Written By SUBSCRIBE TO US Associated Press Television News LIVE TV COMMENT Last Updated: 22nd July, 2020 07:38 IST Blue Jays OF Says Team May Play In Pittsburgh Or Baltimore The Blue Jays’ front office has told its players that Pittsburgh and Baltimore are possibilities for where team will hold home games this year after Canada’s government barred the club from playing in Toronto amid the coronavirus pandemic, outfielder Randal Grichuk said Tuesday First Published: 22nd July, 2020 07:38 IST FOLLOW US The Blue Jays’ front office has told its players that Pittsburgh and Baltimore are possibilities for where team will hold home games this year after Canada’s government barred the club from playing in Toronto amid the coronavirus pandemic, outfielder Randal Grichuk said Tuesday.Canada denied the Blue Jays’ request to play at Rogers Centre because the regular-season schedule would require frequent travel back and forth from the United States, where COVID-19 cases are surging. The other 29 major league teams plan to play the pandemic-shortened, 60-game season in their home ballparks, without spectators.Toronto begins the season at Tampa Bay on Friday and is scheduled to play its first home game on July 29 against the defending champion Washington Nationals.Grichuk said the players want to play in a major league stadium but have also been told their Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo, New York, is a possibility.“We’ve heard Buffalo. We’re heard Baltimore possibly. We’ve heard Pittsburgh possibly,” Grichuk said before a exhibition game in Boston.“To this moment I’ve heard not a definite place to play yet. It’s kind of still up in the air. Which is crazy this close to opening the day. Luckily we start on the road. But yeah, that’s what we’re hearing. Possibility Pittsburgh or Baltimore. Worst case, Buffalo.”Grichuk said the players want the amenities that come with a major league ballpark such as the hot and cold tub and big league level weight and training rooms.“If we have to go (to Buffalo) we’d go there obviously, but we would love to be in a big league ballpark and have all that that comes with that,” he said.”It’s going to be a messed up year all around. Do I think that would will make things tougher, I do. But it’s something we got to roll with this year and hopefully things get back to normal in 2021.”Pirates President Travis Williams confirmed the talks with the Blue Jays on Monday and sounded ready to welcome club if it could be done safely amid the pandemic.Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said the team has more than five contingency plans and was in talks with other clubs. He has declined to name them.Atkins said if the Blue Jays can’t find a major league park, their Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo would be their most likely site for home games.The team had been considering playing home games at its spring training facility in Dunedin, Florida, but that is among the states that are virus hot spots.Image credits: AP WATCH US LIVE
CitationReiter, M. E., Elliott, N. K., Jongsomjit, D., Golet, G. H., & Reynolds, M. D. (2018). Impact of extreme drought and incentive programs on flooded agriculture and wetlands in California’s Central Valley. PeerJ, 6, e5147. Agriculture, Birds, Citizen Science, Freshwater Animals, Migration, Remote Sensing, satellite data, Satellite Imagery, Technology, Wildtech Article published by Sue Palminteri Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Researchers used satellite images to assess the effectiveness of financial incentive programs for farmers in creating habitat for waterbirds, including ducks, geese, and shorebirds, in California’s Central Valley, where nearly all natural wetlands have been converted to agriculture.Observations of 25 waterbird species by hundreds of citizen scientists helped to identify the target zones for water management and to verify the birds’ use of managed areas.The satellite data indicated that a severe drought substantially reduced the birds’ open-water habitat and that the incentive programs created more than 60 percent of available habitat on specific days during the migrations.The researchers state that remotely sensed data can be used effectively to track water availability and regularly update water and wetland managers on how much habitat is available and where, so they can coordinate water management activities. The millions of waterbirds that migrate each spring from South America to as far as the Arctic can’t do it in one trip. They stop to rest and refuel several times along the way to survive the grueling journey.But widespread land-use change has shrunk the area of stopover habitat available to ducks, geese, shorebirds, and other migratory species. In central California, concerned citizens, scientists, and conservation groups have joined forces to protect what remains.A flock of dowitchers glide above the water. Image by T Grey.Scientists from Point Blue Conservation Science and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) combined satellite imagery and statistical models with farmer incentive programs and the efforts of hundreds of volunteers contributing data through a citizen science app to pinpoint the areas of central California with the greatest potential for providing migratory bird habitat. They recently published their analysis of the success of these incentive programs in maintaining bird habitat during an extreme drought sustained between 2013 and 2015 across the western United States.