The St Louis Cardinals Picked The Right League To Cheat In

Only in baseball can $2 million in cash, plus the Nos. 56 and 75 overall picks in the draft, seem like chump change. That’s what the St. Louis Cardinals were forced to give the Houston Astros as punishment for hacking into Houston’s scouting database several years ago. All told, it was an unprecedented penalty to be levied against a baseball team for an unprecedented act of espionage.Yet compared to cheating scandals in other sports, the Cardinals got off easy. Using the various draft-value charts floating around in the sports analytics blogosphere, let’s compare the relative value of the picks St. Louis relinquished with the consequences of some of the NFL and NBA’s biggest cheating scandals in recent memory. (We’ll put aside any monetary penalties, simply because each sport has its own salary structure, making those kinds of cross-league comparisons difficult.)According to research conducted by The Baseball Analysts, a sabermetric blog run by Rich Lederer, the 56th and 75th picks in the MLB draft tend to produce about 4.9 wins above replacement over their careers. How much is that? Losing 5 WAR over, say, a 10-year span decreases the average team’s odds of winning at least one World Series in the decade by 1.4 percentage points.1Based on a logistic regression for MLB teams since the 1994 strike.By contrast, consider the New England Patriots. For their role in Deflategate, they were stripped of the No. 29 pick in the 2016 NFL draft, plus a fourth-rounder (let’s say No. 1302That’s the final non-compensatory pick of the fourth round, which would go to the Super Bowl champion; our Elo prediction model currently favors the Patriots to beat the Falcons on Super Sunday.) in 2017. According to Chase Stuart’s draft value chart, those picks tend to produce about 43 total points of approximate value over their careers, the loss of which over a decade would cost a team 4 percentage points from their odds of winning at least one Super Bowl in that span.3Based on a regression since the NFL playoff field expanded to 12 teams in 1990. I also assumed a replacement-level NFL player would produce about 6 points of AV over that span. And the Patriots’ penalty for Spygate seven seasons earlier — losing the 31st pick in the 2008 draft — would lop 3.2 percentage points off a team’s odds of winning at least one championship in a 10-year period.(Similarly, the New Orleans Saints’ Bountygate scandal, which cost them a pair of second-round picks, carried a penalty that would decrease the average team’s odds of winning a Super Bowl over the next decade by a whopping 4.4 percentage points.)The granddaddy of all league-imposed draft-pick sanctions probably belongs to the Minnesota Timberwolves, who lost five first-rounders for an under-the-table agreement with forward Joe Smith that attempted to circumvent the NBA’s salary cap rules. Although two of the picks were eventually restored, those that weren’t were worth about 61 career win shares, according to research by Basketball-Reference.com founder Justin Kubatko.4Note that it’s impossible to reconstruct exactly where the Wolves would have drafted in an alternate universe without the penalty, because the sanctions changed their roster for years to come. But going from their actual records, they would have owned the No. 13 pick in 2001, No. 23 in 2002 and No. 28 in 2004 — which add up to a value of 61 WS. Losing that many wins over a 10-year period5While also adding back in the roughly 8 win shares generated by replacement-level players. would reduce an NBA team’s championship odds for the decade by 6.5 percentage points — a crushing blow that helps explain why Kevin Garnett had to leave Minnesota to win his first championship.In light of those comparable scandals in other leagues, the Cardinals got away with a relatively light slap on the wrist. But then again, in a sport where the World Series favorite only has a 15 percent chance of winning it all in any given year, every single point of championship probability counts. Share on Facebook read more

TCI Junior Tourism Minister represents well in Curacao

first_img Related Items:blythe clare, curacao, william elliot, youth congress Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Recommended for you Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 26 Oct 2015 – Turks and Caicos Junior Tourism Minister – William Elliot – is hailed as an example of greatness by Opposition Leader, Sharlene Robinson after a stellar presentation at the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Youth Congress. While Tourism government and business leaders were in talks at the State of the Industry gathering, as is customary, the junior tourism ministers of the countries of the region were engrossed in their own activities. William Elliot is the current junior minister for the Turks and Caicos and while he did not place, PDM Leader Sharlene Robinson gushed over his presentation and reactions to it. “I have never been more proud of William… I sat and watched for over three hours waiting to hear our Junior Minister speak and then to hear the winners announced. Though disappointed and admittedly confused that we did not place, William’s presentation from content to delivery was first place quality.” Each junior tourism minister had the task of marketing their country as the ultimate destination. State of the Industry and the Youth Congress was this year held in Curacao. William was accompanied by Tourism Education Officer, Blythe Clare. PAR wins Curacao electionslast_img read more

