6 fascinating lessons for us from the campaign trail

first_imgI recently read a very interesting article from The New York Times about how social science and behavioral economics was used to get out the vote. The article, “Academic Dream Team Helped Obama’s Effort,” details how experts like Robert Cialdini (whom I covered just this past week), formed a consortium that provided research-based ideas on motivating people to take certain actions (especially voting). Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican or of any party, the advice the academics provided is very useful to all of us involved in the work of social change. We’re all in the business of compelling people to do things. So I wanted to pass on the most interesting tips.1. People favor candidates – and organizations! – that exhibit a combination of competence and warmth. You want to seem smart but also likable.2. When countering rumors (or myths), it’s a bad idea to repeat them. People may register a denial in the short term, but they only tend to remember the rumor or myth in the long term. Don’t deny or counter something – simply assert your competing notion.3. Use people’s sense of identity to influence behavior. In the election, volunteer canvassers said, “Mr. Jones, we know you’ve voted in the past,” to prompt future voting. We can do the same with volunteers or donors: “Mr. Jones, we know you’ve supported us in the past.” People want to stick to their past behaviors, so this can work well.4. Informal commitments help. Getting people to sign a card promising to vote increases likelihood to vote, for example. Pledging is also useful in fundraising!5. Tell people to make a plan. People are more likely to follow through on a promise if they have a plan, however simple. Ask people to specify when they’ll help you.6. Use social norms. When people were told others in their neighborhood planned to vote, it influenced them. Never forget the power of peer pressure – call out your supporters to inspire others to jump on board.For more fascinating tips on how this worked during the campaign, check out the article here.last_img read more

Must-know Neuro-Nudges for Nonprofits

first_imgNetwork for Good is hosting a free webinar this Thursday, March 14 at 1 p.m. ET on neuromarketing – a topic definitely worth your time!The urge to help and give is hard-wired into the human brain. As a champion for a cause, it’s your task to tap into those recesses by appealing to that urge. The simplest things – images, words, gestures, even type fonts – can have a major effect on the potency of your message. Neuromarketing expert, Roger Dooley, has discovered some brain-science-based tweaks you can make to your print, web, and in-person outreach that will boost the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Join Roger Dooley for this free event as he makes neuromarketing easy for nonprofits. Register here.last_img read more

ICASA 2013: Now More Than Ever, Targeting Zero

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on July 1, 2013May 19, 2017Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)An expected 10,000 delegates will soon gather in Cape Town, South Africa for the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA). The conference, with the theme of Now more than ever: targeting zero, will be held from December 7-11, 2013. The final day to submit an abstract for review is July 5th, 2013.About the conference:Reflecting the conference theme “Now More Than Ever: Targeting Zero” and UNAIDS “Getting to zero” mantra of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths, HIV prevention will be an important feature of this year’s ICASA plenary sessions.Starting at the very beginning of the HIV prevention spectrum, Dr Chewe Luo, Senior Advisor on HIV and AIDS at UNICEF, will present cutting edge strategies for the elimination of Mother-to-Child transmission (MTCT) in Africa. Shifting focus to youth Emmanuel Etim, the young and dynamic Project Co-ordinator of the African Union Youth Volunteer Corps, will in part address the road ahead for African youth to reach zero new HIV infections.Professor Christine Katlama, Head of the AIDS Unit, Department of Infectious Diseases at the renowned Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, will look at the long-term complications of living with HIV, including the impact that HIV drug resistance has on prevention efforts.UNFPA’s Senior Advisor on HIV, Ms. Bidia Deperthes, will provide the broadest overview of Africa’s current effective prevention programmes and tools…Read more here.Learn about the five conference tracks.Review the abstract submission guidelines.Take a look at the key conference dates.Stay tuned on Twitter at @icasaconference.Visit the general conference site.The Maternal Health Task Force is currently coordinating a blog series on maternal health, HIV, and AIDS. To view the series, click here.For additional information about maternal health, HIV, and AIDS, visit our topic page.If you are interested in sharing a guest blog post for our series on maternal health, HIV, and AIDS, please contact Kate Mitchell (kmitchel@hsph.harvard.edu) or Samantha Lattof (slattof@hsph.harvard.edu).Share this:last_img read more

Resource Tool: Human Resources for Health

first_imgPosted on July 17, 2014November 2, 2016By: Katie Millar, Technical Writer, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)This post is part of our “Supporting the Human in Human Resources” blog series co-hosted by the Maternal Health Task Force and Jacaranda Health.To enrich the “Supporting the Human in Human Resources” blog series, a round-up of recent literature on the subject is here aggregated as a useful tool for public health practitioners. Let us know how these articles are helpful and about other human resource topics that interest you.Landmark articles:Systematic Review on Human Resources for Health Interventions to Improve Maternal Health Outcomes: Evidence from Developing CountriesHUMAN RESOURCES FOR HEALTH: foundation for Universal Health Coverage and the post-2015 development agendaHuman resources for maternal, newborn and child health: from measurement and planning to performance for improved health outcomesHuman resources for maternal health: multi-purpose or specialists?Recent Publications:Time to address gender discrimination and inequality in the health workforceFactors affecting motivation and retention of primary health care workers in three disparate regions in KenyaTask-shifting and prioritization: a situational analysis examining the role and experiences of community health workers in MalawiHRM and its effect on employee, organizational and financial outcomes in health care organizationsHope and despair: community health assistants’ experiences of working in a rural district in ZambiaReaching Mothers and Babies with Early Postnatal Home Visits: The Implementation Realities of Achieving High Coverage in Large-Scale ProgramsCommunity Health Workers in Low-, Middle-, and High-Income Countries: An Overview of Their History, Recent Evolution, and Current EffectivenessHome visits by community health workers to prevent neonatal deaths in developing countries: a systematic reviewExpansion in the private sector provision of institutional delivery services and horizontal equity: evidence from Nepal and BangladeshPerformance-based incentives to improve health status of mothers and newborns: what does the evidence show?Building capacity to develop an African teaching platform on health workforce development: a collaborative initiative of universities from four sub Saharan countriesRetention of female volunteer community health workers in Dhaka urban slums: a prospective cohort studyShare this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

Join the Live Webcast for Putting Mothers and Babies First

first_imgPosted on February 18, 2015August 10, 2016Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Thursday, February 26, 2015, 12:30-1:30pm ESTThe Leadership Studio, 10th Floor Kresge Building, 677 Huntington Ave., BostonJoin us with The Forum at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health for Putting Mothers and Babies First: Benefits across a lifetime – a panel discussion presented in collaboration with The GroundTruth Project and GlobalPost.One of the smartest investments a society can make is to foster the health and education of its mothers. Healthy mothers raise healthier children, which boosts the productivity and stability of communities and economies. Yet, maternal mortality remains a terrible and disproportionate reality, particularly in developing countries, where 99 percent of all maternal deaths occur. These deaths put the lives of infants and older children at risk. Traditional approaches address the needs of mothers and children separately, but growing efforts are breaking down those silos — embracing the continuum of mother and child health in the hopes of providing more effective care and resources. The hoped-for result? Health benefits to mothers, children and their families across their lifetimes.This Forum event will explore how to achieve those benefits, including providing basic care such as vaccinations, and how societies stand to thrive as a result. The panel will be moderated by Marissa Miley, Deputy Editor of Global Health for The GroundTruth Project, and includes the following experts:Ana Langer: Professor of the Practice of Public Health and Director of the Women and Health Initiative and Maternal Health Task Force, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthAlicia Yamin: Director, Program on Health Rights of Women and Children, François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthJoy Riggs-Perla: Director, Saving Newborn Lives, Save the ChildrenKirsten Gagnaire: Executive Director of the Mobile Alliance for Maternal ActionTune in for the live webcast by visiting the The Forum event page. Also follow and join the conversation by using #mothersbabiesfirst and following @ForumHSPH and @MHTF on Twitter.E-mail questions for the expert participants any time before or during the live webcast to theforum@hsph.harvard.edu, the Community Discussion page, or Tweet them to @ForumHSPH using #mothersbabiesfirst.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

