Sizzling 100m Run By Usain Bolt At Intl Meet

World 100 and 200 metres record holder Usain Bolt and American World 100 metres champion Carmelita Jeter produced dazzling performances at the JN Jamaica Invitational IAAF World Challenge meet inside the National Stadium last night.Competing before a capacity crowd at the country’s premier sports venue, both clocked world-leading times in the men’s and women’s 100 metres, respectively.Bolt had the crowd cheering wildly after he breezed to the line in 9.82 seconds, finishing ahead of Michael Frater (10.00) and Commonwealth and Pan Am Games champion Lerone Clarke (10.03). The race had earlier been held up by two false starts.Good start to seasonThe 2008 Olympic champion was elated with his display.“This is a good start for me as I was not able to compete last time and to come and give the crowd a nice treat … , I am happy. I am looking forward to the remainder of the season with great hope,” Bolt said.In the women’s event, Jeter showed supreme speed and confidence in crossing the line in 10.81 seconds, beating the 10.86 meet record she set last year.World Championships bronze medallist Kelly-Ann Baptiste of Trinidad and Tobago was second in 10.86 seconds, as Jamaica’s Kerron Stewart finished strongly for third in 10.98 seconds.Olympic 400-metre hurdles champion Melaine Walker had a successful start to the season in her pet event, winning in 55.29 seconds.Walker took control of the race from very early and cruised home ahead of American Tiffany Williams (55.80) and fellow Jamaican Ristananna Tracy (56.62).Happy for victory“I am happy to come out and win tonight as it is always good to win at home. I am not too happy with the time, but the good thing is that I was able to finish the event injury-free,” a satisfied Walker said after her event.World leader in the men’s 400-metre hurdles, American Bershawn Jackson, competing for the first time locally as a senior, showed his class in the event by racing to an impressive 48.73 seconds, beating Trinidad and Tobago’s Jehue Gordon (48.98). Defending champion Justin Gaymon of the United States was third in 49.08.“The atmosphere in Jamaica is always great, and it reminded me of when I competed here at the World Junior Championships in 2002,” said Jackson.Read the rest of this story on the Jamaica Gleaner read more

Spike Lee and J Cole Offer Support for Colin

Spike Lee (left) and J. Cole (right) have been outspoken about their support for Colin Kaepernick.(Paras Griffin/Stringer/Getty Images for Universal/Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images/Tim Mosenfelder /Getty Images)Spike Lee is continuing his support of Colin Kaepernick, who many have said has been blackballed by the NFL, by posting about an Aug. 23 rally for the QB.The iconic filmmaker said Tuesday, Aug. 8 that he is not the organizer of the event at NFL headquarters in New York City but is continuing to back Kaepernick.pic.twitter.com/AejLPaaWHD— Spike Lee (@SpikeLee) August 8, 2017 I Did Not Organize And Set Up This Protest. However I Still Support My Brother And His Stance On The Injustices In The USA— Spike Lee (@SpikeLee) August 8, 2017Lee has been openly questioning why the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback has been a free agent since opting out of his contract in March.“How Is It That There Are 32 NFL Teams And Kap Is Still A Free Agent? WTF. Smells MAD Fishy To Me, Stinks To The High Heavens,” Lee wrote on Instagram in March after having brunch with Kaepernick. “The Question Remains What Owner And GM Is Going To Step Up And Sign Colin So Their Team Has A Better Chance To WIN? What Crime Has Colin Committed? Look At The QB’s Of All 32 Teams. This Is Some Straight Up Shenanigans, Subterfuge, Skullduggery And BS. Ya Dig?”Kaepernick drew the ire of some die-hard NFL fans last season when he refused to stand for the national anthem. Although the star reportedly won’t continue his protest this season, he has been passed over by teams including the Seattle Seahawks and the Miami Dolphins.“The Dolphins aren’t anti-Black, they’re anti-idiot,” Fox News host Jesse Watters said of the team’s choice to go with Jay Cutler on “The Five” Monday, Aug. 7. “[Kaepernick] lacks respect and he’s bad for team chemistry and he’s bad for the franchise. … Colin Kaepernick wore a [former Cuban prime minister Fidel] Castro T-shirt, they’re gonna boo him outta there.”.@jessebwatters on @Kaepernick7 controversy: “The @MiamiDolphins aren’t anti-black. They’re anti-idiot” #TheFive pic.twitter.com/RvDb6x24Kt— Fox News (@FoxNews) August 8, 2017The Baltimore Ravens also have also expressed interest in Kaepernick but have not signed him, which rapper J. Cole blasted at his concert ahead of meeting with the QB, according to Billboard.“Baltimore, the type of s— that’s happening here, don’t you think somebody should risk they’re whole livelihood and their whole life to talk about this s—?” Cole said during thie 4 Your Eyez Only tour stop Sunday, Aug. 6. “Even if it cost them they money, they job, they life? Don’t that sound like Colin Kaepernick? Don’t that sound like what he doing? And he trying to come to Baltimore, the city that seems to need that s— for real.” read more

The March Of The Penguins Shouldnt Be This Difficult

It wasn’t easy, but the Pittsburgh Penguins kept their bid for a second-consecutive Stanley Cup alive on Thursday night, surviving the surprising Ottawa Senators with a double-overtime win in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. On paper, there was little reason to think the Sens would pose much of a threat to the defending champs, let alone take them into the 85th minute of Game 7. But that’s the way things have been for Pittsburgh all playoffs long.Chris Kunitz’s game-winning goal saved Pittsburgh from what would have been the biggest conference-finals upset since 1996, when the Florida Panthers knocked off a very different version of the Penguins. According to Hockey-Reference.com’s Simple Rating System (SRS), Pittsburgh ranked fourth in the league during the regular season (0.59 goals per game better than average), while Ottawa ranked a distant 18th (0.01 goals per game below average).1In 1996, the Pens ranked third and the Panthers ranked eighth, though the gap between the two teams — 0.6 goals — was just as big as the gap between Pittsburgh and Ottawa this season.It was the second series in a row that Pittsburgh has been taken the distance by its opponent, after Washington pushed them to seven games in the conference semifinal. To their credit, the Penguins weathered each onslaught; they even outgunned the Sens by 45 combined shots in the East final, including 49 over the series’ final four games. But Pittsburgh has also been living dangerously. Its even-strength possession metrics over the entire playoffs are not as good as they were during last year’s run to the Cup final, nor do they compare well with the postseason numbers of the Penguins’ upcoming opponent, the Nashville Predators.The Preds didn’t play particularly great hockey during the regular season — they ranked 13th in SRS (in part because brilliant defenseman P.K. Subban missed 16 games with an injury). But they’ve saved their best work for the playoffs, where they rank second in possession rate (Pittsburgh is 12th out of 16 teams) and first in SRS2Playoff SRS is calculated by adjusting each team’s playoff goal differential for the regular-season SRS ratings of the teams they’ve played, with a home-ice advantage adjustment to account for where each game was played. (Pittsburgh is second). Pittsburgh was better in the regular season, but Nashville’s been the hotter team of late.So which situation would you rather be in, heading into next week’s series? Intuition might say it’s better to be the comparatively less worn-down Preds, rolling with the more impressive postseason stats. But history suggests otherwise. Going back to 1988,3The earliest season of data in Hockey-Reference’s indispensable game finder tool. there have been 14 cases in which one Stanley Cup finalist had the better regular-season SRS, but its opponent had the superior SRS in the playoffs leading up to the final.414 other times, SRS from both the regular season and postseason agreed who the better team was; those clear favorites won their series 79 percent of the time. Of those, the better regular-season team won the Cup nine times (64 percent). And that’s not even considering that the Penguins’ regular-season edge was slightly wider than the typical favorite’s, or that they’ll have home-ice advantage in the final.If we’ve learned anything about the Penguins these playoffs, it’s that they rarely make things easy. (And if we’ve learned anything about the NHL since 1998, it’s that repeating as a champion is really hard.) But a grueling, complicated postseason run isn’t necessarily a handicap in the Stanley Cup Final, if you’ve had a championship track record all season long. read more

