Ryan Howards Career Is Dead The Shift Killed It

Ryan Howards Career Is Dead The Shift Killed It

Batting average.424.282 Average SLG.553.361 That stubbornness proved to be Howard’s downfall. Against the shift, Howard posted a batting average of .282 and slugged .361, good for a weighted runs created plus that was 29 percent worse than average. When he wasn’t staring down the shift, Howard was a fearsome hitter with a .424 batting average, a .553 slugging percentage and a wRC+ 62 percent better than average (that wRC+ is identical to the one he posted in 2006, his MVP year).The trouble for Howard was that the no-shift version of him seldom got a chance to shine, because teams almost always shifted against him. From 2010 (the first year for which we have shift data) to 2016, Howard had only 224 plate appearances where he did not face the shift, compared to 1699 with it on. Every team that adopted the shift started off by employing it against big, slow, pull-happy hitters like Howard. As a result, Howard saw more shifts than anyone except David Ortiz, another hitter with the same weaknesses.Ortiz made an effort to adapt; Howard kept plugging away the way he always had. In the first eight years of his MLB career, Howard produced 21.6 wins above replacement.2Using the FanGraphs version of that stat. Over his final five seasons — a period during which use of the defensive shift increased exponentially — Howard was worth an astonishing 2.2 wins below replacement. Injuries also limited his productivity, but even when he was healthy, he was ineffective. As a slow, defensively-challenged first baseman, he relied on his bat to be useful. When the shift neutralized Howard’s hitting, he lost his value to a major league roster.We can never know the true toll the shift exacted on Howard’s production, but we can estimate it: I asked the makers of a simulation game called Out Of The Park Baseball to create a version of MLB without the shift. (Just imagine a universe in which baseball commissioner Rob Manfred managed to outlaw the tactic.) Then I had them replay Howard’s career three times, starting from 2009,3Howard’s last great real-life season. to get a range of outcomes for his final résumé.In a league without shifts, Howard is a completely different player. In the three simulations, Howard finished with an average career batting line of .272/.355/.527, far better than his actual career numbers of .258/.343/.515. Of course, league-wide run-scoring is generally a bit higher4About 3-7 percent. in the shift-free game, but even after adjusting for a higher offensive baseline, Howard racked up an on-base plus slugging percentage that was 40 percent better than league average. In the simulations, that offensive production won him between one and five more All-Star selections.In this world, Howard’s gaudy offensive stats and numerous league-leading totals make him a bona fide Hall of Fame candidate. In order to estimate his chances, I used the same logistic regression model I employed to look at David Ortiz’s case last year, using a player’s Jaffe WAR Score system (JAWS) rating5A method, developed by sabermetrician Jay Jaffe, that tries to balance a player’s career and peak wins above replacement when assessing his career. to predict his odds of Hall of Fame induction. Each of the three hypothetical Howards had between a 10 and 55 percent chance of achieving baseball’s highest honor: Ryan Howard with and without the shift, 2010-16 Average wRC+16271 NO SHIFTSHIFT Runs above average+17.1-52.4 Runs above average totals all the runs a player’s hitting generated relative to an average player who had the same number of plate appearances. Shift data is tracked only on balls in play.Source: Fangraphs It wasn’t too long ago that former Phillies great Ryan Howard was a fixture in MVP discussions, atop league leaderboards and on lists of the game’s most marketable stars. But the slugger’s once-promising career is all but over now, after the Atlanta Braves released him in early May.1Howard’s slash line with the Braves’ Triple-A affiliate was tragic: .184/.238/.263.On the surface, Howard’s fall doesn’t seem completely atypical of a plodding slugger. But his abrupt decline had less to do with aging or ineffectiveness than it did a specific tactic sweeping through baseball during the back half of his career. The defensive shift ended Howard’s career, and it might have cost him a shot at the Hall of Fame as well.When the shift is on, defenders move from one side of the infield to the other to give themselves a better chance at cutting off batted balls from hitters who consistently drive the ball in one direction. Howard was a great candidate for the maneuver because he pulled groundballs 66.5 percent of the time, compared to this year’s league average of 53.8. While some hitters try to overcome the shift with well-timed bunts or tactical changes, Howard always stubbornly refused. “All you can do is continue to swing,” Howard said in a 2015 interview with MLB.com. So even in a world without the shift, Howard was hardly a lock for Cooperstown. But like Ortiz, he could have benefited from some hallmark achievements and postseason success. For example, in one of the simulations, Howard hit 547 homers — only 10 first basemen have ever passed the 500 home run mark, and seven of them are either already in the Hall or likely to make it there. In that same universe, Howard’s Phillies won two more championships as he racked up multiple playoff series MVPs, no doubt earning a reputation as a postseason hero. In that world, it’s hard to imagine how Howard doesn’t make the Hall of Fame.Nothing is certain in baseball, not even in simulations of it. Without the shift, maybe Howard’s knees would still have given out, or maybe pitchers would have found another way to frustrate him. (Then again, maybe not having to worry about the shift would free Howard up to improve his offense even more, allowing him to finish his career more like Jim Thome or David Ortiz.) Either way, a world without the newest defensive tactics would have at least given the big slugger a chance at Cooperstown, which is more than most players can boast.But although Howard succumbed to the shift, his demise also tells us about the future of the tactic — and why its effectiveness might eventually tail off. When modern teams first started realigning the infield, there were plenty of obvious candidates who would be vulnerable to its effects. But as players like Howard get pushed out of the league by the shift, there will be fewer and fewer hitters on whom it can be used so effectively. Eventually, the rewards of slick defensive positioning will shrink; like most tactics in baseball, the shift will have diminishing returns.Had Howard’s career started a decade later, he might have had to cope with the shift in the minors and found a way to adapt. As it was, he came up as the shift was rising, and it probably cost him a long career and a chance at the Hall of Fame.CLARIFICATION (June 6, 6:20 p.m.): Shift data is tracked only on balls in play. The table has been updated to include this information, which was previously omitted. read more

Even After the First Round We Wont Know Much About Who Will

Even After the First Round We Wont Know Much About Who Will

Bill Haas shot a 68 in the first round of the Masters on Thursday, grabbing a one-stroke lead over a trio of former major championship winners: Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen and Bubba Watson. But how likely is an early lead at Augusta to hold up?For leaders after a single round, not very. I gathered data from Yahoo’s golf scoreboard for every Masters since 2002, when the website started listing round-by-round scores for every player in the field (including those who missed the cut). After feeding the data into a logistic regression predicting the eventual winner, I found that a player’s first-round score isn’t necessarily the deciding factor in whether he can make a run for the green jacket. Instead, it’s all about how many players are in front of him. And even then, there are no guarantees after just one round of play.Obviously, no players are starting the second round in front of Haas. Based on the regression model, that gives him an 8.6 percent probability of winning the tournament come Sunday afternoon. Scott, Oosthuizen and Watson have only Haas in front of them, so their probabilities are about 7.7 percent apiece. But even someone like pre-tournament co-favorite Rory McIlroy, who finished the first round with 11 players ahead of him, still has a 2.4 percent chance of winning — not too much lower than Haas’.Here are the odds of winning based on the number of competitors a player trails after one round:As we move into the weekend, things will start to become clearer.I ran another regression, this time looking to predict the eventual Masters winner based on the scoreboard after the second round. Once again, a player’s score (relative to the leader, the field average, or the field median) doesn’t have much bearing on his probability of winning the tournament. But the number of players between him and the top slot means a great deal. The leader after two rounds has a 17.5 percent probability of winning, more than double the leader’s expected chance of winning after only one round.More important, the number of remotely plausible winners is cut drastically after two rounds. Look how much more steeply the probability curve drops off based on how many people are in front a golfer after the second round ends:After one round, as many as 40 players had a nonzero probability of eventually winning the tournament (although, granted, the majority at this right tail of the distribution was extreme long shots). After the second round, only 20 have a nonzero probability of winning.Still, it’s important to keep in mind that the leader through two rounds still has less than a one-in-five chance of winning. In other words, while these early rounds certainly matter, when play ends Friday evening we still won’t have much of an inkling about exactly which player will be the eventual winner.But we will have a pretty good idea of the general group of players from which the victor will emerge. There’s better than a 73 percent chance he’ll be in the top 10 after the second round ends, and roughly a 50 percent probability that he’ll be in the top four. Golfers have mounted charges from deeper in the pack than that, but the odds are good that the green jacket will go to somebody near the top of the scoreboard Friday. read more

