State FFA Officers cheering on members at National Convention

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Ohio’s State FFA Officer team is comprised of several busy individuals during the National FFA Convention. They took a few minutes to talk to us about what their week has been like.last_img

Courting glory

first_imgThe Centre Court audience rises to its feet to congratulate Tsonga and cheer Federer at the 2011 Wimbledon ChampionshipsOn a clear, perfect, eye-blue day, 15,000 breathless souls gaze in wonder as the magic unfolds on grass. Two adversaries, dressed head-totoe in matching white, face off in one of the world’s,The Centre Court audience rises to its feet to congratulate Tsonga and cheer Federer at the 2011 Wimbledon ChampionshipsOn a clear, perfect, eye-blue day, 15,000 breathless souls gaze in wonder as the magic unfolds on grass. Two adversaries, dressed head-totoe in matching white, face off in one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious sporting tournaments. As the green ball, at the players’ beck and call, flies from one end of the grass court to the other, anticipation builds. Then a much-awaited scream bellows, “OUT!” and the crowd roars to its feet. The Rolex clock on the scoreboard stops ticking. The match is over. The underdog has eliminated the champion. The crowd cheers not only the victor but the spirit and vitality of a contest steeped in 125 years of tradition.Wimbledon is an anchor of the human psyche. A competition that sees the very best pitted against another, battling on a surface unlike any other for the right to be crowned grass court king. Where technological advancements change perceptions quicker than lightning, there are few living monuments that haven’t been re-christened or re-booted in an effort to reflect the fickle tastes of successive generations. Wimbledon’s remarkable adherence to its core values make it a cultural landmark of continuity.Perhaps this is why Rolex and Wimbledon have forged such a successful partnership over 33 years. Since 1978, Rolex has been the official timekeeper of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club’s Wimbledon Championships and, by all indications, the partnership looks set in stone. Even Rolex’s official green blends invisibly into Wimbledon’s viridian legacy.Much of the success of Wimbledon and Rolex’s unique relationship can be attributed to their shared values: excellence, discipline, sportsmanship and focus. While most organisations would be satisfied to use these as marketing buzzwords, often forgetting the responsibility the ideas carry, Rolex has staked its reputation time and again on reflecting these principles in its products and presentation. The Rolex suite nestles in the Centre Court building offering the best in hospitality and a grand place to lounge between matchesEven the individuals selected as brand ambassadors by Rolex are respected for more than just success in their respective fields. In a long list that includes Indian luminaries Anoushka Shankar and Vijay Amritraj, one name encompasses the gamut of Rolex values and, arguably, stands alone as the greatest ever in his field. That man is Roger Federer, winner of more grand slams and acclaim than anyone in history.My journey started with an invitation from Rolex to attend the quarterfinals of the 125th Wimbledon Championships. For a person who grew up reserving the same level of worship for names like Becker, Graf, Navratilova, Ivanisevic, and Sampras that ancient Greeks would for Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, or Hermes, this wasn’t just an assignment but a dream come true.One of the most visible ways in which Rolex abides by its value system is by its presence at the world’s most prestigious sporting events, especially tennis, golf, and yachting. In this regard, Rolex has been developing its hospitality plan since 2005, building luxury experiences for its customers at these amazing gaming events.Strawberries and cream are a beloved staple of the Wimbledon experience, most arriving from Kent for the tournamentThe day begins with a sumptuous lunch at the Rolex suite, located inside Wimbledon’s Centre Court building. The balcony affords a view of the main entrance and scoreboard, allowing the visitor to enjoy the hospitality Rolex has to offer while being able to follow the on-court action. After calming giddy nerves with Lansom Black Label Brut champagne, and downing several glasses of a 2009 Chassagne Montrachet to go with a roast rack of Welsh lamb, the Rolex invitees are ushered to their seats at Centre Court. Not too far right of the Royal box, the view from the Rolex stand is just right: not so close that one needs to keep turning one’s head to follow the ball, and not so far as to make the play unintelligible. The seats look to the court at a 45 degree angle (and also give a dead-on view of the Rolex scoreboard), which makes it the perfect vantage point to watch every nuance of a lofted ball getting slammed at 120 km/hr.The quarterfinal clash sees living legend Roger Federer take on celebrated upstart Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Coincidentally, both Federer and Tsonga are Rolex brand ambassadors. Dramatically different in playing styles, Tsonga is known as a passionate and powerful player, capable of elevating his game under pressure, whereas Federer is a master of every form of the game.While Tsonga has a few fans in attendance, the crowd is here for Federer and Federer does not disappoint, taking the first two sets almost effortlessly. As the crowds file out after a shock defeat for Federer at the hands of Tsonga, Kipling’s words engraved at the entrance of Centre Court sum it all up, “If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same.”Rolex brand ambassadors, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Roger Federer, face off in Centre Court at WimbledonAfter the match, the guests return to the Rolex suite to complete the experience with the final (and most famous) component of the Wimbledon experience: strawberries and cream. During the 14-day tournament, more than 28,000 kg of strawberries dunked in 7,000 litres of cream are consumed.As we enjoy dessert, the giant scoreboard indicates that India’s mixed doubles team of Rohan Bapanna and Sania Mirza have moved onto the quarterfinal and the Indian contingent share a few warm smiles. Looking around, we can see that while the essence of Wimbledon remains steadfast, small technological changes are creeping in. The courts use the hawk-eye system to challenge umpire decisions, the finals will be broadcast in 3D and Centre Court has a retractable roof. The changes are not glaring, but rather sewn neatly into the existing fabric of Wimbledon history. The same philosophy applies when Rolex brings subtle changes to its pieces, always building on what previously existed. A long term vision, immune to fashion and trends, is at the heart of Rolex’s “evolution in continuity” approach and that’s what makes it a befitting partner for Wimbledon. DatejustRoger Federer describes his favourite watch as a classic model that incorporates a modern touch. Here are a few features of the Rolex Datejust II.Cyclops: The unique magnifying Cyclops eye allows easy view of the date through an aperture on the dial, a Rolex design standard.Oyster case: Hermetically sealed to the case with a massive torque of five newton metres, the back of any Oyster creates an environment that protects the movement from shocks, pressure, dust, water and any other intrusive element.Superlative: Chronometer The movement of this watch has endured 15 days and nights of testing by the Contr´le Officiel Suisse des Chronomtres. To receive the famed COSC certification, a watch must demonstrate extreme precision in a variety of positions and temperatures.advertisementadvertisementlast_img read more

