Summer is upon us, and the yearly narrative of “summer is a bad time for sports” has surfaced once again—football is nowhere to be found, college basketball is over, and baseball is still in the early works of a long season. Never fear, there’s plenty to look forward to in the sports world in Summer 2018.
Stanley Cup Final: May 28th—June 13th
If Game 1 is any indication of how the rest of this series will play out, hockey fans should be thrilled. The Las Vegas Golden Knights won their home opener 6-4, but it was a back-and-forth contest that was all square after the first and second periods and was only truly over when Tomas Nosek put the Knights up by two with three seconds left. This series has historic storylines on both sides—for the Capitals, they are looking for their first Stanley Cup win and the missing piece to the illustrious career of Alex Ovechkin. For the Knights, they’re going for history, looking to become the first expansion team in the four major sports to win the championship in its first year.
NBA Finals: May 31st—June 17th
Love it if you want. Hate it if you want. The Cavs and Warriors will meet in the NBA Finals for the fourth straight year. As much as I want to say this will be a thriller, I just can’t realistically see this series panning out any differently than last year. The Warriors boast four All-Stars and are hands-down the greatest assembly of players the league has ever seen. The Cavs have Lebron James, an not-completely-healthy Kevin Love, and what the media has dubbed a subpar group of “role players”. In my humble opinion, if the Cavs pull this off, LeBron will have officially passed Jordan as the greatest to lace ‘em up. But the odds are not in favor of the King.
Belmont Stakes: June 9th
There have been 12 Triple Crown winners in the last 100 years, but only one since 1978—after a 37-year drought, American Pharaoh won all three races in 2015. Now, Justify looks to make it 13 winners. He is the favorite with 4-5 odds, but horse racing legend Hammerin’ Hank Goldberg believes that a win is no sure thing, stating that “The Preakness took a lot out of Justify”.
U.S. Open: June 14th—17th
Nothing but familiar names at the top of the favorites for the 2018 U.S. Open. Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, and Jason Day round out the top five, but it’s likely that the main storylines won’t be on any of these guys. Patrick Reed will be looking for his second straight major after winning the Masters, and, of course, can Tiger win his first major since 2008? Should be a good weekend of golf in Shinnecock Hills.
World Cup: June 14th—July 15th
We’ve waited four years for this month, and the United States found a way to play themselves out of the field for the first time since 1986. It’s embarrassing for a nation with 300+ million people to miss out on a world event, but there’s still a lot to look forward to. Germany continues its title defense as the favorite, but Brazil will not take their 7-1 loss to the Germans in the 2014 World Cup lightly. Here are some random fun facts: Panama is making their World Cup debut and Iceland is the smallest country by population to ever qualify. If you live on Earth, this is must-watch TV.
NBA Draft: June 21st
It’s the year of the Big Man—Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley, Jaren Jackson, Mo Bamba, and Wendell Carter are all projected to go within first ten picks. The choice at number one for the Suns seems to be narrowed down to Ayton and Luka Doncic, and the addition of either of those two could begin a lethal young group paired with Devin Booker and Josh Jackson. Two other major storylines include whether or not Michael Porter Jr. falls because of his injury and who might throw all their chips in for the flashy Trae Young.
Wimbledon: July 2nd—July 15th
The most prestigious tennis tournament will see the greatest men’s player of all time in Roger Federer look to repeat as champion and the greatest women’s player of all time in Serena Williams go for three of her last four.
MLB All-Star Game: July 17th
Though the significance of the MLB All-Star has decreased drastically since the rules committee decided that the All-Star game would no longer decide homefield advantage, it’s still a spectacle to be seen. The Home Run Derby highlights the best deep-ball hitters in the game, and it’s always entertaining to see the best in the game on the field at the same time. The AL has won the last five All-Star games, and the all-time series is knotted up at 43-43-2.
British Open: July 19th—July 22nd
The only major that takes place outside of the US, the Open Championship is the oldest golf tournament in the world—they’ve been playing golf in Scotland since before the start of the Civil War. A stark contrast to the lush greenery of Augusta National, the lack of trees at the Open gives golfers free reign off the tee. Jordan Spieth will defend his crown in Carnoustie in 2018 in what should be a fantastic major.
Preseason Football: August 2nd—August 30th
Preseason football is never the most exciting spectacle, but there are a ton of rookie storylines to watch for this season, particularly in the quarterback department. Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold will surely draw crowds for struggling franchises, and Josh Rosen will be competing for a starting spot with Sam Bradford. The preseason is a long four weeks for fans, but pivotal to the coaches as they look to select the bubble players and fill roster spots.