The Triple Crown Slump Is Even Slumpier Than You Think

The Triple Crown Slump Is Even Slumpier Than You Think

On Saturday, California Chrome became the 34th horse to win the Preakness Stakes and Kentucky Derby, and thus the 34th horse with a chance to complete the Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes, to be held June 7. Of the 33 previous horses that had such an opportunity, 11 succeeded — from Sir Barton in 1919 to Affirmed in 1978.The last 12 horses to win the Derby and the Preakness have failed to complete the Triple Crown, which has a historical success rate of 33 percent. The current slump is unlikely: The odds of it happening by chance are about 1 in 130 — nearly the same as the 2011 Atlanta Braves failing to make Major League Baseball’s playoffs with 18 games remaining and an 8.5-game lead for the wild card.Another way to assess the likelihood of the slump is to use the historical odds at the time each race occurred. For example, in 1979, when Spectacular Bid entered the Belmont with the Triple Crown at stake, about 52 percent (11/21) of such attempts had succeeded. The success rate for horses when Pleasant Colony entered the Belmont in 1981 was 50 percent (11/22). And before Alysheba’s attempt in 1987, it was 48 percent (11/23), and so on. (The results for this approach are below.)But the 12 races in question aren’t the only Triple Crown attempts to fall short: They’re the only ones we knew about at the time. What if time weren’t a constraint?In order, the Triple Crown races go, the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Let’s ignore order. Since 1979, there have been five horses that won the Preakness and Belmont but came up short in the Derby — let’s call these failed “reverse” attempts. There have been two horses that won the Derby and the Belmont but not the Preakness — let’s call these failed “gutshot” attempts. (All seven horses ran in all three events.) This brings our total failed Triple Crown attempts since 1979 to 19.Between 1919 and 1978, horses actually converted atemporal Triple Crown attempts at a higher rate than temporal ones, winning their “final” leg in 55 percent of opportunities (33/60) versus 52 percent in the Belmont alone.Here are year-by-year cumulative odds for the temporal and atemporal slumps:Note that I used a logarithmic scale on the y-axis, so each gridline represents the event being 10 times less likely than the gridline below. From this perspective, the atemporal Triple Crown slump looks spectacular.If you think those figures seem ridiculous, let’s look at the odds posted by the favorites at the Belmont each year.The odds of all 11 horses that raced in the Belmont losing at their race odds (by chance) are only 1 in 20,000 —  about the odds of a random pitcher throwing a perfect game on a given night (and that’s not counting I’ll Have Another, who in 2012 was 4:5 to win but scratched on race day).Although historically comparable pari-mutuel odds won’t be available until the Wednesday before the Belmont, various online/offshore futures markets list California Chrome at close to even money.This seems high relative to the overall Belmont conversion rate of 33 percent (much less the dismal rate in recent years), but there’s good news for California Chrome in our analysis as well. Factoring in atemporal Triple Crown attempts significantly increases the chances that the present slump has a legitimate cause, but it also mitigates the slump’s impact on the historical record. Including our 19 failed attempts since 1979, horses have converted 42 percent (33 of 79) of such opportunities. read more

The Biggest Surprises Of WildCard Weekend

The Biggest Surprises Of WildCard Weekend

For all the effort that’s gone into developing sophisticated statistical measurements of football, it remains a highly unpredictable sport. As my buddy Chase Stuart once wrote about the NFL, “we don’t know anything and we never will.” And yet, while we may not know anything for certain, we’ve learned enough that from week to week, we can make sense of some of the chaos (though not all).With that in mind, let’s take a look at what transpired over wild-card weekend. How much did it differ from what the advanced stats would have predicted before the game? Some outcomes were easy to see coming; others illustrated just how little we can predict about a single NFL game.What the stats saw comingThe Chiefs ran the ball all over the Texans. KC came into its game against Houston with the league’s top rushing attack according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric, and the Texans boasted a decent but not great rushing D during the regular season. So it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise that the Chiefs ran for 141 yards during their 30-0 annihilation of the Texans. The Chiefs destroyed Houston on special teams. Special teams play is notoriously difficult to predict — and that’s at the season level, let alone in a single game. So although the league-worst Texans specialists were facing the seventh-ranked Chiefs, that should have granted only a razor-thin edge to KC. Instead, Kansas City’s special teams were worth almost a full touchdown by EPA on Saturday, giving KC the 18th-best playoff special teams performance of the past decade. KC’s passing game was good, not great. As well as Kansas City played in other phases of the game, its passing attack was not the most crucial element of its win. Alex Smith averaged 5.9 adjusted net yards per attempt against a team that allowed 5.4 during the regular season, so the Chiefs pretty much passed to expectations, despite the lopsided win. Minnesota’s run defense stuffed Seattle. The Seahawks get a little leeway here because they were playing on the road, in frigid conditions, with neither Thomas Rawls nor Marshawn Lynch. But they also had the NFL’s fourth-best rushing DVOA during the regular season — with a lot of the way paved by their offensive line — and they were facing a Vikings team that ranked 18th in rush defense. So it was extremely unlikely that they’d be held to 3.5 yards per carry and -5.9 expected points on the ground Sunday. Cincinnati’s special teams played well. The Bengals lost in excruciating fashion, but you can’t blame the special teams, which outplayed their Steeler counterparts by 1.2 expected points added (EPA) in the game. During the regular season, Cincy ranked ninth in special teams DVOA while Pittsburgh was dead-average — so in at least one regard, the game played out exactly as expected.The biggest surprisesHouston’s passing was horrific. The Texans ranked 22nd in passing DVOA during the regular season and the Chiefs had the NFL’s fifth-best defense against the pass, so this matchup looked lopsided before the opening toss. But Houston’s quarterback was Brian Hoyer, who had more passing success than the other three QBs the team used during the regular season. The hope was that the Texans would outplay their regular-season numbers; instead, Hoyer had the fourth-worst passing game in postseason history, an outcome no metric could have predicted. The Packers’ ground game delivered against Washington. For all the pregame chatter about Green Bay’s offensive struggles of late, the Pack ranked 10th in rushing efficiency during the regular season, closing the year with 100 or more yards in three of its final four games. Helping matters, Washington was the 11th-worst rushing D in football by DVOA. Sure enough, after 141 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the ground, Green Bay had run its way into the divisional round. Cincinnati’s passing game struggled badly. This comes with an injury-related asterisk as well: Cincinnati had the league’s best passing offense during the regular season, but most of that was done before quarterback Andy Dalton was injured. However, backup QB AJ McCarron had been doing a reasonable impersonation of Dalton down the regular-season stretch, and on Saturday, he was going up against an average Steeler pass D. If McCarron hadn’t helped Cincinnati post the 34th-worst playoff passing game of the past decade by EPA, Cincinnati’s defense wouldn’t have been put in a position to hold a 1-point lead on the game’s fateful final drive.One final note: These unlikely performances are also the most valuable. Of the 10 cases this weekend where a team added 5 or more expected points in a single phase of the game, all had less than a 30 percent probability of happening based on the teams’ regular-season numbers. Eight had a 15 percent chance or less of occurring; four had a 10 percent probability or less. Some of this can be attributed to randomness and game-to-game volatility, and some is due to individual matchups and planning.In other words, the performances that fuel victory are often also the toughest to see coming. And with the playoff field’s Super Bowl odds becoming more tightly bunched than ever this weekend, don’t expect that to change anytime soon.Read more: After Wild-Card Weekend, There Is No Super Bowl Favorite read more

Northern Iowa Played Two Of The Tournaments Most Exciting Games

Northern Iowa Played Two Of The Tournaments Most Exciting Games

Texas A&M’s comeback against Northern Iowa was pretty epic — like, 3,000-to-1 odds against epic. In this video, Neil Paine and Reuben Fischer-Baum talk about how FiveThirtyEight’s in-game win probability model saw the game unfolding and where it ranked according to our excitement index. They then settle last week’s wager about who could predict the most exciting games of the tournament’s first two rounds.Check out FiveThirtyEight’s 2016 March Madness Predictions.

