Is It A Clown Question To Ask Why Bryce Harpers Stats Are

Historical playersYearsAgesPosYear 1Year 2Year 3 current playersYearsAgesPosYear 1Year 2Year 3 Andre Ethier2007-0925-27RF+4-11-11 Fielding Runs vs. Avg Matt Kemp2009-1124-26CF0-31-6 Jeff Francoeur2007-0923-25RF+20-3+4 Luis Matos2003-0524-26CF+9-8-2 Fielding Runs vs. Avg When Bryce Harper was introduced by the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday in Clearwater, Florida, and slipped on a red pinstriped No. 3 jersey, the amount of fanfare that greeted him hadn’t been seen since the team traded for Roy Halladay in 2009. The club reportedly sold 100,000 tickets to regular-season games within hours of Harper’s signing. The Phillies hope it ushers in an era of sustained competitive baseball with Harper as a $330 million keystone. After all, what made Harper so promising was not only his talent but also his relative youth, as a 26-year-old free agent.Harper should still be productive in the near term and deliver important wins for the Phillies (after the signing, FiveThirtyEight’s projections for the 2019 season bumped the Phillies up to 84 wins, from 82, although other sites have been more bullish). But as we wrote last week, Harper’s consistency is a concern. Historical comps for a player with Harper’s unusual and volatile career to date suggest that he might have already peaked and that star-level players, in general, have reached their peaks by age 26. Since we are already in the habit of raining on the parade in Philadelphia, let’s look under the hood at Harper’s underlying stats and see where the specific problems may reside.For starters, Harper’s defensive metrics fell off a cliff last season.According to an average of Defensive Runs Saved (which Baseball-Reference.com uses for its defensive WAR) and Ultimate Zone Rating (FanGraphs’s metric of choice), Harper was the second-worst right fielder in the game (-12 runs saved compared with average) and the fourth-worst center fielder (-9 runs saved). Harper played 860 innings in right and 477 innings in center last season. And if Harper becomes more and more a one-dimensional player, in an era in which his power hitting stands out less, he loses relative value.But perhaps those concerns are a little overblown. Although baseball’s defensive metrics are getting better all the time, they are still prone to big swings between seasons. In 2017, before the big decline last season, Harper was actually 3 runs better than an average right fielder. His 24-run drop ranks second-worst among outfielders under age 271As of June 30 of the season in question. who played the same position for the same team in back-to-back years between 20022The first season of granular, pitch-level data at FanGraphs. and 2018, trailing only Matt Kemp (who fell from being exactly average in 2009 to 31 runs below average in 2010). In the season after that, Kemp still wasn’t good — he was -6 relative to an average CF — but he at least reclaimed some of the ground he’d lost in his annus horribilis.As it turns out, that’s a pretty common story if we look at the rest of the outfielders who met our qualifications from above and dropped off by at least 15 runs in a season since 2002: Jay Bruce2010-1223-25RF+180-3 Mike Trout2012-1420-22CF+15-5-9 The fates of outfielders with Harper-esque defensive dropsPlayers who had a decline of at least 15 defensive runs* relative to average in a season since 2002, were younger than 27 and played in the same position for the same team Nick Markakis2008-1024-26RF+17-5-8 Odubel Herrera2017-1925-27CF+6-11? There were some other players who experienced the same kinds of defensive declines and responded by changing positions entirely. (Such as Mark Teahen, Adam Eaton and Marlon Byrd.) But among those who stayed at the same position, they averaged to be about half as bad (relative to average) in the following season as they’d been in the decline year, regaining about 20 percent of their previous form.In the end, though, the Phillies are paying Harper to produce runs and hit homers. So perhaps the more troubling trend of Harper’s for the Phillies is his failure to address holes in his swing.Harper’s ability to make contact has been in decline. Last season, his rate of contact on pitches in the strike zone was the fourth-lowest among qualified hitters, dropping from 84 percent in 2017 to 78 percent in 2018. His strikeout rate rose by 4.2 percentage points, the 24th-greatest increase in the majors. Since 2015, his 15-game rolling average regarding contact ability (on all pitches) has been volatile but gradually declining.According to Statcast data from Baseball Savant, Harper’s whiff rate against fastballs3Four-seam fastballs, two-seam fastballs and sinkers. increased from 15.2 percent in 2016, to 20.2 percent in 2017 to 26.4 percent last season (ranking as the 36th-highest whiff rate in 2018 among 352 batters to offer against at least 200 fastballs). Against fastballs 95 mph and faster, Harper’s whiff rate increased from 18.8 percent in 2016 to 22.0 percent in 2017 to 31.5 percent in 2018.Harper has always had a weakness against up-and-away fastballs. Since 2015, he has swung and missed at a 40.7 percent rate when offering at up-and-away four-seam fastballs.Last season, Harper swung at 111 four-seam fastballs in those zones and whiffed 52 times, a 46.8 percent rate.While defensive metrics can still be somewhat volatile from year to year,4Even among players who stayed at the same position in back-to-back years, the correlation between a player’s percentile rank at his position in defensive runs per inning from year to year is 0.36 since 2002. a player’s contact rate is much “stickier”5The same correlation for a batter’s strikeout rate in back-to-back seasons is 0.79. — suggesting that big changes in the ability to make contact are more likely to represent a real change in skills and not just random variance.It’s not all bad news at the plate, however: Against fastballs,6Again, four-seam fastballs, two-seam fastballs and sinkers. Harper hit .306, with a .651 slugging percentage, according to Baseball Savant data.Because Harper was effective when making contact against fastballs, perhaps he was trading the ability to make contact for more power. What he has not done is change his swing plane, according to launch angle data. His average launch angle was 14.5 degrees in 2015, 14.6 in 2016, 13.6 in 2017 and 13.9 in 2018. His pull rate did spike, jumping from 35.5 percent in 2017 to 42.3 percent in 2018.Harper has elite plate discipline. He has elite power. But not every player who has made power gains in recent years — see Mookie Betts, Francisco Lindor, Justin Turner and Jose Ramirez — has had to sacrifice contact. And the best, most efficient offensive performers typically do not trade contact for power.What’s concerning is that even though some traits age well, like plate discipline, power generally does not. So if Harper’s defense continues to decline and he’s limited to a corner outfield position and continues to lose contact ability — if he becomes a Three True Outcomes hitter — he probably won’t age as the Phillies would like. He would likely morph from a highly sought-after asset, a 26-year-old star free agent, to the type of player easily found (a Three True Outcomes corner outfielder).Because Harper was a prodigy in part as a result of relentless work and practice at a young age, he may have fulfilled his potential soon after his arrival in the majors. But he doesn’t have to be Trout-like to justify his contract. At $25.4 million per year, the Phillies are not paying him as an elite superstar. And if Harper helps Philadelphia add another World Series banner to Citizens Bank Park in the not-too-distant future, then it will likely be $330 million well spent regardless of how well he ages. * According to an average of the defensive metrics found at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs.Minimum 700 innings in all years. Ages are as of June 30 of the season in question.Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, FanGraph Bryce Harper2017-1924-26RF+3-20? From ABC News: read more

