Pirates not satisfied after breakthrough season

first_imgIn a way, the man who shrewdly guided the franchise from 105-loss laughingstock three years ago to a 94-game winner that pushed the St. Louis Cardinals to the brink in the NL division series knows the easy part is over.“The sustainability is what separates great organizations,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We were able to take a huge step forward this year in restoring the pride and the passion of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization, and rebonding our city with a ball team.”The evidence lay in the signature Jolly Roger flags that came out of hiding across the city after spending a generation tucked away like an abandoned family heirloom. It could be seen at packed PNC Park, where record crowds—most of them wearing black—poured through the turnstiles in the playoffs and made baseball matter again in a city where it has long played distant third fiddle behind football and hockey.It could be felt in a clubhouse comprised of young talent and established veterans unbowed by the club’s miserable recent past. Centerfielder Andrew McCutchen cemented his status as a star with an MVP-worthy season. Third baseman Pedro Alvarez tied for the NL lead in home runs with 36. Rookie pitcher Gerrit Cole illustrated his electric 100 mph fastball. Catcher Russell Martin helped turn a pitching staff that looked like a question mark in March into a dominant force in September. Jason Grilli, aging reliever thrust into the closing role for the first time, became an All Star and the emotional center of one of baseball’s best bullpens.When asked to describe the success of left-handed pitcher Francisco Liriano—who revived his flagging career by going 16-8 with a 3.02 ERA and becoming the de facto ace down the stretch – Hurdle said Liriano “has a lot of Pirate in him.” Pressed on what exactly that means, Hurdle stumbled upon an ethos that resonated from the front office down to the bat boys. PITTSBURGH (AP)—The Streak, the one that loomed over the Pittsburgh Pirates for two ignominious decades, is dead. Over. Done. Discarded. Smashed by an improbable summer and a thrilling fall.Now what?Unburdened from the yoke of failure that loomed for 20 years as an ominous cloud over the franchise, the Pirates can point to the future with eyes wide open.What exactly the future holds, however, remains unclear. Follow @NewPghCourier on Twitter  https://twitter.com/NewPghCourierLike us at https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Pittsburgh-Courier/143866755628836?ref=hlDownload our mobile app at http://www.appshopper.com/news/new-pittsburgh-courier “In the movies that I’ve watched and the books that I’ve read, there seems to be a spirit of I really don’t care what anybody thinks anymore, I’m crossing the line, I’m going to become a Pirate,”’ Hurdle said. “It’s not about mom or dad or brother or sister, not about where I used to work. I’m going to be my own man. I’m going to hope to latch on to a bunch of other men who feel the same way, that are like-minded, and try to get something special done.”The goal of a sixth World Series title, the one controlling owner Bob Nutting talked about at length during spring training, never materialized. The fact a world championship evolved from something preposterous to something very tangible will only fuel an offseason designed to prove the last six months were no fluke.“I think it’s one thing to be happy and one thing to realize how far along we come and how much we can improve,” Alvarez said. “It’s been a realization of all the hard work we’ve put in but at the end of the day we still have a lot of work to do.”’Figuring out how to go about it, however, will be tricky. Though Pittsburgh’s $73 million payroll was the highest in club history, it also ranked just 26th in baseball. And despite the windfall of two dozen sellouts and the second-largest attendance figure since the team was founded in 1887, general manager Neal Huntington knows the Pirates can’t just start throwing money around. So does his boss.“I think that the playing field is not level, never will be. But we as the Pittsburgh Pirates have committed ourselves to never using that as an excuse,” Nutting said. “Is it easier to build a great club with $200 million than with $75-$80 million? Absolutely. But I believe—have always believed and will continue to believe—that we can be competitive at that level.“We need to make smart decisions.”The decisions this winter will include whether to bring back A.J. Burnett, who put together a solid 10-11 season at age 36 and proved to be a capable mentor to youngsters like Cole and Jeff Locke. Burnett has hinted at retirement, but the truth is he may have pitched so well he priced himself out of the market.The same goes for outfielder Marlon Byrd, part of a rare summer splurge. Byrd hit .318 in a month with Pittsburgh and was its most consistent hitter in six postseason games. While Byrd enjoyed his time in Pittsburgh, he also turned 36 in August and will likely look for a multi-year deal.If Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez—who has an option for 2014 but spent the last four months of the season dealing with arm problems—don’t return, the Pirates will have to fill at least one spot in the rotation. Rightfield and first base are also a question mark if Byrd and Garrett Jones move on.The last time Pittsburgh made the playoffs, it took 21 years to get back. There are no plans to have the gap repeat itself.“This franchise is a great franchise, a franchise that won,” McCutchen said. “We’re going to continue to keep that sail up on that boat and keep going.”center_img MVP CANDIDATE ANDREW MCCUTCHEN NEW ACE FRANCISCO LIRIANOlast_img read more

