TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man Utd keeper David de Gea eyeing off Elcheby Paul Vegas20 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United goalkeeper David de Gea could buy Segunda Division Elche.Sport says should the deal was to go ahead it would cost the Spain international around €18million (£16million), as reported by Sport.Jose Sepulcre, Elche’s maximum shareholder, had been negotiating a possible sale with player agent Christian Bragarnik, but talks have cooled recently.De Gea has a strong connection with Elche – he is a season ticket holder at the club and spent part of his childhood in the area, with his father having been born there.Elche are currently in 12th place in the Segunda Division table.
LEXINGTON, KY – JANUARY 30: Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the second half at Rupp Arena on January 30, 2018 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)Freshman forward Karl-Anthony Towns was a big part of Kentucky’s close win over LSU, but he was also called for a technical foul that helped spark the huge run that brought the Tigers back into the game. Towns hung on the rim after a dunk, picking up a technical foul. LSU’s Keith Hornsby made one of the two resulting free throws, and drilled a three on the ensuing possession, which cut the UK lead to 60-56.During the post-game interview on the court, John Calipari criticized his star freshman for the foul. While he was doing so, Towns, of all people, decided to photobomb him. The timing here is truly perfect.We just hope that Towns isn’t the next Wildcat to “go missing.” Calipari has a good sense of humor, so he’ll probably laugh it off.[FTW]
EDMONTON – The Alberta government says it is achieving gender parity for those appointed to its agencies, boards, and commissions.Stephanie McLean, the minister for Service Alberta, says one third of board members were women in March 2015.Today, that number is 48 per cent as the government has filled more than 700 positions.McLean says it reflects a government approach to actively recruit more women.There are more than 280 agencies boards and commissions that work at arm’s-length from the government.The province is reviewing the mandates of all boards and has already reduced or amalgamated 26 of them to streamline service and save $33 million.
WASHINGTON – U.S. homebuilders broke ground on fewer apartment complexes in February, causing overall housing starts to fall 7 per cent.The Commerce Department said Friday that housing starts last month were at a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.24 million, a decline that was anticipated after construction surged in January to 1.33 million.February’s slowdown in construction came from a 28 per cent plunge in starts for multi-family buildings. Groundbreakings for single-family houses actually rose 2.9 per cent.Builders’ efforts have shifted to single-family houses as the economy has improved and as fewer existing homes are being listed for sale. The solid job market and a growing millennial population looking to purchase a home have lifted demand over the past two years. But the number of homes listed for sale has fallen during that time. Increased construction has not fully offset the shortage.The U.S. housing market appears to be stable because of the relative health of the overall economy. That may be tested by rising mortgage rates that could put a new home out of reach for many.“Soaring employment and faster wage growth should support the housing market, but activity is going to be constrained by higher rates,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.Single-family house construction increased last month in the Northeast, South and West, but it declined in the West.The National Association of Realtors said that the total supply of existing homes for sale dropped to 1.52 million in January, which contributed to sales of existing homes declining 4.8 per cent over the past 12 months.Building permits, an indicator of future construction, tumbled 5.7 per cent to an annual pace of 1.30 million. But that decline, too, was largely concentrated in apartment complexes, suggesting that construction companies expect more Americans to segue to home ownership.Builder sentiment remains positive, although it has slipped over the past three months. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index for March ticked down a point to 70. Any reading above 50 indicates more builders see sales conditions as good rather than poor.Stock investors have also decided that homebuilding companies are overpriced after a strong performance in 2017. Shares in D.R. Horton have dropped nearly 15 per cent so far this year. The Pulte Group is down almost 13 per cent. Stock in Tolls Brothers had lost about 8 per cent of its value.Homebuyers are facing greater cost pressures. The shortage of homes on the market has caused prices to climb much faster than wages. At the same time, it has become slightly more expensive to borrow. The average rate for 30-year, fixed rate mortgages has risen to 4.44 per cent from 4.30 per cent a year ago, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.