Which Players Will Be Most Affected by the Hall of Fames New

As Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas celebrated their inductions in Cooperstown this weekend, the Baseball Hall of Fame announced a change that will make it harder for others to join them. Instead of having 15 years of eligibility for consideration by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA), players will now be limited to 10.1A player becomes eligible five years after retirement. If he doesn’t receive at least 5 percent of the votes the first year, he’s excluded from future ballots.One theory is that the change is designed to exclude players like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, who are known or suspected to have used performance-enhancing drugs.2Retired players such as Alan Trammell who have already appeared on at least 10 ballots will be exempt from the rule. But Bonds and Clemens, who joined the ballot in 2013, won’t be. But an attempt to target Bonds and Clemens could produce collateral damage. Players such as Curt Schilling, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina and Larry Walker — who are not strongly associated with PED use — could also be less likely to get in.Take the case of Mussina, who received 20 percent of the vote on this year’s ballot, his first year of eligibility. He might seem like a hopeless case — players need 75 percent of the vote to be elected to the Hall of Fame. But players generally gain ground the longer they remain on the ballot. Sometimes they need the full 15 years to get there.Consider other players who received somewhere between 15 and 25 percent of the vote in their first eligible season. There were 16 such players between 1966, when the Hall of Fame began holding elections every year instead of every other one, and 2000, the most recent class of players to have exhausted their 15-year eligibility window:Two of these players, Don Drysdale and Billy Williams, gained ground quickly enough to be elected to the Hall of Fame within their first 10 eligible seasons.Another three — Bruce Sutter, Bert Blyleven and Duke Snider — were elected by the BBWAA at some point between their 11th and 15th eligible seasons.One player, Red Schoendienst, was elected later by the Veterans Committee.The 10 remaining players — Gil Hodges, Jack Morris, Roger Maris, Tommy John, Mickey Lolich, Jim Kaat, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Thurmon Munson and Tony Oliva — have not yet made the Hall of Fame, though some are plausible candidates for election by the Veterans Committee at a later date.So by a quick-and-dirty rendering, Mussina’s chances of getting elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA have been sliced from 5 in 16 (representing the five players who made it within 15 seasons) to 2 in 16 (only Drysdale and Williams made it within their first 10 seasons). He might also have some chances with the Veterans Committee. But the Veterans Committee has been stingy about electing players in recent years. The point is that players like Mussina need all the chances they can get.We can formalize this analysis by running a set of logistic regressions that estimate a player’s likelihood of eventually making the Hall of Fame based on his performance in his first year on the BBWAA ballot. First, I ran a regression to consider whether players were selected by the BBWAA within 15 seasons.3As in the Mussina example, this regression considered all players who first appeared on the ballot between 1966 and 2000. I excluded players who were elected in their first year, or who received less than 5 percent of the vote in the first year, as these players have been automatically dropped from the ballot since 1985. Then I ran another regression to evaluate whether players made it within their first 10 eligible seasons. (Among players who first appeared on the ballot in 1966 or later, those who were elected by the BBWAA somewhere between their 11th and 15th seasons were Snider, Sutter, Blyleven and Jim Rice.)4For this regression, I included players who first appeared on the ballot from 2001 through 2005, in addition to those between 1966 and 2000, since they’ve had 10 years to be elected. Finally, I considered whether players made the Hall of Fame at all — whether through the BBWAA or the Veterans Committee.5In this case, I included all players who first appeared on the ballot from 1966 through 1995 — players who began appearing on the ballot after 1995 have not yet been eligible for consideration by the Veterans Committee, as best I can tell. For this regression only, I also included players who received less than 5 percent of the vote in their first year on the ballot — a few of these players (Richie Ashburn, Larry Doby and Ron Santo) were eventually elected by the Veterans Committee. The results are represented in the chart below.To read the chart, scan across until you find a player’s vote share in his first year of eligibility — then scan up to see where the various curves intersect it. For instance, for a player like Mussina who got 20 percent of the vote in his first year:There is a 10 percent chance he gets elected within his first 10 years of BBWAA eligibility, according to the regression analysis. (This is the yellow curve.)There is a 23 percent chance he gets elected within the 15-year eligibility window. (The red curve.)There is a 34 percent chance he gets elected by either the BBWAA or eventually by the Veterans Committee. (The blue curve.)These answers aren’t too far from the quick-and-dirty