US World Cup Absence Could Have Wide-ranging Effects

first_imgThe 2018 World Cup will be a unique test of soccer’s appeal in the United States.Will Americans still watch if their national team isn’t there? Fox is certainly hoping so.The U.S. failed to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Russia when it lost at Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday night, and the effects of that defeat may be felt for quite some time. The team, and indeed the whole U.S. Soccer Federation, faces a period of soul searching — but broadcasters, sponsors and tournament organizers could also be impacted by the Americans’ absence.Fox, which broadcasts next year’s World Cup, offered only a statement Wednesday — which did provide some insight as to how the network will likely promote a World Cup without the U.S.“Last night’s World Cup qualifying results do not change FOX Sports’ passion for the world’s biggest sporting event,” the statement said. “While the U.S. was eliminated, the biggest stars in the world from Lionel Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo stamped their tickets to Russia on the same day, and will battle teams ranging from Mexico to England that have massive fan bases in America.”Fans in the U.S. are familiar with stars like Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar. Top European club teams now have American followings, which suggests that soccer in the U.S. can withstand a short-term slump for the national team.An estimated 26.5 million people in the U.S. watched Germany’s victory over Argentina in the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil, and the 2018 final figures to be a major draw as well. But a U.S.-Portugal match in the group stage of the 2014 tournament had 24.7 million viewers — and that’s the type of interest that might be absent from earlier games in 2018.“It’s going to hurt a little bit,” said Austin Karp, an assistant managing editor of SportsBusiness Daily. “You’re not going to have any buildup there toward the summer, with the U.S. team playing either friendlies — or talk about how the U.S. team is going to do, promotion of the U.S. team on Fox properties like baseball or other spring stuff they might have. … The U.S. matches were some of the strongest audiences for ESPN-ABC the last couple of iterations of the tournament. The final will still be OK.”Fox broadcast the Women’s World Cup in 2015, but next year will be its first time carrying the men’s tournament since winning U.S. English-language World Cup rights back in 2011. Now Fox’s 2018 tournament won’t have the Americans, and ratings for the 2022 event in Qatar could be affected by the fact that it is set to be held in November and December, instead of its usual calendar spot midway through the year.The U.S. team’s failure to qualify for 2018 dented shares of Twenty-First Century Fox on Wednesday. The stock fell 66 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $26.11. But concerns over Fox’s outlook may be overblown, according to a report from Pivotal Research Group. According to the group’s study, the U.S. team accounted for about 20 percent of ESPN’s total viewing for the 2014 tournament — a significant figure but not an overwhelming one. Fox will certainly miss having the Americans in 2018, but the U.S. played only four games in Brazil last time.“While it might make a difference for the lay viewer who is only going to watch the U.S. games, that’s just a small subset of the total viewing,” said Brian Wieser, a senior research analyst for Pivotal Research Group.So the show must go on for broadcasters — and sponsors are trying to make the best of the situation as well.“Like all American soccer fans we are disappointed the team will not be participating in the World Cup, but still recognize the huge growth opportunity for soccer in the U.S.,” said Ricardo Marques, a vice president of marketing for Budweiser. “As the official beer of the World Cup and a longtime FIFA partner, Budweiser will continue to tap into our fans’ passion for soccer here and globally.”Over in Russia, meanwhile, the reaction to the U.S. ouster was muted. American fans have attended the World Cup in droves recently — over 200,000 tickets for games in Brazil were purchased by U.S. residents. FIFA said Tuesday that the U.S. was among the top 10 countries for ticket applications so far for 2018, along with other non-qualifiers like China and Israel. Some applications by U.S. residents are likely to have been made by supporters of other teams, such as Mexico.Still, many in Russia focused instead on the failure to qualify of neighboring Ukraine, which had occasionally threatened to boycott the tournament over Russia’s backing for separatist groups in eastern Ukraine. Vyacheslav Koloskov, the Russian Football Union honorary president, said the United States’ absence was a missed opportunity to improve Russia-U.S. relations.“The non-participation of the U.S. reduces the chances of players, and indirectly of American fans, to see the transformations taking place in our country,” he told Russian agency R-Sport.Koloskov added that the U.S. team was “nothing special” and so its absence “won’t have any effect on our World Cup in a sporting sense.”NOAH TRISTER, AP Sports WriterTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Sligoville – Jamaica’s First Free Village