Adam Voges expects Cameron Bancroft to join Western Australia a day after ban ends

first_imgWestern Australia’s coach Adam Voges is expecting Cameron Bancroft to join the team a day after his ball-tampering ban expires in December. Bancroft was handed a nine-month ban by Cricket Australia after he was found guilty in the ball-tampering scandal in March in South Africa.Bancroft was caught on cameras rubbing sandpaper on the ball to change its condition on the third day of the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town.In one of the clips, Bancroft was caught putting his hand in his pocket before working on the ball with an object. He later put it back in his pocket.In another clip, Bancroft was seen transferring the piece of sandpaper from his pocket to his underpants.Captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were also slapped with suspensions for one year by the Australian cricket board.WATCH: A ball-tampering demoWhile Bancroft’s ban expires on December 29, Voges said he expected the 25-year-old to be ready to slot into the Perth Scorchers’ lineup on the following day for their clash against Hobart Hurricanes in Australia’s Big Bash Twenty20 competition.”One thing I do know about Cam is he’ll be prepared,” Voges said in comments published on Cricket Australia’s website (cricket.com.au).”I know he won’t have played any high-level competitive cricket for a period, but it certainly hasn’t stopped him from trying to improve.”He’ll be ready to go. I see a real possibility that he’ll come straight back in for that game.”Governing body Cricket Australia is considering a submission from the Australian Cricketers’ Association, the players’ union, to lift the ball-tampering trio’s bans immediately.advertisementThe ACA made the request following the release of the Longstaff review into Cricket Australia’s culture which blamed the board in part for the ball-tampering crisis in South Africa.(With inputs from Reuters)last_img read more