Even The Orioles Have A Shot In The AL East

Even The Orioles Have A Shot In The AL East

Ben Lindbergh joins the Hot Takedown podcast to preview the 2016 MLB season. neil (Neil Paine, senior sportswriter): All right — the AL East is perennially one of the most competitive divisions in baseball, but the balance of power has shifted a bit away from the classic Yankees-Red Sox rivalry in recent years. Do we think that will persist this year with Toronto winning again, or do we have reason to think New York and especially Boston will return to their former glories?dszymborski: Well, both teams have a plausible case to contention, though either could come off the rails very quickly. I think it’s truer than ever that there are no great AL East teams or even any great AL teams, period.emmaspan: I’d agree with Dan that the AL East is pretty wide open. It wouldn’t shock me to see any of these teams squeak into a wild-card spot. And I believe SI’s preseason predictions for the AL East last year ended up being an exact inversion of the final standings. So everyone should definitely listen to me.dszymborski: The nice thing about the “all teams are plausible!” prediction is that people end up having to be less specific in their anger at me by the time the season ends.emmaspan: I think Boston will be pretty good this year, although to be fair, I also thought that last year, and, well. But I think the race is likelier to be between the Red Sox and the Blue Jays than the Yankees. All three of those teams have a lot of question marks in their rotations, but I think the Sox and Jays have lineups that can cover for a lot of that, and I’m not sure I’d say the same for New York. A FiveThirtyEight Chat emmaspan: Oh my gosh. I changed my mind: Orioles are going all the way this year. neil: So, to recap: slight edge to the Jays, but maybe the Red Sox, Yankees or even the Rays … And the Orioles will either finish last or recapture the spirit of ’89 in song and performance.emmaspan: That about sums it up on my end.dszymborski: Seems like a reasonable wrapup. And hi, Nate. I see you typing.natesilver (Nate Silver, editor in chief): Thanks, Dan and Emma!emmaspan: Hi Nate! [waves]natesilver: Was gonna say that we really need to work on an oral history of the 1991 Detroit Tigers: Tettleton + Fielder + Deer + Incaviglia = AWESOME.neil: Save it for the AL Central chat, Nate. :)emmaspan: And don’t give me any ideas you don’t want me to steal. dszymborski: I know the whole “Why Not?” song. I had the 1989 team video on VHS. It also included a Mickey Tettleton version of “I Love Mickey.” Boston Red Soxneil: You guys sound high on the Red Sox, despite the last-place finish a year ago. How much of that is the offseason additions (David Price, Craig Kimbrel, etc.) and how much is simply the guys who had down seasons a year ago bouncing back in some way, shape or form?dszymborski: I’m slightly higher on them than the Yankees. I actually picked them as very slight division favorites, but a lot can still go wrong.emmaspan: The latter, for me — the Red Sox played much better the second half of last year than the first. It looked like things were starting to come together. And any time you can add a durable (so far) ace like Price, it’s a big boost.dszymborski: Hard to go wrong signing David Price!emmaspan: I don’t think Hanley Ramirez or Pablo Sandoval will necessarily return to form, but if they can just be decent, there’s still a lot to like in that lineup.dszymborski: Ramirez at least seems to have more buy-in about playing first base. I urged people not to overrate how good he’d be in left field, but I didn’t see that disaster coming. I’m less optimistic on Sandoval. It was such a strange pair of signings. Third base was the logical reason to sign either Hanley or Sandoval going into last winter, but then they signed both.emmaspan: I wouldn’t say I’m optimistic about Sandoval, either, but last year was his worst ever and he’s still only 29, so I don’t think a return to (at least) mediocrity is out of the question. But yeah, those were strange moves even at the time. Personally, I will miss the sheer adventure of Hanley in left. A real adrenaline rush.dszymborski: I think the GM change is good for the Red Sox not just because of any managerial issue, just because it’s easier to walk away from various Sandoval/Ramirez experiments if they go poorly. Dave Dombrowski has nothing personally invested in Sandoval’s contract working out.emmaspan: That “if” is very generous of you.dszymborski: I’m a sunny optimist.neil: Yeah, I wanted to ask about the regime change there — Dombrowski is demonstrably one of the best GMs in baseball, but what is he going to do to succeed where Ben Cherington failed? And what do we make of that story where John Henry backed away from sabermetrics a bit as a guiding strategy?emmaspan: We’ll obviously have to see how it plays out, but I think the John Henry quotes got a little overblown — I think what he was saying is that they want to use a good mixture of analytics and scouting, which at this point is hardly controversial. Or shouldn’t be.dszymborski: Yeah. His comments also came at a slow time in the news cycle, so they got blown up a bit. Though Ruben Amaro and their “secret analytics” was highly entertaining for a few days.emmaspan: One of the most fun aspects of SI’s baseball season preview every year is we talk to a bunch of scouts, anonymously, about every team. They have some really fascinating (and funny) insights that you don’t get from even the best statistical analysis — but, of course, they also are spectacularly wrong sometimes. The Red Sox obviously did very well by sabermetrics and I don’t see them tossing it over the side. Almost all the best teams in baseball right now are teams that have done a good job balancing those perspectives.dszymborski: It used to be you had a serious divide between teams using data well and teams that don’t. That’s so much not the case these days.emmaspan: One thing to watch with Dombrowski is how much freedom he gets from ownership. That was an issue with Cherington, apparently, at several key points in his tenure.dszymborski: Yeah, he never really had the political capital that Theo Epstein did.emmaspan: You can be the best GM in the world, but if the owners insist that you hire Bobby Valentine, well …neil: Fair enough. So if Red Sox fans had any reason to panic, it should be more about maybe, say, the back end of that rotation than any grand shift in organization direction.emmaspan: Yes, although ownership meddling is something to be wary of in that and other areas.dszymborski: As organizations have more complex management structures and ownership groups continue to get more involved, I think chalking moves up to a specific GM isn’t as useful as it once was. New York Yankeesneil: All right, let’s move on to the Yankees. According to the numbers, at least, they might be the most underrated team in baseball — which I never thought I’d actually hear a Yankee team described as.dszymborski: One surprising — and positive — thing about New York is just how young its good pitching is. I do this thing called “contribution age,” in which I weight a team’s age by its projected WAR, and the Yankees actually have the second-youngest pitching staff based on where they’re getting the value from (slightly behind the Mets).emmaspan: Do you think those young guys are ready, Dan? Luis Severino did look really strong last year, but small sample size and all that.dszymborski: Oh, I’m frightened by the downside, but a lot of the contributions that they’re going to get will need to be from those young/youngish guys. I’m bullish on Severino especially, simply because he’s one of the few starters that actually has his arm completely intact.emmaspan: Speaking of which, I worry about Michael Pineda staying healthy. I mean, also every other pitcher in the league, but Pineda has a long list of injury issues.neil: Masahiro Tanaka, too, has his own injury history as well.emmaspan: A good chunk of the Yankees’ season probably hangs on Tanaka’s elbow, which is pretty precarious. And I think at CC Sabathia‘s age, it’s unlikely he’ll get back to his top form, which is too bad, because he was enormously fun to watch.dszymborski: He was one of the great hopes for the next 300-game winner for a while, too. Watching his ZiPS career projection for wins come down year after year is very depressing. It peaked at 274 five years ago. Now it’s down to 231.emmaspan: Aw, CC. At least it sounds like he’s in a good place off the field and that’s great.neil: But is it fair to say the Yankees will probably once again be somewhere between OK and pretty decent on both the runs scored and allowed fronts? That was their formula last season, but it fell short of what are always the ravenous expectations in the Bronx.dszymborski: That seems about right. It’s an old risky team that can still patch together enough of a run to remain solid.emmaspan: That’s what I think. Their lineup is still overly reliant on old (by baseball standards) players but they shored it up a bit this offseason. I think it’ll be serviceable, and like the last few years, probably enough to put them in contention for a wild card. Money can’t buy you a championship, but it can keep you from totally sucking.dszymborski: I find using “old” a more loaded term these days, given how quickly baseball is running out of players that are older than I am.emmaspan: You should love the Yankees, then, Dan. Speaking of old, I thought for sure A-Rod would be cooked last year, but he was one of their best players. Is there any way he manages that again?dszymborski: I think he could. The question before last year was whether, after injuries and missing a year, he’d be able to do it at all. That he did it once should make us slightly more optimistic.neil: A-Rod’s regression potential, though, is another limiting factor for that lineup that probably keeps them more “OK” than “great.”dszymborski: Some of the issues in the offense would look less urgent if not for the Greg Bird injury.emmaspan: Yeah, not a great idea to go in without a good Mark Teixeira backup plan.neil: And what do we make of this bullpen Death Star they’ve built when Aroldis Chapman returns from suspension?emmaspan: It could make up for some of those rotation question marks — you don’t need to rely on length from that group of starters. For me, it would be more fun to watch if their buy-low on Chapman while he was under investigation for domestic violence hadn’t been so discouraging. But yes, from a pure baseball perspective, it’ll still be a spectacle.One of the more impressive aspects of the Yankees’ recent history is that for all their issues, they’ve done a good job replacing Mariano Rivera, which is a