Though Evans technically served as the general manager for four seasons, his role changed in 2018 as he no longer reported directly to Baer. Instead, after a last-place finish in 2017, the Giants restructured the front office hierarchy and had vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean sign off on Evans’ decisions. Giants disrespected Bumgarner with contract offer, says ex-teammate SAN FRANCISCO — During the final week of the 2018 season, the Giants dismissed general manager Bobby Evans and announced a search to hire a “next-gen” front office executive.Three weeks after the Giants fired Evans, the search for his replacement is ongoing, even if it remains relatively quiet.Giants CEO Larry Baer said he did not anticipate making details of the search public, which means it will be difficult to gather much from the process until the franchise reveals a new hire. At the midpoint of October, most of what we know about the search stems from Baer’s comments to beat writers on the final day of the regular season and small bits of information that national reporters have gathered. Stearns is well-respected in the industry, but he’s not the only high-profile executive who won’t interview with the Giants. Rosenthal also reported that Toronto Blue Jays vice president of baseball operations Ben Cherington removed himself from consideration from positions with the Giants and Mets.Cherington gained front office experience working for the Red Sox in the early 2000s, but apparently did not feel compelled to take on a challenging turnaround this offseason.Related Articles The Giants have not placed a timetable on their search and Baer has said the team won’t rush the process, but as teams continue to be eliminated, from the playoffs, San Francisco could have a wider pool of candidates from which to draw. Two executives who have emerged as candidates per reports include Kim Ng, a senior vice president of baseball operations for Major League Baseball and Arizona Diamondbacks assistant general manager Amiel Sawdaye.Ng, who was amed on our initial list of 10 candidates who could become strong contenders to replace Evans, has worked in the New York Yankees’ and Los Angeles Dodgers’ front offices while Sawdaye held top scouting roles for the Red Sox under Cherington and Theo Epstein before joining the Diamondbacks. Sawdaye reportedly has talked to the Giants, according to a report from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.In the coming days, more names of interviewees could leak out, but it’s likely that the Giants will continue to keep their search closely guarded. Baer and Sabean likely did not enjoy the public rebuff that came of requesting permission to contact Stearns, and there are other top baseball executives who might also be prevented from interviewing by their respective clubs.Eventually, the Giants will finish the process and announce a hire, but because Baer and Sabean know they must execute a thorough and comprehensive search, it’s entirely possible the exercise won’t wrap up until after the World Series. How Madison Bumgarner took control of his free agency and left the Giants for the D’backs Kurtenbach: Madison Bumgarner needed San Francisco more than the Giants needed him Sabean is under contract for one more season, but the Giants insist his role will shift under a new regime. Evans’ replacement will report to Baer and Sabean is expected to step away from the day-to-day operations of the front office, which is what he did after the 2014 World Series.It’s possible Sabean’s title could change too, as the Giants aren’t hiring Evans’ replacement to serve as a general manager. Instead, Baer and Sabean are interviewing candidates to become the team’s president of baseball operations, a decision that became clear following a report from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.Rosenthal reported the Giants had requested permission to interview Milwaukee Brewers general manager David Stearns for the president of baseball operations role, but Brewers owner Mark Attanasio did not allow Stearns a chance to discuss the opportunity with Baer and Sabean.At the end of the regular season, Baer indicated that Major League Baseball encourages franchises to allow front office personnel to interview for jobs that would technically be considered promotions. However, there is no rule in place requiring teams to do so.The Giants’ targeting of Stearns didn’t come as a surprise as the 33-year-old constructed a roster that finished with the most wins in the National League this season. The Brewers won 96 games despite lacking a strong starting rotation and Stearns executed several successful midseason trades to position Milwaukee for a lengthy postseason run. Our Top 5 memories of Madison Bumgarner’s Giants career As Bumgarner joins D’backs, Giants officially bid farewell with tribute video
(Visited 17 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Cassini has observed clouds of dust from meteoroids hitting the rings. The data will “impact” theories of the rings’ origin and age.New observations have shown dust clouds from four impacts on Saturn’s rings (see JPL press release). One impact was observed twice, about 25 hours apart. The impacts were found in all three major rings: A, B, and C. The ejecta clouds are thought to have been observed between 1 and 50 hours after the impacts. According to National Geographic, streams of meteors must be hitting the rings more often than thought. A paper by Cassini scientists was published in Science Magazine.National Geographic waxed philosophical, saying, “The hope in the science community is that insights into these ring impacts may also shed light on the rings’ puzzling origins.” That sentence cloaks the real problem: impacts are destructive, not constructive. Jeff Cuzzi, long time ringmaster and co-author of the paper, expressed concerns in the press release:“Saturn’s rings are unusually bright and clean, leading some to suggest that the rings are actually much younger than Saturn,” said Jeff Cuzzi, a co-author of the paper and a Cassini interdisciplinary scientist specializing in planetary rings and