Ken Griffey Jr. has been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame after receiving a vote on 99.32 percent of ballots — a record. Earlier, we examined how Griffey’s prime, once separated from his unfortunate latter years, compared with the primes of other all-time great players. Junior turned out to be Willie Mays, more or less. While we’re at it, and for no particular reason today, we figured we’d run the same numbers for Barry Lamar Bonds, destroyer of worlds.Don’t worry, we think it’s weird to see Chipper Jones and Albert Pujols as Bonds’s most comparable peak-season players, too. More than anything else, consider this a sign that Bonds breaks the system — no other player had a truly similar mix of skills in their best seasons, particularly considering the absurd proportion of Bonds’s top years that came when he was in his mid-to-late 30s. Unlike Griffey, whose career bifurcation was so stark that his career-long comps end up being players he didn’t much resemble, a look at Bonds’s full career finds a satisfying pair of comps at the top:Remember when we made a big deal about how closely Griffey matched Willie Mays’s statistical profile? Mays is also Bonds’s most similar career player — except that Bonds showed better patience, power and contact skills than Mays, while still coming close to matching the Say Hey Kid on the basepaths and in the field.Because Bonds’s statistical profile is an invitation for the absurd, we thought it might be instructive to compare his worst years (i.e., his aggregate rate statistics after giving more weight to his “worst” WAR seasons) against the best years of other players. Those “bad” Bonds seasons were most comparable to — and, in fact, surpass — the best seasons of two current or soon-to-be Hall of Famers.You may now return to whatever it is you were doing, which is likely not as fun as looking at Barry Bonds stats.
Month: September 2019
—2015Cincinnati1349411087— 19881626.113613310689 142001Oakland122861067982.0 OFFENSEDEFENSE 62011Green Bay13597958372.6 YEARMAX ELOPASSINGRUSHINGPASSINGRUSHING 132008Indianapolis122851099481.5 20151666.31349411087 151995Green Bay12687979084.2 112009San Diego12884989580.6 71983Miami124961189175.9 19741632.711611010578 An elite passing offense is where the similarities between the 1981 and 2015 Bengals end, though. While the 1981 squad also employed a solid rushing attack4An underrated feature that causes their estimated EPA to rise despite a middling yards-per-carry mark: rarely fumbling. No team fumbled less than Cincinnati in 1981, and most of its fumbles were committed by quarterbacks and receivers, not running backs. and a balanced defense that was essentially league-average against the run and the pass, the 2015 Bengals defend the pass well but aren’t particularly good at running the ball or defending against the run. Among historical Bengals squads, that profile more closely matches the strengths and weaknesses of the 1975 team, which was also good at passing and stopping the pass but lousy in the running game on both sides of the ball. (The 1975 Bengals ultimately lost in the divisional round of the playoffs.)But if we’re looking for historical teams truly comparable to this year’s Bengals, we’ll have to leave Cincinnati. We can measure how similar any two team’s strengths and weaknesses are by using the differences in their EPA grades from above.5Specifically, we can take the squared differences in their passing and rushing grades on each side of the ball and weight them by the relative importance of each category in determining a team’s overall quality during the Super Bowl era. In this case, the weights are 44 percent to passing offense, 12 percent to rushing offense, 31 percent to passing defense and 12 percent to rushing defense.Here are the teams most similar to the 2015 Bengals: 91988L.A. Rams12510311310179.8 RANKYEARTEAMPASSINGRUSHINGPASSINGRUSHINGDIFF² OFFENSEDEFENSE 19761663.3110108121112 202009Indianapolis1209110897100.5 19811666.41251119898 102006New Orleans125100998780.6 122015New England1311191089380.9 19891627.012011810487 20131630.710693126115 192012Atlanta120861088696.6 32014Green Bay1301081099742.5 161991Washington1371061239687.4 19731618.7117111106100 52003Indianapolis12698998667.5 22005Indianapolis133981139514.5 According to our NFL Elo ratings — FiveThirtyEight’s pet metric for determining an NFL team’s strength at any given moment1For an explanation far more extensive than you probably need (or want), click here. — the best Cincinnati Bengals team ever was the 1981 edition, led by quarterback and league MVP Ken Anderson. Those Bengals notched a franchise-best Elo rating of 1666.4 after they beat the San Diego Chargers 27-7 in the AFC championship game