There’s a good argument to be made that MLB launched the new sports–data revolution in 2006, when it introduced PITCHf/x. The technology used cameras to measure the velocity, position, and break of every pitch in real time, transforming how sabermetricians analyzed the sport. But this season, PITCHf/x was phased out in favor of Statcast, a newer and more advanced system that tracks the ball (and players) using a combination of radar and cameras.On paper, Statcast is an incredible leap forward — and when it works, it’s amazing. But so far, it has struggled to measure the basic elements of pitching that PITCHf/x had down cold, causing confusion among sabermetricians and fans alike.It all started the first weekend of the season, when observers noted some unusual pitch velocity readings from San Francisco Giants hurler Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner’s fastball was up almost two full miles per hour compared with last year; in a league where every tick matters, that reading could have meant a much better season for the Giants’ ace than expected. It wasn’t just Bumgarner: FanGraphs writer Dave Cameron quickly noticed that velocity numbers had jumped across the league. Days after the changes were noted, MLB data guru Tom Tango clarified in a blog post that the changeover from PITCHf/x to Statcast had altered the way pitch speed was recorded, making it appear that velocity had increased. An MLB Advanced Media spokesperson who requested not to be identified said “the transition saw unexpected issues that have been resolved,” but declined to comment further.And tracking velocity was only the beginning of Statcast’s troubles. Real-time data from MLB’s Gameday app has been inconsistent or obviously erroneous in the season’s first month. Some days, it has gone missing altogether, only to reappear later without explanation. Statcast has always had gaps in its data, but in previous years, that missing information was limited to batted-ball velocity and launch angle. The pitch-tracking issues that cropped up this year are in dramatic contrast with those we saw from PITCHf/x, which tended to miss only a handful of throws a season.Even if you focus solely on the pitches that Statcast successfully tracks, its measurement error is much higher than PITCHf/x’s was. We can tell whether a park is systematically measuring pitches incorrectly by looking at the average vertical and horizontal coordinates of pitches there. If the data from a particular park tends to always be a bit high or a bit outside compared to when the same pitchers throw at other parks, it’s likely that the measurements are off. And according to models I built to measure the systematic error in each ballpark,1I used generalized linear models, with a random effect for the park. the new system is struggling to determine where the ball crosses the plate. Here’s what those errors look like when averaged across the league. Errors in both horizontal and vertical movement have never been higher in the four years that Statcast has made some of its data publicly available.2This year’s horizontal errors are tied with last year’s as the highest ever; this year’s vertical errors are the highest ever. So it’s not just your imagination as you watch the game on TV: In-broadcast representations of the strike zone (like FoxTrax) take their data from Statcast, and Statcast’s errors, in turn, have bred anger with umpires and confusion over how pitches are being called.Statcast runs into the most trouble when it’s quantifying pitch break, or the degree to which pitches move up and down or side to side as they travel between the mound and the plate. Third-party observers have catalogued numerous inaccuracies with Statcast’s break numbers. “It appears that the current Statcast/TrackMan h[orizontal]/v[ertical] break can be up to 3 inches divergent from the truth, simply comparing it to 2016 PITCHf/x data,” said Kyle Boddy, a data-driven trainer with multiple MLB clients. Even the average Statcast-reported break number is about an inch off. Some readings are especially egregious: One pitch was originally reported to have arced upward more than 20 inches on its trip from the mound to the plate. The combination of errors in velocity and break have rendered some pitches impossible to classify, further confusing sabermetricians.Making matters worse, some ballparks show much larger errors than others. So far this season, Atlanta’s brand-new SunTrust Park appears to have the most accurate vertical break numbers, only off by two-tenths of an inch on average. Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park shows the worst errors, missing by an average of 2.4 inches per pitch. So not only are the errors bigger than in the days of PITCHf/x, they’re also more inconsistent: Last year, every park’s errors ranged from 0.04 to 1.4 inches.Park-specific calibration errors such as these may explain other aberrant MLB trends. Despite the aforementioned league-wide hike in measured velocity, Chicago Cubs starters have registered lower fastball velocities than last year, sparking concern among Cubs fans. Writers have pointed to poor starts by Chicago pitchers as evidence that the velocity drop-offs are real, and even suggested that it could be part of a conscious effort by Cubs pitchers to decrease fatigue. But the far simpler explanation is bad data: If the club’s pitch tracker is poorly calibrated, it could make it look like pitchers are losing velocity when in fact the readings are just wrong. Supporting this idea is the fact that opposing teams’ pitchers in Wrigley have also registered a lower raw velocity than average. Unless the Cubs’ velocity woes are contagious, it seems likely that Statcast errors are driving some of their low numbers.The root cause of Statcast’s troubles is unknown. The problems could originate in the hardware, the computer code processing the resulting data, or any other part of a complex system. The hardware part of Statcast — the part that actually tracks pitches — is a radar system sold by a company called TrackMan. Boddy’s company, Driveline Baseball, maintains their own TrackMan machine and has previously characterized its performance. “It is well-known in the industry that TrackMan has a lot of calibration issues, especially in nonstandard deployments.” Boddy said. For a radar system that works best in empty environments, it hardly gets less standard than trying to take measurements in a crowded MLB stadium on game day.The good news is that MLB could learn from the last major technological innovation it deployed. When PITCHf/x first came out in the postseason of 2006, there were major issues with its initial calibration. “The data was open sourced and required tons of work from the public sphere to massage and get right,” Boddy said. “It was years before the data stabilized, and MLBAM has public analysts to thank for doing tons of free work.” But in contrast to a decade ago, MLB is now providing very little detail about Statcast’s internal workings. Without greater disclosure from MLB, it’s impossible to know what issues Statcast is having, or when they may be resolved. (At times, their own analysts appear to find out about changes to the public data after the fact.) Until Statcast improves, television viewers and sabermetricians alike will have to take pitch-tracking measurements with a grain of salt.
The logic was sound for Scott: Kessler/McCown as the most obvious case, the Browns starter last year up against the least bad Jets passer; Kessler/Hackenberg if the Jets were aggressively tanking; Kizer/McCown if the Jets had back-tracked on tanking and the Browns were attempting to invest in their future; and Kizer/Hackenberg if both teams were racing to the bottom for Southern Cal’s Sam Darnold, the presumed No. 1 pick at the time.To the untrained eye, Brock Osweiler going into the season could be the guy: He started the first two preseason games, had been a starting quarterback in two cities and even signed a baffling $72 million contract. To the trained — by which I mean open — eye, Osweiler is an awful quarterback, now riding the bench behind Trevor Siemian in Denver after failing to make the 53-man roster in Cleveland. Hogan, meanwhile, emerged as the sleeper candidate by earning the backup role ahead of incumbent Kessler, giving me some brief hope. But the Browns have fully committed to their rookie Kizer in the past four weeks — undeterred by the lowest QBR in the NFL.For the Jets, it’s been a far weirder ride. They are a team that cannot choose between tanking for Darnold (or Josh Rosen … or Mason Rudolph) and winning enough games to ensure that they do not obtain him. Bryce Petty remains inexplicably in the mix. Hackenberg obtained the No. 2 spot and then promptly lost it. For those questioning the logic of the “other” column, the Jets kicked Jay Cutler’s tires when he was a free agent. And yet, the mediocrity of McCown has helped the Jets win two whole games, all but ensuring that the Jets will not be able to draft a reliable replacement for him next year.All good teams are good for the same reasons, but all bad teams fail for different ones. It’s looking increasingly likely that