first_imgScience and technology minister NalediPandor is adamant that South Africa iscapable of hosting the SKA, and thatthe country’s bid is the better one. The seven-dish KAT-7 array is alreadyonline and bringing in valuable imagery.(Images: Janine Erasmus)MEDIA CONTACTS • Marina JoubertSKA South Africa communications+27 83 409 4254Janine ErasmusWith the site decision-making process for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) fast drawing to a conclusion, South Africa remains confident that it is fully capable of hosting one of the biggest science projects ever undertaken.At a press briefing in Johannesburg, science and technology minister Naledi Pandor, science and technology director-general Phil Mjwara, and SKA South Africa project director Bernie Fanaroff assured South Africans that the country has the human and technological capacity to successfully host and maintain the multi-billion-rand instrument.Over the past few years there have been many advancements in related science and electronics, and also in human capital, with South Africa now recognised as a leader in signal processing hardware and the development of next-generation technology.An extensive bursary programme has seen hundreds of university students becoming interested in space science and engineering as a career, and, said Pandor, even more encouraging is that many of these are black students and women.“These kinds of large-scale projects are powerful drivers of socio-economic development,” she said.To date, R55-million (US$7-million) has been spent on developing the skills needed for SKA, with 398 postdoctoral fellowships, PhD, MSc and undergraduate bursaries given to deserving candidates.Between 2012 and 2017, said Pandor, a further R200-million ($26-million) will be spent on education.Not only is the SKA project boosting South African capacity in astronomy, science and engineering, but as a whole it’s bringing the best researchers from around the world to Africa and will do so on an even bigger scale in years to come.The final decision is expected early in April, after a SKA member meeting on 3 April followed by a meeting of the SKA board on the following day. South Africa and Australia are the two competitors in the SKA race.While the continent holds its breath in anticipation, many people are cautious about expecting an announcement on that day, after such a long wait already.However, Pandor and her team will not accept any unnecessary delays.“We will let them know that we want a decision,” she stated. “We want to know what we should plan for.”Competitive edgeOne of South Africa’s perceived advantages is that its government is fully supportive of the SKA bid, to the extent that legislation has been enacted that protects a vast region of the Northern Cape province from disruptive development.This is where the core of the SKA, should it come to Africa, will be situated, as well as the 64-dish SKA precursor MeerKAT. The outlying antennae will be hosted across South Africa’s eight SKA partner countries in the Southern African region, including Madagascar and Mauritius.Already an array of seven radio telescopes, the KAT-7, is online at the Northern Cape site and bringing in valuable imagery from far-flung corners of the universe. The KAT-7 is the MeerKAT precursor.When complete, MeerKAT will be the biggest radio telescope in the southern hemisphere. Although it’s only due to become operational in 2012, the first five years of MeerKAT research time are fully booked, with astronomers queuing up to work on this important instrumentThe team’s goal is to complete 15 MeerKAT antennae by 2015.Financial reliefIn his 2012 budget speech, finance minister Pravin Gordhan announced that the Department of Science and Technology’s budget would increase from R4.4-billion (US$573-million) in 2011/2012 to R6-billion ($782-million) in 2014/2015 – a leap of 27%.The SKA and MeerKAT would receive funding on top of this amount.Gordhan also said that the SKA project would qualify for VAT relief, a move that is expected to give South Africa an added advantage in the hosting race.Pandor explained that the deductions would apply to the purchase of equipment, to help offset the huge cost and make investment more attractive.Overseas endorsementPandor said that the recent adoption by the European parliament of declaration number 45, titled Science capacity building Africa: strengthening European-African radio astronomy partnerships, is a clear indication that Africa’s achievements in this field are being recognised.“The majority of parliamentary members signed the declaration,” she said, “which shows that they share our view of Africa’s geographic advantages as a potential SKA host, and also that the continent is an attractive partner for science and innovation.”The AU has also thrown its weight behind the African bid, and at its 2012 summit in Addis Ababa in January, called for radio astronomy to become a priority of its science, information society and space partnership with the EU.Despite recent reports in overseas newspapers that have suggested that the selection process favours South Africa, and frenzied speculation from people connected with and supporting the rival Australian bid, the local SKA team have withheld any comment on these unsubstantiated reports, as the selection process is meant to be confidential.The two countries won’t have too much longer to wait, with the official announcement expected on 4 April.And while associated projects such as the KAT-7 and MeerKAT telescopes are important scientific instruments in their own right, South Africa still has its eyes on the big prize.“Our main, iconic target is the SKA,” said Pandor.last_img read more

