0Shares0000Gor Mahia’s Ernest Wendo vies for the ball against Esperance du Tunis’s players during a CAF Champions League tie at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on March 7, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluNAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 11- Gor Mahia midfield workhorse Ernest Wendo will miss Wednesday afternoon’s CECAFA Kagame Cup semi-final match against Azam in Dar es Salaam and faces up to six weeks out with a groin injury after limping off the quarter final game against Vipers on Sunday.The injury looks to keep him out Gor’s CAF Confederation Cup campaign as well as a good chunk of their league assignments and will also miss K’Ogalo’s trip to England for a friendly match with Everton FC. “We have lost Wendo, we don’t know for how long. We need a proper physio to assess him and the extent of the injury, but it could be a minimum of six weeks because it’s a groin injury and that usually requires a lot of time,” head coach Dylan Kerr said.While Kerr will patch up with Philemon Otieno moving to midfield and Innocent Wafula slotting at right back at the Kagame Cup and local assignments, he might have to think of a solution for the Confederation Cup as Wafula is not registered to play.Gor will face Tanzania’s Yanga at home on July 18 and away in Dar es Salaam 10 days later, games that will be crucial in their aspiration to make it to the quarter finals of the continental championship.Gor Mahia’s George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo vies for the ball with Vipers’ Milton Karisa during the CECAFA Kagame Cup Quarter Finals at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on July 8, 2018.But before all that, the Kenyan champions will have their eyes fixed on a maiden Kagame Cup title in 23 years when they face Tanzania’s Yanga in the semis on Wednesday, a repeat of the 2015 final at the same venue.Kerr notes that Gor will not be going into the tie breathing revenge having lost that game 2-0, but notes his side will have their focus on getting the job done and qualifying for Sunday’s final.“I don’t really like the stories of revenge because sometimes the players lose focus. What I want us to do is go there and get the job done, do what we do best. I was here in 2015 and I watched the game; I think they were unlucky then,” the tactician says.Gor have grown into the tournament after a lackluster start dominated by off the field issues, but the tactician notes that everything is now settled and they are looking to make the best of their Kagame Cup campaign.Gor Mahia forward Ephraim Guikan controls the ball under pressure from a Rayon Sport defender during their CECAFA Kagame Cup game at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on July 1, 2018“The morale when we came here was low but the players have picked themselves up and it was evident in the game against Vipers especially in the second half. We have played six games in 12 days and that is definitely tough but my players have been phenomenal so far,” the coach noted.He now hopes that having had an extra day to rest compared to Azam will give them an edge and his charges will bulldoze their way into the final.While Gor came from behind to beat Vipers 2-1 in their quarter final tie, Azam made easy work of Rwanda’s Rayon Sport beating them 4-2, striker Shabaan Iddi scoring all four.In the other quarter final, Simba SC will face off with Zanzibar’s JKU who beat Singida United on penalties to progress.Potentially, Simba and Gor will meet in another final, barely a month after facing each other in the SportPesa Super Cup.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
0Shares0000On the way to a third straight Champions League crown — which proved to be his Real Madrid swansong — Ronaldo kisses the trophy after winning The Best FIFA Men’s Player of 2017 award last October © AFP/File / Ben STANSALLMADRID, Spain, Jul 11 – He may not have added the World Cup to his Euro 16 success and hattrick of Champions Leagues.But with another Ballon d’Or looking likely and a move to Juventus complete, Cristiano Ronaldo’s status is as much that of multinational as footballer. The 33-year–old had long ago moved onto another plane in his nine years at the Bernabeu as the galactico of galacticos.Sporting Lisbon first nurtured his talents before Manchester United launched the process of turning him into a global icon over six years at Old Trafford.But his Real achievements have transformed the Portuguese into the Beautiful Game’s megastar who now embarks on a fresh challenge at a “new stage in his life”Shirt-shifter. On the pitch and off, the Ronaldo effect is already happening as fans show their appreciation of their new purchase in front of the