Fireworks came early when the Nationals-Giants ballgame turned into a wild boxing match on Monday.
The gloves came off and benches cleared after San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland pegged 2015 N.L. MVP Bryce Harper with a fastball in the eighth inning.
To put it mildly, Harper did not take that too kindly as he charged the mound and launched his helmet in the direction of Strickland, missing wide. Punches for both parties, however, connected. Each side got in a nice right hook, leading to a massive scrum near the mound.
It took about five Giants players and coaches to separate Strickland from the brawl, and even in the dugout he remained emotional. For Harper, it resulted in his ninth career ejection.
The two competitors do have some history. Three years ago, Harper hit two home runs off of Strickland, admiring both for a long time.
This is just Game 1 of the series, so the bad blood may be just beginning.
After 26.2 miles of winding through the packed streets of Chicago on a quintessential day to run, with unbeatable forty-degree fall temperatures, the men’s 2019 Chicago Marathon came down to one second.
Kenyan runner Lawrence Cherono outkicked Ethiopian runners Debela Dejene and Asefa Mengstu in the final 400 meters to win the men’s elite race. After running 26 miles and some change, the top three band of runners looked like they were coming down the home stretch of an 800-meter track race rather than the final minute of their endurance run.
Long-winded, yet determined to fight for first, Cherono, Dejene, and Mengstu finished within three seconds of each other – the closest podium finish in Chicago Marathon history. It was such a close margin that the entourage of people gathering around the finish and crowding Michigan Ave. had to crane their necks to see Cherono cross first.
Some may have been surprised that British distance runner Mo Farah, last year’s champion, wasn’t in the mix. Farah competed again this year but finished more than four minutes off his winning time last year of 2:05:11.
Leading the men’s elite field this October, Cherono ran a 2:05:45, topping his winning time from April's Boston Marathon (2:07:57). He is the first man since 2006 to win both titles in the same year – the latter, secured in a second.
Greatness and Chicago sports seem to go hand-in-hand.
Brigid Kosgei won the women's elite title at Sunday's 2019 Chicago Marathon, clocking in at a swift 2:14:04. The 25-year-old broke the previous marathon world record, which Paula Radcliffe (2:15:25) set at the London Marathon in 2003. Kosgei also won the women's elite title at the 2018 Chicago Marathon.
Kosgei and Radcliffe came together for a celebratory photo after Sunday's race.
Lawrence Cherono won the men's elite title with a time of 2:05:45, narrowly beating Dejene Debela, who finished one second back.