first_img9 July 2012 Cooperation in trade and investment and the avoidance of double taxation formed part of discussions at the fourth Joint Consultative Mechanism (JCM) meeting between South Africa and Chile on Friday. The meeting was co-chaired by International Relations Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim and his Chilean counterpart, Fernando Schmidt, in Pretoria. “South Africa and Chile have agreed and finalised two instruments, namely the Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of a Joint Trade and Investment Commission,” the two countries said in a joint communique following the meeting. South Africa remains one of the largest foreign investors in Chile’s mining sector. However, the trade balance between South Africa and Chile is currently in favour of Chile. The establishment of a Joint Bilateral Trade and Investment Commission would help to address this. Exports to Chile include minerals, chemical fertilisers, sulphate, insecticides and fruit. Imports from the South American country include chemicals. The meeting additionally discussed a number of other areas, including the possibility of a dialogue regarding a preferential trade agreement subject to concurrence with the Southern African Customs Union, science and technology, and academic exchanges in the tertiary education sector. It was decided to explore possibilities of further academic collaboration between Chile and South Africa. The previous JCM meeting between Chile and South Africa took place in Chile in 2008. Following the devastating earthquake in Chile in February 2010, the South African government donated R500 000 in relief aid, which was routed through the Chilean Red Cross. Source: SANews.gov.zalast_img read more

first_imgMinister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel addresses the Team South Africa delegation at the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on 22 January. (Image: The Presidency)On Saturday 23 January 2016 Team South Africa concluded a successful programme at the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.President Jacob Zuma, led a high-powered Team South Africa delegation, delivered the message that South Africa is open for business to global investors and other stakeholders.The delegation to Davos included:• Ministers in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Mr Jeff Radebe• Minister of Finance, Mr Pravin Gordhan• Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies• Minister of Economic Development, Mr Ebrahim Patel• Minister of Water and Sanitation, Ms Nomvula Mokonyane• Minister of Energy, Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersson• Minister of Health, Dr Aaron MotsoalediTeam South Africa also included the Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, Mr Lesetja Kganyago, and captains of industry from various business sectors.Team South Africa leveraged the presence of international business, analysts and politicians in Davos to assure the global community of the country’s commitment to maintaining policy certainty, fiscal discipline, macro-economic stability and the promotion of inclusive growth and development.South Africa reiterated that the National Development Plan, the Nine-Point Plan for economic recovery and Operation Phakisa were all being implemented with a view to ensuring economic and social growth and development. The current global economic challenges require South Africa to develop a robust and responsive set of measures to ensure economic stability. Team South Africa consistently advocated this message to delegates in Davos.During the Forum, Team South Africa had high-level interactions, including bilateral discussions. President Zuma hosted global investors during a session of the Business Interaction Group on South Africa. During this session President Zuma emphasised South Africa’s commitment to policy certainty by announcing the establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Investments and a one-stop interdepartmental clearing house to facilitate support for investors.With particular reference to the theme of Davos 2016, Mastering the 4th Industrial Revolution, Team South Africa emphasised the need to create a balance between the use of technology to mechanise and industrialise to move the economy into a knowledge state of