ANAHEIM, Calif. — A four-game losing streak and shellacking from the Vegas Golden Knights provided for than enough fodder to re-ignite the season of anxiety in Sharks territory.Erik Karlsson missed his 10th straight game in Los Angeles on Thursday. Radim Simek is out indefinitely with a major-knee injury. Joe Pavelski is on the shelf now, as well, Logan Couture missed Thursday’s game with flu-like symptoms and the Sharks are looking down the barrel of a potential first-round playoff matchup …
SANTA CLARA — The Cleveland Browns enter Levi’s Stadium for the first time Monday night to face the 49ers (3-0), and the Browns (2-2) come in with a share of the AFC North lead. How does that make coach Freddie Kitchens feel?Here are the highlights of his Wednesday conference call with Bay Area media, starting with his final and most poignant comment:On if he’s happy the Browns have leveled their record to 2-2 and a share of first place:“Nah. I wouldn’t … I’m just happy we’re going to come …
Website: www.wesgro.co.zaRead more: Invest in the Western Cape SAinfo reporter Reviewed: 13 May 2013 Website: www.ggda.co.zaRead more: Investing in Gauteng Gauteng Growth and Development Agency The Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA) is an investor’s first port of call for developing business relations in Gauteng and the rest of Africa. The GGDA was formed in mid-2012 after the former Gauteng Development Agency and Blue IQ merged. It is responsible for developing key economic strategies and to grow Gauteng as a globally competitive city region. Website: www.nceda.co.zaRead more: Investing in the Northern Cape Free State Development Corporation The Free State Development Agency provides a broad range of business services and development initiatives in high opportunity sectors. Its primary focus is on small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) and co-operatives. Website: www.mega.gov.za Read more: Investing in Mpumalanga Are you an entrepreneur or a business owner? Are you looking for a market, either locally or internationally? Or are you seeking a potential investor for your project or business? Here’s a guide to regional investment agencies in South Africa. Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIK) aims to identify and package investment and export trade opportunities in the province, provide a professional and comprehensive service to potential and current investors and exporters, and to ensure easy access to investment and export trade opportunities. Trade and Investment Limpopo Trade & Investment Limpopo (TIL) was established in September 1996 as the official investment and trade promotion and facilitation agency of the Limpopo provincial government. Its business development network offers local companies and international investors opportunities and leads for expansion and footholds into new markets in Africa. Website: www.til.co.zaRead more: Investing in Limpopo Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency The Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency’s chief focus is to drive increased SMME activity within the province and to develop a sustainable SMME sector in Mpumalanga over the long term. Website: www.fdc.co.zaRead more: Investing in the Free State Northern Cape Economic Development Agency Presentation of investment opportunities in areas such as mining and minerals, fishing and mariculture, agroprocessing and tourism. The objective of the agency is to ensure enterprise development that will significantly contribute to economic growth and development within the province. Website: www.tikzn.co.zaRead more: Investing in KwaZulu-Natal Eastern Cape Development Corporation Official economic development agency for the government of the Eastern Cape province. Its vision is to be a primary contributor to the socioeconomic prosperity of the Eastern Cape through innovative and conscious private-sector development. Invest North West The North West province’s location offers prospective investors a cost-effective proximity to the trading environments of the Southern African Development Community. Focus sectors include manufacturing, mining and mineral beneficiation, renewable energy, agriculture and agri-processing as well as services, information technology and tourism. Western Cape Investment and Trade Promotion Agency This rapidly growing regional economy in South Africa offers a diverse range of exciting investment opportunities on one of the world’s main trade routes. With a world-class business and physical infrastructure, the Western Cape is an ideal location for businesses seeking to serve African markets. Website: www.ecdc.co.zaRead more: Investing in the Eastern Cape Website: www.inw.org.zaRead more: Investing in the North West Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material