Would You Rather Be An Outfielder For The As Or A Quarterback

chance of reaching level Which sport should Kyler Murray choose?Probability of reaching various performance levels in MLB or NFL for players similar* to Kyler Murray, by sport SportNever made ItScrubDecentGood/Great Baseball14.7%43.1%29.4%12.8% * Similar players in baseball are college hitters selected between no. 5-15 in the draft (since 1965). In football, they are starting QBs for a team ranked among the AP’s preseason top 10 going into the season (since 1990).Performance metrics cover the first 10 years of a player’s career.Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, Fangraphs, The Baseball Cube, Pro-football-reference.com, sports-reference.com/CFB Kyler Murray, a student-athlete at the University of Oklahoma, is facing a very good dilemma right now. Murray plays outfield for OU’s baseball team, and he was taken ninth overall in the MLB draft by the Oakland Athletics on Monday. Murray also plays quarterback for Oklahoma’s football team — and he’s currently the heir apparent to the No. 1 overall pick in April’s NFL draft, Baker Mayfield, under center.Murray won’t have to choose between baseball and football right away, but eventually, he will have to pick a path for his athletic future. (Or at least, the immediate future.) What’s a two-sport star to do?Murray is already in lofty company as a multi-talented athlete, since few players have ever been good enough to potentially start at QB for a top college team while also hearing their name called among MLB’s top 10 draft picks. But if you were in Murray’s position, which path — baseball or football — tends to offer the most success, historically speaking? This decision could mean the difference between Murray becoming the next Russell Wilson or the next Drew Henson.To help do the math on Murray’s decision, I used wins above replacement1In this case, an average of the versions found at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs.com. to measure the careers of similar baseball players and Approximate Value2Pro-Football-Reference.com’s rough gauge for NFL productivity. to measure the careers of similar football players.3Specifically, I used a weighted sum of a player’s value produced in the first 10 years of his career, giving a player 100 percent credit for his value in his best season, 90 percent credit for his second-best season, 80 percent credit for his third-best season, and so forth.Who counts as “similar”? For baseball, I looked at college hitters since 19654The first year of MLB’s amateur draft. who were drafted between picks No. 5 and 15 overall. For football, I gathered data since 19905Roughly when the modern era of college offenses really began. on college quarterbacks who started6By which I mean, played regularly enough to be the team’s QB of record on Sports-Reference.com’s seasonal passing leaderboards. for a team that ranked in the preseason top 10 going into the year. (AP hasn’t released its preseason rankings for 2018 yet, but the Sooners seem like a safe bet to be included.) Because I looked at the first 10 years of a player’s career, those who were drafted by MLB or started at QB in college after 2008 were not included in the study.Broadly speaking, these groups represent Murray’s current status in each sport. I then broke their careers down into four categories based on their WAR/AV: “never made it” (players who never played a game in the big leagues),7According to Pro-Football-Reference.com’s data, this includes players who were on rosters or practice squads but never actually set foot on the field for a down of a regular-season or playoff game. “scrubs” (guys who played in the bigs but weren’t regulars and had little impact), “decent” players (those who were regulars but not stars) and “good/great” players (generally All-Star level players and above). Here’s how the players comparable to Murray ended up panning out in the pros: Neither path to stardom is guaranteed; in both cases, more than 50 percent of comparable players either failed to play in the big leagues at all or made a minimal impact once there. But the chance of washing out completely are much lower — by a factor of about three — for highly drafted baseball prospects than for college quarterbacks at top programs. Likewise, the odds of stardom, or simply having a solid career, are much higher for baseball players like Murray than for football players like him.As my research has shown in the past, college hitters (like Murray) tend to be very reliable picks relative to the rest of baseball’s draft crapshoot. Meanwhile, top-level starting college QBs can range from Tom Brady and Peyton Manning to Gino Torretta and Thad Busby. Add in Murray’s MLB draft signing bonus (the No. 9 slot carries a value of about $4.8 million), the higher average salary for MLB vs. the NFL in general (even the average QB makes only about a half-million dollars more per year than the overall MLB average) and the concerns that Murray’s height — he’s 5-foot-10 — might prevent him from playing quarterback in the NFL, and it seems obvious that Murray should pick baseball.In fact, to cut down on the injury risk, perhaps Murray should forgo football next season, even though the NCAA does allow players to retain their amateur status in football after signing in baseball. (I realize the temptation to put up ridiculous, Mayfield-esque stats in Oklahoma’s offense is difficult to resist.)Of course, if he doesn’t want to choose, Murray can always take the Tim Tebow path — the Mets are always looking for former QBs who are turning back to baseball in the twilight of their athletic careers. Football43.2%39.1%13.0%4.7% read more