2017 NTL Referee Upgrades

first_imgLevel 6OpenTim Ah SeePhilip BalcombeChristopher BensteadPatrick CostiganJake DavisJustin HillDean MacDonaldRobert McKayAlexander McCahonAdam TurnerAndrew WatkinsAlison WattersNicole WestAndrew YonSeniorPeter CrampIvan GiammarcoJoshua LittlePaul RichardsonDavid TewkesburyJohn Viklund Monday, March 20, 2017Congratulations to the following referees on receiving upgrades at the 2017 National Touch League.Level 4OpenTess LeahyJack Van Lohuizen 2017 NTL Referee Upgradescenter_img Level 5OpenMatt ButlerAlec ClarkIsaac CossonVince CostiganMike EllisLachlan FreshwaterBen HarrisAdam HoganMitchell KennedyPatrick MoranJonathon PowyerBenjamin RogersLawren SullivanSeniorAnthony BradleyCraig ButlerSimon BernieJohn ClarkPaul KeyteMike KenderesJoe MercuriMark MontgomeryGregory OatenBrendan O’FlynnDarren Tomslast_img read more

10 months agoBayern Munich frontrunners for Arsenal, Chelsea target Under

first_imgBayern Munich frontrunners for Arsenal, Chelsea target Underby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal and Chelsea have a new challenger in their pursuit of Roma winger Cengiz Under. According to ESPN, Bayern Munich have moved ahead of the Premier League duo as they look to replace Arjen Robben.The 21-year-old is currently valued at 50m by the Serie A giants, which Bayern have no problem paying. Fortunately for Arsenal and Chelsea, Under is reportedly keen on a move to the Premier League.Manchester City and Manchester United have also scouted Under, who has scored two goals and provided four assists in 14 Serie A appearances this season. TagsTransfersAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your saylast_img

10 months agoEx-Spurs boss Redknapp: Arsenal, Chelsea NOT title contenders

first_imgEx-Spurs boss Redknapp: Arsenal, Chelsea NOT title contendersby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp feels there’s three genuine contenders for the Premier League title this season.Liverpool currently sit six points clear of Spurs and seven of Manchester City.And Redknapp believes it is a three-horse race.“I think it’s a three horse race,” he told talkSPORT. “Liverpool are the favourites now which is a big turnaround.“But Tottenham are in great form at the moment and they are genuine title contenders.“Spurs are still in it, you can’t write them off. They are bang there, the way they are playing at the moment.“I can’t see anybody else getting into it.“I watched Arsenal yesterday and they are nowhere near in my opinion.“I know they’ve had injuries, but at the back they are still very poor.“And Chelsea are just so reliant on Eden Hazard. Without him you couldn’t really see them challenging, they’re still short of a frontman.“So really, I think there are three runners and I think it will be very tight.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

2016 NBA Mock Draft: First Round 2.0

first_imgNBA DraftTwitter/@NBADraft NBA DraftTwitter/@NBADraftWe’re only one week away from the 2016 NBA Draft. The draft order has long been set, and the Philadelphia 76ers have been on the clock deciding who they will take with the No. 1 pick. As the date gets closer, all of the potential picks begin to crystallize and the draft starts to take shape. Last month, we brought you our first NBA Mock Draft, but now we decided to take an updated crack at prognosticating how the draft will play out. Note, there are no draft-day trades in our scenario. We predicted what every team would do if it stood pat and picked in its designated slot.Without further ado, let’s kick things off.   Get Started: Picks 1-5Pages: Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7last_img