I’ll owe Red [checks book] several beers. But good God, was the roller coaster worth it: Nothing quite like skin in the game to make the Jet’s inability to tank correctly entertaining. On July 31, I made what will surely be the single most entertaining bet of my NFL season, a down-to-the-wire nail-biter that this Sunday is manifested in either total glory or unspeakable defeat:Who on Earth would be the starting quarterbacks for Jets at Browns in Week 5?The teams, which have been the poster children for “problems behind center” in recent seasons (OK, recent decades), will each presumably field a passer during the Sunday game. The identity of those individuals was a mystery in late July. For the Browns — historically, the kind of quarterback trash fire that other trash fires look at and say, “Oh, God, the smell” — there were five possibilities in July: Brock Osweiler, Kevin Hogan, Cody Kessler, rookie DeShone Kizer and “other.” For the Jets, who had parted ways with Ryan Fitzpatrick earlier that year, the options were considerably slimmer: Josh McCown, Bryce Petty, second-year clipboard holder Christian Hackenberg and, of course, “other.”So here was the bet between me and internet friend Red Scott of Bunker Politics.1Full disclosure, this is our second bet. The first was which number would be higher, the combined wins of the Jets and Browns or the White House tenure of Anthony Scaramucci in months. I won that one. He gave himself even-money odds that he could guess the starting quarterback combo for New York at Cleveland in four tries. I would take the rest of the field. Here’s what he ended up picking:
Matt Storey is many things. He is a 22-year-old sports fanatic who can talk for hours about his favorite teams, players and even mascots. He is a ball boy at Huntington Park for the Columbus Clippers. He works at Riverside Methodist Hospital in patient transportation and environmental services. He is also developmentally disabled, which normally would keep someone from doing half the activities he does. Matt, who has trouble speaking, communicated through his parents. “He started in sixth grade being the manager for the eighth-grade basketball team,” said Ken Storey, his father. Matt participated in the Special Olympics growing up, but decided he enjoyed managing more. While at Dublin Coffman High School, he managed the football, wrestling and baseball teams. He loved going to the games and feeling like he was part of each team, even though he didn’t get to be on the field. Matt’s parents even bought him a Dublin Coffman helmet, which he wore on the sidelines with his No. 99 jersey. His hard work and personality did not go unnoticed, and his classmates voted him homecoming king in 2008. “Matt has the ability to adapt to those around him,” said Kim Storey, his mother. Matt was also able to hold jobs off the field in the school store and at Longhorn Steakhouse. “The amazing thing was that, at Longhorn, he learned the table numbers by associating them with professional athletes,” Kim said. It was during a trip to Huntington Park in 2009 that Kim felt she had found the perfect fit for Matt. “It is very hard to find employment for special needs. Everywhere I go, I wonder if it is a good place for Matt to work,” she said. “But when I was down at Huntington, I just got this feeling.” Matt’s parents put together a portfolio and sent it to George Robinson, the clubhouse manager. After looking at it and making a few phone calls, Robinson decided to give Matt a job. “He has a passion and a love for the game like I do,” Robinson said. “After we talked, we had a little special bond.” Robinson always keeps an eye on Matt by staying on the steps of the dugout or notifying the umpires about him. Matt learned quickly and did his job well. The players immediately took notice, and developed a fondness for his hard work. “All the players joke around with him,” Robinson said. “Matt is part of our family here.” When the Clippers were en route to their Governors Cup victory last year, they asked Matt to come to the ballpark and work during the playoffs. When the 2011 season was about to begin, Robinson sent the Storeys an email talking about how much the team wanted Matt back. The Storeys could not wait for Matt to don his uniform again this year. “We sit in the stands and just enjoy it,” Ken said. The journey from sixth-grade manager to working at Huntington Park has been as exciting for Matt as it has been for his parents. “The Clippers have been wonderful through all this,” Ken said. “To take a chance on a boy like Matt just speaks volumes about them.”