human development, and job security.The overwhelming sentiment emanating from Davos was that investors continue to see South Africa as a preferred investment destination. In addition, many countries around the world are faced with similar challenges of slowing economic growth, falling commodity and oil prices. Davos 2016 presented Team South Africa with an opportunity to discuss these challenges, global responses and best practices.Speaking to the media, the Minister of Finance said: “There was very positive sentiments expressed towards South Africa and the international community continued to see South Africa as a preferred destination. The fact the multinationals – amongst others, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Johnson and Johnson, Marriot Hotels – continue to invest in the country is indicative of this positive sentiment.” In the last week, ICICI Bank of India announced it would establish an office in South Africa.Minister Davies said: “We’re telling investors that – despite our country’s enormous challenges, many due to global shocks – we are resilient.” It is also significant that, according to the Oxford Business Group, “Foreign investors are often less pessimistic about South Africa than many South African companies are.”Meanwhile the South African delegation remains cognisant of the challenges imposed by industrialisation on development economies. In this regard, Minister Patel observed that “the 4th Industrial Revolution is challenging our world on how we do things. We now have an opportunity to bring health care services to the people, (especially) rural communities using the internet. It also presents us with an opportunity for children to access education in a modernised way.”While communicating that South Africa is open for business, Team South Africa also acknowledged the challenging times in which the country finds itself.In this regard, the Governor of the Reserve Bank Mr Kganyago, speaking to the media in Davos, “As far as South Africa is concerned, our pillars remain our strong macro-economic foundations and a solid monetary policy framework.”The CEO of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Ms Nicky Newton-King pointed out that, “we have to understand that there is the new normal which is the slow growth, highly volatile and uncertain global world. South Africa competes in that global world and we are connected from a financial market perspective.”Mr Vassi Naidoo, Nedbank Group Chairman drew on the best that WEF has to offer by saying that, “we are here to network and help bring the relevant thinking from the global world on areas such as business leadership, social entrepreneurs for Nedbank and for South Africa,” however, “the reality is we are in a very difficult time from [the] drop in commodity prices, oil prices.”The Chairperson of the Industrial Development Corporation, Ms Busi Mabuza summed up the challenges of the 4th Industrial Revolution saying, it “is the convergence of technology and creativity of people. We need young population that is skilled, knowledgeable to use telecommunication and medical technology for the betterment of the people. Our networks for telecommunications should be robust enough to support the implementation of the 4th industrial revolution.”“As Team South Africa departs from snow covered Davos, the challenges of the global economic environment coupled with domestic growth imperatives are top of mind. What remains undisputed is that with all sectors working together, South Africa can move forward. The brand of our country depends of all sectors playing their part for our common developmental agenda. This means business, government and labour must keep interacting and talking to ensure that we move together towards inclusive growth and prosperity for our country. We must build on the WEF 2016 success by cementing unity in action and stronger partnerships for the good of our country and its people,’’ said President Zuma.Team South Africa went to Davos against the background of investor confidence that has been demonstrated by many international companies that have increased their investments and expanded their South African operations.Government welcomes the following main investments among others:• Mercedes has invested R 2.4 billion, General Motors R 1 billion, Ford R3.6 billion, the Metair Group R400m, Goodyear R670 million.• BMW has recently increased its investment by R6 billion and VW by R4.5 billion.• Beijing Automobile International Corporation (BAIC) announced an investment of R11 billion in a vehicle manufacturing plant.• Hisense has expanded its South African operations and has recently started exporting into the SADC region from its South African base.• Marriot Hotels has also announced it will increase its South African footprint.• Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Krispy Kreme and Facebook have chosen to set up offices in South Africa.last_img read more

