NEW VERSION OF CRICKET The International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 tournament of 2016 is behind us and despite many events of its kind – and many successful ones at that – the world of cricket can truthfully say that this one was a tremendous success. Maybe it was the different types of pitches found in India this time around and maybe it was the different kinds of bowling, especially the presence of right-arm leg-spin bowling, which made it so successful. Maybe it was the quality of batting throughout, the tournament and the brilliance of the fielding which lifted the standard and thus the excitement throughout and maybe it was the energy and performance of the minnows which caused it all. Maybe it was, in the final analysis, the performance of the big hitters of the West Indies which made the difference and the stylish and dramatic way in which they ended the tournament on a winning note, with the ball disappearing into the outskirts of Kolkata. Maybe it was simply an improving mindset by the players. Whatever it was that caused it, it was a tournament to remember and to duplicate and, at least, the next time around. For years now, and but for a few changes, cricket has remained the same. It has been basically the same teams, with nothing new to add spice and colour to the scenery. Cricket, it is said, is a hard game to learn, but that is Test cricket. RANKED NO. 3 T20 cricket is ranked number three in the general scheme of things. It is played regularly in local competitions, hardly in international competitions and up to last month, it was played every two years as a world tournament. Regrettably, it is scheduled for every four years as of the next time. T20 cricket is big business. It is, however, easy to play, it is fun, it caters to the spectators, and although the players, including the West Indies players, or most of them, prefer the Test version, it is the most popular format today. T20 cricket is ideal as a tool to spread the game. The minnows can upset the ‘big boys’ occasionally, just as how The Netherlands defeated England in both the 50-over World Cup and the World Twenty 20 and just as how Afghanistan defeated the West Indies a few weeks ago in the World Twenty20. Those defeats were embarrassing for England and that defeat was also embarrassing for the soon-to-be crowned world champions, West Indies, a few days ago. They added to the excitement of the tournament, however, and as far as The Netherlands and Afghanistan are concerned, they contributed to the growth of the game. The ICC has a duty to its minnows and a responsibility to cricket to let them loose and offer them more opportunities. This is the time to allow cricket to grow. There is a new version of cricket, however. It is T20 cricket. It is taking over like wildfire and it has given those in charge the opportunity to spread their wings, to cover the whole wide world. For years now, there has been a call to add more teams to cricket and there has always been a counterclaim by the ‘big shots’ of cricket that the game would be too one-sided if that was done. There is no doubt that was true. Can you imagine a Test match between Australia and Canada at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and, at end of day two, at the end of the first innings, the scoreboard read: Australia 400 for one or two declared, Canada70 and 20 for five? Who would watch this match and who would pay for the exercise? Based on their performances over the years and their performance this year, however, the minnows, or some of them Ireland, the Netherlands, Oman, Afghanistan, Scotland, Hong Kong and Kenya, deserve their places. And so do others like Papua, New Guinea, Canada and the USA. If they never get to compete, no one will ever know of them, just as we would never have known of players like Mohammad Shahzar; Afghanistan’s batsman Kyle Coetzer; Scotland’s batsman Zeeshan Maqsood; Oman’s batsman Dawlat Zadran; Afghanistan’s pacer and one of the real finds of the tournament, Afghanistan’s young right-arm leg-spinner Rashid Khan. And what of countries like China, Argentina and even Brazil if they so desire? T20 cricket is made for them.
Arcata >> Davasyia Hagger scored a game-high 26 points as the Humboldt State men’s basketball team defeated Simpson University 84-74 on Tuesday at Lumberjack Arena.Leading by one point at the half, HSU (3-3 overall, 0-1 California Collegiate Athletic Association) opened the second half on an 11-4 run capped by five-straight points from Tyras Rattler Jr. to take a 50-44 lead.Later in the half, HSU extended its lead to its largest of the game at 19 points on a Jack Kaub 3-pointer with just …
Break the Mold with Real-World Logistics AI and… Tags:#autonomous vehicles#Donald Trump#driverless cars#Internet of Things#IoT#Self-Driving#unemployment Related Posts For Self-Driving Systems, Infrastructure and In… Highly automated vehicles will positively benefit society in a myriad of ways, but there is also a concern that these vehicles will cause job displacement. We recently sat down with Elliot Katz, chair of McGuireWoods’ Connected and Automated Vehicle practice, to talk about highly automated vehicle deployment and concerns surrounding job displacement, and what the government should be doing now to address this potential issue.ReadWrite: I have heard that, despite the many benefits that highly automated vehicles will bring to society, many people are concerned about the potential impact these vehicles may have on our workforce. Any thoughts?Elliot Katz: Highly automated vehicles (HAVs) will benefit society by reducing traffic fatalities, decreasing congestion, reducing air pollution, opening up travel time to productivity and family