on Jan. 10, 1982. But two weeks later, they lost the Super Bowl to the San Francisco 49ers, and while Cincinnati has had a handful of good moments since, things have never quite looked as bright for the franchise as they did that winter day 33 years ago.At least not until tonight — potentially. Going into Thursday’s matchup with the Cleveland Browns, the Bengals have an Elo rating of 1666.3, a mere fraction of a point behind the high-water mark set by the 1981 team. Any win, no matter how small the margin, would make the 2015 Bengals the best team in franchise history.At 7-0, they’ve already started the season better than any other Cincinnati squad. Formerly maligned quarterback Andy Dalton ranks fourth in the NFL in Total QBR. And he has the support of a solid defense that ranks third in Pro-Football-Reference.com’s Simple Ratings and 12th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric. It’s a good recipe for a Super Bowl run, and Elo assigns the Bengals the NFL’s fourth-highest probability of winning it all this year (12 percent).That 1981 Bengals club shared an important characteristic with this year’s team: great passing. If we scale every team’s per-play expected points added (EPA)2Estimating EPA for seasons before 2006 using a weighted random forest regression model trained on data from 2006-2015. The model attempts to predict what a team’s rushing and passing EPA (on offense and defense) would have been if such data were available, based on the team’s box-score statistics relative to the NFL average that season. such that the league has an average of 100 and a standard deviation of 15 each season, we can measure how effective a team’s offense and defense was in the passing and running games. This season, Cincinnati’s aerial attack leads the league with a 134 grade.3Meaning its EPA is 2.3 standard deviations better than that of the average passing offense. The 1981 team ranked second in the NFL with a score of 125. The only Bengals squad with a better passing offense than either 1981 or 2015 was the 1988 version, whose 136 grade was fueled by Boomer Esiason’s own MVP campaign.Here are the best Bengals teams ever: 172004Indianapolis134107969587.6 20051642.71211129487 UPDATE (Nov. 6, 7:39 a.m.): The Bengals added six points to their Elo rating on Thursday night, defeating the Cleveland Browns 31-10. Cincinnati’s current Elo rating, 1672, is the best in franchise history. The article below was written before Thursday night’s game. 42013New Orleans123951118758.3 11970San Francisco13492108924.4 181979Dallas12397999394.0 19821644.41201089292 81984Miami1391151067677.5 According to this method, the 2015 Bengals’ closest historical doppelgangers were the 1970 San Francisco 49ers, with John Brodie playing the role of Dalton alongside little rushing support and a defense that was much better at stopping the pass than the run. The next five teams on the list are perhaps more interesting, if only because they’re more recent; there are two Peyton Manning-era Colts squads, two Aaron Rodgers-helmed Packers teams and a Drew Brees-led Saints team. We’re only halfway through the season, but this list puts the Bengals among great offensive company. Yet, like the comparison with the 1975 Bengals, it also lumps them in with a bunch of teams that went to the playoffs with impressive records only to lose before reaching the Super Bowl.Cincinnati has an 89 percent probability of beating the Browns tonight and claiming its mantle as the best Bengals squad ever. But their real work may be saved for the playoffs, in bucking the trend toward postseason disappointment for teams constructed out of similar parts.
OSU co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell walks out of the Buckeyes’ locker room before a game against Maryland on Nov. 12. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorOhio State co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell is underway with contract negotiations to become the Cincinnati Bearcats head football coach next season. The Bearcats fired Tommy Tuberville from the position on Dec. 4 after a 4-8 season.Fickell has served as a member on the OSU staff since 2002 when he was a special teams coordinator. He has been one of the defensive coordinators for OSU since 2005.Fickell stepped in as interim head coach in 2011 following the departure of then-coach Jim Tressel amid NCAA violations. Fickell led the Buckeyes to a 6-7 season and loss in the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl.Once Urban Meyer took over as head coach of OSU, Fickell resumed his duties as defensive coordinator. He currently shares the defensive play-calling responsibilities with Greg Schiano.BearcatReport.com initially reported the story.
