadal capture his 22nd Grand Slam title? Danill Medvede won it last year. Emma Raducanu defends her women’s title, but Iga Swiatek has the No. 1 ranking.

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