dust at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. “To assess this dramatic claim, we must know more about the rate at which outside material is bombarding the rings. This latest analysis helps fill in that story with detection of impactors of a size that we weren’t previously able to detect directly.”The impactors are estimated to be between a centimeter and several meters in diameter. If a rain of dusty debris like this has been going on for billions of years, the rings should appear darker than they are. Furthermore, since they carry away more mass than they add, they have been eroding the rings for a long time according to current beliefs about Saturn’s age. Pollution and erosion are not helping keep Saturn’s rings old.Another clue for a high impact rate is the “ring rain” that descends onto Saturn’s equatorial bands. Science Daily said that “more charged particles fall than thought” from water ions originating in the rings. Are the charged particles coming from impacts hitting the rings? What other process could be sending material from the rings onto Saturn? The article didn’t say. In any case, this is another erosive process, it appears.The paper in Science said that the estimated impact rate, though significantly higher “at face value” than before, is too uncertain to know for sure:Our results are higher than the extrapolation by one or two orders of magnitude (Fig. 4); at face value, especially if this increase is also reflected in submillimeter-to-millimeter-size particles, then pollution and erosion rates due to interplanetary meteoroids might be higher than have been thought. However, gravitational focusing enhances the flux at Saturn’s rings by a factor of 4 to 40, and the sensitivity of rings to a two-directional flux yields another factor of 2, so our results may corroborate the previous extrapolation after all.(By extrapolation, the authors refer to the prior habit of estimating impact rates for the outer solar system to be similar to rates in the inner solar system.) Better observations to constrain the impact rate will be possible when the Cassini spacecraft approaches its end of mission (2017), when it is slated to make series of “high dives” over the rings and into the gap between the D ring and Saturn.Update April 30: Speaking of Saturn, an article on Science Daily attempted to explain away the planet’s “youthful appearance.” Gas giants should darken with age, the article said, but Saturn is still light-colored. By invoking some unobservable effects deep in Saturn’s atmosphere, some scientists at the University of Exeter were able to come up with a story for how the darkening influences were kept at bay. Any hypothesis that is applied after the fact to only one planet of the solar system in order to explain an anomaly should be treated with skepticism.If this were the only problem in the Saturn system facing the moyboys (believers in “millions of years, billions of years”), it would be worrisome for them. But then you have Titan’s atmosphere, the Titan ethane problem, the Enceladus geysers, delicate rings, and other matters that, taken together, could title a book, “Billions of years: a theory in crisis.” Prediction: future measurements of impact rates on Saturn’s rings will prove higher than expected.
Just how “miraculous” was South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy? How close did the country really come to civil war?Check out our press clipping snapshots of the 72 days leading up to Nelson Mandela’s inauguration as SA’s first democratically elected President – and see how heavily the odds were stacked against “the rainbow nation”.21 MARCH 1994IFP plans poll protestThe Inkatha Freedom Party has rejected an initiative by President De Klerk to bring it into the election and is instead planning a campaign of opposition to the Interim Constitution and next month’s election.Tensions in KwaZulu/Natal continued to soar at the weekend with sporadic outbreaks of violence and both the IFP and ANC announcing steps designed to gain strategic advantage in the province.The Star, Monday 21 March 1994He’s tuning in to ParliamentParliament’s austere corridors might soon be reverberating to the rhythmic reggae beat if James Mange can muster enough fans.The dreadlocked Mange, with his colourful history in struggle politics and music, has resurfaced as leader of the Sports Organisation for Collective Contribution and Equal Rights (SOCCER) Party.The Rastafarian commando spent 13 years on Robben Island after being sentenced to death in 1979 along with 11 others for high treason.Once free he set about establishing a musical career.But politics is in his bones, he says, and he has found a way to marry his two loves and hopefully take them into the realm of government in the new South Africa.The Star, Monday 21 March 199422 MARCH 1994TEC bid to take control in KwaZuluThe Transitional Executive Council (TEC) is considering a series of steps, including giving the SAP jurisdiction over KwaZulu and considering government’s financial obligations to the territory, to ensure free political activity in the region in the five weeks leading up to the elections.At the same time, Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairman Judge Johann Kriegler is trying to secure “an inclusive commitment” to free and fair elections from President FW de Klerk, ANC president Nelson Mandela, Inkatha Freedom Party president Mangosuthu Buthelezi, and Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini.Business Day, Tuesday 22 March 199421 die as prisons eruptA cell fire killed 21 prisoners at the Queenstown Prison yesterday as the countrywide protest by prisoners for the right to vote escalated.And the mood at the majority of prisons around the country was described as “tense and volatile” by prison authorities today.At Maritzburg Prison about 2 000 prisoners broke out of their cells and toyi-toyied in the courtyards.By last night, 3 000 prisoners were also on hunger strike countrywide. These included 614 at East London, 29 at Krugerdorp, 148 at Port Shepstone, 16 at Pollsmoor (Cape Town) and 210 at Brandviel.The Star, Tuesday 22 March 1994Bomb