Pew Research: Africa is more economically optimistic

first_img5 August 2015A Pew Research Center (PRC) report, part of its Global Attitudes and Trends Project, has found that global citizens are largely discontent with current economic conditions and are pessimistic about the financial prospects of the next generation. The degrees of dissatisfaction vary widely according to region, with more discontent in Europe and the Middle East than in the so-called emerging African and Asian regions.The PRC is one of the leading independent global research institutes. Based in the US, it gathers and interprets data on global social issues, public opinion, and demographic trends. The research is sourced from public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and empirical social science research.The results of this most recent global economic satisfaction analysis – conducted between 25 March and 27 May and released on 23 July – were generated from 45 435 in-person and telephone interviews across 40 countries with adults 18 years old and upwards.AfricaThree African countries stand out as having the most hope for the next year: Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia. Some 92% of Nigerian respondents see their economy improving over the next 12 months, juxtaposed with a global median of 5% who say their local economies will stay the same or worsen. Burkina Faso and Ethiopia are likewise economically optimistic, with more than 80% of respondents in the nations predicting economic progress.Both Nigeria and Ethiopia rank high in their view of long-term prospects, with 84% saying the next generation will be financially better off than the previous generation.Economic growth in Ethiopia, in particular – according to the International Monetary Fund – has beaten every other sub-Saharan country over the past decade and is projected to exceed an annual rate of 8% over the next two years. With a 20% boost over the next budget in public spending on infrastructure and education, Ethiopia remains on track to improve on its previous performance.South AfricaSouth Africa offers some mixed results that nonetheless make for interesting reading. South Africans regard the current economic condition in the country as “good”, with a particularly high positivity among the 18-29 (65%) and 30-49 (57%) age groups.When asked the sample question: “Over the next 12 months, do you expect the economic situation in (your) country to improve/remain the same/worsen?” respondents measured a 45/29/22 ratio, specifically measuring remarkable above- average scores in the 18-29 (53%) and 30-49 (45%) age groups. Some 47% of South Africans feel hopeful about the economic prospects of the country’s next generation.EuropeCountries in Europe have high dissatisfaction levels with current economic conditions with a median of 70% across six prominent EU countries, including Italy (88%), France (85%) and Spain (81%). Contrasting this, Germans are notably satisfied, with 75% believing their economy is in good shape. Regarding future economic potential in Europe, there is a median of 64% pessimism for the next generation.Middle East and Latin AmericaTwo thirds of countries surveyed in the Middle East are also negative about current and future economic prospects in the region. Similarly, Latin Americans, with a median of 63%, regard their economies as gloomy. Brazil (87%) and Venezuela (83%) have particularly negative views. The region in general, however, is more positive about the future, achieving a median score of above 60% in most South American and Central American countries surveyed.AsiaThe Asia-Pacific region also has a relatively bright view of the future – by nearly two-to-one, with a median of 51% saying the next generation will be economically better off. Vietnam (91%) and China (88%) are mostly hopeful, while Japan scores a low 18% regarding the future.Source: Pew Research Centerlast_img read more