tall order. None of these guys are Mo, don’t get me wrong, but the bullpen hasn’t really been one of their problems. Toronto Blue Jaysneil: Well, let’s talk about the team that won the division last year, the Blue Jays. They were arguably the best team in baseball last season (sorry, Royals), but neither FanGraphs nor Baseball Prospectus’s projections think they’re the frontrunners this season. What do we think? Was last year their peak, or can they be as good this time around?emmaspan: The Blue Jays are my pick to win the division this year. Like last year, their lineup should be terrifying, but their rotation is less steady than you’d like. They’ll miss David Price. But when you can outscore everyone on the planet like that, it makes up for a lot.dszymborski: I think they come back to earth a bit. Not a lot went wrong last year. They’ll score a ton of runs, but there’s certainly some downside risk there. Though they’re still competitive, like the rest of the AL East.emmaspan: Even assuming that Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion won’t all have 40-HR seasons like last year, they can still bludgeon a lot of pitchers. They should also have a full year of Marcus Stroman, which could be huge (though I do worry a little about putting so much pressure on a kid who only had five starts last year).I covered the Blue Jays in the playoffs last year, including that crazy ALDS Game 5, and it was something else. I actually might be overestimating them a little because of how insane that moment was.neil: It was an incredible moment. But at that stage of the season, they’d also been buoyed by deadline pickups (in addition to actually playing to their run differential). Do they need to go out and get pieces again?emmaspan: I think they need a pitcher. Though there probably won’t be another David Price lying around.dszymborski: And even if there was, trading for a second David Price is tough.emmaspan: Yes. And their new GM has expressed reluctance to make those huge moves, which I know has some Jays fans worried.dszymborski: Yeah, say that the Nats are terrible and Stephen Strasburg is available. That’s all well and good, but it will be harder for the Jays to come up with another trade package in 2016.emmaspan: But one other thing in their favor — their offense was that good without Troy Tulowitzki hitting very well. He’ll help their defense regardless, but if he can return to even kinda his usual form, that’s huge. Even if you don’t get another ace at the deadline, even just a solid mid-rotation guy can be enough when you score 18 runs per game. (Slight exaggeration.)neil: Only slight.emmaspan: They also could use another reliable bullpen arm or two, I think. That might be easier to come by.dszymborski: But they have the mid-rotation guys. It’s the ace-type that you can confidently start six times in the playoffs they don’t have.emmaspan: I think Stroman can be that guy, though they’ll want to watch his innings this year.dszymborski: It’s a lot to put on a guy who just came back from one injury.emmaspan: Also, I personally am ready for the R.A. Dickey renaissance. Is it likely? OK, no. But it would be wonderful and you never fucking know with knuckleballers. (Please feel free to edit out my profanity — I get very worked up about knuckleballs.)neil: Profanity is fine, but only in the context of knuckleball pitchers.dszymborski: Dickey hasn’t been disappointing even, just not super inspiring: a slightly above-average pitcher that never misses a start. He’s also only 41 — he can be around for another decade or so.emmaspan: Right, but I vividly remember his Cy Young season for the Mets. That was crazy fun.dszymborski: That mid-year stretch when nobody scored on him ever!emmaspan: And he had a few great starts last year, too, if I recall correctly. It’s still in there, somewhere, maybe!dszymborski: 2.80 second-half ERA!emmaspan: There you go. In my mind the AL Cy Young is already sewn up. Everyone else can go home.neil: You said it, Emma — you never (fucking) know with guys like that. But barring some kind of Dickey renaissance, the Jays’ only really question mark is the rotation, it seems. Emma said she’s picking Toronto as favorites; what say ye, Dan?dszymborski: Slightly picking Red Sox. But again, this is a year in which I can just project everybody to have a fun time.emmaspan: Red Sox were a close second for me. We pretty much agree, which means this is probably the Rays’ year. Tampa Bay Raysneil: Maybe the real wild card in this division (not literally the AL Wild Card, just the figure of speech — although maybe the literal Wild Card, too) is the Tampa Bay Rays. PECOTA is picking them to win the division, on the strength of a really outlier-ish fielding performance. What do you think? Are the Rays back?dszymborski: Yeah, ZiPS had the opposite: Rays at 80-82.neil: I think most other sources were more in line with ZiPS. Vegas pegged them with an over/under of 78 wins.emmaspan: I don’t think the Rays are back quite yet, but they’re better, and if a few things went right for them, the Wild Card is pretty realistic. I do think they’ll have good defense (Kevin Kiermaier by himself is basically a good defense), and potentially a strong rotation.dszymborski: Yeah, it could happen for sure. They’re a non-terrible team in a wide-open division.emmaspan: I just don’t see them hitting enough. But a few surprise performances and a couple of trades and who knows?dszymborski: You’re really seeing some of the effects of their recent drafts not bearing fruit yet. Only a single drafted Ray since David Price in 2007 has five WAR in the majors: Kiermaier.emmaspan: I’m pretty fascinated to see if Kiermaier’s insane defensive stats hold up. I mean, he’s obviously an excellent, excellent centerfielder — but worth five wins on defense alone?dszymborski: There’s gotta be some regression on that. Defensive stats are just so volatile. But even at +15, he’s a valuable player.emmaspan: Yeah, generally you take a single season of defensive stats with large grains of salt. That said, you watch him field, and he really is awesome. Obligatory plug — check out last week’s issue of SI for more on Kiermaier and his crazy centerfielding.dszymborski: I prefer “centerfieldery.” Sounds better after “feats of.”emmaspan: You’re right. Let’s go with “crazy feats of centerfieldery.” I won’t tell the SI copy desk if you don’t.neil: But it sounds like you both are somewhat skeptical of that +56 fielding runs above average PECOTA is spitting out for Tampa. Do they have much of a plausible path to the division crown if that doesn’t end up happening? Looking at the rest of their roster, it doesn’t seem like there’s enough else there.dszymborski: To establish +56 as a baseline, you gotta do it longer. (It’s like projecting Bonds in his 73-homer season. Even though he did hit 73, you probably shouldn’t have projected it beforehand.) And without that +56, it’s tougher for the Rays. But remember, I don’t see them being quite that good defensively and still think there’s a path — just not the most likely one.emmaspan: Right. I don’t think it’s likely but, again, it wouldn’t be shocking. Chris Archer is awesome. Matt Moore’s looked great. I think Drew Smyly can be good. Combine a really good rotation with very good fielding — even if it isn’t +56 fielding runs above average — and stranger things have happened.neil: In fairness, I should also say their catchers — specifically, Hank Conger and René Rivera — are really good framers. So some of that is being factored into PECOTA.emmaspan: Evan Longoria going back to his star levels would go a long way towards helping. I don’t know how likely that is. And even if it did, I still think they need a couple bats. But I don’t think they’re far away from contending.dszymborski: No, just need some things to go right. Like when you don’t want to do your homework and there’s a 40 percent chance of snow in the forecast. In honor of the 2016 Major League Baseball season, which starts Sunday, FiveThirtyEight is assembling some of our favorite baseball writers to chat about the year to come. Today, we focus on the American League East with Sports Illustrated senior editor Emma Span and ESPN analyst Dan Szymborski. The transcript below has been edited.Toronto Blue JaysBoston Red SoxNew York YankeesTampa Bay RaysBaltimore Orioles Baltimore Oriolesneil: You guys have just told me why any of the Jays, Red Sox, Yankees or Rays could win this division without anything too crazy happening. Does it stand to reason that Baltimore, who won this division as recently as two years ago, also fits that description?dszymborski: Pretty much. Although there’s something depressing about the fact that the Os had to increase their payroll to $150 million just to essentially maintain last year’s roster. (Which went 81-81.)emmaspan: They would surprise me the most of any AL East team, but even for them I would say they still have a shot. They’re gonna clobber a ton of home runs. That pitching, though.neil: The rotation looks especially shaky.dszymborski: It’s essentially four soft-tossing righties and Kevin Gausman, who they spent all of last year trying to use in the most awkward way imaginable.emmaspan: We did a big article on Jake Arrieta this week. Between what he said about his time in Baltimore and what the scout we talked to said about Gausman, yikes. Developing pitching prospects is risky for any team, but the Orioles desperately need to break this pattern.dszymborski: I think the Os lead the league in home runs, go 81-81, and the organization can’t quite figure out why.emmaspan: Their path to success is similar to last year’s Jays: out-slug all comers. But, again, for the Jays that involved picking up one of the best pitchers in baseball at the deadline, and that’s a tall order.dszymborski: Baltimore’s closer to a rebuild than any of the other AL East teams, I think. The farm’s dried up, they can’t increase payroll any more, and Manny Machado’s only got three years to free agency now.emmaspan: I feel awful for Orioles fans if the team doesn’t extend Machado and he goes elsewhere. Oof.dszymborski: I’m from Baltimore! I’m slowly coming to terms that he’s signing somewhere else for $300 million.emmaspan: I do think they have kind of a secret weapon in Buck Showalter, who can win you a few extra one-run games. And Yovani Gallardo should be pretty solid. It’s not an inspiring signing, but it’s something.dszymborski: Despite the doom and gloom, they do have a playoff scenario. It’s just that they’re going to have to face some tough questions quicker than the others.emmaspan: Your 2015 Baltimore Orioles: “Well, It’s Something.”neil: Better or worse than “Why Not?” More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code read more