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is announcing an additional assistance program for producers in the Western Lake Erie Basin funded by the passage of Ohio Senate Bill 299.The Ohio Working Lands Small Grains Program is a voluntary program that will encourage producers in the Western Lake Erie Basin to plant small grains such as wheat, barley, oats, or cereal rye on eligible cropland. As the “working lands” name implies, participants must plant and harvest small grains, land apply manure, and plant a cover crop to receive a cost-share payment to help offset operating costs. The program benefits the planting of small grains not only for the conservation benefits, but to provide livestock producers with a longer application window to land apply manure and nutrients.“We are committed to working with farmers to achieve shared goals,” Governor Mike DeWine said. “This is a program that both supports farmers and helps protect Lake Erie. Through my H2Ohio initiative, we will continue to invest in Lake Erie and in efforts to improve water quality across Ohio.”Signed in 2018, Ohio Senate Bill 299 provided $23.5 million for soil and water conservation districts (SWCD) located in the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) for nutrient management programs. ODA has already distributed $3.5 million to 24 SWCDs in Northwest Ohio and in February, ODA Director Dorothy Pelanda announced plans for three new assistance programs for the remaining $20 million: the Ohio Working Lands Program, the Voluntary Nutrient Management Plan Development Program, and the Cost Share and Equipment Buy Down Program.“We are very excited to roll out the Small Grains Program as we have already seen great interest from producers for our other assistance programs in the Western Lake Erie Basin,” said Dorothy Pelanda, ODA Director. “ODA looks forward to working with farmers to implement meaningful programs that make progress toward our common goals of soil and water conservation.”The Ohio Working Lands Small Grains Program will fall under the umbrella of the Ohio Working Lands Program. Local soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs) will manage the program sign-up, verification of eligibility, and crop establishment. Soil tests and records of manure analysis and application will be required to be submitted to the SWCD as well. Producers interested in the program should contact their local SWCD to learn how to sign up.“We appreciate Governor DeWine and Director Pelanda recognizing that assistance is needed to solve important issues facing Ohio’s waters,” said Tadd Nicholson, Executive Director of the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association. “We encourage all growers of small grains in northwest Ohio to consider being part of this important program. Farmers look forward to continuing our efforts to protect water quality in Ohio.”Also, as part of the Ohio Working Lands Program, local SWCDs in the Western Lake Erie Basin are still accepting sign-ups for the Ohio Working Lands Hay Buffer program which semi-retires environmentally sensitive areas of a field from annual crop acres to permanent harvestable forage acres. The sign-up deadline for the Working Lands Hay Buffer program is May 1.Producers located in the Western Lake Erie Basin are encouraged to contact their local soil and water conservation district office to learn more and sign up for these new programs.last_img read more

first_imgJay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhDSuicidal ideation and behavior is a critical topic for the U.S. military.  According to a recent Huffington Post article, 185 active-duty Army soldiers committed suicide? in 2013 – more than the number of Army soldiers killed in combat in Afghanistan in that year [1].  However, much still needs to be learned about what increases risk of suicide, and the role that ethnic status could play in suicide risk.Creative Commons Licensing [Flickr, White Wreath Association, May 29, 2009]Copeland and colleagues researched suicidality in Hispanic and African American veterans [2] to determine if there was a relationship between suicidal behavior and ideation (SBI) in post-surgical patients who had a history of severe mental illness. This analysis included 89,995 veterans who had undergone surgeries such as bone or joint surgery, vascular surgery, or amputations.Of the 89,995 VA patients (with an average age of 64) in this sample, 2,836 were found to have suicidal behavior and ideation in the 3 years following surgery.  Consistent with previous research (Prior suicide attempts, Oct 2014), the researchers concluded that veterans with a previous history of severe mental illness (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, PTSD, or depression) experienced a significantly increased likelihood of SBI.However, the results of the study were not as clear when examining different ethnicities – African Americans showed an increased likelihood of SBI while Hispanics did not, and it was not clear why this was the case. It was noted that both African-American and Hispanic surgical patients reported higher rates of severe pain after surgery, but received lower doses of medication than White, non-Hispanic pain patients.  