An admittedly shy Garrett Goebel blushed when first-year Ohio State coach Urban Meyer announced him as one of five captains to lead the Buckeyes this fall. “I walked out there and my face got red,” the fifth-year senior said bashfully. For Goebel, the attention – the mere notion of interest - is arguably a novelty. So is dealing with reporters, photographers and the hot lights from camera crews trying to get their scoop. And to the casual fan, the veteran 6-foot-4, 290-pound defensive lineman is, in all likelihood, a new face. While Goebel has made 44 tackles in 39 games for the Buckeyes, he’s managed to effectively fly under the radar in Columbus since arriving to campus in 2008. Now, such potential for innocuity seems to have evaporated as his honor as a captain has vaulted the Villa Park, Ill., native into the frenzy surrounding Meyer’s inaugural season at OSU. The lack of stardom isn’t something that often crosses Goebel’s mind, though. “I never really thought about it. I know I was never really too concerned. I just wanted to go out there and play good football,” he said. “I really don’t care too much about myself or being recognized or anything like that.” In fact, the active pursuit of being a captain, he said, wasn’t necessarily his aim. “I mean, I never really thought about it too much. Like, if it happens, it happens – it’s an honor. If it doesn’t, I’m not gonna get my head down or anything, you know, I’m still gonna go out there, work as hard as I can and lead,” Goebel said. “But it was just cool knowing that my teammates, you know, thought that highly of me.” In such a leadership role, Goebel automatically becomes an identifiable name for the Buckeyes – regardless of how much he likes the commotion around it all. And while some might wonder how a player with such a reserved disposition is best fit to lead, Goebel said his leadership is best demonstrated with his play, not his words. “I certainly say that I lead more by example but, you know, I still say stuff to people and, you know, make sure everyone knows what they’re doing and get everyone lined up,” he said. His content with being in the background, though, almost made him invisible to Meyer when he took over the OSU job in November. “I think I made the comment, I didn’t know Garrett. In the first four months I was here, he was just kind of a quiet guy that, you know, doesn’t look real good when we’re running around cones,” Meyer said at a Monday evening press conference. Meyer told reporters that the big man grew on him over time, though. Goebel said giving it his all day-in and day-out, especially during winter strength and conditioning drills, drew the attention of the former Florida coach. “I just worked as hard as I could every day – every day come in no matter what and just give it everything I had and do my best and I think he definitely appreciates guys that go hard all the time,” he said. Interesting enough, it seems that Goebel’s introverted, modest demeanor is nearly a perfect fit for the position he plays for the Buckeyes. Listed as the Buckeyes’ starter at nose tackle – arguably one of the most thankless positions in all of sports – Goebel is, and will be, responsible for doing what junior defensive tackle Johnathan “Big Hank” Hankins calls the “dirty work” for OSU’s “Silver Bullet” defense. “He’s probably one of the biggest pieces on our defense. He does all the dirty work, he takes up all the double teams – even though I take up double teams – but he does more of the dirty work,” Hankins said. “He’s a great leader for us, without him I feel like we would probably be kind of, like, out of shape because he basically knows the defense and he’s smart and he knows the play.” Similarly, redshirt senior linebacker Etienne Sabino said Goebel’s position is often unfairly unappreciated. “He’s our nose guard … He doesn’t get the credit he deserves, but he’s actually a very, very good player; for anybody who really knows football and watches him play, he’s actually a very, very good player,” he said. “Taking on 600 pounds every play is not an easy task, by no means, and he does a great job at that.” Despite Goebel’s low-key nature, Hankins said he knew his teammate would be a captain from the get-go, though. “Oh, I already knew he was going to become a captain. Since this year started, he took a leadership role and he just, you know I’m saying, worked hard, and I always looked up to him, watching film and learning from him,” he said. Sabino, who was also named a captain for 2012, said neither he nor the team was particularly surprised when Goebel’s name was called. “I think it’s probably more of a surprise to the media and everybody outside of the team, but Garrett comes to work everyday,” Sabino said. “He’s one of those players you know he’s going to do his assignment, it doesn’t matter whether it’s period one or period 40, he’s going to give it all he has. And you know, you’re going to get that regardless of the circumstances.” That admiration, however, wasn’t just limited to Goebel’s teammates. Former OSU head coach and current defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell said Goebel is “that unsung hero.” “I’m just so happy that Coach (Meyer) really points it out. I think (Goebel’s) really grown on him,” Fickell said. “He sees what we try to do as a defense and what we ask that guy sometimes to do and, you know, it doesn’t come up in the stat sheet and you guys might not interview him a whole lot … but he is definitely one of the center points of the defense.” Fickell, who was a nose tackle for the Buckeyes from 1993-1996, seemed to understand the magnitude of Goebel’s honor. “To be named captain, I think – what an unbelievable feat,” Fickell said. For Goebel, it’s still a feat, though, that he didn’t entirely see coming. “My goal was to do everything I can and really didn’t think about it if everything worked out,” he said. “I mean, yeah, it would definitely be cool, but I really wasn’t thinking about it – I was thinking about just giving everything I had and just trying to lead the best I can.”