enjoyment, providing true mobility for all, and creating new jobs. However, you are correct that the introduction of HAVs has raised job displacement concerns, both from labor unions and our government. For example, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has said she is “very concerned” about the impact of HAVs on U.S. jobs.RW: Do you believe these concerns are warranted?EK: I believe that the transition to driverless vehicles and other technological advances will create new employment opportunities, and that with the right policy and institutional responses from our government, HAV deployment will lead to enhanced levels of employment.The issue is not that HAV deployment will render individuals whose jobs may be displaced unemployable. Instead, it is that those individuals – without proper occupational training – may lack the skills necessary to successfully transition into the high-quality jobs created by HAV deployment.RW: Has our government taken any actions to proactively address potential job displacement in our driverless future?EK: Not directly, no. One thing the government has done – which is highly problematic – is limit the amount or type of HAVs that can be deployed, due to the fear that HAV deployment will cause unemployment. For example, the House included a 10,000-pound weight limit in the Self Drive Act, so that highly automated semi-trucks could not be deployed the way passenger vehicles could be under the bill.RW: Why is that type of government action highly problematic?EK: Because we need all types of HAVs deployed to curb traffic accident fatalities, which are on the rise. Last year, an estimated 40,000 traffic accident fatalities occurred in the U.S., and because NHTSA estimates that HAVs could prevent 19 out of every 20 traffic accidents, we cannot afford to limit the amount or type of HAVs deployed on our roads.By limiting the type or amount of HAVs deployed due to potential unemployment concerns – an issue that can be ameliorated with proper governmental response and action – the government is tempering the life-saving benefits of HAV deployment, while not addressing potential job displacement. According to the Department of Commerce, over 15 million U.S. workers are employed in occupations that could be affected by HAV deployment. That’s why potential job displacement is a critical issue that must be addressed now. By simply limiting HAV deployment in the near term, the government is not addressing the core underlying issue of job displacement that may result from the inexorable and ubiquitous advancement of HAV technology. At some point, humans will no longer drive vehicles, and our government needs to prepare for that time now.See also: How autonomous vehicles could lead to more jobs in DetroitRW: What actions do you believe the government should take to proactively deal with this potential issue?EK: I believe the government should implement occupational training programs to ensure that people have the skills needed to transition to the jobs borne out of HAV deployment.RW: Do you believe that is possible?EK: Very much so. In line with his economic agenda, President Trump signed an executive order in June to support the flexibility and growth of workforce development programs and apprenticeships across the country through increased federal funding, new industry-led apprenticeship program guidelines, and a task force responsible for promoting apprenticeship programs. The transition to driverless vehicles will create new employment opportunities, and President Trump’s executive order provides a perfect opportunity to create and implement the training programs needed to ensure that HAV deployment leads to enhanced levels of employment.RW: Why do you believe that it is important for the government to act now?EK: President Trump has routinely criticized companies for purportedly shipping jobs overseas, and if nothing is done to retrain U.S. workers, it may only be a matter of time before he turns his attention to potential job displacement in a driverless future. HAVs will have such a net positive impact on society that we cannot risk having government inaction jeopardize the deployment of these vehicles.Just a few weeks ago, India’s transport and highways minister stated that driverless cars would not be allowed in India, precisely because he believes the technology will take away jobs and lead to unemployment. I strongly believe that is the wrong approach for all the reasons I stated earlier – especially given that, tragically, there were nearly 150,000 traffic accident fatalities in India in 2015 – and I do not want to see the U.S. similarly limit the deployment of these life-saving vehicles.Elliot Katz is the chair of McGuireWoods’ Connected and Automated Vehicle practice. In that role, Elliot counsels automakers, global tech companies, ridesharing companies, and municipalities on legal and policy issues pertaining to these types of vehicles, and the greater mobility ecosystem. An advocate who recognizes the important societal and economic benefit of highly automated vehicles, Elliot regularly speaks at connected and automated vehicle events across the U.S. and throughout the world. Trevor Curwin 5 Ways IoT can Help to Reduce Automatic Vehicle… IT Trends of the Future That Are Worth Paying A…