It has been a busy week for Chris Huhne, Britain’s secretary for energy and climate change. On Tuesday he announced the government’s commitment to a 50% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. On Wednesday, he said the government would submit, for ratification by Parliament, guidelines for developing major energy infrastructure projects, including those based on nuclear power.As noted in a recent post by energy-and-metals news source Platts, the infrastructure-planning guidelines, called National Policy Statements, provide a framework for decisions on planning applications for such projects.Huhne has been mentioned by GBA for his advocacy of the Passivhaus standard, which he has said he would like to see adopted as the convention, rather than the exception, for new-home building in the U.K. as it strives to bring all new homes to zero-carbon performance.An attempt at green innovation in difficult economic timesHuhne now has his hands full, in any case. The U.K.’s attempts at economic recovery – while the government simultaneously imposes stringent budget-austerity measures and sets challenging energy conservation goals – are being closely watched. Meanwhile, Britain’s treasury department and some of the country’s business interests have pushed back against the emission-target commitments over worries they would reduce the U.K.’s growth prospects and international competitiveness.As noted in a recent overview posted by The Independent, the government also has cut funding for clean-energy technologies such as solar power, and the coalition government’s newly announced “green bank” – an entity established specifically to invest green technologies – will not be able to borrow money for renewable-energy projects until 2015 (although it does already have about $4.85 billion to invest).Still, the secretary has vowed to make the transformation to low-carbon living as economically palatable for businesses as possible, in part through shifts to nuclear power and offshore wind farms as the country reckons with its inventory of aging power plants.“We are demonstrating our desire to drive the changes needed to turn the U.K. into a dynamic, low-carbon economy that is attractive to investors in the new and growing low-carbon sectors,” Huhne said as he announced the carbon-reduction commitments during an address before the House of Commons. “We are also sending a clear signal to the international community: that the U.K. is committed to the low-carbon economy.”The next step will be to go from the legally binding commitments to concrete plans. It will be an interesting process every step of the way.
Atletico Madrid coach Simeone: Transfer news always a concernby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveAtletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone admits player issues are always a concern at this time.Simeone was asked transfer window questions yesterday, but only wanted to discuss the game at Sevilla.”These are things that happen every year.”Some end their contracts, others want to sign them because they are very good, others want more minutes.”We are focused on what matters most – Sevilla.”They are a strong team who are even stronger at home and they always play positively and generate a lot of enthusiasm.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say
The upcoming winter tourist season expected to be one of the best ever. Story Highlights There were 1,659,330 visitors from January to October 2013. The figures for Montego Bay and Kingston are showing increases for September and October. Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, says the tourism industry is showing good results, with the upcoming winter tourist season expected to be one of the best ever.“I am pleased to tell you that the tourism industry is doing well. We have enjoyed a good summer after a relatively weak winter (2012) and even with 2,000 (10 per cent) of room inventory off the market, Jamaica’s visitor arrivals since August have bucked the regional trend for flat arrivals in 2013,” the Minister said.Dr. McNeill, who was addressing the official launch of the Agro-Tourism Farmers’ Market Initiative in Negril on October 30, informed that there were 1,659,330 visitors from January to October, which is a 0.2 per cent increase over the same period last year.“In fact, we are experiencing the best October ever,” he said, noting that arrivals are expected to reach the two million mark by year-end.He said the figures for Montego Bay and Kingston are showing increases for September and October, with Kingston’s performance being particularly impressive, given the absence of 303 rooms due to the closure of Wyndham Kingston Hotel.He credited the improvements to the continued drive to diversify the source markets, moving beyond the traditional markets of the United States, Canada, and Western Europe, and tapping into Latin American and Eastern Europe.“We have good airlifts arrangements in place,” the Tourism Minister indicated.“Starting November 1, Russia will be moving from 320 seats to 500 seats. Then on November 7, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner will make its inaugural flight to the Caribbean, landing in Montego Bay. The extended flying range and fuel efficiency of this Dreamliner mean bigger and better things for Jamaica as it will open up new market opportunities for Jamaica, enabling us to reach deeper into Europe and Asia than had been possible before,” he pointed out.The Minister also revealed that the waiving of visa requirements has assisted in gaining ground in Russia and opened the door to Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, Hungary and Sweden) the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, and Ukraine.“While these numbers are great for Jamaica and great for the economy, I am on a mission to ensure that every Jamaican benefits from the tourism earnings. Tourism can be sustainable if the man on the ground is involved and enjoys the tourism returns,” Dr. McNeill said.
