If May was the amuse-bouche of the sports activities menu, June seems to be set to present an honest-to-goodness appetizer. And whereas the primary programs could also be a way off, there needs to be lots for hungry followers to take in.
All proper, it’s time to shortly drop that metaphor and get to the sports activities.
The first jewel of the Triple Crown will probably be run on June 20, however it gained’t be the Kentucky Derby. Instead the Belmont Stakes, usually run third in the sequence, will kick things off.
But the race won’t look the same as in years past. No fans will pack Belmont’s sweeping grandstands. And with 3-year-old horses having had limited options to race, organizers have decided that asking them to go the Belmont’s famed grueling 1½ miles was too much this year. Instead they will race at a mere 1⅛ miles, making the Belmont the shortest, instead of the longest, Triple Crown race.
Whoever wins the Belmont will have to wait some time to complete the Triple Crown. The Kentucky Derby is set for September and the Preakness for October.
A hunger for golf is definitely there: The exhibition match last week involving Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning drew the largest ever golf ratings on a cable channel.
The L.P.G.A. and the European Tours are to follow in July.
We’ve had German soccer for a few weeks now, and the other big European leagues are returning to action as well: Spain on June 11, England on June 17 and Italy on June 20. Alone among the biggest leagues, France has decided to truncate its season and start with a new one in August.
England will also resume its F.A. Cup competition at the quarterfinal stage on June 27.
Stateside, the National Women’s Soccer League will play its season as a 30-day mini-tournament that begins June 27. Major League Soccer has not set a date for games to begin, but could return in June as well.
Indy Car is readying to join NASCAR in returning to racing. Its first race will be held June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway. A fuller schedule will then begin in July. The Indianapolis 500 is now scheduled for August.
The more international Formula One circuit is being more cautious and won’t return until July, at the earliest.
Baseball, Basketball and Hockey
The above sports are all well and good, but to many North American fans, sports probably won’t start to feel normal until baseball, basketball and hockey return. That isn’t expected in June.
But on June 19, Japanese baseball will join the already running South Korea and Taiwan leagues.