Baseballs New Leadoff Hitters Dont Need To Be Speed Demons

Baseballs New Leadoff Hitters Dont Need To Be Speed Demons

1Carlos SantanaCLE86968946+0.18 10Kyle SchwarberCHC8959369+0.02 4Charlie BlackmonCOL80308683+0.14 RKNAMETEAMCONTACTWALKSISO. POWERRUNNINGRUNS PER GAME ADDED Reader Mail: Doubleheader hangover?Twitter follower Natalie Troxel asked: 9Dexter FowlerSTL36965991+0.02 Predicted runs per game added based on a regression between leadoff hitters’ percentile ranks in each category and team runs per game from 2002 to 2016.Source: FanGraphs Welcome to Full Count, our new(!) weekly baseball column. Have anything you want me to write about? Email or tweet me at neil.paine@fivethirtyeight.com or @Neil_Paine.Rickey Henderson. Kenny Lofton. Ichiro Suzuki. Kyle Schwarber?Schwarber may not play exactly like those other great leadoff hitters, but he’s been at the front of the Cubs’ lineup in every game he’s played in so far this season, and he currently ranks third in MLB among leadoff hitters in on-base percentage and fourth in OPS. With numbers like those, he’s shaping up to easily replace departed No. 1 hitter Dexter Fowler, who signed a big contract to hit leadoff in St. Louis this past offseason.Schwarber personifies a strange new trend sweeping through lineup cards across baseball: The leadoff guy who bears no resemblance to a prototypical leadoff guy. This modern leadoff man hits for big power, isn’t afraid to strike out and rarely steals bases. He’s essentially a middle-of-the-lineup hitter who happens to hit first — the next rung on the evolutionary ladder of lineup construction.Traditionally, a top-of-the-order hitter was the master of small ball. He needed loads of speed, with a good batting average and maybe a good enough eye to draw some walks. Power was completely extraneous; in 1980, the average team got 46 steals and only 7 home runs from its leadoff slot. But then came Henderson, widely regarded as the greatest leadoff hitter ever. Henderson certainly swiped a lot of bags — he easily holds the all-time record — but he also held the record for walks before Barry Bonds came along, and he even bashed 297 career home runs. Henderson could do it all, and in the process he changed the idea of what a leadoff hitter could be.At the tail end of Henderson’s heyday, early adopters of sabermetrics confirmed that it was great to have walks and power at the top of the lineup. They were less sure about speed, though. Rather than trotting out speedy leadoff hitters who get thrown out stealing, the numbers suggested that teams should instead emphasize on-base percentage at the top of the lineup.In the mid-to-late 1990s, those two philosophies on leadoff hitters drove teams to sometimes ask traditional leadoff men to do more than they would have otherwise. Doug Glanville was one of those players who had speed but lacked power and patience.“I distinctly remember a lot of consistent pressure to be the guy that sees a lot of pitches, gets on base and takes the walk,” Glanville told me. He ended up having MLB’s 13th-most hits from the leadoff slot during the span of his playing career, but it wasn’t easy trying to be the leadoff man his era was starting to demand.“I wasn’t a big on-base [percentage] guy — I was more of a swing-and-contact guy who used my speed,” Glanville said. “I think the conversation during my time was about getting on base. I used to get stopped on the streets of Philadelphia — because Philly fans are no joke,” Glanville said. “They’d be like, ‘Hey, you gotta get on base more, man!’ And talk radio [said the same thing]. It was a constant struggle.”For all of Henderson’s influence, though, teams weren’t yet asking leadoff men to hit for power — if anything, they were discouraging it. “There was an emphasis on the type of swing and your approach,” Glanville told me. “You wanted to go the other way, be able to use the whole field, spray the [ball], hit the ball on the ground … I was a three-hole hitter in college, but early on I [realized] I’ve got to make this adjustment to use my speed, focus a lot more on contact and use the whole field.”But as statheads have proliferated throughout MLB front offices, the leadoff role has shifted even further from its traditional archetype. Teams now realize that it’s important to place their best hitters at the top of the order, giving more plate appearances to players who both get on base and slug the ball. (A team can also grease the wheels of offense slightly more by emphasizing on-base skills at leadoff and power in the No. 4 hole, with the top overall hitter slotting in at No. 2.)Even if we only go back to 2002,1That’s the earliest season of data available in FanGraphs.com’s splits leaderboard tool. we can see how the leadoff philosophy has changed: 2016 PERCENTILE 8Adam EatonWSN78613983+0.03 7Ian KinslerDET75297382+0.09 3Brian DozierMIN53609987+0.14 This deserves more research, but I took a quick first pass at it using our MLB Elo ratings, which account for the quality of each team in a given matchup, as well as the pitchers starting each game and other factors such as home-field advantage and travel distance.I collected that data for 4,277 pairs of doubleheader games during the expansion era (1961-present), and fed it into a regression that tried to predict the result of the second game of each double feature. And after controlling for those ordinary factors that go into the outcome of any game (team ratings, starters, etc.), the winner from earlier in the day didn’t have a statistically significant edge in the later game.In other words, although what happens in the daytime half of a doubleheader can affect lineup choices at night, it appears that (for all intents and purposes) the two halves of a twin billing can be treated like two independent games. 2A.J. PollockARI87547096+0.15 Today’s leadoff men draw more walks and hit for substantially more power than they did in previous generations — which, unsurprisingly, leads to better production (i.e., a higher on-base plus slugging rate) than in the past. But they’ve also changed how they approach each at-bat: Relative to overall trends in the game, leadoff hitters now launch more fly balls and hit to the opposite field less.Even that fabled top-of-the-order speed is on the decline, with leadoff men stealing 21 percent fewer bases per trip to first base (again, after adjusting for league average) than they did just 15 years earlier. Clearly, our mental image of a speedy slap-hitter leading off is as outdated as a 25 cent hot dog.But if our vision of the ideal leadoff hitter needs updating, who are today’s leadoff prototypes? Schwarber is a good guess — he showed a mix of power and patience as a rookie in 2015 (he missed practically all of 2016 with an injury), and speed is no longer as much of a requirement for the role. But he’s not perfect.To find out who is perfect, I ran a regression between a leadoff hitter’s playing attributes2Specifically, his seasonal percentile rank among all MLB hitters in strikeout rate, isolated power, walk rate, speed score and defensive WAR, over a sample that included the 2002 through 2016 campaigns, with more weight applied to recent seasons. and his team’s runs scored per game (adjusted for the stadium they were scored in). According to that, the ideal current leadoff man3Among current 2017 leadoff hitters, based on percentile grades from last season (or 2015 in the cases of Schwarber and A.J. Pollock, both of whom were injured in 2016). is Cleveland’s Carlos Santana. Leading off for the Tribe while splitting time between designated hitter, first base and right field, the 210-pound Santana doesn’t look like the traditional platonic ideal of a leadoff man, and he stole just 5 bases last season. But his peculiar blend of abilities — great contact skills, tons of walks and the power to drill 34 home runs — is associated with about 30 extra runs (or 3 more wins) over a 162-game season, tops of any leadoff man in baseball. The best leadoff hitters for the modern game 5Jean SeguraSEA85186693+0.10 6Jose ReyesNYM69526397+0.08 Of course, we could do even better if we set out to create a Frankenstein-style ultimate leadoff man for the modern game. Build a player with Dustin Pedroia’s supernatural ability to put bat on ball, Santana’s plate patience, Brian Dozier’s 40-homer power stroke and Dee Gordon’s blazing speed, and you’d have a leadoff hitter who’d add nearly 50 runs (or 5 wins) to his team’s ledger at the top of the lineup, relative to average.That player doesn’t really exist yet. (Trout doesn’t lead off for the Angels anymore, but even if he did, he wouldn’t quite be the perfect leadoff guy because he’s also “only” an average contact hitter.) But with the evolving role starting to favor players like Schwarber and Santana, it might only be a matter of time before the perfect combination of skills comes along — and that player has a manager willing to break with convention and pencil him in atop the lineup card.Upset of the week (according to our Elo ratings)Your browser does not support iframes.April 15: Pirates (31 percent) defeat Cubs. With Jake Arrieta (who at the time was ranked by Elo’s pitcher ratings as the 11th-best starter in baseball) leading the top-ranked Cubs at home against the No. 19 Pirates and Tyler Glasnow (the seventh-worst starter in MLB), Chicago appeared to have a big advantage over Pittsburgh. That edge only widened when the Cubs took a 6-2 lead into the sixth inning — FanGraphs gave Chicago a 92 percent chance of winning at the top of the frame. But the Pirates scored 5 seventh-inning runs, including a 3-run homer by Andrew McCutchen, off Brian Duensing and Pedro Strop, then held off the Cubs late to secure the improbable victory.TroutBeatMike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels isn’t merely the best player in baseball — he could very well finish his career on the short list of greatest players ever. He’s so consistently good that sometimes it’s easy to take him for granted. As a result, I’ll be using this column to drop occasional updates reminding us that we might be watching history being made in Anaheim.For our first TroutBeat, The Ringer writer (and my former colleague) Ben Lindbergh points out that last week Trout was already leading the American League in wins above replacement, a distinction he’s held in each of the past five seasons: read more

Ohio State softball looks for silver lining after suffering sweep vs Wisconsin

The Ohio State softball team was unable to swing its momentum from a Wednesday win against Ball State into Madison, Wis., as Wisconsin swept the Buckeyes in a three-game weekend series. The Badgers used solid pitching and defense to limit the Buckeyes (27-17, 6-9), winning, 7-6, in 10 innings and again, 3-1, on Saturday, before taking Sunday’s capper, 4-2. The teams played a doubleheader on Saturday after Friday’s tilt was postponed due to inclement weather. Despite the sweep, first-year coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly was able to find positives in her team’s performance. “I thought Mel (Nichols, a redshirt junior pitcher) threw well when we called on her. We will need her down the stretch,” Schoenly said. “(Junior catcher Melissa) Rennie is really seeing the ball well. And over the last several weeks, (sophomore) Maddy McIntyre has really grown as a shortstop. She has worked really hard to increase her range and has done so.” Nichols pitched 4 1/3 innings on the weekend in her two relief appearances, yielding two hits and giving up no runs while striking out five Badger batters. Rennie went 1-7 on the weekend, with two starts at catcher, and McIntyre went 3-9 with two walks and a run scored for the series. During practice before heading to Madison, Wis., McIntyre said her goals for the series were to focus on her job and “being there for the team.” Schoenly said she thought McIntyre accomplished her personal goals, both defensively and offensively. Despite OSU’s team struggles offensively against Wisconsin, freshman left fielder Cammi Prantl was able to have a solid individual series at the plate, highlighted by her extension of a 10-game-long hitting streak. Prantl went 4-10 with two RBIs on the weekend and pushed her season average to a team-leading .365. “I couldn’t be happier for Cammi,” Schoenly said. “She is the complete offensive package, with speed and power. She is a confident kid and that helps tremendously in the box.” Wisconsin came into the weekend second in the Big Ten in stolen bases, and during practice, senior third baseman Megan Coletta said stopping Wisconsin’s speed would be a point of contention for winning the series. Schoenly said that OSU handled Wisconsin’s speed well for the most part, even if it didn’t translate to wins. With 10 games remaining in the regular season, OSU sits in eighth place in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes are scheduled to face Michigan State, which sits at fifth in the conference, at Buckeye Field Wednesday at 4 p.m. for a doubleheader. Both games will be televised on Big Ten Network. read more

Mens Basketball Ohio State forward Keita BatesDiop named USBWA National Player of

Ohio State redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop (33) passes the ball in the second half in the game against Michigan State on Jan. 7 in Value City Arena. Ohio State won 80-64. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorAfter carrying his team to victory against No. 1 Michigan State Sunday, Ohio State redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop was named the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association announced Tuesday.On Monday, he also was named Big Ten Player of the Week. In two games last week — against Iowa and Michigan State — the 6-foot-7, 235-pound forward averaged 29.5 points and 10 rebounds. He tied a career-high in points with 27 against the Hawkeyes and surpassed that with 32 against the Spartans. He shot 57.9 percent from the field on 22-of-38 shots, including 4-for-10 from beyond the arc. Bates-Diop has been the Buckeyes’ top player this season and has emerged as a strong contender for the Big Ten Player of the Year award. He has averaged 20 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game this season. He is ranked 10th in the 2018 kenpom.com player of the year standings. read more