9 Super Scary Nonprofit Website Mistakes

first_imgYour website lacks details about your nonprofit’s mission and vision.Why is your organization the nonprofit to support? What are you doing that’s different from others? Simply put, what makes your nonprofit stand out? It’s important that the answers to these questions are easy to find on your website! By spelling out your mission and vision, donors can easily understand what their donations will accomplish. Your website doesn’t feature your nonprofit’s latest news.Create (or maintain) a place on your organization’s to share your latest news and examples of your most recent content, such as interesting articles, upcoming events, and special projects. This type of content works well on a blog and you can also link to this content on social media and in your newsletter. Your website doesn’t feature endorsements and third-party reviews.Make sure your website includes ratings from GuideStar and Charity Navigator or a testimonial from a stakeholder. The effectiveness of your websites’ messages depends on the messenger. Let others help build your case and show that you are trustworthy. Your website doesn’t have social media links or a newsletter sign up.Social media is a key way to connect and communicate with supporters. Be sure that all those hours tweeting and blogging don’t go to waste: Provide links to your social media profiles and make it easy for supporters to see your content and share on their social media channel of choice.  If a new fan isn’t the social media type, an email newsletter is a great way to help them keep in touch. That’s why it’s important that your newsletter sign-up process is simple and seamless. Your website isn’t mobile-friendly.Take a moment to evaluate your website’s usability for mobile users. Open your website on a mobile device. Are your donation page and website easy to navigate on a tablet or phone? Your website’s content uses too many words to demonstrate your work.As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Pictures of people who benefitted from your services or volunteers in action can demonstrate your mission, illustrate the impact of your work, and complement your website’s text. Again, people’s attention spans are short. A compelling image will capture visitors’ attention and tell a story in a better way than multiple paragraphs of text.center_img Your website’s navigation doesn’t make sense.Your website should be organized according to the expectations of the people who come to your website. Instead of thinking how to present the information you want people to find, make it easy for your visitors to find the information they want. Back by popular demand to help you get ready for #GivingTuesday and Year-End -enjoy!Boo! That’s your website scaring you into reality. And the reality is that people’s short attention spans mean your website needs to provide visitors with easy access to everything in just three clicks. It must grab visitors’ attention, provide information, and spur visitors to action.Here are nine super scary website mistakes you should address before the year-end giving season is here and donors are too frightened to use your website!  Don’t wait…these website mistakes can result in the biggest horror of all: missing out on donations in December!Your website doesn’t have contact information.Make sure it’s easy for website users (and potential donors) to find your organization’s phone number, email address, or contact form. Also, make sure staff members know how to handle donor inquiries. Your website doesn’t have a clear ask for donations.Don’t be afraid to ask for donations on your website. Isn’t that the whole point of fundraising? Supporters will appreciate that you’ve made it easy for them to donate, so make that button shine! Network for Good always recommends you make the button big, bold and above “the scroll”. Plus, a smarter donation page will help you get donors to give, give big, and give again. Take advantage of our accredited Personal Fundraising Coaches to get hands-on help with your year-end fundraising activities. Schedule a call to learn more today.last_img read more

Family Planning and Maternal Health: Four Takeaways From the 2016 International Conference on Family Planning

first_imgPosted on February 26, 2016October 12, 2016By: Jacquelyn Caglia, Deputy Director of Administration & Operations, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The 2016 International Conference on Family Planning, convened in Nusa Dua, Indonesia in late January, brought together more than 3,000 researchers, practitioners, policymakers, donors, and advocates. If you weren’t able to participate, here are four important takeaways those of us working in maternal health need to know.Family planning and maternal health are inextricably linked, and our communities of practice must be too. Each day, more than 800 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Many of these deaths could be avoided if women had access to contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancy and increase the amount of time between pregnancies. Family planning must be an essential part of antenatal and postnatal care, and a conversation about contraception should be part of any clinical encounter with women of reproductive age.Various factors affect discontinuation of contraception. Nearly 30% of women who stop using contraception for reasons other than wanting to get pregnant cite concerns related to health service quality including lack of method choice, stock-outs, and ineffective referral systems. Quality matters across the reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH) continuum.Young adolescents bear the biggest burden of complications during pregnancy and childbirth, the second leading cause of death globally among girls aged 15-19. Delaying the age of first pregnancy would reduce maternal and newborn mortality as well as improve the health and well-being of young girls.Improved tracking is needed. USAID and UNFPA have called for a new indicator to be added to monitor progress towards Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals, to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages. In the words of Ellen Starbird of USAID, the new measure – percent of demand satisfied by modern contraception – is “a measure of what women are doing, rather than what women should be doing.” ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: To read more reflections from the 2016 International Conference on Family Planning, visit the ICFP2016 Crowd360 digital hub.Share this:last_img read more

Research Gaps in Perinatal Mental Health: U.S. Racial & Ethnic Disparities and Neglected Global Populations

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on August 19, 2016September 26, 2016By: Sarah Hodin, Project Coordinator II, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Racial & ethnic disparities in the United StatesRacial and ethnic disparities in health status, health care access and quality of care have been well-documented in the United States. Black women are about three times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related causes even after accounting for socioeconomic status and educational attainment. The preterm delivery and infant mortality rates for black mothers are also much higher than for white mothers. Racial health inequalities are not only unjust but costly, accounting for approximately $230 billion in direct medical expenditures. Nevertheless, the research on racial and ethnic disparities in perinatal mental health (and mental health in general) is lacking, and the majority of research in this area focuses on postpartum depression.Postpartum depression (PPD), which is defined as “intense feelings of sadness, anxiety, or despair that prevent [new mothers] from being able to do their daily tasks,” is one of the most common childbirth-related complications, affecting about one in seven pregnant women in the United States; however, many women are not diagnosed and even fewer are appropriately treated. Depression or anxiety before or during pregnancy, recent stressful life events and poor social support are strong risk factors for PPD, and some research has also found low subjective socioeconomic status to be a predictor.The evidence is inconclusive on whether women of certain races or ethnicities are at a higher risk of developing perinatal mental health issues, but some research has shown racial disparities in treatment. One study found that black and Latina women were less likely than white women to initiate mental health care after delivery for PPD, and among those who did seek care, black and Latina women tended to initiate treatment later and were significantly less likely to receive follow-up care. There are a number of potential explanations for this disparity, including health system barriers such as challenges receiving referrals for mental health services and sociocultural factors such as fear of stigma for seeking treatment for PPD. The quality of care a woman receives when she is screened or initially treated for perinatal mental disorders may also affect the likelihood that she continues to seek care.In order to address racial and ethnic disparities in the diagnosis and treatment of perinatal mental health, we need to identify women at risk of developing not just PPD but other perinatal mental health issues.Neglected populations in low- and middle-income countriesPerinatal mental health issues are common in non-U.S. global settings as well. A systematic review of evidence from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) found an average prevalence of 16% and 20% of perinatal mental illness among pregnant and postnatal women respectively. Risk factors included socioeconomic disadvantage, unintended pregnancy, being young and/or unmarried and lacking support from intimate partners and family. Women who belonged to an ethnic majority and who had higher educational attainment, a steady job and a supportive intimate partner were less likely to develop these conditions. Another systematic review found that one in three migrant women from LMICs suffered from perinatal mental health issues. However, these results are based on research from a subset of countries; most LMICs around the world are not represented in global estimations of prevalence, which limits the ability to measure the scope of the problem and associated risk factors.Given the high prevalence of perinatal mental health issues in the U.S. and around the world, additional research focused on inequalities and neglected populations is warranted. Evidence suggests that certain women are at a disproportionately high risk of suffering from perinatal mental disorders, but the current body of research is insufficient for accurately identifying the most vulnerable women. Sound measurement and research is a necessary first step for identifying high-risk populations and designing evidence-based interventions to address inequalities in perinatal mental health.—Read the MHTF blog series on maternal mental health.Read the MHTF blog series on inequities in maternal mortality in the U.S.Learn more about racial and ethnic disparities in U.S. health care from The Commonwealth Fund, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.Check out the perinatal mental health series in The Lancet.Share this:last_img read more

INSTAGRAM UNVEILS NEW VIDEO SERVICE IN CHALLENGE TO YOUTUBE

first_imgAdvertisement Twitter Facebook’s Instagram service is loosening its restraints on video in an attempt to lure younger viewers away from YouTube when they’re looking for something to watch on their smartphones.The expansion announced Wednesday, dubbed IGTV, will increase Instagram’s video time limit from one minute to 10 minutes for most users. Accounts with large audiences will be able to go as long as an hour.Video will be available through Instagram or a new app called IGTV. The video will eventually give Facebook more opportunities to sell advertising.Competition for young users Advertisement It’s the latest instance in which Instagram has ripped a page from a rival’s playbook in an effort to preserve its status as a cool place for young people to share and view content. In this case, Instagram is mimicking Google’s YouTube. Before, Facebook and Instagram have copied Snapchat — another magnet for teens and young adults.Instagram, now nearly eight years old, is moving further from its roots as a photo-sharing service as it dives headlong into longer-form video.The initiative comes as parent company Facebook struggles to attract teens, while also dealing with a scandal that exposed its leaky controls for protecting users’ personal information.Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom told The Associated Press that he hopes IGTV will emerge as a hub of creativity for relative unknowns who turn into internet sensations with fervent followings among teens and young adults.That is what’s already happening on YouTube, which has become the world’s most popular video outlet since Google bought it for $1.76 billion US nearly 12 years ago. YouTube now boasts 1.8 billion users.Instagram, which Facebook bought for $1 billion six years ago, now has one billion users, up from 800 million nine months ago.More importantly, 72 per cent of U.S. kids ranging from 13 to 17 years old use Instagram, second to YouTube at 85 per cent, according to the Pew Research Center. Only 51 per cent of people in that group now use Facebook, down from 71 per cent from a similar Pew survey in 2014-15.That trend appears to be one of the reasons that Facebook is “hedging its bets” by opening Instagram to the longer-form videos typically found on YouTube, said analyst Paul Verna of the research firm eMarketer.Besides giving Instagram another potential drawing card, longer clips are more conducive for video ads lasting from 30 seconds to one minute. Instagram doesn’t currently allow video ads, but Systrom said it eventually will. When the ads come, Instagram intends to share revenue with the videos’ creators — just as YouTube already does.“We want to make sure they make a living because that is the only way it works in the long run,” Systrom said.Revenue growthThe ads also will help Facebook sustain its revenue growth. Total spending on online video ads in the U.S. is expected to rise from nearly $18 billion US this year to $27 billion in 2021, according to eMarketer.Lele Pons, a YouTube sensation who also has amassed 25 million followers on Instagram, plans to launch a new cooking show on IGTV in hopes of increasing her audience and eventually generating more revenue. “It’s like Coca-Cola and Pepsi,” she said. “You will never know what you like better unless you try both.”IGTV’s programming format will consist exclusively of vertical video designed to fill the entire screen of smartphones — the devices that are emerging as the main way younger people watch video. By contrast, most YouTube videos fill only a portion of the screen unless the phone is tilted horizontally.Snapchat began featuring vertical video before Instagram, another example of its penchant for copying rivals.But Systrom sees it differently. “This is acknowledging vertical video is the future and we want the future to come more quickly, so we built IGTV.” Advertisement Login/Register With: Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment last_img read more

