Month: September 2019

September 30, 2019

LeBrons Odds of Catching Jordan

On Thursday, after LeBron James and the Miami Heat won their second consecutive N.B.A. championship, I noted on Twitter that James was on the same pace as the Chicago Bulls great Michael Jordan. Both James and Jordan won their first championship at 27 and their second at 28, I wrote. Jordan went on to win four more N.B.A. titles, for a total of six.Mike Segar/Reuters LeBron James and Michael Jordan were about the same age when they won a second championship.My statement depended on a technicality, I later discovered: Jordan’s biological age was 28 when he won his first championship, in 1991, and 29 when he won his second, in 1992. However, basketball statisticians generally define a player’s age differently: by how old he was as of Feb. 1 of an N.B.A. season, the rough midpoint of the basketball calendar. Jordan’s birthday is Feb. 17.Those semantics aside, it is worth considering just how likely James might be to match or exceed Jordan’s six titles. (From this point on, we’ll use basketball statisticians’ definition of age.)Players like Jordan and James are so rare that it can be risky to compare them with anyone. Still, one reasonably useful benchmark is to evaluate players who, like James and Jordan, had won at least one Most Valuable Player award and at least one N.B.A. title as of their age-28 season, meaning that they had achieved the pinnacle of both individual and team success.By my count, there were 13 such players before James. On average, they won about two additional championships (more precisely, an average of 1.9) after their age-28 season. So a reasonable over-under line for James might be two more N.B.A. titles, or four total.It is tough to say exactly what James’s odds of catching Jordan might be, because the average conceals a wide range of outcomes among the individual players. Four of the players on the list — Magic Johnson, Moses Malone, Bob Pettit and Dave Cowens — never won another championship after their age-28 season. But four others — Jordan, Bill Russell, Bob Cousy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — won at least four more titles.James needs four more championships to catch Jordan, so one estimate of his odds might be 4 chances out of 13, or about 30 percent. But some of the favorable precedents, like Russell, came in an era when teams had far more ability to retain their players. Among the players on the list who played their age-28 season during the salary-cap era (since 1984-85), only Jordan won four or more titles.Jeff Haynes/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images Jordan after his fifth title with the Bulls.It seems safe to say that you would not want to bet on James at even money. There are just too many things that can go wrong with a player’s career as he ages: injury or illness, early retirement, bad teammates or bad luck.Even this year’s Heat began the season with only about a 30 percent chance of winning the title, according to the Las Vegas odds. That percentage roughly matches the historical likelihood of an N.B.A. team’s repeating as champion, which is 33 percent.So James’s chances of winning a third title next season in Miami are probably about 1 in 3. After that, his chances begin to decline. For one thing, it is less certain that James will be surrounded by strong teammates. (James has the right to opt out of his contract after next season, and even if he stays in Miami, teammates like Dwyane Wade are already seeing their skills atrophy.)More important, players in team sports typically peak in skill in their mid- to late 20s, meaning that James’s game may begin to wane. The N.B.A. is a superstar’s league, and if James goes from being M.V.P.-caliber to mere All-Star within a few years, it will considerably hurt his odds of winning more titles.I have estimated a player’s chances of winning an N.B.A. title based on his win shares, a statistic calculated by Basketball-Reference.com that measures overall value to a team. Since the introduction of the salary cap in 1984-85, excluding the two regular seasons (1998-99 and 2011-12) that were shortened by labor disputes, the best player in the league in a given season has averaged about 18 win shares, which is a reasonably good match for James’s performance over the last several years. The model estimates that such a player has about a 20 percent or 25 percent chance of winning the championship in today’s N.B.A. environment.What about the fifth-best player in the league — someone equivalent to the worst player on the All-N.B.A. team? That player has averaged about 13 win shares, which translates to only about a 10 percent chance of winning the championship.The 10th-best player in the N.B.A. at a given time has only about a 7 percent chance of winning a title, according to the model. And the 25th-best player — someone who might be the last reserve added to one of the conference All-Star teams — has about a 5 percent chance.That is not much better than an N.B.A. player chosen at random, who has a 3.3 percent chance of becoming a champion by virtue of being on one of the 30 teams. A borderline All-Star in the N.B.A., in other words, is much closer to being a role player than a superstar, at least when it comes to his odds of winning a championship.James, of course, will have considerable freedom to pick his employer. If he puts winning titles above all other considerations, he could sign on for any role with the team he perceived as having the best chance to win the championship in a given season.Few players in N.B.A. history have been willing to take things to quite that extreme. Instead, superstars expect teams to build around them — even if they are past their prime, and even if it means something as inglorious as Jordan’s late years spent with the Washington Wizards.One can forgive Jordan, who did not have anything left to prove. But to match him, James will need to win two or three more titles over the next several seasons while he still plays at an M.V.P. level, which will require good health and some good luck. Then he may need to chase the last couple of titles by being willing to play the right role with the right club.,On Thursday, after LeBron James and the Miami Heat won their second consecutive N.B.A. championship, I noted on Twitter that James was on the same pace as the Chicago Bulls great Michael Jordan. Both James and Jordan won their first championship at 27 and their second at 28, I wrote. Jordan went on to win four more N.B.A. titles, for a total of six.Mike Segar/Reuters LeBron James and Michael Jordan were about the same age when they won a second championship.My statement depended on a technicality, I later discovered: Jordan’s biological age was 28 when he won his first championship, in 1991, and 29 when he won his second, in 1992. However, basketball statisticians generally define a player’s age differently: by how old he was as of Feb. 1 of an N.B.A. season, the rough midpoint of the basketball calendar. Jordan’s birthday is Feb. 17.Those semantics aside, it is worth considering just how likely James might be to match or exceed Jordan’s six titles. (From this point on, we’ll use basketball statisticians’ definition of age.)Players like Jordan and James are so rare that it can be risky to compare them with anyone. Still, one reasonably useful benchmark is to evaluate players who, like James and Jordan, had won at least one Most Valuable Player award and at least one N.B.A. title as of their age-28 season, meaning that they had achieved the pinnacle of both individual and team success.By my count, there were 13 such players before James. On average, they won about two additional championships (more precisely, an average of 1.9) after their age-28 season. So a reasonable over-under line for James might be two more N.B.A. titles, or four total.It is tough to say exactly what James’s odds of catching Jordan might be, because the average conceals a wide range of outcomes among the individual players. Four of the players on the list — Magic Johnson, Moses Malone, Bob Pettit and Dave Cowens — never won another championship after their age-28 season. But four others — Jordan, Bill Russell, Bob Cousy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — won at least four more titles.James needs four more championships to catch Jordan, so one estimate of his odds might be 4 chances out of 13, or about 30 percent. But some of the favorable precedents, like Russell, came in an era when teams had far more ability to retain their players. Among the players on the list who played their age-28 season during the salary-cap era (since 1984-85), only Jordan won four or more titles.Jeff Haynes/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images Jordan after his fifth title with the Bulls.It seems safe to say that you would not want to bet on James at even money. There are just too many things that can go wrong with a player’s career as he ages: injury or illness, early retirement, bad teammates or bad luck.Even this year’s Heat began the season with only about a 30 percent chance of winning the title, according to the Las Vegas odds. That percentage roughly matches the historical likelihood of an N.B.A. team’s repeating as champion, which is 33 percent.So James’s chances of winning a third title next season in Miami are probably about 1 in 3. After that, his chances begin to decline. For one thing, it is less certain that James will be surrounded by strong teammates. (James has the right to opt out of his contract after next season, and even if he stays in Miami, teammates like Dwyane Wade are already seeing their skills atrophy.)More important, players in team sports typically peak in skill in their mid- to late 20s, meaning that James’s game may begin to wane. The N.B.A. is a superstar’s league, and if James goes from being M.V.P.-caliber to mere All-Star within a few years, it will considerably hurt his odds of winning more titles.I have estimated a player’s chances of winning an N.B.A. title based on his win shares, a statistic calculated by Basketball-Reference.com that measures overall value to a team. Since the introduction of the salary cap in 1984-85, excluding the two regular seasons (1998-99 and 2011-12) that were shortened by labor disputes, the best player in the league in a given season has averaged about 18 win shares, which is a reasonably good match for James’s performance over the last several years. The model estimates that such a player has about a 20 percent or 25 percent chance of winning the championship in today’s N.B.A. environment.What about the fifth-best player in the league — someone equivalent to the worst player on the All-N.B.A. team? That player has averaged about 13 win shares, which translates to only about a 10 percent chance of winning the championship.The 10th-best player in the N.B.A. at a given time has only about a 7 percent chance of winning a title, according to the model. And the 25th-best player — someone who might be the last reserve added to one of the conference All-Star teams — has about a 5 percent chance.That is not much better than an N.B.A. player chosen at random, who has a 3.3 percent chance of becoming a champion by virtue of being on one of the 30 teams. A borderline All-Star in the N.B.A., in other words, is much closer to being a role player than a superstar, at least when it comes to his odds of winning a championship.James, of course, will have considerable freedom to pick his employer. If he puts winning titles above all other considerations, he could sign on for any role with the team he perceived as having the best chance to win the championship in a given season.Few players in N.B.A. history have been willing to take things to quite that extreme. Instead, superstars expect teams to build around them — even if they are past their prime, and even if it means something as inglorious as Jordan’s late years spent with the Washington Wizards.One can forgive Jordan, who did not have anything left to prove. But to match him, James will need to win two or three more titles over the next several seasons while he still plays at an M.V.P. level, which will require good health and some good luck. Then he may need to chase the last couple of titles by being willing to play the right role with the right club. read more