Ohio State announces plan to build new indoor tennis complex

The Ty Tucker Tennis Center, set to be completed in December 2020, will be in the Athletic District, adjacent to the current outdoor tennis facilities. Credit: The Ohio State UniversityThe Ohio State tennis team will soon receive a home-court advantage after the Board of Trustees announced a plan for a $21.9 million project to build a new indoor tennis complex.The Board released a report on project funding and scheduling for the new tennis complex on Sept. 6. Construction is set to begin in September 2019 and will be completed by December 2021, the report said.  The tennis center will be funded by development funds and university debt. The project, set to be built in the Athletic District on north campus, includes a 75,000-square-foot facility, with six indoor courts and seating for 450 spectators. Both men’s and women’s teams will receive locker rooms and training facilities. “With the facility in the middle of the Athletic District, it will provide the men’s and women’s tennis programs with a state-of-the-art practice and competition venue, offices and other spaces that will enhance the student-athlete experience,” a press release by the Department of Athletics said. The facility will be named the Ty Tucker Tennis Center, after the current men’s head coach and director of tennis. Tucker is currently the winningest tennis coach in the Big Ten. “I’d like to thank the individuals who have a deep appreciation for the Scarlet and Gray for giving to and supporting this project,” Tucker said in a statement. “They have touched the lives of generations of Buckeyes and their impact is immeasurable.” With both teams making national appearances in the past two years and  the men’s team ending as runners-up in outdoors last season, the overall goal of the indoor center is to attract future recruits, something about which senior tennis player Andrea Ballinger said she is excited. “I am grateful for the investment Ohio State is putting into the future of Buckeye tennis,” Ballinger said. Tucker said he wanted a facility to match the success of the Ohio State tennis programs. “This facility is going to be one of the best tennis facilities in the country,” Tucker said. “With it located in the Athletic District, it will provide the best student-athlete experience for countless Buckeyes in the years to come.” Redshirt junior Danielle Wolf said not only is the facility a good opportunity to recruit potential players, but that it could not be named after a more fitting person than Tucker. read more

Royal Marine reservist guilty of stealing arms cache after undercover sting

first_imgHis cache included a Diemaco C8 assault rifle, a Sig-Sauer P226 handgun as well as seven high explosive grenades, plastic explosives and smoke grenades.He was also in possession of a bolt action Mossberg 395kb shotgun, magazines containing ammunition, 118 shotgun cartridges and another sawn-off shotgun.He was seized by armed officers outside a supermarket in Winnall, near Winchester, on September 1 after an undercover operation headed by the National Crime Agency (NCA).The ammunition included 5.56mm rounds for the assault rifle and 9mm rounds for the Sig Sauer handgun.Shannon wore a check shirt as he appeared via video link from Bullingdon jail in Oxfordshire to plead guilty to multiple charges of the sale or transfer of a prohibited weapon, possession of ammunition and possession of explosives.Shannon spoke only to enter his guilty pleas and the case was adjourned for a psychiatric report on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We take the security of weaponry very seriously and have robust procedures to deter and prevent losses and thefts which are constantly reviewedMinistry of Defence The concern is post-traumatic stress disorder that may well have some bearing on sentence in this case in terms of mitigation availableKevin Hill, defending A Royal Marine reservist stole a cache of military firearms, grenades and hundreds of rounds of ammunition before he was caught trying to sell them in an undercover police sting.Martin Shannon faces a “significant” prison sentence after pleading guilty to a string of firearms and explosives offences at the Old Bailey.The 43-year-old who served at RM Poole in Dorset took weapons including an assault rifle, a handgun and grenades.Shannon, of Hythe near Southampton, who was said to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder at the time, admitted 15 offences including selling some of the guns during the covert sting.center_img Kevin Hill, defending, said Shannon had psychiatric problems which may offer some mitigation in the case.He told the court: “The concern is post-traumatic stress disorder that may well have some bearing on sentence in this case in terms of mitigation available.”It is a case where there might be significant mitigation that would assist the court in the form of psychiatric assessment.”Judge Marks agreed and remanded the defendant in custody until sentencing on December 16.He said it was a case of “considerable seriousness” and a “significant sentence is inevitable”.He told Shannon: “It is intended a psychiatric report be obtained to understand something about your background, in particular it is said that you may be suffering from PTSD that may impact on these offences.”In the meantime, you will need to remain in custody and I am sure you will understand the fact I am adjourning for a report is not an indication that the case will be dealt with in any other way than immediate imprisonment.”The only issue will be as to the length of the sentence.”Shannon will be sentenced on December 16.A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “We take the security of weaponry very seriously and have robust procedures to deter and prevent losses and thefts which are constantly reviewed.”In this case it would be inappropriate to comment whilst legal proceedings are ongoing.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Half of young people have so many emotional problems they cannot focus

first_imgHalf of young people have so many emotional problems they cannot focus at school, a study has found.Some 48 per cent of youngsters said that they experienced problems during their school years that prevented them from concentrating on their academic work.Of these, 46 per cent did not talk to anyone about their problems, mainly because they did not want other people to know that they were struggling.More than half (58 per cent) did not think that asking for help would solve the problem.The latest report from the Youth Index, which gauges how students feel about a range of topics from home life to health, showed that mental health is at its lowest level since the Index was first commissioned. This report paints a deeply concerning picture of a generation who feel their ability to shape their own future is slipping away from themDame Martina Milburn, chief executive at The Prince’s Trust It showed the current political climate is troubling young people with 58 per cent saying that recent political events had made them feel anxious about their future, with 41 per cent feeling more anxious than they did a year ago.Dame Martina said: “The single most important thing we can do to empower these young people is to help them into a job, an education course or on to a training programme.”Now, more than ever, we must work together to provide the support and opportunities they need to unlock a brighter future.”The Prince’s Trust has launched a new mental health strategy to give all its staff the confidence to deal with young people’s mental health needs, supported by the Royal Mail Group, as part of its ongoing work to help young people overcome emotional well-being challenges. The single most important thing we can do to empower these young people is to help them into a job, an education course or onto a training programmeDame Martina Milburn The Index showed there are many contributing factors to students’ mental health problems Half of young people said they feel the pressures of getting a job are greater than they were a year ago and more than a third said they did not feel in control of their job prospects.The eighth Index, based on a survey of 2,215 young people aged 16 to 25, revealed many feel their circumstances are trapping them.Dame Martina Milburn, chief executive at the Prince’s Trust said: “This report paints a deeply concerning picture of a generation who feel their ability to shape their own future is slipping away from them.”It’s shocking how many feel so desperate about their situation and it is vital that we support them to develop the confidence and coping skills they need to succeed in life.”The rise of living costs is also a major issue for young people, with 37 per cent of those who felt their lives were out of their control worried their living costs are going up faster than their wages and salary. Queens University of Belfast, the main Lanyon building in Northern Ireland Of those who do not feel they are in control of their lives, 61 per cent said they felt this was because they lack self-confidence, and that this holds them back.A range of factors that may contribute  to young people not feeling in control of their lives have been highlighted by the Index.One in 10 young people said they did not know anyone who “really cares” about them, 45 per cent felt stressed about body image and 37 per cent said they felt stressed about coping with work or school, the report found.The Youth Index showed that many feel confused, and 44 per cent of those surveyed claimed they don’t know what to believe because they read conflicting things in the media about the economy.center_img Of those surveyed, 42 per cent said traditional goals such as buying a house or getting a steady job were unrealistic and 34 per cent said they thought they will have a worse standard of living than their parents did.Almost a fifth said they “don’t believe they can change their circumstances if they want to” and 16 per cent said they “think their life will amount to nothing, no matter how hard they try”.Prof Louise Arseneault, ESRC mental health leadership fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, said: “Given the profound uncertainty surrounding recent political events and the fact that young people face the worst job prospects in decades, it’s not surprising to read that one in four young people aged 16 to 25 don’t feel in control of their lives.“Although it’s obviously alarming that these concerns play on young minds, it’s encouraging to see that young people have an interest in actively shaping their own future.” A young man searches a mental health website for advice to overcome his sleeping problems This year’s Index will help inform the development of the policy and programmes designed to address the issues facing young people todayDavid Fass, CEO of Macquarie Group Students visit during open day at Queens University of Belfast To help vulnerable young people access the appropriate care at the earliest opportunity mental health support will be embedded in all the Trust’s employability and personal development programmes.The Trust will partner with relevant mental health services and organisations to build a suite of training resources with the ambition to locate mental health related services at Prince’s Trust Centres.During this year The Trust will support 60,000 disadvantaged young people to develop confidence and skills to succeed in life.Three in four young people supported by the Prince’s Trust move into work, education or training.David Fass, CEO of Macquarie Group EMEA, said: “We have seen first-hand how the work of organisations such as the Prince’s Trust can transform young lives.”Macquarie is committed to investing in young people and we hope the findings of this year’s Index will help inform the development of the policy and programmes designed to address the issues facing young people today.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Number waiting more than 18 weeks for NHS surgery set to double