The 2019 Favorites And Breakout Picks For The American League

TeamElo RatingWinsLossesRun Diff.Make PlayoffsWin DivisionWin World Series How Elo is forecasting the AL East race Avg. Simulated SeasonChance to… TeamElo RatingWinsLossesRun Diff.Make PlayoffsWin DivisionWin World Series Orioles142160102-198<1<1<1 Indians15539567+13382%73%8% Based on 100,000 simulations of the 2019 MLB seasonSources: Baseball prospectus, Fangraphs, Clay Davenport Yankees15699765+14782%47%13% Blue Jays14827587-5592<1 Royals14517092-10342<1 The division race: The New York Yankees didn’t sign Manny Machado or Bryce Harper. But they didn’t need to: They have Aaron Hicks (4.8 wins above replacement1According a mix of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs’ competing versions of the metric. last season) and young, burgeoning stars Gleyber Torres (2.4) and Miguel Andujar (2.5). While they will be without staff ace Luis Severino (5.1) for some time, our forecast likes them just a bit more than the defending World Series champion Red Sox. The Yankees’ position players set the single-season record for home runs last year and could threaten their own mark this year. And in a game increasingly decided by bullpens, the Yankees might have the best ever. The Boston Red Sox have the reigning AL MVP in Mookie Betts (10.6) and another MVP-caliber bat in J.D. Martinez (6.1), leading a lineup that could pass for an All-Star team. If David Price (3.4) picks up where he left off in the World Series (1.98 ERA in 13 innings) and returns to levels he pitched earlier in his career, he could give the Red Sox another dominant ace alongside annual Cy Young contender Chris Sale (6.5). Fellow starter Nathan Eovaldi (who had 1.9 WAR and his best season in the underlying skills) gives the Red Sox another high-ceiling arm. The Red Sox have had success getting more out of pitchers like Eovaldi, Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes, which gives reason to believe they can overcome the losses of Kelly and Craig Kimbrel to free agency. Not only do the Tampa Bay Rays have the top farm system in the American League, according to Baseball America, but they won 90 games a year ago with the second-youngest position player group (27.1 years) in the league and the youngest pitching staff (27.1). The Rays have quietly put together one of the more talented rosters in the game that includes reigning AL Cy Young winner Blake Snell (6.2) and underrated star Tommy Pham (3.7). The Rays are a postseason sleeper team.The difference-makers: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. There’s nothing left for Vlad’s son to prove in the minor leagues. He hit .402 in Double-A last season and .381 across all levels. Most rate him as the game’s top prospect with elite bat-to-ball and power ability. The only thing that could slow him down is injury — and maybe the Blue Jays’ front office. He and fellow top 20 prospect Bo Bichette should be franchise cornerstones for an up-and-coming Blue Jays team. Once a highly touted prospect in Pittsburgh, Tyler Glasnow (0.8 WAR in 2018) came over to Tampa in the second half of last season in the Chris Archer deal. He’s always had command trouble but trimmed his walk rate in August while retaining his high strikeout rates. He has breakout potential if the Rays can help him optimize and harness his stuff. The Rays actually paid (gasp) for a talented free agent in Charlie Morton (3.2), who has an elite spin breaking ball and a high-velocity fastball. Morton, when healthy, has quietly emerged as a top-of-rotation talent. Top Rays pitching prospect Brent Honeywell, and his diverse pitch mix that includes a screwball, could be ready to help early in the season. New York landed the top arm available this winter in trading for James Paxton (3.3). Since his breakout 2017 season, Paxton ranks ranks sixth in the majors in strikeouts per nine innings (11.1)2Among pitchers who have thrown at least 150 innings. and 13th in wins above replacement per 200 innings (5.0). The Yankees also added elite reliever Adam Ottavino (2.3) — who actually began his dominant 2018 campaign in a Manhattan storefront — to an absolutely dominant bullpen that averaged 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings last season, a record.Gone tanking: The Baltimore Orioles The Orioles could be historically poor, but take solace in this, Orioles fans: Your club would still probably win the International League. Rays15258676+4642123 Angels15068082-72271 Avg. Simulated SeasonChance to… How Elo is forecasting the AL West race Based on 100,000 simulations of the 2019 MLB seasonSources: Baseball prospectus, Fangraphs, Clay Davenport TeamElo RatingWinsLossesRun Diff.Make PlayoffsWin DivisionWin World Series How Elo is forecasting the AL Central race Based on 100,000 simulations of the 2019 MLB seasonSources: Baseball prospectus, Fangraphs, Clay Davenport The division race: Because of an elite starting rotation, because Francisco Lindor (7.7 WAR) and Jose Ramirez (7.9) — if they can stay healthy — have become superstars by tapping into their pull-side power, because they reside in one of the weakest divisions ever … the Cleveland Indians are still heavy favorites in the AL Central despite one of the more disappointing offseasons in baseball. Only the Orioles and Reds spent less than the Indians’ $2.5 million in free agency. While the Indians can perhaps do nothing and still win the AL Central, they’ve been outclassed in the ALDS in each of the last two years — and the gap between the Indians and the Houston/New York/Boston super teams is perhaps growing. While the Indians are still slated to finish with the fifth-best record in baseball and 11 games ahead of the Twins in our projections, there are questions about their lineup after trading catcher Yan Gomes (2.5) and losing left fielder Michaely Brantley (3.5) to Houston in free agency. The Minnesota Twins are trying to close the gap with the Indians. Byron Buxton’s (-0.4) spring has offered hope that he could begin to tap into his offensive potential, and Eddie Rosario (3.5) is quietly emerging as a star. But third-year general manager Derek Falvey prides himself on developing pitchers, and that’s where the Twins are attempting to make up the most ground. The Twins’ starting pitchers ranked ninth last season in AL ERA (4.48) and fielding-independent pitching (4.54). (The top four AL teams in ERA and FIP all reached the postseason.)The difference-makers: The Twins signed Michael Pineda in December 2017 to a two-year deal despite knowing that he would miss all of 2018 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. They hoped the wait would be worth it to enjoy his bat-missing ability: He ranked seventh in swinging strike percentage in 2015-17. Martin Perez and his velocity spike and new cutter also looks like a find for the Twins, and the club signed free-agent Marwin Gonzalez (2.0) to a favorable deal. White Sox uber prospect Eloy Jimenez was the best bat in the minors last year not named Guerrero. He slashed .355/.399/.597 in Triple-A 55 games as a 21-year-old. The 6-foot-4, right-handed hitting outfielder will likely begin the season in the majors after agreeing to a seven-year contract last week, ensuring that the White Sox don’t suppress his service time. Jimenez was acquired from the north side in the Jose Quintana deal; the Chicago Cubs could regret the deal for years.Gone tanking: The Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox. While the White Sox’s collection of young talent might pay off down the road, they are unlikely to contend this season. The Royals have an even longer road ahead with no top 100 prospects, according to some analysts. The Tigers are also far from being relevant, but they hope they drafted a new ace and face of the franchise in Casey Mize, the No. 1 overall pick last June. The Houston Astros remain the model franchise in MLB entering 2019. They are on the cutting edge of player development and have built a club that won the 2017 World Series, won 103 games a year ago and project to win 98 games this season, according to our model, all while maintaining a farm system that has ranked fifth or better by Baseball America in three of the past four years. The Astros might be the best team in the game, and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon: They’ve locked up Alex Bregman (7.2 WAR) to a long-term deal, they feature a young core of Carlos Correa (1.7) and Jose Altuve (5.0) in their primes, and they have more riches on the way in outfield prospect Kyle “Ted” Tucker. They’ve become masters of acquiring pitchers, often high-spin-rate arms, and getting more out of them than other teams, including Justin Verlander (6.5), Gerrit Cole (5.5) and Ryan Pressly (2.0). The Los Angeles Angels and Mike Trout (10.0) essentially agreed to a lifetime contract earlier in March. While Trout has never won a playoff game, the second act of the Trout era in Anaheim is looking more promising. The Angels’ farm system is improving, and Shohei Ohtani (3.9) gives the club a second legit superstar if and when he can pitch and hit again. There’s work to do, but the Angels might have the most enviable pair of players in the game. You may not have heard of Oakland A’s third baseman Matt Chapman (7.3), but the two-way star was sixth in WAR for all batters last season. The A’s had the fourth-most efficient offense in part because no team hit fewer ground balls. Getting the ball off the ground is the A’s latest hidden edge. The big question for the A’s is what kind of production they’ll get from a rotation that lacks dominant, ace-type arms. In their bullpen, they have one of the most impressive arms in baseball in Blake Treinen (3.9).The difference-makers: Astros pitching prospect Josh James wasn’t even on prospect radars last spring, but by the end of the season, he had taken his 100-mph fastball and wipeout changeup to the majors. James is one reason that the Astros were probably comfortable in allowing starters Dallas Kuechel and Charlie Morton to depart. James will begin the year in the bullpen, but he could become an important part of the rotation. The Mariners might hasten their rebuild with the offseason signing of Yusei Kikuchi, one of the best pitchers in Japan over the past several seasons. Kikuchi has a swing-and-miss slider, and his fastball sits at 93 mph but can reach 98. The A’s acquired Jurickson Profar (2.5 WAR) from Texas, one of a number of lower-profile but potentially useful additions. Profar was once the top prospect in the game, but he has dealt with a number of injuries. Still, he’s been effective when on the field, posting a .793 on-base plus slugging last season.Gone tanking: The Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers. Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto restocked a weak farm system with the trades of Paxton, Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz this offseason, but the Mariners have a long way to go to compete with the Astros. While the Rangers are exploring some innovative practices with Driveline Baseball, they have a team that will be challenged at the major league level and a system that lacks a prospect that projects to be a future difference-maker. It’s a long road from the bottom of the AL West to the top. Avg. Simulated SeasonChance to… White Sox14577191-9153<1 Welcome to our two-part guide to the 2019 MLB season through the lens of our MLB prediction model. In each division, we’ll outline the key teams in the division race, discuss the incoming players who will make the biggest difference and classify the tanking teams you should ignore on principle. Here is our preview of the American League (click here for the National League): Astros15779864+16286%74%16% Tigers14436894-11942<1 Twins15088478+2636202 Mariners14937983-23186<1 Rangers14597092-1033<1<1 Red Sox15629567+13176399 Athletics15188379+2632112 read more

