Dave Hogg

is creating Fiction about sports in a virus-free world

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Right now, we live in a world that has seen too much illness and death over the last few months, and that’s not likely to change for a while. While scientists search for a cure for COVID-19 and our health-care professionals battle to save lives, the rest of us will trying to stop the spread via social distancing.

I write sports stories for a living - I’ve been doing it for 30 years - but that job (and my income) are stopped right now. That leaves me with a lot of free time and a lot of curiosity about how things would have unfolded in a world where SARS-CoV-2 was only of interest to scientists who study pangolins.

That’s what I’m going to tell you over the next few weeks or months - the real-time story of how 2020 would have unfolded across a healthy sports world. Thanks to some dice, some spreadsheets, a couple computer games and a lot of imagination, you’ll get to see something close to a normal year of sports.

In North America, we’ll start with the playoff races in the NBA and NHL. Will we get Giannis vs. LeBron for the Lawrence O’Brien Trophy or will the Clippers ruin the dream matchup? Are the Lightning ready for the Stanley Cup Playoffs or will the Golden Knights light up the Strip?

It’s also time for March Madness. Kansas goes in as the favorite, but Gonzaga knows this could finally be their year. Will Dayton or San Diego State make deep runs, or it will it be the old familiar favorites like Duke, Michigan State and Louisville?

Opening Day is also on its way. Can the Dodgers finally win the World Series or will the Nationals ruin another October in Los Angeles? What’s going to happen to the Astros - do they thrive under scrutiny or collapse from guilt? Can the Tigers help Detroit avoid breaking its own brand-new record for losses in a calendar year?

Depending on subscriber interest, there could be even more. I’d love to be able to afford to do the WNBA and MLS, and if the Northern Guard shows up, maybe we’ll even have a NISA season.

But this won’t be limited to sports on this continent. The Formula 1 season got underway in Australia on Sunday, but was it another Mercedes parade or did youngsters Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen steal the spotlight?

There’s also the end of the European club football season and the beginning of international play. I’m going to try to keep this believable, so I strongly suspect Liverpool will hold on to win the Premier League, but can Barcelona hold off Real Madrid in La Liga? Speaking of Madrid, were they able rally to save themselves in the Champions League or did Pep Guardiola break their hearts again?

[As a special preview, the Australian Grand Prix and Champions League reviews are included at the bottom of this article.]

After all that, which countries will have enough rested players to make something happen in Euro 2020? Will Belgium or England finally break through or are the French too dominant?

I hope I don’t end up covering the Olympics, but if the sports world is still shut down in August, you’ll get unparalleled coverage of the events.

There will also be plenty of one-off events along the way. The Triple Crown, the Indy 500, the West Indies Test Series in England and even the Tour de France might show up in our story.

Let’s face it - a lot of us are going to be stuck at home for weeks if not months, and there’s not likely going to be much happening in the sports world. By signing up, you’ll get a fix of the news you used to get from ESPN, the Athletic or your local newspaper.

There will be tiers to let you choose your level of information, starting with a weekly update every Monday. By moving up to higher tiers, you can add a Friday preview of the weekend’s action and a Wednesday news update that means you will get a steady supply of scores and news.

Want more details about a specific game - perhaps one you planned on attending? There’s a tier where you can get one full game story every month on an event of your choosing. I’d write it the same way I would for the Associated Press or NHL, although without quotes. The highest tier gives you all of those benefits, plus a special perk - you can pick a league to add to the coverage.

However, whether you join at the lowest level or the highest, you’ll get access to our Discord server.

Check out the stories below. If you are interested, join us to hear the stories we’re all going to missing in the months to come.


Champions League:
Real Madrid has suffered more key losses to Pep Guardiola than they care to remember, but they turned the tables in spectacular fashion on Wednesday. Trailing 2-1 after their home leg in the Round of 16, they fell behind 1-0 after Kevin de Bruyne’s 15th minute volley from the edge of the box.

The score remained the same at the half, meaning Madrid needed two goals just to force extra time. They got three. Karim Benzema scored 90 seconds after the restart and made it 3-3 on aggregate with a header in the 72nd minute. With the City of Manchester Stadium crowd watching in stunned silence, it was only another two minutes before Ederson was forced to drag down Isco after he was set free by a Luka Modric pass. Ederson was set off, leaving Claudio Bravo to pick the ball out of the net as Benzema blasted his penalty into the top right corner.

Down to ten men, Manchester City never came close to scoring, leaving Guardiola’s Champions League slump intact and his squad facing a two-year ban for financial fair play violations.

Meanwhile, Real is one step closer to the decimocuarto, although they weren’t done any favors by a quarter-final draw that set them against cross-city rival Atletico. Real knocked out Atletico in the 2016 Final and the 2017 semifinals, and Diego Simeone’s squad will be fired up for a shot at revenge.

The winner of the Madrid derby will face the victor of an all-Italian quarterfinal, as Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice for Juventus in a 3-1 win against Lyon. Juve advanced 3-2 on aggregate to face underdog Atalanta.

On the other side of the draw, powerhouses Barcelona and Bayern Munich will face off in the quarterfinals - a tie Guardiola won’t enjoy too much. Barcelona defeated Napoli 2-0 behind goals by Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong while Bayern Munich advanced after a dour 0-0 draw with Chelsea.

The winner between those two juggernauts will face either PSG or Red Bull Leipzig in the semifinals.

Formula 1:
It wasn’t a surprise to see Mercedes silver flashing home 1-2 in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. The shock was watching No. 77 taking the checkered flag.

Valtteri Bottas took advantage of Lewis Hamilton’s unhappiness with the 2020 Mercedes W11 to make a stunning mid-race pass, then held off the six-time World Champion during a frantic final five laps.

Qualifying hadn’t gone quite as well for the German juggernaut, as they were locked out of the front row by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. Bottas proved he was going to be competitive with his superstar teammate by taking third spot, but the Englishman led the Finn through the early parts of the race as the 22-year-olds on the front row nearly collided off the line.

Verstappen and Leclerc’s battle continued for the entire afternoon, with the Dutchman using DRS to make a last-lap pass to earn the final podium step. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was fifth after a frustrating weekend, while Daniel Riccardo took advantage of two late-race mistakes by Red Bull’s Alex Albon to take sixth place for Renault. Carlos Sainz Jr. (McLaren), Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) and Lance Stroll (Racing Point) finished out the point-scoring positions.

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$388 of $500 per month
When I reach this goal - one which will tremendously with the medications Angie and I both take - I'll add MLS.
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