While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Oklahoma State travels to Kansas on Saturday as a 24-point favorite over one of the worst teams in the country. Losing to Kansas would, both on paper and anecdotally, be worse than losing to Central Michigan. So yeah, let’s not lose to Kansas. Predictions for Saturday.Kyle PorterPlayer of the game: Ashton LampkinBold prediction: Oklahoma State has more interceptions than Mason Rudolph has TDs.Final score: Oklahoma State 30 | Kansas 20I said this on the podcast on Friday, but I think slow starts against bad teams and letting them hang around might just be what this squad is. I don’t have much evidence to the contrary over the last two seasons. That’s unfortunate, because you want to rout teams like KU, but at least we get the joy of playing a lot of tight games (if you can call that feeling “joy”).Kyle BoonePlayer of the game: Justice HillBold prediction: Chris Carson returns and both he and Justice Hill combine for 200 yards rushing.Final score: Oklahoma State 35 | Kansas 24I think Oklahoma State will start slow today, especially with an 11:00 kick and it being against arguably the worst football team in the country. The Pokes will elect not to show anything today on film for future opponents, which could make things interesting-ish, but OSU is far superior talent-wise and they will come home unscathed to set up a big matchup next weekend.
After adding the commitment of junior college offensive lineman Arlington Hambright two weeks ago, the 2017 junior college prospect made it official this week and signed his financial aid agreement with the Cowboys.Let’s make it official baby ?? @CoachGundy @CoachAdkinsOSU #GoPokes #OKState pic.twitter.com/aWjxZkeaQu— BIGHAM? (@CallMePopsss) December 14, 2016Hambright is a 6-foot-5, 300-pound offensive tackle coming from Garden City Community College, where he helped the team win the 2016 NJCAA national title. With Victor Salako moving on after this season, Hambright’s experience at the next level could vault him into serious consideration for a starting spot, specifically at left tackle covering the blindside where Salako had success last season. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. We’ve already looked at state of Oklahoma State’s offense for the end of spring. Now let’s turned to the defense Mike Gundy is so confident in.Prior to the start of spring practice, Gundy predicted the 2017 defense would be better than the one that went 12-1 in 2011 and won a Fiesta Bowl.He credited depth and change in recruiting philosophy for his optimism.“I just think we have more depth,” said Gundy. “I think that we’ve recruited longer and that our culture is in place so we have more depth than we did then.”Here’s a look at that complete depth chart as it looks now.Defensive EndJordan Brailford was granted a medical hardship waiver for missing all of his would-be junior season. That means the Cowboys are two-deep in experienced starters and Tralund Webber has also shown the ability to make plays.While there is plenty of depth at the end spot, it’s becoming a bit top-loaded. It will be interesting to see how much younger players like Brock Martin see the field. Mike Gundy seems to think it’s a possibility. Triston Grant spent last year redshirting. The two freshmen make up all of OSU’s underclassmen on the edge.Defensive TackleThe interior of the defensive line boasts similar depth to the ends. Joe Bob Clements gets my vote for most underrated assistant in the Big 12. He’s the epitome of an efficient recruiter. He finds his guys and then develops them into D-I players. See Emmanuel Ogbah and Vincent Taylor.It will be a big year for Darrion Daniels. The former ESPN 300 prospect has been a difference maker since day 1. Now that Vincent Taylor is off to South Beach, he needs to take a leadership role on this line. DeQuinton Osborne is another brute who can make plays. Trey Carter bulked up and moved from end to tackle and former Michigan State DT Enoch Smith Jr comes in to add depth.LinebackerThe Cowboys have an underrated group of linebackers. After losing Jordan Burton and Devante Averrette, the Cowboys still boast plenty of depth in the infield. With the installation of a second defensive scheme — Oklahoma State will employ both three-down and four-down sets — Glenn Spencer will be leaning on his guys even more.Kenneth Edison-McGruder spent some time at the “star” linebacker spot a year ago but he has now been permanently moved from safety. Chad Whitener returns as a leader of the defense. Look for guys like Justin Phillips and newcomer Patrick Macon to be difference makers, as well.CornerbackEasily the biggest question mark for Oklahoma State. The addition of Clemson grad transfer Adrian Baker is huge. Past him the Cowboys still have zero starts among their corners. Mike Gundy doesn’t seem too worried but did concede that they may have to score a few points early on.There seem to be several talented pieces including A.J. Green and Madre Harper but they will likely take their lumps this season. First up, they face a Tulsa passing game that, while retooling at QB and No. 1-2 receivers, is not one to overlook.SafetyOne of the biggest stories going into the spring was Ramon Richards’ move from cornerback to safety — especially considering the above-mentioned lack of depth on the outside. Richards and Tre Flowers make a formidable duo in the backfield. Behind them is a lot of youth.Jordan Sterns led the team in tackles for three straight years from the strong safety spot. It will be interesting to see how OSU replaces that production and which of the young guns can make a name for themselves. The 2018 class is loaded with safety talent.SpecialistZach Sinor may be the best punter in America. He led the nation with 62.5 percent of his punts sticking inside the 20-yard line and only gave up one touchback. Think precision lawn darts. OSU only allowed 15 punt return yards all season.Ben Grogan finished his career as OSU’s all-time leading scorer. The place-kicking job should be Matt Ammendola’s to lose. He took over kickoff duties early last season and was an instant upgrade. Can his strong leg handle both? If not, incoming freshman Jake McClure would definitely like a shot.