Juventus store © AFP / Isabella BonottoAfter five Ballons d’Or and countless trophies, as well as more than a goal a game in his time with Real to capture 15 trophies, Ronaldo has nothing more to prove on the pitch as he heads for Turin on a four-year contract worth 30 million euros ($35 million) per season.His 34 hattricks in Spain are a record for La Liga, but one triple crown he missed out on this year was as the best paid athlete on the planet.Ronaldo had basked in the accolade for the past two years, but this time Forbes magazine gave that particular title to longtime rival Lionel Messi ahead of boxer Floyd Mayweather.That, and a last 16 World Cup exit was sweetened by the knowledge that still he pulled in $108 million over the past 12 months — 61 million in wages and the remainder in various endorsements.Accused by the Spanish taxman of hiding some of his off-field earnings Ronaldo agreed last month to pay 18.8 million euros to avoid jail.One thing sponsors linking their name with Ronaldo don’t do is lose their shirt — a single social media post from the player advertising merchandise can be worth millions © AFP/File / OSCAR DEL POZOAs befits a man of his renown, CR7 has no fewer than 330 million “followers” on social media — more than any other athlete, meaning sponsors queue to make him the face of their merchandise.– Nike for life –Those sponsors include French telecoms giant SFR, Swiss watch firm Tag Heuer, Japanese gaming conglomerate Konami, oil behemoth Castrol and the Emirates airline.That breadth and depth of marketing reach means there is no risk of his being reduced to a mere “advertising hoarding,” Jean-Philippe Danglade, author of “Marketing et Celebrities,” told AFP recently.His strongest association, going back to 2003, is with Nike with whom he two years ago signed a new long-term sponsorship deal worth a minimum reported 20 milion euros a year and that he indicated was “for life.”Marca suggested if certain non publicly-specified goals are met, the annual value of the deal could be worth around 40 million.After nine years in the white of Real Madrid, Ronaldo says the time has come “for a new stage” in his life as he eyes a new on-pitch challenge in Serie A with Juve © AFP/File / GABRIEL BOUYS“It’s the best contract I’ve had in my entire career,” he noted.Forbes drew a comparison between the ‘bling-bling’ image of Ronaldo and the more reserved image of Messi.Whereas in 2016 Messi reportedly lifted Adidas sales by an estimated $53.3 million, the Ronaldo effect lifted Nike into the stratosphere by some 500 million.– Multimillion media post –A simple Ronaldo post to social media can shift millions, as witnessed by a post to Instagram after Portugal won Euro 2016 which according to sports sponsorship valuation platform Hookit was worth $5.8 million to Nike.Juventus shares on the Milan stock exchange jumped nearly 40% since June 28 when rumours of Renaldo’s arrival began to solidify. Shares fell mnore tha six percent early Wednesday on profit-taking.As sportsman-cum-entrepreneur Ronaldo also took a sartorial leaf out of the book of Real galactico predecessor and fashion icon David Beckham and basketball legend Michael Jordan to push sports gear to similar heights which the former England star and Jordan, notably with his “Jumpman” logo, had achieved before him.“It’s the little black book of illustrated marketing,” says Danglade, researcher at Kedge Business School, noting how Ronaldo’s image straddles everything from product, to service, to digital interface.Such huge marketing reach is “extremely rare. Madeira airport bears his name. In terms of (entering) the collective imagination it’s truly impressive.”The hottest story in town — Italian papers devote their front pages to the man who has become a one-man footballing multinational © AFP / MIGUEL MEDINAThe 2006 opening of a CR7 underwear line in his native was barely an opening off-field gambit for Ronaldo, who has branched out not least in the fashion stakes into jeans, shoes and sundry accessories.Three years ago he teamed up with his country’s leading hotel chain, Pestana, for a joint venture to build five CR7 branded hotels as the chain targets a greater slice of the international luxury accommodation market.With his off-the-field interests covered, Ronaldo can concentrate on his upcoming Italian job, showcasing his brand in a country where fashion and football happily co-exist in a market seemingly tailor made for his twilight on-pitch years.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