numbers that I came up with before. They suggest that Mussina is an underdog to make the Hall of Fame — but more of an underdog now that he’ll have only 10 years of eligibility to do so.What about a player — such as Bonds — who got 36 percent of the vote in his first season of eligibility?He’d have a 53 percent chance of being elected by the BBWAA within 10 years.His odds of being elected within 15 years are higher — 69 percent.He has an 89 percent chance of being elected by some means — either the BBWAA or the Veterans Committee.So a player like this will also see his chances of being elected by the BBWAA decrease with the rule change. But he has a much better backstop: The Veterans Committee has usually elected players like this even when they were bypassed by the writers. That hasn’t been true for players like Mussina.Of course, Bonds and Clemens are no ordinary cases — and this method may not do a very good job of describing their chances. There are a couple of other objections that we need to consider first, however.One is that the change in rules could affect voter behavior. Players sometimes receive a boost in their vote share in their 15th and final year of eligibility. Now, knowing that it’s their last chance, the writers could rally around a player in his 10th year instead.That might protect a few players — Snider, for instance, got 71 percent of the vote in his 10th year of eligibility and might have made it then if a few more writers thought it was their last opportunity to elect him. But Blyleven had only 48 percent of the vote in his 10th year. His case, which was pushed by stat-savvy baseball fans for years, needed some extra time to marinate.Another consideration is that rotating players off the ballot sooner could clear slots for more recently retired players. BBWAA voters are limited to naming 10 players on their ballots. A few of them might have run out of room for Mussina this year, for instance, because they were reserving space for Alan Trammell, Jack Morris, or other players between their 11th and 15th years of eligibility.Indeed, this could be of some help to players like Mussina. But there would be a more direct means of providing relief — by liberalizing or eliminating the 10-player limit. Players from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s are badly underrepresented in the Hall of Fame relative to players who had the good fortune to be born earlier.The rule change, in other words, seems designed to make the Hall of Fame more exclusive, not less so. But how might it affect Bonds and Clemens in particular?As I mentioned, they aren’t ordinary cases. For a player like Mussina, a large fraction of the BBWAA electorate might be thought of as “swing voters” — they could live with him in the Hall of Fame or without. Given how strong feelings are on the issue of performance-enhancing drugs, the choice is likely to be much more binary for Bonds and Clemens. For that reason, their vote shares might not increase as much in future seasons. (Another PED user, Mark McGwire, has been on the ballot for eight seasons and has seen his vote share decrease in almost every one.) Personally, I’d wager a fair amount of money against Bonds or Clemens ever being elected to the Hall of Fame by the writers, whether in 10 years or 15.Nevertheless, baseball’s hive mind could change its stance on PED use with the benefit of hindsight. It’s not that hard to conceive of alternate realities. NFL players who were suspended for PED use, like the former San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman, barely seem to suffer any lasting damage to their reputations. (Merriman made the Pro Bowl in 2006, the same year he was suspended for four games.)One scenario could involve a known PED user who is otherwise a more sympathetic case than Bonds or Clemens making the Hall of Fame.6Or a player who is already in the Hall of Fame could disclose his PED use. For instance, Andy Pettitte, who admitted to using human growth hormone, is due to become eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2019. Pettitte’s case is not clear-cut on the statistical merits, but suppose he made it in 2023, his fifth year on the ballot. Under the old rules, Bonds and Clemens would have had a few years left on the ballot with that precedent in place. Now, they’ll already have exhausted their eligibility.Bonds and Clemens would still be eligible for consideration by the Veterans Committee. But whatever misgivings you might have about the BBWAA, the Veterans Committee has been far more problematic. Its rules are constantly changing, its process is not very transparent, and it has oscillated from being far too liberal to being very stingy about letting in players. Depending on the rules it drew up, the Hall of Fame could design a Veterans Committee that was relatively sympathetic to Bonds or Clemens — or firmly opposed to their election.Another theory is that the Hall of Fame doesn’t have strong feelings about Bonds and Clemens per se, but implemented the rule change in the hopes of putting the PED issue behind it sooner. It’s certainly not good advertising for Cooperstown when discussions are dominated every year by arguments over steroids.But these cases won’t go away anytime soon. Pettitte will become eligible in a few years — and a few years after him, Alex Rodriguez. Ryan Braun, another known PED user who could eventually build Hall of Fame statistics, is many years from retirement. In the meantime, players like Mussina could be caught in the crossfire. read more

