Leading Off

It’s been a sports summer for the record book

Jockey Victor Espinoza celebrates aboard American Pharoah after winning the Preakness Stakes horse race at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. For the rest of his life, Espinoza will be introduced as a Triple Crown winner. He rode American Pharoah to wins in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.
Jockey Victor Espinoza celebrates aboard American Pharoah after winning the Preakness Stakes horse race at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. For the rest of his life, Espinoza will be introduced as a Triple Crown winner. He rode American Pharoah to wins in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. The Associated Press

As Kevin Garnett, the great basketball philosopher, once said: “Anything is possible!”

And never has this been more true for American sports than the summer of 2015.

And, just think: We’re only halfway through July.

Since the calendar turned to June, we have seen and experienced sports moments we had not for decades, and the fun may not end until early November.

On June 6, we saw American Pharoah, who had already won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes with jockey Victor Espinoza aboard, roar down the stretch of the Belmont Stakes before a screaming crowd that was witnessing history.

American Pharoah, who initially gained fame because of a misspelled name and cut tail, became the 12th horse to win the Triple Crown and first to win after a 37-year drought.

Ten days later in Cleveland, we saw the Golden State Warriors’ dream season conclude with a Game 6 victory over LeBron James and a game-but-depleted Cavaliers lineup to win their first NBA championship in 40 years.

While it was summertime in Melbourne, we saw Serena Williams win the Australian Open and the first leg of the Grand Slam for women’s tennis. Since then, she’s won the French Open and last weekend Wimbledon. One more major – the U.S. Open in New York – awaits Williams, who can become the first woman to complete a calendar-year Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988.

Jordan Spieth, who has already won the Masters and U.S. Open, fell behind the leaders on the second day of the British Open but still has enough game in his bag to win the third leg of golf’s Grand Slam. If not this year, Spieth, who turns 22 later this month, will someday win all four majors in one calendar year – something no golfer has ever accomplished.

So what’s next in 2015?

Has “next year” finally arrived for the Chicago Cubs?

Victor Contreras, 916-326-5527, @sacbeevictor

Playbook

▪ WHAT TO WATCH: Baseball, Giants at Arizona, 5:10 p.m., CSNBA: Giant starter Jake Peavy was hit hard by the Diamondbacks earlier this season but has pitched well since returning from the disabled list.

▪ STAT OF THE DAY: Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods have played 21 rounds in the same tournaments this year. Spieth is 120 strokes better.

▪ ON THIS DATE: July 18, 1970, Giants center fielder Willie Mays gets career hit number 3,000 off Montreal’s Mike Wegener in the second inning.

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