More study will be required to determine the influence of ethnicity on   the risk of SBI following surgery.While this study had a number of limitations, (the study used archival data and was limited to veterans, there were few women in the study) the importance of mental health care following surgery was clear.  Pre-operative and post-operative mental health monitoring is important to achieve a positive outcome for the patient.When working with minority groups in the military, consideration should be given to the individual client’s environment – family, work, and community – and the influence of culture in these groups.In an upcoming webinar, Dr. Andrew Behnke will focus on current issues and implications for clinical and advocacy work with Latino military families.References[1] Wood, D. (2013, September 25).  Tragedy of military suicides will ‘go on for many years,’ army chief warns. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/military-suicide-rate/[2] Copeland, L. A., McIntyre, R. T., Stock, E. M., Zeber, J. E., MacCarthy, D. J., & Pugh, M. J. (2014). Prevalence of suicidality among hispanic and african american veterans following surgery. American Journal of Public Health, 104, S603-8. This post was written by Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD, members of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, and on LinkedIn.last_img read more

first_imgNineteen people, including three children, were killed and six others were injured after a cement-laden truck they were travelling in overturned on a highway in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar. The victims were labourers from central Gujarat and were coming from Pipavav port.“Twenty-five people were in the open cement laden truck. The driver lost control while overtaking another vehicle on the highway and the truck turned turtle. Twelve women were among those killed,” a State government release said. The government has announced compensation of ₹4 lakh each for the victims.“My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives in the accident… I pray that those who have been injured in the accident recover at the earliest,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani asked the authorities to conduct an inquiry. The truck driver fled after the accident.last_img read more

first_imgFrom trends to watches, a lowdown on everything new in the city.Restaurant review Sinful delights Launched in July 2010 by the Alchemist Group, Kebab Khan is a concept, fine dining restaurant at Panchkula. The eatery maps the journey of Kebabs from Persia, Afghanistan, North West Frontier, Pakistan and Awadh till,From trends to watches, a lowdown on everything new in the city.Restaurant reviewSinful delights Launched in July 2010 by the Alchemist Group, Kebab Khan is a concept, fine dining restaurant at Panchkula. The eatery maps the journey of Kebabs from Persia, Afghanistan, North West Frontier, Pakistan and Awadh till Hyderabad in India. It draws the diner to a luscious array of kebabs, including 25-30 different types from various regions. Done up in rich colours, the place has a regal, warm feel. Offering North West Frontier Cuisine, it specialises in kebabs with select curries and breads as supplements. Try their nalli gosht, tawa amritsari kukkad and galauti kebab.Thai flavours Enjoy a Thai spread at Zen Garden in the five star boutique hotel Bella Vista in Panchkula. Tri-city’s only authentic Thai cuisine finedining restaurant, this roof-top eatery offers a picturesque view of the Shivaliks. Done up in shades of maroon, burgundy and gold, the fine-dining restaurant recreates mini-Thailand. Thai fixtures, bamboo and the gold leaf logo add to the appeal. Executive Chef Manohar, armed with 15 years of experience from Dubai, has used his expertise for rustling up authentic Thai flavours. The vegetarians must try spicy thai corn cakes, todman khao phot served with sweet chilli sauce and larb woonsen in spring roll wrapper. Non vegetarian specialties include northeastern thai pork salad, yum mu isaan in the appetisers and thai ginger chicken.What’s upCool shades As it gets hotter, the palette is getting brighter, especially when it comes to accessories. Punjabi fashionistas are teaming up pastel ensembles with funky neckpieces and flipflops in acid hues-think electric blue, sunshine orange, flaming red and bubblegum pink!advertisementClutch this Moving beyond cocktail saris, cocktail clutches are the in thing. Staying true to form, clutches in a delectable riot of colours are being flaunted by the younger segment, which is adventurous about accessories.What’s downLong is passeGowns! The red carpet look was never too hot here, but it’s totally out with summer at our door. Even for parties, short one piece dresses and jumpsuits are a rage. Not only are they fuss-free and figure