Australia overcame Steve Smith’s absence and survived another venomous spell from Jofra Archer to draw the second Test with England and retain their slim advantage in the Ashes.An intriguing, rain-affected encounter at Lord’s concluded with neither side able to forge a positive result, despite England bidding to force the issue when declaring on 258-5 in the second session after Ben Stokes (115 not out) had posted a century. Joe Root’s attack had enough incentive with 48 overs remaining, while a target of 267 was also encouraging for the tourists, even if Smith was unavailable having displayed concussion symptoms on Sunday after copping an Archer bouncer on the third day.Archer (3-32) dismissed David Warner and Usman Khawaja inside the opening six overs, but Smith’s concussion replacement Marnus Labuschagne’s gritty half-century effectively ended England’s hopes, despite Jack Leach (3-37) striking with back-to-back deliveries and Joe Denly’s brilliant catch, as Australia ended on 154-6.20 – This is the first drawn Test in England since June 2016 (Eng v SL); ending a run of 20 matches without one. Wait. #Ashes pic.twitter.com/FU0VnByQM2— OptaJim (@OptaJim) August 18, 2019Rain prevented play from starting for 70 minutes, Stokes and Jos Buttler (31) continuing their fifth-wicket stand in the first session to increase England’s lead to 165.Buttler top-edged Pat Cummins (3-35) to Josh Hazlewood at long leg after lunch before Stokes, then on 55, survived a review following an lbw appeal from Nathan Lyon.Alongside Jonny Bairstow (30 not out), Stokes pushed on, dispatching Lyon over the ropes from successive deliveries as the advantage increased past 200.A single to square leg gave Stokes his seventh Test century and Root called his batsmen in at the end of the following over to give Archer and his bowling colleagues an opportunity to level the series.One innings one fifty for Marnus Labuschagne!Not a bad replacement for Steve Smith at all #Ashes pic.twitter.com/6lBPY1GRdK— ICC (@ICC) August 18, 2019Archer provided early optimism when he snared Warner (5), who prodded to Rory Burns at gully to continue his dreadful Ashes, and then drew the edge of Khawaja (2), bringing Labuschagne, the first concussion substitute in Test history, to the crease.There was no gentle introduction to Archer’s searing speed as Labuschagne was caught flush on the helmet grille from his second delivery, a 91.6 mph rocket that knocked him off his feet before he bolted back up.Cameron Bancroft (16) was trapped in front by Leach but Labuschagne and Travis Head put on 85, with second slip Jason Roy shelling a chance to remove the latter when the alliance was worth 49.Labuschagne (59) eventually fell in controversial circumstances, Root diving forward at midwicket to take a catch and benefiting from a soft signal of out when replays proved inconclusive.As he walked off, the batsman expressed his disapproval to England’s captain, whose team were soon celebrating again when Matthew Wade picked out short leg from Leach’s next ball.That gave the spinner three wickets — and Archer matched that total when Denly produced a fantastic one-handed catch to remove Tim Paine — but Head (42 not out) and Cummins (1 not out) ensured Australia held on.STOKES STARS AT LORD’S AGAINThe home of cricket is quickly becoming Stokes’ stage to shine.At the venue where his heroics helped secure the Cricket World Cup last month, England’s all-rounder made the only century of the contest, digging deep during a tricky spell on Saturday before opening up to give his side a chance, albeit slim, of victory on the final day.MARVELLOUS MARNUS STANDS UP TO ARCHERHaving seen his team’s talisman taken down by one vicious delivery, Smith’s replacement Labuschagne was given a baptism of fire, only coming in to bat for the second innings and facing a fired-up Archer straight away.He came back from being floored by a shorter ball himself to produce a crucial knock — one that helped to ensure Australia remain in front. Labuschagne may be needed at Headingley if Smith cannot return, and here he showed he is up for the fightMOMENT OF THE DAY A diving Denly plucking the ball out of the sky with his left hand after Paine had pulled Archer to the midwicket region. It deserved to be more than just a mere footnote in the contest.KEY OPTA FACTS:— No bowler has taken more Test wickets since the start of 2018 than Pat Cummins (71 — same as Kagiso Rabada).— None of England’s previous 20 Tests on home soil had ended in a draw — the last was against Sri Lanka in 2016.— Warner has been dismissed for single figures in all four innings so far in this Ashes series.— Australia opener Bancroft was dismissed lbw twice in a Test for the first time in his international career.— Stokes recorded his second century at Lord’s — he made 101 against New Zealand back in May 2015.