The Teams That Should — And Shouldnt — Trade For Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler37.6– MINNEAPOLIS — Jimmy Butler, the four-time All-Star who asked to be traded out of Minnesota, is an NBA alpha — or, at worst, a dominant beta.Butler is one of the league’s best two-way talents, capable of changing a game on offense or defense. He has developed a hard-nosed reputation as someone who can quickly change the culture of a team. The 29-year-old should be a near-ideal trade target for just about any team still looking to make a jump as NBA training camps open this week.Yet for all his undeniable star power, the reality is that Butler would be an ideal fit with only a few of the teams that are most interested in his services. Much of that stems from how unique a player he is — and the two or three red flags that would make his acquisition more of a gamble than usual.The list of teams that have expressed interest in dealing for Butler includes the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers — a pair of teams Butler likes — as well as the Pistons, Rockets, Heat, Sixers, Blazers and Kings, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.But realistically, trading for Butler is not an automatic win for all these teams. The size of his contract, the type of role he demands to play and the assets that will be required to obtain him make the trade a significant gamble. From that list, there are maybe four (the Clippers, Pistons, Heat and Blazers) where the move seems worth the risk. For others, there are clear pitfalls that could render such a move disastrous.Perhaps the most glaring issue to consider is the amount of time Butler has played over the past five seasons: an NBA-high 37.6 minutes per game in that span1This is almost identical to the minutes load that Luol Deng — whose game has since begun flattening out — carried from age 24 through age 28. Deng, who also played for Tom Thibodeau, logged 38.1 minutes per game during those years. and 26 games in which he logged at least 45 minutes since 2013-14 — 11 games more than the next player on the list, per Basketball-Reference.com. PlayerMinutes per gameNumber of 45 Min. Games LeBron James36.8– Butler is racking up mileageNBA leaders in number of 45-minute games since the 2013-14 season, along with their average minutes per game* 13– 10– 26– Bradley Beal34.3– Anthony Davis35.9– 11– All of that could factor into how someone like Butler — who relies mostly on his physicality instead of his jump shot — ages as a player. But last season alone was less than ideal from a health standpoint. After ranking at the top of the minutes per game leaderboard in late February, Butler went down with a right knee injury that required surgery. And while injuries are often an unpredictable thing, Butler’s wasn’t the biggest shock in the world. He had missed four games in January with a sore right knee that might have required an MRI, and then Butler took the unusual step of sitting out the All-Star game the following month, citing a need for rest. Five days later, he was hurt to the point that he required the procedure on his meniscus.Butler takes on grueling tasks as someone who’s often the primary ball-handler — particularly in the clutch, where his aggressive style drew more free-throw trips than any player — and who guards the other team’s best scorer. And the potential for injuries to slow a player down as he reaches his 30s should give any club pause before sinking assets into a deal for him — let alone signing him to a max extension worth five years and $190 million in 2019, when he’s due to become a free agent.Zooming all the way out for a moment, let’s be clear: Butler is absolutely worth a sizable gamble from merely a talent perspective. His coach, Tom Thibodeau — who thinks so highly of Butler that he reportedly asked him on Monday to reconsider his trade request — called the swingman a “top-10 player in the league.”On the night of Feb. 23, when Butler suffered his knee injury, the Timberwolves were tied for third place in the loaded West. By the time he came back came back six weeks later, they’d slipped to eighth. Minnesota needed to win its last three games of the season — including a thrilling win-and-you’re-in finale against Denver — to secure the franchise’s first playoff trip in 14 years.With Butler, the Wolves were arguably a top-three team in the NBA, outscoring opponents by more than 8 points per 100 possessions;2For reference, only the Rockets and Warriors outscored opponents by 8 points per 100 possessions last season. without him, the club had the profile of a bottom-10 squad, hemorrhaging nearly 5 points per 100 possessions. Not many stars, or even superstars, possess that kind of game-changing impact.Still, there’s a pretty compelling case to be made that Butler simply doesn’t make sense on certain clubs — particularly young, developing ones, with whom he might lack patience. He frustrated younger teammates in Chicago two seasons ago when he questioned whether they cared as much as he did about winning, a critique that led to coach Fred Hoiberg benching him to start a game. Then this past year in Minnesota, reports suggested that Butler didn’t always see eye-to-eye with young star Karl-Anthony Towns. (Towns finally agreed to his five-year, $190 million extension in the wake of Butler’s trade request, which lent credence to the report. But Towns on Monday chalked it up to “awkward” timing and coincidence, saying the issues were unrelated.) Taking that into account, a young team like the Nets or the Kings — still in the developmental phases — wouldn’t seem to be ideal for Butler.The other thing worth considering with Butler, especially in Houston, Philadelphia or Portland, is how he’d fit alongside another ball-dominant guard. That experiment didn’t play out all that well when the Bulls had both Butler and Derrick Rose sharing the backcourt, and reports bubbled to the surface about there being a bit of a power struggle because of the lack of clarity in their roles.There’d be no such question with the Clippers or Heat. And the Pistons and Blazers desperately need talent upgrades to enhance their standing in their respective conferences — something that’s especially true of Portland, even if there would be questions about Butler’s fit with Damian Lillard.Few NBA players can impact a game the way Butler can. But given what we know about the talented guard, only a few teams would be smart to move heaven and earth to trade for him right now. 15– *Regular season onlySource: Basketball-Reference.com James Harden37.0– read more