flaunting, but also keep you cool on those sweltering days!Embellishment overdoseToo many accessories and jewellery are passe. Glam up your outfits with minimal, lightweight accessories this summer.Hair storyPrim and proper, neat hairstyles are out, and natural, even slightly messy look is in.Products basketTie me up The World Cup might be over, but not cricket fever. Get into the mood with these digitally printed, funky Satya Paul, ICC inspired ties in woven silk. Rs 995 upwards.Serve in style This two-tiered cake stand turns every thing into a special occasion. Elegant and functional, it can be used either traditionally for chocolate and fruit or as a purely decorative display. Rs 25,000.Bag this Stylish Shield evening bag with rivet details for a casual evening about town. Made in vegetable tanned faux crocodile leather. Rs 3295.Lion king The strong lion stands on a threepieced cut mahogany granite base. In clear Swarovski crystal, the asymmetrical faceting accentuates its power and charisma. Rs 55,000.Flaunt it Super-flattering, psychedelic Tunic by Neha Periwal. Ideal to sport at a dinner party. Price on request.Sport this The watches of the Montblanc Sport Collection are designed for an active lifestyle of watch freaks and sportspeople. Montblanc’s fine jewellery accessories are a real statement. Price on request.Sole comfort These flip-flops from Tommy Hilfiger are an absolute summer staple and a perfectly comfortable, holiday wardrobe accessory. Rs 1399.Look who’sComing for dinnerJonita Doda is currently filming for Punjabi flick Yaara o Dildaara with Harbhajan Mann and Kabir Bedi, slotted for release in September. The model, who’s just finished shooting for a series of Pantaloon ads, loves to flaunt light, airy and loose fit clothes, ponytails and wavy hair. Her favourites include flowing dresses teamed with chunky neckpieces. She says, “I also have a thing for chunky belts and earrings. I’m careful not to overdo accessories.”last_img read more

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say PSG target Doucoure hails Mbappe: I played with his brotherby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveWatford midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure has hailed the quality of PSG striker Kylian Mbappe.Doucoure is under consideration at PSG as a replacement for wantaway midfielder Adrien Rabiot.He told RMC: “The PSG player who impresses me the most? I think it’s Kylian Mbappé, he’s really a phenomenon, a crack. “I know very well his big brother Jirès (Kembo), with whom I played with in Rennes, and he was already talking about him. “But it’s true that I’m really impressed by what he’s doing. He is the player who impresses me the most yes.” last_img read more

Breaking balls typically have greater whiff rates than fastballs, and breaking balls are being thrown more frequently.On sliders, pitchers are often looking for more horizontal break — and less vertical movement — than on a curveball. They’re getting both this season: Velocity is still certainly at play in these nastier breaking balls: Increased velocity generally leads to an increase in spin rate. (The average curveball spin rate this year is 2,536 rpms, up from 2,315 rpms in 2015). More spin (specifically, transverse spin) creates more of the phenomenon known as Magnus Effect, which plays a key role in determining a pitch’s movement.But velocity hasn’t surged as dramatically as pitch movement has in recent seasons. And it isn’t just that fresh faces with killer breaking balls have replaced older, craftier pitchers: 86 pitchers who threw at least 50 curves in 2017 and 2019 averaged an increase of 1.4 inches of greater vertical break, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis. Something else must be at work.One possibility is that new methods of training, and new technologies, are playing a role in creating better breaking balls. For example, when Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer revamped his slider in the 2017-18 offseason, he wanted a pitch with zero inches of vertical movement and an elite level of horizontal movement. At Driveline Baseball, a data-based training center, he used new pitch-tracking technology, allowing for improved feedback of the pitch-in-progress. Specifically, he wanted to create a certain spin axis, which determines the direction the ball moves, while spin rate determines how much the pitch can move. Detroit Tigers starter Matt Boyd, who also designed a slider at Driveline, has quietly become one of the top pitchers in baseball. His slider ranks as the game’s seventh best since 2018, in terms of runs saved compared to the major league average per pitch type. “I’ve worked on it at Driveline a ton in recent years,” Boyd told FanGraphs. “At Driveline, we were on the Rapsodo [pitch-tracking tech] and the Edgertronic [high-speed camera] a lot. … Again, we were working that thing, working that thing.” The technology allowed him to monitor the spin rate and spin axis of the pitch. High-speed cameras