ODNR awards grants for Lake Erie projects

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has approved more than $437,000 in funding through the Coastal Management Assistance Grant (CMAG) program for five projects in Toledo, Eastlake, Ashtabula County, Lorain, and Bay Village that will improve coastal planning, public access, and water quality.“For more than 20 years, this grant program has provided a helping hand to Ohio’s communities for protecting and developing valuable resources near Lake Erie,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “These projects upgrade infrastructure, provide better access to natural areas for residents, and reduce erosion while improving water quality.”ODNR implements the CMAG program through its Office of Coastal Management for eligible entities including local governments, county and regional planning agencies, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and park and conservancy districts for completion of projects that will protect Lake Erie’s coastal resources and support sustainable use.This year’s projects include installing ADA-accessible parking spaces and walkways, implementing green stormwater infrastructure, enhancing stream and wetland habitats which will help filter and improve water quality, and developing plans and engineering designs needed to improve public access and restore coastal habitat.CMAG is a competitive reimbursement grant program that provides matching funds up to 50 percent of project costs, with a minimum of 50 percent from the applicant. Funding for the program is provided by a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Ohio Coastal Management Program. The CMAG program has provided more than $5.62 million for 141 projects in Ohio since the program began in 1998.For more information about projects and funding for each grantee, please visit coastal.ohiodnr.gov/cmagrants.last_img read more

10 months agoBarnes: Current Liverpool best in 35 years

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Barnes: Current Liverpool best in 35 yearsby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool legend John Barnes is excited by the team being put together by Jurgen Klopp.The Reds are six points clear at the top of the table after 19 rounds of fixtures and have yet to taste defeat in a League match this season.Barnes told BonusCodeBets.co.uk: “The team is more balanced than the point where we had Suarez, Coutinho, Sturridge and Sterling. They were very good attack-wise, but in terms of the balance between attack and defence, they probably didn’t work as hard or didn’t defend as comprehensively.”This is the best-balanced team that is capable of winning the Premier League.'”Even when we nearly won the Premier League in the season where Gerrard slipped, I think this is a better-balanced team and this team is more capable of winning because they also grind results out when they’re not playing well.”This is probably the most balanced Liverpool team I’ve seen in the last 20 to 35 years.” last_img read more

10 months agoBrahim Diaz says he can handle Real Madrid pressure

first_imgBrahim Diaz says he can handle Real Madrid pressureby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveBrahim Diaz says he can handle pressure of being a Real Madrid player.The 19-year-old former Manchester City midfielder had his official presentation on Monday and was able to train with his new teammates for the first time on Tuesday morning, though he was clearly still in a state of excitement about the move.”Real Madrid are the best club in the world and you have to perform at the highest level every week,” he said to Madrid’s official television channel.”Each week you must try to score goals and give assists and, above all, contribute to the team union that is what leads you to winning titles at the end.”There are great players and world stars here.”I’ve come from a big club, but this is another step forward.”Brahim provided an insight into where he believes he plays best, too.”[I’m comfortable] in all attacking positions,” he added.”I really like to play behind the striker because I’m a link-up player.”I like the attacking side of the game and being able to play one-twos, arriving from midfield and score goals.”Goals and assists are very important for a club like Real Madrid. TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Royal Caribbean Jokes That Urban Meyer’s “Lost At Sea” Cruise Ship Was Just Completing A Script Ohio Route

first_imgA closeup of Urban Meyer wearing an Ohio State jacket.PISCATAWAY, NJ – SEPTEMBER 30: Head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes before a game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on September 30, 2017 at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey. Ohio State won 56-0. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)Earlier this week, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer was stuck on a cruise ship for an extra day and a half because of foggy conditions down near Port Tampa Bay. Meyer and the other 2,500 passengers aboard Buckeye Cruise actually had to be escorted back to shore by the Coast Guard.The passengers were aboard Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas, and the the travel company has issued a very clever PR statement on the matter. Royal Caribbean jokingly tweeted that the vessel wasn’t having trouble, it was just navigating through the Gulf of Mexico to create script Ohio.Hey, @OSUCoachMeyer! Fog, schmog: we knew where we were going all along. Welcome back! #stuckatsea #bc4c pic.twitter.com/s0p81a1eU4— Royal Caribbean PR (@RoyalCaribPR) February 25, 2015Thankfully, everyone aboard the ship was unharmed.last_img 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

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