London: A 29-year-old Indian-origin man was killed when he was struck by a car which failed to stop at the scene in Handsworth near Birmingham. Rajesh Chand was crossing the road at the time of the collision, believed to be a hit and run, in the early hours of Saturday. West Midlands Police are appealing for witnesses and further information as they arrested a 30-year-old man, who remains in custody on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving in connection with the incident. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US It is important that I also remind the public not to speculate on the cause of the collision. This is a fast paced and complex investigation that we are working very hard to solve, said Detective Sergeant Paul Hughes from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit of West Midlands Police. He said: I am now in a position to release the details of a specific car we are looking for. I would ask that anyone who has knowledge of a Black Audi A4 S Line Estate car, with the number plate NJ60 UOX, to come forward. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls This car is likely to have significant damage to the front nearside headlight and I would urge anyone who knows where it is currently located to contact us immediately. I would also like to appeal directly to the driver of this Audi to do the right thing and contact police. Police and emergency services rushed to Soho Road at the junction with Thornhill Road in Handsworth just before 4 am local time on Saturday, where Chand was found with serious head injuries. Paramedics took charge but he was pronounced dead a short time later. His family members are being supported by dedicated Family Liaison officers, the local West Midlands Police said. Chand’s family released a picture of him on Sunday and have communicated through the police for their privacy to be respected.
Kyle Seager182090.0 PlayerPulled HRTotal HRPulled HR % And then 2018: Mike Trout173056.7 Ryon Healy172373.9 Manny Machado182864.3 Maikel Franco192095.0 Source: Fangraphs Rhys Hoskins172568.0 Asdrubal Cabrera2020100.0 Alex Bregman182475.0 Jose Ramirez is baseball’s pull power kingMLB leaders in pulled home runs, along with the share of their total home runs that reflects Here’s Lindor’s swing density map in 2018: Edwin Encarnacion162564.0 Francisco Lindor182962.1 Mike Moustakas202290.9 Eugenio Suarez182864.3 Ramirez, Alex Bregman,5Another emerging undersized, pull-side power threat. Rosario, Carpenter and Betts rank first through fifth in total volume of air balls yanked to their pull side. Their averages on those balls are .593, .500, .600, .649 and .660, respectively. Lindor ranks 14th in volume with a .634 average.“Even though we are not big, it’s something we develop when we get to this level,” Rosario said of pull power. “I think when you feel comfortable at this level, power [develops].”In an era when so many have screamed out at the television for a player to hit the ball the other way, avoiding a defensive shift by pulling the ball — in the air — is the optimum path to offensive efficiency. It allows slap-hitting middle infielders to become MVP candidates.One reason that the Indians don’t preach about launch angle is Cleveland hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo’s philosophy that contact point largely takes care of that. While the launch angles of Lindor and Ramirez have changed dramatically since 2016, for them, it’s the byproduct of timing and leverage, of catching the ball out farther in front of the plate.“If you use the lower half correctly, and sequence the plane correctly, you don’t have to worry about launch angle,” Van Burkleo said. “Contact point is going to dictate launch angle. … If you contact the ball deeper, [the bat] plane is flatter. If you catch it out front, your plane is getting more on line with the ball.The numbers support this. Sportvision analyst Graham Goldbeck found for FanGraphs last August that home run probability is maximized about 10 inches in front of home plate. And to pull a ball, the bat almost always has to make contact out in front of home plate. At that contact point, the barrel is typically going to be on the way up in any swing path.“The barrel is going to drop” after the start of the swing, Lindor said. “It’s heavy. It’s going to drop no matter what.