Montego Bay Trio to Receive National Award

first_img Jevon Lewis, Aristel Saint-Joy, and Lloyd Nelson will receive the Badge of Honour for Gallantry for their courageous efforts in rescuing five persons, including a baby, after heavy rains flooded roads and buildings in St James in November of last year. Story Highlights Jevon Lewis, Aristel Saint-Joy, and Lloyd Nelson will receive the Badge of Honour for Gallantry for their courageous efforts in rescuing five persons, including a baby, after heavy rains flooded roads and buildings in St James in November of last year.The three will receive their award at the National Honours and Awards Ceremony, scheduled for Monday (October 15), National Heroes Day, on the lawns of King’s House.Mr. Saint-Joy, a 22-year-old barber at Groomer’s Barber Shop on Union Street, Montego Bay, who hails from Anse-d’Hainault, Grand’Anse, Haiti, moved to Jamaica in 2014. He resides in Spot Valley, St. James, with his wife and two young daughters.Thirty-eight-year-old Nelson, also a barber, lives at Hart Street, Montego Bay, and works at Shantia’s Salon (two doors down from Saint-Joy’s barber shop). He is the father of three children, and sometimes moonlights as a singer.For his part, 27-year-old Lewis, who hails from Catherine Hall, Montego Bay, has been making a living as a fruit vendor on St. James Street, Montego Bay, for five years and is the proud father of a four-month-old son.Wednesday, November 22, 2017 seemed like a regular rainy day to all three gentlemen. However, what they thought was a light drizzle turned into a lot more.“I was at work waiting for the rain to stop, but then I looked outside and I noticed the water was rising and persons were being evacuated from nearby buildings,” Mr. Saint-Joy told JIS News.To the alarm of everyone in Groomer’s Barber Shop, the water started coming closer and closer to the shop’s door.Two doors down in Shantia’s Salon, Mr. Nelson also noticed the rain falling heavily, but thought nothing of it until water started rising and threatened to flood the salon.“The rain was falling, but no one really thought there would be a flood. The rain fell for hours and hours until I saw the water rising, but people still did not take it seriously. When the water got to the steps (of the salon), persons still did not get alarmed, but then the water got to the doorway and persons decided that now was the time to evacuate,” Mr Nelson states.As the rain continued to fall, flood waters continued to rise, so intense was the flooding that the staff at the salon retrieved their valuables and were forced to find refuge on the roof of the building.Mr. Nelson, however, stayed back to save some appliances at the salon, wading in and out in waist-deep water to save as much as he could. However, a chilling cry stopped him in his tracks.“Someone on the roof cried, ‘ova deh suh, ova deh suh!’ pointing across the street to the Union Street Auto Shop. I knew there was a young lady working there who recently had a baby, plus she had a young daughter as well. Both were with her in the building,” Mr. Nelson informs.The Barber notes that he saw the young woman and her children leave earlier, but did not know they had returned.Mr. Nelson tells JIS News that he did not spare a second thought, and swam his way towards the auto shop, dodging floating cars and debris on the way across, determined to rescue the woman and her children.Meanwhile, Mr. Lewis, who usually sells on Deer Lane but found himself on Union Street that day, also heard the cries from the persons on the roof and swam in the direction of the auto shop, joining Mr. Nelson, who was already on the scene.Jevon Lewis prepares a papaya to be sold from his fruit stall. He will receive the Badge of Honour for Gallantry for his courageous efforts in rescuing five persons, including a baby, after heavy rains flooded roads and buildings in St James in November of last year.Mr Nelson says he tried opening the door to the auto shop to take the trapped persons out, but to no avail.“I tried to use a gas drum that was at the doorway to break the glass door, but it was not working. So I took my merino (undershirt) off, wrapped it around my hand and broke the glass,” he tells JIS News.“When I got access, I was handed the baby first, the baby girl seemed at the time to be about five months old. I realised there were still two women and two children inside – a little girl and boy – for me to take out,” Mr. Nelson recalls.Meanwhile, as Mr. Saint-Joy’s colleagues made their way to the roof of the Barbershop, he and another co-worker stayed behind to secure some of the shop’s appliances. However, something caught their attention across the street.“I saw a rescue attempt taking place across the street, so my co-worker and I offered our assistance,” Mr Saint-Joy states.He then swam across the street and proceeded to assist Mr. Lewis and Mr. Nelson in the rescue of the women and children, helping them to climb to the roof of the auto shop and a nearby wall.Except for one of the ladies sustaining a large wound to her foot after stepping on broken glass from the shop’s door, any other injuries sustained by the five persons were minor.Mr Nelson states that since the rescue last year, he has been called a hero. However, he does not see himself that way, as he did what any well-thinking person would do – saved another human life.Lloyd Nelson grooms the hair of a client at Shantia’s Salon in Montego Bay, St. James. He will receive the Badge of Honour for Gallantry for his courageous efforts in rescuing five persons, including a baby, after heavy rains flooded roads and buildings in St James in November of last year.“When everyone started to call me a hero, I did not feel like one. I just knew I was doing something good, and it’s a good feeling to have saved them and, hopefully, someone would have saved me if I was in that position,” he tells JIS News.Mr. Saint-Joy states that he did not think twice about his heroic deeds, as he believes that is what he was meant to do. “I feel like it’s my job to help people,” he states.On their pending National Honours, all three men expressed gratitude for the recognition.“I feel good about it and I really appreciate it,” Mr. Saint-Joy tells JIS News.Mr. Nelson states that during a walkthrough to assess the damage to downtown Montego Bay, Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, commended him on his bravery.A few weeks later, one of the women he rescued wrote to the Prime Minister detailing his courageous acts.“A couple weeks later, I got a call from the Prime Minister’s secretary, who told me I was going to receive a National Award, and I was very happy and grateful,” Mr Nelson expressed.All three men have seen the persons they rescued, all of whom continue to express gratitude to the heroes.“I have seen the mother of the baby; she told me thanks and the child’s father not only thanked me but also bought me a top-of-the-line shear, and I really appreciate it,” Mr Nelson notes.For his part, Mr. Saint-Joy says he is looking forward to taking his family to the awards ceremony. Mr. Lewis has opted to take his mother, while Mr. Nelson stated that he will be making the journey to Kingston alone.When asked if they would go through their daring rescue again, dodging floating cars and debris in murky, dangerous waters, all three men gave a resounding yes. Mr. Saint-Joy, a 22-year-old barber at Groomer’s Barber Shop on Union Street, Montego Bay, who hails from Anse-d’Hainault, Grand’Anse, Haiti, moved to Jamaica in 2014. He resides in Spot Valley, St. James, with his wife and two young daughters. The three will receive their award at the National Honours and Awards Ceremony, scheduled for Monday (October 15), National Heroes Day, on the lawns of King’s House.last_img read more