LATEST STORIES Inactive since suiting up in his final game with Kaohsiung Truth in the ASEAN Basketball League back in March, Jose came out with a leaner body in his first game in a Hawkeyes jersey.“I really slimmed down when I was in Taiwan because we were dieting there,” he said with a chuckle, while saying that he’s still far from his desired game shape. “I’ll try to bring back my old size.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingJose also didn’t look like he missed a beat, displaying his signature grit as he racked 19 points and 14 rebounds in his 28 minutes on the floor.Unfortunately, the game ended in a sorry 86-84 defeat to Flying V after Jeron Teng drained the game-winning play. Every 18 seconds someone is diagnosed with HIV Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students PLAY LIST 01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes Avenido on playing coach role: ‘I’m not Jawo’ Raymar Jose. PBA IMAGESRaymar Jose felt good hitting the hardcourt once again as he made his debut for Cignal HD in the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup.“It was great. I felt great to play once again,” he said.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast Palace: Duterte to hear out security execs on alleged China control of NGCP “It was unfortunate. We played good but we fell a little short. I think we’ll be able to bounce back,” he said.Jose and the rest of Cignal will try to bounce back on Thursday against Tanduay. MOST READ BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. BSP survey: PH banks see bright horizon amid dark global recession clouds Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games
Jaylon Smith Injury Jaylon Smith InjuryFew players had a worse NFL Combine than Notre Dame’s Jaylon Smith, through no fault of his own. Smith was failed by multiple teams on his physical due to potential nerve damage stemming from the significant knee injury he suffered against Ohio State, which included a torn ACL and LCL.Smith, once viewed as a potential top 10 draft pick, will probably fall out of the first round altogether, but he’s doing whatever he can to prove that he is healing up. In an interview with Yahoo Sports, he revealed that he is currently leg pressing over 600 pounds, and squatting over 400.Can Smith feel a tangible difference physically in the past five weeks?“Oh yeah, absolutely,” Smith said. “A few weeks have made a huge difference, even the past two weeks. I can feel it.“Rehab is going great. I am leg-pressing over 600 pounds right now. I am squatting over 400 pounds. I am getting that strength back. It’s just a matter of time.”Asked whether it has been determined if he suffered nerve in the injury, Smith was a bit vague, but he remained upbeat.“We’ll see when I go back there [to the medical recheck],” Smith said. “We’ll see what the doctors say then. I feel like I’ve regained some of it. I’m happy where I am at right now.”When healthy, Smith is an incredibly impressive prospect. Hopefully he finds a team that will take a chance on him.[Yahoo Sports]More: Vote In Our “Most Annoying People In Sports Media” Championship >>>
zoomIllustration. Image Courtesy: PxHere under CC0 Creative Commons license Bermuda-based shipowner Ship Finance International Limited (SFL) invested USD 1.2 billion in new assets in 2018, continuing its fleet renewal efforts.As explained, these transactions added USD 1.3 billion in future contracted charter revenue.The company intends to seek further growth opportunities and maintains a strong liquidity position “in order to be able to act decisively.”“We believe the combination of a challenging banking market for many players and low asset prices will create significant opportunities for Ship Finance in finding investment opportunities with limited downside on asset values,” SFL said.SFL had a fleet of 86 vessels comprising tankers, bulkers, containerships and rigs at the end of 2018, with only one of the original tankers remaining.“We have continuously renewed and grown our portfolio and diversified our charter revenue backlog across multiple segments and counterparties. SFL has transformed from a pure vessel leasing company, serving one related party, to a multi-faceted organization with USD 3.8 billion in contracted future revenues,” Ole B. Hjertaker, CEO of Ship Finance Management AS, commented.SFL reported a net income of USD 3.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, down from the net income of USD 29.7 million seen a quarter earlier. The decrease was due to a USD 35.7 million non-cash impairment related to offshore supply vessels.On the other hand, total operating revenues were USD 118.6 million in Q4 2018, higher when compared to revenues of USD 111 million posted in Q3 2018.During the fourth quarter, the company delivered the third 10,600 TEU container vessel on long term charter to Maersk Line. SFL also acquired two 19,400 TEU container vessels on long term charters to MSC.The company concluded more than USD 840 million lease financings in Asia for eight container vessels in Q4 2018.At the end of the quarter, SFL had ten debt free vessels, with a combined charter free value of USD 200 million.
EDMONTON, A.B. — The spring sitting of the Alberta legislature is set to begin, with the focus on pipelines and the economy.The session opens Thursday with a speech from the throne, and Government House Leader Brian Mason says the first order of business the following Monday is a debate on pipelines.Mason says all members of the legislature will be asked to vote on a government motion that makes it clear to the rest of Canada its support for Alberta’s efforts on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Alberta has been fighting with British Columbia over the pipeline, which has been approved by the federal government but has met resistance from the B.C. government.The opposition United Conservatives have already voiced support for getting Trans Mountain built, but have disagreed with how Premier Rachel Notley’s NDP is waging the fight.The centrepiece of the session comes March 22, when Finance Minister Joe Ceci delivers the fiscal 2018 budget.