USDA announces details of agricultural assistance for trade retaliation

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest This week, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced details of the trade assistance package for farmers hurt by the President’s aggressive trade agenda. The $12 billion package will provide payments to producers as part of a “short-term relief strategy” to protect agriculture.“Early on, the President instructed me, as Secretary of Agriculture, to make sure our farmers did not bear the brunt of unfair retaliatory tariffs. After careful analysis by our team at USDA, we have formulated our strategy to mitigate the trade damages sustained by our farmers. Our farmers work hard, and are the most productive in the world, and we aim to protect them,” Perdue said.The Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency will administer the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) to provide payments to corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean and wheat producers starting Sept. 4, 2018. The payments to producers will total $4.7 billion with soybeans accounting for the largest single commodity estimated cost at over $3.6 billion.Payments though the MFP include:Soybeans — $1.65 per bushel for 50% of productionCorn — One cent per bushel for 50% of productionPork — 50% of the total number of pigs on hand as of Aug. 1 at $8 per pig.Wheat — 14 cents a bushel for 50% of production.Dairy — The margin protection historic number at 12 cents per hundredweight times that production number. Payment for dairy production is based off the historical production reported for the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy). For existing dairy operations, the production history is established using the highest annual milk production marketed during the full calendar years of 2011, 2012, and 2013. Dairy operations are also required to have been in operation on June 1, 2018 to be eligible for payments.USDA has a number for 21,000 producers but those who don’t have it can be calculated by USDA.Eligible applicants must have an ownership interest in the commodity, be actively engaged in farming, and have an average adjusted gross income for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 of less than $900,000. Interested producers can apply after harvest is 100% complete and they can report their total 2018 production. Beginning Sept. 4 of this year, MFP applications will be available online at www.farmers.gov/mfp. Producers will also be able to submit their MFP applications in person, by email, fax, or by mail.Applicants must also comply with the provisions of the “Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation” regulations. The second payment period, if warranted, will be determined by the USDA.MFP payments are capped per person or legal entity at a combined $125,000 for dairy production or hogs. MFP payments are also capped per person or legal entity at a combined $125,000 for corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans and wheat. For more information on the MFP, visit www.farmers.gov/mfp or contact your local FSA office, which can be found at www.farmers.gov.In addition, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will administer a Food Purchase and Distribution Program to purchase up to $1.2 billion in commodities (including beef, dairy, sweet corn, apples, and strawberries) unfairly targeted by unjustified retaliation. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will distribute these commodities through nutrition assistance programs such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and child nutrition programs.Also, through the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP), $200 million will be made available to develop foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products. The program will help U.S. agricultural exporters identify and access new markets and help mitigate the adverse effects of other countries’ restrictions.The ATP will provide cost-share assistance to eligible U.S. organizations for activities such as consumer advertising, public relations, point-of-sale demonstrations, participation in trade fairs and exhibits, market research, and technical assistance. Applications for the ATP will be accepted until Nov. 2, 2018 or until funding is exhausted. Funding should be allocated to eligible participants in early 2019.“President Trump has been standing up to China and other nations, sending the clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate their unfair trade practices, which include non-tariff trade barriers and the theft of intellectual property. In short, the President has taken action to benefit all sectors of the American economy — including agriculture — in the long run,” Perdue said. “It’s important to note all of this could go away tomorrow, if China and the other nations simply correct their behavior. But in the meantime, the programs we are announcing today buys time for the President to strike long-lasting trade deals to benefit our entire economy.”last_img read more

Follow the Hippie: Leadership Lessons Through Dance

first_imgHaving first presented the video at this year’s TED Conference, Sivers make the case that instead of the first mover / leader being the catalyst of a movement, it is in fact the first follower that rallies others. Says Sivers, “Being a first follower is an under-appreciated form of leadership. The first follower transforms a lone nut into a leader. If the leader is the flint, the first follower is the spark that makes the fire. “For entrepreneurs, it means that the key to virality isn’t just building a great product. It’s about having the right early adopters to teach others how to use the product and become comfortable with the novelty of something new. Sivers explains that it’s the early adopters that others follow and not the trailblazing / seemingly crazy leader. In other words, it’s important to respect your earliest users and give them the mechanisms to make their support public. Says Sivers, “We’re told we all need to be leaders, but that would be really ineffective. The best way to make a movement, if you really care, is to courageously follow and show others how to follow. When you find a lone nut doing something great, have the guts to be the first person to stand up and join in.”We’ve seen our fair share of angel investors, early executives and engineers follow a lone nut and build successful businesses. As an entrepreneur, who do you credit as your first follower and what efforts have you made to ensure that the act of following is made public? A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Tags:#start#startups Related Posts dana oshiro Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting When Sigma Partners’ Richard Dale posted a video of a random dancing guy to his Venture Cyclist blog I was skeptical. I’d seen the original video sans narration and dismissed it as a strange sociological phenomenon condensed into a quick three minute clip. Nevertheless, when the same video is narrated by MuckWork and CDBaby founder Derek Sivers, it provides some valuable leadership lessons for entrepreneurs. last_img read more