After beginning the 2009-10 season with eight of its first 13 games on the road, Columbus (7-5-1) is now amid a stretch of five of six games at Nationwide Arena.The Blue Jackets ______(beat or lost to)______ the San Jose Sharks Wednesday. They travel to Atlanta (6-4-1) Thursday, and finish the weekend back home against the Carolina Hurricanes (2-8-3) Saturday night.Columbus began the second month of the season with a 5-4 overtime victory at Washington Sunday. Blue Jackets forward Raffi Torres scored his second goal in the third period with 23 seconds remaining and sent the game into overtime.R.J. Umberger, former Ohio State men’s hockey player, claimed the victory for Columbus with his second goal of the game 1:45 into extra play.The win against the Capitals snapped a three-game losing streak for Columbus. The Blue Jackets currently sit in second place in the central division of the Western Conference after one month of play, but know there is still room for improvement.“I think it was good for us to get a win and find a way to get it done,” Umberger said. “I think we need to know as a team that is not our best hockey. We need to play better in the third period, but we are going to take the momentum from the win.”The Jackets come into the week with a 3-1-1 record at home and are 29-9-3 at Nationwide Arena since Nov. 29, 2008.“This home stretch is big for us,” forward Jakub Voracek said. “Getting eight to nine points during these six games as a team is something we are looking to do and that would be great.”Scouting the Thrashers, HurricanesColumbus knows how to beat the East.The Blue Jackets play two of their three games this week against Atlanta and Carolina of the Eastern Conference’s Southeast Division. Columbus is 1-0-1 against the East this season after going 13-3-2 vs. the conference last season. The record against the East was the best record of any Western Conference team in the NHL.“I don’t think there’s a difference between the Eastern or Western conference,” Voracek said. “It’s just another game in the NHL where we are trying to win it.”Looking forward to Atlanta, the Thrashers have struggled at home with a 1-3-0 record this year. The Jackets will have to be careful on special teams against Atlanta. The Thrashers will be missing All-Star Ilya Kovalchuk who is out with an injury.“We have to play our best game,” Voracek said. “If everybody plays 100 percent and plays smart, we think we can beat them.”The Blue Jackets will need to put Carolina away early. A close third period could be exactly what Carolina needs right now. The Canes have dropped nine-straight games (0-6-3) heading into this week and rank 29th in the NHL in goals scored (2.15 per game) and goals allowed (3.85 per game).Columbus earned a 5-1 win at Carolina Feb. 14, 2009 in the only meeting last season.“We just have to play them hard like we do every other team,” Voracek said. “It doesn’t matter how many games they’ve lost, its going to be a tough game.”Offensive improvementIt’s easy to see the improvement the Jackets have made since last year. The team is the highest-scoring team in the Central Division.Columbus ranks 11th in the NHL on the power play at 22.8 percent (13-of-57). Last year, the team was 30th in the league on the power play and didn’t score its 13th power play goal until its 128th power play opportunity of the season in game No. 27 Dec. 7 at Anaheim. “We are shooting the puck more and we are getting our first shots on net, which makes the other team scramble,” Umberger said. “We are winning more face offs in the zone and keeping the puck in there. Basically, it comes down to execution.”The team entered the week ranked ninth in the NHL in scoring, averaging 3.23 goals per game.Nash continues to lead teamBlue Jackets captain Rick Nash has not slowed down offensively at all this season. He scored two goals against Pittsburgh Oct. 30 and added three points vs. Washington.The 25-year-old ranks fourth in the NHL in points, sixth (tied) in goals and seventh (tied) in assists, while also tying for the league lead with two shorthanded goals.Look for Nash to have no letdown this week either, as he continues to take this young team to the next level at home this week.