Friday, Feb 27, 3:28 p.m.The panel: “Commissioner’s Perspective: 1 on 1 with Rob Manfred”The panelists: Brian Kenny, Rob ManfredRob Manfred has a long history with Major League Baseball. And Major League Baseball has long tried to avoid letting its history weigh it down. In a wide-ranging interview at Sloan on Friday, one month into his tenure as league commissioner, Manfred sounded like a man trying to make sense of how to reform a game without hollowing it out.A few days ago, Manfred said that there was a universe in which baseball could shave eight games off its regular-season schedule “sometime down the road.” A reduction in the current 162-game schedule could make the sport’s playoff timing a little more flexible, and might increase fan interest in each game. At Sloan, Manfred said he chose the 154-game mark because it would take the majors “back to a number that’s already in our record books.” Could he see MLB going even lower, to 150? No, because then “you’re going to go have a record book with 150, 154, 162 …” Only in baseball, a sport hallowed enough to get the Ken Burns treatment, could the record book be more important than the ledger. Integrity is paramount. (Or as Manfred, who has worked for the league for nearly two decades, put it when talking about whether to reform gambling laws around sports betting: “Integrity, it’s Rule One.”)Yet this is a commissioner who clearly wants to find ways to change the game. Manfred has introduced rules to speed the pace of play, and said Friday he’s very happy with the replay system MLB added last year. He said that in the future — “past Rob Manfred” — the league could have a team outside North America, and before that, maybe even one in Mexico. Now that would be historic. — Chadwick Matlin Sunday, March 1 12:17 a.m.After what conference co-organizer Jessica Gelman said was a “heated discussion,” voters for the top research paper at Sloan reached a split decision and split the $30,000 prize pool between two papers. The winners:Who is Responsible for a Called Strike? by Joe Rosales and Scott SprattCounterpoints: Advanced Defensive Metrics for NBA Basketball by Alexander Franks, Andrew Miller, Luke Bornn and Kirk GoldsberryRosales and Spratt, both of Baseball Info Solutions, presented work suggesting that pitch framing, which has traditionally rewarded most of the credit to catchers alone, is actually a function of three independent participants: the catcher, pitcher, and umpire.Franks, Miller, Bornn, and Goldsberry — all members of Harvard’s XY Hoops group — used player tracking data to quantify individual defensive play in the NBA. The academic version of this group’s paper has been accepted at the statistics journal Annals of Applied Statistics.The groups behind the winning papers each received $15,000 for their efforts. Additionally, Bornn and Goldsberry, along with co-authors Alex D’Amour and Dan Cervone, received the conference’s top poster prize of $1,000 for “Move or Die: How Ball Movement Creates Open Shots in the NBA.” — Mike Lopez Friday, Feb 27, 11:55 a.m.Daryl Morey has been as instrumental to the rise of the Sloan conference as he has been to the rise of the Houston Rockets. Morey, the general manager of the Rockets, has steered the team to third place in the Western conference — behind MVP-candidate James Harden, whom he acquired in a now-legendary 2012 trade — and helped start the Sloan conference in 2007. At Sloan on Friday, I boxed him out to ask a few questions about advanced basketball analytics, specifically player-tracking data from companies like STATS’ SportVU technology. While he can’t divulge the details of the Rockets’ private statistics, Morey’s remarks about the publicly available numbers are especially insightful because the Rockets are one of the most stats-savvy teams — not just in the NBA, but in all of sports. — Andrew FlowersAudio Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/flowers_morey.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. Saturday, Feb. 28 3:15 p.m.Will sports betting inevitably become legal in the U.S.? It sure seems like it.Momentum behind legalization has grown since NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times in November 2014 explicitly endorsing legal sports gambling. The facade of professional sports leagues that oppose sports betting is beginning to crack. And it’s clear why: money.Silver estimated the market for illegal sports wagering is currently $400 billion per year, though it’s likely that figure is inflated. But even lower-end estimates of around $80 billion still represent a huge market. Sports betting is already enormous in Europe, Australia and many other regions. State governments want in because of the potential revenues.Professional sports leagues are intrigued because they see gambling interest as a ratings driver, much like fantasy sports have been. (And, coincidentally, daily fantasy sports sites – with cash prizes – bear an eerie resemblance to gambling anyway.) Gambling is already inherently analytical; but the appetite of stats-savvy fans for geeky coverage about odds is growing. Jeff Ma, a contributor to ESPN’s new sports-betting site, Chalk – said gambling analytics would meet the demand from those with a “high-brow” interest.But there are major risks to legalization. The revelations that former NBA referee Tim Donaghy owed gambling debts and bet on games he officiated was a reminder of the long, scandalous history of how gambling can challenge the integrity of sports. Here, too, analytics can help. Ryan Rodenberg, a professor at Florida State University, suggested statistical scrutiny of betting markets would combat fraud and fixing. Several private European firms already specialize in such analytics.The panelists were asked that if they had to bet on legalization sweeping the country, when it would happen. The lines offered by the panelists ranged from 2-to-10 years. Dan Spillane, the Assistant General Counsel for the NBA, didn’t offer a timeline, however. He just said “years, not months.” — Andrew Flowers Saturday, Feb. 28, 1:00 p.m.The session: “Analytics of the Tommy John Injury Epidemic”The speaker: Glenn FleisigWe’re in the midst of an epidemic of elbow injuries among major league pitchers. Twenty-five percent of current MLB pitchers have had an ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (“Tommy John surgery”) and 15 percent of minor league pitchers have undergone the procedure. Over the last decade, the problem has trickled down to high school and little league players. In 1990, none of the baseball players coming to the Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center clinic Tommy John surgery were kids. Today, one third of them are high school age or younger, said Fleisig, the research director at the American Sports Medicine Institute.What’s to blame for the epidemic of torn elbow ligaments? Are more players getting hurt? Or are we just better at diagnosing these injuries? Are doctors more willing to do the procedure? Or are patients more eager to have it?The answer, said Fleisig, is all of the above. Some players assume they should go in for surgery at the first sign of elbow pain, just “to get it over,” but that’s the wrong attitude. Best case scenario, the surgery can return a player to the career trajectory he was on before he got injured, but it won’t improve performance and not every player makes it back to play, Fleisig said.About 80 percent of major league players who get Tommy John surgeries make it back to the mound, but only two thirds of those who undergo the procedure make it back and stay there.Most elbow ligament injuries occur due to overuse. During the middle part of the pitch when the elbow is held upright at a right angle, the joint experiences severe torque. “It’s like holding a string with five 12-pound bowling balls,” Fleisig said. (That’s why doping raises the risk of an elbow injury — “If you’re on the juice you’re making your muscles too strong for your tendons and ligaments to handle.”)There’s a common notion that curveballs are dangerous, but the research doesn’t bear that out, Fleisig said. “We expected the curveball to have more torque than the fastball, but it turns out it has less.”Four things determine which players get injured — biomechanics, how much a player pitches, training and recovery. “It’s not one of these things or the other, it’s all of them,” Fleisig said.Wear and tear on the elbow is one of the most important factors, and when Fleisig’s group followed a group of 500 kids over a ten-year period, they found that pitching more than 100 competitive innings more than tripled the risk of needing a Tommy John surgery. Likewise, more than 80 pitches per game quadrupled the risk of injury, and kids who pitched when fatigued had 36 times the risk of having surgery.In an effort to cut the rates of elbow injuries among young pitchers, Fleisig and his colleagues have teamed with Major League Baseball to create Pitch Smart, age-appropriate guidelines to avoid injury. Suggestions include limits on the number of pitches thrown and not pitching when fatigued. “The best computer we have is right here,” Fleisig told me, pointing to his head. — Christie Aschwanden Saturday, Feb. 28 4:05 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, 11:20 a.m. Friday, Feb 27, 12:21 p.m.The Panel: “Valuing Franchises: How Sports Teams Break the DCF”The Panelists: Lyle Ayes, Aswath Damodaran, Joe McNulty, Randy Vataha, Abe Madkour (moderator)The recent sales of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Clippers for over $2 billion have opened up a new paradigm in sports franchise valuations. As shocking as the price of those transactions may have been, the mood at this Sloan panel was buoyant. In fact, panelists seemed to be most worried about prices getting so high that billionaires would be priced out of the market. As Lyle Ayes, managing director of the investment bank Evercore’s sports advisory practice said, “how many people can pay $4 billion for an asset?”Panelists thought the seemingly inexorable rise in franchise valuations was driven by the increasing value of media and content rights. Aswath Damodaran, an NYU professor who focuses on valuation (and FiveThirtyEight contributor), commented that across the entertainment industry, owning content is becoming king. Ayes cited the NBA’s massive new TV deal as evidence of this trend. He noted that advertisers put a large premium on live content like sports because viewers are relatively captive during the event. Interestingly, none of the panel members thought that a team’s performance had a large impact on valuation. The most important factor, according to the panel, was metro area population and GDP. The New York Knicks can command significantly more from their local TV rights for bad basketball than the San Antonio Spurs can command for good.Despite the increase in the real earnings of teams as media deals improve, panelists (with the exception of Ayes), broadly agreed that sports franchises still do not make sense as actual businesses. While they are relatively low-risk and uncorrelated with other potential investments, almost any analysis of the current cash flows — or lack thereof — will not find them to be great investments. As Damodaran noted, the supply of franchises is relatively fixed, while demand has been growing. The panelists did not see this dynamic changing any time soon. — John Ezekowitz Friday, Feb 27, 2:20 p.m.The panel: “Basketball Analytics: Push the Tempo”The panelists: Shane Battier, Mike Zarren, Sue Bird, Mike D’Antoni, Pablo TorreAre basketball teams now so saturated with data and analytics that it’s hard to use them for a competitive advantage?Mike Zarren, assistant general manager for the Boston Celtics, raised an interesting point about what qualifies as analytics in an analytics age. “If I know how well a player slept last night, is that analytics?” The breadth of topics discussed — injuries, biometrics, pace, traditional positions, rest, incentives, shot selection, team chemistry — reveal what a truly broad spectrum of questions and answers fall under the umbrella of basketball analytics. However the field is defined, it all serves the same master: talent. Shane Battier, the poster boy for the adoption of analytic ideas at the player level, summed up the mission perfectly: “It’s about creating space to allow talent to do what they do.”Zarren returned to a well-worn focus at this conference — communication of insights — and defended that arena as the place where a competitive advantage still exists: “You have to use it, it has to affect the decisions you make. I don’t think there is a saturation of that yet.” — Ian Levy Friday, Feb 27, 10:40 a.m.The panel: “Innovators and Adopters”The panelists: Shane Battier, Michael Lewis, Daryl Morey, Jeff Van Gundy and Jackie MacMullanPity Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant. Out for the season with injuries after performances well below their high standards, they’re now punching bags in Boston, at least according to the first session of the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on Friday.The other panelists treated the retired Battier more or less as Lewis depicted him in a New York Times Magazine article in 2009: the platonic ideal of the intelligent NBA player, one who incorporates insights from advanced statistical analysis to optimize his game for team success. (Battier initially resisted that framing, saying “it was about winning,” before eventually letting on that yeah, he was a pretty smart player.) LeBron James, with whom Battier won two titles in Miami, was the more typical player, open to occasional tastes of analytics-based tips.Anthony and Bryant, though, were depicted as the anti-Battiers, in a question by moderator MacMullan (who, like Battier, works for ESPN, which owns this website and sponsors Sloan). MacMullan noted their selfishness and focus on scoring over other ways of contributing to their teams. (To which my boss, Nate Silver, would respond that Anthony’s shooting makes his teammates better.) Battier made clear how much he relished having those two stars as foils, learning their tendencies so that he could neutralize their strengths when playing defense. MacMullan pointed out that Battier blocked more of their shots than any other player’s. Anthony also topped the Battier leaderboards for balls stolen and offensive fouls drawn. And the pair led another personal leaderboard Battier innovated: They gave him the most “looks of disdain” when they found out he’d be guarding them. — Carl Bialik Friday, Feb 27, 4:35 p.m.At last year’s Sloan conference, Dean Oliver was our ESPN colleague, leading analytics at the Stats & Info Group. This year, he’s here as the Sacramento Kings’ director of player personnel and analytics. I spotted him Friday huddled with a few of his peers from other NBA franchises. Oliver has been in the sports analytics business for three decades, and has seen it grow from a field wrestling with a lack of data to one with more data than it knows what to do with. He spoke with me about the similarities in working for teams and working for sports media, and about what it takes for a franchise to succeed at using analytics. — Carl Bialik Friday, Feb. 27, 6:10 p.m.Walking into a conference at Sloan today I walked by yet another guy in a sports coat — and then did a double take, because this guy’s blazer sleeves were rolled up…and he was a 13 year-old. There are some teenagers running around Sloan but none looked younger than Sam Hafetz and his friends, Manu Hurskovitz, 14, and Jonah White, 14. After calling their parents for permission (hi, Mr. Hurskovitz!), I dragged them to our podcast table. There, Jody Avirgan asked what brought them to Sloan (it’s their second year attending), why they love sports analytics, and what they’d do if they became GMs of the Celtics. — Chadwick MatlinAudio Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/kidsatsloan.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Friday, Feb. 27, 4:43 p.m.The panel: “Commissioner’s Perspective: Growing Soccer with Don Garber”The panelists: Don Garber, Grant WahlMLB and MLS share two letters and the pickle of how to balance tradition and innovation. Baseball’s struggle comes from within, as Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred showed earlier Friday. Major League Soccer isn’t as conflicted about changing rules and trying new technologies, MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. Its burden, unlike MLB’s, is its peripheral place in a global game.Garber said he wanted goal-line review technology, extra time put on scoreboards (instead of only a ref with a “Timex that probably cost 20 bucks” knowing how much time remains) and a whole lot more. “If I were king, we would have instant replay, we would have cameras on our players, we would be putting them on goalposts.” He’d put a microphone on the field. Players would wear GoPro cameras. He watched hockey players wear GoPros at the NHL All-Star Game and thought it was cool.But Garber can’t have all those things. Other sports’ U.S. pro leagues just need to get the owners to agree, but MLS needs the approval of IFAB, the International Football Association Board — or, as Garber called it, the International Federation of Somebody Who Has Something To Do With the Rules That’s Not Me. Garber’s message to IFAB: “Let us be the Guinea pigs.” He worries that the world’s most popular sport could lose its lead “just because of our structure. We should be able to use the power of our influence to lead.” — Carl Bialik Saturday, Feb. 28, 9:50 a.m.There are bold-faced names headlining the ninth annual Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, sure. But for academics like myself the real action is in the research paper contest, where academics and researchers are hoping to create the kinds of insights that the bold-faced names one day treat as gospel. For these researchers, Sloan marks the culmination of what can be more than a year’s worth of work. The stakes are high: top prize is $20,000, with second place worth $10,000. For some of the PhD students submitting papers, that may equal their annual salary.But until now, the mechanics of how this contest is judged have largely been cloudy (see an overview of the 2015 contest here, or my personal experience submitting a paper to the 2014 contest here). On Friday, conference co-lead Paul Campbell helped clarify how Sloan makes its picks. “We try to be consistent about what we solicit,” said Campbell. “We kind of have our perspective on the validity of the method, and making sure that the academic and mathematical rigor is there. Also, do the results make sense?”The 2015 research paper contest began back in September, when Campbell and this year’s judging committee, comprised of various MIT student organizers and academic advisers, received 189 abstracts. Of that total, 68 were invited to turn in a formal paper for submission in mid-December. Paper submissions were placed into one of four tracks: basketball, baseball, other sports or the business of sport. The top two submitted papers from each track were given the opportunity to present at this year’s conference. In addition, 11 papers were given a poster in the halls of the convention center.Each of the eight finalists were allotted a 20-minute presentation on Friday. The judging committee identified the top presentation in each of the four categories based on a 50-50 split of the presentation itself and the originating paper.“We have an idea of what the best analytically rigorous paper is, but we want to see if it is presented well. It’s an equal weighting with [the presentation] and the paper,” said Campbell. The four papers still in the running for the top prize, are:Baseball: Who is Responsible for a Called Strike? by Joe Rosales and Scott SprattBasketball: Counterpoints: Advanced Defensive Metrics for NBA Basketball by Alexander Franks, Andrew Miller, Luke Bornn and Kirk GoldsberryOther Sports: Assessing the productivity of NHL players using in-game win probabilities by Stephen PettigrewBusiness of Sports: Diamonds on the Line: Profits Through Investment Gaming by Clayton Graham.Those four finalists are given an additional 10 minutes with which to make their case, this time in front of a larger and more general audience, including Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey and FiveThirtyEight’s own Nate Silver.Those judges, according to Campbell, are asked to judge by something different than the last committee. “Which of these [papers] seems like the most applicable or potentially transformative within the industry?” $20,000 rides on the answer. — Mike Lopez Saturday, Feb. 28, 1:46 p.m.The panel: “Beating the Shift: Baseball Analytics in the Age of Big Data”The panelists: Sandy Alderson, Dan Brooks, Dave Cameron, Ben Lindbergh, Jonah KeriSloan’s flagship baseball panel largely focused on teams’ reactions to sabermetric findings. Alderson, the general manager of the New York Mets, spoke about the proliferation of defensive shifts, and how it has led to changes in the way certain players are valued — specifically right-handed power hitters.Along the same lines, no discussion of baseball analytics would be complete without some mention of strike zone analysis and catcher pitch-framing metrics. Despite the volume of research on the subject in recent years, the consensus of the group was that the market may still not be properly valuing catchers who “steal” strikes on the edge of the strike zone at a higher rate than their peers. Then again, part of that may relate to a theory that pitch-framing is a taught skill. (We’d have liked to hear more thoughts about how umpires doing better at calling an accurate strike zone has led to baseball’s aforementioned drop in run-scoring.)Finally, Keri asked the panel their thoughts about wins above replacement (WAR). The panel agreed WAR was a valuable framework, even if its individual parts can always stand to be improved. For his part, Alderson confirmed that teams use at least some version of it, even with its imperfections, because the idea of creating a cumulative statistic is appealing. — Harry Enten and Neil Paine FiveThirtyEight’s delegation made the pilgrimage to this year’s Sloan conference, a kind of mecca for anyone who’s obsessed with sports, data and retelling how they first felt when they read “Moneyball.” We updated all of Friday and Saturday from Boston, where Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and our own Nate Silver roamed the halls. Read on for highlights from the weekend. CORRECTION (Feb 28, 9:47 a.m.): A previous version of this article misstated the ages of Sam Hafetz and Jonah White.
The No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes (6-0) will open divisional play this weekend, when they travel to Bloomington, Ind., to face the Indiana Hoosiers (2-3). First-year coach Urban Meyer talked about the upcoming challenge the Hoosiers might present, last weekend’s game against Nebraska and recruiting at the weekly Big Ten football coaches’ teleconference Tuesday. Looking past the Hoosiers? After back-to-back wins against ranked opponents, including a 63-38 drubbing of then-No. 21 Nebraska last weekend, the Buckeyes seem to be a confident bunch. But are they too confident? Meyer said it’s important for his team to realize there is plenty of football to be played before they can be considered a great team. “These kids are 6-0 and a lot of people are telling them how good they are,” Meyer said. “Quite honestly, we have a long way to go.” It is something that, arguably, happens every year in college football. Teams can win a big game against a ranked team, ride that high all week, and then lose to an inferior opponent that they underestimate a week later. Meyer said, however, that he is not concerned with his team’s focus as they prepare for an Indiana team that has lost its last three games. “We’re not at the point that we can start overlooking anybody,” Meyer said. “I’m concerned about execution and stopping them, not overlooking them.” Last week’s win bodes well for the future Last Saturday’s win against Nebraska could have major implications on the OSU football program for years to come. Meyer wasn’t able to give an exact number of recruits in attendance, but said that “there were a lot” of prospective Buckeyes in the Horseshoe last Saturday. Meyer also said the atmosphere in the stadium during the Buckeyes’ blowout left an impression of some of the nation’s elite high school prospects. “It’s a little risky sometimes to have a bunch of recruits come in on a big game, because if you fail and you lose, it’s miserable,” Meyer said. “The atmosphere was tremendous. The way we won in the second half, that was very critical for recruiting.” Miller, the Heisman Hopeful? As one of college football’s leaders in rushing yards per game, and the quarterback of the Big Ten’s only unbeaten team, sophomore Braxton Miller is gaining hype as a Heisman Trophy contender. “He’s one of the best players in the college game,” said Indiana coach Kevin Wilson. Wilson did say that, “there are better players out there,” but pointed out that the sophomore quarterback will only improve as he grows into Meyer’s system. “He’s young,” Wilson said. “Knowing a little bit about him, and knowing the coach that he’s got, he will get better and better. You’re not seeing the best of him.” A key component in winning the Heisman Trophy is having big games on big stages against ranked opponents. Miller might have done that last Saturday, rushing for a career-high 186 yards and scoring two touchdowns in a win against Nebraska. Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, however, was not willing to anoint Miller as a favorite for college football’s most prestigious individual award. “That’s up to you guys,” Pelini said.
How crazy would it have sounded if, before the recession hit, Time Inc., Conde Nast, Hearst and Meredith all joined together to create a digital distribution platform to develop a proprietary content format and service eReaders?How about creating an ad network? Up to now, publishers were leveraging and/or creating their own vertical networks. Martha Stewart Living, Meredith and Forbes were all creating them. Now, there’s some background chatter about the formation of a multi-publisher ad network. AdAge reported on it, and PaidContent threw a wet blanket on the concept.And then there’s Time Inc.’s year-old Maghound, which offers custom subscription packages to a variety of publications from different publishers. 413,000 issues have been shipped so far, and Maghound’s president Dave Ventresca told attendees at MPA’s Innovation Summit this month that as the service moves out of its proof of concept stage, it will begin a more robust marketing campaign for all participating publisher titles, not just the Time Inc. ones.Most recently, 15 British publishers formed a venture to promote their thinking person’s magazines that apparently get lost in the crush of titles dealing with less weighty topics.On a smaller publisher scale, but by no means tiny, Mother Jones is leading the formation of a journalistic co-op to tackle, in an investigative format, climate change—several magazines are sharing reporting resources. AdAge’s Simon Dumenco spoke with MoJo co-editor Clara Jeffery about the project and her comments about the partnership can be applied to any area of the publishing business.”We have complementary audiences, but even the biggest players seem to think they can benefit from having their work introduced to the core audiences of the other partners,” she told Dumenco.And, above all, it’s the quickly-changing media world that’s driving publishers to seek out ideas and and potential partners: “Secondly, everybody is really eager to use this as a way to test-drive collaborations, which everybody sees as a vital part of the emerging media landscape. On that front, we’ll likely learn as much from what doesn’t work as what does.” Where smaller publishers—from b-to-b to consumer enthusiast—form consortiums to attain economies of scale for materials and production services like printing, paper buying and distribution, the mass consumer publishers are setting aside their historically fierce competitiveness to tackle mass problems. Across-the-board ad page and revenue drops, online-sourced subscriptions, pay wall models, and digital content formats and distribution are some of the latest battles that big consumer publishers think can be won through solidarity.It’s an interesting concept that can be traced back to then Hachette CEO Jack Kliger’s outspoken calls for pre-recession unity to revolutionize rate base—magazines needed to stop competing with each other, come together as a platform and compete with TV, the Internet and radio. “Circulation-based metrics are irrelevant to proving advertising effectiveness,” he told an AMC audience in 2005.Now, sick of feeling the sting from getting spanked by “aggregators,” “plagiarists,” and “content kleptomaniacs,” as Ruport Murdoch put it at a recent event in Beijing where he and the AP’s CEO Tom Curley continued their rant against Google et al, big publishers are joining together to ostensibly regain—or actually gain—control of how their content and advertising models are consumed.