Ohio State’s Cole Gorski celebrates in mid-air at the Simmons-Harvey Quad in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Jan. 21, 2018. Credit: Ethan Clewell | Lantern ReporterThe Ohio State men’s track and field team finished third while the women’s team finished last at the Jim Click Shootout in Tucson, Arizona, after competing Friday and Saturday.The Jim Click Shootout hosted six teams: Ohio State, Illinois, Cincinnati, Kansas State, Auburn and Arizona. The Arizona men’s team and Kansas State women’s team captured titles at the event.Ohio State competed without its distance runners. This is the second consecutive meet Ohio State competed without its full roster.Men’s recapOhio State senior Cole Gorski reached new heights by claiming first place with a jump of 5.50 meters, breaking his own Ohio State outdoor record. The jump is currently tied for eighth in the country. Junior Coty Cobb finished second in pole vault behind his teammate with a jump of 5.05 meters. Ohio State racked up 18 points in pole vault alone.Ohio State placed first in the 4×100-meter relay. The team, consisting of freshman Eric Harrison, freshman Tavonte Mott, senior Drelan Bramwell and senior Duan Asemota, ran a time of 39.65 seconds. In triple-jump, junior DaJuan Seward finished second with a total of 15.14 meters jumped.In the 800-meter run, sophomore Alexander Lomong came in second with a time of 1:49.72.Women’s Recap The Ohio State women’s team picked up the most points during the 400-meter run. Senior Maggie Barrie finished in first place with a time of 52.91 seconds, junior Karrington Winters finished third at 53.32 and freshman Syaira Richardson finished fourth at 53.76.Senior Chantel Ray took first place in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.41 seconds, her fastest time this season.Freshman Anavia Battle won the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.28 seconds.Senior Madison Roberts finished second in pole vault, setting a season high of 3.85 meters.Ohio State’s 4×100-meter-relay team, made up of Barrie, freshman Anavia Battle, Richardson and Ray, ran a time of 44.73 seconds, which was good for Ohio State’s fastest time this season.The 4×400-meter-relay team, made up of Richardson, Barrie, Winters and senior Courtney Cloudy, placed second with a time 3:36.72.Ohio State will split up again next week. Part of the team will travel to Oxford, Ohio, for the All-Ohio Meet and the other group will head to Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Tennessee Invitational Friday and Saturday.
The former Barcelona star has shared his thoughts that his son Justin needs more time to improve and mature on- and off-field before moving on to Barcelona.Kluivert Jr. was told has to wait some more time before moving on to Barcelona by his own father, who himself is a former Catalan striker.Justin, who is currently playing at Ajax, has been certainly following his dad’s footsteps – he has been the center of attention for quite a few clubs ever since entering the football scene in Amsterdam.Quiz: How much do you know about David Villa? Boro Tanchev – September 14, 2019 Time to test your knowledge about Spanish legendary forward David Villa.“The truth is that now is not the time,” Partick Kluivert claimed, according to the42.“He is just in his second year in the Netherlands and moving to a club of the magnitude of Barca should not be the first choice. For now, go step by step, calmly and calmly, but as a father I will support him in anything he decides.”Barca are reportedly more than ready to make Kluivert Jr.’s dream reality already, but so are Milan and Roma.
Former Newcastle United manager Graeme Souness insists Tottenham Hotspur are standing still after their 2-1 home loss to Liverpool on Saturday.Mauricio Pochettino’s side have lost their last two Premier League games and Souness believes a lack of investment in the summer will hamper their progress this season.“He’s frustrated,” the former Liverpool captain said on Sky Sports about the Spurs manager. “He would have wanted four or five players in the summer, but it was obvious he wasn’t going to get them.“They have the excuse of the new stadium, but to his credit he has toed the party line and said we don’t need players, we have a great squad. They do, but they are going to come up short again. They needed two or three quality players to come in and reinvigorate the squad.”Virgil van Dijk praises Roberto Firmino after Liverpool’s win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Virgil van Dijk hailed team-mate Roberto Firmino after coming off the bench to inspire Liverpool to a 3-1 comeback win against Newcastle United.“When you are a player in a squad and a big player comes in you get excited because you think he will make you better. You find another yard in training and want to impress. That invigorates the squad, and Tottenham didn’t have that this year. If you are not buying anyone you are standing still in football terms.”“Everybody you are playing against will have gone out and spent. They have taken a chance to be better and you’re not. That interview was borne out of frustration. He knows he is short and it’s another ‘Groundhog Day’ season.”“It will be like last season and the one before. They will play some really fabulous football, get beaten by the better teams when push comes to shove, and miss out again.”