September 30, 2019

NFL Star Nick Fairley Arrested for DUI

Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley was arrested early this morning for driving under the influence and attempting to elude police … TMZ has learned.Fairley was popped in Mobile, AL just after 1:00 AM. In addition to the DUI and eluding charges, Fairley was ticketed for reckless driving, no proof of insurance and having an open container.Fairley is from the area, having gone to Williamson High School and he attended Auburn University.It’s Fairley second bust in just over a month — he was arrested on April 3 for marijuana possession.Source: TMZ

September 30, 2019

Hector Camacho to be Taken Off Life Support Saturday

Hector “Macho” Camacho will be taken off life support on Saturday by doctors in San Juan, Puerto Rico his mother said Friday night.Maria Matias, Camacho’s mother, said she decided to make the difficult decision to remove her son off life support, but only after three of the boxers sons arrived to Puerto Rico early Saturday and had the opportunity to see their father for one final time.“I lost my son three days ago. He’s alive only because of a machine,” Matias said. “My son is not alive. My son is only alive for the people who love him.”The former boxing champion’s mother had the final decision in the situation, but Hector Jr., his eldest son, opposed his grandmother’s decision. He wants to keep his father alive.“He’s going to fight until the end. My father is a boxer,” Hector Jr. said.Camacho has been declared clinically brain dead from a shooting Tuesday night in his hometown of Bayamon. The former champion was shot as he sat in a car with a friend, 49-year-old Adrian Mojica Moreno, who was killed in the shooting. But relatives and friends told The Associated Press they were still contemplating whether to remove him from life support.“It is a very difficult decision, a very delicate decision,” former pro boxer Victor “Luvi” Callejas, a longtime friend, said in a phone interview. “The last thing we lose is hope and faith. If there is still hope and faith, why not wait a little more?”Since Matias has lost hope and faith, preparations have already begun for memorials and a funeral Mass in the wake of Camacho’s death.One of the boxer’s aunts, Aida Camacho, said in an interview that the family could determine by late Friday whether to donate his organs.The shooting of Camacho has affected everyone in the boxing world and Puerto Rico. Governor-elect Alejandro Garcia Padilla of Puerto Rico offered his condolences.“The life of Macho Camacho, like other great athletes of ours, united the country,” he said. “We celebrated his triumphs in the streets and we applauded him with noble sportsmanship when he didn’t prevail.”Police have yet to make any arrest in shooting, but continue to interview potential witnesses. Capt. Rafael Rosa told reporters Friday that the police are tracking down several leads, but added that very few witnesses were cooperating.Puerto Rico has become violent U.S. territory of nearly 4 million people. Last year they reported 1,117 homicides.Once Camacho is taken off life support, his sisters hope to have him flown back to New York and bury him.Camacho had career record of 79-6-3. During his career he won the super lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight world titles in the 1980s. Camacho knocked out Sugar Ray Leonard in 1997, ending the former champ’s final comeback attempt.But Camacho struggled with drug, alcohol and other issues during his lifespan. In 2007 he was sentenced to seven years in prison on burglary charges, but the sentence was subsequently suspended by a judge. The judge gave him a one year sentence and probation, but wound in up in jail for two weeks after violating his probation. read more