Jake Arrieta Is Not Your Normal Ace

Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta capped off his impressive Cy Young case with the first no-hitter of his career late last month. Arrieta’s 2015 résumé lists a 1.99 ERA, 19 wins and the third-most wins above replacement (WAR) in the league.1Here, I’m using Baseball Prospectus’s version of pitcher WAR, which is based on its new pitching statistic Deserved Run Average. This incredible year builds on a 2014 season in which he was one of the top 10 pitchers in baseball. So it’s no surprise that this year, Arrieta has confirmed he’s an ace. But how he became one isn’t the usual story of a phenom flying through the minors and into hitters’ nightmares. Instead, it’s the story of a guy who kept changing the way he threw a baseball until everything started to click into place.Two years ago, Arrieta was a near-replacement-level player, worth a win or so as a member of the Baltimore Orioles and Cubs. His career to that point had been lackluster. As a fifth-round draft pick, Arrieta had already exceeded expectations merely by making it to the majors, but his performance there hadn’t been especially impressive: Arrieta recorded a grand total of 3.1 WAR in 78 games spread over four years, never putting up an ERA better than 4.66.While Arrieta’s surface stats were static and unimpressive, his mechanics were busy evolving. Where a pitcher releases the ball is one of his most important characteristics: High release points establish more downward plane on the ball, causing a pitch to sink as it enters the zone; release points far to the left or right create more horizontal motion through the zone.Most of the time, the horizontal and vertical coordinates of a pitcher’s release point are fairly constant, determined largely by mechanics learned long before he made the majors. In Arrieta’s case, however, his release point changed the more time he spent in the bigs. Every year, Arrieta’s release point increased in height and moved further toward the third-base side of the pitching rubber. The total change is extreme: Arrieta moved his release horizontally across the rubber by nearly a foot and upward by nearly six inches. Since Arrieta didn’t get any taller or wider during that time, the variation in his release point means that his pitching mechanics changed.2It’s popular to attribute the change to Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio, who has had success in developing other pitchers, but it appears as though Arrieta began his transformation long before getting to Chicago. Release points change arm angles, and those in turn affect platoon splits, or how well a pitcher does against batters of different handedness. Sideways arm angles — the product of low release points — establish more horizontal movement, which can befuddle same-handed batters. Typically, pitchers perform better against same-handed batters, and before the 2013 season, Arrieta was no exception. But as his release point drifted upward, Arrieta, who is a right-hander, began to show a reverse split: For the past three years, he’s been better at getting lefties out than righties.Beyond the modified platoon split, Arrieta’s new release seems to have allowed him to develop a consistency he didn’t have before. The standard deviation of Arrieta’s release is substantially narrower than average (meaning he was more consistent) in 2015 and 2014, after being wider than average in all his previous seasons. Release point consistency is correlated with walk rate, and along with Arrieta’s more steady release came a profound improvement in command, from 4.90 walks per nine in 2013 to 2.08 in 2015.Arrieta’s release point evolution is extremely rare. In a given year, most pitchers sustain a game-to-game standard deviation in release point of only a single inch. (Think about that! Hundreds of times, pitchers perform a motion as violent as hurling a 95-mph fastball with a consistency of plus or minus a single inch!) Even from year to year, so practiced are their mechanics that pitchers vary their release points by merely 1.8 inches on average.3For these calculations, I used Pitch Info’s corrected release point coordinates, which adjust for calibration errors between parks.Arrieta is a different story. His largest single-year change (from 2012 to 2013) ranks in the 90th percentile of all players’ single-year changes since 2009.4I got that stat after z-score normalizing the average horizontal and vertical coordinates for each pitcher, in each year since 2009. I limited my analysis to pitchers who threw more than 1,250 pitches per season, eliminating relievers and partial seasons. That was done to ensure that the other pitchers in the data set could be fairly compared with Arrieta. Arrieta’s ongoing trend toward a higher and farther-right release point is even more impressive over a longer time period. Over any two years between 2009 and 2015, Arrieta’s release point change is in the 95th percentile; over three, only 13 pitchers made larger changes to their release point. Over four years, only eight pitchers5Out of the 203 pitcher-spans that qualified. experienced as much release point movement as Arrieta did.Those eight pitchers are very different from Arrieta. Many are pitchers who have suffered extensive injuries since 2010, including Brandon McCarthy (missed 417 days), Clay Buchholz (306), J.A. Happ (235) and Tommy Hanson (238).6All data on days missed comes courtesy of Baseball Prospectus, in particular Corey Dawkins’s manually curated injury database. The only pitcher on the list who has missed fewer days since 2010 than Arrieta (161) is Cole Hamels (101), but Hamels was already an established frontline starter in 2010. His evolution since then has been more about coping with the normal effects of age, as opposed to growing into an ace, as Arrieta has.Perhaps the best parallel for Arrieta is Blue Jays pitcher Marco Estrada, who missed 222 days. Like Arrieta, Estrada seems to have embarked upon a program of steadily moving his release upward, becoming more of an over-the-top arm slot. But unlike Arrieta, Estrada — who is also a right-hander — has moved toward the center of the rubber and away from third base. Whether that choice is at all related to Estrada’s lack of success (his 3.31 ERA and 4.50 FIP in 2015 are uninspiring) is an interesting question. Maybe, like 2013 Arrieta, Estrada is only a few inches of release point away from becoming an ace.What makes Arrieta unique is not that he changed as much as he did — it’s that the changes were associated with such a drastic improvement. Most of the time, a release point transformation like Arrieta’s is the product of injury. But in Chicago, Arrieta didn’t just change; he adapted into one of the best pitchers in the league. read more

201516 NBA Preview The Grizzlies Will Remain Good Not Great

The biggest obstacle Memphis must overcome to contend for a title is its barely above-average offense. The Grizzlies took the second-fewest threes in the league last season, which should have limited them to the highest-percentage shots, yet they still ranked near the bottom of the league in accuracy. And for all their low-post strength, they hardly ever tried to dunk. The Grizz usually have to find points the hard way, which eventually undid them against Golden State last year — their effective field goal percentage was well below the worst regular-season mark in the league in each of the series’ last three games. The same weakness could undo them against the very best Western teams in the playoffs again.With the help of CARMELO, here’s what’s in store for the key Grizzlies in 2015-16: Since coming to Memphis from Boston, Courtney Lee has been a solid but unspectacular No. 2, with good shooting efficiency and few turnovers — but also a low usage rate. On this veteran team, few veterans are as veteran as Zach Randolph. He showed no ill effects of aging last year — instead, he got better. Players like him, though, usually drop off quickly after a decade or more of low-post wear and tear. We’re inaugurating our NBA player projection system, CARMELO, with 2015-16 season previews for every team in the league. Check out the teams we’ve already previewed here. Learn more about CARMELO here. To bolster its veteran-heavy, defense-heavy, frontcourt-heavy roster, Memphis added … two veteran defensive forwards. Matt Barnes has aged well, as his 3-point-heavy style often does. Another former Celtic, Jeff Green was a regular contributor last year. But his days of above-replacement-level contributions could be over. The Memphis Grizzlies have emerged from the NBA-best West to reach the playoffs in eight of 15 seasons, including the last five. This past spring, they played the Warriors as tough as anybody, forcing Golden State to come back from down 2-1 in their conference semifinal series. This year, the Grizzlies have a good chance to reach 50 wins for the fourth straight season, thanks mostly to their defense. They’re strong and deep in the low post, they have a core that has played together for years, and they’ve added more than they subtracted in the offseason.FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO projection system expects them to go 51-31. Always a top-notch defender, Marc Gasol is increasingly comfortable shouldering a big part of the Grizzlies’ offensive load. He used the ball — shot it or turned it over — on nearly a quarter of possessions last year, while increasing his shooting accuracy and assist percentage. Is he on track for more improvements, like Larry Nance, or a Brad Miller-like rapid decline? Mike Conley remains Memphis’s best offensive player, but his defense has dropped off in recent years. He’s playing fewer minutes, and, when he’s on the floor, he’s getting fewer steals — which we like quite a lot around here. Brandan Wright should guarantee little defensive drop-off when he spells starters, but he’s another low-usage, high-efficiency player on offense. Memphis has too many of those and not enough players setting them up.Read more:NBA player projections2015-16 NBA Previews read more

Ohio State football player Tracy Sprinkle reinstated

Ohio State redshirt-freshman defensive lineman Tracy Sprinkle has been reinstated to the football program an OSU spokesman confirmed to The Lantern Monday evening.OSU coach Urban Meyer also confirmed at a Monday press conference following practice that Sprinkle had been reinstated, but said he will still face additional steps before he plays for the Buckeyes.“He lost his scholarship for the summer, so he’s going to have to pay for his scholarship,” Meyer said. “He’s going to be suspended for the first game. He’s got, every week, community service and a multitude of other things to take care of business before he’ll ever see the field.”Sprinkle was part of the morning session of the opening day of fall camp Monday.Sprinkle was arrested following an early morning fight outside a Lorain, Ohio bar July 5, and was originally charged with rioting, failure to disperse, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of cocaine before pleading no contest to a reduced failure to comply charge July 31.According to the court reports, Sprinkle received a 30-day suspended sentence in addition to a $500 fine and two years of probation. The felony charge for possession of cocaine was dropped.Meyer confirmed that Sprinkle’s reinstatement stemmed from the drug charges being dropped, in addition to his negative test for cocaine. Meyer said if anything had shown up on the drug test, Sprinkle would not have been part of the team going forward.The Elyria High School graduate has never appeared in a game for the Buckeyes after enrolling early and redshirting in 2013.OSU is scheduled to begin the 2014 season against Navy at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore Aug. 30. Kickoff is set for noon. read more