first_img Mr. Crawford says that several other free villages were set up across the island, which were modelled after Sligoville. These are Sturge Town, St. Ann; Bethel Town, Westmoreland; Mount Carey, St. James and Islington, St. Mary. Located about 10 miles north of Spanish Town, St. Catherine, is Jamaica’s first free village, Sligoville. Story Highlights Mr. McLaughlin says there are plans to launch a website to promote the heritage and culture of the area. Located about 10 miles north of Spanish Town, St. Catherine, is Jamaica’s first free village, Sligoville.The property was purchased by Baptist Minister and abolitionist, Rev. James Mursell Phillippo, who arrived in Jamaica in 1823.He campaigned for the abolition of slavery, which came in 1834, and for the establishment of free villages for the emancipated slaves.It was in anticipation of full freedom that Phillippo, on July 10, 1835, bought 25 acres of land for £100, on which the village of Sligoville was established.The land was subdivided into 1/4 acre lots and sold to the emancipated slaves for the sum of £3.The property was originally called Highgate, and was renamed Sligoville on June 12, 1840 in honour of Howe Peter Browne, the second Marquis of Sligo, who was governor of Jamaica from 1834 until 1836.He was sent from England to supervise the emancipation process for the newly freed slaves and the transition from the apprenticeship system to full freedom.Phillipo, with Sligo’s support, constructed a school and church on the property.Relics of Jamaica’s past can still be seen at the site. Among them is the ruins of Highgate House, where successive British governors lived; and the St. John’s Anglican Church built in 1840 by John Agustus O’Sullivan as a private chapel for his family. It was O’Sullivan also who built the Sligoville Great house.Remnants of a coffee mill and a tank where the ex-slaves got their water can still be seen in the area.Executive Director of the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ), Vivian Crawford, tells JIS NEWS that Sligoville has a lot of historical significance as it was the first free village to be established in the West Indies.He notes that “because of the pride of the (former slaves) they did not want to be squatters. They wanted structure in which they could raise their families.”Mr. Crawford says that several other free villages were set up across the island, which were modelled after Sligoville. These are Sturge Town, St. Ann; Bethel Town, Westmoreland; Mount Carey, St. James and Islington, St. Mary.Most of them were established by ministers of religion, who supplied land to the ex-slaves, who had never owned property before.“We owe a debt of gratitude to the Baptist church for the effort with regard to these free villages,” Mr. Crawford says.The IoJ head, in noting the rich heritage of the area, says Sligoville is the birthplace of the Rastafarian movement, with the first Rastafarian village named Pinnacle established there in 1940.Meanwhile, residents of Sligoville, many of whom are direct descendants of the freed slaves, who settled there are proud of the area’s history.They have formed the Sligoville Heritage Foundation Benevolent Society with the goal of preserving the heritage and safeguarding the legacy of the area.Secretary of the Society, Girsham McLaughlin, tells JIS NEWS that the village remains an important part of Jamaica’s history.“We are trying to promote Sligoville as a heritage site because we were the first free village to be established after the abolition of slavery. There are specific structures that date back to the time of slavery and we are trying to get funding to preserve what is left of those (structures). If we don’t preserve them we will have lost a significant part our history,” he notes.The community has organsied several fundraising activities including fish fries and the annual Sligoville Emanci-Fest in collaboration with the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC).Mr. McLaughlin says there are plans to launch a website to promote the heritage and culture of the area.last_img read more