September 30, 2019

Mike Tysons Autobiography Reveals Struggle With Drugs Women Money

Photo by Rock107.comMike Tyson’s life has been an open book, and he’s made it even more accessible in his upcoming autobiography, Undisputed Truth, where he dishes unabashedly about spending more than $60 million in one year, his consistent infidelity and a desire to “kill” controversial boxing promoter Don King.In the book set to be released Nov. 12, Tyson offers insight into his life like few others who have lived in the spotlight. There are many poignant and interesting parts to the book. Among them:* On personal demons: “Sometimes I just fantasize about blowing somebody’s brains out so I can go to prison for the rest of my life,” he writes. “Working on this book makes me think that my whole life has been a joke.”* On Desiree Washington, who he was convicted of raping and sentenced to three years in prison: “How do you rape someone when they come to your hotel room at two in the morning?” he asks.Even while in prison he had his way – with visitors and a prison drug counselor, to whom he gave $10.000 to repair the roof of her house.  “I was having so much sex that I was too tired to even go the gym and work out. I’d just stay in my cell all day,” he said. His wife at the time, Monica Turner filed for divorce in 2003. “I guess she had enough of my fooling around because I sure did a lot of it. Calling to tell her I had AIDS probably didn’t help either.”* On money: He lost a suitcase one night with $1 million cash in it. “I had had a rough night in the city and had forgotten where I left it,” Tyson said. He also writes about spending $62 million in 2000, $2.1 million on cars.* On King: He writes about the many times times he bloodied King, including once on a Miami highway when he tried to strangle him in the car from the backseat. “When I think about all the horrific things that Don has done to me over the years, I still feel like killing him.”There is a lot more. Larry Sloman wrote the book in Tyson’s voice, offering a raw and profane look into his sordid life. A must-read. read more