wrecks NP officesA powerful bomb wrecked through the offices of the National Party in Right-wing Ventersdorp last night.A police spokesman confirmed that the explosion caused large-scale damage to the building which houses the offices.The Citizen, Tuesday 22 March 199423 MARCH 1994TEC takes over Ciskei as Gqozo quitsCiskei military leader Brigadier Oupa Gqozo resigned last night as the SADF was deployed along the homeland’s border in readiness to help quell a revolt by public servants and police.The Transitional Executive Council (TEC) said it would appoint two administrators to govern Ciskei until the election, after Gqozo contacted Foreign Minister Pik Botha and offered to step down. He asked SA to intervene and restore control.Defence Minister Kobie Coetzee said troops had been placed on full alert along Ciskei’s border and could be deployed at short notice to “calm the situation”.Business Day, Wednesday 23 March 199424 MARCH 1994Chaos in homelandsBisho – As wildcat strikes by public servants spread throughout Ciskei today, the big question is which way the Ciskei Defence Force will go. The CDF boycotted talks in King William’s Town yesterday called by the South African government and the Transitional Executive Council to smooth the way for the peaceful reincorporation of the homeland into South Africa following the resignation of Oupa Gqozo as president.The Star, Thursday 24 March 199425 MARCH 1994More troops for Natal?Durban – State President De Klerk said yesterday that SA Defence Force troops could be deployed more widely in war-torn Natal and KwaZulu, where political fighting has reached almost unprecedented levels five weeks before the April election.The Citizen, Friday 25 March 199426 MARCH 1994Marching to PretoriaThousands of right-wingers started gathering at Radio Pretoria last night for a massive show of right-wing strength today.As the city prepared for an invasion by up to 25 000 marchers, businesses and security forces said they were ready for any eventuality.Afrikaner Volkstaat and Conservative Party leader Ferdi Hartzenberg is scheduled to address the marchers at Church Square on Hoofstad Dag (Capital Day) and proclaim Pretoria the capital of a right-wing volkstaat.Weekend Star, Saturday 26 March 1994KwaZulu on the agendaKwaZulu Chief Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi meets President de Klerk this weekend for talks that will weigh heavily on contingency planning for strife-torn KwaZulu/Natal.The discussions come amid increasing government speculation that an election in the region could be postponed.Weekend Star, Saturday 26 March 199427 MARCH 1994Nuclear scientists threaten to tell allDisgruntled South African nuclear and rocket scientists are threatening to expose closely guarded secrets about the country’s arms programme unless they are paid R4.5-million in retrenchment benefits.A spokesman claiming to represent 16 scientists admitted this week that the threat amounted to blackmail.“We want a settlement, but negotiation has failed and we don’t want to have to take this to the industrial court. Our disclosures will prove embarrassing for Armscor, Denal (an off-shoot of Armscor) and the Nationalist government”, he warned.Sunday Times, Sunday 27 March 1994The story continued …1 – 6 March 19947 – 13 March 199414 – 20 March 199421 – 27 March 199428 March – 3 April 19944 – 10 April 199411 – 17 April 199418 – 24 April 199425 April – 1 May 19942 – 8 May 19949 – 11 May 1994Research, photos: Ndaba DlaminiWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLCWith the government shutdown eliminating the January USDA report, all the information the market wants to trade was moved to the February report, making it one of the biggest and most anticipated report of the year.The final 2018 corn yield of 176.4 was surprising. This was slightly lower than 2017 and 2.5 bushels lower than the December report. This was one of the biggest yield decreases from December estimates to the final results in history. Those two bushels mean over 200 million fewer bushels, which should have had a bigger positive impact on futures. However, the report also showed a drop in overall demand.The 125-million-bushel feed demand decrease surprised me. I’ve noticed high demand for corn in feed rations recently compared to other substitute ingredients, so I was actually expecting an increase. With the USDA livestock numbers showing a 2.36% year over year production increase, if feed rations stayed the same, it should have only meant a 75-million-bushel feed demand decrease (not 125 million). Maybe a future USDA report will increase feed demand estimates, if that happens and all other numbers stay the same, carryout could still end up below 1.7 billion.While export pace has been steady, the South American growing conditions have been so good that a large crop is now expected. This could mean May to September U.S. export potential is limited because of competition from all of that production in South America. This could keep a cap on our prices going forward and might be why the USDA did not increase these numbers this month.For soybeans, many feared carryout could exceed 1 billion bushels, so the news that final yields decreased with no real big demand reduction, resulting in a 910 million carryout, was welcome.The problem for beans is that fundamentally there is no justification for current prices without a big China trade deal. The market will focus on those trade issues until the March planting intentions report — if the market is still open at the end of March.The Dec Corn/Nov Bean ratio moved even more in favor of planting beans this week. At a 2.4 : 1 ratio, there is little incentive for farmers to plant one crop over another. Corn demand remains strong as we grind through stocks. If corn acres don’t increase at least 3 million acres in 2019, next year’s carryout could be tight, pushing prices higher. Selling hope and timeOften some experts in the industry suggest that farmers should sell their grain and “look for a possible re-ownership opportunity by buying calls.” This advice doesn’t make any sense to me, especially in the corn market. When farmers