PETERSBURG, Va. -- It was here, out in the sticks of southern Virginia, on a drag strip covered with dirt on which man tempted beast at the Great Bull Run -- the first event of its kind held on American soil -- that I learned the consequences of insatiable bloodlust. A year ago, Rob Dickens and Brad Scudder, co-owners of Rugged Maniac, a series of 5-kilometer obstacle racing events held across the U.S., conceived a classic idea. Why go abroad, when we could just outrun death here in America? If it offered frequent danger -- the near-death kind -- it would be a success.
Early in the evening on July 26, 2012, Michael Haynes was cruising around Morgan Park on Chicago's Far South Side when he and his friends, Harry "Slick" Fullilove and Lester "Doogie" Freeman, got word of a fight about to break out. Haynes — who went by Mikey, though also answered to "Big Bro," "Lil' Bro," and "God Bro," because so many Morgan Park residents considered him family — was a 22-year-old basketball star five days away from heading to Iona College in New York. Slick owned the Buick and was letting Mikey drive to take a farewell victory lap of the neighborhood.
To make it to the majors, a player must advance five or six rungs through the minors, outplaying any number of other draft picks along the way. One of the many players left on the discard heap was Michael Moras. His distance from the majors is now measured by how far he sits from his television, watching broadcasts of Mets games.
During Tampa Bay’s three-game sweep, manager Joe Maddon not only loaded the right side of the field against left-handed Yankees hitters, which is common enough, but also tilted his defense to the left against right-handed batters, which is a more unorthodox strategy. Where there used to be hits, there were now outs.