September 29, 2019

The Orioles Always Win More Than They Should Theres A Reason For

6Dusty Baker*3,337+2.4+1.0+3.3+68.9 2Tony LaRussa5,093+0.6+2.0+2.6+82.0 20147884788096+16 7Ralph Houk+18.6+1.0309John McNamara-11.8-0.8 The O’s keep beating the odds Which managers consistently overachieve? (1961-2016) 4Derek Jeter (1995-2014)48.2 5Davey Johnson2,443+2.8+1.8+4.6+69.2 3Dick Williams3,022+2.7+1.5+4.3+79.4 On average, the projections have missed low on Baltimore by 10 wins a year since 2012, including 2017 so far.2Comparing their preseason prediction to the 85 wins Elo currently calls for the Orioles to finish with. And not to single out PECOTA specifically, but it has been low on the Orioles so often — 2017 is tracking to be the sixth-consecutive season where this happened — that it has become something of a running joke among Baltimore fans.Even granting that predicting baseball teams is an imperfect science at best, there’s something else going on here — and it has a lot to do with manager Buck Showalter, one of the best in modern history at squeezing every spare win out of a roster. This isn’t the first time Showalter’s teams have shattered expectations; in addition to his work in Baltimore, he also won plenty of ballgames during his previous stints in Texas, Arizona and New York when the numbers said he had no business doing so. With the Orioles, though, Showalter has turned defying the odds into an art form.Three years ago, I wrote that — for better and for worse — few managers really make much of a dent in a team’s record, relative to what we’d expect from a simple, manager-independent projection of talent. But Showalter is one of the select few who’ve risen above the fray. From 2010 (when Showalter took over the Baltimore job midseason) to 2016,3The latest year of managerial data contained in Sean Lahman’s baseball database. the O’s won an average of nearly six extra games per season over expectation, which elevated Showalter into eighth place among overachieving managers since the expansion era began in 1961: 10Herman Franks+15.1+2.2312Jim Leyland-32.4-1.5 5Buck Showalter*+19.5+1.2307Leo Durocher-10.9-1.4 WINS ABOVE PROJECTED PER SEASON 20157884858281-1 WINS VS. AVG 11Felipe Alou2,054+0.4+3.6+4.0+50.6 4Cito Gaston+20.3+1.9306Casey Stengel-10.6-2.9 20Fred Hutchinson587+5.7+3.7+9.4+34.1 1Joe Torre+37.0+1.4303Jerry Narron-9.8-2.5 Some of the greatest hits in Showalter’s catalog include managing the 1994 Yankees to a 100-win pace (and the AL’s best record) before the season was shut down by a strike, improving the Diamondbacks’ record by 35 games in 1999 — still the biggest single-season improvement in winning percentage since 1903 — and overseeing the Rangers’ own 18-game improvement in 2004. But he seems to have saved his best managerial performances for Baltimore: On top of beating the projections by 21 wins in 2014, Showalter’s club famously outplayed its pythagorean record by 11.2 wins in 2012 — the 10th most since 1901.4A team’s pythagorean record is the mark we’d expect it to have based on its runs scored and allowed alone. Deviations between actual and pythagorean records usually come from exceptional performances in close games; the 2012 Orioles went 29-9 in one-run ballgames, the best record in modern history until the 2016 Texas Rangers came along.Correctly anticipating another surprise season from the Birds back in February, ESPN.com’s Sam Miller dug into the reasons for Baltimore’s consistent overachievement under Showalter. He ruled out the Orioles’ offense (homer-happy but ultimately just OK), their rotation (promising but mediocre) and their defense (solid, though not outstanding). Instead, the biggest reason by far for Baltimore’s perennially surprising record has been its dominant bullpen. Not only have the O’s boasted the best relief corps in baseball over the past six seasons according to wins above replacement (WAR),5Averaging together the versions found at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs.com. but Miller also found that almost every member of Baltimore’s bullpen beat his projections from 2012 to 2016.A great bullpen can have an outsize impact on how well a team performs late in games. As Miller notes, the Orioles outscored opponents from 2012-16 by five times as many runs per inning from the seventh inning onward than during the first six. But coaxing unexpected greatness out of relievers is not supposed to be sustainable. Since baseball’s current, save-obsessed relief strategy began in earnest in 1990, the year-to-year correlation for a club’s relief wins above average6Relief WAR, but compared with the per-inning MLB average each season. is 0.25, a fairly low mark that suggests that bullpen success stories are mostly unsustainable.Therein lies the paradox of relying too much on relievers: They can be incredibly valuable, but they also tend to be fickle. Some skippers, however, have a knack for getting value out of their bullpens year in and year out. By now it shouldn’t be surprising that, over the course of his 19-season career in the dugout, Showalter has gotten the fifth-most value from his bullpen out of any manager since ’61: 3Chuck Tanner+23.7+1.4305Bo Porter-10.1-5.5 Sources: Baseball Prospectus, FanGraphs, LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, CBS Sports 7Billy Martin2,266+4.4+0.5+4.9+68.7 9Walter Alston2,574+2.8+0.7+3.6+56.5 14Clint Hurdle*2,130+0.9+2.6+3.5+46.4 4Earl Weaver2,540+4.0+0.7+4.7+74.0 20171719191823+5 PROJECTED WINS 15Jack McKeon2,041+2.0+1.5+3.6+45.1 16Sparky Anderson4,028+0.4+1.4+1.8+43.5 Of the 312 managers from 1961-2016. Bullpen wins vs. average compares a team’s WAR from its relievers to the league average in the same number of relief innings. *Still active.Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, FanGraphs.com, Lahman DB Who’s managed the best — and worst — bullpens? (1961-2016) Total wins above projected based on comparison of manager’s record with projected wins above replacement (WAR) for players and projected wins for team. Wins from “strategy and luck” are derived from performance in close games, or otherwise exceeding the wins predicted by WAR. A season is 162 games. *Still active.Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, Fangraphs.com, Lahman DB 12Mike Scioscia*2,754+1.5+1.4+2.9+49.0 10Ralph Houk3,150+1.2+1.5+2.7+52.7 20167378807789+12 6Jimy Williams+18.9+1.8308Jim Fregosi-11.4-0.9 WINS VS. AVG 20127570717293+21 18Joe Torre4,323+0.3+1.1+1.4+36.7 1Bobby Cox4,505+4.0+2.0+6.0+166.5 2Joe Girardi*+24.6+2.5304Billy Gardner-10.0-2.2 8Ron Gardenhire+18.4+1.4310Tony Muser-12.9-2.8 The greatest Yankees ever Welcome to Full Count, our weekly baseball column. Have anything you want me to write about? Email or tweet me at [email protected] or @Neil_Paine.The Baltimore Orioles are performing better than expected this season. And by now, we should have known to expect nothing less.At 23-15, the O’s are only a game and a half back in the American League East — close behind the resurgent New York Yankees — despite lukewarm preseason predictions and even early-season injuries. This is nothing new for the franchise: It has reliably duped the various statistical forecasting systems for years now. Here’s how Baltimore’s actual records have compared with what some of the most popular projection systems called for (including FanGraphs’s depth charts and Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA1Full disclosure: PECOTA was originally developed by FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver., plus the Vegas over/unders for good measure) since 2012, when the Orioles won 93 games after being projected for only 72: 13Whitey Herzog2,406+1.9+1.3+3.2+47.2 MANAGERGAMESDUE TO PLAYER PERFORMANCEDUE TO STRATEGY AND LUCKTOTALWAP OVERALL SEASONPECOTAFANGRAPHSVEGASAVERAGEACTUAL WINSDIFFERENCE 9Johnny Oates+16.7+1.7311Sparky Anderson-20.0-0.8 19Art Howe2,266+0.7+1.9+2.6+36.1 5Joe DiMaggio (1936-51)47.9 2Mickey Mantle (1951-68)65.0 MANAGERTOTALPER 162 GMANAGERTOTALPER 162 G PLAYERWEIGHTED CAREER WAR 20137579787785+8 17Hank Bauer1,138+3.4+2.1+5.5+38.8 1Babe Ruth (1920-34)78.2 Because relievers are generally so unpredictable, any projection of how they’ll perform in the future is going to be heavily regressed to the mean. As a consequence, having a strong bullpen — one that resists the pull of regression — goes a long way toward helping a team beat expectations.7In a given season, the correlation between a team’s bullpen wins above average and its “extra wins” over projected is 0.66. And while Joe Torre (and Joe Girardi) had the benefit of the great Mariano Rivera at the back of the Yankee bullpen, Showalter’s best relievers by WAR have been Zach Britton, Darren O’Day, Francisco Cordero and Jim Johnson — fine pitchers all, but not exactly Rivera clones. Year after year, Showalter has been able to find an answer for one of baseball’s most unpredictable challenges (even if he did botch one very high-profile relief decision in last year’s playoffs).Now, it’s easy to go overboard in praise of the skipper (all of these effects still only add up to a handful of extra wins per season). Good managing can only go so far without the talent to, well, manage. And despite their surprising early-season success, this year’s Orioles are still at a disadvantage in that department relative to a very tough division — one made more difficult by the Yankees’ ahead-of-schedule emergence.All of which is to say: Baltimore still faces an uphill battle. But if Showalter’s history tells us anything, it’s that his teams tend to thrive on these kinds of steep climbs. Don’t be surprised if the 2017 O’s keep adding to that legend.The DL shuffleWith all the talk about how teams are using — and (arguably) abusing — the new 10-day disabled list, John Dewan of Baseball Info Solutions wrote an interesting story for BillJamesOnline.com about how frequently players are being put on the shorter DL now, compared with the old system at the same point in the schedule. According to Dewan, nothing really changed for the first week or so of the season — but starting in Week 2, DL assignments took off and they haven’t really looked back. It should be interesting to watch how teams continue to play with their newfound roster flexibility as the season goes on.Is Derek Jeter … properly rated?Derek Jeter has long been a popular object of derision for statheads such as myself, on grounds ranging from his overrated defense to his overblown reputation in the clutch. So you might expect that I shuddered at the wall-to-wall Jeter lovefest as the Yankees retired their longtime captain’s number this past weekend.Oddly, though, I was fine with it. Jeter truly is one of the greatest Yankees ever, as well as one of the best single-franchise players in major league history. We can show it using weighted career WAR8Again, I calculated WAR by averaging the Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs versions. — borrowing from Doug Drinen’s method of balancing between peak and career value, by giving a player credit for 100 percent of his best season, 95 percent of his second-best season and so on. (I also added a timeline adjustment to account for the fact that MLB competition keeps getting better over time.9The timeline adjustment is a complicated subject, but for the purposes of this exercise I used the relatively gentle version that my boss, Nate Silver, employed in “Baseball Between the Numbers.” According to that method, WAR from the 2017 season would count fully, while only 95 percent of a player’s WAR from 1999 would count, as would 90 percent from 1981 and so forth. (Overall, the value of 1 WAR relative to 2017 decreases in a linear fashion according to the formula: (Year / 356.14) – 4.66.) So for instance, 10 WAR from, say, Mike Trout in 2017 would be worth the same as 14 WAR from Babe Ruth in 1921.) 8Buck Showalter*2,744+2.7+0.8+3.5+58.9 By the same measure, Jeter is also the 17th-best single-franchise player since 1901, trailing only Mantle and Gehrig among lifelong Yankees. (Ted Williams of the Red Sox is No. 1, followed by Walter Johnson of the Senators and Mike Schmidt of the Phillies.)Those accomplishments by themselves make Jeter an all-time great. But I’m worried a little that, as number crunchers, we may have railed against Jeter being overrated for so long that he’s somehow become underrated. Yes, he won some undeserved Gold Gloves. But few shortstops have ever hit as well as Jeter did, and after adjusting for position he wasn’t as much of a net negative on defense as he’s sometimes made out to be. Bottom line: A lot of the Jeter praise has been absurd over the years, but we shouldn’t let the urge to correct the record obscure how great Jeter actually was at playing baseball, and how long he did it.The Walk CycleIn Sunday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets outfielder Michael Conforto missed hitting for the cycle by one single. That in and of itself is somewhat rare — usually it’s the far-less-common triple that stands between a player and the cycle — but Conforto did unlock another achievement that’s actually rarer than the cycle itself: The Walk Cycle. In a Walk Cycle, the player (like Conforto) gets all of the extra-base hits necessary for a cycle, but instead of reaching first base via a single, he gets there by walking (which is nearly as valuable as a single anyway). While the traditional cycle has happened 254 times since 1913,10That’s as far back as the data in Baseball-Reference.com’s indispensable Play Index game finder goes. the Walk Cycle has been accomplished exactly 100 times. It’s little consolation after New York blew a 7-1 lead, but Conforto should be proud of the sneaky-rare feat.CORRECTION (May 18, 6:05 p.m.): A previous version of this article mistakenly included Hank Aaron in the list of players who played for only one franchise. He played the final two seasons of his career with the Brewers. The rankings of best single-franchise players in MLB history have been updated to exclude him, which moved Derek Jeter from 18th to 17th.Check out our latest MLB predictions. Weighted career WAR gives a player more credit for his best seasons and values historical seasons less, since they were less developed than present-day major leagues.Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, FanGraphs, Lahman DB 3Lou Gehrig (1923-39)63.2 read more