“Before this research was completed, we had a sense that these programs were succeeding in offsetting the impacts of the drought on wildlife, but now we know exactly how critical they are in providing bird habitat in the Central Valley,” lead author Matt Reiter, principal scientist and quantitative ecologist at Point Blue, said in a statement.Retaining habitat in a transformed landscapeShorebirds, including sandpipers and stilts, dunlins and dowitchers, feed on aquatic invertebrates that live in mud or wet sand, so they seek wetlands during their stopovers.California’s Central Valley, once home to a vast system of about 16,200 square kilometers (6,250 square miles) of wetlands, is one such key stopover region for migratory shorebirds and waterfowl along the Pacific migratory flyway.A gathering of marbled godwits, dowitchers, willets, and other shorebirds at Arrowhead Marsh, Oakland, California. Image by Ingrid Taylar, CC 2.0.The valley extends more than 400 kilometers (250 miles) north to south and up to 100 kilometers (62 miles) east to west. Massive agricultural development has eliminated more than 90 percent of the naturally occurring wetlands, leaving the birds dependent on flooded agricultural fields for food during their stopovers.California’s water is highly managed, so anthropogenic factors play a large role in determining when and where the impacts of drought appear on the landscape. A pair of financial assistance programs provided farmers in the birds’ flight paths with incentive payments to flood their fields at key times during the 2013-2015 drought to create habitat for migrating waterbirds.The area’s rice growers flood their fields each fall with 5 to 10 centimeters (2 to 4 inches) of water in preparation for the next year’s harvest. The flooding converts the paddies into ideal migratory shorebird habitat, so TNC’s BirdReturns and the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Waterbird Habitat Enhancement Program (WHEP) offer farmers financial incentives to flood their fields for one to two additional months, to coincide with the bird migration.Avid birdwatchers across the Central Valley helped the partners to identify the areas to target for habitat management and confirm these areas’ use by target species. Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s eBird online platform encouraged birdwatchers in the region to submit their bird observations to its database, before and after the incentive programs began.Spotted sandpipers are another shorebird species found in the study region. Image by J. Gehling, CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0.eBird statisticians compiled the observations from hundreds of birders to build models that predicted where 25 species of shorebirds would likely be present across the Central Valley during their spring and fall migrations. The models generated maps that showed when and where the target species were expected to gather. Overlaying maps of bird concentrations with the distribution of surface water indicated mismatches — areas where management action, in the form of flooding, was most needed.Seeing water from spaceTo assess the success of these programs, the researchers used satellite imagery to examine the impact of the drought on the timing and extent of surface water in the Central Valley.“By using satellites to track habitats regularly,” Reiter told Mongabay, “we can look for hotspots of change and use that information to help prioritize conservation actions.”They analyzed Landsat images from 2013 to 2015 to identify areas of open water (more than 30 percent vegetated) across the Central Valley and to measure the distribution of open water habitat in managed wetlands and fields of rice, corn and other crops between July and May.Using data from ground and aerial surveys, they developed predictive models to identify open water, separate from saturated soil underneath thick vegetation. “We will probably not get moist soil without some ponded water with our model,” Reiter said. “That said, because we track water year round, we can identify those places that maintain some open water across months.”A longbilled dowitcher foraging. Standing water is considered critical habitat for these and other shorebirds, as well as waterfowl such as ducks and geese. Image by T. Grey.The models quantified the influence of drought, precipitation, season, region, and protected status on the proportion of open water in each land cover type between July and May of the following year.The scientists then calculated the relative contribution to available habitat during that period of the two farmer incentive programs. They used the image data to estimate the daily proportion of flooded habitat in each type of field (e.g. rice, corn, etc.) that was provided by these programs. They multiplied that proportion by the total amount of the crop planted in each year (2,161 square kilometers, or 834 square miles, in 2013 and, 1,696 square kilometers, or 655 square miles, in 2014) to get the area of open water habitat made available by the programs each day. Footage courtesy of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Joy Ng.