Ohio State track brings in best recruiting class in years

When announcing the signings of nine recruits who will be coming to Ohio State as members of the men’s track and field team next season, OSU interim coach Ed Beathea said he believes the future of the team he is coaching is bright. “This is the best recruiting class we have put together in my time at Ohio State,” Beathea said in a press release. OSU will welcome a broad range of recruits in its incoming class. The class includes five athletes from Ohio, but also adds four out-of-state recruits. Among the class are three distance runners, two sprinters, one hurdler, two throwers and one multi-event athlete. Donovan Robertson, a hurdler from Berea, Ohio, headlines the class. Robertson, the 2011 Ohio Gatorade Track and Field Athlete of the Year, has many accomplishments to his name. This year, Robertson set the indoor national record in the 60-meter hurdles, completing the event in 7.57 seconds. Robertson is also the defending state outdoor champion in the 110-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles, and was named to the 2011 USA Today All-USA track and field team. Beathea said he recognized the significance of signing Robertson. “Donovan is one of the most talented signees in OSU history,” Beathea said in the press release. “He will have an instant impact on our conference and the country.” The group of in-state recruits is also highlighted by distance runners. Steven Weaver, from Napoleon, was the 2011 Division II state champion in the outdoor mile run and in cross country. The team also added Nicolas Pupino of Copley and Jordan Redd of Fairborn. Jack Kincade from Hilliard is the fifth in-state recruit in the class. Kincade scored 6,243 points in the decathlon last season, which was the sixth-best decathlon score among all high school athletes nationwide in 2011. OSU also lured four recruits from farther east to come west. Champ Page, a sprinter from Marlboro, Md., is a six-time Maryland state champion. Page finished the 2012 indoor season with times that ranked second nationally in the 300-meter dash with 33.93 seconds, third in the 500 meter with 63.71 seconds, and 11th in the 400 meter with 48.28 seconds. Justin Burke, a sprinter from Virginia Beach, Va., is a two-time defending outdoor state champion in the 100-meter dash, as well as in the 200 meter and 400 meter. Two throwers will also come to the Buckeyes from other states. Joseph Velez, from Providence, R.I., is joined by javelin thrower Billy Stanley from South Park, Pa. Assistant coach Kevin Mannon praised both incoming throwers. “(Velez) has the ability to make an immediate impact on the Big Ten and NCAA championships in 2013,” Mannon said in a press release. “Billy has already thrown a mark that can score at the Big Ten championships, so we expect him to be a major player for us in 2013.” read more

Ohio State opens Big Ten play with 3124 victory against Wisconsin

In their first Big Ten game of the season, the Ohio State Buckeyes answered the call.OSU (5-0, 1-0) took down Wisconsin (3-2, 1-1) 31-24, thanks in part to a huge game from quarterback Braxton Miller.In his first action since spraining the MCL in his left knee against San Diego State, the junior helped the Buckeyes get off to a fast start Saturday night. Following a punt by the Badgers on the opening drive of the game, Miller connected with junior wide receiver Evan Spencer on a 25-yard scoring strike that gave OSU the lead 7-0.“I think he (Miler) played very well,” OSU coach Urban Meyer said. “Braxton did have a heck of a day.”Wisconsin would respond, though, as redshirt-senior wide receiver Jared Abbrederis caught a 36-yard touchdown pass from Badger redshirt-sophomore quarterback Joel Stave.Miller completed his second touchdown pass of the night on OSU’s next drive, this one to junior wide receiver Devin Smith. The 26-yard reception was Smith’s fifth scoring grab of 2013.Following a 45-yard field goal from OSU’s senior kicker Drew Basil, Stave led the Badgers on a 76-yard scoring drive, finishing it with an 11-yard pass to junior tight end Sam Arneson to cut the lead to 17-14 with less than two minutes left until half.The OSU offense rushed down the field on the next drive, and Miller threw his third touchdown pass in the first half to senior wide receiver Corey “Philly” Brown, giving the Buckeyes a 24-14 lead at halftime.“I felt good,” Miller said after the game. “My legs felt good energy-wise. I wasn’t out of shape. I felt good.”After another Miller-Brown connection that extended the lead to 31-14, Wisconsin’s senior running back James White scampered 17 yards to get the Badgers within 10 points again.The two teams exchanged punts until Badger redshirt-junior kicker Kyle French made a 42-yard field goal.OSU recovered the ensuing onside kick, but were forced to punt after a three and out. Wisconsin’s last ditch effort fell short, though, and the Buckeyes ran out the clock to secure the seven-point victory.Miller finished the day 17-25 passing for 198 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran the ball 22 times for 83 yards.Abbrederis had a huge game for the Badgers, finishing with 10 catches for 207 yards and a touchdown.The game was not a total victory for OSU, as senior safety broke his left ankle on Wisconsin’s last drive of the game.The Buckeyes travel to Northwestern (4-0) next Saturday for their second night game in a row. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. read more

Ohio State womens volleyball set to open home schedule in DC Koehl

OSU women’s volleyball players get set for a serve during a game against Penn State on Oct. 31, 2014. Credit: Lantern File PhotoSt. John Arena is set to host the Ohio State women’s volleyball team for the first time this season during the 10th Annual Sports Import D.C. Koehl Classic.The 22nd-ranked Buckeyes (2-1) are scheduled to play a doubleheader on Saturday, facing off against Northern Illinois (3-1) at noon and No. 14 Florida State (2-1) at 7 p.m., before playing the Seminoles again on Sunday at 7 p.m. OSU is coming off of a second-place finish at the Rumble in the Rockies tournament in Laramie, Wyoming. The Buckeyes fell to Wyoming in their opening game, but they bounced back to defeat both Butler and South Dakota in three sets.OSU coach Geoff Carlston said he’s happy with the way his team responded to the initial loss and is ready to be at home for the first time this season.“I’m excited for the team, especially our freshmen,” Carlston said. “We played in front of a huge crowd, actually, at Wyoming, but to play in front of a large crowd that’s your home and not at a mile high is going to be much better for us.”Setter Emily Ruetter, a senior transfer from Texas Tech, said she’s excited for her first home match in a Buckeyes uniform and thinks the home crowd will give the team a boost.“It’s so much better playing on your home floor,” Ruetter said. “Based off what I’ve heard, St. John brings in quite an awesome crowd, so it’s going to be even better having all of those people here.”Junior libero Valeria León, who, along with junior middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe, was named to the all-tournament squad at the Rumble in the Rockies, is focused on helping her team more moving forward.“I don’t really care about the individual awards, I just try to make my team better,” León said. “So I’m going to keep working on that.”Team adjustmentsAs the team heads into this weekend’s games, OSU has been working on improving its blocking, shot selection and overall consistency on defense, Carlston said.“I think (in) the Wyoming match, we just sort of forgot the things that we can do, and that will happen when you’ve got people in your face,” he said. The Buckeyes had 21 shots blocked by the Cowgirls in their season-opening match.Carlston said the team has to go back to what is worked on in practice for the upcoming matches and improve overall confidence, trust and consistency.Injury reportJunior outside hitter Kylie Randall did not play in any of last weekend’s matches as she works her way back after suffering a season-ending ankle injury last season and an elbow injury that she sustained in the team’s first practices this year.There’s no timetable for Randall’s return to games, but she is practicing and Carlston is pleased with her progress.“She’s back, full-go and she’s looking pretty good, actually, for a kid who’s played six times over the last (year),” he said.The rest of the team is feeling well from a health standpoint, Carlston said.Looking aheadFollowing this weekend’s action in Columbus, OSU is set to head back out on the road for the Blackbird Invitational in Brooklyn, New York, on Sept. 11 and 12. read more