September 29, 2019

How Ben Simmons And The Sixers Are Outsmarting Defenders

The Philadelphia 76ers, who went from being the NBA’s perennial punching bag to Rocky Marciano in his prime seemingly overnight, are rolling. In what some figured would be a challenging playoff opener against a stout Miami defense, Ben Simmons and his band broke the Heat, 130-103, and did so without their star center, Joel Embiid, who’s still on the mend after breaking a bone near his eye.Simmons, in particular, passed his first postseason test with flying colors, nearly logging a triple-double despite facing alignments that sought to challenge his limited range as a shooter. One way he managed this: By playing fast, in transition, and making use of the incredible shooting talent around him, which distracts the defense just enough to allow him to make his own move to the basket at times.Take this beautiful ball fake, for instance, where he blows by two defenders on a quick hitter.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/simmons.mp400:0000:0000:14Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.The swift action was brilliant in that it was quick enough to leave both Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson — the two best wing stoppers on a team that tied for fifth in defensive efficiency after the All-Star break — so confused over who would stay with sharpshooter J.J. Redick that neither man ended up hanging with Simmons.Philadelphia uses plays like these quite often. In fact, the Sixers ranked fourth in the NBA in fake handoffs per 100 possessions during the regular season, according to Second Spectrum and NBA Advanced Stats. And among teams that used fakes at least 200 times, the Sixers led the league in efficiency on such plays, scoring just over a point per fake.1Interestingly, Miami — which uses the same tactic with the threat of Wayne Ellington — ranks second in efficiency on these plays.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/simmons2.mp400:0000:0000:54Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.This partly explains how Philly is getting so much out of Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli, a pair of scrap-heap signings who, between them, have played for nearly half of the NBA’s teams. They hit enough shots to keep defenses honest, which frees up players like Simmons and Markelle Fultz, who haven’t yet given defenders a good reason to closely guard the rookies all the way out on the perimeter.As good as the team looks — the Sixers set a record by entering the playoffs on a 16-game winning streak — it’s worth wondering how things might change once Embiid returns. Yes, he’s a dominant force on both ends, but his post-ups figure to slow down the team’s breakneck pace on offense, which in turn could help Miami by giving the Heat more time to align their defense properly.The Sixers will cross that Ben Franklin Bridge when they get there, though. For now, they look unstoppable.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