While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. As we continue our countdown of the off season, we land on No. 94, Jordan Brailford, another defensive lineman who has dealt with an injury setback but is poised for a big year in 2017.How he got to OSUA three-star prospect out of Booker T. Washingon High School in Tulsa, Brailford was the No. 8 prospect from the state of Oklahoma according to 247 Sports. He spurned offers from Big 12 rivals Baylor, Kansas State and Texas Tech as well as Washington State and Tulsa to come to Stillwater.He’s an athletic end who came in at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds and was clocked running a 4.5 40-yard dash in high school.What he’s done in StillwaterAfter redshirting in 2014, Brailford nudged his way into serious reps down the stretch in 2015, finishing with 23 total tackles (18 solo), 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack. He has a nose for the ball. His three QB hurries trailed only Emmanuel Ogbah his redshirt freshman year.His athleticism and motor were showcased in one of the few bright spots in Oklahoma State’s Sugar Bowl loss to Ole Miss. Mike Gundy even said he played as good as any defensive lineman against the Ole Miss front.Prior to the start of the 2016 season, Brailford — who was expected to earn a starting spot — suffered a stress fracture in his leg which held him out the entire season. Brailford also reportedly underwent shoulder surgery this off season but is expected to be available for fall camp.Role in 2017Now, after being granted a medical hardship waiver, Brailford looks forward to a redshirt sophomore season and three years of eligibility.“If he stays healthy and plays like he should,” said Mike Gundy of Brailford “he will be a guy that can impact our defense as much as anybody on the field.”Expect Brailford to compete for starting reps along with Cole Walterscheid, Jarrell Owens and Vili Leveni.Noteworthy stats and highlightsDuring the 2015 Sugar Bowl, Brailford disrupted Chad Kelly and his Rebels to the tune of four solo tackles and a tackle for loss. Against TCU earlier that year, he tallied three tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and a sack.
Tylan WallaceEven with a wealth of talent at receiver, I think there might be a role for the former four-star receiver from Fort Worth. Tylan is tremendous in a phone booth, as Gundy says, and with a 40-yard dash that is likely to be under a 4.5, OSU would do well to find him a role.Not only did Tylan finish 12th all-time in receiving yards in the great state of Texas, but he played defensive back, returned kicks, and played a big part in special teams. So breaking him into action as a freshman could be plugging him in on kick return or punt return team and letting the youngster go to work.Thabo MwanikiEven with the amount of depth in the secondary, freshman defensive back Thabo Mwaniki could be a rare early contributor. The young man out of Denton Guyer has turned heads in fall camp, and could provide valuable depth at the very least.Mwaniki played a little receiver, defensive back and quarterback in high school, so he’s more adepth than most when it comes to football knowledge. That alone could earn him some early PT.Brock MartinHow often do you see a true freshman breaking through at defensive end? It’s one of the toughest positions to earn playing time at as a youngster, and yet Martin has all the physical tools to potentially do it. Martin finished his career at Oologah with 50 sacks and 400 tackles, and at 6-4, 235-pounds, he’s already at a decent playing weight.Combine Martin’s talents with the overall lack of uncertainty at defensive end (Trey Carter has been moved to tackle, and will Brailford and Leveni be able to stay healthy?), and I think Martin could figure into a rotation spot in some capacity as a quality bench man.Chuba HubbardWith the lack of proven depth behind Justice Hill, the Canadian rocket will almost certainly be a factor in some capacity this season. He and King are the future at the position in the long-term as a potential 1-2 punch, but for now, Hubbard could be a change-of-pace back on third down.If we’re talking about potential in the long-term, Hubbard’s may be higher than anyone on the team. But in the short-term, I think he may fall behind fellow freshman J.D. King and redshirt freshman Ja’Ron Wilson in the pecking order. But I still think there’s a chance he makes his way onto the field as a freshman. With a total of 12 returning starters on offense and defense combined, Oklahoma State has a minimal number of holes in the boat to plug before it begins its Big 12 title race in 2017.Mason Rudolph, James Washington and Justice Hill form a triple-threat on offense unlike we’ve seen since Weeden, Blackmon and Randle shared the same turf. And on defense, Chad Whitener and Justin Phillips anchor the middle of the unit that brings back plenty of talent and experience, particularly on the line with DeQuinton