Linkedin Twitter WhatsApp Facebook Advertisement Previous articleLimerick Chamber’s referral networkNext articleWine appreciation – join a 6 week course admin NewsThe book of seduction by Moet & ChandonBy admin – January 23, 2009 841 Moët & Chandon has launched, ‘The Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial Book of Seduction’ gift set and it will be available for a limited time only, exclusively from O’Briens Wines Nationwide. Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up Along with a bottle of Rosé Impérial, come two tulip-shaped flutes, one pink and one black, on a luminously transparent tray, perfect expressions of ying and yang. To initiate the ritual of romance with a dash of mischief, a set of Moët & Chandon “seduction” dice have been inscribed with sensual commands. Covered with a pink satin-finished sleeve wrapped with a glossy black band, the case is lined with a textured motif inspired by Moët & Chandon’s exclusively commissioned Toile de Jouy. From February 2009, the Moët & Chandon Book of Seduction gift set is available exclusively from O’Briens Wines nationwide and online @ www.wine.ie and retails at 55 euro. Email Print
Student P. Owen Freeman, 2018 valedictorian of GUMS: “If proper mechanisms and priorities needed are ordered and maintained, we will not experience such devastating results, as it was during these last exams.”The student who duxed this year’s Ganta United Methodist High School has called on the government to address the challenges posed by the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) to the student community by improving education facilities across the country.Student Owens P. Freeman spoke at the school’s recent commencement in Ganta, Nimba County.Freeman said the lack of well equipped libraries, laboratories and other education facilities that could enhance teaching and learning pose serious constraints to students who sit public tests, such as the WASSCE.He said: “If proper mechanisms and priorities needed are ordered and maintained, we will not experience such devastating results, as it was during these last exams.”“We need well equipped libraries, laboratories that offer modernity and civility in all the high schools across the country,” the young valedictorian said.The valedictorian has urged all his fellow students to stop engaging in unwholesome acts.“I want we the students to put aside unnecessary and unacceptable behaviors of drinking alcoholic beverages, smoking and maintaining unintelligent and undisciplined conduct,” he said.“We need to desist from worldly goods, for social pleasantries have destroyed our future and the future of our country,” he added.Student Freeman, who spoke on the topic, “Education, the Hope for a Greater and Prosperous Future,” quoted the late Professor Albert Einstein that, “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of minds.”He challenged his friends to cultivate their minds with positive attitudes, for the mind is full of treasures and prosperity that our country and the rest of the global world can benefit from, if you set your agenda straight, he concluded.The Ganta United Methodist High School on July 29, graduated about 88 students.The Acting School Principal, James Y. Korlorblee, also called on the government to provide financial support to all schools as faith-based and private schools were giving a boost to government’s efforts.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Donegal County Council has announced it is to grit all primary road routes across the county tonight as temperatures plunge once more.It comes as temperatures across the country look set to dip with wintry weather and even snow forecast during next week.Snow could hit parts of the country next week as our freezing cold winter begins. Sub-zero temperatures will prevail in the nights ahead, before rain turns to sleet and snow as early as Monday.Meanwhile, cold and wet condition are expected in the coming days.A Met Eireann spokesman said “Tonight showers will continue for a time before dying out later. Under clear skies fog and frost is likely to form away from Atlantic coasts. Lowest temperatures of -1 to +3 degrees. Winds will ease overnight.“Sunday will be dry and bright at first with some sunshine. Later in the day, cloud will thicken from the west followed by rain in the late afternoon or evening here. “The rain will spread across the country during the evening. Highest temperatures of 8 to 11 degrees. Light southeast winds will increase moderate to fresh as the day goes on with strong winds along Atlantic coasts by evening.”“Wednesday will start mostly dry but rain will move in from the west later in the day. With low afternoon temperatures, the rain could turn to sleet or snow on higher ground.”ALL routes will be gritted across the county from 9pm until 9am tonight and tomorrow morning.The routes include:06: Inishowen West04: Inishowen South01: National Primary North02: National Primary Central03: National Primary South07: Milford South08: Milford North09: Cill Ulta East10: Cill Ulta West11: Na Rosa12: Binswilly13: Stranorlar North14: Stranorlar East15: Stranorlar West16: Donegal West17: Donegal North18: Donegal South19: Donegal National Secondary05: Inishowen EastBT: Buncrana TownLT: Letterkenny Town Roads to be gritted tonight as snow forecast later in the week was last modified: November 9th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalgrittersnow
QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Trust is also important, Kiraly explained to the local coaches. It spills over to allowing assistants to teach and have a say in how things are run. “You might get sick one day and your assistant needs to take over,” Kiraly said.All sports should make an effort like that of the PSL to continuously look for ways to upgrade their game. And with Karch Kiraly’s visit, you get lessons not only on how to play but a serving as well of the values indispensable for team success. PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd PLAY LIST 02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd03:06‘Pamana’: Mausoleum caretaker cherishes humble work for family00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC MOST READ Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding LATEST STORIES Karch Kiraly. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOUnited States national women’s volleyball coach and three-time Olympic gold medalist Karch Kiraly was clearly delighted that the Philippine volleyball community knew him very well.“I covered you in the 1988 Seoul Olympics,” I told Kiraly as we were introduced by Philippine Superliga president Tats Suzara. “That surely dates us,” Kiraly smiled back. ESPN 5 sports head Patricia Bermudez-Hizon and I were clearly fans as we talked shop with Kiraly, who also dabbles in the game’s TV coverage.ADVERTISEMENT Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Isaac hopes to see FEU connection thrive in Blackwater Read Next Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa View comments Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. The younger generation of volleyball fans may not exactly know of Kiraly’s game until they hit the internet for a quick review. But the PSL coaches, who were to undergo a clinic with Kiraly later in the afternoon, clearly knew him and had followed his indoor and beach volleyball accomplishments.Kiraly was in town for the clinic and the formal opening of the PSL Grand Prix tournament. Suzara invited the game’s legend when they met in Japan in a recent international tournament. It didn’t take long for Kiraly to agree to come over as he was aware of how the game has grown in this part of the world.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutIn the press conference and in the clinic, Kiraly shared lessons from years of playing and coaching. “You don’t have to be the tallest team to do well,” Kiraly explained, citing the Thai and Japanese volleyball teams as great examples of what sound fundamentals can do.Aside from discussing the game’s technical aspects, Kiraly emphasized in the clinic that “If there’s more learning in a team, there will be much more success.” The nature of the game, with its limited number of passes, compels teams to have players with multiple skills so that anyone on the floor should know how to set, dig, block and attack. “We don’t have a lot of time to handle the ball,” he pointed out.
Freddie Roach, the famous American trainer who pushed Manny Paquiao all the way to full superstardom, says he wants the legendary Filipino warrior to do a rematch with WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn—then hang up his gloves.Nothing new there. It was not the first time Roach had voiced that wish for Pacquiao, the only eight-division world title winner in boxing.There was more urgency in what Roach told ESPN Deportes over the weekend: “I hope he (Pacquiao) goes forward with that fight, and after that, he retires.”ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Read Next Lady Realtors notch 1st win First things first: Does Pacquiao honestly want to fight on?Next: Would Pacquiao, who claimed he had been set up in that losing stand against Horn, still care to return to Australia?It would help if they could get Pacquiao’s side on the Roach proposal.So far, there has been no reported conversation or dialogue between Roach and Pacquiao after the fighting Filipino senator lost his WBO crown to Horn in Brisbane last July.Based on a postchampionship dugout report, Pacquiao and Roach failed to talk to each other. The beaten Filipino superhero stood before the mirror attending to his hairdo, while Roach stayed at a distance and cooled his heels inside the dressing room.Anyway, it was reported later that Pacquiao had agreed to do a rematch (last Sept. 12) in Brisbane.However, Top Rank big boss Bob Arum would next report that Pacquiao had suddenly pulled out.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThere are two sides to the proposed rematch.One side says Horn urgently needs the fight in order to culminate his championship victory, which continued to be questioned by various sectors.Pardon this, but there are also experts who felt Roach needed the rematch in order to clear the landscape. These experts felt that the Pacquiao-Horn fight could’ve gone either way; unfortunately Roach, who insisted on a KO finish, was clearly outplotted and outclassed by Glenn Rushton, the millionaire trainer who molded obscure Horn, a former schoolteacher, into a world-class boxer.(AMAZED: US President Donald Trump stood and applauded the splendid presentation by select Filipino artists during the Asean Summit gala dinner at MOA in Pasay City on Sunday. Among the performers was the multiawarded Mandaluyong Children’s Choir of City Mayor Menchie Abalos. Mabuhay!) CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa MOST READ Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion LATEST STORIES John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding View comments Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics PLAY LIST 00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH00:36Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games
VANCOUVER – Mayors across Canada are calling for federal leadership on the “national emergency” of overdoses by ensuring provinces provide timely access to addiction treatment and by launching public education campaigns.Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, who heads a task force of the big city mayors caucus on the opioid crisis, said he and his counterparts in 12 other cities agree the situation is so dire that Ottawa must take a leadership role if jurisdictions are not moving fast enough to save lives.Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott said last month she’s frustrated with provinces and territories that have not provided her with information on overdose deaths despite repeated requests.“We are in a national public health crisis in Canada,” Philpott’s press secretary, Andrew MacKendrick, said in a statement Thursday on behalf of the minister, who was unavailable. “Minister Philpott is committed to using every lever at her disposal to combat this crisis, and to working with all levels of government and partners across the country to do so.”Robertson said some provinces are “dragging their feet” on data collection but the federal government must step in with a standardized format to gather the information, which should be reported publicly at least every quarter.“It’s shocking when this epidemic is sweeping across Canada, when facts are being withheld,” Robertson said in an interview, noting Vancouver collects weekly information on the number of fatal and non-fatal overdoses while the provincial coroner’s service publishes monthly updates on its website.The service said there were 347 drug overdose fatalities in British Columbia between January and March, putting the total on track to surpass the record 931 illicit drug deaths last year, many involving the painkiller fentanyl.“It’s a human catastrophe and it’s taking an enormous toll on first responders and we can’t withstand this pace for much longer,” Robertson said, adding a co-ordinated response involving all levels of government is also essential to ensure that federal funds are directed toward removing barriers to treatment.MacKendrick said the Public Health Agency says it has been working with the provinces and territories to develop a common reporting template to be submitted on a quarterly basis.Across Canada, about 2,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2015, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has said, adding the number is headed even higher this year.Robertson and his counterparts on the task force, which is part of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, say addiction treatment is essential, including medically supervised opioid substitution therapy and prescription heroin for people who haven’t responded to other forms of intervention.The Vancouver Police Department issued its own report Wednesday calling for treatment on demand, saying the opioid crisis is taxing officers who can’t immediately refer people who need help and that reviving them with the overdose-reversing drug naloxone isn’t good enough.“There’s no question this is a national emergency,” Robertson said, adding the mayors debated whether the federal government should invoke the National Emergency Act.“It’s arguable whether that would make a difference. What’s essential here is that provinces immediately support treatment on demand that’s necessary to save lives.”The high number of overdose deaths in B.C. prompted the provincial government to open 23 overdose prevention sites so people could inject illicit drugs while monitored by trained staff.Robertson said giving people a place to use drugs under supervision is one of the first lines of defence to reduce overdose deaths but most provinces aren’t providing that service.The mayors said preventing deaths will require all four pillars of the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy, including harm reduction, treatment, prevention and enforcement, which includes national protocols for the handling of potentially deadly fentanyl and the even more lethal drug carfentanil.Vancouver has been at the forefront of drug policy, first by opening North America’s only supervised-injection clinic in 2003, and later by providing the only injectable heroin program on the continent, though it has a long wait list.— Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter.
Tokyo: Tokyo Olympic organisers on Friday rolled out a pair of chatty robots they will put to work to assist wheelchair users at the 2020 Games as they continue to plug Japan’s cutting-edge technology. Billed as distant relations to beeping Star Wars drone R2D2, Toyota unveiled its human support (HSR) and delivery support robots (DSR), which are set to act as seat ushers and will fetch food and drinks for disabled fans at next year’s Olympics. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian Open In an Olympic first, the waist-high, robotic “volunteers” will breezily introduce themselves to customers, who can then place orders on a tablet. “Hello, everyone. I’m a lifestyle support robot,” the fully rotating HSR said in a demonstration. “I’ll fetch things for you. I also have an extendable arm that can pick things up if you drop them,” it added. In reality, the DSR “deli-bot” — with its built-in drinks tray — rather more closely resembles a moving dustbin with blinking lights, but Toyota insisted the technology would ensure a more comfortable Games experience for wheelchair users. Also Read – Fast bowler Behrendorff to undergo spinal surgery “It will be much easier and more convenient to interact with robots,” Minoru Yamauchi, general manager of the 2020 robot development department, told AFP. “In the run-up to the Olympics we will work on other useful functions that they can carry out.” Toyota are currently planning to deploy 16 units of each droid at the 2020 Olympics. Games organisers also unveiled a Panasonic-developed exoskeleton suit to help with a range of Olympic-related chores, such as delivering or loading heavy baggage brought to Japan by athletes and officials. – Science fiction – =================== “We want to go beyond the 1964 Tokyo Olympics in terms of legacy,” said Hideyo Hirata, deputy executive director of technology services for the 2020 Games. “Often robots have not been seen as our friends,” he added, invoking dystopian science fiction. “But in Japan, people actually want to know how robots can help with and be part of our daily lives.” Driverless cars, facial recognition and ultra high-definition TV are just a few of the other ways Japan Inc. hopes to use the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to show the world it has regained its touch for innovation and technology. The last time Japan hosted the Olympics, in 1964, it launched the iconic bullet train — a sleek symbol of the country’s recovery from World War II. This time around there is speculation a flying car will be used to light the Olympic flame, although 2020 organisers are keen to stress the practical use of technology. Panasonic’s powered body suit went on sale last year at a cost of a little over USD 6,000 each, with more than 200 units already ordered. They have attracted interest in the farming sector, but similar products have been used for years in hospitals, helping caregivers lift injured or elderly patients. “Japan has a shrinking population, and an ageing one,” said Panasonic’s Yoshifumi Uchida. “We want to contribute to a society where people are not concerned about age or gender difference. These products are designed to help create a better future.”
Monday evening showers brought respite to the National Capital Territory which has been enduring the scorching summer heat. Mercury dipped and a cool breeze blew past the streets as millions cherished the occasional summer chill. But more than heat, the respite, though not evident, was regarding the air quality. While the statistics still portray the Air Quality Index (AQI) as poor, if not very poor, rains definitely settled the dust which only adds to the problem. AQI has been specifically poor during winters with Delhi experiencing a blanket of smog and health complications in locals. Graded Response Action Plan was constituted to tackle alarming levels of AQI but the city required a cure anyway. Preemptive measures will yield tremendously but less has been done regarding those. While worsening AQI was largely restricted to winters, spiked AQI in summer is a cause of worry. AQI on Monday was “very poor”, aggravated by westerly winds bringing dust from neighbouring states, stubble burning in parts of Punjab and Haryana, and forest fires in Uttarakhand. The debate regarding meandering levels of AQI, though between poor and very poor and not average or good, has done its rounds with National Green Tribunal and neighbouring states over their unintended contribution into Delhi’s air pollution. Authorities have taken up the issue several times and activists have mentioned how stubble burning and westerly winds are a cause of trouble bringing in dust and smoke in the NCR atmosphere. However, vehicular emission has still not been adequately addressed though it remains to be one of the top air polluters. Even if we put the mark at one crore vehicles, which is an understated figure, the emissions from one crore vehicles are finding its way into the atmosphere, making us breathe poor air while we tend to other imminent events – elections. Also Read – A strong standpointGeneral elections have definitely swung the mood of the nation which has 14 of its cities in the list of top 15 most-polluted cities in the world as per a UN survey released in 2018 which also states that Air pollution contributes to hundreds of thousands of premature deaths each year in India. People do actually die of complications caused due to PM 2.5 particles which enter the respiratory system. It is not a fluke. But it has not been able to reverberate as an alarming issue across masses simply because minimal awareness has not let it. Discourses on nationalism have been more prevalent than Air Quality and that alone shows the mood of the nation. It is because of additional emphasis paid on the entire national security issue since Balakot Air Strike that environment, though present in manifestos of political parties, could not be as vehemently discussed as nationalism and national security were. And, that, is just pitiful. It makes us sad humans with narrow mindsets and depleted humility. It is often said that people’s thoughts reverberate across the corners of the nation which are often steered by politicos who run the government on our behalf. They utter what matters to us. And, if they have been uttering a lot of nationalism and national security, then that is only because it matters to us. Only a fool would incessantly speak of an agenda which anyone seldom supports. How, then, can we blame our politicians or leaders for lack of environmental concern when we ourselves are less concerned about the same. Today we have the liberty to discuss air pollution with ease since it has not wreaked havoc yet. Human tendency, somehow, has always been to ignore unless forced to walk the precarious line. Rubbishing reports of deaths due to air pollution is only in line with that mindset as was done by the Union environment minister Harsh Vardhan who argued that “No death certificate has a cause of death as pollution” despite the Lancet Commission’s report on Pollution and Health which said that 25 lakh Indians died from pollution-linked ailments in 2015, the highest in any country. Also Read – Development misconstruedWe protest whenever we see the water going above the head. And, why not since protests are very much part of a healthy democracy. Be it for reservations, justice, government support, corruption, et al, the agenda has been clear that masses are capable of influencing government machinery. Why not then have masses reached a consensus to protest regarding the failed attempts in tackling the rising air pollution? It is because worsening AQI has not yet impacted the masses. Public Interest Litigations (PILs) have surely made it to the apex court over environmental concerns but even those have failed to garner grand attention towards this perpetual, and now a perennial problem. IIT Delhi has put in concerted efforts through The Centre of Excellence for Research on Clean Air (CERCA), stressing on the need of data gathering, raising awareness and role of democracy and law to resolve the issues related to air quality. AAP government’s odd-even rule for regulating vehicular traffic in the city was also a novel idea towards controlling and curbing air pollution but residents still lie in wait of another run, which, in fact, should be made a norm for NCR. Pollution is not just a local problem but a global one and cities across the globe have initiated measures and undertaken activities to curb it. London’s congestion charge levied on drivers entering the city centre, has been around since 2003. Madrid’s selective entry to city areas for cars apart from environmental labels on cars is a method to check the polluting cars and deal appropriately. Paris’s norm to make public transport free of cost during peak periods, encouraging people to use public transport and leave their cars at home is a good incentive to bring down vehicular emissions. But classic Indian argument would be whether Delhi can emulate these cities owing to its own logistical challenges amidst a humongous populace. Well, efforts in this direction will yield answers and all we need to do is urge the authorities to act. Waiting for them to wake up might cost us. The city evidently chokes with vehicular emissions. And, with raised metro fares are not helping. A person traversing from the metro and paying 100 rupees might as well take out his bike or car and utilise 100 rupees in petrol. Convenience is always attractive. And, not to forget that it is the convenience of travelling, of slow impact on health through air pollution, of waiting for authorities to do something about pollution and of not being directly responsiblefor the rising pollution that has spiked the average AQI to “very poor” quality in the first palace. When UN adamantly advocates for SDGs and environmental activists speak up on environmental degradation, only then it is brought to our notice that our environment is suffering. A budget for the environment would have been a remarkable way to showcase one’s concern for the same but Kisan budget suited the current appetite more this election season. Promises are aplenty but none speak of an issue whose proximity covers every living thing. Maybe someday, some election will see the pollution concerns and bring it up strongly in their manifestos and promises. And, maybe then, some concrete action will be taken to repair what could have been prevented long ago i.e., today!
1939Yankees.252.284-.032 201783170.3000.239 8Miguel SanoTwins717875.1 Miguel MonteroC558.181.0-2.8-4.4-1.6 PERCENTAGE OF TIME… 1999Reds.262.298-.036 1906Cubs.238.272-.034 1898Beaneaters.256.290-.034 Anthony Rizzo1B1337.1288.3-5.2-14.2-8.9 PLAYERPOS2016201720162017CHANGE 2001Mariners.260.292-.032 Welcome to Full Count, our new(!) weekly baseball column. Have anything you want me to write about? Email or tweet me at [email protected] or @Neil_Paine.Of all the elements that allowed the Chicago Cubs to erase 108 years of suffering and finally win the World Series last fall, one of the most important was the team’s stellar defense. Just how efficient were Chicago’s fielders a year ago? Relative to league average, the 2016 Cubs allowed the lowest batting average on balls in play (BABIP) of any team ever.1Over a full season; sorry, 1884 Milwaukee Brewers. As in, since the dawn of big-league ball in 1871, ever. The only team that was even comparable to these Cubs was the 1890 Columbus Solons (a franchise that appears to have folded the next year without explaining its defensive wizardry — or what a “Solon” was).2From what I can tell — which isn’t much — it was either a reference to an Athenian legislator or another town in Ohio (one that, oddly, is not near Columbus). 7George SpringerAstros767575.2 180Corey DickersonRays725562.1 5Joe Morgan2681865689524.6 177Jose ReyesMets566962.5 INNINGSDEF PER 1200 INNINGS* 2016Cubs.255.298-.043 Data through May 9Source: FanGraphs 1899Beaneaters.265.298-.033 Addison RussellSS1262.2273.0+20.8+10.1-10.7 RKPLAYERHRWALKSSTEALSPOWER-SPEED-PATIENCE* 176Xander BogaertsRed Sox567063.1 178Salvador PerezRoyals695862.5 ⁝Average677169.4 Albert AlmoraCF237.0144.1+29.4-5.8-35.2 10Bobby Abreu2881476400451.1 BATTING AVERAGE ON BALLS IN PLAY 182J.J. HardyOrioles536961.0 Weighted average 3Freddie FreemanBraves827276.0 YEARTEAMTEAMLEAGUEDIFF. Data through May 8. Returning Cubs players only.* “Def” is FanGraphs’ defensive value over average, which includes Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) grades relative to position, as well as an adjustment for the defensive value of each position.Numbers are listed per 1,200 innings, roughly a season’s worth of playing time.Source: FanGraphs Ben ZobristUTIL1263.6214.5-1.4+9.0+10.4 BALLS IN PLAYBATTING AVERAGE ON BALLS IN PLAY Nope! The Cubs are still basically shifting as little as they did a year ago. And the irony is that the BABIP they’ve allowed when shifting is exactly the same as it was last season (.239). The only difference has come on plays when Chicago hasn’t shifted, where opposing hitters’ BABIP has risen from a ridiculously low .258 mark last year to essentially league average this season.(The biggest difference in pure positioning for the Cubs is that Kris Bryant now plays the shallowest third base in the game. The rest of Chicago’s infield and outfield positions play at roughly the same average depth as they did a year ago, per Statcast data.)So it’s not the configuration of Chicago’s defense that’s changed. But it wasn’t just Maddon’s contrarian strategy on shifting that was keeping batted-ball averages down last year, it was also his pitchers’ superior ability to mitigate damage on contact. My colleagues Rob Arthur and Ben Lindbergh wrote last season about how the Cubs’ hurlers were inducing particularly easy-to-field balls on contact — which, they postulated, helped Chicago come by that microscopic BABIP honestly (or at least, more honestly than other teams). And certainly the 2016 Cubs allowed some of MLB’s lowest rates of hard contact, according to both exit velocity and other classifications.But Chicago’s pitchers aren’t doing poorly in that department this season, either, even if they are yielding a few more hard-hit balls this time around.4For those curious, opposing hitters’ average launch angle has barely budged. And any changes in where they spray the ball (hitters are pulling slightly more against the Cubs this year) are minor. If the Cubs’ defensive success was all about inducing soft contact, we’d expect them to be seeing similar defensive results this season, too.More likely, the Cubs didn’t find a secret BABIP-suppressing hack last year, nor did they forget it this season. Instead, a good amount of Chicago’s defensive brilliance (and subsequent backslide) can probably be explained with the statistician’s most dreaded word: luck. For all the advances we’ve made in understanding and evaluating defense over the past couple decades, and for all the hope that Voros McCracken’s original, earth-shattering finding about pitchers — that they appear to have little control over whether balls in play become hits or outs — was flawed or incomplete, there’s a lot about defense that remains highly unpredictable and beyond the control of fielders, pitchers and managers.No matter whether we judge a team’s fielding according to a simple metric like BABIP allowed or something more advanced such as UZR or Defensive Runs Saved, defensive performance in one season only explains roughly 10 percent of the