September 29, 2019

This Eastern Conference Crown Is Truly LeBrons Masterpiece

LeBron James has racked up some pretty extraordinary accomplishments in his 15-year pro career, but few are as impressive as his effort in leading this particular Cleveland Cavaliers squad to the NBA Finals. Missing an All-Star teammate from an already underwhelming supporting cast, on the road against a Boston Celtics team that had been 10-0 at home in the playoffs, in a Game 7 (where the home team was 104–26 in postseason history1Per the Elias Sports Bureau.), James had a lot standing between him and an eighth straight Finals trip. And yet, here he and the Cavs are once again, set to play for another NBA title, following Sunday’s 87-79 win in Boston.How’d Cleveland break Boston’s home-court stranglehold on these playoffs? For one thing, the much-maligned Cavaliers defense stepped up in a big way in Game 7, holding the Celtics to a stunningly low 89.4 points per 100 possessions after allowing 107.7 in the series’ previous three games at TD Garden. It helped that the Celtics bricked so many shots in the second half — they went 3-20 from 3-point range, including a number of open looks — but the Cavs also clamped down and played some of their best defense of the season during Game 7. 2015CLE+6.5+1.3+7.7+1.2-1.9-0.7 2018CLE+6.6+1.8+8.4+0.7-2.6-2.0 JamesTeammates Home wins95.6107.749.6%34.0%87.5%23.9 This is LeBron’s worst NBA Finals supporting cast everBox Plus/Minus talent ratings for LeBron James and his cumulative teammates for NBA Finals teams, weighted by postseason minutes 2012MIA+7.4+2.4+9.8+0.9+2.8+3.6 Game 7 loss88.289.447.817.973.720.4 James was his usual otherworldly self on Sunday, of course, pouring in 35 points with 15 rebounds and 9 assists. (He also played every single minute of the game.) He remains the NBA’s all-time leader with 34.9 career PPG in postseason Game 7s. But unlike many of Cleveland’s playoff losses, he got a little bit of help from his teammates; in addition to James, three other Cavs (Jeff Green, J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson) scored in double-figures. It was enough to propel the Cavs to victory, even though the team shot just 26 percent from 3-point range — which tends to be the most important barometer of Cleveland’s performance in any given game.At the same time, the Celtics appeared to be a bit too inexperienced to close out the veteran Cavs in a situation where playoff seasoning matters a lot. Had the Celtics won, they’d have been the second-youngest team2According to the average age of the postseason roster, weighted by minutes. to make the Finals since 1974 (older than only the 1977 Portland Trail Blazers). Instead, Boston’s youth showed as the Celtics were a team-worst -20 with star rookie Jayson Tatum and second-year phenom Jaylen Brown on the court together, and fill-in starter Terry Rozier suffered his worst game of the playoffs in Game 7.Fortunately for the Celtics, though, they have a ton of talent on hand for the future. This is only the beginning of something special for coach Brad Stevens’ squad. For Cleveland, meanwhile, this season has felt like the end of something special practically all year.Between the failed Isaiah Thomas trade, coach Ty Lue’s leave of absence, multiple injuries to Love and a midseason shakeup that ended up yielding few impact players for the postseason, it has been a chaotic ride for the Cavaliers. “We’ve had four or five seasons wrapped in one,” James told reporters earlier this month. “We know what the narrative has been about our team.” Unlike past seasons when the Cavs breezed through the East playoffs with seldom a loss, Cleveland was pushed to the limit by both the Celtics and the Indiana Pacers in the playoffs.3Granted, they did sweep the Toronto Raptors in between. Nothing has been easy.All things considered, then, this NBA Finals run has to be considered one of James’ crowning achievements. Although James talked up his supporting cast in his postgame comments, I went back and re-ran the numbers from this story, in which we used Basketball-Reference’s Box Plus/Minus to estimate the true talent4Using a multi-year weighted average of BPM, regressed to the mean and adjusted for age. of every player LeBron played with on an NBA Finals run. And that method says that this is easily the worst crop of teammates James has ever dragged to an NBA Finals — even worse than the one he had while being swept by the San Antonio Spurs as a 22-year-old in 2007: Ratings are generated using a multi-year weighted average of BPM, regressed to the mean and adjusted for age. Teammate ratings represent the team’s hypothetical points per 100 possessions (relative to league average) if James was replaced with a league average (0.0 BPM) player.Source: Basketball-Reference.com GamesPaceOff. Rating2-Point %3-Point %Free Throw %Assists/100 Poss. 2007CLE+6.3+1.8+8.1-3.3+2.5-0.8 2017CLE+6.0+1.6+7.6+3.0-2.0+1.1 2014MIA+7.6+1.4+9.1+0.3-0.2+0.1 Boston won Games 1, 2 and 5 at home before losing Game 7.Source: NBA Advanced Stats The Celtics’ offense disappeared in Game 7Offensive statistics for the Boston Celtics at home in the 2018 Eastern Conference final, by game 2013MIA+7.9+2.3+10.2+0.9+0.8+1.7 That means James and the Cavs are destined to be a heavy underdog in the Finals, whether they’ll face the Houston Rockets or Golden State Warriors. But what else is new? Much of James’ poor NBA Finals record (he’s 3-5 all-time in championship series) is because he’s gone into the matchup facing such long odds in the first place. That’s a direct product of his ability to carry shorthanded teams deeper into the playoffs than any other player would be able to — and in Sunday night’s win, James just provided the best example of that yet.Check out our latest NBA predictions. 2011MIA+7.2+2.5+9.7+2.3+2.1+4.5 2016CLE+6.2+1.6+7.9+3.4-1.0+2.4 SeasonTeamOffenseDefenseTotalOffenseDefenseTotal read more