Russian Japanese foreign ministers discuss disputed islands

first_imgMOSCOW — The foreign Ministers of Russia and Japan are holding talks about disputed Pacific islands.The Soviet Union took the four southernmost Kuril Islands during the final days of World War II. Japan asserts territorial rights to the islands, which it calls the Northern Territories, and the dispute has kept both countries from signing a peace treaty.Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have agreed to resume discussions on a 1956 Soviet proposal to return two of the islands to Japan. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Japanese counterpart Taro Kono met Monday to pave way for Abe’s visit to Moscow later this month.Signalling tough talks ahead, Moscow has recently bristled at Japanese statements about a possible deal, warning Tokyo against “artificially inciting the atmosphere.”The Associated Presslast_img read more

Fort St John Fire Department responds to small kitchen fire

first_imgFire officials say there were three pet cats in the residence at the time and all three were safely recovered, two by the occupant and one by the Fire Department.Fire damage was contained to the kitchen area with smoke damage throughout the residence.The Fire Department determined that the home did not have a working smoke alarm.Fire officials are reminding residents to practice safe cooking practices in the kitchen and to ensure that you have working smoke alarms in your home. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Fire Department responded to a small kitchen fire at the Peace Country Mobile Home Park on Tuesday at approximately 11:00 a.m.According to the Fire Department, a female occupant was cooking and fell asleep on the couch. She was awakened by the sound of the fire and was able to get out on her own.She was taken to the hospital by B.C. Ambulance to be checked out for smoke inhalation.last_img read more

EC announces dates Delhi goes to polls on May 12

first_imgNew Delhi: The Election Commission on Sunday announced that Delhi will go to polls on May 12 in the sixth phase of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. However, all the eyes will be set on May 23 when the votes will be counted. The last general elections in 2014 were held in nine phases and residents of the National Capital Territory cast their votes during the third phase on April 10.With the Model Code of Conduct coming into play, the regulatory body also announced that advertising restrictions set out in the Election Manual are to include social media platforms. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic itemsBharatiya Janata Party, Aam Aadmi Party, Bahujan Samajwadi Party and Congress had fielded their candidates on all seven Lok Sabha seats in 2014. All India Trinamool Congress fought on five seats. The BJP took over all the seven constituencies in Delhi, electing Parvesh Verma, Udit Raj, Maheish Girri, Manoj Tiwari, Ramesh Bidhuri, Meenakshi Lekhi, and Harsh Vardhan to the Lower House. AAP has already announced six of its candidates for the Delhi seats, except West Delhi constituency for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Following the tradition of disclosing candidate lists in the last minute, BJP has not yet come out with their list of candidates. No other party has as of now announced their candidates for the capital city fight. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderIn a tweet after the EC announcement, Arvind Kejriwal said: “Ultimately back to We the people -the real power of our democracy. Time to throw out the most dictatorial and anti-federal govt in the history of India. Time to seek answers on demonetisation, jobs, destruction of traders n destroying brotherhood amongst different communities.” In order to ensure safe and fair elections, the Election Cell of Delhi Police has made provisions for DCPs in all districts to review arms licence holders and criminal records in their respective jurisdictions if necessary. They will also be tracking illegal cash transactions or any distribution of illegal liquor or any other items suspected to influence the voters. In addition, the police might also be having as many as 178 flying squads to keep tabs during the polls in Delhi. Police sources have also told the Millennium Post that district DCPs have asked concerned ACPs and SHOs to conduct a thorough verification of election booths and submit the report to them as soon as possible.last_img read more

Seoul cancels permit for new Japanese embassy building

first_imgSeoul: Authorities in Seoul have cancelled the permit for a new Japanese embassy building citing construction delays, local officials said Wednesday, with relations between South Korea and Tokyo strained by historical disputes. The neighbours are both democracies, market economies and US allies faced with an increasingly assertive China and the long-running threat of nuclear-armed North Korea. But their own ties have remained icy for years due to bitter rows stemming from Japan’s brutal 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean peninsula, with forced labour and wartime sex slavery key examples. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USA statue of a “comfort woman” symbolising the Korean women forced to work in Japanese military brothels mostly during World War II stands across the road from the embassy plot. Since 1992 campaigners have held weekly rallies at the site to demand a “full, heartfelt apology” for wartime sex slavery from Tokyo. The 1,382th such gathering took place Wednesday, with activists surrounding the statue. The previous embassy building was demolished some years ago, with staff moving into offices in the neighbouring high-rises, and the plot is now a patch of bare earth behind a high wall, vines growing through the surrounding barbed wire. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsCity authorities gave permission for a new six-storey building in 2015, the year Seoul and Tokyo signed a controversial deal to settle the wartime sex slavery issue. But construction — which under South Korean law must start within a year of a permit being received — was repeatedly delayed. Japan argues that the “comfort women” statue is against the 2015 bilateral agreement, under which Tokyo offered an apology and a one-billion yen payment. But South Korean President Moon Jae-in said last year that the deal had been signed by his ousted predecessor Park Geun-hye without consulting the Korean victims and disbanded a foundation set up with the Japanese funds. An official at the Jongno Ward Office in Seoul said: “We had a meeting with Japanese officials in February, and they said they will accept the revocation of the permit as they cannot start the construction work due to circumstances in their home country.”last_img read more

Frances Hollande calls Morocco king to defuse row

first_imgRABAT – French President Francois Hollande has telephoned Morocco’s King Mohammed VI to sooth diplomatic tensions raised by civil lawsuits filed in Paris accusing Morocco’s intelligence chief of “complicity in torture.”Morocco, a close ally with strong commercial and cultural ties to its former colonial ruler, had reacted furiously to the announcement last Thursday of two lawsuits filed by an NGO against Abdellatif Hammouchi, the head of its domestic intelligence agency (DGST).Hollande called the king, who is currently touring West Africa, to reassure him of France’s “constant friendship,” and “dispel the misunderstandings,” the French presidency said on Tuesday. He also underlined his desire to “strengthen the partnership between the two countries.”After the lawsuits were filed, seven French policemen arrived at the Moroccan ambassador’s residence to inform Hammouchi, at the time accompanying the interior minister on a visit to Paris, of a summons issued by the investigating judge.Adding insult to injury, the Spanish actor and bete noir of Rabat, Javier Bardem, was quoted by mainstream French media on the same day citing diplomatically embarrassing comments about Morocco allegedly made by the French ambassador to the United Nations three years ago.“Morocco is a mistress who you sleep with every night, who you don’t particularly love but you have to defend,” Bardem quoted him as saying, at the launch in Paris of his new documentary on Western Sahara, “Sons Of The Clouds, The Last Colony.”Morocco summoned the French ambassador on Friday to reject the torture allegations and vigorously protest the lawsuits,France’s while describing the alleged comments by France’s UN envoy as “scandalous and unacceptable.”The French foreign ministry moved swiftly to contain the fallout, saying on Saturday that the police visiting the ambassador’s residence was a “regrettable incident” and promising to shed light on the matter. It also categorically rejected Bardem’s comments.On Monday the foreign ministry received Moroccan ambassador Chakib Benmoussa.Confessions under torture’ The two cases that sparked the diplomatic spat were filed by Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT), an NGO based in Paris.They relate to a pro-independence Sahrawi activist, Ennaama Asfari, who was handed a 30-year jail term in 2013 by a Moroccan military tribunal on the basis of confessions allegedly signed under torture.A separate lawsuit accusing Hammouchi of torture was filed on Sunday in France by the lawyer of former world kickboxing champion Zakaria Moumni, jailed 17 months ago on charges of racketeering before being pardoned by the king in 2012.Moumni said he confessed to the charges against him only because he was tortured.On Monday ACAT sharply criticised the French foreign ministry, insisting that “in a democracy” diplomacy has “absolutely no right to interfere in the work of the judiciary.”Morocco has come under fire in recent years for allegedly failing to end the practice of torturing prisoners and of convicting them on the basis of confessions obtained through torture.A UN special investigator said in 2012 that the torture or cruel and inhumane treatment of detainees in the kingdom was “very frequent”.last_img read more

What Happened At The 2015 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference

FiveThirtyEight’s delegation made the pilgrimage to this year’s Sloan conference, a kind of mecca for anyone who’s obsessed with sports, data and retelling how they first felt when they read “Moneyball.” We updated all of Friday and Saturday from Boston, where Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and our own Nate Silver roamed the halls. Read on for highlights from the weekend. CORRECTION (Feb 28, 9:47 a.m.): A previous version of this article misstated the ages of Sam Hafetz and Jonah White. Saturday, Feb. 28 4:05 p.m. Friday, Feb 27, 2:20 p.m.The panel: “Basketball Analytics: Push the Tempo”The panelists: Shane Battier, Mike Zarren, Sue Bird, Mike D’Antoni, Pablo TorreAre basketball teams now so saturated with data and analytics that it’s hard to use them for a competitive advantage?Mike Zarren, assistant general manager for the Boston Celtics, raised an interesting point about what qualifies as analytics in an analytics age. “If I know how well a player slept last night, is that analytics?” The breadth of topics discussed — injuries, biometrics, pace, traditional positions, rest, incentives, shot selection, team chemistry — reveal what a truly broad spectrum of questions and answers fall under the umbrella of basketball analytics. However the field is defined, it all serves the same master: talent. Shane Battier, the poster boy for the adoption of analytic ideas at the player level, summed up the mission perfectly: “It’s about creating space to allow talent to do what they do.”Zarren returned to a well-worn focus at this conference — communication of insights — and defended that arena as the place where a competitive advantage still exists: “You have to use it, it has to affect the decisions you make. I don’t think there is a saturation of that yet.” — Ian Levy Friday, Feb 27, 11:55 a.m.Daryl Morey has been as instrumental to the rise of the Sloan conference as he has been to the rise of the Houston Rockets. Morey, the general manager of the Rockets, has steered the team to third place in the Western conference — behind MVP-candidate James Harden, whom he acquired in a now-legendary 2012 trade — and helped start the Sloan conference in 2007. At Sloan on Friday, I boxed him out to ask a few questions about advanced basketball analytics, specifically player-tracking data from companies like STATS’ SportVU technology. While he can’t divulge the details of the Rockets’ private statistics, Morey’s remarks about the publicly available numbers are especially insightful because the Rockets are one of the most stats-savvy teams — not just in the NBA, but in all of sports. — Andrew FlowersAudio Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/flowers_morey.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. Friday, Feb 27, 12:21 p.m.The Panel: “Valuing Franchises: How Sports Teams Break the DCF”The Panelists: Lyle Ayes, Aswath Damodaran, Joe McNulty, Randy Vataha, Abe Madkour (moderator)The recent sales of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Clippers for over $2 billion have opened up a new paradigm in sports franchise valuations. As shocking as the price of those transactions may have been, the mood at this Sloan panel was buoyant. In fact, panelists seemed to be most worried about prices getting so high that billionaires would be priced out of the market. As Lyle Ayes, managing director of the investment bank Evercore’s sports advisory practice said, “how many people can pay $4 billion for an asset?”Panelists thought the seemingly inexorable rise in franchise valuations was driven by the increasing value of media and content rights. Aswath Damodaran, an NYU professor who focuses on valuation (and FiveThirtyEight contributor), commented that across the entertainment industry, owning content is becoming king. Ayes cited the NBA’s massive new TV deal as evidence of this trend. He noted that advertisers put a large premium on live content like sports because viewers are relatively captive during the event. Interestingly, none of the panel members thought that a team’s performance had a large impact on valuation. The most important factor, according to the panel, was metro area population and GDP. The New York Knicks can command significantly more from their local TV rights for bad basketball than the San Antonio Spurs can command for good.Despite the increase in the real earnings of teams as media deals improve, panelists (with the exception of Ayes), broadly agreed that sports franchises still do not make sense as actual businesses. While they are relatively low-risk and uncorrelated with other potential investments, almost any analysis of the current cash flows — or lack thereof — will not find them to be great investments. As Damodaran noted, the supply of franchises is relatively fixed, while demand has been growing. The panelists did not see this dynamic changing any time soon. — John Ezekowitz Saturday, Feb. 28, 11:20 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, 9:50 a.m.There are bold-faced names headlining the ninth annual Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, sure. But for academics like myself the real action is in the research paper contest, where academics and researchers are hoping to create the kinds of insights that the bold-faced names one day treat as gospel. For these researchers, Sloan marks the culmination of what can be more than a year’s worth of work. The stakes are high: top prize is $20,000, with second place worth $10,000. For some of the PhD students submitting papers, that may equal their annual salary.But until now, the mechanics of how this contest is judged have largely been cloudy (see an overview of the 2015 contest here, or my personal experience submitting a paper to the 2014 contest here). On Friday, conference co-lead Paul Campbell helped clarify how Sloan makes its picks. “We try to be consistent about what we solicit,” said Campbell. “We kind of have our perspective on the validity of the method, and making sure that the academic and mathematical rigor is there. Also, do the results make sense?”The 2015 research paper contest began back in September, when Campbell and this year’s judging committee, comprised of various MIT student organizers and academic advisers, received 189 abstracts. Of that total, 68 were invited to turn in a formal paper for submission in mid-December. Paper submissions were placed into one of four tracks: basketball, baseball, other sports or the business of sport. The top two submitted papers from each track were given the opportunity to present at this year’s conference. In addition, 11 papers were given a poster in the halls of the convention center.Each of the eight finalists were allotted a 20-minute presentation on Friday. The judging committee identified the top presentation in each of the four categories based on a 50-50 split of the presentation itself and the originating paper.“We have an idea of what the best analytically rigorous paper is, but we want to see if it is presented well. It’s an equal weighting with [the presentation] and the paper,” said Campbell. The four papers still in the running for the top prize, are:Baseball: Who is Responsible for a Called Strike? by Joe Rosales and Scott SprattBasketball: Counterpoints: Advanced Defensive Metrics for NBA Basketball by Alexander Franks, Andrew Miller, Luke Bornn and Kirk GoldsberryOther Sports: Assessing the productivity of NHL players using in-game win probabilities by Stephen PettigrewBusiness of Sports: Diamonds on the Line: Profits Through Investment Gaming by Clayton Graham.Those four finalists are given an additional 10 minutes with which to make their case, this time in front of a larger and more general audience, including Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey and FiveThirtyEight’s own Nate Silver.Those judges, according to Campbell, are asked to judge by something different than the last committee. “Which of these [papers] seems like the most applicable or potentially transformative within the industry?” $20,000 rides on the answer. — Mike Lopez Saturday, Feb. 28, 1:00 p.m.The session: “Analytics of the Tommy John Injury Epidemic”The speaker: Glenn FleisigWe’re in the midst of an epidemic of elbow injuries among major league pitchers. Twenty-five percent of current MLB pitchers have had an ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (“Tommy John surgery”) and 15 percent of minor league pitchers have undergone the procedure. Over the last decade, the problem has trickled down to high school and little league players. In 1990, none of the baseball players coming to the Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center clinic Tommy John surgery were kids. Today, one third of them are high school age or younger, said Fleisig, the research director at the American Sports Medicine Institute.What’s to blame for the epidemic of torn elbow ligaments? Are more players getting hurt? Or are we just better at diagnosing these injuries? Are doctors more willing to do the procedure? Or are patients more eager to have it?The answer, said Fleisig, is all of the above. Some players assume they should go in for surgery at the first sign of elbow pain, just “to get it over,” but that’s the wrong attitude. Best case scenario, the surgery can return a player to the career trajectory he was on before he got injured, but it won’t improve performance and not every player makes it back to play, Fleisig said.About 80 percent of major league players who get Tommy John surgeries make it back to the mound, but only two thirds of those who undergo the procedure make it back and stay there.Most elbow ligament injuries occur due to overuse. During the middle part of the pitch when the elbow is held upright at a right angle, the joint experiences severe torque. “It’s like holding a string with five 12-pound bowling balls,” Fleisig said. (That’s why doping raises the risk of an elbow injury — “If you’re on the juice you’re making your muscles too strong for your tendons and ligaments to handle.”)There’s a common notion that curveballs are dangerous, but the research doesn’t bear that out, Fleisig said. “We expected the curveball to have more torque than the fastball, but it turns out it has less.”Four things determine which players get injured — biomechanics, how much a player pitches, training and recovery. “It’s not one of these things or the other, it’s all of them,” Fleisig said.Wear and tear on the elbow is one of the most important factors, and when Fleisig’s group followed a group of 500 kids over a ten-year period, they found that pitching more than 100 competitive innings more than tripled the risk of needing a Tommy John surgery. Likewise, more than 80 pitches per game quadrupled the risk of injury, and kids who pitched when fatigued had 36 times the risk of having surgery.In an effort to cut the rates of elbow injuries among young pitchers, Fleisig and his colleagues have teamed with Major League Baseball to create Pitch Smart, age-appropriate guidelines to avoid injury. Suggestions include limits on the number of pitches thrown and not pitching when fatigued. “The best computer we have is right here,” Fleisig told me, pointing to his head. — Christie Aschwanden Friday, Feb. 27, 6:10 p.m.Walking into a conference at Sloan today I walked by yet another guy in a sports coat — and then did a double take, because this guy’s blazer sleeves were rolled up…and he was a 13 year-old. There are some teenagers running around Sloan but none looked younger than Sam Hafetz and his friends, Manu Hurskovitz, 14, and Jonah White, 14. After calling their parents for permission (hi, Mr. Hurskovitz!), I dragged them to our podcast table. There, Jody Avirgan asked what brought them to Sloan (it’s their second year attending), why they love sports analytics, and what they’d do if they became GMs of the Celtics. — Chadwick MatlinAudio Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/kidsatsloan.