first_imgSenior doctors said an NHS target to carry out 92 per cent of non-urgent operations within 18 weeks of referral had been “jettisoned in all but name” as the health service struggles to meet demand. Simon Stevens Simon Stevens acknowledged there was a “tradeoff”Credit:PA Last night David Hare, chief executive of the NHS Partners Network, urged patients to use their legal right to choose where to have treatment.Patients referred for most hospital care are supposed to be able to choose where they will be seen – or to switch provider if the waiting list where they are referred is more than 18 weeks.But NHS research shows just 47 per cent of people are aware of such rights, which were introduced by Labour and endorsed by successive Governments.Mr Hare said the piublic should be reminded of their rights, so patients could try to speed up their treatment at a time when NHS is “desperately short of elective capacity.”“With the NHS’ move to relax its commitment to treating NHS patients within 18 weeks, it is crucial patients are able to exercise their right to choose which provider they are treated by to ensure they can access the quickest available treatment,” he said. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.center_img Mr Hare said that on average, independent sector providers were able to treat NHS patients six days quicker than health service providers could manage, at the same costs to the taxpayer.“Unless action is taken, patients will face unacceptably long waits for treatment which not only leaves them in pain for longer than required, but could also lead to medical complications,” he said.  “We therefore urge the Government to take urgent action to ensure patients and the public are given sufficient information and are empowered to exercise their right to choose so they can access care as quickly as possible.” A total of 3.7million people in the UK are now on the waiting list for non-urgent operations, up from 2.4million in 2008.More than 360,000 of them have been on the waiting list for more than 18 weeks, equivalent to one in 10.Health officials say much of this is fuelled by an ageing population.Last Simon Stevens, head of the NHS, said a rise in waiting times for routine procedures, which include hip and knee operations and cataract removal, might be a “trade off” for improvement in other areas, such as hitting the four-hour A&E target, and better cancer care.The Government attracted heavy criticism this winter for the worst A&E performance on record.Mr Stevens said last month that he aimed to “get the patient experience of A&E back on track” as soon as possible.” However, officials denied that the 18 week target had been dropped.An NHS England spokesman said: “Since the early 2000s we’ve more than doubled the number of NHS hip and knee operations, and expect yet further growth in non urgent surgery over the next few years. Most NHS operations are now done in well under 12 weeks, and patients will continue to be able to choose where their operation takes place.” The number of patients waiting longer than 18 weeks for surgery is set to double in the next three years, the health service has been warned.The new analysis, based on official NHS figures suggests the total number waiting for operations will reach almost 5 million in 2020 – an increase of almost 2 million since 2015.On current trends, that will include more than 800,000 patients waiting more than 18 weeks for treatment – a rise from 360,000 today, the research shows.The analysis was carried out by the NHS Partners Network – which represents independent providers of NHS care, which urged patients to be more “sharp elbowed” about getting the treatment needed.The organisation said too few patients were aware of a legal right to choose where to have NHS treatment – including the option to choose locations with shorter waiting lists, including private hospitals.Last month the head of the NHS admitted that times for routine operations are likely to grow longer, as cash-strapped hospitals prioritise emergency and cancer care.last_img read more

Family of woman who died after being scalded by Premier Inn shower

first_imgA Crown Office spokesman said the incident had been investigated by police, the council and health and safety experts and a decision had been made not to hold a fatal accident inquiry.  I’m still angry at what they didSundar Uthaman Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The family’s lawyers had argued for a six-figure sum, claiming the hotel, owned by Whitbread PLC, had failed in its duty of care. Speaking from Bangalore, Mr Uthaman told the BBC: “I’m still angry at what they did and the fact it wasn’t until Thompsons Solicitors raised the court proceedings that they issued an apology.” A spokesman for Premier Inn said: “We are very sorry for the tragic accident that occurred to Ms Uthaman in 2012 and our thoughts are with her family.”We take millions of bookings every year and we would like to reassure our guests that this was an isolated incident.”We constantly monitor and regulate the water temperature of our showers in line with industry best practice, which is based on Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regulatory guidance and NHS health care guidelines.” The family of a tourist who died after being scalded by a Premier Inn shower have finally received compensation and an apology from the hotel owners. Kalyani Uthaman, from India, had been holidaying at a branch of the hotel in Edinburgh when she was severely scalded by the shower. The 59-year-old later died in hospital having suffered multiple organ failure. Her son, Sundar Uthaman, said he feels “vindicated” following the settlement, which was made nearly five years after the incident in August 2012. last_img read more

Bank of England staff studied Dr Seuss childrens books to teach them

first_img “Dr Seuss was a genius at getting young children to read by using very simple language and very short words. The cat from The Cat In The Hat, by Dr Seuss  Dame Nemat Shafik, who held the position of deputy governor until February this year, told the Hay Festival that the US author’s stories were used as a training tool. The cat from The Cat In The Hat, by Dr Seuss  “And so we did a little research at the Bank of England on the linguistic complexity of our publications and found that our typical publications, like our inflation report,…center_img From Green Eggs and Ham to The Cat in The Hat, Dr Seuss books have helped generations of children to read. But they have also served another, more unlikely, purpose: teaching Bank of England staff how to write reports on inflation and quantitative easing. Credit: Everett Collection Inc / Alamy Stock Photolast_img read more

Stroke patient warned she would not recover by NHS doctors is back

first_imgA stroke patient who was warned she had ‘no capacity for recovery’ by NHS doctors is almost back to full fitness after her husband took her for rehabilitation in South Africa.Rita Guthrie, a former laboratory chemist of Essex, was given just 30 per cent chance of survival and left physically and mentally disabled following a hemorrhage in 2008. She could barely walk, her behaviour became erratic and she was left permanently incontinent.After two years of sporadic care by the NHS and social services, her husband David was told there was no chance she could get any better, and was advised to move her to a care home. Figures by the Stroke Association show that nearly half of stroke survivors feel abandoned when they leave hospital, a finding that the charity described as ‘deeply concerning.’A survey of more than 1,000 patients for the charity found more than one third reported that they returned home without a care plan or appropriate support in place for their recovery.Almost half said they were not contacted by a healthcare professional when they returned home from hospital while 39 per cent said they did not received a six month assessment of their social care needs. Mrs Guthrie can now enjoy hikes again  “It’s a sad state of affairs that Rita’s recovery relied on the manpower and expertise of another nation but I hope ‘Pushing the Boundaries’ and other similar stories of fortitude can help to change our mindset in the UK.”   Pushing the Boundaries, a Personal Account of Recovery from Stroke” is available through York Publishing Services Ltd and on Amazon. Mrs Guthrie’s entire treatment programme in South Africa is estimated to have cost £20,000, less than half of the annual cost of a care home in Britain.“It is nonsense to suggest that the straightforward therapy used in Fish Hoek could not be easily set up in the UK,” said Mr Guthrie.“Seven years on from that trip to South Africa, Rita is almost back to full health although short term memory can be a little suspect at times.“Apart from that she’s as fit and alert as any 78-year-old would expect to be. I’ve got my wife back. We are able to do five kilometre hikes together and she was able to nurse me when I developed pneumonia. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. A carer working to improve Mrs Guthrie’s balance and coordination  David Guthrie has written a book to encourage stroke survivors to seek better treatment David Guthrie has written a book to encourage stroke survivors to seek better treatment Credit:David Guthrie center_img A carer working to improve Mrs Guthrie's balance and coordination  However after a friend suggested the couple try a change of climate, Mr Guthrie took his wife to Fish Hoek near Cape Town where she underwent 18 months of intensive rehabilitation over several years, which included tailor-made exercises, walking  and hydrotherapy. “The experience was awful for both of us and I hate to see anyone else having to go through a similar situation,” said Mr Guthrie, 80, who met his wife when they both worked UK Atomic Energy Authority at Dounreay, Caithness.“The lack of support or practical help from the outset in the UK left Rita being diagnosed as having ‘no capacity for recovery.“The treatment available locally for Rita in no way matched the well-documented recommendations, such as the National Stroke Strategy, for Stroke recovery in the UK. Nor did I receive any form of training in how to cope as a carer.“The South African therapists started with the positive assumption that Rita was able to recover, a full about turn from the conclusions drawn by our own health system which had taken a very negative view of her prospects.” Now mother of-three Mrs Guthrie, 78, is back to full health, and has only been left with damage to her short term memory.Mr Guthrie has written a new book, entitled Pushing the Boundaries, to encourage other Britons in a similar situation to look elsewhere for treatment. All profits will go to stroke charities. Mrs Guthrie can now enjoy hikes again  It’s a sad state of affairs that Rita’s recovery relied on the manpower and expertise of another nationDavid Guthrie Around 152,000 people in Britain suffer a stroke each year and two thirds of those will leave hospital with a disability.  But recent figures from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy found 85 per cent of health trusts do not offer stroke victims physiotherapy within two weeks of leaving hospital. A fifth make them wait at least 13 weeks and 4 per cent cannot offer sessions until after 18 weeks.last_img read more

Creativity is not just a young persons game Sir Nicholas Serota says

first_imgSerota is chairman of Arts Council England and former head of the Tate galleriesCredit:PA Serota is chairman of Arts Council England and former head of the Tate galleries “I think there are quite often writers and other artists whose careers somehow become becalmed.“They may set off well out of college, they may even win a prize or get something published, but then getting the second novel published or second exhibition can often take a long time.“So buying someone some time and giving support during that moment when their career in a way is becalmed is a very useful thing to do because it not only gives them financial support but it gives them psychological support too.”Asked whether the lack of age range for the fun was intended as a corrective to an art world focused on youth, Serota said: “I think it’s a recognition definitely.“I would say it is a slight corective. There are lots of ways that young people do get support and get attention, and people in their 30s, 40s and 50s often find it much more difficult to get that attention, particularly if they’re not working in London.“I think this will help that process.“I think it will give a sense to people that it’s not just a young person’s game. We all know there are great writers who started late in life, and great painters.”The “Developing your Creative Practice” fund was created after consultation with artists, who suggested that financial support to “buy time” would be the most valuable thing they could be offered.A spokesman for the Arts Council said: “The programme is unlike any other current Arts Council fund, because it will give practitioners time to work on ambitious and innovative projects, without the immediate pressure of showing their work publicly.”While it will not be open to “everyone who would like to write a book or paint a picture”, the organisation has not ruled out helping first-time novelists if they can explain why an award would make a difference to them at that particular moment.“Inevitably people who have got some sort of a track record or indication of their work having been admired, is bound to have a slight advantage,” Serota said.“To win an award of this kind, when you are not in the public eye, will be an incredible boost to people’s confidence and sense of recognition.”The fund, which will total £3.6m per annum for four years, is open to “creative practitioners” including dancers, choreographers, writers, translators, producers, publishers, editors, musicians, conductors, composers, actors, directors, designers, artists, craft makers, and curators.Applications open in April.“Every creative person needs time to breathe, to broaden their experience and to develop their ideas,” erota said.“Nurturing talent and supporting careers at a critical moment is a small investment that will help sustain our world-class cultural sector for years to come.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Creativity is not just a “young person’s game”, Sir Nicholas Serota has said, as he launches a special fund that could help older people to finally make it in the art world.Serota, chairman of Arts Council England and former head of the Tate galleries,  said it was harder for artists and writers to win support and attention once they left their 20s, and the excitement of their first work stalled.Saying he hoped to provide a “slight corrective” to the art world’s fascination with youth, he argued it is important to “give a sense to people that it’s not just a young person’s game”.The Arts Council has now allocate a new £14.4m fund to “cultivate individual talent”, explicitly underlining it is open to artists of all ages.Over four years, it will offer grants of between £2,000 and £10,000 to writers, artists, actors, musicians and other creatives to buy them the necessary time to work on projects.Unlike other funds, it will not require immediate proof of success or stipulate that it must benefit a wider community, and can be used to give successful applicants breathing space to knuckle down to perfect their book, exhibition or show alone.Serota said: “I think that both artists and performers and probably particularly writers quite often find themselves beginning to become creative in their 30s or 40s rather than in their 20slast_img read more