Osborne, Trey Carter, Jarrell Owens and Cole Walterscheid.Some of those holes will be plugged by returning players, like Calvin Bundage and Darrion Daniels likely to fill in at star linebacker and defensive tackle in prominent roles, respectively. But as is the case almost every year, a freshman or two (or three or more) will step up and show they’re ready for the big stage.AdChoices广告J.D. KingI’m already on record comparing King to Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, so I may as well ride this one out. I think King is going to be a star sooner rather than later.King was one of the most prolific running backs in George High School history, rushing for 3,662 yards and 41 touchdowns in three seasons, and I think that production will translate quickly to his college game. He’s a power back listed at 5-foot-11, 205-pounds, but he’s also super explosive hitting the gaps and has had success catching passes out of the backfield. There’s a legitimate shot he can land the job as backup to Justice Hill if he can pick up where he left off at Fitzgerald High School. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
West Ham move to beat Fulham to Everton midfielder James McCarthyby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveEverton midfielder James McCarthy is a surprise target for West Ham.The Daily Mail says West Ham are exploring the possibility of signing McCarthy on loan. The 28-year-old is fit again after a double fracture of his right leg but has not been selected by Marco Silva. McCarthy, who has 18 months left on contract, is also a target for Fulham and West Brom. He has racked up 132 appearances and six goals in all competitions for the club. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
LEXINGTON, KY – NOVEMBER 21: John Calipari the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats gives instructions to his team during the game against the Boston Terriers at Rupp Arena on November 21, 2014 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)John Calipari draws the best high school basketball players to Lexington every season, but it is clear that his wife Ellen makes an impact on the young Wildcats as well. According to SEC Country‘s Alex Martin Smith, she bakes players brownies for their birthdays every year. Well, today is her birthday, so the Wildcats decided to flip the script, and bring her dessert ahead of tonight’s game against Illinois State.Brownies for the bday girl! Nice gesture from the players, who usually receive the same from Mrs. Cal on their bday pic.twitter.com/cFT40YxbOP— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) November 30, 2015Well done, Kentucky. We’re sure Coach Cal appreciates the hand in helping make his wife’s birthday a special one.[SEC Country]
OTTAWA – For many Canadians, golf is a family affair. For the Bishop brothers, it’s become a family business.The parallels between playing the game and becoming an entrepreneur are not lost on the Nova Scotia-based Bishops, the brains behind startup Dormie Workshop, whose custom-designed, handmade leather headcovers have been taking the golf world by storm since their debut in 2014.Like golf, running a small business can be demanding, time-consuming and downright maddening — but also deeply rewarding, so long as you put in the work, stick together, try to have fun and know when to seize the moment.“The one thing that our family has always done is that whatever we’ve done, we’ve done together,” says Todd Bishop, 46, who runs Dormie Workshop out of a 1,500-square-foot facility in Halifax with his brothers Jeff, 36, and Alex, 34.“Jeff was really the one that had the passion to say, ‘Oh, man, I really like these leather headcovers … that’s how it all came about, because he saw an opportunity.”Serious golfers know a thing or two about the old-school bag-candy revolution of recent years, be it the knitted pom-pom argyles or rugby stripes of Rocket Tour Golf or Jan Craig, or the boutique leather creations of U.S. upstarts like Headgear, Stitch Golf or Cru.If you’ve been to Cabot Links, the 36-hole coastal links sensation on the west coast of Cape Breton Island, you’ve probably seen Dormie Workshop’s handiwork. The white leather putter cover with the simple Cabot logo and tartan liner is the flagship of the fleet.Cabot has come to represent the singular Canadian golf experience, precisely the sort of brand identity to which Dormie Workshop aspired, Bishop says. The fact the company was based in Nova Scotia made the partnership a match made in heaven.