have unpriced grain in storage, or even in the field growing, they already have ownership. They don’t need MORE corn while prices are low. They need the market to rally so they can sell the corn they have, or will have at the next harvest. More corn only adds more risk to their farm operation. In essence, this advice is telling farmers, who are already speculators, to double down.This is why I stress to farmers to really think about what they are doing when they speculate by BUYING calls. Right now, many farmers have some 2018 crop left they need to sell, and probably most of 2019’s crop. So, I’m not sure why it makes sense to buy the right to buy more corn if you are a farmer who isn’t done with this or next year’s crop sales. Buying hopeIn most cases, farmers buy calls because they HOPE the market will go up. I’ve seen very few times when farmers have made a lot of money buying calls. Most of the time farmers lose some or all of the premium they pay when buying calls. Those that don’t lose money are generally only going to make a small profit if they are lucky.My marketing plan does not include “buying hope,” but instead I “sell hope.” Certainly not on all of my bushels, but I do for some. Basically, I get paid for selling hope to somebody else.Farmers need to remember that based upon history 66% of the time it will be a normal year. During normal years, prices well above breakeven points are unlikely for an extended period of time. I try to position my marketing strategies where I can take advantage of opportunities assuming trend line expectations while understanding how I will be affected by unpredictable market variations. Buying timeWhen buying options, the longer length of time until the option expires makes it worth more. More time = more chances for market movement.Similar to hope, I don’t want to buy time. Time is expensive because it’s in finite supply and everyone wants more of it. Instead I determine what price I want for some of my grain, then I optimize how much (time) value I can get for that option and then I sell it. The importance of understanding your goalsI always caution farmers to think about their grain marketing end goals.What happens if your goals aren’t met?What happens if the price doesn’t go up like you think or hope it should?What happens if you are wrong with your market assessment?Are you prepared for all market scenarios?My goal is to design a marketing plan that takes into consideration as many market scenarios as possible. In every trade I analyze how my profit will be affected if the market goes up, down or sideways. I then take into consideration risk and the likelihood of each scenario happening based upon current market conditions. While I’m prepared if the market goes down or sideways, like all farmers, I ALWAYS want prices to go up. Any time I make a trade I’m hoping to be wrong and the market rallies. And if it does…. I’ll sell more corn…. because I will ALWAYS have more corn to sell. Maybe not in 2018, but certainly in 2019 and 2020.Ultimately, I’m happy to sell my hope for higher prices to somebody else in exchange for a small amount of guaranteed income. I hope it’s the wrong decision, because all of the grain I don’t yet have sold is now worth a lot more. Please email [email protected] with any questions or to learn more. Jon grew up raising corn and soybeans on a farm near Beatrice, NE. Upon graduation from The University of Nebraska in Lincoln, he became a grain merchandiser and has been trading corn, soybeans and other grains for the last 18 years, building relationships with end-users in the process. After successfully marketing his father’s grain and getting his MBA, 10 years ago he started helping farmer clients market their grain based upon his principals of farmer education, reducing risk, understanding storage potential and using basis strategy to maximize individual farm operation profits. A big believer in farmer education of futures trading, Jon writes a weekly commentary to farmers interested in learning more and growing their farm operations.Trading of futures, options, swaps and other derivatives is risky and is not suitable for all persons. All of these investment products are leveraged, and you can lose more than your initial deposit. Each investment product is offered only to and from jurisdictions where solicitation and sale are lawful, and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations in such jurisdiction. The information provided here should not be relied upon as a substitute for independent research before making your investment decisions. Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC is merely providing this information for your general information and the information does not take into account any particular individual’s investment objectives, financial situation, or needs. All investors should obtain advice based on their unique situation before making any investment decision. The contents of this communication and any attachments are for informational purposes only and under no circumstances should they be construed as an offer to buy or sell, or a solicitation to buy or sell any future, option, swap or other derivative. The sources for the information and any opinions in this communication are believed to be reliable, but Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy of such information or opinions. Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC and its principals and employees may take positions different from any positions described in this communication. Past results are not necessarily indicative of future results.