“That’s gravity. I focus on contact point. Launch angle then takes care of itself.”This explains the propensity of these hitters to rip the ball down the foul line — but only partially. Last Friday, facing Baltimore pitcher David Hess, Ramirez did something he has done so often this season: He took a fastball and pulled it into the right-field seats. It was his 37th home run of the season.Lindor and Ramirez — actually the Indians in general — avoid talking about “launch angle,” which has become part of the baseball vernacular since the launch of Statcast in 2015. What they do talk about is contact point.For decades, hitting coaches have talked about using the “big part” of the ballpark, going “gap to gap,” using the “whole field.” And in today’s game, with defenses shifting the infield more than ever, you might think hitters are increasingly incentivized to avoid pulling the ball. But Ramirez and Lindor (and Betts and Carpenter and others like Eddie Rosario and Aaron Hicks) are trying to pull the ball. They are trying to hook and yank pitches down the line for extra-base hits and home runs. After all, the shortest distance to record a home run is down the line.Of fly balls hit to the pull side this season in the majors, 32.7 percent have become home runs, according to FanGraphs. To center field? Just 8 percent. And the opposite field? Just a 3.8 percent HR/FB ratio.Lindor knows this. Before his locker at Progressive Field last week, wearing black sweats and white tennis shoes, he held an imaginary bat in his hand. Lindor mimicked where he wanted his contact point to be — out in front of the plate. That’s where his power is.Lindor noted that he and Ramirez are far from the strongest players on the team. Ramirez ranks 126th in average exit velocity of fly balls and line drives (93 mph) in the majors,4Among players with a minimum of 150 batted balls. according to Baseball Savant leaderboards. Lindor ranks 77th (94.3 mph). Yet they might combine for 80 home runs this season.Lindor, and particularly Ramirez and Betts, have become masters at lifting and pulling. Ramirez’s pull rate on fly balls and line drives rose from 28.5 percent in 2016 to 38.8 percent last season, and it’s at 44.7 percent this season, ranking third in the majors. Ramirez leads all hitters in total volume of line drives and fly balls hit to the pull side. Ramirez also tied Betts for the lead in the majors in pulled line drives and fly balls last season. Lindor ranked ninth. They seem to be reading from the same developmental plan.“We talk,” Lindor said, breaking into his iconic ear-to-ear smile. “[Ramirez] helps me, I help him.”Ramirez has hit 31 of his 37 home runs to the pull side, first in the majors. Carpenter is second, hitting 23 of his 34 home runs to his pull side. Betts is third. Lindor? Eighteen pull-side homers, good for 11th. Didi Gregorius192286.4 Joey Gallo193259.3 Mookie Betts222781.5 CLEVELAND — Few players have changed their profiles as dramatically as Francisco Lindor.As a minor league prospect, Lindor was not the masher who currently sits atop the Cleveland Indians’ lineup. While he was still the fluid and graceful athlete at shortstop that he is today, he was a completely different player at the plate. He lunged at pitches outside the zone. He often made weak contact. When evaluating Lindor as a minor league hitter, scouts typically capped his power potential between 15 and 20 home runs — something fitting for his slight, 5-foot-11 frame.To the left of Lindor in the Cleveland infield this season is an even more unlikely MVP candidate. As a minor league shortstop, the 5-foot-9 Jose Ramirez never hit more than five home runs at any stop. While Lindor was a first-round pick, it wasn’t clear if Ramirez could be a major league regular if and when Lindor pushed him off shortstop to another more bat-dependent position. Ramirez was never a top 100 prospect.In their first couple of years in the majors, neither showed a hint of extreme power potential. Then, a year ago, something happened. Lindor smashed 33 homers in his third season, and Ramirez hit 29 in his fourth.1Of at least 100 plate appearances. This year, Ramirez trails only J.D. Martinez in home runs, and Lindor is 11th in the league.While Martinez is one of many players who have made well-documented swing changes with the goal of lifting the ball in the air, he has always had a big frame and underlying raw power. Among the 336 hitters who have hit at least 25 fly balls this season, Martinez ranks fifth in average fly-ball distance at 350 feet.2Through Aug. 19. He can hit the ball out to all fields. Lindor and Ramirez, though, do not possess such elite raw power. The are tied, ranked 92nd, in average fly-ball distance (328 feet). They have to better direct the balls they do hit in the air to maximize their power.Lindor and Ramirez are also two of the unlikeliest sluggers in the game because of their size. In baseball history, there have been 335 individual seasons of 40 or more homers by 146 different players. Only 17 players 5-foot-11 or shorter have hit 40 home runs in a major league season, according to Baseball-Reference.com. If he hits just three more homers, Ramirez will tie Roy Campanella (1953) and Mel Ott (1929) for second on the list of shortest players to reach 40 homers in a season.3The shortest player? The 5-foot-6 Hack Wilson (1930). Their power-to-size output is even more impressive as players have gotten taller and stronger.