Ohio State field hockey season comes to a close with tourney loss

Members of the Ohio State field hockey team sing ‘Carmen Ohio’ after a 2-1 loss to Michigan on Nov. 2 at Buckeye Varsity Field.Credit: Grant Miller / Copy chiefOhio State field hockey fell short against top-seeded Maryland, 5-0, in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals Thursday morning in Ann Arbor, Mich.Maryland’s Sarah Sprink, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, scored a pair of goals in the victory. The junior defender started off the scoring 17 minutes into the game with a goal off a penalty corner from Big Ten Freshman of the Year, midfielder Moira Putsch.With less than 10 minutes to play in the half, Sprink was awarded a penalty stroke, and she connected to give Maryland a 2-0 lead at the half.The Terrapins (17-2, 7-1) didn’t hold up on their attack coming out of the half. Instead, they put the game away with a six-minute onslaught.Freshman defender Carrie Hanks scored in the 42nd minute off a crossing pass from Putsch to start Maryland’s second-half rally.Less than five minutes later, Sprink found space again and found junior midfielder Anna Dessoye for a tip-in goal.For good measure, senior forward Katie Gerzabek scored Maryland’s fifth goal with 22:39 to play to put the game out of reach for the Buckeyes.OSU was outshot, 22-7, and the Terrapins held an 8-3 advantage in penalty corners.Second-team All-Big Ten performer Peanut Johnson got three shots on goal during the game, but the Buckeye junior forward was not able to find the back of the net.OSU finished its season 6-12 after going 6-13 in 2013. The Buckeyes are set to return 12 freshmen next season, including leading scorer Maddy Humphrey, who finished the season with 32 points on 12 goals and eight assists.Johnson is also set to return for her senior season after finishing with a career-high 11 assists and combining with Humphrey for 59 points in 2014.Since defeating Indiana on the road to get coach Anne Wilkinson’s 300th victory, OSU lost four consecutive games to end the season.Maryland is set to face Penn State in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament on Friday at 1 p.m. at Phyllis Ocker Field in Ann Arbor, Mich. read more

Kam Williams careerhigh point output leads Ohio State to 9743 win over

After 10 minutes and seven seconds, the No. 12 Ohio State men’s basketball team had just a seven-point lead against High Point on Wednesday night.Redshirt-freshman guard Kam Williams (15) shoots the ball during a game against High Point on Dec. 10 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 97-43, behind a career-high 23 points from Williams.Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / For The LanternThen redshirt-freshman guard Kam Williams was subbed into the game.Less than a minute after taking the floor, Williams hit a pull-up 3-pointer, then tacked on another five points in just over two minutes. By halftime, he had 13 points on four-for-four shooting from the floor as the Buckeyes took a 43-24 lead into the break.After the game, Williams said his success shooting the ball stems from the work he puts in between games.“Well I try to take all of my shots in the flow of the offense, and the shots I was taking today I practice those everyday,” he said. “The key is when you’re practicing to just take game time reps so when the game time comes it’s a lot easier.”After the game, coach Thad Matta agreed that Williams was shooting within the offense, and not forcing his attempts, which comes from an understanding of his job on the court.“Kameron obviously had a hot hand. I think he only hit the rim once or twice. All of his shots came within the system. I thought he did a great job of adjusting,” Matta said. “Kameron has done a great job of understanding his role and what he needs to do.”OSU’s first-half surge helped the Buckeyes (7-1) to a 97-43 win over the Panthers (6-3) for their second win in a row since losing to then-No. 5 Louisville on Dec. 2.Freshman forward Jae’Sean Tate said the loss to the Cardinals — which came after a fun-win run to start the season — was used as a learning point for the Buckeyes.“It (the loss) was an eye-opener, but you can’t really just keep thinking about that,” Tate said after the game. “You just gotta get up the next day and try to get better.”After High Point hit a free throw early in the second half, the Buckeyes took over to extend their lead to 30 with 15:50 to play. The lead ballooned to 36 just over two minutes later and then to 40 points with more than 10 minutes to play.By the 10-minute mark, Williams and freshman guard D’Angelo Russell each had 16 points to lead all players as the Buckeyes already had five different players in double digits.With 9:11 to play, sophomore forward Marc Loving hit two free throws, meaning all 10 OSU players to take the court had registered at least one point.Matta said he would like for the Buckeyes to keep up a balanced scoring output, but knows that won’t necessarily always be the case.“It is something that you hope can continue. We are going to play games where maybe we don’t have as many possessions or whatever,” Matta said. “The more balance you have as a basketball team, the better you can become down the stretch and without question, getting five guys in double figures, almost six is something that as a coach, it excites you.”Williams tacked on another four points in a row to give the Buckeyes an 85-41 lead with about six minutes to play. Those four points — coming on two mid-range jump shots — made him a 20-point scorer for the first time in his collegiate career.OSU shot 62.5 percent from the field, compared to a 32.1 percent clip from the Panthers.To go along with Williams’ instant-offense in the first half, Russell tallied 11 points in the opening 20 minutes as the Buckeyes shot 55.2 percent from the floor and made four of their first seven 3-point attempts.On its way to a 19-point first half lead, OSU outrebounded High Point, 23-11, and benefited from an eight-point advantage in points off the bench.Williams’ career-high 23 points led all players as Russell added 18 for OSU. Tate, senior guard Shannon Scott and senior forward Sam Thompson each finished in double figures as well, with 12, 11 and 10 points, respectively.Williams said the Buckeyes can be a dangerous team when every player on the floor successfully executes their role.“That’s the biggest key,” he said. “If everybody on our team does their job and brings energy, we’re gonna be a hell of a basketball team.”Williams finished the game eight-of-10 from the floor and four-of-five from beyond the 3-point arc.High Point redshirt-junior guard John Brown finished second in the game with 19 points.After outscoring his closest opponent by four points, Williams said he’s always had success as a shooter on the basketball court.“All my life that’s what I’ve been known to do, is put the ball in the bucket,” he said. “And that’s something that I’ve always had a knack for, so to me it wasn’t really a surprise.”Tate added that his teammate’s success shooting the ball wasn’t a shock to him, either.“He does that every day,” Tate said.The Buckeyes are set to return to the Schottenstein Center on Saturday to take on Morehead State at 1 p.m. read more

Mens Volleyball No 3 Ohio State sweeps No 8 Penn State 30

Junior setter Sanil Thomas sets the ball during the second set of No. 3 Ohio State’s match against No. 8 Penn State on Jan. 28, 2018 in St. John Arena. The Buckeyes defeated the Nittany Lions in straight sets (25-19, 25-15, 25-17) to pick up their fifth win of the season. Credit: Aliyyah Jackson | Senior ReporterThe No. 3 Ohio State Men’s volleyball team (5-2) swept No. 8 Penn State (3-2) in straight sets, winning 3-0 Sunday night at St. John Arena.Head coach Pete Hanson said prior to the game, his team did not know what type of line-up to expect from Penn State due to an injured Nittany Lion, but that the Buckeyes still prepared for a tough match in the days leading up.“The last few days in practice, it was a lot about our blocking and our defense in terms of, when we got Penn State into trouble, could we win that point by blocking them?” Hanson said. “Could we win that point by digging the ball and then letting Sanil set a hitter and kill that ball?” Ohio State came out aggressive and big on the net in the first set, setting the tone for the rest of the match by winning 25-19. As a team, the Buckeyes hit .500, swinging hard from the middle and wing positions, while committing only two service errors in the first set. Powerful serves by Ohio State challenged Penn State’s defense and forced out of system plays for the Nittany Lions. Ohio State redshirt junior middle blocker Blake Leeson stayed ready on the net, putting down at least three of Penn State’s overpasses. Redshirt freshman opposite Jake Hanes and senior outside hitter Maxime Hervoir had seven and five kills, respectively, in the first set, to contribute to the Buckeyes’ effective offense. Senior outside hitter Nicolas Szerszen had five of Ohio State’s seven digs in the set. Ohio State showed improved stats in both blocks and digs from previous matches. Szerszen said the Buckeyes have been spending time in practice trying to improve in blocking and controlling the ball for stronger counter-attacks.“We want to serve tough. When we serve tough the other team struggles and then it’s easier for us to get blocks and digs,” Szerszen said. “It’s really frustrating when we do that and then we don’t get those blocks or digs and counter-attack on them. The first couple matches we struggled a little bit with that.”The Buckeyes got off to a slower start in the second set. They battled Penn State point-by point until the two were tied at 14 when Szerszen scored a kill for the side-out and served for an eight-point run. After a service error, Penn State got the ball back, but lost it in the next play when Leeson put the ball down for Ohio State. Though Penn State provided stiff competition for the first half of the second set, Ohio State’s aggressive offense picked back up in the second half, shutting down the Nittany Lions. Penn State redshirt sophomore setter Luke Braswell, named last week’s EIVA player of the week for averaging 9.86 assists per set and helping his team hit an overall hitting percentage of .522, had only four assists in the second set. The team hit a .409 in the second set with six kills and six attacking errors. Penn State lost the second set by 10 points, 25-15.Ohio State started the third set with a large presence on the net, a stark contrast to Penn State’s diminished energy. The Buckeyes hit a .520, with which Penn State could not keep up. The Nittany Lions raised their hitting percentage to .125, but had only eight kills. Ohio State finished the set quickly, beating Penn State 25-17 and sealing the match victory.Topping the kill leaderboard were Hanes (16), Hervoir (10) and Szerszen (9). Ohio State junior setter Sanil Thomas had fewer assists than usual, but still topped the leaderboard with 29. Szerszen’s 10 digs were the most in the match and Leeson finished first in blocks with four. read more