Zulu Boy is hoping to find artists to collaborate with in France. (Image: Bongani Nkosi)Zulu Boy, a South African rap artist, has hatched his own style of music and for that he’s being sent to Cannes, France, with other hot local talent to represent the country.The rapper, whose real name is Mgingqeni Majozi, will be part of a culturally diverse group of performers who will participate in the 2010 Marché International du Disque et de l’Edition Musicale (Midem) that runs from 24 to 27 January.The event, which has been staged in France since 1966, is the world’s largest music industry trade fair and enables musicians from across the globe to meet face-to-face to network, analyse trends and build partnerships. South Africa is the 2010 Midem country of honour.Zulu Boy was chosen for his unique sound, which fuses Maskandi – a Zulu music genre – and hip hop. These were both types of music that the lad from eNtuzuma, in KwaZulu-Natal province, grew up listening to, so he’s combined the names and called his creation Skandi Hop.“My audience in France will listen to a type of hip hop that they have never heard before,” said Zulu Boy. “I know the overseas market is willing to learn about different cultures and music.”With such a creative blend of influences, Zulu Boy is no typical rap artist. Instead of urban boom bap hip hop beats and rehashed sounds, he introduces the string guitar and lyrics rapped in his mother tongue, isiZulu, and in some songs he fuses this with English.“My music has identity. We are Africans and we have to sound African,” he said.The artist, who’s signed with traditional music label Native Rhythms, promises to deliver an explosive performance in Cannes with a live band. His repertoire will include songs from his second album Inqolobane, released in 2008, and his latest offering, Igoda.He sees going to France as a chance to “network, learn and share knowledge”. “It’s an opportunity to take part in the global community,” he said.Although Zulu Boy has collaborated with international artists in the past – including Colombian rapper Alvaro ‘Ephniko’ Cuello and Ninthe, a female vocalist from the Netherlands – he’s aiming to find French artists to work with while in France.“I know for sure that I will find someone in France to collaborate with, either we will record there or we will do it over the internet,” he said. “If we share common experiences with the world, people in South Africa will learn that we are the same as people in other countries.”SA talent set to wow FranceZulu Boy is not the only local hip hop act at Cannes that will showcase the diversity of South African music. Jozi, a two-man outfit put on the map by their distinct African sound, is also set to wow audiences there.Jozi member Da Les (real name Lesley Mampe) said they are taking their “energy and swagger” to the European country. “We have a different sound compared to everybody else. It’s a fusion of traditional South African music and urban hip hop,” he said.Jozi combines the talents of rapper Da Les and evergreen singer Ishmael Morabe.There will be a rich mix of South African musicians who will perform on the opening night on the 24th and at the Tribute to Miriam Makeba Show on the 26th. The shows will fuse young, but established talents with that of old bucks who have influenced the country’s music over the years.Jazz maestro Themba Mkhize has assembled an eight-member live band that will pay tribute to South Africa’s late musical sensations. The band will perform hot tracks from yesteryear, including Brenda Fassie’s Weekend Special, Solomon Linda’s Mbube and Jabu Khanyile and Bayete’s Mbombela, among others. Slain reggae icon Lucky Dube will also be honoured.“We have been known for our struggle songs for years, now we have an opportunity to showcase who we are in terms of music. We are a people with lots of love and we express that in our music,” said Mkhize. “The festival is an opportunity for us to sample a bit of our music for the world, ranging from the 1950s to today.”The Themba Mkhize band will be key to the South African musicians, playing alongside most of them. It will perform with Zulu Boy, Afrikaans singer Kurt Darren, the queen of Ndebele music Nothembi Mkhwebane and world-renowned flautist Wouter Kellerman.Performances with Xhosa music diva Thandiswa Mazwai, Makeba’s granddaughter Zenzi Lee and veteran Vusi Mahlasela are also scheduled.The South African line-up will also feature talent from elsewhere on the continent. Benin superstar Angelique Kidjo will join other local acts on stage to pay tribute to Makeba, while Kellerman’s performance will be spiced up by Senegalese prodigy Lamine Sonko.Sonko is based in Melborne, Australia, and is a singer, dancer and a percussionist whose style is an eclectic blend of jazz, reggae and West African music. “Our performance in France will be a surprise to the audience. But they will enjoy it,” Sonko said.Critically acclaimed outfit The Parlotones will play the best of South African rock, and award-winning soul singer Lira promises to perform all her chart-topping numbers as well. Other acts to set the stage alight are Tidal Wave, a popular reggae crew, and Maletangwao Cultural Troupe. Dance music disc jockeys Black Coffee, DJ Christos and DJ Static Plastic are set to play 100% home-grown music at the two events in Cannes.