At 30 years old, Ohio State’s second-year head lacrosse coach Nick Myers is living his dream.“I still pinch myself occasionally driving in each morning knowing that I am the head coach at Ohio State,” Myers said. “It’s very special to me.”On July 10, 2008, Myers became the 13th head coach of the OSU lacrosse program. He spent the previous three seasons as the Buckeyes’ top assistant.It was during those three years and two other seasons as a volunteer assistant under former coach Joe Breschi when Myers grew and learned how to coach.“Watching Nick develop from a young 24-year-old volunteer assistant into the head coach is great to see,” said Breschi, who is currently the coach at the University of North Carolina.In between his two assistant coaching jobs at OSU, Myers spent two seasons as the top assistant coach at Butler University.In his first year, Myers lead OSU to a 7-7 regular season record and the team advanced to the championship game in the Great Western Lacrosse League tournament.This year the team has a 6-6 record overall and is 2-3 in its new conference, the Eastern College Athletic Conference.When the team’s three senior captains Scott Foreman, Brandon Freeman and Andrew Stimmel talked about their coach, the one word they all used to describe him was “passionate.”Freeman said that Myers always brings high energy and passion to games and practices. Stimmel said that Myers pushes the players both on and off the field.“Nick has tremendous attention to detail, energy and passion for the game of lacrosse,” said Pat Myers, Nick’s brother and assistant coach at the University of North Carolina.Nick Myers’ stepfather introduced him to lacrosse, and Nick said he got his first look at a lacrosse stick as an eighth-grader.“For me it was a passion that I developed quickly,” Myers said. “It’s a game that is unique in a sense where it combines so many aspects of not only athleticism, but speed and scoring.”In high school, Myers was a two-time All-American and represented his home state of Maine in the 1997 North-South All-Star game.Myers was also a Division III All-American playing for Springfield College in Massachusetts, where he earned a degree in sports studies and physical education.After college, Myers came to OSU to be a volunteer assistant coach.“I knew financially it would be a burden,” Myers said. “I worked a couple of different jobs but it was so valuable, the time with coach Breschi, this staff and this family.”In Columbus, Nick joined his brother Pat who was playing lacrosse for the Buckeyes.“The chance to be with my brother for two years was really fun, too,” Nick Myers said. “We had a lot of fun together. I enjoyed coaching him.”In addition to on-the-field performance, Myers has the team set goals off the field as well.“At the beginning of the year we talk about family, academics and lacrosse,” Myers said. “We give a player handbook similar to what coach [Jim] Tressel has done with his ‘Winner’s Manual.’”This year, the team has achieved academic goals with a team grade point average of over 3.0. It also had 26 scholar athletes last quarter. The team also has contributed more than 600 hours of community service, beating its preseason goal of 500 hours.“Nick recognizes that playing lacrosse for Ohio State is a special honor, and is a privilege not a right,” Pat Myers said. “Lacrosse is secondary to the OSU lacrosse family and the academic aspect of the OSU lacrosse program.”Nick Myers has found a home in Columbus and at OSU. His face lit up as he said that he and his wife are expecting their first child this month.“I really feel like in a lot of ways this is where I have grown up. It is a place where I am very connected to through my family,” Myers said. “This athletic department is the finest in the country and it is very humbling at a young age to just be a part of it.”
The Ohio State football team has boosted its future schedule by going outside the “big five” conferences.OSU has set up a home-and-home series with the University of Notre Dame for the 2022 and 2023 seasons, according to an OSU release. The Buckeyes are scheduled to play the Fighting Irish on Sept. 3, 2022, in Columbus in their first game of the season. The two teams are set to play in South Bend, Ind., Sept. 23, 2023, to complete the series.Notre Dame is scheduled to play their final game of a 13 consecutive year series against rival Michigan Saturday. The Saturday finale between the Fighting Irish and the Wolverines will mark the 42nd meeting in their series.For football, Notre Dame is an independent program and not affiliated with any conference.OSU executive associate athletic director Martin Jarmond said in the release that OSU is “extremely pleased” to scheduled games against Notre Dame.“Notre Dame adds to the prestigious series of non-conference games we have been seeking to schedule that are competitive, attractive for our fans and exciting for our student-athletes to be a part,” Jarmond said in the release.The football program now has home-and-home series set with Virginia Tech (2014-15), Oklahoma (2016-17), Texas Christian University (2018-19), Oregon (2020-21), Texas (2022-23) and Boston College (2023-24) in addition to Notre Dame over the next decade.The two programs have played five times in the past with the Buckeyes taking a win in the most recent matchup, 34-20, in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl.OSU’s next game is scheduled for Saturday against Virginia Tech at 8 p.m. at Ohio Stadium. The game marks the Buckeyes’ 2014 home opener.