“Nobody thought I could do this,” Ramirez told ESPN. “I was too small.”Said Indians assistant general manager Carter Hawkins: “My sense is there was one guy who felt this was going to happen, and that was Jose.”The Indians’ diminutive duo isn’t alone in smashing expectations this season. At 5-foot-9, Boston’s Mookie Betts (27 home runs) is also one of the slightest sluggers in major league history. And though he’s taller, at 6-foot-3, St. Louis’s Matt Carpenter has transformed from an on-base-focused player to one leading the National League in home runs. Those players and others all fit a specific mold, sharing traits that have allowed them to become unlikely sluggers.These players represent the next generation of the Fly-Ball Revolution. While the first stage is to get the ball up in the air, the next and more important step for many hitters is to get to the pull side. Elite contact hitters are learning to raise their offensive profiles, learning that it’s OK to be pull-happy. Some of the game’s smallest players are becoming home run kings. Matt Carpenter233467.6 Jose Ramirez313783.8% One challenge in today’s game for scouts — and projection forecasts — is evaluating future power grades. Power jumps can now seemingly materialize out of nowhere. How do you forecast the next Ramirez? FiveThirtyEight spoke to one NL evaluator who described Ramirez’s trajectory as the most baffling development story of his scouting career.It isn’t just human evaluators. Projection forecasts didn’t buy in to Ramirez or Lindor as power hitters even after their 2017 breakouts. FanGraphs projected Ramirez to hit 20 home runs this year in its preseason forecast. Baseball Prospectus forecast 13. For Lindor, those projections were 24 and 21.“The main thing for me is athleticism,” said the NL evaluator. “You have to have the hand-eye and feel for the strike zone.”Lindor and Ramirez were, and remain, elite contact hitters. They can contact the ball at will and manipulate the barrel and contact point. Since 2016, they have made contact on swings at pitches in the zone at a rate of at least 91.1 percent, ranking in the top fifth of qualified major league hitters.The trait suggests that of baseball’s five tools — hit, run, throw, power, field — the “hit” tool is now of even greater importance. The hit tool, more than ever, dictates how the power tool with develop.“It’s easier for you to go from [contact focus] to the other side, to pulling,” Lindor said.The Indians are placing more weight on contact hitting when working with their prospects, with the idea that they can teach power. Like many teams, the Indians have technology that can capture exit velocities and launch angles in their minor league stadiums and batting cages. Such tools help the teaching and skill-acquisition process. If the hit tool is in place, those tools can help build power.“What’s old is new,” Hawkins said. “I think if you ask any evaluator or coach and said, ‘Hey, would you prefer a guy who can hit the ball 500 feet or a guy that can square up any ball that is in the zone?’ They are taking the later.“It’s not like [power development] didn’t happen prior to it being able to be measured [via Statcast]. There were guys that were tapping into power later in their careers in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, we just didn’t have the launch angle measurements, exit velocity measurements. I think one commonality between all those guys [like Ramirez, Lindor and Betts] is they control the zone really well. None of them are high-strikeout guys. They are extremely low-strikeout guys. They are swinging at pitches they can [damage].”Perhaps the team that has turned high-contact, low-power middle infielders Ramirez and Lindor into power-hitting superstars is on to something. Maybe there’s a road map for hitters of any size in how to go from good to great.Check out our latest MLB predictions. Then consider a data-density map of Ramirez’s swings against fastballs from 2016: Eddie Rosario172277.3 The World Series champion Houston Astros have developed a teamwide philosophy of only offering at the pitches they can damage. The Indians preach something similar.“If it’s a pitch you can’t get your body into a leveraged position [to hit], then you probably want to take it early in the count, or when you are ahead in the count,” Van Burkleo said.For so long, “covering the whole plate” was considered an important hitting characteristic. It was something that was taught to Lindor as a younger player.