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Friday, Feb. 27, 4:43 p.m.The panel: “Commissioner’s Perspective: Growing Soccer with Don Garber”The panelists: Don Garber, Grant WahlMLB and MLS share two letters and the pickle of how to balance tradition and innovation. Baseball’s struggle comes from within, as Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred showed earlier Friday. Major League Soccer isn’t as conflicted about changing rules and trying new technologies, MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. Its burden, unlike MLB’s, is its peripheral place in a global game.Garber said he wanted goal-line review technology, extra time put on scoreboards (instead of only a ref with a “Timex that probably cost 20 bucks” knowing how much time remains) and a whole lot more. “If I were king, we would have instant replay, we would have cameras on our players, we would be putting them on goalposts.” He’d put a microphone on the field. Players would wear GoPro cameras. He watched hockey players wear GoPros at the NHL All-Star Game and thought it was cool.But Garber can’t have all those things. Other sports’ U.S. pro leagues just need to get the owners to agree, but MLS needs the approval of IFAB, the International Football Association Board — or, as Garber called it, the International Federation of Somebody Who Has Something To Do With the Rules That’s Not Me. Garber’s message to IFAB: “Let us be the Guinea pigs.” He worries that the world’s most popular sport could lose its lead “just because of our structure. We should be able to use the power of our influence to lead.” — Carl Bialik Friday, Feb 27, 4:35 p.m.At last year’s Sloan conference, Dean Oliver was our ESPN colleague, leading analytics at the Stats & Info Group. This year, he’s here as the Sacramento Kings’ director of player personnel and analytics. I spotted him Friday huddled with a few of his peers from other NBA franchises. Oliver has been in the sports analytics business for three decades, and has seen it grow from a field wrestling with a lack of data to one with more data than it knows what to do with. He spoke with me about the similarities in working for teams and working for sports media, and about what it takes for a franchise to succeed at using analytics. — Carl Bialik Saturday, Feb. 28, 1:46 p.m.The panel: “Beating the Shift: Baseball Analytics in the Age of Big Data”The panelists: Sandy Alderson, Dan Brooks, Dave Cameron, Ben Lindbergh, Jonah KeriSloan’s flagship baseball panel largely focused on teams’ reactions to sabermetric findings. Alderson, the general manager of the New York Mets, spoke about the proliferation of defensive shifts, and how it has led to changes in the way certain players are valued — specifically right-handed power hitters.Along the same lines, no discussion of baseball analytics would be complete without some mention of strike zone analysis and catcher pitch-framing metrics. Despite the volume of research on the subject in recent years, the consensus of the group was that the market may still not be properly valuing catchers who “steal” strikes on the edge of the strike zone at a higher rate than their peers. Then again, part of that may relate to a theory that pitch-framing is a taught skill. (We’d have liked to hear more thoughts about how umpires doing better at calling an accurate strike zone has led to baseball’s aforementioned drop in run-scoring.)Finally, Keri asked the panel their thoughts about wins above replacement (WAR). The panel agreed WAR was a valuable framework, even if its individual parts can always stand to be improved. For his part, Alderson confirmed that teams use at least some version of it, even with its imperfections, because the idea of creating a cumulative statistic is appealing. — Harry Enten and Neil Paine Friday, Feb 27, 10:40 a.m.The panel: “Innovators and Adopters”The panelists: Shane Battier, Michael Lewis, Daryl Morey, Jeff Van Gundy and Jackie MacMullanPity Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant. Out for the season with injuries after performances well below their high standards, they’re now punching bags in Boston, at least according to the first session of the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on Friday.The other panelists treated the retired Battier more or less as Lewis depicted him in a New York Times Magazine article in 2009: the platonic ideal of the intelligent NBA player, one who incorporates insights from advanced statistical analysis to optimize his game for team success. (Battier initially resisted that framing, saying “it was about winning,” before eventually letting on that yeah, he was a pretty smart player.) LeBron James, with whom Battier won two titles in Miami, was the more typical player, open to occasional tastes of analytics-based tips.Anthony and Bryant, though, were depicted as the anti-Battiers, in a question by moderator MacMullan (who, like Battier, works for ESPN, which owns this website and sponsors Sloan). MacMullan noted their selfishness and focus on scoring over other ways of contributing to their teams. (To which my boss, Nate Silver, would respond that Anthony’s shooting makes his teammates better.) Battier made clear how much he relished having those two stars as foils, learning their tendencies so that he could neutralize their strengths when playing defense. MacMullan pointed out that Battier blocked more of their shots than any other player’s. Anthony also topped the Battier leaderboards for balls stolen and offensive fouls drawn. And the pair led another personal leaderboard Battier innovated: They gave him the most “looks of disdain” when they found out he’d be guarding them. — Carl Bialik Sunday, March 1 12:17 a.m.After what conference co-organizer Jessica Gelman said was a “heated discussion,” voters for the top research paper at Sloan reached a split decision and split the $30,000 prize pool between two papers. The winners:Who is Responsible for a Called Strike? by Joe Rosales and Scott SprattCounterpoints: Advanced Defensive Metrics for NBA Basketball by Alexander Franks, Andrew Miller, Luke Bornn and Kirk GoldsberryRosales and Spratt, both of Baseball Info Solutions, presented work suggesting that pitch framing, which has traditionally rewarded most of the credit to catchers alone, is actually a function of three independent participants: the catcher, pitcher, and umpire.Franks, Miller, Bornn, and Goldsberry — all members of Harvard’s XY Hoops group — used player tracking data to quantify individual defensive play in the NBA. The academic version of this group’s paper has been accepted at the statistics journal Annals of Applied Statistics.The groups behind the winning papers each received $15,000 for their efforts. Additionally, Bornn and Goldsberry, along with co-authors Alex D’Amour and Dan Cervone, received the conference’s top poster prize of $1,000 for “Move or Die: How Ball Movement Creates Open Shots in the NBA.” — Mike Lopez Saturday, Feb. 28 3:15 p.m.Will sports betting inevitably become legal in the U.S.? It sure seems like it.Momentum behind legalization has grown since NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times in November 2014 explicitly endorsing legal sports gambling. The facade of professional sports leagues that oppose sports betting is beginning to crack. And it’s clear why: money.Silver estimated the market for illegal sports wagering is currently $400 billion per year, though it’s likely that figure is inflated. But even lower-end estimates of around $80 billion still represent a huge market. Sports betting is already enormous in Europe, Australia and many other regions. State governments want in because of the potential revenues.Professional sports leagues are intrigued because they see gambling interest as a ratings driver, much like fantasy sports have been. (And, coincidentally, daily fantasy sports sites – with cash prizes – bear an eerie resemblance to gambling anyway.) Gambling is already inherently analytical; but the appetite of stats-savvy fans for geeky coverage about odds is growing. Jeff Ma, a contributor to ESPN’s new sports-betting site, Chalk – said gambling analytics would meet the demand from those with a “high-brow” interest.But there are major risks to legalization. The revelations that former NBA referee Tim Donaghy owed gambling debts and bet on games he officiated was a reminder of the long, scandalous history of how gambling can challenge the integrity of sports. Here, too, analytics can help. Ryan Rodenberg, a professor at Florida State University, suggested statistical scrutiny of betting markets would combat fraud and fixing. Several private European firms already specialize in such analytics.The panelists were asked that if they had to bet on legalization sweeping the country, when it would happen. The lines offered by the panelists ranged from 2-to-10 years. Dan Spillane, the Assistant General Counsel for the NBA, didn’t offer a timeline, however. He just said “years, not months.” — Andrew Flowers Friday, Feb 27, 3:28 p.m.The panel: “Commissioner’s Perspective: 1 on 1 with Rob Manfred”The panelists: Brian Kenny, Rob ManfredRob Manfred has a long history with Major League Baseball. And Major League Baseball has long tried to avoid letting its history weigh it down. In a wide-ranging interview at Sloan on Friday, one month into his tenure as league commissioner, Manfred sounded like a man trying to make sense of how to reform a game without hollowing it out.A few days ago, Manfred said that there was a universe in which baseball could shave eight games off its regular-season schedule “sometime down the road.” A reduction in the current 162-game schedule could make the sport’s playoff timing a little more flexible, and might increase fan interest in each game. At Sloan, Manfred said he chose the 154-game mark because it would take the majors “back to a number that’s already in our record books.” Could he see MLB going even lower, to 150? No, because then “you’re going to go have a record book with 150, 154, 162 …” Only in baseball, a sport hallowed enough to get the Ken Burns treatment, could the record book be more important than the ledger. Integrity is paramount. (Or as Manfred, who has worked for the league for nearly two decades, put it when talking about whether to reform gambling laws around sports betting: “Integrity, it’s Rule One.”)Yet this is a commissioner who clearly wants to find ways to change the game. Manfred has introduced rules to speed the pace of play, and said Friday he’s very happy with the replay system MLB added last year. He said that in the future — “past Rob Manfred” — the league could have a team outside North America, and before that, maybe even one in Mexico. Now that would be historic. — Chadwick Matlin read more