This year’s NHL trade deadline saw quite a few transactions — 74 veteran players switched teams in the month leading up to (and including) the March 2 moratorium — and some of the moves could shift the league’s balance of power with the playoffs a little more than a month away.In anticipation of Monday’s cutoff, we listed about 35 likely trade candidates and their possession metrics, to get a sense of who the advanced statistics would favor if any of them were dealt. But now that all the deals have been cut, how highly do the numbers regard the big names moved at the deadline?It totally depends on which numbers you look at. Conventional stats — such as goals, assists and plus-minus, as synthesized into point shares above replacement (PSAR) — favor players like newly acquired Detroit winger Erik Cole. Cole bounced back from a pair of down seasons to average a goal every three or so games with a +4 rating (on a Dallas team that’s -11 overall) before being traded. That performance was enough to lead all deadline acquisitions in 2014-15 PSAR. But as we’ve learned, the NHL’s #EnhancedStats movement emphasizes more than traditional counting statistics.Advanced metrics such as Corsi and Fenwick (ahem, “shot attempts” and “unblocked shot attempts”) started a trend in player evaluation of focusing on his ability to improve his team’s puck-possession rate while on the ice. If possession is a reliable path to team success, the reasoning goes, you want to stock your roster with players most associated with strong team possession rates when they’re in the game.Now, Stephen Burtch’s Delta Corsi (dCorsi) and Domenic Galamini’s Usage-Adjusted Corsi have pushed attempts to isolate a skater’s effect on his team’s possession rate even further. The relatively new twist provided by those stats? Attempting to account for player-usage factors — such as position played, teammate and opponent quality, zone starts and even faceoff winning percentages in dCorsi’s case — on a player’s possession rate in addition to looking at on-ice versus off-ice differences.In the past, you’d have to eyeball a player’s workload and usage as a means of context for, say, his relative Corsi. But these new stats attempt to bake those contextual factors into a single number by comparing a player’s actual possession rate to what we’d expect of an average NHL player at his position if placed in the same situations.1This is similar in theory to the way researchers have sometimes attempted to measure individual fielding in baseball, under which a defender’s actual plays made in the field are compared with expected play counts based on balls in play sent in his direction.You might think there’d be a decent amount of crossover between conventional numbers and these new possession-based advanced stats, but the correlation is practically nonexistent. Rescaling PSAR against an average baseline to make an apples-to-apples comparison, I found essentially no relationship with Burtch’s dCorsi Impact (which gives players more credit for maintaining strong possession rates relative to average in greater amounts of ice time) this season:Take Cole again. Despite his solid counting stats and a very good point share tally, Dallas’s possession rate when Cole was on the ice was actually lower than what would be expected from an average player in the same situations with the same teammates and opponents. Or take FiveThirtyEight favorite Jaromir Jagr, whose relatively down conventional stats belie a player still capable of driving play with the proverbial skills that don’t show up in the box score.They’re not alone among the bigger-name deadline acquisitions. Much was made when the Arizona Coyotes shipped away center Antoine Vermette and defenseman Keith Yandle. Both players were solid PSAR contributors for Arizona this season but also ranked among the least valuable dCorsi players at their respective positions.Meanwhile, Zbynek Michalek, another former Coyote, boasted extremely unimpressive counting numbers (8 points and a -6 rating in 53 games) even by the standards of his position but ranks as one of the best defensemen in hockey according to dCorsi Impact.In case it wasn’t clear by now, all this goes to show that it’s nearly impossible to guess whether a player is a possession star or scrub based on his conventional numbers. As is the case with most of these new-school-versus-old-school metric battles to recently crop up across almost all sports, a player’s true value probably lies somewhere in between. But in hockey, that fact just underscores how little we still know about who’s helping and hurting their teams.