“Yeah, that’s when I was a slap hitter,” Lindor said with a smirk. “When I try and cover the whole plate, that’s when I get in trouble. … I can cover the whole plate if I want to. I can put the ball in play any time I want. That’s not going to do any good for me or the team.”Lindor is now eschewing pitches he cannot drive. He is becoming more disciplined. He is focused on attacking pitches — often fastballs — he can damage.“I don’t want to cover the whole plate,” he said.When explaining what led to home runs in post-game press conferences this season, Ramirez has often quipped to reporters, “home run pitch.” While Ramirez hasn’t been willing to divulge changes to his approach, he has become better able to hammer pitches he wants to hit.It’s similar to a concept that Reds great Joey Votto defines as pitch funneling — being so patient and discerning that the pitcher eventually gives the batter the pitch he wants to hit. The overall swing rates for Lindor and Ramirez have dropped. They have concentrated their swings in certain zones. They have better avoided getting out in front and rolling over off-speed pitches for ground balls or making weak contact at out-of-zone pitches. They are now two of the best fastball hitters in the game. They hunt fastballs and crush them.Consider a Baseball Savant data-density map, indicating where a batter swings most often, of Lindor’s swings against fastballs from 2016. The rectangular outline represents the batter’s strike zone. Evan Gattis212487.5 Of course, such a transformation is easier said than done. While most ground balls are pulled (hence the proliferation of shifts), fly balls are distributed more equally, with a slight tendency to the opposite field. How do you identify which players can make the leap to launching and pulling? Travis Shaw192576.0
Note to readers: this story contains graphic and violent imagery.Brazil is home to the most successful national soccer team in history. As the only team to play in every FIFA World Cup, the Brazilians have won five titles, one ahead of Gli Azzurri from Italy.The country has fielded some of the greatest names in the sport’s storied history: from arguably the greatest player ever, Pelé, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, to the likes of Roberto Carlos and Roberto Rivelino. Today, the squad features the phenomenon that is Barcelona forward Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, as well as stars like Chelsea midfielder Oscar dos Santos Emboaba Júnior and Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva.The history is there; the talent is there. Brazil is my favorite to win the 2014 World Cup on home soil, but in what world is it acceptable to host one of the largest international affairs in a city rampant with near-warfare between police forces and drug lords?In recent years, numerous stories have come out of Brazil about gruesome murder and corruption. Some might say these issues have nothing to do with soccer, and will not affect the tournament itself.The thing is, the sport has begun to play a central part in these crimes.Back in July, 20-year-old referee Otávio Jordão da Silva stabbed Josenir dos Santos Abreu, a 30-year-old Brazilian soccer player, during a match. The player died on the way to the hospital, but the violence goes doesn’t end there. In retaliation, fans came onto the field and stoned Silva to death, before beheading him on the pitch.Two dead because of a game — no good reasons.Fast forward to Oct. 29 in Rio de Janeiro. The wife of former Brazilian soccer player João Rodrigo Silva Santos made the most horrifying discovery imaginable. Santos had not returned home from work the night before and his wife found his rucksack outside their front door. In the bag was Santos’ severed head.The first crime, the double murder on a soccer pitch, was a direct result of the sport. The death of Santos might not have any direct ties to his time as a soccer player, but the point is that the violence in Rio de Janeiro is out of hand.I never would have heard of these crimes had they not been related to a sport, but they are. In a country that is set to host the biggest event in soccer, violence runs rampant from fans, refs, players and even former players.I would love an opportunity to attend a World Cup, especially in a place which such a rich history in the sport. That said, I would not even consider an all expenses paid trip to the 2014 tournament.The risk is high, and the reward cannot compare.FIFA has made some questionable decisions in recent years, like rewarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, but there is no decision more absurd than allowing this event to take place in Rio de Janeiro.Rio de Janeiro is also set to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.While these stories are horrifying, I truly fear for the stories that will likely come out about crimes during the tournament. From locals in Rio, to those traveling in from around the world, how can one not fear for his or her life?