Embarrassment for English National Opera as muchhyped Blackpool venue spurns them for

first_imgA scene from The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan Credit:Tristram Kenton “We provisionally agreed dates with ENO for May 2017 but then had other approaches from show producers for these dates. As we look to maximise our diary occupancy we considered all the options and consequently, we are now looking to schedule ENO in 2018.” “They have now asked us to postpone our planned schedule of performances next year with a view that these will take place in 2018.”Given that this is an important collaboration for us we have agreed to postpone our planned performances.”A spokesman for Blackpool Winter Gardens said: “Bringing the ENO to Blackpool Opera House is certainly something that is very exciting and we have talked extensively with their team about this.  It has not yet confirmed which show is to be scheduled in its place, with listings currently showing just a ballroom dancing festival in a different part of the hall. The announcement will be seen as a further blow to ENO, which has been wracked with troubles in the last few years.Its recent plans have seen it find novel ways to boost its finances, including cutting its number of full-scale productions, renting its home at the London Coliseum out to musicals for a lucrative summer season, and leaving the capital “for the first time in many years”.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Daniel Kramer, ENO’s new artistic diretor The Mikado was to see the ENO chorus – which went on strike over pay and conditions earlier this year – perform together in what may have proved a costly exercise to transport the full staging to Blackpool.The company’s management have previously been criticised for its artistic decisions, but have emphasised stringent cuts are essential to ensure the company’s survival after it was placed in special measures by the Arts Council. A spokesman for ENO said: “Earlier this year the Opera House at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool and Blackpool Council invited us to perform The Mikado in Spring 2017.  English National Opera has been forced to postpone its much-hyped season of The Mikado in Blackpool next year, after the regional venue got a better offer. ENO have admitted the invitation to perform for ten nights at the Blackpool Winter Gardens in Spring 2017 had not been followed through, despite being widely publicised by the opera company earlier this year.In a statement bound to cause red faces, ENO said it had been asked to postpone Jonathan Miller’s The Mikado until an unspecified date in 2018.A spokesman for the Winter Gardens said it had provisionally agreed dates for the show, but had since enjoyed approaches from other producers for the dates in May.center_img Daniel Kramer, ENO's new artistic diretor  Cressida Pollock, CEO of ENO The Mikado performed by the English National Opera: Robert Murray as Nanki-Poo, and Richard Stuart as Ko-KoCredit:Alastair Muir  Cressida Pollock, CEO of ENO A scene from The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan  The Mikado performed by the English National Opera: Robert Murray as Nanki-Poo, and Richard Stuart as Ko-Kolast_img read more

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge dish out high fives hugs and handshakes

first_imgAmong the runners were Jonny Benjamin and Neil Laybourn, who ran an emotional 26.2 miles together after a long mental health journey.In 2008, Neil had stepped in to save Jonny’s life as he stood on Waterloo Bridge waiting to jump, telling him: “Things will get better.”After 5 hours 28, the pair crossed the finish line together proclaiming the support “incredible” and “emotional”. Show more Prince Harry was nicknamed the “royal hugger-in-chief” at the start line, after he, his brother and his sister-in-law offered a few last-minute words of encouragement to runners including military veterans, a family who lost their father to suicide, and a woman dressed as a strawberry. Prince Harry greets runners representing the charity ‘Heads Together’Credit:Luke MacGregor – WPA Pool/Getty Images The Duke, Duchess and Prince attended the marathon in aid of Heads Together, their mental health charity which saw thousands of runners don a bright blue charity headbands to raise awareness.Among the runners was the Telegraph’s Bryony Gordon, who raised more than £35,000 and surpassed her own expectations by finishing in five hours 53 minutes.The stars of the show, the Heads Together runners, celebrated the “extraordinary” reception they had received by cheering members of the public, hailing the royals for all they have done this week to raise awareness. Mr Rees said afterwards: “I saw him try to stand up again and his legs just went down again, and I thought ‘this is more important, getting him across the line is more important than shaving a few seconds off my time’.”Britain’s leading mental campaigners said the Heads Together event marked a “pivotal moment” in the treatment of the illness.Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said the runners and Royals had brought “unprecedented attention” to an overlooked cause, saying people with mental health problems “cannot be overlooked any more”. Bryony Gordon crosses the finish line Paul Farmer, from Mind, said: “Yesterday’s London Marathon, and the Heads Together campaign, marked a pivotal moment for mental health.”In fact, the whole of last week brought unprecedented attention to mental health, but there’s still so much more to do.”Mental health has for too long been overlooked, underfunded and in the shadows.“As more people join the ranks of those willing to speak out about mental health, the demand for change will be unstoppable.” The Telegraph’s Bryony Gordon with her medalCredit:Paul Grover  Evan Williams, his brother Ian and friend Graham O’Loughlin broke the world record for the fastest marathon in a three person costume, wrapping themselves in an enormous blue headband to finish in 3 hours 13.Among the everyday heroes cheered on by spectators was Matthew Rees, 29, who sacrificed his own race time to help a fellow runner seen staggering along the final stretch.To raucous cheers, the Swansea-based runner put his the stranger’s arm around his neck and hauled him to the end of the 26.2-mile course. Matthew Rees helped another runner over the lineCredit:ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP  The royal trio, wearing black Heads Together tops, spent about half an hour chatting to supporters and whooping and clapping as runners sped past them as they approached the Cutty Sark.Prince Harry and the Duchess took turns waving a giant Heads Together foam hand with pointing finger as runners did a double take when they recognised them.Many stopped to pose for selfies with the royals or ran over to high five them, yelling “Wills and Harry!” as they worked up the nerve to ask for a handshake.  The Telegraph's Bryony Gordon with her medal Jonny Benjamin (left) and Neil Laybourn (right), who ran together, pictured with Bryony Gordon Credit:John Nguyen The Duke & Duchess Of Cambridge And Prince Harry wave on a runnerCredit:Chris Jackson – WPA Pool/Getty Images Matthew Rees helped another runner over the line Jonny Benjamin (left) and Neil Laybourn (right), who ran together, pictured with Bryony Gordon center_img Prince Harry greets runners representing the charity 'Heads Together' The Duchess of Cambridge cheers onCredit: Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock The Duke of Cambridge hugs a runner as he hands out water Credit:Chris Jackson/PA Wire Bryony Gordon, the Telegraph columnist who ran the marathon for Heads Together yesterday, said the candid disclosures of Prince Harry and Duke and Duchess of Cambridge this week have opened the floodgates to “smash the stigma”. The Duke of Cambridge hugs a runner as he hands out water  When meeting royalty, it is usually the custom to drop a polite curtesy, a slight bow or a formal introduction at the very least.When they surprise you at the London Marathon, it appears, protocol is firmly out the window.The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry startled thousands of runners as they appeared at the sidelines of the marathon to cheer them on, dolling out high fives, hugs and handshakes via a comedy foam hand. The Duchess of Cambridge cheers on At the finish line, the royals handed out medals to runners, congratulating them on the achievement of a lifetime. “Well done guys,” the Duke shouted. “Thank you so much,” the Duchess told some of the 700 competitors running on behalf of the Heads Together mental health campaign who came over.Later, the royal trio made a dash to the 22 mile point where they handed out water to exhausted and astonished runners near Shadwell.One runner, dripping with sweat, spotted the Duke and bounded over for a high five.Prince Harry urged many not to break their momentum by stopping for a picture, shouting: “Keep going, come on, come on.” The Duke & Duchess Of Cambridge And Prince Harry wave on a runner A Kensington Palace spokesman said last night: “The Duke and Duchess and Prince Harry are thrilled that so many runners have chosen to wear Team Heads Together headbands.”Regardless of the great causes they are running for, thousands of people have put on a headband to make this the Mental Health Marathon.”Bryony Gordon said of the marathon: “It was absolutely incredible. It’s been the most amazing week.”The finish line is just the beginning. I genuinely think the floodgates have opened this week. It’s really special and things have really changed.”The more we smash the stigma, the more the powers-that-be have to increase funding and give mental health parity with physical health.”For me, the thing now is to get all the party leaders to pledge to ring fence mental health funding and make it a huge commitment in their manifesto.” Bryony Gordon crosses the finish lineCredit:Paul Grover The three young royals turned the heads of even the most serious of charity runners, who knocked minutes off their times by doubling back to meet them along the route.Shouting encouragement, they bestowed enthusiastic high fives to dozens of runners, pretending to shy away from hugging the sweatiest before drawing them into show their support with a selfie.At one point, they were photographed laughing as the Duke was squirted with water by an over-excited runner as they dashed past the bottled water station.He was later seen wiping dripping water from his right eye, after brother Prince Harry seized the opportunity to squeeze a bottle and squirt him in the face. The three royals were tasked with sounding the klaxon to officially start the race, and set the tone for the day after being photographed larking about with their air horns.At their next appearance, in Greenwich, the Duke and Duchess and Prince Harry were mobbed by runners when they joined Heads Together supporters at a cheering point on the marathon route. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Grammar schools have virtually no effect as genetics determines academic success study