A few names come to mind when pondering the surefire Hall of Famers playing baseball today. Adrian Beltre, who recently broke the 3,000-hit barrier, is one, as is Mike Trout, despite his youth. But there’s another all-time great who is toiling away on one of the worst teams in MLB: San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey. The Giants’ record might make Posey easy to overlook, but his combination of hitting and defense makes him almost a lock to one day join the Hall. In fact, despite being only 30 years old, Posey might already have a Hall of Fame résumé if he retired today.It’s difficult to forecast whether any given catcher will find his way to Cooperstown. Only 18 backstops have made the Hall, and some did so in part because of accomplishments after their playing careers (as managers or executives).1For example, Rick Ferrell is listed by Baseball-Reference.com as having been inducted as a player, but he produced only 29.8 wins above replacement in his career (34th on the all-time list of catchers). However, Ferrell won two championships as an executive before his induction, which probably helped his Hall-of-Fame case. Perhaps because of the strain of constant crouching and the beatings they receive behind the plate, catchers are notoriously quick to decline, and historically great performers can become merely ordinary in the space of a few years.But Posey is special. In a nine-year career, he’s already amassed 37.5 wins above replacement (WAR),2According to Baseball Reference.com. which puts him 25th on the all-time list among backstops. If we look at how productive all catchers have been through age 303That is, up to and including a player’s age-30 season as defined by Baseball-Reference. — Posey’s current age — he looks even better, ranking 11th all-time in WAR.According to Jay Jaffe’s JAWS, a rough guide to measuring a player’s Hall-of-Fame qualifications,4JAWS (the “Jaffe WAR Score system”) determines Hall-worthiness by comparing an average of a player’s career WAR and his WAR in his seven best seasons with the typical mark for a Hall member at his position. Posey would have a decent chance to make the Hall even if he never played another game. I looked at the top 500 catchers’ JAWS scores and used them to calculate the probability that they would one day be inducted into the Hall.5I used a logistic regression model, with JAWS score as a predictor and Hall of Fame induction as the outcome. I excluded catchers who made the Hall as managers but not as players. Posey’s JAWS score is 36.8 — already only a little below the catcher average of 43.9. (Coincidentally, Posey’s current JAWS score is identical to the end-of-career score of stalwart backstop Ernie Lombardi, who made the Hall of Fame.) Based on this analysis, Posey would have about a 29 percent chance of getting to Cooperstown if he retired today — and as we’ll see below, those numbers probably understate Posey’s contributions.Why is Posey’s résumé so strong? It starts with his impressive numbers at the plate. Since 2009, Posey’s first season in MLB, he has the 17th-highest Weighted Runs Created Plus in baseball, and he’s the only full-time catcher in the top 50. Posey has power, to which his 128 home runs (in one of MLB’s least hitter-friendly ballparks) can attest. He also has patience, with a career walk rate of 9.6 percent, well above the MLB average of 8.1 percent.But Posey is much more than just a catcher who hits well. In addition to his power and discipline, Posey has been one of the best defensive catchers in baseball during his career — thanks to his particular knack for pitch framing.Catcher framing is the art of receiving a pitch so that an umpire is more likely to call it a strike. Before the debut of pitch-tracking technology such as PITCHf/x and Statcast, the idea of framing as a skill was unproven, but now it can be measured. And as Hall-of-Fame voters increasingly understand and recognize the importance of framing, catchers like Posey will probably benefit.Baseball Prospectus rates Posey as the seventh-best framer since 1988,6That’s the first year for which those statistics can be calculated. so he’s among the cream of the crop. And because framing isn’t factored into most versions of wins above replacement, Posey is somewhat underrated even by newfangled Hall-of-Fame yardsticks like JAWS.Baseball Prospectus’s version of WAR incorporates the number of runs a catcher saves via framing (which the version from FanGraphs does not, and the version from Baseball-Reference accounts for in a much smaller way).7The Baseball-Reference metric for catcher defense has a much smaller range of framing values than Baseball Prospectus’s does. For instance, it assigns Posey only 54 runs of value from his defense over the course of his career, while BP puts the value from Posey’s framing alone at nearly double that (104 runs). Unsurprisingly, Posey’s value under that measure is higher, shooting up to 49.8 WAR. If we recalculate his JAWS score using Prospectus’s version of WAR, then, Posey is already good enough to have an 85 percent chance of making the Hall, according to my calculations. Now, Posey’s framing value this year has been minimal, so it’s possible that he’s losing his touch (he wouldn’t be the only older catcher to forget how to frame a pitch). But even if you assume that he will be a league-average framer going forward, Posey’s JAWS could end up high enough to practically guarantee a Hall of Fame induction.8This is based on a series of career simulations described later in the article.In some ways, comparing Posey with the historic greats of yesteryear in