Yusuf Pathan’s recently found form will be crucial for KolkataThey might have finished their IPL 2014 campaign at the top, but Kings XI Punjab will be wary of the challenge that lies ahead when they take on Kolkata Knight Riders in Qualifier 1 at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday.Full IPL Coverage The Stakes:Both Kolkata and Punjab will be eager to secure their IPL 7 finals berth with a clinical win tomorrow. However, the losing team will have another shot to make the finals cut in the Eliminator match against the winner of Qualifier 2 between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings.Statistics:Sunil Narine has picked up 20 or more wickets in three consecutive editions of the IPL. He picked up 24 wickets in 2012, 22 wickets in 2013 and 20 so far in 2014. Lasith Malinga is the only other bowler to have achieved this feat in 2011 (28 wickets), 2012 (22 wickets) and 2013 (20 wickets).This will be the 100th T20 game for Manish Pandey.Morne Morkel needs one more wicket to get to 150 wickets in T20s.Robin Uthappa is the only player in the history of T20 cricket to score 40+ runs in nine consecutive matches.Quotes:”There is always that fear of getting hit for long sixes, but I mainly try to stick to my strength of bowling the arm-ball and the quicker one. I don’t look to spin the ball or try different variations; I only concentrate on bowling a good arm-ball,” Kings XI Punjab spinner Akshar Patel, on his bowling.”We are going to have to be on our A game. They are a good team, a very good batting team and they could easily turn the game around, so we have to stay focused and concentrate on what we are doing,” Kolkata Knight Riders’ coach Trevor Bayliss said ahead of his side’s clash with Punjab.advertisementKings XI Punjab:Punjab, on the other hand, have been the team to beat for oppositions. Their sheer aggression with the bat has intimidated many bowlers and it will be a big test for Gambhir and his men come Tuesday. The fact that Manan Vohra is firing all guns at the top of the order, alongside Virender Sehwag, adds to the opposition captain’s woes.If one thought those two were a destructive combination, there is more to come in the form of Glenn Maxwell and David Miller. It is quite clear that the bowlers and the fielders will have to be on their toes to stop the best batting line-up of this IPL.Punjab’s Indian talent has not disappointed the team management in the bowling department. Akshar Patel has been very impressive and even when skipper George Bailey asks him to bowl in pressure situations, Patel has shown maturity and has delivered quality goods. The fact that he has not missed a single game this year tells more about the trust the captain has in him.Sandeep Sharma lost his touch in the last few games but he has troubled many a batsman with his sharp swinging deliveries. He also tops the side’s bowling charts with 17 wickets.Kolkata Knight Riders:Gautam Gambhir’s men are on a roll with seven consecutive wins under their belt, including a stunning display against Hyderabad, which helped them pip Chennai and grab the second stop in the table. The fact that the Qualifier 1 was shifted out of Chennai has now given them an added advantage – they will be playing in familiar conditions and in front of an boisterous Kolkata crowd.Robin Uthappa has grabbed eyeballs whenever Kolkata have taken the field of late. With nine consecutive 40+ scores, Uthappa is in fine form and is looking good for more. Deservingly, he is also the leading run-getter in this year’s competition. The way he has scored these runs has forced many to be glued to their seats when he is batting in the middle.Though the skipper has not made many runs in his last few games, he has had no problems in timing the ball. Shakib Al Hasan too has done well in the competition and plays a vital role with both bat and ball. Yusuf Pathan’s stunning innings against Hyderabad not only silenced his critics but also helped Kolkata grab the crucial second place on the table, which now gives them an extra opportunity to make it to the final.If you have Sunil Narine in your ranks you are normally considered to have a fine bowling line-up and the Kolkata attack is no different. He is also the leading wicket-taker in the tournament and is the trump card for Gambhir in crunch situations. The rest of the bowlers too have formed good partnerships with Narine to constitute a formidable bowling attack.advertisementKey players to watch in the crucial tie:Glenn Maxwell: The million-dollar man last season, Maxwell was snatched by Kings XI Punjab for a whopping Rs 6 crore this year. The 25-year-old is a terrific all-rounder to have in your side. He can bowl right-arm off-spin and bat anywhere in the middle-order. He shot to fame after smashing a 19-ball half-century in 2009-10 – the fastest fifty in Australia’s domestic cricket. His most recent antics of 33-ball 74, the third fastest fifty in T20 internationals, shows his batting prowess. He will have to play a key role if Punjab intend to clinch their first IPL title this year.Sunil Narine: The mystery spinner from West Indies, Sunil Narine, was been one of the most influential players for the KKR during their victorious IPL campaign in 2012. Narine was also the highest wicket-taker for KKR with 22 wickets in 16 matches last season. His exemplary performances also helped him in bagging the Player of the Tournament award in 2012. His ability to bowl tidy overs in pressure situations gives an edge to KKR’s bowling department.David Miller: The 24-year-old South African, aka ‘Killer Miller’ in IPL, is as explosive as they come in limited-overs cricket. After making a name for his power-hitting, Miller has turned into a gruesome strokeplayer in modern-day cricket. His ability to play a wide range of strokes, both off the front and backfoot has earned him quite a reputation in international cricket. Miller was also one of the most entertaining batsmen in the IPL last season. The young South African took the IPL by storm after scoring 418 runs with 28 fours and 24 sixes for Kings XI Punjab in 2013. The performance impressed his team owners to such an extent that he became one of the only two players to be retained by KXIP ahead of 2014 IPL auctions.Gautam Gambhir: Indian opening batsman, Gautam Gambhir, was one of the most consistent performers for KKR last season. The skipper, while leading from the front, helped Kolkata to it’s first-ever IPL title victory in 2012. The left-hander was also the highest run-scorer with 406 runs in 16 matches last season. Apart from being a devastating batsman, Gambhir is an active and responsible skipper on field.Robin Uthappa: The 