Its the End of the Road for BZ Media

first_imgBZ Media, the Melville, New York-based entrepreneurial B2B publisher, has sold its flagship print brand, Software Development Times, and is in the process of selling off other assets—essentially winding down the company’s existence and divesting it brand by brand.The company, co-founded by current CEO Ted Bahr in 1999, sold its two-year-old drone-industry tradeshow to Emerald Expositions in March, but it will manage the 2017 event in September.Ted BahrIn an excerpt from a companywide memo written by Bahr that was posted on the company’s website, he wrote, “It’s been a terrific 17 years and we survived the Tech Downtown of 2001 and the Great Recession of 2008.”“It was—and will be for a while longer—a good place to work. It’s been a great ride and while it will be ending, you will all be well-equipped for your next great adventure,” Bahr added. Perhaps it’s only the end of one B2B media company, an individual decision by an individual owner looking to convert equity to wealth. Or perhaps it’s an indication that the old days of B2B media are over — a once-relatively straightforward business transformed beyond recognition by new technologies and different approaches. What’s certain, though, is that Bahr and his co-founder, Alan Zeichick (who left the company in 2013), were among the higher-profile examples of entrepreneurial B2B practitioners — learning their craft at big companies and striking out successfully on their own.In conversations I had with Bahr even in very recent years, he remained a proponent of print media and SD Times, calling himself the “Last Samauri.”“We have successfully produced a print publication — our flagship, SD Times — many years after all of our competitors have folded,” Bahr said in the memo, which in several parts sounded like a valedictory. “The company has hired and nurtured nearly 100 people over the years, providing jobs and new skills while generating more than $30 million in incomes. BZ Media paid nearly $2 million in healthcare premiums and more than $2.5 million in payroll and social security taxes — all of this came from nothing.”Software Development Times and related digital properties were sold to D2 Emerge, a new company formed by two BZ Media veterans. The principals are David Lyman, former vice president of sales for BZ Media, who is now the CEO of D2 Emerge, and Dave Rubinstein, former editorial director of BZ Media, who takes over as executive vice president.“I am thrilled that SD Times has been bought by the team most responsible for making the publication what it is,” Bahr says. “ This is a win-win for everyone involved as most of the staff is able to go with the publication and digital assets and focus on and grow them.”Divesting a traditional media brand is a hit-or-miss proposition these days. It’s telling that BZ Media is being divested in parts, and that the acquirers are senior managers from the flagship BZ Media brand. But Bahr is nevertheless bullish. “For years I had been told by my peers in the industry that my print magazine, SD Times, would be valued at zero by potential buyers,” he says in a press release issued by the deal broker, Corporate Solutions LLC’s Nick Curci. “Boy, were they wrong. We conducted an auction with 36 interested parties and four strong bids. We accepted the highest bid.”“We are excited to be taking over the strong SD Times title and brand, and look forward to maintaining the magazine’s leading position in the software development sector while growing our subscriber base and expanding our print and digital footprint,” says Lyman, who will also retain his position as publisher of the magazine.“As we’ve been publishing SD Times for such a long time, we understand the market and the needs of our readers and advertisers,” says Rubinstein, who will serve as COO and editor-in-chief of SD Times. “Our mission remains to provide articles that give our readers the information they need to keep up with the fast-changing development landscape, and to give our advertisers multiple platforms to put their messages out to our readers.”last_img read more

Mahbub serves notice to Comilla univ

first_imgMahbubul Haque BhuiyanComilla University teacher Mahbubul Haque Bhuiyan has served a legal notice to the university authorities seeking withdrawal of his “forced leave”.The acting head of the journalism department of the university was given “forced leave” for a month for allegedly taking classes on National Mourning Day on 15 August.The legal notice was sent to the vice-chancellor and the registrar through fax and mail on Sunday, said Mahbubul’s lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua.The university officials were asked to reply in the next 12 hours, he added.The lawyer told Prothom Alo that the university authorities did not serve any show-cause notice prior to forcing him to go on leave.“There is no provision in the university act to send someone on leave in such a fashion,” he added.The lawyer said the university faculty will take legal action if the VC and the register fail to reply in the stipulated time.last_img read more