this manner isn’t fair. We don’t know what kind of framer Johnny Bench was, for example, and it’s possible that his already-tremendous WAR total would just get more inflated if we did. But we do know that it’s rare for a catcher to have both offensive ability and framing skills. (The few catchers better than Posey defensively tend to be specialists like Jose Molina and Brad Ausmus.) Conversely, there are a lot of catchers who are not great framers but nonetheless have long careers because they excel at the plate. So it’s likely that at least some of the catchers ahead of Posey on the all-time list would see their total value decline if we could measure their framing ability.Add it all up, and Posey has likely already had a Hall-of-Fame career. And his playing days probably won’t end anytime soon — the average catcher who had 20 or more WAR through age 30 ended up playing another six and a half seasons. So Posey has plenty of years to improve upon his already impressive career. To get a sense of how Posey might end up finishing his run, I asked the folks at Out of the Park Baseball — a baseball simulation engine — to game out the rest of his career. Out of the Park came back with four simulations of Posey’s future. And according to each, the hypothetical Busters fared very well. In each simulation, Posey earned an end-of-career JAWS score of greater than 51, which would give him at least a 90 percent chance of making the Hall, according to my calculations. With an average of about 2,000 hits, 400 doubles and 250 home runs, Posey’s milestones weren’t overly impressive, so he didn’t make the Hall on the first ballot in the simulations — it usually took three to four years for him to get in — but he was eventually inducted in each universe that was played out. That sounds pretty similar to what will happen in our universe, too.Posey is one of the few catchers in history who can do it all. He can hit and frame, and he even provides extra value by blocking errant pitches and throwing out runners. When you combine his offensive and defensive skills, Posey might just be the most underappreciated Hall of Famer playing today.CORRECTION (Aug. 24, 10:02 a.m.): An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that Baseball-Reference.com’s version of wins above replacement does not incorporate the number of runs saved via catcher framing. It does, although Baseball-Reference’s method assigns less value to framing than Baseball Prospectus’s version of WAR does.
The Ohio State men’s hockey team celebrates a goal from Freddy Gerard in a game against Michigan on Nov. 24. Credit: Ric Kruszynski | Ohio State AthleticsThe idea of playing video games as a career is a dream for many teenagers. It is a thought that will always be there but most of the time will never become a reality.Not many could do it, but Freddy Gerard achieved this dream at the age of 16.Gerard, a junior forward on Ohio State’s men’s hockey team, played “Call of Duty” just like many other kids — except he quickly turned this time-killer into a skill.“I wanted to see how good I was. So then I started doing little online tournaments,” Gerard said. “I started meeting better players I was playing against and playing with, and after a while I ended up finding a pretty good team, a set of guys to play with, and we ended up being pretty good.”Gerard joined OpTic Gaming, one of the biggest names in video games, at 16 years old under the name “Folsom.”“Folsom’s actually my middle name,” Gerard said. “I wasn’t sure if it would be cool at first.”Gerard made YouTube videos for two years under OpTic, which became very popular. It became so well-known, in fact, that some of his current Ohio State teammates watched him without even realizing.“I actually saw one of his YouTube videos, but I didn’t realize it was him until I played with him on Xbox,” Ohio State sophomore forward Tanner Laczynski said. “I think that was pretty cool that a pretty well-known guy in the video game world was on my team.”Gerard’s YouTube videos with OpTic continued to grow a following while he balanced school and practiced for a junior hockey team. He said he went to school at 8 a.m., then had practice after school for most of the afternoon until he resumed gaming at night.Hockey and gaming became integral parts of Gerard’s life. That only grew when he moved from YouTube to competitive gaming and began traveling across the country.“I didn’t quite expect the jump of how good these kids actually were, because I thought I was pretty good. I’m the best kid in every public lobby I play in by miles,” Gerard said. “I found out real quick how much I need to improve so it was an adjustment for sure, but after sticking with it, I knew I had something.”From an outside perspective, hockey and competitive gaming might seem like two talents on opposite sides of the spectrum, but Gerard said there are more similarities than one would think.“I don’t think people understand how team-oriented it is to play competitive video games like that. There’s four guys on your team, you and three other guys, and you are communicating nonstop,” Gerard said. “On the pressure side of things, yeah, absolutely. I remember my first time playing in front of a huge crowd like that. It’s nerve-wracking. You’re not sitting in your room anymore. There’s a spotlight on you, so that took an adjustment.”While the gaming was taking off, Gerard found himself traveling for hockey, as well. He first moved to Boston to play on the Junior Bandits. Then in 2014, he moved to play for the Madison Capitols in Middleton, Wisconsin, where Ohio State eventually discovered and recruited him.In Boston, however, Sally Gerard, Freddy’s mom, said hockey and professional gaming became too much to handle all at once, and it left Freddy with a decision to make.