How The Rays Are Surprising Baseball Again

The Tampa Bay Rays are not supposed to be in first place in the AL East. Since 2008, the Rays have never ranked higher than 20th in payroll. This season, the Rays opened with a payroll $176 million less than the Red Sox and $144 million less than the Yankees. There are underdogs and then there are the Rays.Yet, it’s a few weeks into the 2019 season, and the Rays are still in first place. And our projections predict that they’ll be a playoff team. It’s still early, of course, and the Rays’ hot start could cool as more games are played — and they did take a tumble over the weekend against the Red Sox. But they’ve been so successful — going into the weekend, their pitching staff had the lowest ERA and fielding-independent pitching in the majors and no lineup was making more quality contact, for example — that it’s worth trying to make sense of how the Rays are defying the odds. It’s not just homegrown talent and innovative strategies propelling them this year, though the defensive shifts and the reliever openers are still happening. Instead, they’ve found yet another way to win: They’re getting more out of other clubs’ players.Their top two and three of their top six position players this season were acquired from teams via trade during the last calendar year, and the 2.5 wins above replacement (WAR), according to FanGraphs’ measurement, of those three accounts for almost half of the Rays’ position player total. And their top pitcher to date, Tyler Glasnow, was acquired in the same July 31 trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates that brought them their best position player, Austin Meadows.1Meadows was placed on the injured list Sunday with a thumb strain.“We feel very strongly about our ability to get the best out of guys,” Chaim Bloom, Tampa’s vice president of baseball operations, told FiveThirtyEight last summer.Two of those guys — third baseman Yandy Diaz, acquired in a December trade, and Glasnow — provide a glimpse into what the Rays might be doing right, and why this surprising start might be sustainable. Prior to arriving in Tampa, Diaz was known for an excellent batting eye and elite exit velocity. From 2017-18, among batters to put at least 200 balls in play, Diaz ranked 13th in average exit velocity (91.7 mph). But that didn’t translate to power as well as we might have expected. He hit only one home run in 299 plate appearances in Cleveland and had the fourth-lowest launch angle among that same cohort, at 1.9 degrees. (The MLB average this season is 12.3 degrees.) Diaz was pounding ground balls into the turf too often. With the Pirates last season, Glasnow, a once highly touted prospect, found himself in a long-relief role. He had lost his command and his confidence. What the Rays acquired at the trade deadline was a struggling pitcher, but one with intriguing underlying skills: a sharp breaking ball and a fastball that ranked at the top of the “perceived velocity”2Perceived velocity combines actual velocity with extension, or how closely a pitcher releases the ball toward home plate. leaderboard since his debut. Glasnow’s average fastball of 96.7 mph looks like it’s going 99.3 mph because he releases the ball, on average, 7.6 feet in front of the pitching rubber. (He ranks first in the majors in perceived velocity this season.) The data-heavy Rays began with a simple message to Glasnow: Trust that your fastball will still work in the strike zone.“I tried to express to him that he could be really aggressive in the strike zone,” Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder said. “The guy is 6-foot-8. He throws the ball from 52 and a half feet [from home plate]. He’s an upper 90s guy. It’s an all-power, no-art approach. I just think the more he understood that the hitter in the box had to respect the fastball and cheat to it, the better the breaking ball was going to be.”Glasnow’s share of pitches thrown within the strike zone has increased by 4.7 percentage points this season, the 24th greatest improvement in the majors, just behind teammate and reigning AL Cy Young winner Blake Snell. While it’s early, Glasnow has also had the sixth-greatest decline in walk rate in the sport (5.9 percentage points).Glasnow said the team also wanted him to focus on keeping his fastball elevated and his curveball down, while throwing the latter more frequently.While he and the Pirates had agreed in 2018 to change his approach to one similar to what the Rays are espousing, Glasnow said it was hard to alter how he had thrown since being drafted in 2011. “The [Pirates] were very down in the zone, downhill angle,” he told FiveThirtyEight last September.The Rays reinforced how his elevated fastball and 12-to-6 breaking curve could play together by sharing the same path, or tunnel, before the curveball breaks downward. Making the pitches look similar as they approached the plate would create confusion for batters.