“We [then] combined predicted shorebird abundance values with predicted wetland extent to identify times and locations where temporary wetlands could deliver potentially high-value shorebird habitat,” said co-author Mark Reynolds, lead scientist for The Nature Conservancy’s California Migratory Bird Program.The analysis showed that the drought substantially reduced the availability of open water habitats across the Central Valley’s fields and wetlands, both spatially and temporally. During the drought, the amount of open water habitat decreased by 40 to 80 percent, compared to non-drought years, and the decline varied by land cover type, time of year, and region. For example, corn and wetlands in the San Joaquin Basin dried out more than rice and wetlands in the Sacramento Valley. Protected wetlands retained more water than unprotected, privately owned wetlands.Wetlands in central California’s otherwise dry environment. Image by R. Digaudio.It also revealed that the incentive programs provided a large portion of the open water in rice fields during the fall and spring waterbird migrations in the drought years.“BirdReturns provided 39 percent of the post-harvest flooded rice during the fall, when flooded habitat is at its lowest and waterbirds are in high abundance,” Reiter said in a publication summary. “And WHEP created 64 percent of the habitat during the winter. Overall, incentive programs provided 35 percent of the habitat on the landscape October through March.”Possibly more important for hungry migratory birds during a drought, the BirdReturns program provided up to 61 percent of all available flooded rice habitat on certain fall days and WHEP created up to 100 percent of available habitat on some days during the winter.Do birds use the managed wetlands?The crowd-sourced eBird observations collected after the incentive programs began helped to verify the use by the birds of different types of managed areas. The data showed that crop fields participating in BirdReturns pilot program, for example, hosted far more target migratory waterbirds than control fields (with no additional flooding).“This new approach to rent habitat on demand promises to engage more farmers to provide habitat in a flexible manner that can be tailored to ever-changing weather patterns and farming practices,” Reynolds said.A long-billed curlew moves between fields in central California. Image by TJ Gehling, CC BY NC 2.0.The birdwatchers recorded more than 220,000 birds representing 57 species in the BirdReturns fields, with February-March shorebird densities 20 times higher than on non-participating fields. These totals included more than 20,000 dunlins, representing roughly 20 percent of the entire overwintering dunlin population in the Central Valley.“The study highlights the role incentive programs can play in species conservation,” Reiter said. “Program managers should place a high priority on maintaining incentive programs in the face of more frequent severe droughts in order to sustain waterbirds in the Central Valley and the Pacific Flyway.”The survival of millions of migratory birds in increasingly modified landscapes now depends on human intervention, so assessing the success of specific actions can help managers apply them elsewhere.“Open water and wetlands are critical habitat resources across the world and have seen some of the greatest losses to human development,” Reiter said. “Our models could be used in other landscapes where water and wetlands play a key role in supporting wildlife habitat to prioritize those places and times when we need to make sure to sustain those water dependent ecosystems and habitats on the landscape.”This video offers more detailed information about the project. FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.
1 New Preston signings Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan Preston have confirmed their double swoop for Irish duo Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan from Dundalk.The Republic of Ireland internationals will join Preston on January 1 after agreeing two-and-a-half-year deals at Deepdale.Boyle is a 25-year-old centre back while Horgan, 24, has made his name as a goalscoring winger at Dundalk, where he notched 27 times in 132 outings.And Preston manager Simon Grayson says they had to hold off competition from a number of clubs in order to secure the double signing.Grayson told the club’s official website: “We have signed two players who have attracted a lot of interest from a lot of clubs over the past few weeks and months and we have had to work hard to get them, which shows our intent as a football club.“Both players have had great seasons in their league and in Europe, leading to their call ups for the Irish squad. They are young, hungry and looking to improve and will be excellent acquisitions for us.”
A report out of Austrailia shows that Leading Edge companies there are selecting Open Source over Commercial proprietary software.Why? To get the most cutting edge technology. The report was done by Waugh Partners and surveyed 129 companies ranging in size from multinational to very small.“They must have robust, cheap, scalable technology to stay ahead of competitors,” said Jeff Waugh, director of Waugh Partners. “They have to keep so close to the bleeding edge.”It’s beginning to sink in on people that Open Source isn’t necessarily free, but it is more cost effective. The sectors that have been more accepting of Open Source have been financial institutions and government organizations.National Australia Bank, for example, built an internet banking application using Open Source. Their software platform was developed co-operatively by the open source community under an open source license.Part of the acceptance of Open Source is due to the fact that large Software vendors like IBM and Oracle backing some Open Source projects.
Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Tags:#Location#NYT#web Related Posts The Flickr implementation of this feature lets you search for a spot on a map, then determine how big the area you want to refer to is, set the particular privacy setting for that zone apart from your account-wide default setting, then name the geofenced area. You can then choose whether or not to apply this new privacy setting to all the photos you’ve uploaded from that location in the past. Update: As commenters graciously pointed out, I misunderstood this announcement a bit – it’s actually the location of the photo that is subjected to a new privacy setting, not the photo itself. Good to know, effect is similar but a little different. I thought this was like Google Plus or Facebook privacy settings – it turns out it’s not quite the same. Flickr says it has 300 million geotagged photos uploaded to its databases already. This is the kind of feature that could really help more people feel comfortable geotagging their photos. Facebook really ought to enable this feature as well. Right: Where did I eat this wonderful dinner of grilled asparagus with shallot pepper and salmon? None of your business, unless you’re a member of my friends and family group!Heck, Twitter and everyone else ought to do this. I don’t geotag my Tweets because so many of them are posted from home and my exact address gets transmitted to all my followers. Dear Twitter, would you please set up a feature like this and let me draw circles within which I would like my location obscured to the neighborhood level? Please? Almost two years since launching, Twitter’s location feature has been a big disappointment relative to its potential and I can’t help but think that the lack of clear controls for users is a big part of that.There was a time when concepts like this might have felt super-geeky, or not of general interest to a lot of people. With the rise of smartphones and the growing sophistication of users, I think that time may well have passed.You can visit this page on Flickr to try setting up some geofences for yourself. The official announcement just went up here. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Flickr will announce a new feature this morning called Geofences, forward- and backward-looking place-specific privacy settings for the location data of the geotagged photos you upload. The feature is live right now and is really well implemented – this is something that every social network ought to enable.Geofencing is a term typically used to refer to the drawing of a line on a map where some kind of pre-determined action is triggered, it’s most established in the business of transporting goods in trucks and triggering tracking actions when those trucks enter into certain geographic zones. Flickr’s new privacy geofences are something everyone is likely to enjoy using though. I, for example, have already set up a geofence around my house prohibiting anyone but my approved contacts from seeing the photos I upload from home. Thanks, Flickr! Update: Turns out I got that wrong, the photos are subject to my previous privacy setting – it’s just the location of my house that’s now more private due to the geofence. That’s cool too! marshall kirkpatrick Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…
Malditas save PH from shutout MOST READ The Fatted Calf and Ayutthaya: New restos worth the drive to Tagaytay “I mean, the last two games we couldn’t stop nobody,” Dragic said. “I feel like they’re playing 5 on 0 right now. They can score at will.”New York made nearly 64 percent of its shots in taking a 33-22 lead after one, then extended it to 65-44 at halftime on one of their prettiest baskets of the season. Jarrett Jack got the ball after a Heat miss, fired it all the way down from the free throw line to the other end of the court, where Tim Hardaway Jr. leaped and threw it in in one motion from 21 feet to beat the buzzer.The lead ballooned to 84-54 in the third quarter.Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Whiteside had been sore the last few weeks and had been using the day after games to rest. He said Whiteside would be evaluated Thursday when Miami is back home, though didn’t believe an MRI would be necessary since Whiteside already had one.“So this is just part of the process. We anticipated this,” Spoelstra said. “Hasn’t gotten any worse necessarily, just the schedule hasn’t let up and he really hasn’t been able to do two days of work in a row for a while.”Porzingis said he thought his injury looked worse than it was and hoped he could return Sunday. He had hoped to even get back in Wednesday’s game and told Kanter at halftime he was all right.“He’s a strong unicorn,” Kanter said.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Porzingis had started quickly, making his first two shots before he was hurt chasing the ball near the baseline by the Miami bench. Justise Winslow stepped on his foot, causing Porzingis’ ankle to turn awkwardly, and he was helped to the locker room during a timeout.The Knicks said X-rays were negative and that their leading scorer was available to return, but they later ruled out a return in the third quarter. There was no need by then the way they were playing.