Junior doctors strikes could be on brink of collapse amid crunch talks

first_imgJeremy Hunt is due to impose a new contract on junior doctors from October  One said: “We have to find a way out of this, even if we take all night. If we pursue strikes on this scale it will end up killing people. There is no way that we should be contemplating action like this about a dispute on terms and conditions.”Another said: “To go ahead with five-day strikes would be unthinkable – I’m not sure the NHS could survive it.”Leaked documents have recently revealed a limited appetite for strike action. Junior doctors’ strikes could be on the brink of collapse, with a crunch union meeting today to decide whether to end the NHS industrial dispute, amid a growing backlash.Thousands of medics have been urged to take part in a string of week-long walkouts, starting next month, in action which was billed as “the trade union dispute of this century”.However, the first such strike, planned for this week, was suspended following warnings that the health service could not operate safely if so many doctors walked out at short notice.Today the council of the British Medical Association (BMA) will hold all-day talks to discuss whether to call off three more such strikes planned between now and Christmas.Such decisions could bring to an end a bitter year-long dispute, which has already seen more than 150,000 operations and appointments cancelled. Within days, the first strike was abandoned, following pleas from the head of the General Medical Council and the NHS medical director that the walkouts were too risky.Today the council will meet again, to reconsider plans for three more strikes, which are due to start on October 5th.Last night, BMA insiders said there was increasing concern within the union about the damage which could be caused by repeated strikes. Since then, private polling of junior doctors has found just one in three support walkouts.Last month Dr Yannis Gourtsoyannis, a member of the BMA’s junior doctors committee, described the strikes as the “trade union dispute of this century”.On Tuesday, in a message to junior doctors, he urged them to put pressure on the union to go ahead with the strikes, describing the situation as an emergency.In a message on a junior doctors’ Facebook group, he wrote: “Council so far has been absolutely fantastic at supporting juniors. There are however new forces at play which may well result in some wavering on the part of Council.” Eddie Mulholland Junior doctors were initially balloted about a new contract last November, when they voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action to reject changes to pay and working patterns.However since then there have been a series of concessions, resulting in terms which the head of the union’s junior doctors committee described as “fair” and “safe.”In recent weeks, a number of junior doctors have expressed concern that they have never been asked if wish to strike over the current deal, let alone take part in week-long walkouts. The union’s senior members are deeply divided on whether or not to embark on the most extreme strike action in the history of the NHS.Two weeks ago, the BMA’s Council agreed to hold four five-day strikes, after a knife-edge vote between 27 voting members.The announcement triggered an immediate backlash from thousands of junior doctors, with opposition from the leaders of Britain’s royal medical colleges and falling support for medics from the public.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Lose weight without dieting simple 10minute game retrains brain to avoid junk

first_imgStudio manager Fiona Furness was one of the first to trial the game and has lost two stone in weight so far, dropping from 11 stone to nine stone. Mrs Furness, who is in her 50s, said the “pounds just melted way.”“The results have been remarkable,” she said. “I used to feel really guilty about my bad snacking habits. I’d often be rushing about, and I’d grab something high calorie and unsatisfying – often a packet of crisps. I’d be hungry again really soon afterwards so it became a vicious cycle. “These days, if I am feeling peckish I’ll go for a banana or a pack of almonds. That’s the food I’m craving. I’m now closer to nine stone than 11 – the pounds just melted away over eight or nine months without me even noticing. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Prof Natalia Lawrence  The game works by flashing up pictures of healthy and unhealthy food and the user has to react by only pressing on the healthy foods to score points. The simple act of ignoring unhealthy foods, and stimulating the reward response to healthy foods is enough to retrain the brain into craving healthier options, say scientists. A study of 83 adults showed that people who played the game online just four  times in one week lost weight and ate an average of 220 kcal less per day – roughly equivalent to a chocolate-iced doughnut.  “It’s very exciting to see that our free and simple training can change eating habits and have a positive impact on some people’s lives,” said Dr Lawrence.“In an age where unhealthy food is so abundant and easily available and obesity is a growing health crisis, we need to design innovative ways to support people to live more healthily.”We are optimistic that the way this app is devised will actually encourage people to opt for healthy food such as fruit and vegetables rather than junk food.” Prof Natalia Lawrence  “The weight loss wasn’t really my goal though – I feel younger and more energetic. Perhaps I’m particularly susceptible to this kind of brain training, but it has been transformative for me.” Nearly two thirds of adults in Britain are overweight or obese, and the UK is forecast to be the fattest country in Europe within 10 years Users of the app, who should ideally use it for a few minutes a day without distractions, can tailor it to reduce compulsions to unhealthy food they have most problem with, as well as alcohol, but not to reduce consumption of healthy foods including vegetables.  The scientists have launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise up to £5,000 to develop the app, this week made available for Android devices, into an app that can be used on iPhones and iPads. A game which trains the brain to avoid unhealthy food such as cakes, biscuits and chocolate can lead to ‘pain free’ weight loss and cut energy intake by more than 200 calories a day, scientists have said. Psychologists at the University of Exeter showed that less than ten minutes a day of ‘brain training’ using a game which takes away the ‘mental reward’ of sugary and fatty foods, reduces calorie intake. Professor Natalia Lawrence’s Food Trainer app is free and is being launched this week on Android devices.It is based on neuroscience research which suggests people are more inclined to choose fatty and sugary foods because they activate the brain’s reward system, stimulating the release of dopamine and endorphins, which can produce feelings of pleasure and make the person want more.last_img read more

Average GP now works 35 days a week and just one in

Patients’ groups said the rise of the part-time GP was “terrifying” given the national shortage of family doctors – fuelling ever longer waits for an appointment. But GPs said the job has become so intense that full-time working was increasingly “untenable”. The average GP now works less than three-and-a-half days a week – and just one in 20 trainee doctors intends to do the job full-time, research shows. The survey of more than 2,000 family doctors shows that on average, they are now carrying out 6.7 half-day sessions a week – the lowest figure on record. Patients’ groups said family doctors were lucky to be able to opt for part-time hours, with average earnings of more than £100,000 for a GP…–– ADVERTISEMENT –– read more

Annual Theatre Awards cancelled after opera shortlisted for prize consisted of all

