Sports Events Calendar and Results

Tour Down Under, January 17 - 24. The TDU in South Australia kicks off the UCI (cycling) World Tour calendar. The 2020 race, won by Richie Porte, was one of the few races not cancelled due to COVID-19.

Spring Training baseball, February 21 - March 24 in AZ (Cactus League) and FL (Grapefruit League). COVID-19 cut 2020 training short. On March 12, MLB decided to cancel the remaining games and delay the start of the regular season. In the recent past, if you planned to attend, you were wise to book in December. The event's popularity enabled skyrocketing ticket prices and limited accomodation availability over the previous couple decades. Southwest Airlines, area hotels, and teams all knew it was awesome, and tested how much you'd pay for the experience. It will be interesting to see how circumstances evolve for the 2021 games. Will people be hesitant to attend, and will hotels and flights be cheaper to accomodate for that uncertainty and the economic impact of the pandemic? Or will there be a rush on tickets to make up for lost games and to celebrate better times?

The Masters (golf) Originally scheduled for April 9 - 12, the Masters has been rescheduled for November 12-15. In September of 2018, Tiger Woods finally won a title after a five-year drought. In April of 2019, he won his fifth Masters at 43 years old. (Michael Phelps was his good luck charm.)

Annual Tour of the Gila around Silver City, NM, was scheduled for April 29 - May 3, but has been cancelled due to COVID-19. Race planners have shifted their focus to the 2021 race.

Tour of California on haitus for 2020. Fans will be greatly saddened to miss the women's and men's races, which undoubtedly would have been postponed or canceled due to COVID-19. In the past, the ToC showcased new young talent and 2019 was no exception in the men's race, won by 20-year-old Tadej Pojecar. Powerhouse Anna van der Breggen won overall for the women.

Giro d'Italia originally scheduled for May 9 - 31, has been postponed. In 2019, Richard Carapaz became the first Ecuadorian to win the Giro.

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs were scheduled for April - June. However, the end of the regular season came to a fast stop on March 12, and the league continues to consider playoffs options. Before the stoppage, the Flyers were strong Cup contenders.

Tour de France originally scheduled for June 27 - July 19 from Nice to Paris, but is postponed. Organizers of cycling's three Grand Tours are working together to allow for each race to take place with no overlap. In 2019, the sixth edition of the one-day women's version, La Course by Tour de France, took place on July 19 and featured a spectular win by Dutchwoman Marianne Vos, who also won in 2014. Canada's Leah Kirchmann and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig of Denmark placed second and third respectively.

Julian Alaphilippe, wearing the yellow jersey a record number of days for a Frenchman (14), made the 2019 overall race more exhilarating than it's been in years, and finished fifth. The first Colombian to win the Tour de France, Egan Bernal won overall and at 22 yrs old, was also the youngest rider to complete the 2019 edition. American Tejay van Garderen crashed out with a broken hand. Peter Sagan won a stage and the green points jersey competition for a record-setting seventh time. Young sprinter Caleb Ewan, in his first Tour, won three stages, including the final sprint on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. Cyclocross champion crossover and stage winner Wout van Aert suffered a Tour-ending injury.

Vuelta a Espana Tour of Spain, is currently still scheduled to take place August 14-September 6, though dates could be impacted by the rescheduling of the Tour de France. In 2019, former world junior champion ski jumper Primoz Roglic became the first Slovenian to win the Vuelta.

2020 UCI Road World Championships (cycling) September 20-27, Switzerland. Eight days of competition including men's and women's individual and team time trials, and road races.

2020 World Series (baseball) October. In 2019, the Nationals beat the Houston Astros, claiming their first championship since moving to D.C. in 2005.

Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games 2020 August in Tokyo. Under economic, political, environmental and Zika epidemic pressures, along with a fast deadline for global federations to decide which Russian athletes could complete, the 2016 Rio Games proceeded with expected glitches, but success overall. Just before her 43rd birthday, American cyclist Kristin Armstrong won a third consecutive gold in the women's time trial, but Peter Sagan was unable to recover from two mechanical failures to medal in mountain biking. In wet conditions, the women's cycling road race was a nail-biter, as was the men's. US swimmer Simone Manuel won four medals, including two gold and two silver. Katie Ledecky earned five medals, including four gold and a silver. Michael Phelps won more medals (duh), and the "Final Five" (the next team will be four) US women gymnast team medaled as expected.

SportsSlant Book Club

The World's Fastest Man by Michael Kranish, 2019

Wolfpack: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game by Abby Wambach, 2019

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed, 2012

The Sportsman: Unexpected Lessons from an Around-the-World Sports Odyssey by Dhani Jones, 2011

Boy Racer by Mark Cavendish, 2010

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, 2009

OPEN An Autobiography by Andre Agassi, 2009

The Agony of Victory: When Winning Isn't Enough by Steve Friedman, 2007

Gimp: When Life Deals You a Crappy Hand, You Can Fold - or You Can Play by Mark Zupan, 2006

Lance Armstrong's War by Daniel Coyle, 2005

Downhill: The Life Story of a Gravity Goddess by Marla Streb, 2003

Bobke II by Bob Roll, 2003

Not by Accident {Reconstructing a Careless Life} by Samantha Dunn, 2002

The Punch by John Feinstein, 2002

Zamboni Rodeo: Chasing Hockey Dreams From Austin to Albuquerque by Jason Cohen, 2001

Tropic of Hockey: My Search For the Game in Unlikely Places by Dave Bidini, 2000

Open Net by George Plimpton, 1985

Movietime

Maiden - an amazing documentary about Tracy Edwards and her all-woman crew competing in the 1989-90 Whitbread Round the World Race.

Concussion - arguably the most serious issue of the NFL, well-told.

Moneyball - more than a baseball movie (though it does that well), it's about reassessing life decisions, challenging priorities, and acting on intuition.

Bull Durham - minor league baseball, way funny

Half the Road - entertaining, informative, intelligent documentary about the state of women's professional cycling.

The Triplets of Belleville - animated cycling, unique

Breaking Away - oldtime cycling drama

American Flyers - oldtime cycling drama

Mystery, Alaska - pond hockey vs. the NHL, humor

Fight Club - "No fear. No distractions. The ability to let that which does not matter truly slide." Certainly not for everyone, the first 3/4ths of the movie is a highly entertaining, thought-provoking, cultural commentary with some brutal street fighting mixed in.