10 of Stuart Scotts Most Memorable Clever Catch Phrases

On television, Stuart Scott represented Black people’s creativity, soul, mind, humor, style and overall culture. That’s part of the legacy he leaves behind as an ESPN personality—a quick-witted, clever, smart and engaging broadcaster who made you smile as you watched sports highlights, using everything from pop culture to street slang to get across the point in an entertaining way. Not everyone can do that. Only a few can, in fact. Scott might have been the best at it. Here are 10 of his on-air catch phrases that made you smile.“You Ain’t Gotta Go Home, But You Gotta Get The Heck Outta Here”Anyone who has partied at a nightclub has heard the deejay, near the end of the event, use that expression. No one heard it on television until Scott used it to describe a buzzer beater or strike out in baseball.“See, what had happened was. . . “Hilarious. Ever try to awkwardly explain to someone an error in that way? Sure, you have. Scott came with it when a player made a particularly glaring mistake. The humor of it lightened the magnitude of the miscue. read more

With Runners On Base Joey Votto Lets Too Many Good Chances Go

Near the end of last season, Cincinnati Enquirer writer Paul Daugherty penned a column about Reds first baseman Joey Votto. It was not kind.You can extol the virtues of the almighty walk all you like. You can tell me how wonderful it is that Votto makes fewer outs than anyone. I understand all that, and it is all good. Especially if you’re leading off or batting 2nd. If you are batting 3rd, your responsibilities are different. Seventy-three RBI with Choo ahead of you all year is substandard. All numbers aside, Votto doesn’t pass the eyeball test this summer. There have been times when he simply looks disengaged.This might seem like stinging criticism, particularly the part where Daugherty jumps from Votto’s RBI total to accusing the Reds star of checking out. Thing is, select members of Cincinnati’s baseball media corps often bash Votto for being too passive — especially when he comes up with runners on base. Marty Brennaman, the radio voice of the Reds for the past 40 years, seems to do it all the time. That September 2013 column wasn’t remotely the only time Daugherty called out Votto. The idea of Votto as this submissive hitter who keeps his bat on his shoulder during RBI opportunities has become so widespread that even the Cardinals announcers brought it up when the Reds visited St. Louis last month. And as far as the eyeball test goes, well, it’s tough to watch Votto do something like this (on a 2-1 count, no less), and not shake your head a little:That mid-at-bat stroll aside, is the narrative true? Is Votto hurting his team by turning into a wallflower when he gets chances to drive in runs? Or is this just another case of blaming a team’s best player for its failures?Votto defenders, and Votto himself, argue that indiscriminately swinging at more pitches would hurt more than it would help. Votto’s elite batting puts him at or near the top of the league in walk rate every year. It also helps him avoid making weak contact on pitches out of the strike zone; since his 2008 rookie season, no qualified hitter has been better at getting on base (and thus not making outs) than Votto has.So rather than pointing to simple walk rate or swing rate, we turned to ESPN’s TruMedia system for context. It slices and dices stats in countless ways, to the point where we can see how often Votto swings at pitches in the strike zone with runners in scoring position. That way, we can focus on the situations most conducive to knocking in runs and eliminate pitches out of the zone, which you’d want hitters to pass up anyway.We came up with three ways to dissect this stat. First, we can see how often Votto swings at strikes when at bat with runners in scoring position, and whether he’s doing it more or less now than he has in the past. We can also compare Votto’s swing rate in those situations with those of other elite hitters. TruMedia data goes back to 2009, and Votto ranks third in the majors since ’09 in weighted runs created plus,1Also known as wRC+, this stat tallies all the walks, singles, doubles, triples, homers, outs and other outcomes compiled by a hitter — minus context-dependent stats like RBI — then adjusts for park effects and the era in which a player plays and boils it down to one number. A score of 100 is average for a major league hitter, which means Votto’s 162 wRC+ since 2009 pegs him at 62 percent better than average. so comparing Votto to the rest of the top five in that stat over the past half-decade makes sense. Finally, we can see how often Votto swings in these spots relative to league average.The chart below tells the tale.At first glance, yes, Votto has become much less aggressive with runners in scoring position over the past five-plus seasons. In 2009, his second full season in the big leagues, Votto swung at 78.2 percent of the pitches he saw in the strike zone with RISP, ranking him 10th among 155 qualified batters, just slightly behind the grip-it-and-rip-it approach of RBI-machine Miguel Cabrera. Votto’s number dipped slightly to 76.2 percent in 2010, still ranking among the league’s leaders. In 2011, that number fell precipitously to 69.6 percent, just a smidgen above league average. In 2012, it took another big tumble, with Votto’s swing rate plunging to 62.4 percent — No. 121 in the majors if he’d had enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title. Last year, he rebounded to 69.8 percent, once again a tick above league average. So far this season, the bottom has dropped out, with Votto swinging at just 57.7 percent of pitches in the strike zone with runners in scoring position, ranking him 171st among 187 qualified hitters. Those last 16 guys probably batted with their eyes closed.Now let’s compare Votto to other elite hitters. Placing him side by side with those other top-five wRC+ guys — Cabrera, Mike Trout, Ryan Braun and Jose Bautista — nets surprising results. While Cabrera and Braun rank among baseball’s most aggressive hitters when they get pitches with runners in scoring position, Trout and Bautista have been far more passive … more so even than Votto, before this year.Let’s run one more chart. Same hitters, same runners in scoring position situations, still using pitches in the strike zone, only this time we’ll look at fastballs only, since in theory you’d expect hitters to be more aggressive against heaters than, say, darting sliders or diving change-ups.Same pattern, but check out Votto’s free fall this season. On fastballs in the strike zone with RISP, he’s swung an incredibly low 50 percent of the time, ranking 182 out of 187 batters.So what’s going on here?Leaving RBI aside, Votto’s power numbers have shrunk a lot over the past couple of years. Since his 37-homer MVP season in 2010, Votto has hit 29, 14 and 24 bombs, with just four so far this year. Using isolated power, a stat that gives a better read of a player’s pop than slugging average since it focuses only on extra-base hits, we see that Votto posted a career-low .186 IP mark last year, ranking a less-than-elite 44th among 140 qualified batters. He’s down to .169 IP this year, just the 72nd-best mark in the majors. If a hitter feels he can do less damage when he swings, he’s probably going to swing less often. Votto is one of the brainiest, most self-aware players in the game, so it’s no surprise to see him swinging less often than he has in the past, both with runners in scoring position and the rest of the time.It’s hard to tell how aggressive Votto might be in the future, given what the numbers tell us. Go back and peruse those charts again. The two biggest drops in his swing rate (with runners in scoring position or otherwise) — and the only two times in his career that he’s been more passive than league average in RBI situations — have come in 2012 and this year.In 2012, Votto suffered a painful knee injury, one that sapped his power dramatically until it knocked him out of the lineup for 50 games; of course he’s going to swing less often when he’s both playing in pain and not hitting the ball as hard when he makes contact. As for this year, it’s May 9. Votto has seen only 52 pitches in the strike zone with runners in scoring position, and just 36 of those were fastballs. We should probably wait until we have a larger sample of at-bats before we break out Tom Smykowski’s mat.So yes, Daugherty’s belief that Votto has become more passive passes not only the eyeball test, but also the hard evidence test. Still, Votto doesn’t deserve this much criticism. We’re talking about a player who’s on track to reach base more than 40 percent of the time for the sixth straight season. He’s an excellent defender at first. An infield popup for him is like a Halley’s Comet sighting for the rest of us. And while he might be swinging less often than he used to, even that trend might prove to be much less pronounced than it looks right now.Joey Votto remains one of the best all-around players on the planet, whether or not he ever makes the ghost of Hack Wilson sweat. read more