variation in the same statistic the following season.5Using data from 2003 to 2016. Although some of that year-to-year noise is due to players switching teams between seasons, it also speaks volumes about the inherent randomness of a baseball coming off a bat. That’s why even a defense as dominant as the 2016 Cubs — or perhaps especially a defense that dominant– will see a big chunk of its advantage melt away in later seasons.What does that mean for the Cubs? Even granting that last year’s defensive performance was partially the product of good luck, Chicago’s 17-17 record (which the underlying metrics say is about right for how this team has played) is disappointing relative to the amount of talent on its roster. But 34 games is a small sample in a sport where it takes nearly 70 games to reach the same level of certainty in the standings that we get after, say, 11 games in the NFL or 14 in the NBA. So Cubs fans shouldn’t overreact too much: This is still one of the best teams in the majors, and it should eventually put together a record to match. It would be unfair, however, to expect Chicago’s fielding to be as ludicrously efficient as it was a year ago. That historic defense should add to the lore of the Cubs’ curse-breaking World Series win, but that’s all it is now — history.Happy (belated) birthday, Willie MaysInstead of pointing out how terrible the San Francisco Giants are these days — they’ve lost 16 of their last 23 ballgames — I’d like to take a second to once again appreciate the excellence of their all-time greatest player, Willie Mays, who turned 86 years old on Saturday.I’ve written about this before, but Mays was probably the greatest all-around ballplayer in major league history. (The fact that he only won two career MVP awards is one of the underrated travesties of baseball history.) Mays is one of only eight players ever with more than 300 career home runs and 300 steals, and he ranks third all-time in Bill James’ power-speed number.6Which is just the harmonic mean of a player’s career steals and homers. He also walked more (both in total and on a rate basis) than any member of that 300-300 club except his godson, Barry Bonds. Those two — plus Rickey Henderson, who just missed the 300-homer club by 3 dingers — stand atop the reformulated list if we adjust James’s power-speed stat to also include walks: Shift data is on balls in play only. MLB average includes both 2016 and 2017 seasons.Source: FanGraphs 1941Dodgers.245.275-.030 MLB average72280.2970.294 * The harmonic mean of a player’s lifetime home runs, walks and stealsSource: FanGraphs Kris Bryant3B1366.2288.0+9.7+2.5-7.2 +9.7+3.8-5.9 Matt SzczurOF352.430.0+16.3+4.0-12.3 1Barry Bonds7622558514822.2 175Manuel MargotPadres596863.8 Have the Cubs forgotten how to field? YEARNO SHIFTSHIFTNO SHIFTSHIFT Minimum 140 games played in seasonSource: FanGraphs 6Hank Aaron7551402240483.5 Javier Baez2B970.3215.1+15.7+5.0-10.7 Plate discipline doesn’t automatically equate to successful hitting. Corey Dickerson is swinging at everything that moves — and knocking the cover off the ball. Matt Joyce refuses to offer at a bad pitch, and he can’t buy a hit. But by and large, the hitters at the top of the discipline rankings do tend to be more productive than the ones at the bottom. And they do it mainly by avoiding swinging at junk outside the strike zone.In terms of predicting hitting effectiveness, a batter’s rate of good decisions on pitches outside the zone is about three times as important as his rate of good decisions on pitches inside the zone. In other words, it’s not the end of the world if you let a strike go by without swinging — who knows, maybe you’re waiting for your pitch. But few batters can get away with flailing at bad pitches for long. For every Dickerson or Vlad Guerrero, there’s an undisciplined hacker who let the pitcher trick him into getting himself out. 9Gary Sheffield5091475253454.9 1Joey VottoReds77%82%80.1% With the exception of new starting catcher Willson Contreras and utilityman extraordinaire Ben Zobrist, every single holdover from the 2016 Cubs has contributed less defensively than he did a season ago. Some have gone from average to bad while others have gone from great to merely good, but there have been big declines across the board.Such an abrupt and widespread deterioration begs for an explanation, and an obvious one might be that manager Joe Maddon made a tactical change. For example, last season, just as the infield shift hit another all-time high in popularity across MLB, Maddon — famous iconoclast that he is — decided to dial back on using baseball’s favorite new-old tactic. So perhaps Maddon has changed how he’s been deploying his defense so far this year? The all-time kings of power, speed and patience, 1871-2017 183Javier BaezCubs715460.5 The Cubs still aren’t shifting much, but they’re good when they do 9Matt JoyceAthletics688174.9 Kyle SchwarberLF7.2211.0+0.0-17.1-17.1 The most and least disciplined batters of 2017 The most efficient defenses in MLB history, 1871-2016 4Brandon