“Tunneling is important,” Glasnow said. “It’s definitely more of an emphasis here.”Consider the pitches working in tandem against the White Sox on April when Glasnow struck out 11 over six scoreless innings. His elevated fastball: But the Rays had a plan to get more out of all their batters, particularly those with Diaz’s tendencies. During spring training this year in Port Charlotte, Florida, hitting coach Chad Mottola and the Rays came up with an idea for a practice constraint: They were going to build an on-field wall.They didn’t have what they needed at the spring facility, so they sent a truck 90 miles up I-75 to Tropicana Field, their major league home, to commandeer the netting typically used to shield players and coaches during batting practice. The next morning during batting practice, Rays hitters found a barrier of netting on the infield. They were asked to hit over it — to lift and pull the ball. Another issue last season: Diaz hit 57.1 percent of balls in the air to the opposite field, the fourth-highest mark in the league. That’s not conducive to power: Leaguewide this season, 33.4 percent of fly balls hit to the pull side have gone for homers but just 5.2 percent of those hit to the opposite field.It’s not an ideal batted-ball profile for a player who, well, has muscles like these: “He was never given the opportunity with Cleveland in a way he thought he deserved,” Mottola said. “Letting him know he’s going to be in the lineup no matter how he plays today, that makes you a better player immediately.”This season, the Rays have the second-lowest share of balls hit to the opposite field. (They had the highest share last season.) The Rays rank second in the majors in average exit velocity (90.3 mph), up from 26th last season (87.0 mph). It’s still early, of course, but those are marked changes.The wall — or something — appears to be working. And his whiff-generating curveball, which currently ranks fifth in vertical movement and 15th in swing-and-miss rate among pitchers who have thrown at least 50 curves, falling below the zone: “I saw it on the internet,” Mottola said of the practice, similar to what the University of Iowa called The Great Wall of Groundball Prevention in 2016. “I said, ‘Why don’t we just do it?’ At the major league level, it wasn’t anything more than a conversion starter. For younger kids, it was a way to stimulate thoughts more than anything.”This spring, the Rays’ Great Wall of Groundball Prevention evolved to focus not just on trying to get the ball in the air but also on getting the ball in the air to batters’ pull side. The team also used pitching machines to produce velocity and spin more like what batters would see in actual games.The Rays wanted to move the point at which hitters contacted the ball to out in front of the plate, which would allow them to pull the ball better, Mottola said. After all, that’s where the most power is generated. When Mottola began his coaching career in the Toronto organization in the late 2000s, he watched as Jose Bautista was taught to change his focus and try to pull everything. He became a star.Whether because of the wall or something else, Diaz has changed the way he’s hitting this season. After an offseason of focus on contact point with the Rays, he’s now pulling 41.4 percent of batted balls, up from 28.9 percent last season — the 26th greatest increase in the sport. He’s hit five home runs in 89 plate appearances so far.Diaz never pulled a home run in Cleveland. He has done so three times in Tampa. Glasnow is first in the AL in ERA (1.53) so far this year after posting a 5.79 ERA in his two-plus seasons in Pittsburgh.Glasnow and Diaz have made what appear to be real skill gains since arriving in Tampa. Of course, the sample size remains small early his season, and they will have to prove that their starts are sustainable. But if the Rays are indeed spinning developmental gold, the team may have landed on a path to long-term success.Check out our latest MLB predictions. read more