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. An annual theatre awards ceremony has been axed for good after a row about a “racist” opera.Last year, the Wales Theatre Awards came under fire for shortlisting an opera which cast white people in non-white roles. This caused great controversy at the time, and the National Theatre Wales pulled out of the ceremony in protest.After the criticism failed to die down, the 2019 ceremony and all future award shows have been cancelled.The 2018 awards shortlisted The Golden Dragon for a prize, despite the controversy it had caused during its 2017 tour, in which it was accused of “yellowface.”In the opera, white performers play Asian characters working in a Chinese takeaway.The opera was written by Peter Eötvös, a Hungarian, and based on a script by German playwright Roland Schimmelpfennig. The cast plays roles including “Chinese mother”, “Chinese aunt”, “Old Asian” and “An Asian”.Kumiko Mendl, the artistic director of Yellow Earth Theatre, which champions east Asian performers, said at the time that the performance was “another frankly disappointing and incomprehensible case of yellowface”.At the beginning of this year, more than 40 professionals from within the live performance industry signed an open letter criticising the inclusion of the opera.The letter read: “It is our firm belief that in 2018, a convenient or ignorant casting practice is no longer acceptable and it should certainly not be rewarded with accolades.“Globally in our industry there is finally a significant appetite for change on this and other structural inequalities. We in Wales do not want to be left behind.”The Wales Theatre Awards defended its choice at the time, adding that the shortlist was decided by a wide range of judges.The ceremony went ahead, and organisers planned for the next awards, due to be held at the Blackwood Miners’ Institute on 2 February 2019However, the criticism reared its head again when Wales Arts Review wrote that the BAME community had been “failed” by the shortlisting, and pointed out the muted response to criticism.Now, the awards, which have been taking place since 2013, will no longer continue.The ceremony’s director Mike Smith said: “In relation to the motives or agenda of the blogger who made a recent attack on the arts community in relation to the awards on an online literary website, we have no comment to make.”Our responsibility is to protect the arts community and reviewers from any further hostility.” read more

Braveheart plot query Bangkok massage haggling and Strictly updates the oddest Foreign

Hello – is that the British Embassy? Good. I’ve got some questions about Braveheart. Between January and November, the Foreign Office received more than 330,000 calls from British citizens overseas desperate for help. Some 5,000 had been arrested in a foreign country and touching base to try and get themselves out of the bleak hole they found themselves in. Others – around 3,400 – had ended up in hospital and were scrambling for a steer on how to avoid drowning in hospital bills. –– ADVERTISEMENT ––But for some Britons overseas, there were much more pressing issues. Vampires, Strictly Come Dancing and a Bangkok massage parlour have all featured in the oddest requests made to embassy officials.The Foreign Office (FCO) has revealed some of the more unusual appeals for help it has received this year, including a man asking if vampires were in Poland because a woman he was due to meet for a date asked for his blood type.A caller from the USA asked which contestant had been voted off Strictly the previous night, someone in the Netherlands had questions about the plot of Braveheart while a man in Argentina requested a list of women who he might be able to marry.Another man in Thailand wanted help as he argued against paying for a massage after falling asleep during it.Talk of the British High Commission in New Delhi selling vegetarian sausages prompted one man to call and someone in the Canary Islands wanted help persuading his hotel to give him a new room after a stray cat had “broken into” his original one and urinated on his bed.An FCO spokesman said: “I can regretfully confirm that the Foreign Office isn’t able to offer advice on vampires, rogue stray cats or Strictly contestants. And our capacity to deploy veggie sausages remains sadly lacking.”But in all seriousness, getting into trouble abroad can be daunting and upsetting.”If you find yourself in an emergency in another country, contact the nearest British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate and our consular staff will do everything they can to help.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Jodie Chesney murder suspects remanded in custody

Jodie Chesney died in a park in east London Jodie Chesney died in a park in east London Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Purple ribbons were tied to trees and railings outside the court and also at the Old Bailey, where a second suspect appeared on Monday.Croatian national, Manuel Petrovic, who has also been charged with murdering Jodie, was also remanded in custody.The 20-year-old who lives in Romford appeared at the Old Bailey via videolink on Monday morning following his arrest last week.He was wearing a yellow and green tracksuit jacket and spoke only to confirm his address, date of birth and nationality. Mr Petrovic lives a 10-minute drive from the park in Harold Hill where Jodie was stabbed in the back on March 1. He was arrested on suspicion of murder in Leicester last Tuesday.Members of his family were sat in the front row of the public gallery, facing a large screen which showed Mr Petrovic sitting in a blue prison room.He did not enter a plea when he appeared at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court on Saturday.Today Petrovic was remanded in custody until his next appearance at the Old Bailey in September.Prosecutor Brett Weaver said: “I am sure you’re aware that a second defendant has been charged and was heard today in a lower court.”Judge, Nicholas Hilliard responded: “I have received your submissions and I am familiar with those.“There has been no application for bail so he will be remanded in custody.” Manuel Petrovic appeared at the Old Bailey charged with murder A 16-year-old boy charged with the murder of Jodie Chesney has been remanded in custody.The suspect, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared for a short hearing at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court on Monday.He stood in the dock wearing a grey Puma hoodie and wiped tears from his face as the charge was read out.The boy was flanked by three security staff and spoke only to confirm his name, address and date of birth.Chairing the bench, Greg Nottage said: “I know you’re looking very upset but listen carefully, this matter will be sent to the Central Criminal Court tomorrow.”He will appear at the Old Bailey at 10am on Tuesday. Police made four more arrests on Sunday including an 18-year-old from Romford on suspicion of murder.A 50-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman, both from Dagenham and a 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.Jodie died of her injuries at 11.30pm – just over one hour after emergency services were called to the park.A post-mortem examination concluded she died of trauma and haemorrhage. Manuel Petrovic appeared at the Old Bailey charged with murderCredit:PA read more

Trans lawyer tries to stop Catholic journalist tweeting her as she seeks

A transgender lawyer is trying to stop a Catholic journalist sending tweets to her by seeking an anti-harrassment injunction through the High Court.Stephanie Hayden, a commentator and activist who is legally female, alleges that Caroline Farrow sent her hundreds of tweets over the course of several days.Mrs Farrow is a mother of five with strong religious views who has previously made headlines for a separate clash with the transgender community. It is claimed by Ms Hayden that she was subjected to unsavoury accusations during the course of the alleged episode on social media. An application was made to the High Court for an anti-harassment injunction against Mrs Farrow, it is understood.Mr Justice Waksman decided a further hearing should be held which gave the journalist an opportunity to offer her side of the story and issued an order to be delivered to her personally.Ms Hayden wrote on Twitter: “Today I served an Order of the High Court with the authority and authorisation of a High Court Judge. I have no further statement to make.”Both women have previously been involved in high-profile rows over transgender identity.Mrs Farrow was asked to attend a voluntary police interview after she allegedly used the wrong pronoun when referring to another campaigner’s transgender daughter. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Ms Hayden, meanwhile, sued the writer of Father Ted, Graham Linehan, for allegedly publishing tweets “deliberately misgendering” her. Mrs Farrow told The Telegraph said she refused to take the papers when Ms Hayden attempted to visit her. She claimed she did not know the substance of the allegations. Mrs Farrow added she was “shocked” by the allegations – which she denies – and said she was “alarmed” by the decision of Ms Hayden to visit her in person.Ms Hayden said she left the order on her doorstep and had taken a photo of it to demonstrate an effort had been made to deliver the order. The legal papers inform Mrs Farrow that a hearing will take place in the High Court to consider the matter at 2pm on Thursday.   read more