BeltGiants727975.6 5Mike TroutAngels727875.3 1975Dodgers.245.277-.032 4Alex Rodriguez6961338329574.3 7Bobby Bonds332914460477.7 2Rickey Henderson29721901406661.5 Willson ContrerasC588.4212.0+9.2+22.6+13.5 3Willie Mays6601464338581.8 174Carlos BeltranAstros626563.8 Jason HeywardRF1200.2229.3+15.4+7.3-8.1 201684%16%0.2580.239 RKNAMETEAMPITCH IN ZONE, SWUNGPITCH OUTSIDE ZONE, TOOKGOOD DECISION And even within that group, what really set Mays apart was his defense. While Henderson was fairly mediocre with the glove, and Bonds’s once-great fielding skills eroded significantly over time, Mays is the third-best defensive outfielder ever, according to Baseball-Reference.com’s defensive WAR. (He was still a Gold Glove centerfielder in 1968, at age 37!) Because of Mays’s unparalleled skills with his bat, feet and glove, he is the only player in baseball history to record at least 120 offensive WAR and 15 defensive WAR.And he cleared both those benchmarks easily — because of course he did, he’s the greatest all-around player ever. Happy birthday, Willie, and here’s to many more.Who’s showing the most — and least — plate discipline?Three years ago, I cooked up a way to see which players were making the best decisions at the plate using FanGraphs’ wonderful “Plate Discipline” stats. Since the site lists the percentage of pitches each player faced that were and were not in the strike zone,7According to pitch-tracking data collected by Baseball Info Solutions and MLB’s Statcast system. along with the share of pitches that were or were not swung at, we can calculate how often a player is correctly identifying a pitch to swing at (because it was over the plate) or lay off (because it definitely was not).Here are the top and bottom 10 so far this year: 1890Solons.254.295-.041 6Anthony RendonNationals727975.3 181Danny ValenciaMariners556761.7 179Chris DavisOrioles546962.5 2Jed LowrieAthletics757876.5 Boosted by that historic out-generating vacuum behind them, Cubs pitchers also led the majors in earned run average by the 10th-widest margin3Tied with the 1991 Dodgers. of any staff since 1901, threatening all sorts of run-prevention records along the way. They allowed 140 fewer runs than the average team, and analytics credit the fielders with something between 50 and 70 percent (depending on the estimate being used) of those saved runs. The Cubs were loaded with stars up and down their lineup, and their pitchers shined brightly when fielders weren’t required, but the importance of Chicago’s glovework was still undeniable.But the Cubs’ defensive numbers were so off-the-charts last year that they almost seemed unsustainable. And as it turns out, they probably were. This year, the Cubs are right at .500, sitting in fourth place in the NL Central — and their once-dominant defense might be to blame. Instead of allowing the lowest BABIP on the planet, they’re in the middle of the pack defensively; not coincidentally, their staff ERA is unremarkable and they’ve allowed two more runs than an average team. Simply put, Chicago’s secret fielding weapon isn’t working anymore.This raises a host of questions about the Cubs and about defensive metrics in general. Have the Cubs suddenly, collectively forgotten how to field? Are offseason defections to blame? Or did Chicago just enjoy a historic amount of luck in the field last year — luck for which their fielders received too much credit? And if so, what does that say about our ability to measure defense?It’s a lot to sort out, so let’s start with the personnel involved. Chicago’s most notable offseason move effectively saw former Padres center fielder Jon Jay slot in for Dexter Fowler, who joined the rival Cardinals. According to Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), one of the most commonly cited advanced defensive metrics, the Cubs haven’t fared well in the exchange. Although Fowler’s defensive track record hasn’t always been great, he was surprisingly solid a year ago; Jay, meanwhile, is tracking for a very poor defensive season in 2017.In combination with the retirement of expert defensive catcher and game-caller David Ross, the Jay-for-Fowler tradeoff has helped erode Chicago’s edge in the field. But a far bigger factor is the team’s returning players: 10Eric ThamesBrewers687974.8 8Carlos Beltran4241054312460.7
