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CARICOM to commence secretariat reforms immediately

first_img Share Share Caricom logo. Photo credit: glas.netGEORGETOWN, Guyana — CARICOM heads of government at their 23rd inter-sessional meeting, which ended in Suriname on Friday, have agreed to “move immediately” to implement major recommendations that would see the restructuring of the Community’s administrative body — the CARICOM Secretariat. To this end, the conference has directed the CARICOM secretary-general, Irwin LaRocque, to begin the search for a change facilitator who would help him navigate the change process. The recruitment of a change facilitator was one of the recommendations contained in the Landell Mills Report, submitted to heads of government by the British-based international consultancy firm Landell Mills Ltd, which was commissioned by CARICOM to conduct a comprehensive review of its administrative body. Chairman of the conference, Suriname’s President Desi Bouterse told journalists at the closing press conference of the two-day meeting that heads of government had accepted in general, some recommendations of the report, but would seek clarification on others. He said the conference had directed the secretary-general to move immediately to recruit a change facilitator who would help him to steer the implementation process and strengthen the corporate functions of the Secretariat in the first instance. Bouterse explained that in a parallel exercise, heads of government would work with an internal group from the Secretariat to facilitate improving regional governance and implementation. This process would involve an outline of a five-year strategic plan in time for consideration by heads of government at the thirty-third meeting of the conference in july. “All in all it was a most productive and fruitful inter-sessional meeting and as chairman I am looking forward to moving urgently with the secretary-general to see the initiatives through,” the CARICOM chairman told journalists. Prime minister of Saint Lucia, Dr Kenny Anthony gave support to the president’s statement and explained that there would also be changes made to the conference regarding its agenda, structure and approach to meetings. He agreed that the 23rd inter-sessional was a purposeful meeting and that every member of the conference present understood quite clearly that the people wanted change now. It was not a question of postponing or feet-dragging. It was vital that change process commenced immediately, he said.Caribbean News Now Sharing is caring! LocalNews CARICOM to commence secretariat reforms immediately by: – March 12, 2012center_img Share 7 Views   no discussions Tweetlast_img read more

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Hoornstra: Baseball’s designated hitter rule could benefit from compromise

first_imgThe average game time reached 3 hours, 10 minutes last season, a record. It’s doubtful a universal DH rule would make much of a difference. Last season, the average AL game was less than two minutes shorter than the average NL game.Yet the National League game was better in 2019. It gave us more baseball. It gave us more strategy from the dugout. It also gave us more strategy from the batter’s box. Hitters set new single-season records for home runs and strikeouts in 2019. American League teams combined to hit 180 more homers than their NL counterparts. Despite having the benefit of the DH, American Leaguers struck out more in 2019, not less.So, no, I’m not eager to see the NL game disappear. Maybe the question of whether or not to allow the DH in both leagues is a false dichotomy. Could the two leagues forge a compromise? If so, what might that look like?Here are three options.Option 1.Let the home manager decide whether the DH is in effect on a game-by-game basis.This is my favorite idea, at least in theory. It restores some autonomy to the manager’s seat. It introduces an extra layer of pregame strategy. It gives the home team an advantage beyond batting last in every inning and hearing the roar of the crowd.The biggest implication: pitchers who fail to hit, and hitters who can’t play a position, would be more easily exploited, while a two-way talent would have an even more decisive advantage.Shohei Ohtani could hit on the days he starts for the Angels, and force the other team’s pitchers to bat for themselves at home. On the road, opposing managers might take the Angels’ DH away – but at the cost of forcing their own pitchers to hit. Would Nelson Cruz have to learn a position if he wants to start a game outside of Minnesota? That would be Rocco Baldelli’s problem.Option 2.Allow the DH to stay in the game as long as the starting pitcher remains in the game.If you miss a good starting pitchers’ duel, this option is for you. Say it’s the top of the fifth inning, the pitcher is struggling, and the home team’s DH is due up in the bottom of the inning. Now the manager has an extra decision to make: remove his starter for a fresh reliever and lose his DH, or let the starter try to work out of trouble?Related Articles Angels fail to take series in Oakland, lose in 10 innings How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone “I would not, not force the DH on the National League,” Angels manager Joe Maddon told me in spring training last year, the last time the universal DH suggestion was brought to life.“The National League game is much more thought-provoking,” Maddon said. “If you want more offense, don’t worry about getting one more guy in the lineup. Worry about teaching a different method of hitting a little bit.”“My desire is we don’t sanitize things in the game too much,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell told me around the same time. “I think strategic parts of the game are what makes it a great game.”Like Counsell and Maddon, I prefer a game with more strategy, not less. It helps if the fruits of these strategies are readily obvious to fans. Moves and countermoves translate better than launch angles and spin rates.There’s nothing wrong with a faster-paced game. Far from it, in fact. MLB’s pace-of-play initiatives (automatic intentional walks, limiting mound visits, futile attempts at reducing the time between pitches) have had little effect to this point. This year, relief pitchers must face a minimum of three batters, unless the inning ends first, and that might nudge the average time of game downward.center_img Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies If you dislike “openers” – relievers who start the game, and only pitch one or two innings – this plan is not for you. Effectively, this option exchanges one layer of strategy for another. It also reduces the impact a DH can potentially have on each game. Cruz, arguably the Twins’ best hitter, would rarely bat in a late-game situation when he’s in the starting lineup. Teams would be incentivized to stash better hitters on the bench, perhaps at the expense of their starting DH.It’s imperfect, but another example of a possible compromise.Option 3.Mandate that starting pitchers bat for themselves, then allow managers to insert a DH once the starter is removed from the game.This is the opposite of Option 2, and it would likely elicit the opposite effect. Openers would be encouraged. The value in having a deep bench would evaporate. Double switches would die. Potentially, we’d see better hitters taking late-game at-bats, but essentially this is what we already see in the National League. Relief pitchers rarely bat as it is, so this change would merely allow the same pinch-hitter to bat for multiple relief pitchers in the same game.If MLB insists that messing with 47 years of tradition would better the game, so be it. But the DH doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. There’s a broad middle ground to be found, if the league wants to look for it. Think the designated hitter is coming to the National League?“The suggestion, often made, that the pitcher be denied a chance to bat, and a substitute player sent up to hit every time, has been brought to life again, and will come up for consideration when the American and National League Committees on rules get together.” Those words were printed in 1906. Even 114 years ago, the chatter around the DH rule was an old one.The National League has mandated pitchers hit for themselves in every non-interleague game since 1973. That might change a year from now, according to a report that surfaced this week. It’s hard to take any such report too seriously until the universal DH becomes part of the league’s official rules. The momentum behind the rule change is obvious: it would achieve one of Commissioner Rob Manfred’s explicit goals of lowering the average game time.It would also tick off some very interested parties. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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Reds as playoff contenders in 2020? Maybe it’s time to believe

first_imgOver the past two years, soft-tossing lefty Wade Miley has compiled a 3.52 ERA in 49 starts for the Brewers and Astros. Miley, as you’ve probably heard, reportedly signed as a free agent with the Reds on Monday, a two-year, $15 million deal. As a point of comparison, here are the 2018-19 ERAs for a couple of other well-known starters who recently signed free-agent deals:  — Stephen Strasburg, 3.48 ERA, eight-year, $245 million deal with the Nationals— Zack Wheeler, 3.65 ERA, five-year, $118 million deal with the Phillies— Madison Bumgarner, 3.66 ERA, five-year, $85 million deal with the DiamondbacksMORE: SN’s MLB All-Decade team for the 2010sThe point, of course, isn’t to say that Wade Miley is Stephen Strasburg’s equal, no matter what the ERA (a fine, but flawed stat) tells us. He’s not Wheeler or Bumgarner, either. ERA is like Wikipedia: It’s a fine place to start, but you gotta dig a bit deeper if you want to get to the real truth. If you’re a team that fancies itself a playoff contender and Wade Miley is your No. 2 starter, you’re probably not really a playoff contender. But Miley isn’t the No. 2 starter for the Reds. He’s not the No. 3 guy, either. The top three spots belong to Luis Castillo, Trevor Bauer and Sonny Gray, and that’s a darn fine top three.But throw Miley at the back of the rotation with Anthony DeSclafani — the right-hander who had a 3.91 ERA and 167 strikeouts in 166 2/3 innings for Cincinnati in 2019 — and, folks, that’s a rotation for a team that should definitely fancy itself a playoff contender. So, here’s the question: Is it OK to believe in the Reds as legitimate playoff contenders? In 2020, the Reds will …— Ryan Fagan (@ryanfagan) December 17, 2019First, a quick recap of the team’s long, playoff-less winter. The Reds parted ways with manager Dusty Baker when the team struggled in October, after reaching the postseason three times in four years with 90-plus win squads. That was 2013, and the Reds didn’t even sniff the playoffs in five years under Bryan Price, with win totals of 76, 64, 68, 68 and 67. Last year, David Bell’s first as skipper, the Reds won 75 games. They surprised most in baseball by dealing for Cleveland starer Trevor Bauer before the trade deadline, and they were only 4.5 out of a wild-card spot in mid-August. They sputtered down the stretch, though, and spent September out of contention but looking forward to 2020. “There’s a ton of positive momentum for good reason, I think,” Bell told reporters at the Winter Meetings in San Diego last week. “Living in the city, living every day at the park and seeing all the work and the commitment we have to winning, to build really on what I believe to be a great foundation. It didn’t produce the results that we know are going to be there last year, but a lot of progress behind the scenes.”Because we started with Miley, let’s begin our believe-or-not study with the rotation. Castillo harnessed his immense potential and made the All-Star team in 2019, posting a 3.20 ERA, a 10.7 K/9 and allowing six fewer homers than in 2018, despite pitching 21 more innings — no small feat in a season that saw record numbers of home runs. He’s a legit No. 1. Gray was great in his first season in Cincinnati; he posted a 2.87 ERA in 31 starts and recorded a career-best 10.5 K/9 ratio. Bauer struggled in his 10 Cincy starts (6.39 ERA), but the Reds expect he’ll produce more like his 2018 numbers — 2.21 ERA/2.44 FIP for Cleveland — than the struggles of 2019.MORE: It was easy choice for MLB Athlete of the DecadeIn the bullpen, Raisel Iglesias has three seasons as a closer under his belt, and even though his ERA jumped in 2019, his K/9 was a career best, his BB/9 was a career low (as a reliever) and his FIP was better than 2018. His BABIP in 2019 was .318, a major jump from .234 the previous season. His bad luck can’t continue into 2020, right? With Amir Garrett, Michael Lorenzen and Robert Stephenson in the big-outs mix, that’s a solid crew. And with apologies to Miley, the biggest addition the Reds have made so far this offseason was the four-year, $64 million contract they gave to Mike Moustakas. The career third baseman will slide over to second base — he played there a bit in Milwaukee — and gives the Reds a boatload of power from that position. He’s averaged 34 homers, 89 RBIs and a .817 OPS the past three seasons.  “To add a guy like Moose to a group of guys that I got to know really well last year, our believing how close we are to winning and knowing that we’re like a step away from making that happen, add him and his personality and his expectations and his drive to win into that mix, I mean, it’s hard not to think about it every day and think about the dynamics of how all that is going to come together,” Bell said in San Diego. Moustakas will play second base because the hot corner is occupied by Eugenio Suarez, the slugger who popped 49 homers in 2019, after 34 and an All-Star nod in 2018. He takes over for Jose Peraza, who was non-tendered after three years as a defense-first infield mainstay. Freddie Galvis upgrades the power at shortstop, replacing Jose Iglesias, who had a .631 OPS in his one year with the Reds. Galvis hit 23 homers last year between Toronto and Cincinnati, with a .734 OPS.And then there’s Joey Votto. A lot of what you believe about the Reds’ postseason prospects probably depends on whether you think Votto, a future Hall of Famer, has just gone through a temporary (two year) slump, or whether his time as an All-Star is done. He’s hit just 27 home runs the past two years — one fewer than Baltimore’s Chris Davis — and his .357 on-base percentage in 2019 was 70 points below his career average coming into the season. “I believe in this guy in every way you can imagine,” Bell said. “I mean, he’s human. I mean, by most people’s standards, he still had a solid year last year. I believe he’s going to continue to improve upon that. Like I said, I believe in him in every way possible — the work ethic, the commitment, the drive. He’s going to be better.”The outfield is young and talented, but still unproven. Aristides Aquino burst onto the scene last year, popping 11 home runs in his first 16 games, and he finished with 19 homers and 47 RBIs — with a 122 OPS+ — in 56 games. Navigating a second run through the majors can be a challenge, though. Nick Senzel, the No. 2 overall pick of the 2016 MLB Draft, had ups and downs in his rookie year; he finished with a .742 OPS and 0.6 bWAR in 104 games.  Jesse Winkler’s entering his fourth year in the bigs; in 249 career games, he has an .845 OPS and 30 home runs. Winkler and Aquino are entering their Age 26 seasons, while Senzel doesn’t turn 25 until June 29. A lot of talent, but not a lot of certainty. The offseason, though, is still young. But, yeah. You can see why people are starting to believe in the Reds. And not just the people being paid by the Reds. “It’s really exciting to be a part of,” Bell said. “So, of course, it’s nice to hear that from people on the outside, but it doesn’t surprise me because I know I’m living it, and I’m grateful to be in this position to be able to contribute.”last_img read more

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Spurs dealt blow as No1 target Nubel ‘agrees to join Bayern Munich’

first_imgTOTTENHAM transfer target Alexander Nubel will leave Schalke at the end of the season – but he won’t be heading to North London.Spurs boss Jose Mourinho had reportedly targetted the 23-year-old as the long-term replacement for Hugo Lloris.1 Alexander Nubel has reportedly agreed to join Bayern Munich next summerCredit: Rex FeaturesBut according to Bild, the keeper will join Bayern Munich next summer and sign a five-year contract.He will immediately challenge German veteran Manuel Neuer for the No1 spot.And unsurprisingly, Schalke bosses aren’t too happy that their star man and captain has decided not to extend his deal with them.In a statement on the club website, sporting director Jochen Schneider wrote: “After all the discussions we had with Alexander Nubel and his advisor in the past few months, we are not very surprised at his decision and of course we respect it.”However, we do not have to understand his decision.”Schalke, who sit fifth in the table, offered Nubel a new contract in the summer, but their efforts are set to prove futile.Latest Tottenham NewsHARRY ALL FOUR ITKane admits Spurs must win EIGHT games to rise into Champions League spotGossipALL GONE PETE TONGVertonghen wanted by host of Italian clubs as long Spurs spell nears endBELOW PARRSpurs suffer blow with Parrott to miss Prem restart after appendix operationPicturedSHIRT STORMNew Spurs 2020/21 home top leaked but angry fans slam silver design as ‘awful”STEP BY STEP’Jose fears for players’ welfare during restart as stars begin ‘pre-season’KAN’T HAVE THATVictor Osimhen keen on Spurs move but only if they sell Kane this summerEuropean football expert Kevin Hatchard told previously told talkSPORT that Mourinho was interested in bringing him to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.He said: “One little whisper that came my way on Spurs in the last few days is that they are keeping an eye on Alexander Nubel.”He is the captain of Schalke and a goalkeeper in his early 20s. He is a very good goalkeeper with a [Manuel] Neuer vibe about him”.Confirmed: Alexander #Nübel will leave FC Schalke 04 at the end of the season.#s04 pic.twitter.com/eX9K0HpFSa— FC Schalke 04 (🏠) (@s04_en) December 22, 2019last_img read more