The Path to Mastery

first_img Get the Free eBook! Learn how to sell without a sales manager. Download my free eBook! You need to make sales. You need help now. We’ve got you covered. This eBook will help you Seize Your Sales Destiny, with or without a manager. Download Now Work to learn your craft. Take years to learn it. Stay inside and work while other people are out playing and having fun. Rehearse. Rehearse. Rehearse. Be embarrassingly bad at what you are doing until a small glimmer of something others might call talent appears. Know that you talent is nothing more than the disciplined action taken repeatedly over long periods of time.Go over the same ground until you know it so well that you no longer have to think about what you are doing. Give yourself over and sacrifice that part of yourself that resists. Become what you are doing until there is no longer any separation between who you are and what you do. Until you have become one with what you are doing. Or it has become you.Develop deep mastery in your domain. Know the fundamentals at such a high level that you can break the rules and create something new, something novel, something that is just yours. Build your work on top of the foundation of the fundamentals you have mastered and on the firm ground of the masters who taught you the fundamentals. Add a new level, another dimension, a shift to something new, but something that speaks to the truth that was there when you were first learning.Let your intuition guide you. Work without ever second guessing what you are doing, how you are doing what you do, and who you are doing it for. Forget everything. Be the medium through which your work flows. Create. Produce. Work. Smaller movements, nothing wasted. Bolder strokes, greater refinement.This is the path to mastery, for the few that are willing to step onto that path.last_img read more

The Royals May Come To Regret Everything That Happened After This Moment

After a miracle postseason run, the Kansas City Royals’ quest for their first World Series championship since 1985 looks shaky. Combining Baseball-Reference.com’s in-game win probability model with the series win probability numbers I computed for a post on Friday, we can track the odds of each team winning the series at any point within any game thus far.In the top of the third inning of Game 4, the Royals tagged San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong for four runs, opening up a 4-1 lead. As a result, Giants manager Bruce Bochy was forced to bring in reliever Jean Machi from the bullpen early, and Machi promptly walked Jarrod Dyson to load the bases. At that precise juncture — with the bases loaded and two outs in the third inning, leading the game 4-1 and the series 2-1 — the Royals had an 82.4 percent probability of winning the World Series.Machi eventually got out of the jam, and San Francisco cut the lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the third. But two innings later, the Royals again cracked an 82 percent World Series win probability when Eric Hosmer led off the fifth inning with a double.The odds of scoring at least one run are fairly high with a runner on second base and nobody out, and a three-run lead in the fifth inning would have given Kansas City a better than 80 percent chance of winning the game. With a 3-1 series lead and two of the remaining three games (if necessary) at home, the Royals would have had an 88.5 percent probability of winning the World Series.But they failed to score Hosmer in the fifth, then let the Giants tie the game in the bottom of the inning. An inning later, San Francisco blew the game open with three runs, then tacked on four more in the seventh en route to an 11-4 victory.We may eventually look back at those two moments of Game 4 as the high-water marks for Kansas City’s World Series chances. From the latter point on, the Royals have hemorrhaged win probability. Once tied at two games apiece, the series was almost a 50-50 proposition after taking into account where the remaining games were being played and who was taking the mound for each team. Kansas City still could have pushed its World Series win probability to 78.5 percent with a win Sunday night, but the Royals once again struggled to solve San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner, and their odds of winning the series dropped almost linearly from 50.2 percent at the first pitch to 29.3 percent at the final out (just about where they stood after losing Game 1). read more