The Brighton and Hove Albion winger has been having a hard time with injuries, but for Carlos Queiroz, he might be available for the continental tournamentThe 2019 AFC Asian Cup kicks off this weekend, and Iran’s Alireza Jahanbakhsh might be fit for those first matches.This is according to Iran’s coach Carlos Queiroz, who spoke to Reuters today.“From a medical and technical point of view, we have a strong belief that he will be able to recover for the competition, although possibly not for the first stage,” the Portuguese coach told Reuters.Ali Daei wouldn’t be upset if Ronaldo breaks his scoring record Andrew Smyth – September 13, 2019 Iranian legend Ali Daei wouldn’t be upset to lose his record as international football’s all-time record scorer to the “great” Cristiano Ronaldo.“After the World Cup, we were living a good moment with our performances and the opportunities that most of our players got to live and play in good teams in Europe.”“But unfortunately we have been hit by a wave of injuries since September,” he added.“We have a settled group with good foundations and good knowledge between all of them and we just need to turn these difficulties into belief and hope. We’re going to try.”
Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Kenai City Council approved a resolution allowing the Kenai Fire Department to replace an aging 1983 E-one fire engine. The city has contracted with Hughes Fire Equipment, in Florida, for the purchase of the engine in the amount of $571,583. In a letter to the council from Kenai Fire Chief Jeff Tucker, the purchase of a new truck will allow the Fire Department to continue to effectively respond to emergencies within the City of Kenai. Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander: “The Fire Department is going to make three separate trips to the facility, one a pre build, mid build, and one after it’s constructed. During that pre build there may be items that may need to be added or subtracted, this will allow for some flexibility.” The city has authorized the total amount of the engine plus an additional $27,218 in the event of additional changes or expenses during the construction of the new engine, and $8,600 for engine build design and inspection travel. The council unanimously approved the resolution at their meeting on Wednesday. The resolution authorizes the city to purchase a fire engine for the approximate cost of $581,000 from the city’s Equipment Replacement Fund. The purchase of a new truck also eliminates the expenses that are common with maintaining a thirty five year old truck, according to Chief Tucker.
Afghan security personnel gather at the site of an ongoing attack on a television station in Kabul on Tuesday. AFPGunmen stormed a television station in Kabul Tuesday and many staff were still in the building, an employee told AFP, describing the attack as ongoing.”I saw three attackers on security cameras entering the TV station building. They first shot the guard and then entered the building. They started throwing grenades and firing,” said Shamshad TV reporter Faisal Zaland, who escaped through a back door.Shamshad TV, a Pashto language station that broadcasts nationwide, was transmitting a holding image instead of its normal programming.Zaland told AFP that security forces were in the area of the Shamshad compound in the Afghan capital “trying to bring down the attackers”.”Many of my colleagues are still in the building,” he added.Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid denied the militant group was involved in the attack in a Twitter post.The interior ministry told AFP it was investigating the incident but had no further details.Kabul has been rocked by a series of deadly attacks in recent weeks as the Taliban and Islamic State insurgents step up offensives against security installations and mosques.Last Tuesday a suicide bomber, believed to have been as young as 12, struck Kabul’s heavily fortified diplomatic quarter and killed at least five people, showing that militants can still hit the heart of the city despite tighter security.Security in Kabul has been ramped up since a May 31 truck bomb went off on the edge of the so-called “Green Zone”, killing around 150 people and wounding 400 others.Special truck scanners, barriers and permanent and mobile checkpoints have been rolled out across the city.The last major assault in Kabul was on October 21 when a suicide attacker hit a busload of Afghan army trainees, killing 15.On October 20 a suicide bomber pretending to be a worshipper blew himself up inside a Shiite mosque in the city during evening prayers, killing 56 and wounding 55.Earlier this month Kabul police stopped a lorry carrying 2,700 kilograms (nearly 6,000 pounds) of explosives hidden under boxes of tomatoes, averting a potentially deadly blast.