DETBOS, OKC+1.4 (Note that all of these gains and losses are for 2014-15 only — they don’t take into account draft picks exchanged or even the future implications of picking up a player and his contract.)As SB Nation’s Paul Flannery noted, this trade deadline didn’t really make much difference despite all the chaos in the final hectic minutes.Sure, the top team, Miami, added about 2.4 wins over the rest of the season, and Phoenix brought up the rear with a loss of more than 3 WAR when the dust settled. The moves may have kept the Heat afloat for the playoffs (especially in light of the subsequent news that Chris Bosh would be lost for the season with blood clots) and signaled the death knell for the Suns’ postseason chances.But the rest of the biggest movers and shakers on deadline day either had already locked up a playoff slot (Washington and Oklahoma City took steps back but are near 100 percent playoff probability by our projections anyway) or didn’t have a prayer no matter what they did (the Celtics, for all their improvements on deadline day, are still staring at a mere 12.1 percent chance of making the playoffs).The exception to this might be the Detroit Pistons. Two weeks ago, the Pistons clung to a meager 9.9 percent probability of making the playoffs, according to our model. Now they have a 47.8 percent chance of making the postseason and have jumped from 21st to 16th in the power rankings — some of that thanks to the 1.4-WAR boost they picked up at the trade deadline with Reggie Jackson (an upgrade made doubly positive by the discarding of sub-replacement level guard D.J. Augustin).Aside from the Pistons, however, it seems as though few of Thursday’s moves will upend the playoff picture in either conference.At any rate, many of the trades yielded positive WAR simply by jettisoning a poor player from the roster. Take, for instance, Sacramento’s trade of Ramon Sessions to Washington. It netted a solid player in return — Andre Miller is expected to generate 0.8 WAR for the Kings over the rest of the season — but removing Sessions was the bigger windfall in terms of 2014-15 WAR. Sessions’ -5.1 predictive RPM combined with an expectation of 17 minutes per game to potentially deliver -1.0 WAR to Sacramento before it traded him away.As for the rankings themselves, the New Orleans Pelicans were the biggest movers since two Mondays ago — and in a very bad way. They lost all-everything forward Anthony Davis to a shoulder sprain that will cost him several weeks of action, which coupled with an ongoing injury to Jrue Holiday — and the addition of RPM disaster Norris Cole — to drop the Pelicans 11 ranking slots. RPM says their depleted roster projects to be the fourth-worst in basketball over the next week.The Dallas Mavericks dropped eight slots in this edition of the rankings. Adding Amar’e Stoudemire didn’t help, but the biggest changes were an injury to Chandler Parsons and the return of statistical enigma Rajon Rondo to their lineup. Rondo’s having a subpar season by the numbers, and short-term RPM gives him a rating near the replacement level. But at least Dallas is still 99.5 percent likely to make the playoffs, according to our simulations.Looking for good news? The Los Angeles Clippers rose six spots in the rankings from two weeks ago. Usually changes to the power ratings are due to player movement, injuries or other reallocations of minutes, but in the case of the Clippers, the improved play of Jamal Crawford has also played a role. Crawford still carries a negative RPM rating, but he’s averaging 22.8 points per game over his last four outings and has been present for some of the Clippers’ best basketball — they’ve averaged a +17.5 scoring margin per game with him on the floor over the past two weeks.Finally, let’s give a hand to the New York Knicks. While they’ve been a fun punchline all season, they’ve been in a dogfight with the Philadelphia 76ers for last place in our rankings all season. But after a season-ending injury to Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks have separated themselves from the pack, easily ranking as the least-talented team in the NBA this week. With the likes of RPM ne’er-do-wells Jose Calderon, Jason Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr. projected to soak up huge minutes for the rest of the season, Jim Dolan’s team is truly a fitting “Hope Diamond in his loser’s tiara.” DENPHI, POR+0.7 MILPHO+0.0 PHODET, MIA, MIL-3.2 After a week’s hiatus because of the All-Star break, we’re back with FiveThirtyEight’s NBA Power Ratings.There are more than a few trade deadline-related changes to the rankings this week, but before I get to those, a quick explanation of how these numbers work: Teams are ranked according to a projection of their strength over the upcoming week using Real Plus-Minus (RPM) player ratings provided by Jeremias Engelmann and Steve Ilardi. For more details on these numbers, see our introductory rankings post.In many ways, ranking the league after a reshuffling of players — like Thursday’s trade deadline — is precisely what power ratings such as these are intended to do. Because they’re based on the underlying talent of the players on each team’s roster, they ought to be able to account for player movement more quickly than ratings that require the new-look teams to play together a bunch of times.So, how much did the deadline really shake up the league? Here’s a look at the statistical effect of deadline trades on each team, in terms of the RPM wins above replacement (WAR) they are projected to gain or lose over the remainder of the 2014-15 schedule: NYKHOU-0.5 MIANOP, PHO+2.4 PORDEN+0.4 NOPMIA, OKC, PHO-0.1 BOSDET+2.1 UTAOKC+0.2 MINBRK-0.2 TEAMTRADED WITHNET WAR PHIDEN, HOU, MIL-0.1 SACWAS+1.8 OKCNOP, UTA-0.7 WASSAC-0.9 BRKMIN+0.4 HOUNYK, PHI+0.3