Quick hits Midweek news and notes from Ohio State football

First-year Ohio State football head coach Luke Fickell held a press conference Tuesday and discussed everything from his strategy for calling timeouts to redshirt senior quarterback Joe Bauserman’s smile, as well as the Buckeyes’ Saturday game against Colorado at Ohio Stadium at 3:30 p.m. Timeout indecision against Miami Trailing by 11 points with 9:21 remaining in the fourth quarter, Fickell elected not to use a timeout during Miami’s 14-play drive, which lasted 8:48 seconds and ended with a touchdown that increased the Hurricanes’ lead to 24-6. The Buckeyes finished the game with all three timeouts remaining. “We were going to call a timeout right there, I think, on (Miami’s) third-down play that they converted,” Fickell said. “I think there was still a minute and a half left to go. They actually ended up calling the timeout.” Fickell, who was asked five questions during the press conference about the late-game timeout situation, said he planned to save the timeouts for OSU’s next drive. “We decided, ‘Hey, we’re going to need to save these unless we get in a situation because we’re going to need two scores,’” he said. “It ultimately didn’t end up hurting us.” Players Gotta Play Numerous freshmen, including Miller, freshmen wide receivers Devin Smith, Verlon Reed and freshman defensive back Bradley Roby, among others, have received significant playing time through the Buckeyes’ first three games. Despite their occasional struggles, Fickell said he’ll continue to field a team that features young, first-year players. “You got to get out there and do it to do it,” Fickell said. “That’s no excuse that they’re young. We’re not going to give them that excuse.” Smile, you’re on camera During ESPN’s national telecast of the Buckeyes’ loss to Miami, redshirt senior quarterback Joe Bauserman was captured on camera smiling toward the end of the game. Fickell said that he received an email about the incident after the game. “I didn’t see it,” Fickell said. “I haven’t talked to (Bauserman) and I know that Joe hurts every bit as I do. But, no, that’s not something you want to see. “We try to tell (the players) that nothing goes unnoticed.” Captaincy carousel Junior defensive lineman John Simon and junior fullback Zach Boren will act as team captains for OSU’s Saturday game against Colorado at Ohio Stadium. Boren, who is roommates with Simon, said that “John and I have a great relationship. It gets competitive (between us) with video games.” Nay-saying the boo birds Bauserman threw the ball away in several instances during OSU’s Sept. 10 win against Toledo, and members of Buckeye Nation sometimes greeted his tosses into the stands with boos. Boren said that if he were in the crowd watching the Buckeyes, he wouldn’t boo. “I know what this team goes through on a yearly basis and I know what we’ve done in fall camp,” Boren said. “I would never boo our team.” Fickell acknowledged the passion of the Buckeyes’ fans, but said that he doesn’t give a whole lot of thought to the crowd’s reaction during game. “They pay their money to get in,” Fickell said. “They love Ohio State, Ohio State football. If they don’t like something, they let you know. “That’s not what we’re going to focus on. Hopefully, that doesn’t affect us mentally in any way.” read more

Bilic on Hernandez Hes a natural goalscorer

first_imgFormer West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has praised Javier Hernandez as a “natural goalscorer” and believes that the forward’s struggles this season have mostly been down to a lack of pre-season training last summerThe Mexico international came on as a substitute on the second-half and scored a stunning curling effort to secure a point for West Ham in their 1-1 draw against Chelsea on Sunday.The strike marked the fourth time Hernandez had appeared as a substitute and scored at Stamford Bridge with Bilic, who was fired from the club earlier this season, praising the 29 year-old for what he brings to the side.Jose Mourinho is sold on Lampard succeeding at Chelsea Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 14, 2019 Jose Mourinho wanted to give his two cents on Frank Lampard’s odds as the new Chelsea FC manager, he thinks he will succeed.There really…“He’s a natural goalscorer and he’s there where he has to be. He’s not dangerous outside the box or around the box, but in the box, he’s the best finisher. Everything he thinks about is being in the box to come for a second ball,” said Bilic, according to Sky Sports.“He had some difficult times in the beginning. I don’t think he did all of pre-season because of the Confederations Cup but he is a brilliant goalscorer.“He’s a brilliant guy, a good person to have in the dressing room. He doesn’t cause problems, he can be angry but for five or ten minutes, no more than that. He is a good guy.”last_img read more