Statheads Are The Best Free Agent Bargains In Baseball

TBA4365+51.2 DET4044+10.0 It’s getting more and more crowded on baseball’s bleeding edge. As sabermetrics has expanded to swallow new disciplines and data sets,1The data generated by a single game has gone from mega- to gigabytes, with terabytes sure to follow before long. the number of quantitative analysts in MLB front offices has multiplied to keep up, producing an army of number crunchers, modelers and decision scientists who would have seemed out of place at the ballpark even a decade ago.Because we, too, are statheads at heart, we’ve mined the data and charted the proliferation of these numbers-savvy front-office staffers over time. Yes, there are more of them now than ever, and yes, they’ve had a demonstrable effect on their teams’ fortunes. But contrary to the “Moneyball”-era hand-wringing about battles between scouts and statheads, their rise hasn’t come at the expense of old-school analysis. Rather, the two main points of contention are how much the “Moneyball” mindset has spread from the game’s most frugal teams to the richest ones; and why the front-office hiring boom hasn’t helped its gender diversity.You’re gonna need a bigger budgetTo track the expansion of baseball’s R&D departments, we took three snapshots of MLB staffs by studying cached online directories and team media guides from 2016, 2012 and 2009 — the first year for which media guides are widely available from MLBpressbox.com — and consulting with current and former front-office employees. We limited our sample to full-time employees (sorry, interns and consultants),2Disclosure: One of this article’s authors, Rob Arthur, works as a statistical consultant for the Toronto Blue Jays. and tried to maintain a consistent, fairly strict definition of what constitutes a quant: a “baseball operations” employee who spends a majority of his or her work hours either directing a quantitative department or doing statistical research, data processing or programming to support the team’s analytical efforts.Naturally, our task occasionally required some informed speculation. “Analytics” and “analyst” are slippery terms, particularly because most front-office employees are multitaskers who contribute to more than one department. Many teams are also guarded in how they describe (or don’t describe) their employees’ roles and responsibilities. But even with all those caveats, we’re confident that we’ve arrived at a roughly accurate accounting of MLB’s quant army.And our numbers reveal that baseball’s analytical arms race is proceeding at a pace only slightly slower than Moore’s law. Although the analytical gold rush began before the period we examined, hiring has accelerated at an almost exponential rate over the last few years. In 2009, the first season of our sample — which was several years after “Moneyball” became a best-seller — a total of 44 team employees fit our “quant” definition, and at least a third of teams had yet to assign a single full-time employee primarily to statistical work. By 2012, the number had climbed to 75, and only four teams had no quants. Four years after that, the analyst count has more than doubled again, to 156, and nowadays no team operates without some semblance of an R&D department. 3Only one of those departments — perhaps predictably, the tightfisted Miami Marlins — is still a solo act. MIL3848+26.3 ATL3246+43.8 KCA3647+30.6 SDN3655+52.8 TOR3858+52.6 WAS2847+67.9% ARI4161+48.8 CIN4665+41.3 TEX3849+28.9 NUMBER OF FULL-TIME SCOUTING PERSONNEL MIN3546+31.4 LAD4361+41.9 OAK3840+5.3 CLE4148+17.1 SourceS: MLB, VARIOUS TEAM MEDIA GUIDES SEA6762-7.5 Nor is there any indication that we’re approaching a plateau. A number of teams told us they expected to add more analysts soon; we’re aware of at least 12 open positions across MLB. And because the litany of prerequisite degrees and programming languages seems to grow with each listing, it seems certain that the average analyst also has a more impressive résumé today than in the past.To the statheads went the spoilsThe biggest benefits of buying into objective analysis were probably reaped around the time “Moneyball” was published, when a lot of the low-hanging fruit was still attached to baseball’s most rigid branches. Simple lessons such as “on-base percentage matters more than batting average” still eluded many front offices, and numerous talented analysts whose work would later be exclusive to one team were still posting their insights publicly on message boards or sites such as Baseball Prospectus.Even though some of the initial rewards had already been realized by 2009, there were still significant gains to be made by semi-early adopters. To measure them, we built a model estimating how good a team was before its front-office hires, using the following factors for each team: its winning percentages over the previous three seasons, its payroll and market size and its Baseball America farm-system ranking. Using these variables, we generated an expected winning percentage for each team over the following three seasons, beginning with the two historical years for which we had analyst counts (2009 and 2012).The takeaway: It paid to invest in analytics early. Teams with at least one analyst in 2009 outperformed their expected winning percentage4As predicted by the model. by 44 percentage points over the 2012-14 period, relative to teams who didn’t — an enormous effect, equivalent to more than seven extra wins per season. That might be overstating things a bit — the precise advantage varies depending on how the analysis is structured — but over most permutations of the model we tried,5Including using different thresholds (by number of analysts) to determine a team’s analytical buy-in, and different periods of time upon which to judge a team’s on-field output. the effect was consistently stronger than two wins per season, particularly for the earliest-adopting teams, which got a head start by implementing analytics before 2009.Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that sabermetrics conferred such a first-mover advantage. As a thought experiment, let’s assume the typical modern analytics department contains five people (156 staffers leaguewide, divided by 30 teams). If the two most senior members of the department earn $100,000 a year and the remaining members make half that, the yearly price would come to $350,000. Putting aside overhead costs,6Which, admittedly, can be quite large (i.e., in the millions) for some front offices. But even with multi-million dollar overhead costs, the total price of an analytics department wouldn’t approach most free-agent player contracts of similar value. that outlay still lags behind the MLB’s minimum salary for a single player — chump change in a sport where the average franchise is valued at 10 figures.For such a relatively small expenditure on analysts, even the minimum estimate of two extra wins per year would represent a return roughly 30 times as efficient as spending the same amount on the free-agent market. (It would be like the Chicago Cubs signing outfielder Dexter Fowler not for the $13 million he’s actually making but for what it would take to pay a player who just made his big-league debut.) At that rate, there’s plenty of room for front-office inflation to continue before teams run into diminishing returns.The rich are getting smarterAlthough the big-budget Boston Red Sox were also one of the first teams to demonstrate that an analytics department could help win a World Series,7Boston may have even been the first to win with a dedicated analytics staff, though it’s also worth noting that the Oakland A’s won in 1989 with early sabermetric consulting from Eric Walker. a number of low-payroll, small-market teams — including not only the Moneyball A’s, but also the Rays, Indians, Padres and Pirates — were among the first to form quantitative departments and develop systems to house and display statistical data. It made sense: The more pressing a team’s financial imperative to stretch every dollar and wring out every win, the more likely it was to try a new approach.But that’s no longer true. Although the Rays, who rank 29th in payroll this season, continue to occupy the R&D pole position with a still expanding department of almost 20 statheads — fortunately, Tropicana Field has plenty of quiet, climate-controlled workspace to spare — baseball’s “haves” are no longer have-nots when it comes to statistical expertise. In both 2009 and 2012, teams with low-ranking payrolls tended to employ more analysts. But in 2016, the balance of analytical buy-in shifts toward big spenders, which might explain why the Rays are having a harder time separating their on-field performance from the pack.Not only are wealthy teams capable of outspending competitors for free-agent players, but they’ve also become more willing to outbid them for brains. The sport’s two heaviest hitters by payroll, the Yankees and Dodgers, are also the only teams aside from the Rays whose R&D departments have double-digit head counts.In addition to hiring a large crew of new number crunchers and programmers, the Dodgers have plundered talent from other franchises’ front offices, absorbing not only the former general managers of the Rays (Andrew Friedman), Padres (Josh Byrnes) and Blue Jays (Alex Anthopoulos), but also a former A’s assistant GM, Farhan Zaidi, who joined Oakland as an analyst because “Moneyball” made him want to work in baseball. In particular, LA’s brain trust has devoted its efforts to preserving player health, which Billy Beane has publicly labeled the sport’s most glaring inefficiency. In their quest to curtail injuries, the Dodgers have invested in both computerized systems and human know-how, as well as seeding a sports-oriented startup incubation program.Stats haven’t killed the scouting starIn the factious days after “Moneyball” was published, the book was often characterized as a prophecy of scouting’s coming extinction. That interpretation was mostly off base, but one passage did strongly imply that the competition for front-office positions was a zero-sum game. In a postscript titled “Inside Baseball’s Religious War,” which appeared in later editions, Michael Lewis wrote that “[J.P.] Ricciardi, the new [Blue Jays] GM, had done what every enlightened GM will eventually do: fire a lot of scouts, hire someone comfortable with statistical analysis … and begin to trade for value, ruthlessly.”Lewis’s postscript looks ironic in retrospect, for multiple reasons. The deputy he describes as “someone comfortable with statistical analysis” was Keith Law, who has since become ESPN’s lead prospect analyst and spends much of his time scouting players. Moreover, Ricciardi himself was fired in 2009 and replaced by Anthopoulos, who almost immediately embarked on a scout-hiring spree — and shepherded Toronto to more success than it had ever enjoyed under his predecessor.8Anthopoulos left the Blue Jays for the Dodgers after the 2015 season. Even Beane’s stat-inclined sidekick, Paul DePodesta, later became vice president of player development and scouting for the Mets before switching sports earlier this year. BAL3432-5.9 STL3944+12.8 CHC5160+17.6 NYM5246-11.5 PHI33330.0 CHW3246+43.8 TEAM20092016%CHANGE BOS5971+20.3 NYY4574+64.4 HOU5552-5.5 SFN5956-5.1 COL3644+22.2 ANA3448+41.2 PIT3948+23.1 MIA3843+13.2 Scouting staffs are also on the rise In fact, the recent expansion of analytics staffing doesn’t seem to have squeezed out other kinds of employees. By our count, big-league teams employed 1,246 full-time scouts in the first year of our sample,9Which in most cases dates back to 2009, except for the few teams whose 2009 media guides don’t have accessible scouting sections. In those cases, we used 2010 data. across all levels and specialties — pro, amateur, advance and international. This year’s media guides list 1,539 scouts — an average increase of almost 10 per team. Only five teams employ fewer scouts than they did in 2009, and of those, four were previously among the top five scout employers. No team has downsized by more than six total scouts or 12 percent of its previous force.Although the increased ability to access information remotely may have made some advance and pro scouts redundant — or transferred their responsibilities to new, stay-at-home scouts who prep for opponents using a combination of stats and video — any modest downsizing in those areas has been more than offset by increased amateur and international coverage. For instance, the Rays — who also devote a massive head count to scouting, trailing only the Yankees and Red Sox — assign dedicated scouts to 12 countries outside the U.S., some of which haven’t historically been baseball hotbeds.10Including Curacao, Germany, the Czech Republic and Brazil, where they’re trying to build an academy. No scouting position is permanent, but our survey uncovered scant evidence to back up claims that teams are treating scouts as obsolete relics. If anything, smart teams have learned to treat scouting grades as statistical data that can improve upon purely numbers-based evaluations, making the two perspectives even more tightly intertwined.Given baseball’s burgeoning economy, it’s only logical that additional jobs for statheads haven’t come at scouts’ expense. Ever-rising broadcast rights and franchise valuations have caused revenue to skyrocket, and the profit has to go somewhere besides under owners’ mattresses. As revenue sharing, luxury taxes, and limits on amateur and international spending lower the ceiling on some forms of spending and shrink the payroll gaps between teams, the best option for a cash-flush club is to direct dollars away from the field. Beefing up front-office infrastructure makes acquiring, storing and applying information easier, and it allows teams to get more bang for the bucks they’re allowed to spend.That said, there are still places where analytics hiring has a lot of room to improve. Out of 190 analysts who appeared on our list at least once, only five were female, and only three of those women are still active. Granted, the gender imbalance in baseball ops is actually less lopsided on the R&D side than in scouting, where women are even scarcer. But high-level playing experience is far from a prerequisite in R&D roles, which tells us either that teams are having trouble attracting female applicants or that they’re overlooking the qualified candidates who do apply. As Zaidi, who has since hired one of the three active female analysts, put it last year: “If I’m going to put my geek cap on, it’s a statistical impossibility … that the best candidate for every position in baseball is a middle-aged Caucasian male.”Of course, baseball’s broadcast bubble might eventually burst, reversing the rise in revenue and forcing teams to economize. In that event, some would likely decide that stats, video and tracking systems such as Statcast and Kinetrax make scouting positions expendable, although they would probably also slash the budgets and support for their R&D staffs. Barring that type of catastrophe, though, baseball’s front-office hiring boom is unlikely to slow any time soon, since the rapid ascendance of baseball’s new school hasn’t made many teams think “out with the old.” Instead, teams have learned to synthesize information from multiple sources; even the supposedly sabermetrics-defying Kansas City Royals were aided by a talented analytics department en route to their World Series victory last season. When it comes to the search for front-office smarts, all signs still say “help wanted.”Check out our latest MLB predictions. read more