27-year-old explosive batsman was the top run-scorer for now-defunct Sahara Pune Warriors with 405 runs in 16 matches in 2012. He is an outstanding fielder, a reliable wicketkeeper and can even bowl slow medium pace. Following the termination of Pune Warriors in 2013, Uthappa was bought for a whopping Rs 5 crore by Kolkata Knight Riders during the IPL auctions this year. His availability in the team will provide the much-needed balance at the top-order for Kolkata.Teams(from):Kings XI Punjab: George Bailey(c), Mitchell Johnson, David Miller, Glenn Maxwell, Virender Sehwag, Shaun Marsh, Cheteshwar Pujara, Gurkeerat Singh, Manan Vohra, Mandeep Singh, Rishi Dhawan, Thisara Perera, Akshar Patel, Karanveer Singh, Wriddhiman Saha(wk), Murali Kartik, Shivam Sharma, Beuran Hendricks, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Sandeep Sharma, Parvinder Awana, Anureet Singh, Shardul ThakuradvertisementKolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir(c), Robin Uthappa(wk), Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan, Ryan ten Doeschate, Suryakumar Yadav, Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav, Sunil Narine, Vinay Kumar, Piyush Chawla, Jacques Kallis, Manvinder Bisla, Kuldeep Yadav, Veer Pratap Singh, Chris Lynn, Andre Russell, Sayan Mondal, Pat Cummins, Debabrata Das
To the left are the factors I used and the weights I assigned each.Some things don’t matter in my book. I don’t take into account our prematch ratings of each team. A Bayesian would figure that the better teams are more likely to play better soccer, but in a tournament that has seen favorites dominate the later stages, I don’t want to give them any other advantages.Also, while knockout matches get a boost because they’re considered more meaningful than group-stage matches, I also don’t give any extra credit for knockout games that are tied after 90 minutes. Part of the beauty of soccer is that matches take a predictable, and brief, amount of time. So all stats are normalized to a 90-minute match, and penalty kicks don’t factor in. Relatedly, I have no bias for or against draws. Either they come in the group stage and are critical to standings, or they’re in the knockout stage and are settled by penalty kicks.I didn’t merely add together these numbers. A typical match had 725 completed passes per 90 minutes, but just 2.65 goals per 90 minutes. Plus, some of the measures were expressed in percentages. So I used standard scores, aka Z scores: the number of standard deviations each measure was from the mean. Each match’s final score was the weighted sum of Z scores for each measure.And here are the Top 10 and bottom 10 matches, according to my method:Belgium-U.S. did well across the categories. It was meaningful and close for all but the two minutes between the second Belgium goal and the lone U.S. goal. It had lots of one-on-ones, chances and expected assists; and few offsides, bookings and major errors.In other words, it was the mirror image of the dreadful France defeat of Honduras. France led comfortably for nearly all of the second half. The match had few one-on-ones, a relatively low proportion of shots that were on goal, few chances or assists, and an own goal by Noel Valladares, the Honduras goalkeeper.While I’m comfortable with both of these choices, I was surprised to see the two semis in my top 10. Germany’s rout of Brazil wasn’t competitive after the first 20 minutes, but the German attack’s efficiency and pinpoint passing made it look like a classic anyway. (It also had few fouls, bookings and offsides calls.) And it did have a certain car-wreck quality that made it highly watchable. Argentina’s penalty-kick ouster of the Netherlands was highly meaningful and close throughout, with accurate passing. That helped it overcome the lack of goals and, especially, chances — the fewest per 90 minutes of any match so far.The rankings also make me want to watch replays of Nigeria — which had two top-five matches — and they provide a parting insult to Spain, which played two matches in the bottom 10. They also highlight the drama of the Round of 16, which had three of the top nine matches.Just to show how much my preferences matter, I tested a few small changes in the weightings and came up with different results. Weight goals per 90 minutes by four instead of one, and Germany-Brazil is the best match of the World Cup in addition to the most surprising. Or shift the weight on successful tackle percentage to four, and Germany-Algeria takes the prize. (No simple tweak, though, can rescue France-Honduras.)As these examples demonstrate, this ranking, like any other, is arbitrary. The factors I included and the weights I chose were based on what data I had available and my preferences. Let me know in the comments how you’d rank the matches, or rank them yourselves. There are lots of stats available at FIFA.com and Whoscored.com. I thought it’d be fun to try to devise a way to rank the 62 World Cup matches played through Wednesday for sheer entertainment value. After all, most people in the world entered the tournament without their home country to support. And many people who live in one of the 32 nations with a contender have seen their country’s team knocked out and had to choose whether to adopt a new side to support, or to simply cheer for good, exciting soccer — or, in other words, what was absent from France-Honduras, the worst match by my measure.So, what defines good, exciting soccer? What sets Belgium 2-U.S. 1, the best match of the tournament by my ranking, apart from France 3-Honduras 0, the worst? Anyone who thinks about the question probably would answer it a little differently. Here are my answers: A match needs to matter. Knockout matches matter the most, while the third of the three group-stage matches sometimes matter much less, particularly when the two teams have been eliminated from the knockout stage already.A match needs to be close for most of the time. It can end 4-0, so long as it was 1-0 until the final minutes.All else equal, a match with more goals is more fun than one with fewer goals. But not all goals are created equal. Goals caused by opponent