showed him how his grip was imparting spin on the ball. The work paid off: In 2017, Bauer saw just 2.83 inches of horizontal movement on his slider, which ranked him 131st in baseball. But this season, he’s up to 11.1 inches, putting him third. Major League Baseball seems to be on an unstoppable pathway to more and more strikeouts. After a record share of plate appearances ended in a strikeout last season (22.3 percent), this season is winding up to set another record: If the to-date strikeout rate of 23 percent holds or increases over the season, it would mark the 12th straight year of a record set for strikeout rate.Fastball velocity is often cited as the source of the strikeout surge, along with hitters willing to trade contact for power. The constantly increasing fastball velocities of recent years are such a concern that MLB is partnering with the independent Atlantic League next year to move the mound back by 2 feet — to 62 feet, 6 inches from home plate. Still, there may be another culprit behind all of the K’s: Breaking balls have never moved more. According to a FiveThirtyEight analysis of PITCHf/x and Statcast data at Baseball Prospectus, sliders and curveballs this season are darting away from bats at their greatest levels in the pitch-tracking era (since 2008). White Sox left-handed reliever Aaron Bummer became yet another pitcher to look into designing a pitch this winter. In a Driveline-like facility called Dynamic Velocity in Omaha, Nebraska, he created a cut fastball to better combat right-handed hitters. After righties hit .338 against him last year, they are batting .095 this season. Bummer has allowed only one earned run in his first 11⅓ innings this season. His cutter and fastball rank among the best in the game.“It’s actual proof that your ball is moving, not someone sitting behind you and saying, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s a great pitch. That looks really good,’” Bummer said of the tech-aided pitch development. “You have instant feedback that tells you, ‘Did that pitch do what it’s supposed to do?’ To me that was a huge deal. The belief behind it.”While the effort to create better pitches began with curious (and/or motivated) players going outside the game to independent facilities, teams are hiring more and more outsiders to pitch-design roles within their organizations. Over the offseason, the San Francisco Giants hired former Driveline pitch-design guru Matt Daniels, and the Philadelphia Phillies hired another design specialist in Eric Jagers. The industry is so interested in pitch design that the Edgertronic SC1, the most common high-speed camera, is selling more quickly than Sanstreak can produce it. This year, the Edgetronic and Rapsodo devices were seen in spring training bullpen mounds all over Arizona and Florida. The Orioles held “mandatory group spin axis seminars” this spring.Pitchers’ pitches will likely keep getting better, moving faster and with more movement. There is seemingly no end to the increasing frequency of strikeouts. While the home run surge has masked other areas of offensive decline, technology and training is giving pitchers a new edge.Check out our latest MLB predictions. read more

first_imgSevilla’s Jesus Navas believes that they must be as focused as they were against Barcelona a few weeks ago, as the sides prepare to meet for the final of the Copa del ReyPreviously the two clubs met in March at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan with Sevilla being denied a victory due to the late heroics of substitute Lionel Messi saving Barcelona from a near certain defeat with the sides settling for a 2-2 draw.Navas, who has previously won the Copa del Rey in both 2007 and 2010, believes that Sevilla must show the same level of intensity and attitude with the Rojiblancos looking to avenge themselves for their 2-0 defeat in the 2016 final.“I think we played a very serious game here a few weeks ago and we have to start with the same intensity and attitude.” Navas told FourFourTwo.David Villa, SpainQuiz: How much do you know about David Villa? Boro Tanchev – September 14, 2019 Time to test your knowledge about Spanish legendary forward David Villa.The former Manchester City defender is counting on his prior experience of winning the tournament for Saturday’s final.“Very much so. For the fans, and for us to be able to win another title, would be something very big. We have to be very focused, though, because we know that any detail can mark the game.” said the 32 year-old.The Spaniard disregarded the impact of Barcelona’s Champions League exit: “They have players who are very experienced and know how to disconnect from one match to another. It’s a final, and they’re going to play it with maximum intensity. We have to be very focused.”For the fans, Navas added: “That we’re going to give it our all in every game we have left in the league, and in this final. We’re going to give it our all in every game to go far and win the title for our fans.”last_img read more