“The most important thing is that when we leave that place people must have a sense of what South African music is all about,” said Sipho Sithole of the Department of Arts and Culture advisory committee. “It must be a true reflection of South African music.”Mazwai, who’s known for her socially and politically conscious songs, appreciates the funding and organising by government which has made the French trip possible. “It’s a great thing that the government has done. It should happen again next year.”
The Department of Energy will spend $11.5 million on 16 research projects aimed at improving the energy performance of building envelopes and HVAC systems in U.S. homes. The Building America Industry Partnerships will underwrite research in three broad categories: advanced residential envelope and HVAC systems, fault analysis for residential HVAC systems, and how building industry standards affect energy performance. The announcement came from the Building Technologies Office (BTO), which is part of the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy.RELATED ARTICLESAeroseal Rolls Out Air-Sealing Technology for HousesHow to Build a ‘Perfect Wall’Energy and Building Programs Brace for Trump BudgetHanley Award Goes to Energy Star’s Sam Rashkin The average American household spends more than $2,000 a year on energy bills, with U.S. homes accounting for 20% of total energy consumption and 37% of all electricity use, the BTO said. In all, spending on residential energy is $240 billion a year. “While building materials and HVAC equipment efficiency have improved over recent decades,” the office said, “a number of challenges continue to result in significant energy losses.” Air sealing houses with an aerosol One of the technologies on the grant list is the use of an aerosol sealant to plug up air leaks in a building envelope. The promising technique called AeroBarrier was commercialized by Aeroseal, which used research from the University of California, Davis to market a system for sealing air ducts. AeroBarrier was first tested on a single-family house in 2012. The technology was licensed to Aeroseal in 2015. (For a detailed slide presentation on the process, click here.) AeroBarrier is designed to simplify what is now the painstaking and relatively expensive process of sealing leaks in the building shell with caulk, gaskets, and specialized tapes. Instead, technicians pressurize the house with a blower door and release an aerosol mist through tripod-mounted spray nozzles. Forced out of the house through gaps in exterior walls, floors and ceilings, the atomized latex material seals the exterior within a matter of hours. At least to a point, the longer the system runs, the tighter the house gets. According to the company, the process is capable of sealing a house well enough to pass the Passivhaus airtightness standard of 0.6 air changes per hour at 50 pascals of pressure (ach50). As part of the grants just announced, the Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) in Minneapolis will study the use of the technology on existing homes. Dave Bohac, the center’s director of research, said in a telephone call that some of the details of the two-year study are still being worked out. With UC Davis as a partner, researchers will test the process on 22 apartment units and 13 single-family houses — 35 residential units in all — with roughly half in California and the other half in the Midwest. The houses have yet to be selected. The study will supplement another Building America project in which the process was tested on new construction. In that research, houses in Minnesota were air sealed before the drywall had been installed. Bohac said the AeroBarrier process reduced air leaks by an average of 75% to 80%, with average post-process airtightness of 0.7 ach50. Forty percent of the houses were tested at 0.6 ach50 or below. The houses were mostly production homes. The new round of study will help determine whether that kind of success can be translated to existing houses. The most logical time to apply the sealant is when the building is being renovated — no furnishings to worry about, no people, and possibly some open walls. In a test project a few years ago, Bohac said, an early 1900s masonry building was the guinea pig. The building was being divided into smaller units for income-eligible housing and