September 28, 2019

Mens hockey Ohio State in a New York state of mind at

Members of Ohio State’s men’s ice hockey team celebrate a goal by freshman forward Tanner Laczynski (9) in the third period of the Buckeye’s game against Bowling Green on Oct. 22. The Buckeyes won 6-1. Credit: Breanna Crye | For The LanternThe Ohio State men’s hockey team has put together two straight weeks of play that have prompted coach Steve Rohlik to say he’s “disappointed” in the outcomes. The Buckeyes are 1-1-2 in its last four games and are ranked No. 14 in the country. But it’s not the record that has Rohlik and the team not living up to the standards they set in the offseason, it’s the ability to execute on the penalty kill and finish scoring chances.On Saturday against the University of Connecticut Huskies, OSU followed up a comeback win on Friday with 49 shots on net. However, the back end of the weekend double-header ended in a 3-3 draw.“We probably played our best game of the year, besides the Denver game, as a team, and I think we felt pretty good about that,” Rohlik said. “That’s by far the most quality chances — and I’m talking point-blank chances — and we just didn’t finish.”The Buckeyes allowed two goals in the first period last Saturday, both were power-play goals. OSU ranks last in penalty kill in the NCAA, killing off only 72 percent of opponents’ power-play. Rohlik has said since the beginning of the season that wins and losses for the Scarlet and Gray will be decided on the play of the special teams. OSU’s power play ranks near the top of the NCAA, but Rohlik insists that OSU has work to do on that end as well.“Special teams … it’s going to make or break you and eventually it’s going to catch up to you,” he said. “Certainly right now we have to correct some things.”The Buckeyes travel to Troy, New York, this week for a two-game series against the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. OSU senior goaltender Christian Frey will make the trip, having started in his first two games since being injured for nearly a month. Frey only practiced a few days before Rohlik placed him between the pipes against UConn.Frey faced 42 shots in two games and made 35 saves.Frey told The Lantern that he suffered a groin strain during the team’s second regular-season game against Air Force in the beginning of October. He underwent treatment for four to six weeks before returning to the ice for practice. Now with a full week of practice under his belt, Frey is expected to start in net for the Buckeyes on Friday night.“It was preventative too. It’s early in the season, if I needed to come back earlier, I probably could’ve battled through it,” Frey said. “I felt really good this week in practice so hopefully this will be a good week. I feel like I’m 100 percent healthy.”RPIThe RPI Engineers are 2-8-1 in the 2016-17 campaign with a minus-14 goal differential. The Engineers also rank among the worst defenses in the NCAA having allowed 3.55 goals per game. The Buckeyes lead the nation with 4.55 goals per game, which has been a safety blanket for the lack of production on the penalty-kill unit thus far.On special teams, RPI junior defenseman Jared Wilson is tied for second in the nation with four power-play goals on the season, while senior forward Riley Bourbonnais ranks among the top in shorthanded goals. The RPI penalty kill is successful almost 90 percent of the time, which supports Rohlik’s claim that the game will be won on special teams.Senior forward, and team captain, Nick Schilkey continues to be a nightmare for opposing defenses. Schilkey collected the Big Ten Conference’s first star of the week after a five-point week against UConn, including the game-winning goal last Friday. He is second in the country in goals scored, tied first on the team in points and owns a rating of plus-12. Schilkey said with the team having the week off after RPI, this is a great opportunity for the team to empty the tank and make a statement.“Right now we have a good start as a team right now and the points are coming along, but we just got to stay focused and keep working hard,” he said. read more