“We got this gigantic map of Canada, and got the top 100 courses, and mapped it all out, and we just drew circles,” Bishop recalls. “We had a couple of triple circles around ones that we knew we had to become partners with, and Cabot was Number 1.”So what’s behind all the headcover hoopla?First and foremost, consider camouflage: a premium driver can run $600 and a 3-wood $275, while high-end collectible putters can easily run into the thousands of dollars. Advertising the contents of a golf bag with a manufacturer’s headcovers can be an open invitation to thieves.Then there’s the fact that until recently, those spandex-and-vinyl sock covers could be all but impossible to pull over a massive 460 cubic-centimetre driver head. The vintage boxing-glove style favoured by leatherheads is the hot thing now — perfect timing for the Bishop boys.What’s more, golf is in the throes of a full-blown customizing craze.Drivers have swappable weights and shafts. PGA Tour players stamp their wedges with personal symbols or inspirational sayings. Fans of marquee putter designer Scotty Cameron spend thousands to trick out their flat sticks with special finishes, colour accents and aftermarket grips. Ball manufacturers are boosting sales with custom logos, stamps and play numbers.“Our Dad used to get our last names put on pretty much anything and everything, so it was always in us anyway to kind of just mark your gear,” says Bishop. “It’s an opportunity to reflect who you are and kind of express yourself … something to keep you happy when you’re on the golf course.”That’s not always easy, something Bishop knows from experience: he and Jeff are both PGA professionals who tried their hand at playing the game for a living before their entrepreneurial spirits took over. Today, they coach elite juniors out of Grandview Golf and Country Club in Dartmouth, N.S., when they’re not hunched over sewing machines or elbows-deep in swatches of rawhide.For nerve-racked golfers, a soft swath of leather can be like a fidget spinner on the fairway.“When I’m walking, I’ve always got my hands just resting on those covers,” Bishop says. “That leather feel, that’s basically the oldest technical fabric known to man, and it has been around forever and it never will go away. And there’s a reason: it just feels amazing.”Dormie sets itself apart from an increasingly crowded marketplace, says Bishop, thanks to exceptional craftsmanship, unmatched customer service and a sky’s-the-limit approach to customization that owes a lot to youngest brother Alex’s talents as a graphic designer.Prices for Dormie Workshop’s current offerings vary from about $70 for a basic putter cover to $150 for a driver model that features more elaborate designs and multiple colours and leathers.Custom orders can go up from there, like the guy from California who paid more than US$1,000 for a set of four covers that featured family emblems, sayings and an array of custom artwork.“I would be surprised if his clubs are equal in value,” Bishop chuckles.In their first year of operation, Dormie Workshop moved about 1,500 units. The following year they set up shop at the four-day PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, ground zero for a golf-themed equipment startup. They matched the previous year’s sales in just those four days.This year, Bishop says they’re on pace to sell upwards of 14,000 units. Impressive, yes, he notes. But taxing nonetheless.“There’s been times where I’ve been looking at Jeff at 4:30 in the morning as we’re sitting on sewing machines, going, ‘This is a 911 order. And we have no other way to get this to where it needs to go, other than by you buying a ticket tomorrow morning and flying this sucker out there.’“And that’s what happened.”Which, of course, is ultimately what makes Dormie Workshop a true golf business, and its founders well-suited to use the spirit of the game to navigate even the most daunting challenges: focus on the process, take it one step at a time, and let the outcome take care of itself.“There’s all kinds of different ways this thing could go,” Bishop says, a trill of excitement in his voice.“It’s kind of fun.”
The downtown core could be turning a corner when it comes to its vacancy rate.Numbers show the trend is headed downward from the peak we saw back in the second quarter of 2017.According to Avison Young, the city is headed in the right direction, it may not happen overnight, but the vacancy rate is improving.Research Manager with Avison Young, Susan Thompson, says there would be a lot of benefits for the city if downtown rates continue the same trend.“A vibrant downtown is very important, it helps create life on the streets, it helps boost our economy, it just helps people feel better and that is something we have definitely been hearing,” she said.The numbers were released the same day, Amazon announced the 20 cities that were shortlisted for their second headquarters with Calgary being left off the list.Even though the bid for the new Amazon headquarters fell short, Thompson says the move shows the city is heading in the right direction when it comes to the technology sector.“Diversification is critical to Calgary’s improving economy because we are not sure energy is going to dominate the space the same way it has in the past,” she adds.Even though rates show signs of improving Thompson does warn there will be some turbulence to start the year.