Increase in ethnic minority honours making little difference on the ground says

London teenager Stephen Lawrence, who was murdered in a racist attack on April 22, 1993, aged 18Credit:Stephen Lawrence family A high profile ethnic minority recipient of this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours says that while the diversity of those recognised has improved it has made little difference to the lives of thousands of disadvantaged young people.This year’s honours includes one of the highest number of ethnic minority people in recent years – at 10.4 per cent of the total – with awards going to campaigners against racism, female genital mutilation and job discrimination.The range of awards to Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals is understood to reflect outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May’s determination that the honours system should “remove barriers to success and work to tackle discrimination”.But Sonia Watson, the chief executive of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, has criticised the lack of social mobility in Britain, saying that ethnic minority youngsters are still being excluded from top jobs and professions.Ms Watson, who receives an OBE for services to diversity in architecture, told The Telegraph: “It’s certainly encouraging that more BAME people are being recognised, compared to a decade ago, but statistically very little has changed.“We’re still not getting young people who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, particularly those from ethnic minorities,  into play. They are still not getting a seat at the table.” Holocaust survivors George Hans Vulkan, Ernest Simon, Walter Kammerling and Ruzena Levy, at the Jewish Museum London Nimco Ali, who has been awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to tackling FGM and gender inequality Ms Watson works through the trust set up in the name of the murdered London teenager to help disadvantaged BAME youngsters fulfill his dream of becoming an architect.But she points out that  less than a quarter of board members of FTSE 100 companies are women, and less than seven per cent come from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds.At the same time  black graduates are around twice as likely as white graduates to be unemployed and only 1 in 15 people in a management position are from BAME backgrounds.Particularly damning is the fact that at the time of his death in 1993 ethnic minority youngsters like Stephen had only a 1 per cent chance of becoming an architect and that figure is now slightly lower.“Something has changed visually in terms of more ethnic minority people like me being recognised, and that is welcome, but the reality on the ground is very poor when it comes to people’s opportunities.  We have a lot of work to do,” added Ms Watson. “With the help of everybody in this country we’ll start to see the real change that Stephen wanted to inspire.”Others from an ethnic minority to be recognised in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours include Nimco Ali and Leyla Hussein, who receive OBEs for their work at the forefront of the global campaign against female genital mutilation (FGM). Nimco Ali, who has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to tackling FGM and gender inequalityCredit:Stefan Rousseau/PA London teenager Stephen Lawrence, who was murdered in a racist attack on April 22, 1993, aged 18 Holocaust survivors George Hans Vulkan, Ernest Simon, Walter Kammerling and Ruzena Levy, at the Jewish Museum LondonCredit:Yui Mok/PA Ms Ali and Dr Hussein, who are of Somali origin, both suffered FGM at an early age and have dedicated themselves to ending the practice and encouraging women to take the lead in speaking out against it.Dr Hussein, the global ambassador for the UK aid funded The Girl Generation, which is helping to build an African led movement against FGM, said: “FGM is not a cultural or religious practice, it is actually violence against women to stop them experiencing pleasure.“I hope other places around the world will see the government funding and recognition our organisations receive as a great example.”Ms Ali who set up the UK’s first FGM helpline with the NSPCC, pointed out that 147,000 women in the UK had suffered FGM, adding: “I’m proud to be Somalian, I’m proud to be British, I’m proud to be Muslim. FGM has no part in those cultures. I’m honoured to receive this [OBE] on behalf of those African women who are fighting FGM.”Also recognised is Simon Woolley, the founder of Operation Black Vote, who receives a knighthood for his work in encouraging BAME communities to take more part in the political process; Cush Jumbo, the star of The Good Wife, who receives an MBE; and Chris Ramsey, who receives an MBE for services to football and diversity in sport.Mr Ramsay’s work as a coach with Tottenham Hotspur, Queens Park Rangers and England’s under-20 and under-17 squads paved the pay for other black coaches in the game. But he warned that the racism he experienced as a footballer in the late 70s and 80s “has never gone away”.’Time to honour all Holocaust survivors’ All those who survived the horrors of the Holocaust should be honoured before it is too late, a leading campaigner has said after seven survivors were named in the birthday honours list.Walter Kammerling, 95, Ernest Simon, 89, Gabrielle Keenaghan, 92, Ruzena Levy, 89, Ann and Bob Kirk, 90 and 94, and George Hans Vulkan, 89, will all receive British Empire medals for their dedication to Holocaust remembrance and education, which has seen them tell their painful stories to more than 100,000 schoolchildren around the country. Other survivors have been recognised in the past, but with many now frail and elderly there is an urgency to the need to make sure all are honoured, particularly at a time of “rising anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and hate”, said Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust.The number of direct Holocaust survivors still alive in Britain is now estimated by the trust to be in the “low hundreds”.Ms Pollock said: “Though smaller in number, there are still survivors who continue to share their testimony, they work hard to educate about the holocaust, who have yet to receive national recognition, and I hope that they too will be rightly recognised while we still can.”It is my view that all survivors who have not yet been recognised for their efforts should be.”Mrs Levy, 89, who survived the Auschwitz Nazi death camp in German-occupied Poland as a teenager, continues to speak in schools despite suffering nightmares every time she shares her memories of the ordeal.She said: “It all makes me suffer, by the fact that I think about it too much beforehand and certainly relive it afterward, but I’m glad to do it, I get very good feedback from children, lovely letters and reports from teachers (about) how much good it has done, and that is satisfying.”The 89-year-old, who now lives in Golders Green, north London, added: “The honour is a great surprise and appreciated by me and my family, and I’m proud for them.”Mrs Levy’s daughter, Shelley, 56, said: “She feels that it’s very, very important and she’s running out of time, and she needs to make the most of every day and talk when she can.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? 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GECOM Chairmanship Opposition Govt discussion unfruitful

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedGECOM FIASCO: Opposition, Govt Attorneys to meet next weekFebruary 2, 2017In “Politics”GECOM Chair: New list will be submitted soon- TeixeiraMarch 29, 2017In “latest news”PM contradicts President’s position on nominations for GECOM chairmanshipJanuary 30, 2017In “Politics” … AG unprepared, requests more time for interpretation of Constitution – NandlallThe much anticipated meeting between Government and Opposition representatives to iron out the interpretation of the Constitution with regards to the appointment of a Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) got underway on Wednesday and was proven to be unfruitful.Attorney-at-Law Anil NandlallThe Opposition appointed Attorneys – Priya Manickchand and former Attorney General Anil Nandlall – met with Attorney General Basil Williams SC, following a proposal made by President David Granger to Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, for legal minds from the two sides to meet and discuss the appointment of a GECOM Chairman.When contacted on Wednesday, Attorney General Williams told Guyana Times that during the meeting, he heard submissions by Nandlall and asked for some time to review the submissions in order to arrive at a proper conclusion.“I spoke with Mr Nandlall respectfully, he made his contention and he cited authorities; and I said I’ll take what you say safely by reading the authorities and then we’ll respond to his submissions,” Williams stated.Attorney General Basil WilliamsIn a statement released later to the media, Williams posited “I could have indicated to him when you look at constrained, the provisions, one: “there shall” – it’s mandatory it tells that you must first look at the mandatory provisions, which deal with descending order: judge, retired judge, person who could be appointed a judge, who is qualified to be a judge and the …any other fit and proper person and so I could have done that and said, ‘Well I don’t agree with your interpretation but I’m doing better than that because it’s not a question of Mr. Nandlall and I. It’s a question of the people of Guyana and the question of the proper law to be applied for the future in relation these matters.”  Meanwhile, in a statement to the media, Nandlall disclosed that during the meeting, the Opposition lawyers proffered their interpretation of Article 161 of the Constitution, in writing, and supported their position with a number of case law authorities from Guyana, the Caribbean and the Commonwealth.However, Nandall pointed out that the Attorney General was “unprepared” to put forward his or the Government’s interpretation of Article 161 of the Constitution, despite several requests for him to do so.“Instead, he indicated that he will need time to interpret our contentions and prepare his response. All of the interpretations offered by us (Wednesday) were fully and publicly ventilated in the media… I am disappointed by the lack of preparedness of the Attorney General, which resulted in nothing tangible emerging from the engagement,” the former AG asserted.Nandlall went on to say in his statement that “Quite frankly, I was hoping that the Attorney General would have been ready with his position on the matter today (Wednesday); that may have resulted in this matter being concluded with dispatch and decisively. In the meanwhile, Guyana’s democracy continues to hang in the balance.”Moreover, Nandlall stated that the Attorney General could not identify a date for a second engagement on the issue, which the Opposition considers a matter of great national importance. “The meeting ended with the Attorney General being unable to identify another date available in his diary for us to meet again,” he noted.Last week, President David Granger said he is anxiously awaiting the outcome of dialogue between the two sides.“I’m anxious to move ahead, it’s a constitutional office… I have asked them to meet and see in what ways we can have a common interpretation of the Constitution. In the final analysis, it’s a constitutional matter and I felt that the Constitution was quite clear so if there was any opaqueness or obscurity, I hope that the meeting between the two Attorneys would clarify that,” the President asserted.The Head of State further maintained that he was correct in his interpretation of the Constitution that the nominees for GECOM chairmanship must be a judge or have qualifications equivalent to that of a judge.“…as I said, my interpretation of the Constitution was quite clear. I’m not saying that the person has to be a judge, but if you read the whole article of that Constitution, it intends that the person must possess certain qualities and we are looking for those qualities,” he posited.The controversy on the matter revolves around the different interpretations of the Opposition Leader and the Government on Article 161 (2) on the appointment of a new GECOM Chairman.The Opposition’s understanding conforms to the updated Constitution which incorporates the Carter formula to have a democratic process for the appointment of a chairman.Granger’s interpretation, on the other hand, seems to reflect the old 1980 Constitution which limits the pool of persons to be appointed to GECOM’s helm to only judges or those eligible to be a judge. read more