September 28, 2019

Womens gymnastics No 19 Ohio State focuses on beam in preparation for

After holding on for a very close win of 195.950-195.850 against Penn State last Saturday, the Ohio State women’s gymnastics team is looking to step up its game for its next meet at home against No. 24 West Virginia.Sophomore Kaitlyn Hofland preforms on bars in St John Arena on Feb 4. Credit: Megan Russell | Lantern reporterThe Buckeyes maintained a close lead throughout their meet against Penn State, but when they came to their fourth and final rotation on balance beam, they found it surprisingly challenging to finish strong when sophomore Kaitlyn Hofland fell off during her routine.This uncharacteristic trouble the Buckeyes saw on beam last Saturday has the team focusing closely on the event during this week’s practices in preparation for their next meet. The lineup order for beam will also most likely change, with junior Stefanie Merkle opening on the event instead of freshman Amanda Huang. “We’ve been hitting some great routines this week, and we know that if we can do it here, we can easily hit that lineup at the competition,” Merkle said.The Buckeyes did see a close contest against the Nittany Lions last Saturday, but the night highlight that keep the team in the running for the win was the floor event, where the team scored a 49.200.OSU has struggled the entire season with establishing a permanent floor lineup, but in the last meet, the Buckeyes excelled in the event despite yet another last minute lineup change when senior Erin Malone went in place of Jamie Stone due to an ankle injuring during warmup before the meet.Junior Alexis Mattern earned a career-best of 9.925 to place first in the floor event, while junior Stefanie Merkle earned a season-high of 9.900 to take second place.“I’ve been training really hard throughout even the season on floor,” Merkle said. “I feel like I can hit a routine in training, but something happens when I go to a meet that just doesn’t click and is like a little off, but to finally hit that routine is great.”Even with the success on this event, the OSU floor lineup most likely will change yet again this coming meet against West Virginia.“I think Olivia (Aepli) will go back in,” coach Carey Fagan said. “I think you won’t see Jamie (Stone) this weekend. Her ankle is still sore, so we’re probably going to not have her do floor. The good news is we have some people, some depth, that we can give them an opportunity to go.”The OSU team’s success on bars during the last meet did not go unnoticed, posting a season-best of 49.225. Hofland had a moment of both triumph and redemption as she posted a career high of 9.925, as compared to the 8.875 she scored in the previous meet against Rutgers.“It was my career high, but even more than the score, it was just so exciting to have my first solid stick on the dismount,” Hofland said. “That has been my goal for the past two years.”The Buckeyes are riding on the close win they just earned, but they do not see this coming meet as a given victory over the Mountaineers. No. 24 West Virginia is 6-4 overall and has pulled similar final scores as Ohio State. The Buckeyes hold a season-high of 196.800 from the Minnesota meet, while the Mountaineers scored a season-high of 196.300 in a quad meet against Denver, Temple and Townson.The OSU gymnastics team consistently pulls high scores on vault, so they are counting on having that event as their opening rotation during their home meet this week.“I think it’s nice to start on vault because you have that pre-meet adrenaline, and vault’s an event where you can actually use that to your advantage,” Fagan said. “Hopefully we’ll start off strong there. Bars and beam are two good events for us, so hopefully we’ll get a little bit of a lead going into the last event.”With the combination of two solid performances on bars and floor from the last meet, consistent vault performances each meet and the intense focus on the beam event during this week’s practices, the Buckeyes are looking to give strong performances in all four events as a way to get an edge on West Virginia this Saturday. A solid performance puts OSU in a good position in the conference moving through the second half of the season. read more

September 25, 2019

Lord Attenboroughs lifes collection of art for sale for £1m after children

first_imgBen Nicholson’s Still Life with Mug Decorated with Stag, estimated at £80,000-120,000Credit:Sotheby’s Richard and Sheila Attenborough photographed together in 1991 Mr Attenborough added his mother had worked as an “accomplice” to accumulate more art works than they could fit in the house, joking they were “terrible hoarders” who “absolutely loved” to collect things which would enrich the lives of those around them.The couple previously held their own sale at Sotheby’s in 2009, making £4.5m from works of art.Lord Attenborough died in 2014, shortly before his 91st birthday. His wife Sheila died in the same year, after 69 years of marriage, three children and six grandchildren. They are survived by their son Michael and daughter Charlotte, an actress.Mr Attenborough said he and his family had already been given treasured pieces of art, personal mementos and Lord Attenborough’s many awards, with numerous works of art now ready to give pleasure to others.“Simply there’s no further places to hang them, to be honest,” he said. “Some of them are well beyond our budget in terms of insurance; it is very expensive to insure paintings of that sort of value. Henry Moore's Shelter Drawing, estimated at £150,000-250,000 Lord Attenborough and his brother, Sir David, photographed in 2006 Star items include a Henry Moore drawing of a Second World War bomb shelter, now estimated at up to £250,000. Similar pictures are held by the Imperial War Museum.A Ben Nicholson painting, Still Life with Mug Decorated with Stag, will sell for up to £120,000, while William Scott’s Flowers on a Blue Cloth is offered for £35,000.Lord Attenborough, his son said, had had “unapologetic love of all things British”, seeking out 20th century paintings “he knew would give him infinite pleasure”. Henry Moore's Seated Woman: One Arm, estimated at £40,000-60,000 Lord Attenborough and his brother, Sir David, photographed in 2006Credit:Getty Henry Moore’s Shelter Drawing, estimated at £150,000-250,000Credit:Sotheby’s “When some of the paintings were leaving the house [in the 2009 auction], he couldn’t bear seeing them go and they were very quickly replaced with something from a store room.“There were never any gaps. He never ever bought a painting as an investment. He fell in love with paintings and loved collecting. It was just passion of his.”Sotheby’s said the collection had been assembled with “immense passion and a very distinctive eye”.The sale will take place at Sotheby’s on the 22nd and 23rd of November.center_img Henry Moore’s Seated Woman: One Arm, estimated at £40,000-60,000Credit:Sotheby’s Richard and Sheila Attenborough photographed together in 1991 Craigie Aitchinson's Tree, estimated at £10,000- £15,000 When a much-loved parent dies, many will be faced with the dilemma of what to do with decades’-worth of accumulated treasures.Few will confront such an abundance as the children of Lord and Lady Attenborough, who are to sell an unrivalled collection of modern British paintings after finding they simply did not have the room or means to keep them.Michael Attenborough, their director son, said he would be sad to part with the 37 works of art, from Henry Moore to Dame Elisabeth Frink, but that they were too valuable to keep, needing high insurance costs to keep them out on display. “Bless them, they had a huge collection in a very huge house. I can’t pretend other than it’s kind of painful to lose them [the art works]. “I would love to think they could go to somewhere a lot of people could enjoy them.”Speaking of his father’s passion for collecting , he said: “Sometimes his love of art led him beyond the space on the walls. Craigie Aitchinson’s Tree, estimated at £10,000- £15,000Credit:Sotheby’s His parents, he said, collected through a passion for art, and would want them to be on the walls for others to enjoy.The sale, at Sotheby’s, will include works collected by Lord and Lady Attenborough from the days of their early marriage, bought before they could afford carpets or curtains for their Richmond family home.Picked up at auctions, from galleries and occasionally as gifts from the artists themselves, they are now estimated to sell for around £1million, with a further £1.5m from a separate sale of Picasso ceramics. Ben Nicholson's Still Life with Mug Decorated with Stag, estimated at £80,000-120,000 Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more