HAVANA — Models strutting in paint-stained shirts and leather construction boots have shed light on an unusual blend of Cuban private enterprise and American corporate sponsorship.An open-air fashion show Thursday put on by the Cuban label Clandestina and internet giant Google was titled “Country Under Construction” and took place outside Havana’s Museum of Fine Arts.Google is one of the American companies that have had the greatest success in building relations with the Cuban government since the declaration of detente by Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama. It has installed Google servers in Cuba to speed up company services such as YouTube and has carried out smaller cultural projects like the fashion show.Clandestina founder Idania del Rio said: “Google provides something that inspires us.”The Associated Press
TOKYO — The Latest on Nissan Motor Co.’s chairman Carlos Ghosn and allegations he underreported income. (all times local):5:10 p.m.Nissan Motor Co. says an internal investigation found that its chairman, Carlos Ghosn, has underreported his income. The Japanese automaker said he will be dismissed.Nissan said an investigation based on a whistleblower report found Ghosn had falsified reports on his compensation “over many years.”It said the investigation found other misconduct by Ghosn, including the personal use of company assets.Nissan said it had provided information to prosecutors and was co-operating with their investigation.___6:15 p.m.Japanese media say Carlos Ghosn, Nissan Motor Co. chairman, is being questioned by Tokyo prosecutors on suspicion he falsified his financial reports.Nissan said Monday it was looking into the reports, while prosecutors declined comment.The Asahi newspaper said Ghosn submitted voluntarily to questioning about suspected violations of financial and exchange regulations. The national broadcaster NHK and Kyodo carried similar reports.Asahi said Ghosn is suspected of failing to report hundreds of millions of yen (millions of dollars) in income.Nissan, based in Yokohama, Japan, said it was checking into the reports.Brazilian-born Ghosn, sent in by alliance partner Renault SA of France, has led a dramatic turnaround at Nissan over the last two decades, rescuing Nissan from near-bankruptcy.The Associated Press
Rome- Victims of torture in the Polisario-administered Tindouf camps (southwestern Algeria) called the international community to move to end the crimes perpetrated by the Polisario leaders and sue the torturers.The group of torture victims who took part in the 2nd Moroccan-Italian cultural days held this November 14-16 in Rome, said they held meetings with Beat Shculer, officer at the legal section of the UN High commissioner for refugees (HCR), Antonio Marchesi, chairman of Amnesty International-Italy and Mario Lana, president of a human rights-advocacy association (UFTDU) to denounce “the appalling situation in the camps and the systematic and daily human rights abuses”.Ali Najab, a former prisoner of war who was detained for 25 years in the prisons of Tindouf, together with 2,300 other prisoners of war, including 130 civilians, said he informed his interlocutors of the magnitude of torture and inhumane practices to which they were subjected. Quoting a report of an international fact-finding mission dispatched by French Ngo “France-Libertés”, he noted that since Algeria was the first state to recognize the Polisario and provided it with weapons and military assistance, it is responsible for facts occurring on its territory, he added.After explaining the deep and indelible physical and moral scars caused by torture, Najab called for shedding light on the destiny of scores of missing persons, particularly children who were abducted by the Polisario during raids on the cities of Tan Tan, Labouirate, Smara and other cities in 1979.Chairman of the association of missing persons, Dahi Akai Ould Sidi Youssef, insisted that the polisario front torturers should be sued for crimes committed in Tindouf prisons.