Cambridge University says exams can be shortened due to disruption caused by

first_imgCambridge University has announced that exams and finals can be shortened because of disruption caused by the lecturers’ strike.The university has sanctioned the removal of questions on material that has not been taught due to cancelled classes, and decreasing the number of questions set.Guidance has been issued by the university, but it is for individual department heads to decide which changes, if any, they intend to make.The guidance has been described as “hugely problematic”, with critics warning that it “raises questions about fairness” and will lead to “a spate of complaints” from students.Meanwhile, Oxford University said they would not be amending exams in light of the strikes. Gill Evans, Emeritus Professor of medieval theology at Cambridge University, said that making such changes would “create a minefield”.She said: “How could it be possible to make micro-adjustments so as not to disadvantage individuals untidily without damaging the fundamental principle that assessment treats all students equally?”The guidance states that changes could include removing questions on material that has not been taught and replacing them with others on material that has.Department heads may also increase or decrease the number of questions set, or remove restrictions on compulsory questions.  Lectures and classes have already been disrupted at more than 60 universities by 14 days of strikes Lectures and classes have already been disrupted at more than 60 universities by 14 days of strikesCredit:Mark Hawkins/Composed Images Papers could also be shortened from the standard three hours, with fewer questions required to be answered, the guidance added.  The University and College Union has served notice of further strike action at 13 universities The University and College Union has served notice of further strike action at 13 universitiesCredit:Mark Hawkins/Composed Imagescenter_img The union is also encouraging its members to hand in their notice if they hold examiner posts at any of the institutions which are part of the industrial action. Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said that making any changes to exam papers would be “quite badly problematic”.  “If the bit of the course you are best at is the one you are no longer going to be examined on – we will probably see a spate of complaints if this happens,” he said.“It makes it harder for everyone to prepare for exam season. If it is harder to prepare, there is a question mark about fairness.“When deciding on the final grade, examiners might err on the side of caution, and this might change for different departments and different universities. It could have an effect on academic integrity.”Lectures and classes have already been disrupted at more than 60 universities by 14 days of strikes. The University and College Union (UCU) has served notice of further strike action at 13 universities, designed to cause maximum disruption to students as they sit their finals in the summer term.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. UCU has been locked in a battle with Universities UK (UUK) over proposed pension reforms to address a reported deficit and rising benefit costs.An agreement was reached between the parties earlier this month under which employers and employees would both temporarily pay higher contributions to plug the funding gap.The proposals were considered by UCU’s higher education committee and branch representatives the following day, but rejected.A spokesman for Cambridge University said: “The University has long-standing procedures to mitigate the impact of disruption to examinations on individual students.“The University commits to maintaining fairness to candidates at all times while upholding the integrity of the examination process.”The spokesman stressed that “in most cases no change to assessment will be required”, and added: “The University will not be reducing the pass mark or amending classing boundaries, since this will undermine the integrity of the examination process.”last_img read more

Wanted a familyfriendly opera that wont terrify children unduly

The director of the Royal Opera House’s Hansel and Gretel has admitted it may frighten children “a little”, as the company seeks a family-friendly opera to emulate the success of the Nutcracker.The ROH is on the look out for a “revivable Christmas opera piece” for families, to fill an annual gap in the opera repertoire for the festive season.The Royal Ballet, also based the Covent Garden venue, stages the Nutcracker each year, making the most of lucrative tickets sales as families return again and again to see the classic.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––This year, the ROH will stage Hansel and Gretel, directed by Antony McDonald, designed specifically with children in mind as it attempts to tell the fairytale “without terrifying them unduly”.“It will be quite traditional – with, I hope, a few personal quirks,” McDonald told the Sunday Times Culture magazine. “Olly [Oliver Mears, ROH artistic director] wanted something geared to family audiences. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “He was hoping for something that could be a revivable Christmas opera piece because the Royal Opera doesn’t have anything like that in the repertoire.”He added: “It’s set in the early 20th century, and obviously in Germany. I hope people bring children to it. I very much want to engage children, who are the sharpest critics. Royal Opera House's Director of Opera, Oliver Mears Royal Opera House’s Director of Opera, Oliver MearsCredit:Royal Opera House “Because it is sung in German, it needs to be visually stimulating to keep them on board. That was a rule I made for myself early on.”The Witch and the parents obviously aren’t admirable, but neither are they quite as ghastly as they appear in the Grimms’ original tale.“Children like to be frightened a little, and I hope I will have achieved that without terrifying them unduly.” read more

BBC weather presenter Dianne Oxberry dies aged 51 after a short illness

Burden said she got to know Oxberry in the last couple of years “as part of the BBC Women’s Network and she was an incredible support and a great champion for her female colleagues here at the BBC”. Video: Peter Kay hijacking Dianne Oxberry’s weather forecast She hashtagged the tweet BBC Women.Good Morning Britain’s Ross King tweeted: “So sad and shocked to hear of the  passing of Dianne Oxberry. A very talented and lovely lady. Thoughts with Ian  and the family. Fond memories of our days on The 8.15 From Manchester”.Colleague’s emotional on-air tributeDianne Oxberry’s weather presenter colleague paid an emotional tribute to the broadcaster live on air.Simon King told Radio 5 Live how the death of the North West Tonight meteorologist, aged 51 after suffering from cancer, had come as a shock.”It’s devastating, absolutely devastating. It’s been such a quick process, this whole thing,” he told the station’s breakfast show.”It’s hit us like a ton of bricks, it really has. “Presenter Rachel Burden asked him: “Are you OK to do the weather?””Yes,” he replied, his voice breaking, before saying: “So, excuse me,” and going on to regain his composure and present the forecast.Co-host Nicky Campbell told him afterwards: “You did her proud, Si.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “I can’t tell you the impact she made in talking to other people and supporting them in their own personal journeys,” she said.”She was a really loyal and very generous colleague to people here.”Campbell described Oxberry as a “wonderful person, sweet and warm woman”.He added: “She kept it real. She was so genuine on the air. There was no affectation at all.”The best broadcasters, something we all aspire to, is to be exactly what you are on the screen and off the screen and on the radio and off the radio and she did that brilliantly.” I’ve just been listening back to a show Di and I did for @BBCRadioManc last year playing our favourite songs. It has put a smile on my face after what has been a rather awful morning. She just did that, so warm and lovely. Fabulous taste in music too!#DianneOxberry pic.twitter.com/beKqz6DEfw— Simon King (@SimonOKing) January 11, 2019 Sunderland-born Oxberry joined North West Tonight after studying at the Met Office College.She also presented a number of programmes on BBC Radio Manchester, including the Breakfast Show.Roger Johnson, a presenter on North West Tonight, said: “We are heartbroken by Dianne’s death. It is almost impossible to comprehend. Dianne was North West Tonight. It’s hard to imagine the programme without her.”Our thoughts are with Ian and all of Dianne’s family. We hope they will find some comfort in the knowledge so many people loved Dianne and will miss her terribly.”Annabel Tiffin, also a presenter North West Tonight, said: “This is an enormous shock for all of us. I can scarcely believe Dianne has died. She was loved by our viewers, by all of us at North West Tonight. My heart breaks for her family.”Di was so talented, so beautiful, so funny and so full of life. On screen she was a star, radiating warmth and good humour. Off screen, she was a wonderful colleague, a loyal friend, and I will miss her terribly.”Woman’s Hour presenter Jane Garvey paid tribute to Oxberry on Twitter, writing:  “Dianne was a formidable voice for women at the BBC, a fantastically supportive  colleague. Thank you for speaking up.” BBC weather presenter Dianne Oxberry has died aged 51 following a short illness, the broadcaster has said. Oxberry worked alongside Simon Mayo and Steve Wright on Radio 1 before moving to North West Tonight in 1994, where she worked until her death.She was the main weather presenter on the programme and also fronted regional current affairs show Inside Out North West.Oxberry, who lived in Greater Manchester, died on Thursday at Manchester’s Christie Hospital – one of the country’s leading cancer facilities.The journalist’s husband, Ian Hindle, said: “Dianne was an amazing wife and mother who embraced life to the full. She was an inspiration to all who knew and loved her but also to the people who watched and welcomed her into their homes each night as if she were part of their family too.”Mr Hindle, a camera operator who worked on the same shows as her in their early career, added: “She will leave a massive void in our lives but, because of the remarkable person she was, she will forever live on in our hearts. The children and I will miss her more than anyone can imagine.”In one of her more memorable TV moments, Peter Kay hijacked one of her weather briefings. read more