had a leaky envelope testing at 13.4 ach50. The average after sealing was 4.1 ach50, with one unit getting down to 1.4 ach50, an 88% improvement over pre-treatment numbers. Whether AeroBarrier will be useful to seal houses that are complete — unoccupied but not undergoing any renovation — is another question. Cleaning up the sealant is one issue. The sealant doesn’t seem to stick to vertical surfaces, but it will collect on horizontal surfaces, and because it’s sticky it doesn’t sweep off easily. With cleanup in mind, Bohac suggested that a logical time to seal an older house is when it’s already undergoing lead abatement. Another possibility is isolating a single room in the house that’s undergoing renovation and misting just that space. How durable is the seal? The sealant gradually collects at cracks and holes in the building shell, and within a few hours airtightness improves dramatically. UC Davis has been conducting accelerated durability testing in the lab on ducts that have been sealed with Aeroseal, essentially same process, and so far the results are promising, Bohac said. Researchers are finding that duct seals are more durable (showed a slower increase in leaks over time) than ducts sealed conventionally with mastic and tape. Preliminary results on accelerated testing of AeroBarrier seals also show very little increase in leakage. “It’s worked really well for ducts,” he said. “It seems reasonable that it would work well for building envelopes, too.” He continued: “What we’ve been seeing on new construction, it’s not so much the big leaks that are causing the problems, but the narrower leaks that are just kind of ubiquitous — say, the leak between sheathing and the top plate or the bottom plate. There are just hundreds of feet of that kind of gap. Normally, it would be incredibly labor-intensive to seal that kind of leak, but the nice thing is you don’t even have to go around and find them. This approach just finds them itself.” Another topic of interest will be the potential energy savings. Preliminary number crunching suggestions that an 80% reduction in air leaks could result in a 20% reduction in heating and cooling costs. The solid panel ‘Perfect Wall’ building Another grant recipient is the University of Minnesota, which will look at ways to speed up adoption of a solid panel wall system. The “Perfect Wall” building system yields a “studless” house that is more energy-efficient, tighter, and of higher quality than conventionally built houses, developers said. The idea is that a single contractor uses structural engineered panels to construct a rigid, structural shell before adding insulation, air-control, and cladding on the exterior. The shell consists of two layers of cross-laminated engineered wood sealed with a peel-and-stick membrane in advance of two layers of rigid insulation, a vented rainscreen and cladding. From start to finish, the construction process should take about two weeks. Layers of the studless ‘Perfect Wall’ system developed at the University of Minnesota. Image credit: University of Minnesota The university, in partnership with two affordable housing developers, has built a half-dozen of the houses since 2016 with several more planned this year. Energy modeling predicted a 40% energy savings over Minnesota code-compliant houses, and 30% energy savings over Energy Star Version 3 houses. (Actual performance data is coming in now.) Airtightness of the first Habitat for Humanity house was 0.26 ach50, according to a summary of the project. This new round of Building America funding, about $700,000, will pay for structural testing at the Home Innovations Research Laboratory over the next 2 1/2 years, said Patrick Huelman, associate extension professor and the Cold Climate Housing coordinator at the university. “The primary purpose of the new grant is to nail down the structural behavior of the two-ply panel,” he said by telephone. “It’s just to get all the engineering in place.” Outperforming conventional construction Exterior walls are built with two layers of 1 1/8-inch-thick OSB manufactured by Huber Engineered Woods using essentially the same formula as the company’s well known Advantech sheathing. The first 8-foot by 24-foot panels, each weighing about 750 pounds, are craned into place at the corners of the building. Panels run vertically from the foundation to the roof trusses. Once those are in place, the next course of panels is set horizontally on the inside of the walls and glued and screwed to the corner pieces. Floor trusses set on top edge of the first horizontal course make up the floor system for the second floor. Development of the system dates back to the 1990s, involving not only the university but some outside partners, including a company called Monopath, Huelman said. The idea was to bring down the cost of the structural portion of the house and put more money into water, vapor, and thermal control layers on the outside. “That dollar savings gets invested in the control layers, and when we get all said and done we have a more robust, better wall at approximately the same cost as traditional or conventional construction,” he said. “That was the goal. We aren’t quite there yet.” Huelman has no doubts the houses perform as intended, with one recent example scoring a 39 on the HERS Index (meaning it is 61% more efficient than a comparison code-compliant house). “We’ve knocked that one out of the park,” he said. “It’s just that we have not been able to get enough cost savings in the framing materials and the framing labor to get us back to even.” Completing structural testing and finishing engineering studies could help make the technology appealing to a wider audience and settle any potential misgivings about using relatively thin wall panels to support all the structural loads of a house. Other projects on the funding list The Department of Energy also is funding these projects: Residing: Researchers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology will field test a technique for residing existing homes with graphite-infused rigid insulation combined with a liquid flashing and sealing product, according to the DOE. The project is aimed particularly at houses in Climate Zones 3, 4, and 5. GBA requested details about the project, but a spokeswoman for the institute said no other information about the grant would be made available until the formal start date of the project in late April or early May. The DOE also was unable to provide any further details. Heating and cooling: Steven Winter Associates Inc. will conduct research to develop a new integrated heating, dehumidification, and air conditioning system for high-performance houses. The prototype will provide 1 ton of space conditioning for energy-efficient multifamily dwellings and low-load single-family homes.
Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Read Next LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief LATEST STORIES With the All-Star Game over, CJ Perez quickly shifts focus on 2nd round San Sebastian, which went to two straight NCAA finals, will now make do without the lethal Grethcel Soltones, who carried the Lady Stags for the past couple of seasons.“So far so good, and I told them to we have to start this tournament on a good note so we can end this on the same level,” said new FEU head coach George Pascua, who replaced Shaq Delos Santos. “They have to release their maximum potential in the games.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“Of course our goal is the championship because it’s still a different when you win a championship, that’s the objective of the team.”Nikka Dalisay led the Lady Stags with 10 points. View comments Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding FILE PHOTO – FEU’s Bernadeth Pons (2) celebrates with her teammates. Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netFar Eastern University gored through rebuilding San Sebastian in three sets, 25-17, 25-21, 25-14, in its first match in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference Sunday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.Team captain Bernadeth Pons led the Lady Tamaraws with 13 points while Toni Rose Basas added 11.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd PLAY LIST 02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd00:50Trending Articles01:08Two elephants trample crowd at Sri Lankan pageant, injuring 1701:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension
Level 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 Upgrades 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 Toms
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren: We only worry about usby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool defender Dejan Lovren says no-one is getting carried away with being top of the table.Lovren says the current team has slowly learnt to neither look back or forward, at history or at what they hope to achieve. Instead, the calm around the training ground allows them to concentrate fully on the task in hand.“We don’t look at who is behind us or in front of us. It’s more only about us and that’s how we should do it always,” he said.“We learn from all these previous seasons. When you look against Newcastle it was quite a tough first half, there were chances but we couldn’t find the right spot to score.“Luckily enough I scored but again we had this winning mentality that kept us going, and the second half we played like a new game.”