Both suspects, from London, are in custody following a pre-planned raid on a west London address on Thursday by the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command and the South East Counter Terrorism Unit.Another man, aged 19, was arrested in south-east London on suspicion of a religiously aggravated offence in a separate matter and remains in custody, police said.Officers searched addresses and vehicles in west and south-east London and the Thames Valley area following the arrests. Two men have been arrested on suspicion of preparing acts of terrorism.A 19-year-old was detained on suspicion of preparing terrorist acts and a 20-year-old was arrested on suspicion of funding terrorism and failure to disclose information regarding an act of terrorism, Scotland Yard said.The older man was also held on suspicion of preparing acts of terrorism relating to a separate investigation by the South East Counter Terrorism Unit. 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.
Derek Penman, HM Chief Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland, said: “Criminals are increasingly exploiting opportunities from the internet to commit crime.“As Police Scotland develops its response to these new and emerging threats, it is likely that crimes including fraud and other cyber-enabled offences will increase significantly and impact on the historic reductions in reported crime.”It emerged earlier this month that more than 1,900 offences involving possession of indecent images of children were reported by police in Scotland over the last three years. This was the highest total of any UK force and included a 17 per cent increase last year.However, the HMICS crime audit, which examined whether crimes are being recorded correctly, found more than a quarter of cyber-related sex offences did not result in a police report. Facebook declined to comment but it has a zero tolerance policy on child and sexual exploitation, with any instances discovered reported to the police and the content quickly removed.Twitter declined to comment but it has a policy of instantly removing child exploitation images, reporting them to the National Centre for Missing & Exploited Children and suspending the relevant account.Instagram also declined to comment but it has strict community guidelines and has facilities that allow users to report actions that make them feel uncomfortable. It also has a zero tolerance policy on content or behaviour that puts youngsters at risk. Highlighting the fact that many of the perpetrators are outside Scotland, and their actions are not recorded as a crime, it said: “This is a concern given that statistics may be used to develop policy, resource policing and design victim support or education services.”The audit also examined several cases where young Scots shared indecent images of themselves and others, actions that amounted to a crime.HMICS called on Police Scotland and ministers to work with the major social media companies to highlight the risks to children and consider what additional safeguards could be put in place.Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick said: “The growth of cyber-related crime is a challenge for society as a whole. “It will require new approaches and effective collaboration with our partners and communities to prevent and investigate types of cyber-related crime which can range from complex fraud investigations to predatory sexual offending.”A Scottish Government spokesman said a range of measures are being take forward to prevent child sexual exploitation and improve online safety.He added: “We are also currently working across government to update our internet safety action plan and are taking steps to ensure the refreshed action plan is linked to work being taken forward in schools.” Sex criminals are using social media networks like Facebook and Twitter to carry out attacks against Scottish children including rape but many are not recorded by the police, according to a disturbing official report.HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) conducted an audit that found 11.4 per cent of sex crimes had a “cyber element” but this proportion increased to 17.5 per cent in some parts of the country.It discovered that the majority of sex crimes involved social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Oovoo, as well as online dating sites. The report concluded that some of the most popular social media networks used by children were “recurring vehicles for sexual crime”.Among the offences committed were rape, sexual assault, causing a young child to participate in a sexual activity, communicating indecently, causing a young child to look at a sexual image, coercing a person into being present during a sexual activity, possession of child and extreme pornography, and grooming.In one incident, an eight-year-old child received indecent images via a popular app on their smartphone. Other crimes involved young children being coerced to view adults engaging in sexual activity via their phone, or being bullied into taking and sending indecent images of themselves. Although many parents are aware of the need for internet restrictions on their home computer to protect their children, the report said it was “clear” that many of the sex crimes targeted at children were committed via apps on smartphones and tablets.However, HMICS warned that many of the incidents are not recorded by Police Scotland because they are committed by adults living elsewhere in the world. Instead the location of the crime is deemed to be the place from which the criminal sent the communication or images. 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. Police Scotland does not record many online sex crimes committed by offenders who live elsewhereCredit:Alamy