first_imgResearchers analysed data of over 4,000 students in England and Wales which included the students’ genotype, their family socio-economic status, academic ability and achievement at 11, school type and GCSE results. Grammar schools have virtually no effect because genetics determine academic success, a King’s College London (KCL) study has found.Researchers examined the genetic differences between students who attend selective and non-selective schools, then analysed their GCSE results.They found that children who attend grammar or private schools are more likely to do well in exams – but this is largely down to their genes, rather than their school environment.  The study, published in the journal npj Science of Learning, suggests that the type of school a child goes to has little impact on their academic achievement by the age of 16.Emily Smith-Woolley, the lead author of the paper, said: “Our study suggests that for educational achievement there appears to be little added benefit from attending selective schools. While schools are crucial for academic achievement, the type of school appears less so.”She added that teachers and schools should be more open to discussing the role of genetics in the classroom, and the effects it has on educational attainment. Professor Robert Plomin, another of the paper’s authors, said that genetics should be included in teacher training courses. Overall, three times as many students in the top 10 per cent of polygenic scores went to a selective school, compared to the bottom 10 per cent. Researchers examined GCSE results and found that students at selective schools scored around a grade higher across English, maths and science, than their peers in non-selective schools.But once factors that are involved in selection are taken into account – such as ability, previous academic achievement and socio-economic status – there was less than a 10th of a grade difference in results.In terms of polygenic scores, these only played a small part in the differences between exam grades.Researchers said it is too early to tell how much genetic factors have an impact on the difference between exam results in selective and non-selective schools.Previous research has shown that genetic differences between students account for over 50 per cent of differences in exam results.There are a vast array of factors – all of which are genetically influenced – that have an impact on exam performance, such as intelligence, personality, motivation, health and wellbeing. Selective schools are often more likely to be better resourced, attract better teachers, and place a heavier emphasis on extra-curricular activities  Selective schools are often more likely to be better resourced, attract better teachers, and place a heavier emphasis on extra-curricular activities center_img Researchers analysed data of over 4,000 students in England and Wales  Researchers analysed data of over 4,000 students in England and Wales  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Ms Smith-Woolley, a researcher at KCL’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience,   said that even if selective schools have little impact on a pupil’s GCSE results, they may benefit children in other ways in the long-term.“Although school type appears to have little impact on achievement at GCSE, there are many reasons why parents may opt to send their children to selective schools,” she said.“Future research is needed to identify if school type makes a difference in other outcomes, such as university and career success.”Selective schools are often more likely to be better resourced, attract better teachers, and place a heavier emphasis on extra-curricular activities such as debating, drama and sports.Researchers measured each child’s “polygenic score”, which is calculated by analysing the genes linked to educational achievement.There are thousands of genetic variants that are linked to educational achievement that have a tiny effect individually, but when added together can have an impact on a student’s chances of doing well in exams, the study notes.The findings show that on average students in non-selective schools had lower polygenic scores for academic achievement compared to those in selective schools.last_img read more

Hiphop musical Hamilton breaks Olivier record as it wins seven gongs

first_imgA hip hop rendering of the life and times of American founding father Alexander Hamilton on the London stage is not, on paper, an obvious candidate for critical acclaim.But tonight Hamilton, having already won adulation from audiences, was confirmed one of the most successful musicals with the theatre establishment, winning a record-breaking seven Olivier awards – the most ever for a production that originated overseas.The haul equalled Matilda’s record for the most Oliviers won for a musical.Lin-Manuel Miranda’s unstoppable American juggernaut, one of the most popular productions to ever grace the West End stage, triumphed in the vast majority of the ten categories in which it was nominated, including best new musical and outstanding achievement in music.Giles Terera, who plays the part of Aaron Burr, was named best actor in a musical beating co-star Jamael Westman who plays Hamilton, while Michael Jibson, who plays King George III, won best actor in a supporting role in a musical. The cast of Hamilton celebrate a successful nightCredit:David Benett/Getty He said of Hamilton: “I think it’s taken popular culture and taken the theatre of story telling and taken it to a different level.”It’s like nothing anyone has ever seen before. People are just keen to see it and learn more about it and listen to the soundtrack.” The haul for Hamilton equalled Matilda's record for the most Oliviers won for a musical The haul for Hamilton equalled Matilda’s record for the most Oliviers won for a musical Other big winners included the National Theatre, which staged something of a comeback after a few low-key years, winning five awards, its biggest number since 2012.They included best revival for Angels in America and best musical revival for Stephen Sondheim’s Follies.Bryan Cranston, of Breaking Bad fame, won best actor for his role in Network, based on the 1976 Oscar-winning film, which tells the story of a TV anchor whose on air meltdowns become a ratings hit, and Denise Gough won best actress in a supporting role for Angels in America. Cranston said of Network: “It was written over 40 years ago, it’s an enormously prescient story. In the 70s, I think it was written as a farce and now in 2018, not so much of a farce.”The media is maligned, there are some challenging things, specifically in my country, that need to be addressed, and through art, I think that’s really a way of communicating to society that change is possible.” Picking up the first award of the night, for best play, Butterworth joked that it was about time he won another Olivier as the last time he won 22 years ago (for Mojo) and he had since broken the award.He said later: “When the audience stands up at the end of the play, that’s the award.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The play was based on the story of Donnelly’s uncle, who was killed by the IRA.Shirley Henderson won best actress in a musical and co-star Sheila Atim won best actress in a supporting role in a musical for Girl From The North Country.Imelda Staunton, who was nominated for the best actress and best actress in a musical categories for Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? and Follies respectively, went home empty handed.Everybody’s Talking about Jamie, the “underdog” of this year’s awards, which was plucked from the stage in Sheffield for a West End run and starring previously unknown actors, was nominated for five awards but could not compete with the bigger beasts. The production secured the best lighting design, best sound design and best theatre choreographer awards The production also secured the best lighting design, best sound design and best theatre choreographer awards.On arrival at ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall, Jibson described being in Hamilton as “one of the most exciting experiences” of his career and said it had been “a real honour” to be a part of the production. The Time’s Up movement – which is campaigning for an end to sexual harassment – had a signifiant presence on the red carpet, with leading women including Donnelly and presenter Meera Syal accompanied by activists. Cranston, who wore a Time’s Up pin, and said “the idea that older white men are controlling the world and having free reign is over.”The ceremony was hosted by Catherine Tate. The production secured the best lighting design, best sound design and best theatre choreographer awards The Ferryman, an IRA drama by Jez Butterworth, won three awards including best new play. Sam Mendes won best director and Laura Donnelly, Butterworth’s partner who was pregnant for much of the run, won best actress. The cast of Hamilton celebrate a successful nightlast_img read more