“He’s a big part of our family, but when he goes down everybody just stepped up,” Kanter said. “Not just me. Everybody stepped up.”Courtney Lee added 17 points for the Knicks.Kelly Olynyk had 18 for the Heat, who lost in Cleveland on Tuesday and finished their trip 2-2. They had won six straight at Madison Square Garden. Point guard Goran Dragic said energy, especially defensively, was the team’s biggest problem.ADVERTISEMENT Back after missing three games with back spasms, Kanter had his way against a Heat team missing starting center Hassan Whiteside because of left knee soreness, going 7 of 9 from the field.“Enes was a monster today,” Porzingis said.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingThe Knicks lost all three games Kanter missed, their longest skid since starting 0-3, but shot 60 percent and led by as much as 30 points with their center back.“I just didn’t play three games. I was like so excited, just like so hungry,” Kanter said. “I just wanted to go out there and bite somebody’s ear off.” MRT 7 on track for partial opening in 2021 After 30 years, Johnlu Koa still doing ‘hard-to-make’ quality breads LATEST STORIES Reggie Jackson scores 23 points, Pistons rout Suns Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Jordan delivers on promise: 2 Cobra choppers now in PH ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters (11) passes the ball against New York Knicks center Enes Kanter (00) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)NEW YORK—Enes Kanter was so good after coming back that it didn’t matter that Kristaps Porzingis went out.Kanter had 22 points and 14 rebounds, and the New York Knicks beat the Miami Heat 115-86 on Wednesday night despite losing their leading scorer to a sprained right ankle after 2 1/2 minutes.ADVERTISEMENT
Woodward and Man Utd board warming to Solskjaer stayby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveOle Gunnar Solskjaer is edging closer to being named permanent manager at Manchester United.Chief Ed Woodward and United’s hierarchy have been wowed by the Norwegian’s 100 per cent start, says The Sun.The executive vice-chairman went into the Wembley dressing room after the 1-0 victory against Spurs to congratulate Solskjaer on the job he is doing.The Old Trafford powerbrokers initially only had Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino in their sights.But former striker Solskjaer’s record-breaking six wins from his first six games has hugely impressed them.Now the clamour for him to get the job permanently is growing not only among the fans and players but in the boardroom, too. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Make no mistake: The Cubs have good hitters overall. They produced baseball’s seventh-best Weighted Runs Created Plus this past season,3Among non-pitchers. and its 16th-most runs scored per game. And against all pitches (fastball or no), the Cubs tended to whiff less than average — 22.8 percent, against an MLB average of 23.3 percent.But velocity is the Cubs’ kryptonite. On top of their tendency to whiff against the hardest fastballs, Chicago also made a lot of weak contact, reflected by pop-ups and a low batting average. Even when the Cubs could bring the bat to the ball, they failed to do much with it.Maybe, too, the Cubs’ tendency toward whiffs was exacerbated by the low temperatures in New York. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick showed that high velocity is especially effective in the postseason, due in part to the effect of October’s low temperatures. When you combine the Mets’ powerful arms with the pressure of the playoffs and 40-degree fall temperatures, perhaps we should have expected the Cubs to struggle with contact.(As for the Cubs’ pitching woes: Those have been much more unexpected, and much harder to explain.)The outlook for the Cubs is now grim, as only one team in MLB history has come back from a 3-0 deficit. Then again, that one team (the 2004 Boston Red Sox) was also battling a curse with the help of a front office run by Theo Epstein. We’ll have to see if Epstein’s team can pull off the same trick twice, but it’s safe to say that the overwhelming velocity of New York’s pitchers has put the odds firmly against it. Chicago’s worst fear has come to pass: The New York Mets lead the Cubs three games to none in the National League Championship Series. Scoring only five runs in three games, Chicago’s usually powerful bats have been held in check, and a series sweep may be imminent. What happened to a Cubs team that looked like the pennant favorite after winning the National League wild-card game?One oft–repeated explanation of New York’s dominance is that Chicago’s hitters struggle against quality fastballs. According to this theory, that weakness is magnified against a Mets rotation headlined by three of the hardest-throwing pitchers in baseball: Noah Syndergaard (average fastball velocity: 97.7 mph), Matt Harvey (96.5) and Jacob deGrom (95.8). When New York dials up the heat, Cub bats wilt.Here at FiveThirtyEight, there’s nothing we love more than taking down faulty narratives. But this theory does seem to be borne out by the data. While the average MLB hitter whiffs at 96 mph fastballs 22.8 percent of the time,1Using data from PitchInfo from the 2015 regular season. the average Cubs hitter swings and misses 25.7 percent of the time against the same pitch type and velocity.2To get these numbers and generate the following chart, I modeled whiffs with a binomial logistic regression that incorporated count and fastball velocity.