“I think that was hard for him to do both, at that point,” Sally said. “This was kind of like the cross in the road.”Hockey was his passion his entire life, Freddy said, and gaming was slowly becoming a second priority. Especially with his hopes of going to college, Freddy knew it wasn’t entirely his decision to quit gaming back in 2013.Freddy said he was cut by his gaming team a month before a major event, and this was the eventual breaking point for him.“I was like, ‘All right well hey, hockey it is, let’s do it,’” he said.While she was supportive of Freddy’s passion for gaming, Sally said she had no complaints about her son’s ultimate decision.Ohio State junior Freddy Gerard competed both in the rink as a forward on the men’s hockey team and in the spotlight of the competitive gaming community. Credit: Courtesy of Freddy Gerard“We were happy about him choosing hockey, I have to say. I think he is too, at this point. I don’t think it was, probably, an easy decision for him at one time,” she said. “I think he saw that it would be a big market, that gaming was going to be a big deal, and he was kind of ahead of it.”Moving to hockey full-time is a choice Freddy said he doesn’t regret, but he will always look back fondly at his time at the top of the gaming world.“It was definitely a different experience than most kids I would say, because for a while you’re kind of like a little celebrity,” Freddy said. “I went out to an event in Anaheim and I was signing autographs for half an hour, me and like three of my other teammates, so it was cool…I’m a 16-, 17-year-old kid and I’m signing autographs.”Freddy eventually found his way to Ohio State when he said it approached him after the 11th or 12th game of the season in Dubuque, Iowa, a game Freddy remembers because of how exciting it was for him. Though the Rocky River, Ohio, native took some time to think about it, Freddy said it was a no-brainer to accept the Buckeyes’ offer.“I had finally been told that my dream was going to come true and let alone at Ohio State,” he said. “It’s my state school. It’s a couple hours away from home. It’s an awesome place to be.”In his junior campaign for the sixth-ranked Buckeyes, Freddy has 10 goals and 17 points, more points than his first two seasons combined. Plus, Ohio State should have a NCAA tournament bid on the horizon.It’s been a long road for Freddy, who has seen the ups and downs of two unique fields that both took one major component: hard work.“I worked all my life to play hockey. That was my first love, and I did it every single day for as long as I could,” Freddy said. “I worked my ass off for that year-and-a-half, two years in my last couple years of Juniors to make that happen, and I did it and I made it here, and I’m just trying to love every second of that.”Freddy still plays video games from time-to-time, not with professionals, but with his teammates on the ice.Freddy doesn’t have any plans to return to competitive gaming, at least not while at Ohio State. He might have loved competitive gaming at a time, but Freddy said there are just some things hockey has that gaming does not.“There’s just no feeling like playing hockey,” Freddy said. “That was my first love. I fell in love with it right away. I loved the feeling you get when you score a goal or even just when you’re out there playing, you forget about everything. There’s not a care in the world.”
Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery is adamant that the “war is not over” in their semi-final tie against Real Madrid in the Champions League and is certain that his side will have their chances in the second legThe French midfielder was a constant threat against Los Blancos on Wednesday night at the Allianz Arena in Munich with Bayern, despite having been the stronger of the two sides for large parts of the game, lost the first leg 2-1.But Real did underestimate Juventus in the previous round, after winning their first leg against the Serie A champions 3-0 at Turin before a late Cristiano Ronaldo penalty spared them from eliminated from the competition with Juventus having grabbed a three-goal lead at the Santiago Bernabeu.Ribery took to social media to send a motivational message to his teammates ahead of Tuesday’s second leg.“The battle is lost but the war is not over ???? we will get our chances in Madrid!” wrote the 35-year-old.Report: Bayern are held by Leipzig George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Bayern Munich was held to another draw, this time by RB Leipzig.Bayern Munich finds themselves in the unfamiliar position of sitting third in the…The battle is lost but the war is not over ???? we will get our chances in Madrid! #MiaSanMia #fr7?? @FCBayern @ChampionsLeague pic.twitter.com/UQV9RIYeX3— Franck Ribéry (@FranckRibery) 26 April 2018Ribery will be expected to play a key role in the return leg at the Spanish capital next week with his teammates Arjen Robben and Kingsley Coman looking doubtful for the match.Bayern will need to score at least two goals at the Bernabeu if they want to stand a chance of making it to the tournament’s final.
Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Bahamas, September 17, 2017 – Nassau – Chairman of the 44th Bahamas Independence Anniversary Celebrations Mark Humes, MP, paid a courtesy call on Governor General Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling at Government House, September 14, 2017.(BIS Photo/Derek Smith) Related Items: