Hoornstra: MLB’s most visible draft feels like a missed opportunity

first_img Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros Therein lies a dark cloud hovering over the most visible draft in baseball history. About an hour before the Detroit Tigers were officially on the clock with the first pick, Rob Manfred sat down for questions. The commissioner was asked to address the immediate future of his league, which is embroiled in a public labor dispute between owners and players, over how and when to resume play amidst a global pandemic.“We’re going to play baseball in 2020,” Manfred said. “One hundred percent.”It was a rare moment of clarity. Everything else about the draft feels shrouded in mystery.MLB had previously proposed reducing the number of affiliated minor league teams under its umbrella. Now, some minor league teams are among the many American small businesses merely hoping to stay financially afloat while they’re forced to cancel games. Under the reported terms of MLB’s plan to eliminate 42 minor league teams, the 2021 draft would have been reduced to 20-25 rounds.The net effect is a paradox. After a dramatically shortened 2020 draft, it’s expected that more college baseball players than usual will return in 2021 to play as seniors. (Undrafted players are limited to a $20,000 signing bonus; this will likely lead more high school players to honor college commitments than usual, too.) That means the class of 2021 will be loaded with unprecedented talent. But if that draft lasts 20-25 rounds instead of 40, there will be fewer professional contracts and less money to go around.Related Articles It all adds up to a missed opportunity for the league. The primetime slot on ESPN was only made possible by the absence of other sports, made possible by a virus that spread rapidly across the globe. No baseball executive could control those circumstances.The future of minor league baseball has never looked dimmer, and that is within MLB’s control. The draft class of 2020 faces an unprecedented economic landscape if there are fewer affiliated minor league teams a year fro now. If you could ignore that reality for a few hours Wednesday afternoon, the draft made for a pretty good respite. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield In 2009, MLB moved its draft into a primetime television slot, and aired the first round live from the MLB Network studio in Secaucus, New Jersey. San Diego State pitcher Stephen Strasburg was the big name going into the draft. He and other first-round hopefuls were invited to attend the event in person. The thought was to mimic the more visible drafts in the NFL, NBA and NHL with the time-honored optics of the commissioner handing a young man a uniform. One problem: only one player bothered to attend. He was chosen 25th overall by the Angels, and this isn’t the first thing our grandchildren will hear when we tell them about Mike Trout.Wednesday, the draft moved back to ESPN for the first time since 2008. MLB Network also aired the event in a separate telecast with its own studio hosts. (Rounds 2-5, held Thursday, will air on MLB Network and ESPN2.) That’s given the 2020 draft a larger media platform than any of its predecessors – a necessary step toward approaching the spectacle of the NFL, NBA and NHL events.Of course, everything is weird right now, in sports and in society. When the NFL held its draft in April, commissioner Roger Goodell couldn’t hand over a single jersey because he was sitting in the basement of his home. The stripped-down event unsurprisingly shattered its previous record for television ratings. It was the closest thing to a live North American sporting event anyone had seen since the Covid-19 shutdown began.Little has changed in the last six weeks. In that regard, baseball couldn’t have picked a better time to hold a draft. The last two months have given us Zoom calls in which fans join players face to face. We’ve seen players square off against each other in their own “MLB The Show” league. We haven’t seen actual baseball games since spring training was postponed, but we’ve seen what the sport can produce with ample time to experiment.center_img Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone The draft is no exception. If you tuned in for the first time, you learned it’s shorter than any previous draft – a mere five rounds compared to the usual 40. (There’s nothing sacred about 40. The first draft, in 1965, lasted 26 rounds. In 1969, the draft lasted 90 rounds.) Ostensibly that’s because drafted players have no place to play; ordinarily they would report to a minor-league affiliate after signing a contract. There’s still some question among teams about where to send their new draftees. This is a more manageable problem when drafting five players instead of 40.The first five rounds naturally produce the best, and the most, future major leaguers. But if the absence of other sporting events made this year’s draft more compelling, other forces are acting in the opposite direction.For one, there hasn’t been a single NCAA baseball game since March 12. The road to the College World Series is littered with future stars, many of whom enjoy weeks on national television in May and June to preview their talents. Among the 21 four-year college players chosen in the first round in 2019, seven played in the College World Series.MLB wisely sought to capitalize on this by moving the 2020 draft from Secaucus to Omaha, the site of the College World Series. The draft was supposed to last 40 rounds, ending Friday. The College World Series was supposed to begin Saturday.Then the coronavirus happened.last_img read more

Help wanted: Sumner Mental Health Center receptionist

first_imgFull time receptionist opening at Sumner Mental Health Center, a community mental health center located in Wellington, Kansas.  This position requires excellent people skills, attention to detail, multitasking abilities, and flexibility.  Computer and telephone skills are required with a preference given for health care office and electronic medical record experience.  Some evening hours are required on Mondays and/or Wednesdays.  Benefits include 403(b) plan and life/disability coverage.  Applications should be submitted to Sumner Mental Health Center (attn: HR) 1601 West 16th Street, PO Box 607, Wellington, KS 67152 no later than November 28, 2014.  Equal Opportunity Employer.last_img

Independent film makes Venice cut

first_imgIndependent filmmaker, Sibs Shongwe-La Mer, is challenging the film industry with his high quality low-fi movies.(Image: Shamin Chibba) Shongwe-La Mer’s “Territorial Pissings” will feature at the 70th Venice International Film Festival at the end of August.(Image: The Whitman Independent) A scene from “Territorial Pissings” depicting dispossessed youth, which is a major theme in the story.(Image: The Whitman Independent) MEDIA CONTACTS • Sibs Shongwe-La Mer   +27 82 0700 640 RELATED ARTICLES • Triggerfish takes on the big boys • Locally-made films get Oscar nod • Local presence at global film event • Hollywood honour for local filmmaker Shamin ChibbaWhen South African low-fi filmmaker Sibs Shongwe-La Mer stood up on stage at TEDx Johannesburg, a conference where creative minds gather to share ideas, he seized the audience’s attention by asking: “What happened to that inner child? What happened to the creative we have left to die?” The 21-year-old was referring to society’s willingness to give its creative powers to a handful of industry gatekeepers.Dressed in a scruffy checked jacket, jeans, a red beanie and two silver studs hanging from his bottom lip, Shongwe-La Mer epitomised the anti-establishment message he delivered on stage. “I believe we should all just express ourselves. As an audience member let me decide what is good or not. I hate the idea of gatekeepers.”It is this courage to challenge the creative industry, coupled with some bold filmmaking, that has taken Shongwe-La Mer to the 70th Venice International Film Festival. His latest offering, Territorial Pissings, has been selected for the festival’s first edition of the Final Cut in Venice workshop, which will take place on 31 August. The programme will showcase four African films that are in post-production.Named after a song by American grunge band Nirvana, Territorial Pissings plays out over Youth Day and focuses on the conversations between disillusioned, middle-class young adults living in suburban Johannesburg. “Even though it is Youth Day, you see all these kids doing drugs, experimenting with their sexuality, and not knowing where they are. This is the generation I grew up in.”Shongwe La-Mer said every part of the film was taken from his experiences as a black youth raised in an affluent suburb, including the dramatic hanging of one of the characters in the introduction. “Suburbs are not havens. Bad things happen there.”At the festival, the film will compete against The Cat by Ibrahim El Batout of Egypt, Challat Tunes by Kaouther Ben Hania of Tunisia, and Avec Presque Rien by Nantenaina Lova of Madagascar. Producers, distributors, buyers and festival programmers will assess each film, after which they will choose the best one for the grand prize. The winner will receive more than €55 000 (R750 000 or $73 000) in technical expertise, including sound mixing, digital colour correction and special effects.Even though the festival is still to start, just being selected has already brought Shongwe La-Mer international recognition. Russian, Ukrainian and French distributors have approached him to buy Territorial Pissings to distribute it globally.Shongwe-La Mer’s low-fi films are created with little or no budget, which means he needs to use equipment ranging from a camera phone to a handheld camcorder. And as with Territorial Pissings, his production crew is no more than four people. Yet he never intended on entering the independent arena. “I make and release a lot of music; I exhibit as a photographer and I write. So filmmaking kind of came full-circle. Film, it seemed, would embody everything that I love.” Anti-establishment sentimentsHis independent style, he implied, challenged the conventional way films were made. For him, being chosen for the festival was testament to the idea that films did not need budgets or gatekeepers to be successful. “Who are these five people who have money and are dictating how things are going to be? They are not experts of the soul or spirit quality. We are. What we need is people doing things with creative ideas.”In his TEDx talk, Shongwe-La Mer said the film industry was dying. Strong words indeed, which many around him feared would anger industry role players. But he was unfazed. He added that creativity started before industry put a price tag on it. “Our history was of a free creativity way before enterprise. And now enterprise has wasted away and because of that they are saying we cannot be creative anymore. But I say, ‘No, that is not true’. This is the most beautiful time because we are returning to the roots of creativity.” Minimalist filmmaking is his messageAfter graduating from high school, Shongwe La-Mer tried to join the film industry but was rejected. After some deliberation, he realised he could produce his own films without the approval of the industry. He began by using a high-definition cellphone for filming as well as a small production crew. He quickly gained recognition online for his honest storytelling. “If you have a Facebook account there will be 2 000 people who have you in their pockets at any time.”While Territorial Pissings may depict a group of directionless youth trying to make sense of life, Shongwe-La Mer said he was not trying to punt a particular message. Instead, he held that his message lay in the way he made his films. His focus is on practical action that will encourage creativity in people. “If you do what you do in an interesting way, people will be inspired to do even better things from that platform. For a lot of people, what I spoke about on [the TEDx] stage will not hit home. Not until they pick up a camera and create something, even just for fun.” The Whitman IndependentShongwe-La Mer established The Whitman Independent, a platform for independent filmmakers, artists and photographers to showcase their work at minimal cost compared to mainstream platforms.In its short existence, it has already challenged an established gallery by representing Cape Town fine art photographer Jordan Sweke. Sweke approached the gallery on his own to ask if it would exhibit display his work, but he was turned away. But after The Whitman Independent represented Sweke in an exhibition at the same gallery, the owners praised his photography. “What is this system that is killing artists like [Sweke]?” asked Shongwe-La Mer. “After being rejected, an artist does not go to the next gallery. You know what he does? He makes a fashion photography reel and goes into advertising because he does not believe he can be an artist.”The Whitman Independent, which operates in Johannesburg and Cape Town, has hosted 15 exhibitions and two film festivals since February. It has also published its first book, Culture, a compilation of illustrations, short stories and poetry. In September, it will go beyond the confines of art when it hosts its first food day in the Mother City. “Me and the Cape Town curator were saying that the first sign of a free society is when food becomes less expensive,” said Shongwe La-Mer.View an excerpt of Territorial Pissings on the Brand South Africa blog.last_img read more

Separatist leader told to appear before ED

first_imgThe Enforcement Directorate has served fresh summons on Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Ahmed Shah in connection with an alleged terror financing case, as he did not turn up for recording his statement last month.Mr. Shah has been asked to appear before the investigating officer on June 6. He was earlier told to come on May 25, but he did not turn up. Money launderingThe money laundering investigation pertains to a case registered by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police in August 2005 when it had arrested one alleged hawala operator, Mohammed Aslam Wani, who purportedly disclosed that he had routed ₹2.25 crore for Mr. Shah and his kin. The Separatist leader has, in the past, dismissed the charge, terming it politically motivated.The “hawala” operator was arrested with a large cache of ammunition and ₹63 lakh in cash, which he allegedly received through his contacts in the Middle East. During questioning, he allegedly disclosed that ₹50 lakh was to be delivered to Mr. Shah and ₹10 lakh to Abu Baqr, a Jaish-e-Mohammed area commander in Srinagar.last_img read more

Naomi Osaka splits with coach Sascha Bajin just two weeks after Australian Open title

first_imgNaomi Osaka surprisingly split from coach Sascha Bajin, a little more than two weeks after she won the Australian Open for a second consecutive Grand Slam title and moved to No. 1 in the WTA rankings.”Hey everyone, I will no longer be working together with Sascha,” Osaka posted on Twitter on Monday. “I thank him for his work and wish him all the best in the future.”Osaka’s agent confirmed to The Associated Press that Osaka would no longer be working with Bajin, the 2018 WTA Coach of the Year, but said there would be no further comment.Hey everyone, I will no longer be working together with Sascha. I thank him for his work and wish him all the best in the future.NaomiOsaka (@Naomi_Osaka_) February 11, 2019Less than a half-hour after Osaka’s tweet, Bajin responded to her on Twitter. He thanked her and wrote: “I wish you nothing but the best as well. What a ride that was. Thank you for letting me be part of this.”Thank you Naomi I wish you nothing but the best as well. What a ride that was. Thank you for letting me be part of this.sascha Bajin (@BigSascha) February 11, 2019Osaka hired Bajin before the 2018 season.He previously worked with Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki.Osaka withdrew from this week’s Qatar Open, citing a back injury.The 21-year-old beat Petra Kvitova in three sets in the Australian Open final on January 26.That added to her championship at the U.S. Open last September, when she defeated Serena Williams in straight sets.advertisementThose back-to-back victories made Osaka the first woman to win two major championships in a row since Williams picked up four straight in 2014-15.Osaka became the youngest woman to make her debut at No. 1 since Wozniacki at 20 in 2010 and the first tennis player from Asia to reach the top of the women’s or men’s tennis rankings.She was born in Japan her mother is Japanese, her father is Haitian and moved to the United States when she was 3. She has dual citizenship and now is based in Florida.Also Read | Stan Wawrinka’s ‘get well soon’ bear to Andy Murray might leave his kids fightingAlso Read | Rafael Nadal gets engaged to girlfriend Mery Perellolast_img read more

10 months agoSouthampton midfielder Ward-Prowse: Sloppy defending cost Man City defeat

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Southampton midfielder Ward-Prowse: Sloppy defending cost Man City defeatby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveSouthampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse admits they paid for “sloppy” defending in defeat to Manchester City.Saints were behind inside ten minutes when David Silva converted namesake Bernardo’s cutback, by which time the goalscorer had already been denied by a fine save from Alex McCarthy.Saints responded well and deservedly drew level through Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, but succumbed to two goals in the dying minutes of the first half that ultimately decided the game, before skipper Højbjerg was dismissed late on.“It’s a disappointing result, obviously. I think we started the game poorly and didn’t quite get into the flow of the game,” Ward-Prowse said.“I think we showed glimpses in the first half of what we’ve been working on as a team, pressing high, and the goal came from that.“I felt we were right in it, but two unlucky, sloppy goals at the end of the first half killed the game.“When you give a team like that those sorts of opportunities and chances, they’re going to run away with it, which they did.” last_img read more

Fifth Harmony Named As Cybersmile Ambassadors

first_imgFifth Harmony have been named as ambassadors for Cybersmile.The Cybersmile Foundation will actively encourage a safe and positive environment for children as well as adults with the support of Fifth Harmony, helping people online affected by cyberbullying and digital abuse.“Cybersmile are immensely proud to welcome Fifth Harmony on board as official Cybersmile ambassadors,” said Scott Freeman, CEO, The Cybersmile Foundation. “It’s wonderful that the girls will be using their position as role models to encourage internet users to spread positivity to others. Their support will enable us to promote positive digital citizenship to more people and look forward to working with them to tackle cyberbullying.”Fifth Harmony are an American girl group formed on the second season of the X Factor USA. The group consists of members Ally Brooke Hernandez, Normani Kordei, Dinah Jane Hansen, Camila Cabello, and Lauren Jauregui. They signed a joint deal with Syco Music, owned by Simon Cowell, and Epic Records, L.A. Reid’s record label, after finishing in third place on the show.The band won MTV’s Artist To Watch award at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards and recently performed at the Radio Disney Music Awards, where they were triple nominated. On June 6th they will perform at Capital FM’s Summertime Ball alongside Ariana Grande, Nick Jonas, Rita Ora, Jason Derulo and a host of international music stars!Find out more about Cybersmile here.last_img read more

Bank of Canada business outlook survey suggests businesses optimistic

first_imgOTTAWA – Expectations the Bank of Canada will raise its key interest rate target next month were bolstered Friday after stronger-than-expected economic growth in April and a report suggesting widespread business optimism.The Bank of Canada’s outlook survey indicator climbed to its highest level since the second quarter of 2011 as responses to most survey questions were above their historical averages.However, the central bank noted almost all of the interviews with firms for the business survey were done before the U.S. announcement on tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada.Escalating trade tensions between Canada and the U.S., including the threats of additional tariffs on the auto sector, have raised concerns for the economy.Benjamin Reitzes, Canadian rates and macro strategist at BMO Capital Markets, said the solid increase in the outlook survey indicator shows the economy was in good shape heading into the tariff strife.“With governor Poloz saying that the bank will not be shaping policy based on headlines, and the economic backdrop in generally good shape, there’s a solid case for a July rate hike,” Reitzes wrote in a report.“Even so, we’ll be waiting to see if Trump reacts to Canada’s retaliatory tariffs, as a further escalation could drastically change policy dynamics.”The Bank of Canada survey came as Statistics Canada reported Friday real gross domestic product edged up 0.1 per cent in April over the previous month, topping the expectations of economists for no change for the month.Gains in the manufacturing and utilities sectors more than offset declines in construction and in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction to help the output of goods-producing industries rise 0.2 per cent.Activity in the manufacturing sector rose 0.8 per cent in April as the output of both durable and non-durable manufacturing grew.Services-producing industries were essentially unchanged overall for the month.“With cold weather in much of the country, one-off factors hitting the mining and oil and gas industries, and some soft advance indicators, it was a welcome surprise to see a modest expansion of the Canadian economy in April,” TD Bank senior economist Brian DePratto wrote.Both the business outlook survey and the reading on GDP will be scrutinized by the central bank ahead of its interest rate decision next month.The Bank of Canada kept its key interest rate target on hold at its last rate announcement, but the central bank’s accompanying statement was interpreted by many economists as suggesting that rates could head higher later this year.However, the Trump administration announced tariffs on steel and aluminium imports a day after the last rate announcement and has since threatened additional tariffs on other goods including automobiles. Canada has responded with its own plans for tariffs on U.S. steel and aluminum imports as well as duties on a wide range of other goods.Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz said earlier this week the escalating cross-border trade fight and new mortgage rules will “figure prominently” in the central bank’s upcoming interest-rate decision.The governor added the central bank will continue to focus on economic data it can model rather than trying to follow political rhetoric.The Bank of Canada business outlook survey of about 100 firms found the balance of opinion on future sales growth was marginally positive as domestically-oriented firms, including those tied to housing in some regions, expected a moderation in growth.It noted that firms that were optimistic about their sales prospects often expected to benefit from sustained foreign or domestic demand, improving commodity prices or new products or initiatives to increase market share.“In particular, firms serving foreign customers reported that orders have improved compared with 12 months ago, and they expect export sales to increase at a greater rate over the next year,” the report said.However, the survey also said the number of firms that would have significant difficulty meeting an unanticipated increase in demand has increased to levels not seen since before the 2008-09 recession.“Reports of labour shortages are most prevalent in British Columbia but are also common in Central Canada,” the report said.The Bank of Canada has raised its key interest rate target three times since last summer, moves that have prompted Canada’s big banks to raise their prime lending rates. The central bank’s target for the overnight rate sits at 1.25 per cent.The business outlook survey was conducted from May 3 to June 5.last_img read more

Toronto stocks edge lower as financials and health care fall US stocks

first_imgThe Canadian Press Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X) TORONTO — Canada’s main stock index fell in late-morning trading amid losses in the health-care sector, which includes the big marijuana companies, and the financial sector.The S&P/TSX composite index was down 19.13 points at 14,122.64.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 62.46 points at 22,922.06. The S&P 500 index was up 1.36 points at 2,468.78, while the Nasdaq composite was down 41.05 points at 6,487.36.The Canadian dollar traded for 73.78 cents US compared with an average of 74.10 cents on Thursday.The February crude contract was up 34 cents at US$46.22 per barrel and the January natural gas contract was up 12.9 cents at US$3.712 per mmBTU.The February gold contract was down US$5.60 at US$1,262.30 an ounce and the March copper contract was down 1.60 cents at US$2.6805 a pound.last_img read more

Fort St John receives over 90 cm of snow in March over

first_imgIf we don’t see any more snow this weekend, Fort St. John will have officials received 92.3 of snow in March.  Fort St. John typically receives 23.7 cm of snow in March.Since October, the Fort St. John Airport has received 319.5 cm of snow. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – With just over 90 cm of snow in March, the weather may finally be changing to be a little more like spring.After a possible wind chill of minus 27 on Friday morning, things should start to warm up closer to zero for the rest of the long weekend.  The cooler temperatures will more than likely stick around for the first week of April before we see an increase above zero in the second week of April.The temperature should be between minus 3 and minus 6 for the Easter Weekend.  Environment Canada says we should be above zero by Thursday.last_img read more