MOL Oshima Get AIP for Wind Challenger Design

first_imgzoomImage Courtesy: MOL Japan’s shipping major Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and Oshima Shipbuilding have jointly obtained Approval in Principle (AIP) from ClassNK for the design of a hard sail system.The system converts wind energy to propulsive force with telescopic hard sail, and is a fundamental technology of the “Wind Challenger Project” that the parties are spearheading.Along with other participating organizations, MOL and Oshima Shipbuilding have played a central role in research and development on the Wind Challenger Project, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by using wind energy. Obtaining the AIP marks the completion of the initial design related to the sail structure and controls, the companies said.MOL and Oshima Shipbuilding will continue to move toward a detailed design and implementation for the Wind Challenger Project, with the aim to launch of a newbuilding vessel equipped with a hard sail. That would reduce the vessel’s GHG emissions by about 5% on a Japan-Australia voyage, and about 8% on Japan-North America West Coast voyage.The long-term goal is to develop a widely accepted solution to achieve the IMO target in combination with other measures to reduce GHGs by equipping vessels with multiple sails.Through this project, MOL and Oshima Shipbuilding will establish one of the technological choices for GHG reduction, with the objective of contributing to environmental conservation.The Wind Challenger Project started in 2009 with the “Wind Challenger Plan”, an industry-academia joint research project led by The University of Tokyo, and from 2013, the team has been chosen to receive “Subsidy for Next-generation marine environment-related technology research” by Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. In January 2018, MOL and Oshima Shipbuilding took charge of the plan.last_img read more