Ohio State womens soccer splits Big Ten road games over weekend

Junior forward Nichelle Prince (7) dribbles with the ball during a game against Minnesota on Sept. 17. OSU lost 2-1.The Ohio State women’s soccer team (9-4-3, 4-3-2) saw its three-game unbeaten streak snapped during a pair of road games, but it was able to end the trip with a win. The Buckeyes were in Bloomington, Indiana, on Sunday afternoon, where they toppled the Indiana Hoosiers 2-1 behind senior midfielder/forward Michela Paradiso’s game-winning goal. OSU put its first point on the board in the 24th minute when Prince tossed a throw-in on the left wing to junior forward Lindsay Agnew, who launched it right past Rutgers goalkeeper Sarah Stone. The score was 1-0 heading into halftime with OSU leading 15-5 in shots, including 7-1 on goal.The Hoosiers came back from halftime with a newfound energy that sparked their one and only goal of the afternoon, a shot from senior midfielder Jessie Bujouves in the 50th minute to level the match. Paradiso’s game-winner came in the 85th minute off of an assist from Agnew that set up the Upper Arlington, Ohio, native to score from eight yards out. At the end of the game, the Buckeyes held a 22-12 advantage in shots, and 9-4 on goal. Corner kicks were tied at 5-5. Prior to Sunday’s victory, OSU was in Piscataway, New Jersey, on Thursday night for a match against Rutgers (12-2-2, 5-2-2). The Buckeyes fell to the No. 25 Scarlet Knights 2-0.Both teams played tight defense in the first half, as quality looks to score were few and far between. The Scarlet Knights, however, were able to convert one solid look in the 39th minute. Rutgers freshman defender Adora Moneme finished from 12 yards out near the center of the box after junior defender Erin Smith assisted on a ball played in from the left wing. Heading into halftime, Rutgers held a 5-4 advantage in shots. OSU struggled to generate any offense in the second half as well. The Scarlet Knights put the game out of reach when they posted their second — and final — goal of the night in the 82nd minute from sophomore forward Colby Ciarrocca, who flicked it past a pair of Buckeye defenders. The Buckeyes had a number of chances late in the game but couldn’t find the back of the net. The loss put an end to OSU’s three-match unbeaten streak, which dated back to Oct. 2.Rutgers maintained the lead of 12-7 shots and 5-3 on goal by the end of the game. OSU is set to return to Columbus to host the Penn State Nittany Lions next Saturday night. The match is slated for a 6 p.m. start time at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. read more

Sharpshooter Mariano is impressing Lopetegui

first_imgDuring the training sessions that Julen Lopetegui is conducting at Real Madrid on the international break, it appears that Mariano is banging them all in.Mariano Diaz, the player who became a laughing stock at Real Madrid for getting signed by Los Blancos and getting Ronaldo’s number ‘7’ is impressing Julen Lopetegui. The international break is well underway this week and the next one, the Spanish coach is having more personalized training sessions with many of the players who didn’t go with their national teams for the next few days. The boss has both of his top strikers under his command alongside young Brazilian talent Vinicius, but the one who is taking all the spotlight is Dominican forward Mariano Diaz. The club has published videos of the player getting into mini competitions with French striker Karim Benzema, who is a changed man after Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit and is finally showing everyone that he truly is one of the greats on Spanish football. But turns out that Benzema has some very stiff competition with Mariano, as Julen Lopetegui is quite pleasantly surprised with the player’s goal-scoring abilities during the practice sessions from the last few days.¡Acción brillante!? @MarceloM12➡ @Benzema? @Lucasvazquez91? @marianodiaz7#RMCity | #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/WKhJFQ644X— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrid) September 6, 2018Lopetegui has been watching all his new arrivals closely, but Mariano is arguably the one who he pays more attention to because there is a general feeling inside the club of this striker having the talent to wear the number ‘7’ jersey at the club. Lopetegui has been talking to the staff inside the club about Mariano as if he was the club’s most impressive signing during the summer, he is even telling everyone that he can become a more prominent player for the club as soon as the international break is over a week from now. The player’s teammates are also very surprised with his development at Olympique Lyonnais, because they feel like his Ligue 1 experience has helped him mature and brought him to transform into a top-quality striker who is set to bring a lot of great nights to the Santiago Bernabeu during the present season. In fact, just this week there was a series of matches with the academy players, in which Mariano took all the spotlight by scoring many impressive goals that Lopetegui thoroughly enjoyed during the session.⚽ GOLES ‘made in’ @lafabricacrm durante el entrenamiento de hoy… ? @marcosllorente? @Lucasvazquez91? @sergio_regui ? @marianodiaz7 #RMCity | #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/v37jg9tQlD— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrid) September 5, 2018Sergio Ramos, Real MadridZidane reveals Sergio Ramos injury concern for Real Madrid Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Zinedine Zidane has put Sergio Ramos’ availability for Real Madrid’s trip to Sevilla next weekend in doubt after withdrawing him against Levante.The plan for Mariano’s debut.As the upcoming five matches for Real Madrid after the break will be the most difficult of this start of the season, Julen Lopetegui already has a plan for Mariano to make his debut as soon as possible and he has already chosen San Mames Stadium against Athletic Club to give the player the chance he’s been waiting for. The Spanish giants have to visit the Bilbao club on the weekend after the international break, but then they have four more matches that can be considered as highly competitive and that will need all the available players for Lopetegui at the top of their game. Giving Mariano this chance to start having activity with the club, is the best way for the manager to have a top striker ready for the next four matches after that. Also, Lopetegui is planning on giving some rest to many of his international players on the next match in order to avoid possible injuries. This is how Mariano might come in to replace other usual starting eleven players such as Gareth Bale or Marco Asensio.? #RMCity? @Benzema ⚽ @marianodiaz7 ? @vini11Oficial ? @marcosllorente pic.twitter.com/GsKbkGFOIK— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrid) September 6, 2018The calendar for Real Madrid in the next month will be truly challenging, because they have to travel to Bilbao on the weekend after the break and then come back for the Champions League debut against AS Roma just a few days after. Then Los Blancos will face Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium to complete a total of three matches within seven days during the second half of September, but the next two games are what can become a real problem for Real Madrid. Just a few days after playing Espanyol at home, Real Madrid will have to travel against to face Sevilla FC at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium and then they will have to play another Madrid Derby against Atletico before the end of the month. That’s five highly competitive matches in the span of only two weeks. So yeah, Lopetegui needs Mariano at the top of his game as soon as possible and giving him the trust he needs will benefit the club quite a bit during the next month.Qué ganas de volver a pisar este cesped para vosotros #DiaDePartido #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/uWFVG4DCRG— Mariano Diaz Mejia (@marianodiaz7) September 1, 2018How do you think Mariano Diaz will respond to Julen Lopetegui’s confidence? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.last_img read more