As my colleagues have pointed out on DataLab, FiveThirtyEight readers are great.The latest example: One perceptive reader saw my article about the slowdown of Major League Baseball games and suggested that the designated-hitter rule might explain why the slowest teams are in the American League, whose clubs play with the DH in their home ballparks. I looked into that last week and found no evidence the DH was slowing down the sport. But that article prompted two more readers to contact me (Alex Hickey, by email, and Jonathan A. Jensen, via Twitter). They’d noticed something I’d mentioned offhand in the post: that the two fastest-paced AL teams from 1997 to 2013 were the Chicago White Sox and Toronto Blue Jays. Those teams have one pitcher in common: Mark Buehrle, the fastest thrower in the major leagues.Since 2008, the first year for which FanGraphs has reliable data, Buehrle has been, by far, baseball’s fastest worker between pitches. Over nearly 1,300 innings, he’s averaged 16.7 seconds between pitches. The next fastest pitcher with at least 150 innings pitched, Ben Sheets, averaged 18 seconds. The major-league average has been 21.8 seconds.Even as just one starter, Buehrle’s blistering pace has shaved significant amounts of time from games. If we assume he was 5.1 seconds faster in delivering each pitch during his career, then he’s spared baseball fans nearly 63 hours of dead time between pitches, and cut between 1.6 and two minutes from his team’s average game length each year since his first full season, in 2001. That’s over all of his team’s games, not just the ones he’s pitched.A difference of two minutes is significant. In my article on the topic, I calculated that the slowest team in baseball over Buehrle’s career, the New York Yankees, added about 14 minutes per game relative to the fastest team, the Oakland Athletics, after controlling for number of pitchers, number of pitches per plate appearance and other factors.Another way of looking at Buehrle’s impact on pace is to check how his teams rank in speed each season. As it happens, I compiled these rankings for my first piece, from 2002 through last season. Buehrle was with the White Sox for the first 10 years of that period, and the White Sox were one of baseball’s three fastest teams in five of those 10 seasons; the White Sox ranked among the 10 fastest teams in all but one season. Then Buehrle went to Miami for one season, and the Marlins went from being the majors’ ninth slowest team to its eighth fastest. Last year, Buehrle moved to Toronto, and the Blue Jays went from the 12th fastest team to the very fastest in the majors.One very preliminary finding from these team rankings: Buehrle’s speed-up effect seems to persist even after he leaves. In the first year after Buehrle’s departure, the White Sox were the fastest team in the majors. Last year, they ranked 10th. And Miami, in its first season after Buehrle’s exit, was the majors’ third-fastest team.That the teams stayed faster after he left may also suggest other factors besides Buehrle were contributing to the quicker pace all along. On the other hand — it’s just speculation — perhaps Buehrle’s teammates have noticed that his fast pace has coincided with a successful and consistent career. His philosophy is that catchers know more about opposing batters than he does, so he rarely shakes off their pitch calls. “They’ve been around the league and have faced these guys,” Buehrle said of his catchers, in an interview with USA Today in 2005. “Sometimes I don’t pay attention to what hitters’ tendencies are. … They see their tendencies, so I just go with what they say.”Another theory about the persistence of Buehrle’s fast pace: Buehrle tries to persuade his teammates to match his fast pace, for his own sake as a viewer of their games. “It’s when I’m sitting out here on these four days in between starts, I’m like, ‘All right guys, I always have a quick game and you guys get out of here quick. I want to have a quick day sometimes when I’m on the bench,’ ” he told the Toronto Star last week.Buehrle might be even faster if he didn’t have to wait for stalling batters. “It’s annoying,” Buehrle told the Boston Globe last year. “Guys don’t even swing the bat, take a pitch, and then they get out and adjust their batting gloves. Some of it might be just habit or routine or superstition that they do it, but you didn’t even swing the bat — why do you have to tighten your batting gloves?”This year is Buehrle’s fastest yet: He’s averaging just 15.8 seconds between pitches. It’s also on pace to be his best season: He’s 4-1 with a 2.16 ERA, even after getting shelled by the Boston Red Sox on Friday. His opponents don’t appreciate his stinginess, but they do like his speed. “When he’s pitching, you can set dinner plans and you’re pretty sure you’re going to make them,” Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones told the Star.