Where Have All The Crafty Pitchers Gone

After Moyer’s retirement, the reigning kings of slow-pitch became Jered Weaver of the Angels and Mark Buehrle of the White Sox and Blue Jays. Buehrle especially belongs squarely among the crafty lefty lineage, alongside Moyer and Glavine; however, he retired after the 2015 season. Over the past two years, in particular, we’ve seen a distinct lack of outlier starters at the bottom of the velocity rankings, the place where the craftiest of pitchers once lurked.To call a pitcher “crafty” is a kind of backhanded compliment. After all, if a guy has overwhelming velocity or electric stuff, we would just talk about that as an explanation for him getting hitters out. (Strikeouts may be fascist, but they are also impressive.) However, Moyer, Buehrle, Hudson and — especially — Maddux and Glavine worked the formula out to perfection. In fact, the 1990s were a heyday of sorts for finesse pitchers, with perfect games from Kenny Rogers and David Wells to go with regular All-Star appearances from the likes of Andy Ashby, Brad Radke and Charles Nagy. None were big strikeout artists, but all were very good pitchers nonetheless thanks to a combination of sharp control, smart situational pitching and keeping the ball in the ballpark.Yet as baseball’s overall velocity bar has raised and preventing home runs has become more difficult, there’s evidence the control-and-command approach has progressively lost its effectiveness. While breaking pitches such as sliders and curves are moving more sharply than ever, it’s not the crafty junkballers of yore who are benefiting most from it.Bill James once broke pitchers into equally sized “power,” “finesse” and “neutral” groups based on their rates of strikeouts plus walks per inning (theorizing that high-velocity pitchers get lots of strikeouts and walks — think Nolan Ryan — while our crafty group doesn’t record much of either). If we do that for qualified starters each season since 1950, we can see the balance of leaguewide pitching wins above replacement1Averaging together the values from FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference.com. has tilted strongly in favor of power pitchers since the early 1970s: Pitching has always been about throwing a baseball really hard — there’s a reason so much of the game’s mythology grew around how quickly hurlers like Walter “Big Train” Johnson and Bob Feller could get the ball from the mound to home plate. But for those who lack overwhelming stuff, there’s another core aspect to pitching: the art of throwing strikes and tricking batters into getting themselves out. Velocity makes a pitcher’s life easier, of course, but plenty of greats from history have thrived on guile instead of a dominating fastball.The craft of finesse pitching, however, might be a dying one in today’s game. A few, such as Arizona’s Zack Greinke and the Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks, have managed to remain effective with a slow fastball and pinpoint control. But the number of star pitchers following that formula has dwindled in recent seasons, in conjunction with the ever-increasing velocity of the average pitch across Major League Baseball. Just a decade ago, we saw Jamie Moyer gutting out complete-game shutouts with an 81-mile-per-hour fastball at age 47 (!) — but are the Moyers of 2019 now getting squeezed out of the sport?Moyer, the southpaw formerly of the Phillies and Mariners (among other teams), was plainly a special pitcher no matter how you measure him. He won only 34 games by his 30th birthday yet still managed to finish with 269 total victories before retiring in 2012 at the age of 49. But Moyer also exemplified a very particular kind of hurler: the prototypical “crafty lefty” who gets by on smarts and makes the best of less-than-stellar velocity readings. In 2002, the earliest year of pitch-speed data at FanGraphs, Moyer — then a youthful 39 — averaged just 82.8 miles per hour on his fastball. (He and Tim Hudson were the only non-knuckleballers with an average fastball under 83.) It was a radar reading that only went down with the passage of time.Back then, though, 11 percent of qualified starters clocked in under 85 mph on average, and 70 percent threw under 90 mph. Moyer even had Hall of Fame company at the bottom of the velocity list, including the likes of Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine. But things changed by the mid-to-late 2000s, when Moyer was perennially the only qualified starter anywhere near the low 80s. In 2010, roughly 1 percent of qualified starters averaged under 85 mph, and only 29 percent were even averaging under 90 mph. Today, nobody averages below 85 mph — Hendricks is baseball’s softest-tossing qualified starter at 86.7 mph — while 16 percent of starters are above 95 mph on their average fastball: Aside from briefly closing the gap a few times over that span — specifically in the mid-1980s and the late 1990s, aka the Moyer and Maddux eras — the finesse pitchers have consistently lost ground value-wise to the hard throwers. The 2017 and 2018 seasons were the first two since 1950 in which the net gap in WAR share between power- and finesse-type starters was at least 18 percentage points in consecutive years. Of the 20 most valuable starters of 2018 by WAR, only one (Miles Mikolas of the Cardinals) was classified as a finesse pitcher; the other 19 were all either power (12) or neutral (7) pitcher types.What accounts for the trend? For one thing, balls in play are at an all-time low, setting a new MLB record for the fewest per game in each of the past five seasons. (We’re down to just 24 balls in play per contest in 2019 so far.) Although most pitchers have little to no control over hits allowed on balls in play during a given season, there are legitimate differences in skill that emerge over entire careers. And part of the crafty-pitcher archetype involves inducing a disproportionate amount of weak contact that fielders can more readily turn into outs.“I didn’t really have swing-and-miss stuff,” Maddux told Dan Patrick in an interview this year. “I wasn’t really worried about giving up singles, but I did what I could to keep the ball in front of the outfielders, not walk anybody and make them get three singles to score.”When there are fewer balls put in play to be had, that formula has less of an effect.There’s also the matter of teams turning to increasingly younger pitchers in recent seasons. Since just about every indicator of power pitching — from pure velocity to strikeouts — is strongly correlated with possessing a younger arm, it makes sense that as young pitchers account for a larger share of the value across MLB, so too will a larger share of WAR be associated specifically with power pitchers (and a smaller share associated with finesse pitchers). Which direction does the causation run? It isn’t totally clear, but it doesn’t especially matter. Whether teams are prizing youth or velocity, it’s squeezing out pitchers who lack either (or both) attributes.“If you look at pitching these days, everything is max effort,” Moyer told the Orange County Register in January. “Look at the younger generations — high school, college, minor leagues, everybody’s trying to light up a radar gun, throw 100 mph. Our bodies aren’t made to perform in this game as a pitcher at max effort.”Although Bartolo Colon, who pitched last season at age 45 as another exemplar of craft triumphing over stuff, the game is generally trending against pitchers like him and Moyer, in many ways.With all of this, it’s fair to wonder whether it would even be possible to dominate with an arsenal resembling, say, Maddux’s, in the modern game. The two-seamer, Maddux’s bewildering weapon of choice, has fallen quickly out of favor in the last decade or so, and a peak-era fastball that barely scraped 90 would rank among the slowest in the league today. Maddux’s specialty, changing speeds, can still be as disruptive as any tactic (just ask Cincinnati ace Luis Castillo). But it’s telling that Maddux himself recognizes what worked in his era might not be as effective now.“I was taught to throw strikes and get hitters out in the strike zone,” Maddux told Patrick. “And now, pitching has kind of turned the other way, where they try to get hitters out outside of the strike zone. I don’t know if I would have adapted to that or not. I’d like to think I could, but who knows what would have happened?”Perhaps the craft of pitching is making something of a comeback this season, with more finesse-oriented pitchers such as Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Dodgers and Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees off to great starts already. Certainly, there always will be a place for pitchers who can transcend the radar gun with intelligence and skill. But just the same, the obsessive quest for velocity in today’s game will probably continue to squeeze out the soft-tossing finesse archetype of yesteryear. Sadly, that means it will be harder than ever for crafty, Moyer-esque pitchers to carve out a place in baseball.Check out our latest MLB predictions. read more

