Summer, at least for NDSU students, is here. With that, the summer schedules for various sports kick into gear. Here are the sporting events that should be on your radar over the next couple of months.
Indianapolis 500 – May 28
For some people (myself included), this weekend’s premier motorsport event is usually not the 500. Rather, Formula 1 fans will be waking up early stateside to watch the Monaco Grand Prix.
This year is special though, as the American side of the racing Triple Crown will overshadow the European. The reason is because of one driver who won’t be in Monte Carlo.
Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso will skip the Monaco GP, an event he has won in 2006 and 2007, for Indy.
Alonso has made it no secret that he wants to become the second driver to get the Triple Crown, joining Graham Hill in the exclusive club. Hill won at Monaco five times, Indy in 1966 and finished the Crown with the 24 Hour of Le Mans victory in 1972
Alonso will pilot McLaren’s return to Indy, an event the team has won twice.
There is no doubting the difficulty that the Spaniard will have in accomplishing his task, but the world has turned its attention to the IndyCar series for at least one weekend.
There is so much attention that nearly 1 million people tuned in for the solo rookie test Alonso and his orange McLaren had in early May.
And as those who watched the 500 last year will know, anything can happen.
NBA Finals – June 1
Writing this a month out from the first tip of the finals, it is safe to say that it is all up for grabs.
At time of writing, the conference semifinals are just a couple games in. Looking at the bracket, the potential conference finals are just as intriguing as potential finals.
LeBron James and Isaiah Thomas for the East? Yes please. Thomas has been nothing short of incredible this postseason. That is from just a basketball perspective, one that does not include the passing of his sister during the playoffs.
Out west, the Warriors will have to face some demons to get to the finals, facing either the ageless Spurs, who finally are showing some age with Tony Parker out or James Harden and the Rockets.
Bold prediction, the Rockets will meet the Warriors for the West. Golden State blows through in five games, leading James Harden to join the Warriors in the summer after realizing that he can’t beat them.
As for who wins the finals, who knows at this point?
UEFA Champions League Final – June 3
The world’s premier soccer club competition will wrap up in Cardiff.
With one leg of the semifinals in the books at time of writing, it looks like the two sides taking part are clear.
Real Madrid cruised to a 3-0 advantage at home over inter-city rival Atletico Madrid. Not a surprise that it was behind Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored the hat trick.
While Real and their potent attack look to lay waste to anyone in Wales, it might be a more difficult task.
That’s because on the other side, Juventus look to close out Monaco after winning 2-0 away. The Italian’s defense has been rock solid in the tournament, and they just don’t like conceding to anyone, including Barcelona in the quarters.
It has been 621 minutes since Juve have allowed a goal, with Gianluigi Buffon, the 39-year-old veteran, between the post getting it done.
Offense against defense to see who is Europe’s best, game on.
Boston Red Sox @ Baltimore Orioles June – 1-4
Racist chants, fastball behind the batter’s knees, ejections for unintentionally hitting a batter with a slow curve. That was the last time these teams met, let’s see if they put aside their differences for another four-game set.
MLB All-Star Festivities – July 9-11
There is one reason why this is on here, someone get Madison Bumgarner healthy and hitting in the Home Run Derby.
U.S. Open – June 15-18
Golfers may enjoy the nice drive to Wisconsin to watch golf’s second major at Erin Hills. For those not going, here is to hoping that Dustin Johnson is healthy from his Master’s fall. It could be an interesting battle on a course that can play up to five miles in length and has rough a foot deep.