Chris Fields hadn’t caught a ball all year long. Not a single one. In an Ohio State offense averaging 39 points a game, the redshirt junior wide receiver found himself reception-less and yard-less two-thirds into the Buckeyes’ 2012 campaign. Cast in the shadow of younger receivers like sophomore Devin Smith and junior Corey “Philly” Brown, Fields, for all intents and purposes, had been a non-factor for an undefeated OSU team. Until Saturday’s 29-22 overtime win against Purdue, at least. And after making the biggest catch of his OSU football career, Fields said he’s used to throwing himself after the ball. “I don’t know if anybody knows but 13 years of baseball paid off for that one. I used to be a center fielder,” Fields said with a wide smile. “I used to dive all over the place, so I’m used to it.” Down 22-14 with 47 seconds to play, though, that opportunity appeared to be doubtful while the first loss of the Urban Meyer era in Columbus seemed like a sure thing. After all, a typically explosive Buckeyes offense had managed to scrap together just two touchdowns points over the course of 59 minutes and 13 seconds. Without sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller, who was carted off the field and taken to the Wexner Medical Center at the end of the third quarter, it appeared it would take a small miracle for OSU to eke out a victory against Purdue on the cloudy afternoon at Ohio Stadium. In the Heisman candidate’s place was the man Fields calls his best friend, redshirt junior quarterback Kenny Guiton, who had already thrown an errant interception earlier in the fourth quarter. Sportswriters were writing obituaries for the Buckeyes’ would-have-been perfect season. Hordes of frustrated, exasperated fans headed toward the exits after watching more than 59 minutes of incompetency from the home team. For as shaky as OSU’s offense appeared, though, Fields’ play seemed to be just the opposite. Coming into the contest against the Boilermakers, he had just 11 career-receptions to hang his hat on. Including Saturday’s tilt, the Painesville, Ohio, native had only seen action in five games for the Buckeyes this season. With eight seconds to play, Fields’ moment, as he called it, came. Guiton had improbably driven a once-lifeless OSU offense down to the 2-yard line. “Kenny! Kenny!” chants reverberated off the cement stands of the 90-year-old Horseshoe. The backup signal-caller rolled to his left and saw an open Fields matching his every step along the edge of the goal line – just the way it was drawn up. “I had the like an arrow route, it’s kinda like a flat route and Kenny noticed man coverage,” he said. Eight seconds had become four as Guiton zipped the ball to Fields. Its trajectory, while likely not intended, hurled it toward the red turf of the end zone. In a diving effort, though, Fields pulled the pass into his gut and hugged the ball to the ground. While the catch was immediately reviewed, Fields said there was never a doubt in his mind that he hadn’t made the grab. “Yeah, I knew I caught it. I had it. No question,” he said. Guiton, who Fields called his “brother from another mother,” said he felt the same. “After that catch, I probably told him ‘thank you’ a million times. On the pass, I was just hoping he could get it, and when I saw his hands under it, I knew he caught it,” Guiton said. Having not pulled in a reception all season, what could be a historic grab was Fields’ third and final catch as the junior managed to pull in two earlier receptions to help push the Buckeyes into the red zone early in the third quarter. Arguably, it was Fields’ best day since arriving on campus in 2009. “Chris Fields is a product of, I’d like to say, our program,” Meyer said during the Buckeyes’ postgame press conference. “That means three weeks ago, he wouldn’t have been on the field.” Not anymore, though. “He just changed his whole dynamics, the way he works, his practice habits and his performance,” Meyer said. “You can go out there and work all you want and not make plays. But he’s earned that right to be on the field. He was even playing before that, before Philly (Brown) went down, he was on the field, where three, four weeks ago he wasn’t on the field. “It’s just that whole systematic approach that we have … very proud of him.” The spring rumors that flooded message boards that Fields was leaving the team, now, seemed to be a foreign, distant memory. Even it just was for one day. “The first couple games (leaving) did go through my mind,” Fields said. “Not so much of leaving, just so much of like my future, like after football. You know, I would never leave this university. I mean, this university, it’s so great. And I’d be dumb to leave this wonderful university. So, I mean, I just was thinking about some plans after football and stuff.” For now, though, Fields might need to think more about the immediate future with a 5:30 p.m. contest at Penn State looming Saturday. The catch, perhaps, could be the first of more to come from the receiver. “It just means that you should start putting a package in for me and Kenny,” Fields said teasingly. “I just know that I just can’t, you know, fall down. I gotta keep on going up.”