“We’ll closely monitor developments,” an MLB Players Association spokesperson said to FiveThirtyEight last month. “If 30 clubs are competing for a pennant, the free-agent market for players will be robust.”But fewer teams seem interested in competing.The Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks, 2018 contenders, are retooling. The American League Central champion Cleveland Indians have shed payroll in a weak division they can likely win without spending on free agents.And teams seem to have learned, collectively, to wait out free agents. Thirty-five free agents signed guaranteed major league deals last year between Feb. 1 and opening day,2Excluding players who signed with one team earlier in the offseason, were released and signed with another team within the February-to-April period. compared with 18 in 2017, 13 in 2016, 10 in 2015 and 13 in 2014. The longer free agents wait, the fewer dollars they’re typically awarded.Even the star free agents are having to wait.Consider that in the not-so-distant past, top players had usually signed by now. Just look at the contracts inked before Christmases past: On Dec. 1, 2015, David Price signed the richest deal ever for a starting pitcher (seven years and $217 million) with the Boston Red Sox, and he was followed three days later by Zack Greinke, who signed a six-year, $206.5 million deal with Arizona. On Dec. 10 of the previous year, Jon Lester signed a $155 million deal with the Chicago Cubs. And in 2013, Robinson Cano signed a 10-year, $240 million deal with the Seattle Mariners on Dec. 6, just three days after Jacoby Ellsbury signed a seven-year, $153 million deal with the Yankees.But the five richest contracts of last offseason were awarded after Jan. 24. And only one contract so far this offseason has topped $100 millionThere are other factors behind the slow down, said Chaim Bloom, vice president of baseball operations for the Tampa Bay Rays. His club reportedly signed pitcher Charlie Morton on Dec.12.“I’m hesitant to call something a trend before having [enough] information to really say this is a new normal — it might just be a slight shift in the timetable,” Bloom said to FiveThirtyEight last week. “There is a lot more information available. Teams increasingly like to have more and more information before making decisions. That may push some things later in the calendar. I also think — and this offseason is a good example of it — staff movement and staff [hirings] are taking up a larger chunk of offseason. … The more coaching staffs and front offices grow, the more time that is going to take [in early offseason].”Have teams learned to wait out the market?“I don’t know if it’s ideal for clubs, necessarily,” Bloom said of the slower markes. “You want to go into spring training knowing who you have.”Free agency has become more and more a battleground between teams and players. Clubs are accused of suppressing the service time of potential stars so as to control their prime years at cheaper salaries. Teams also seem to be wary of allocating a large share of their payroll to one player. Alex Rodriguez’s $275 million deal with the Yankees — signed Dec. 13, 2007 — remains the record for a free-agent contract even as MLB revenues have increased from $6 billion in 2007 to exceeding $10 billion in 2017.Regardless of whether free-agent superstars Harper and Manny Machado set contract records, they are expected to receive guaranteed dollars well into nine figures. The greater concern for the union is what another slow-to-develop market means for the middle class of free agents — which represents the vast majority of players.A slow-to-develop market forced unsigned players to create their own spring training camp last year in Bradenton, Florida. David Freese knows this trend well. After the former World Series MVP finished the 2015 season with 2.2 wins above replacement, he sought a lucrative, multiple-year contract. But he had to settle in March for a one-year, $3 million deal with the Pirates.“It was a tough situation to handle,” Freese said in 2016. “The waiting, it challenges your heart. Sitting around while guys are out playing [in spring training] … seeing games, seeing guys in the field.”Rather than test free agency this winter after the Dodgers were likely to turn down his $6 million club option, he re-signed with the club on a one-year, $4.5 million deal.Freese isn’t the only player to take that approach. Josh Donaldson — the 2015 A.L. MVP — agreed to a one-year, $23 million deal with Atlanta on Nov. 26. He was joined by 18 other free agents signing contracts for just one year, making up 67.9 percent of the 28 signings so far through Monday. That’s the greatest share of one-year contracts signed through the first 50 days of the offseason over the past six winters. (The next closest was 52 percent in 2016-17.)Some of these players may have decided to bet on themselves on shorter-term deals in the hopes of maximizing their future earning potential. Or perhaps they are responding to seeing players with hopes of signing lucrative multi-year deals last offseason, like Mike Moustakas and Neil Walker, languish on the market until spring training had started.Free agents across the game appear to be in store for another longer wait. Perhaps this is the new normal.Sara Ziegler contributed research. LAS VEGAS — The Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino was, in some ways, the most appropriate host for baseball’s winter meetings: After all, this offseason was once expected to be punctuated by announcements of record-setting, high-dollar free-agency deals. Bryce Harper, a premier free agent, is a Las Vegas native. But away from the din of the casino floor, a podium set up for press conferences in a vast ballroom was largely quiet last week. After last winter marked the slowest signing period in at least the previous 18 years, this offseason is starting even more slowly, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis of free-agent data.Teams already seemed less interested in giving time on the field to players over the age of 30 — the time frame in which many players first become eligible for free agency. But now, early in the offseason, teams also seem increasingly less willing to spend on any free agent.Consider that through Monday, 50 days after the World Series concluded, only 5.2 percent of available free-agent players1Our pool of available free agents includes any player with major league experience who was granted free agency or released in October and November of each season. That excludes players signed internationally or those waived by a club before the season ended or later in the offseason. had signed major league deals for guaranteed money, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis of data from The Baseball Cube. Fifty days after the end of the 2017 World Series, 5.5 percent of available free agents had signed. Two years ago that number was 9.2 percent. In the three offseasons prior to that winter — 2015-16, 2014-15 and 2013-14 — it was 9.2, 7.8 and 10.9 percent respectively.Through Monday, $442.5 million had been spent on free agents. That’s down from $469.8 million at the same point last year, which was down from $976.5 million in the winter of 2016-17, $1.401 billion in 2015-16, $1.173 billion in 2014-15 and $1.229 billion through the middle of December 2013.
