2004-04-15 / Travel

New York State: The Heart Of The Sporting World

New York State: The Heart Of The Sporting World

Spring is here. The birds are sing-ing, the trees are blooming and the "long-ball" is flying here in New York State!

Major League Baseball’s perennial contenders, the New York Yankees, lead the way with 27 championships while across town, the Mets are poised to show the world that they truly are "Amazin’." And, it’s almost playoff time for the National Hockey League as the New York Rangers and the New York Islanders - both former Stanley Cup Champions - look towards the post-season. But the puck doesn’t stop there! Upstate, the Sabres continue to play their hearts out in Buffalo as they, too, battle for a post-season position.

The National Basketball Association season is also heating up as the playoff-bound New York Knicks continue to excite fans in Madison Square Gar-den.

But New York’s professional sports aren’t limited to springtime. With the New York Giants and New York Jets practicing in New York, along with the Buffalo Bills in Western New York, National Football League fans have plenty of action to keep them busy on Sunday’s throughout the fall.

On top of all this, scattered all across the state, sport fans can experience a Women’s National Basketball Associa-tion team, Major League Soccer, Arena Football and Major League Lacrosse teams. Add to the mix our Winter Olympic facilities in Lake Placid, professional motor sports in Watkins Glen and first-rate thoroughbred horse racing at Belmont, Saratoga Springs, Aqueduct and Finger Lakes race tracks and it’s easy to see that New York has it all in the world of professional sports 365 days a year.

Impossible to overlook are New York’s seemingly countless minor lea-gue, independent league and college teams that play in every comer of New York. Albany is home to the River Rats of the American Hockey League. Buf-falo’s beautiful Dunn Tire Park, one of the finest ballparks in the minor leagues, is sure to be packed throughout the summer as fans root for their minor league baseball team, the Bisons. And, Syracuse, home of college basketball’s 2003 National Champions the Orange-men, is also active during the summer months by their baseball farm team, the Sky Chiefs.

New York’s teams aren’t limited to just the larger cities. You can find Uni-ted Hockey League teams in Elmira in the Southern Tier and in Glens Falls in the North Country. Additional minor League baseball teams thrive in Ba-tavia, Binghamton and Staten Island, just a few of the dozen or so teams representing Major League teams in New York.

In addition to the Orangemen at Syracuse University, New York State is home to many NCAA Division I teams of every sport. From the fast-paced hockey of the Golden Knights at Clarkson University in the North Coun-try, to the up-and-coming football of the Bulls at the University at Buffalo, from the rough and tough lacrosse of the Pride at Hofstra University on Long Island to the basketball tradition of the St. Bonaventure Bonnies in Olean - and all points in-between - New York truly is home to premier collegiate athletics and the stars of to-morrow.

When it comes to the stars of the past, they forever live on in many of the diverse halls of fame in New York State. Perhaps the most well-known of all is the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown. Here is where the greatest of the game - Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays - are honored in many exhibits and where the players of today dream of being enshrined. For soccer fans, the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta is a must-see and less than two hours up the road one can find the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota. For horse enthusiasts, visit the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga to learn all about the greatest thoroughbreds the track has ever seen. Likewise, stop by the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in nearby Goshen to discover the finest trotters to everhaveraced. And, just a hop-skip-and a jump away is the National Distance Running Hall of Fame in Utica.

Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, the best in every sport - past, present and future - shine brightly here in New York State: "the Heart of the Sporting World".

For more information about sports and travel in New York State, call 1-800 CALL NYS or visit www.iloveny.com.

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