Backcourt duo of DAngelo Russell Shannon Scott propel Buckeyes into Big Ten

Senior guard Shannon Scott (3) and freshman guard D’Angelo Russell (0) both helped lead the Buckeyes past Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament on March 12 in Chicago. Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorCHICAGO — The Ohio State men’s basketball team was struggling through a rough first half in the Big Ten Tournament against Minnesota as it opened the game shooting 1-of-12 from long range.Enter the Yin-and-Yang combo of senior guard Shannon Scott and freshman D’Angelo Russell.The pair combined for 44 points Thursday night as the Buckeyes defeated the Golden Gophers, 79-73, in Chicago to advance to the tournament quarterfinals.Scott scored 21 points, setting a new career-high, in the win and said he was aggressive from the start of the game.“I just looked for my shot a little earlier in the game. I think a lot of times I settle and pass the ball around the perimeter,” he said. “I think I looked at the rim a lot more and when I felt I was open I attacked from there.”Scott finished 7-of-12 shooting from the field and added a team-high six assists to go along with five rebounds.He said a motivating factor for his performance, and the team’s performance as a whole, was a 72-48 drubbing at home on Sunday against Wisconsin.“Our biggest thing was after our senior night loss, just to play our best basketball now. We went out at the (Schottenstein Center) not playing how we wanted to play,” Scott said. “So we had to move on past it and get going again.”Freshman forward Jae’Sean Tate, who scored just four points in his first college tournament game, said looking to seniors like Scott is important as March gets in full swing.“We definitely have to look close to them, because they have been there before,” Tate said. “They know the atmosphere, and being freshmen, they may know what we’re feeling.”OSU coach Thad Matta said after the game that he was proud of the way his team responded coming off of a tough loss.“We had a couple great practices leading into this,” Matta said. “I talked about it before the game tonight, I think, in terms of the way we came out. I was excited to see that.”Russell who had five turnovers against Wisconsin on Sunday, started Thursday’s game 0-of-6 from long range with eight points in the first half. He said it was Matta who woke him up in the second half.“Coach told me, ‘It’s time,’ and I started making shots for some reason,” Russell said. “I don’t know what it was. They started calling plays for me and putting me in positions to score and capitalize and create for others, and that’s what I did.”Russell’s biggest play of the game came with 1:41 on the clock when the Louisville, Ky., native stepped into a 3-point shot with the shot clock winding down and buried it to extend the OSU lead to seven and ultimately out of reach for Minnesota.Scott said even though he has only played with Russell for one season, he has come to expect those kinds of plays from the freshman.“That’s what he does … The whole year he has made some spectacular plays for us. He is uncanny scoring the ball,” Scott said. “When he has the ball in his hands, we know there is a good chance it is going in.”The game marked Russell’s first post-season college game and now that it is out of the way, he said he is looking forward to Friday’s matchup with Michigan State.“It’s win or go home, anything can happen,” he said. “Whoever our opponent is, we are just going to treat it like another game and trust the system.”The Buckeyes dropped their only matchup with the Spartans this season on Feb. 14 in East Lansing, Mich., 59-56, something Russell said he has not forgotten.“They only beat us by a buzzer beater,” Russell said. “I give a lot of credit to them. They played the gaps well, they were physical on me. They capitalized when we made mistakes.”The Buckeyes and Spartans are set to tip about 25 minutes after the Maryland vs. Indiana matchup on Friday night. read more

Family Arrested In Ohio Killings Found On The Kenai

first_imgThe four were named as George “Billy” Wagner III; Angela Wagner; and their sons George Wagner IV and Edward “Jake” Wagner.Last year, the family moved to the Central Kenai Peninsula and purchased trailers on a private property. The arrests are the culmination of a massive investigative effort since seven adults and 16-year-old boy were found dead in 2016 at four homes near Piketon. A message was left with a lawyer who has been representing the Wagners in the investigation. An attorney has said previously the family cooperated with investigators.center_img Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享Investigators in Ohio have arrested four former Ohio residents as part of the investigation in the unsolved slaying of eight family members in 2016.last_img