Campaigners have won the latest legal battle against the Government in a long-running action over harmful air pollution levels.A judge at the High Court in London ruled in favour of environmental lawyers ClientEarth in their “clean air” judicial review action.The law group went to court over the Government’s “continuing failure to tackle the national air pollution crisis”.The latest proceedings in the case followed a ruling won by ClientEarth at the UK’s highest court in April 2015.Supreme Court justices declared then that “immediate” action was needed to address the issue, and set a deadline for the Government to produce new plans to comply with European Union (EU) law on limits for nitrogen dioxide in the air.But, ClientEarth said the Air Quality Plan (AQP) which was subsequently produced is “flawed”, “woefully inadequate” – and needs to be “drastically” improved.On Wednesday the judge announced to a packed court that the judicial review application was being “allowed”. 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.
Not everybody who lives in the countryside lives in some sort of rural idyll. There are pockets of poverty and deprivation right across the countrysideNigel Huddleston, MP for Mid Worcestershire Nigel Huddleston, MP for Mid Worcestershire, said funding per pupil in his area was £1,000 per head lower than in neighbouring areas. “Not everybody who lives in the countryside lives in some sort of rural idyll. There are pockets of poverty and deprivation right across the countryside,” he said.Following Ms Greening’s announcement in Parliament on Wednesday Cllr Paul Carter, chairman of the County Councils Network, said he supported the proposals, as the current system sees County schools receive half the funding per pupil that inner London schools get. “This is inequitable and needs redressing,” he said. Natalie Perera, the Education Policy Institute’s executive director, said: “Small schools in rural areas can often find it difficult to manage because they suffer from small pupil numbers. In areas where those small schools are vital to avoid children having to travel very long distances, the sparsity factor should help them to be sustainable.” The announcement was welcomed by MPs in rural areasCredit:Fredrick Kippe / Alamy Rural schools are set for a boost in funding as the Government proposes to change rules to ensure that institutions in remote areas have enough money to stay open.Education Secretary Justine Greening unveiled proposals on Wednesday to end an “unfair, opaque and outdated” funding system that favoured children in London over those in the countryside.Under the biggest reforms to school funding in a decade, a new national formula will use a host of factors to calculate how much money is allocated to each school, including “sparsity”, which takes into account how small and remote it is. Education Secretary Justine Greening unveiled proposals on WednesdayCredit: PETER NICHOLLS Ms Greening told the Commons: “We’ll protect those small rural schools which are so important to their local communities by inclusion of a sparsity factor.”What we can’t accept is other areas in other parts of the country that have similar challenges in relation to deprivation and lower prior attainment, not being funded, for no other reason than that they’re not London. It’s now time to have a fair approach.”Under the proposed changes, primary schools which qualify for sparsity funding would receive up to £25,000, which rises to £65,000 for secondary, middle and all-through schools. Overall, an extra £27 million would be spent on the sparsity factor.The announcement was welcomed by MPs in rural areas. Simon Hoare, MP for North Dorset, said one of the biggest issues facing schools in his constituency is “recruitment of and retention of staff in a rural areas where costs are higher, living costs are higher and all the rest of it. The sparsity quota will be warmly welcomed by those head teachers”. The Education Secretary also promised extra money to schools with a high population of “mobile” students, meaning children who join mid-way through the academic year.Schools in areas with an influx of migrants, as well as military children, Roma gypsies and travellers stand to gain under this measure.Kevin Courtney, General Secretary at the National Union of Teachers, said: “Far from being the levelling up that some councils and heads have demanded, this is a levelling down. Even the schools currently worst funded will see real terms cuts in this Parliament.” 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.