Ohio State junior guard Kelsey Mitchell pulls up for a shot in the second half against Wisconsin at the Schottenstein Center on Jan. 19. Credit: Jacob Myers | Assistant Sports EditorThe 12th-ranked Ohio State women’s basketball team (25-5, 15-1) defeated Rutgers 73-45 to clinch its 15th Big Ten title. The Buckeyes stellar defense was the driving force in capturing the program’s first title since the 2009-10 season.With Sunday’s win over the Scarlet Knights (6-23, 3-12), the Buckeyes have clinched the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten tournament.Sunday’s game was OSU’s first in their last eight games that the team failed to score at least 87 points. The Buckeyes usually rely on their offensive output to win their games, but it was stellar defensive play that allowed OSU to pull away with the win. Junior guard Kelsey Mitchell led OSU with 21 points and five assists, her 10th straight game with 20 or more points. She was followed by senior forward Shayla Cooper — a player that has stepped up since the injury to junior forward Stephanie Mavunga — with 12 points and seven rebounds. For the first few minutes of the game, OSU’s 63 percent shooting on Monday didn’t carry over, but the Buckeyes 2-2-1 press forced nine Rutgers turnovers that turned into a 15-0 run that lasted for the majority of the first quarter.OSU continued the steady offensive pace into the second quarter with consistent outside shooting. The Buckeyes shot well from deep, hitting 50 percent in the second quarter, and knocking down four shots from 3-point range. On defense, the Buckeyes continued to throw off Rutgers, switching from a man defense to a 2-3 zone, then to a 3-2 zone. Those different looks prevented Rutgers from getting into an offensive rhythm, leading to a miserable 22 percent from the field. The Buckeyes led 37-17 at halftime.At the start of the third quarter, Rutgers got the ball out quickly to avoid full-court pressure and ran the ball up the floor. The Scarlet Knights hit five consecutive shots midway through the quarter and stayed in the game with 57 percent third-quarter shooting. The Buckeyes fired back by penetrating the basket, grabbing their own points from the field, and ended the quarter maintaining a 17-point lead, 53-36.In the last quarter of play, OSU reestablished their defense and slowed down the Scarlet Knights with its full-court press. On offense, OSU outscored Rutgers 20-9 and made three 3s to keep any chance of a comeback at bay. Ohio State is set to play the winner of No. 8 seed versus the No. 9 seed on March 3 at noon. The final Big Ten standings have yet to be determined.
Rafael van der Vaart has called on time on his 18-year playing career amid injury problemsThe 35-year-old midfielder decided to leave Danish side Esbjerg fB after sustaining a training-ground injury.Despite only having joined in August, Van der Vaart refused to be on the club’s payroll for the year while injured.Now the Dutchman has decided to end an impressive career that has seen him play for the likes of Ajax, Hamburg, Real Madrid and Tottenham.“I just have to stop now. I am not here to rehabilitate, but to play football,” Van der Vaart told De Telegraaf.“The fun will be different and that’s what I want to be. I wanted to become a football grandpa, but unfortunately, that is not the case.“At this moment I can only be grateful for all the years I was allowed to play football.“All those players, staff and fans, from the ArenA, the Volksparkstadion, White Hart Lane to the Bernabeu, I just have warm feelings about it. It was a great time.”Across five countries, Van der Vaart managed 175 goals and 116 assists in a total of 546 career matches.However, his illustrious career came to a subdued end after struggling for game time at Real Betis, FC Midtjylland and Esbjerg.Mourinho: “Lionel Messi made me a better coach” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Jose Mourinho believes the experience of going up against Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi at Real Madrid made him a greater coach.“I won prizes and played in championships, both with my clubs, the Dutch national team and individually,” said Van der Vaart.“In all those years I have been able to play football with and against so many great players in the most beautiful stadiums.“I had never dared to dream of that as a young boy.”Notable honours of Van der Vaart’s club career are the winning the Eredivisie with Ajax twice and winning the Supercopa de España with Real in 2008.Van der Vaart also finished as runner-up in the 2010 World Cup with the Netherlands.At international level, he managed 25 goals and 23 assists in 109 games.I ended my international career after 109 games, but these guys just keep going… Such a nice gesture of @onsoranje to honour the supporters who’ve attended over 100, 200 or even 300 games. Thanks for everything! 👏🧡🇳🇱 pic.twitter.com/Z209k9BJWi— Rafael van der Vaart (@rafvdvaart) October 25, 2018
Valencia boss Marcelino Garcia Toral refused to confirm whether or not they will look to sign Michy Batshuayi on a permanent deal at the end of the seasonThe Belgian forward arrived in Spain during the summer on a season-long loan deal from Chelsea.Batshuayi had great success with Borussia Dortmund on a loan spell for the latter part of the previous campaign with seven goals in 10 Bundesliga games.However, life at Valencia hasn’t gone as well with Batshuayi only managing three goals in 19 appearances across all competitions.Los Che retains an option to make Batshuayi a permanent member of the squad this summer.Top 10 players who played for both Barcelona and Valencia Boro Tanchev – September 14, 2019 Time to talk about the best players who represented both Barcelona and Valencia, prior to their La Liga encounter at Camp Nou this evening.But, for now at least, Marcelino remains unsure over what to do with the struggling forward.“At the right time will analyse the final situation and we will decide,” said Marcelino, according to Sports Mole.“There is a transfer [clause], I do not know what the situation is contractually, but for all parties who want to leave, we will look for what is best for Valencia and thus the appropriate decisions will be made.”Batshuayi is in the squad for Valencia’s Champions League Group H finale against Manchester United with kick-off set for 21:00 (CET) tonight.
Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander: “We’re going to be upgrading the entire facility, it’s going to look much different then it did before, we are looking to modernize the whole facility.” Some of the renovations include expanding the areas where passengers check in for their flights, expanding the baggage claim area, and a new roof for the building. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The 2018 Terminal Rehabilitation Project construction has moved inside the terminal building with additional sections of the lobby contained and blocked off at the Kenai Municipal Airport. Avis, Mossy Oak Properties, and Budget were moved to temporary locations at the south end the first week of January 2019. Airport Administration office has been moved to the south end by Brothers Cafe and Grant Aviation has been moved to the Administrative office. The Terminal Improvement Project is estimated to cost nearly $12 million for construction. The City of Kenai will spend nearly $1.5 million, while the rest of the money comes from a Federal Aviation Administration grant. The rental car agencies located in the terminal will also each get a new office. Construction is scheduled to wrap up December 1, 2019.
Twitter Having passed 150 million active users, Spotify’s paid subscription base is racing to 65 millionPhilip MerrillGRAMMYs Sep 11, 2017 – 11:57 am For some observers, the increasing popularity of streaming services is a competitive race to be won, but with millions of new active users trying Spotify in August, the music industry hopes streaming can be a win-win for artists, fans and all major streaming platforms.On Sept. 8 an insider source told Digital Music News that Spotify has surpassed 150 million active users worldwide.The same source revealed that the service’s 60 million paid subscribers at the end of July has been racing toward the 65 million mark, increasing by about 1 million users per week during August.Although Spotify’s ad-supported free tier has been an effective ambassador for licensed music streaming, this new digital ecosystem is accompanied by growing pains. For example, Apple Music only offers paid listening and is rapidly approaching 30 million users having launched in 2015. Spotify has been building its base since 2008 and still struggles to establish itself as a profitable business.It’s undeniable streaming music has moved into the mainstream with many legal options. That is why it is so essential this burgeoning legal marketplace doesn’t shortchange the songwriters and performers who create music — the music that brings these digital business models to life.Spotify Captures Half Of British Teens’ Streaming HoursRead more Spotify Premium Grew 1 Million Users A Week In August Spotify Premium’s August Growth Spurt spotify-premium-grew-1-million-users-week-august Facebook Email News
To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Listen 00:00 /50:20 X On Tuesday’s Houston Matters: A massive smoke cloud from the ITC Deer Park fire continues to hover over Houston. But is it a real hazard, or just an ominous visual? We bring you the latest on efforts to extinguish and limit damage from the chemical fire and what we know so far about its potential impact on air quality. Plus, we hear the latest from Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris Co. Judge Lina Hidalgo from a press conference on the situation.Also this hour: The City of Houston has laid out its timeline and steps to implement Proposition B. Voters approved what amounts to a large pay raise for firefighters, and Mayor Sylvester Turner has pledged to move forward with that pay raise, but says the city must lay off hundreds of firefighters and some municipal employees to pay for it. We walk through the city’s plan, and how it’s being received.And history professor Dr. Elizabeth Varon discusses lingering notions about the reasons behind the Civil War and how they inform the generations-long battle over Confederate symbols and statues. She’s the author of Armies of Deliverance: A New History of the Civil War.We also offer a free podcast here, on iTunes, Stitcher and other apps. This article is part of the Houston Matters podcast Share