errors aren’t the result of good play, so each one is as bad as other goals are good. I prefer assisted goals, so they get a 50 percent boost.Whatever the final score, a match will be more entertaining if it has more chances. And meaningful chances matter more. So a better match will have a greater number of expected goals and assists. Our expectation is based on the location of shots and passes — and a model built by TruMedia to estimate the expected number of goals and assists based on these shots and passes and how they’re coded by Opta’s match analysts (TruMedia supplied the Opta data for this exercise). Good chances are entertaining whether or not they lead to goals: When they don’t, a defender or goalkeeper is probably partially responsible. But missed shots are no fun and a sign of bad play. So the higher the percentage of all those shots that aren’t blocked by the defense that are on target, the better.One-on-one showdowns between an offensive player and a defensive counterpart are exciting. The more of these, the better.The greater the number of completed passes, the more the ball is moving and teammates are collaborating. Incomplete passes could be the result of ambitious passing, of bad touches or of good defense, so I ignore them.Tackles are good, but missed tackles aren’t. So the higher the percentage of attempted tackles that are successful, the better.Flowing play is better than lots of referee whistles. So the fewer fouls, the fewer bookings and the fewer offsides calls, the better.There aren’t many stats that directly measure errors, so I use one of those — misplays on crosses by goalkeepers — along with own goals and goals caused by defensive errors as a proxy for sloppy play in meaningful moments.
Redshirt junior defensive end Tyquan Lewis forces a fumble from Indiana junior quarterback Richard Lagow in the first half. OSU won, 38-17. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorAll week, the Ohio State football team said they were focused on the task that lay before them in Indiana, and not on next week’s matchup against Wisconsin. The Buckeyes appeared to be a little distracted in the first half, but ultimately pulled away in the second half, picking up a 38-17 victory.The first quarter has been slow for OSU this season, and Saturday, things were no different. Both teams’ offenses struggled to find a rhythm early on, resulting in just a field goal apiece. On the opening drive for the Buckeyes, redshirt freshman running back Mike Weber mishandled a pitch, resulting in a recovered fumble by Indiana redshirt junior defensive lineman Patrick Dougherty. The short field allowed the Hoosiers to take a brief 3-0 lead.Junior H-back Curtis Samuel, the early season hero for OSU so far, failed to touch the ball until the second quarter. With under six minutes left in the half, OSU decided to uncage Samuel, resulting in four carries for 46 yards on one drive.A normally stout defense for the Buckeyes was exposed at times in the first half by Indiana, including a 50-yard completion from redshirt junior quarterback Richard Lagow to sophomore wide receiver Nick Westbrook. The drive eventually ended in a Hoosier touchdown, with Lagow finding senior wide receiver Mitchell Paige wide open in the middle of the field for a score.“A lot of their formations, we kind of expected what was going to come,” redshirt sophomore Sam Hubbard said.” What we saw today was not what we saw on film. They kind of totally switched it up on us. We just had to make adjustments as the game went on.”OSU continued its trend of scoring in the final two minutes of the first half, as a long kickoff return by redshirt sophomore Parris Campbell returned the ball to the six yard line of Indiana, which eventually led to a 5-yard touchdown run by J.T. Barrett.After setting the record for most passing touchdowns for a quarterback in OSU history last week, Barrett struggled to connect with his wideouts, going 4-for-9 with just 41 yards. He failed to find a score through the air.“I didn’t play particularly well in the passing game by any means,” Barrett said. “So I just have to do a better job of reading the coverages better and getting the ball to our playmakers.” The second half got off to a bad start for the Buckeyes, as Indiana marched 89 yards down the field, chewing up nearly five minutes before Lagow found redshirt junior tight end Danny Friend in the end zone. Both redshirt sophomore cornerback Marshon Lattimore and redshirt sophomore safety Malik Hooker bit on the play-fake, giving Friend the opening.The play is a staple of the Hoosier offense, but even a secondary that has been as successful as OSU’s will make a misstep from time to time.“They did the fake tunnel screen,” Lattimore said. “We (were) in man, and I guess Malik thought it (was a screen pass). We made the adjustment though. We knew they was going to try something, but they got us on that one.”OSU answered back with its own long drive, using 13 plays and grinding out 85 yards to find the end zone again. Weber picked up his second score of the day by diving over the pile. After failing to pick up redshirt senior center Pat Elflein against Rutgers, Weber turned and made sure to hoist the anchor of the offensive line as high as he could after crossing the goal line.Back-to-back three-and-outs by both sides gave Indiana the ball back, but another punt inside the 20-yard line kept the Hoosiers on their heels, forcing another three-and-out. Redshirt senior Cameron Johnston had three punts inside the 20, along with four punts over 50 yards. The wide receivers for OSU, who showed promise last week against Rutgers, were nearly a non-factor against Indiana. Redshirt sophomore Noah Brown was the only Buckeye receiver to catch a pass throughout all four quarters. Early in the fourth quarter, a Barrett pass intended for redshirt junior tight end Marcus Baugh was tipped right into the hands of Indiana freshman cornerback A’Shon Riggins. Riggins returned the ball to the OSU 13. After nearly giving up a fumble, Indiana was stuffed on the six yard line on fourth down, turning the ball back over to OSU.