TrumpRussia Nexus Recalls Long History Of Shadow Campaigns

first_imgPatrick Semansky/APDonald Trump Jr. hugs his father, Donald Trump, during a campaign rally in Ohio, weeks after Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer, as he sought dirt against Democrat Hillary Clinton.Now that Donald Trump Jr.’s emails have produced the kind of solid evidence the Russia connection story had been lacking, what had been mostly speculative reporting has instead become the first draft of history.Expect that history to be much debated. All accounts of political skulduggery with foreign actors tend to be “tangled and murky,” as one foreign policy historian has written.But one simple truth is that governments of all kinds have tried to influence political events in other countries if they can — and much of that work has been done in the shadows.Surely the U.S. government has sought by various overt and covert means to shape events — to shore up friendly regimes and undermine hostile ones — in dozens of countries all over the world.But that does not make Americans any happier with the idea of the Russians infiltrating our electoral process, or those of Europe or of democracies elsewhere. Such interference has proliferated and gained greater effectiveness in the Internet age, as the Russians have pursued and perfected the use of cybernetic means to distort politics on several levels.Nor do Americans accept the behavior of Russia’s enablers in the U.S. or other targeted countries. And that would appear to include elements of the Donald Trump presidential campaign in 2016. That was the unavoidable takeaway from the email news this week.Obviously, it matters that the offending alien influence in this case was not just any foreign power but Russia — a longtime and salient adversary, led by an autocratic and militant Vladimir Putin, a veteran of the old Soviet spy apparatus known as the KGB.Although “vehemently denied” by Putin and dismissed as “a witch hunt” by President Trump, the Russia connection has been reported as real by 17 U.S. intelligence agencies — four of which have also concluded that the intent was to harm Democrat Hillary Clinton and help Trump. (The others either expressed no opinion regarding the Russians’ intent or were not asked to do so.)So most Americans are justifiably concerned about the whole business. But for context, we should remember that Russia’s latest effort is not the first instance of foreign meddling in a U.S. election nor is Trump’s the first presidential campaign to be accused of collusion with a foreign power.As far back as the 1790s, European powers were intent on involving Americans in their wars. First, it was the French employing various stratagems to get our backing in their battles with Great Britain. Later, the British worked hard to draw us into World War I against the Germans and to overcome the isolationism that initially kept us out of World War II. Those ultimately successful campaigns were conducted both in public and behind the scenes.During the Cold War, the Russians of the Soviet era worked at exploiting racial tensions in the postwar U.S., even as the U.S. was working hard to isolate and defeat leftist parties of various kinds in Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.Political scientist Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon University has compiled a Cold War database, citing 36 cases of Russian intervention in another country’s elections between 1946 and 2000 — and another 81 instances of similar intervention by the U.S. over the same period of time. These struggles around the globe often featured agents of the CIA battling their counterparts from the KGB, the Soviet-era agency that produced Putin, his worldview and his tactics.Over the years, there have also been stories of American presidential campaigns turning to foreign governments to advance their own interests in the heat of a campaign.Nixon, Vietnam, Anna Chennault and… treason?Perhaps the most compelling example is the contact between Richard Nixon’s 1968 campaign and the government of South Vietnam at a critical point in negotiations to end the war in Vietnam. President Lyndon Johnson became convinced that Nixon, through the Chinese-born Anna Chennault, was urging the South Vietnamese to leave the talks.The election was just days off, and Nixon’s lead in the polls was waning. Nixon reportedly feared there would be a breakthrough shortly before election eve.Declassified tapes in 2013 included audio of Chennault telling South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu to “just hang in there through the election.” Nixon biographer John A. Farrell reports that Johnson sent a message to Nixon through an intermediary (Republican Sen. Everett Dirksen) warning that Nixon was committing treason by interfering to prolong the war.Johnson considered going public with what he knew of Nixon’s efforts in 1968. But he knew that doing so would mean revealing the extent of his surveillance of various parties involved. And, with Nixon’s lead in the polls fading in late October, Johnson may have concluded it was neither prudent nor necessary to make such a move.It was a decision not unlike the one President Barack Obama would make in 2016 when faced with evidence of Russian interference. Obama warned Putin but did not go public with what he knew, apparently believing Clinton was winning anyway and any intervention from the White House might backfire.Reagan and the Iranian hostagesQuestions have also been raised about secret contacts between Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign and Iranian officials at a time when 52 American hostages were being held in Tehran. The Reagan camp reportedly feared an “October surprise” in which the incumbent President Jimmy Carter would secure his own re-election by winning the release of the hostages.That did not happen, and the release took place on Jan. 20, 1981, the day Reagan was inaugurated. Reagan’s team have always denied striking a bargain with the Iranians, but a PBS Frontline documentary in 1991 pointed to a July 1980 meeting in Madrid between William E. Casey (later to become CIA director) and a representative of the Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. No record of that meeting exists.The PBS documentary relied on a book written by Middle East specialist Gary Sick, who had worked in the Carter administration. Sick said that “some kind of discussions took place” between the Reagan men and Iran but added “the story is tangled and murky, and it may never be fully unraveled.”The Ukrainian connectionDid the posture of the Reagan campaign have anything to do with when the hostages in Tehran were released? For that matter, did Nixon actually torpedo the Vietnam talks and allow that war to last well into the next decade?Similar questions may linger over the Russia-Trump connection. It is always difficult to establish, either in real time or after the fact, just what factors determined the outcome of an election. And there can always be counterarguments and countervailing interpretations.Some Republicans have noted, for example, that anti-Russian and anti-Trump Ukrainians may have been involved in the 2016 campaign on behalf of Clinton. In January, Politico reported that a Ukrainian-American with ties to the Democratic National Committee met with officials at the Ukrainian Embassy staff in an effort to “expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia.”We may never know the exact extent or effectiveness of these efforts or of the Russian interference on behalf of Trump — any more than we know for certain the full impact of what Nixon and Reagan’s campaigns did.But the stories about these events persist, if only because they feed such powerful thoughts of “what might have been.”The same may well prove true of the allegations against the Trump campaign, whatever Congress and the special prosecutor decide.Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Sharelast_img read more