“It’s not the sharpest thing in the world, we have our own thing to work on,” co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell said. “That relentless mentality to get a fourth down stop on the goal line, huge momentum swings, things like that, they’re doing exactly what the culture of the program is and what we are asking them to do. But there’s a lot of things we can sharpen up as well.”After drives by either side, the Buckeyes dealt the decisive blow on a 37-yard touchdown reception for senior H-back Dontre Wilson. Wilson now has two touchdown receptions this year.Redshirt sophomore Malik Hooker picked off a deep pass from Lagow, giving the ball inside the Hoosier 20. OSU proceeded to run the clock out. Hooker now has four interceptions this season.Meyer said Barrett would be running the ball less this year, but that wasn’t the case Saturday. The Texas native had 21 passes, compared to 26 carries. The inefficiency did not hurt the Buckeyes, but it appears the wide receiver position is one that finishes the game either on fire or stone cold.Although it was a brutal thing to put his signal caller through, Meyer stood by the choice to run Barrett so frequently.“We had to win the damn game,” Meyer said. “And he’s one of our best players.”Weber continued his streak of efficient games, finishing the day with 15 carries for 71 yards. The two touchdowns he scored are the most in one game for Weber this season. Samuel did not register a catch for the first time this season, but was able to pick up 82 yards and a touchdown. The score brings his season total to three touchdowns.The defense for the Buckeyes went through its roughest games this year, allowing 281 yards and two passing touchdowns. Freshman defensive end Nick Bosa, who picked up four tackles and earned considerable playing time this week, said the defense did what they had to to ensure a win.“It started off a little rough, we had some put-backs, but we stood together strong,” Bosa said. “Coach Fick(ell) had a great gameplan and we stuck to it. I think it was 98 yards rushing?”Even with a poor showing compared to other games for the Buckeyes this season, the win improves their record to 5-0, with a perfect 2-0 mark in the Big Ten. Next week, OSU travels to Madison, Wisconsin, to face the Badgers.Wisconsin is ranked No. 11 and coming off a loss to No. 4 Michigan. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Oct. 15.
Head coach Chris Holtmann watches from the sideline in the second half of the Ohio State-Robert Morris game on Nov. 10. Ohio State won 95-64. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorChris Holtmann didn’t have any control over his schedule for his first season coaching Ohio State. He was going to be coaching in the Phil Knight Invitational whether he was in Columbus or still coaching Butler. But unlike at Butler, he has to endure the possibility of six straight games against high-major opponents.In 12 days.Now that it’s here, Holtmann is staring down the greatest test he will have not just in his first year with the Buckeyes, but also in his entire coaching career to this point.“It’s completely unlike anything I’ve ever experienced,” he said. “It’s something we’re going to have to be mindful about with rest and sleep, and it will be interesting to see, too, the teams that come out of Portland and how they respond to this stretch once they come back.” The Buckeyes (4-0) have played well to this point and have played with more energy and consistency than they showed at any point last season. But that road ahead gets much tougher.On the schedule, Ohio State has No. 17 Gonzaga, Stanford or No. 7 Florida, Clemson, Wisconsin and Michigan. Holtmann’s squad also has a third game in Portland, Oregon, at the PK80 — the tournament celebrating Nike founder Phil Knight’s 80th birthday — against either Duke, Portland State, Texas or Butler.Holtmann has made it clear he isn’t putting any goals or expectations on this season. He said it again Tuesday before his team departs for the West Coast.“For us the end game right now for us is get better today,” Holtmann said. “That’s really the end game. We don’t have another end game other than get better today.”That might be coach-speak, but let’s consider the obvious.He arrived in June after an out-of-the-blue firing of former coach Thad Matta. He arrived with no recruits remaining in the 2018 recruiting class, so he immediately had to hit the trail. He didn’t have time to really get to know his players until official practice began in September.So given the circumstances, all Holtmann has been able to do is focus one day at a time.That being said, he’s still a coach, and a coach demands a certain level of play from his players. That bar can be set and raised with a strong showing in these next six days.“It’s a good opportunity,” senior forward Jae’Sean Tate said. “To compete against multiple teams in a span of 48 hours, it’s great, it’s exciting. We’re looking forward to it.”Just four games into the season, it might be a bit rash to call this stretch the greatest challenge he’ll face this year. But consider this: Ohio State will have played nearly a third of its schedule after this stretch, including two conference games with a multitude of opportunities for signature wins on its resume when it comes time to evaluate the Buckeyes in March.Yes, Holtmann needs to figure out his team’s 3-point shooting woes (28.4 percent), whether any issues that come with the dearth of depth at guard and address any potential injuries that might occur in the future. But in the present, there’s no greater opportunity for an early statement than the next two weeks.“I think, in a lot of ways, it was a no-brainer decision to be a part of an event like [the PK80] because of what it can reveal about your team in these moments,” Holtmann said.While most Ohio State fans will tune into coverage of the football game against Michigan this week, there’s no denying that fans badly want their basketball team to be competitive again.The Buckeyes don’t have to win all six of these upcoming games, but going .500 would turn some heads toward the program Holtmann is trying to resurrect in Columbus.