Take Our PollMESA, Ariz. — The slim chance of Kyler Murray reporting to the A’s spring training camp is officially over.Murray, a two-sport star at Oklahoma, announced Monday via Twitter that he will focus on the NFL draft, scheduled for April 25-27. The Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback didn’t mention the A’s in his post. “Moving forward, I am firmly and fully committing my life and time to becoming an NFL … Did Kyler Murray make the right choice, picking NFL over A’s?Yes.No.VoteView Results
D’Sa fights tirelessly to defend the rights of the poor, who are worst affected by environmental injustices. And for this he received the Goldman Environmental Prize for Outstanding Environmental Achievement in Africa on 28 April, in the United States. (Image: Goldman Prize)• Goldman Environmental Foundation001 [email protected] Jane CookA passionate and outspoken activist from Durban has won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize. Desmond D’Sa, an environmental hero with an unfailing commitment to environmental justice and environmental rights for all, has changed his entire community. Despite fire bombings and attempted shady business deal buy-outs, he stands firmly by his desire for justice and equality.D’Sa fights tirelessly to defend the rights of the poor, who are worst affected by environmental injustices. And for this he received the Goldman Environmental Prize for Outstanding Environmental Achievement in Africa on 28 April, in the United States.The beginningForcibly removed by the apartheid government from their home, the D’Sa family was resettled in South Durban, an area with no parks but plenty of large oil refineries, chemical tank farms and paper mills. The young D’Sa quickly realised that corporate pollution was killing people; seeing his neighbours and family members suffer dreadful ailments he realised that something had to change drastically.His first impression of South Durban was shocking, he says. “To see so many smoke chimneys and factories located alongside residential housing and kids playing in the plumes of the pollution. In this urban jungle there were no clean running rivers, no vegetable gardens and only red soil. As the years went by, there was a rapid increase in industry and petrochemical expansion.“This made me realise we were deliberately placed to live alongside dirty industries and our lungs played the role of purifiers for pollution from these factories.”Regular visits of the government ambulances became more frequent – and they would come with nebulisers and oxygen cylinders to ensure that people, especially children, were able to breathe properly. It got worse, and D’Sa and his friends were unable to play outside, driven indoors by the rank air from the factories. Crops could not be grown, and people had to buy all their fruit and vegetables, taking a further financial toll on the poor community.D’Sa vowed to change the life of his community. In 1990, he co-founded the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA), which unites a diverse group of South Africans with an ultimate goal of environmental justice for all. By 1996, he was tirelessly campaigning against toxic waste dumping in South Durban, a poor but highly industrialised area.Closing down dumpsA California non-profit group called Global Community Monitor partnered with local residents and D’Sa to expose the detrimental reality of the air pollution and the illnesses that were abundant in the area. A “bucket brigade” of residents collected samples of air, which were then sent to the US where they were analysed. They showed high levels of benzene, a confirmed carcinogen, and several health studies found incidence of asthma in 52% of the children and a quantified cancer risk at 25 in 100 000 people, compared with the norm of 1 in 100 000.“When we got the results back, we developed a flow chart of all the different smells and odours so that people could be better educated about the chemical odours and the impact they would have on health,” says D’Sa.After relentless campaigning, the dump was closed. But as a result of his passion, in 2011 his home was firebombed. Speaking to the Washington Post, he said: “We face dangers all the time because we stand up for justice and truth and for people who can’t speak for themselves. But that will not deter me from doing what’s right. I’m not going to be afraid.“The attack resulted in me and my daughter being rushed to hospital. I endured facial injuries and burns to my arms as well as respiratory difficulties. The attack changed me in a way where I became stronger, more confident to speak the truth and not be afraid as I knew that I was doing the right thing.”About his choice as winner, David Gordon, the executive director of the Goldman prize, said: “He really stood out for his passionate activism and the way he’s organised his community to achieve a really important victory.” The Goldman award highlights the SDCEA’s 2011 struggle and victory in getting Wasteman Holding’s Bulbul Drive toxic landfill site, which was exposing residents to dangerous chemicals, shut down.The toxic dumpSouth Durban is home to almost 70% of South Africa’s industry, including more than 300 oil and gas refineries, paper mills, agrochemical plants and hazardous waste landfills such as the Bulbul Drive dump. For more than two decades, Wasteman Holdings, a South African waste management company, dumped toxic waste from shipyards, factory farms, medical facilities, and oil and chemical factories in the Bulbul Drive landfill, contaminating soil, water and air. The community spent nearly 15 years fighting it, and turned an application for expansion in 2009 to a closure in 2011.Still, the shutdown is just the first step. The landfill’s leachate – the liquid that runs off the waste – is so toxic that other disposal sites won’t take it. The government has instructed Wasteman to build an onsite plant, to pretreat it before shipping it elsewhere.Paying tribute to South Durban residents, D’Sa says: “The closing of the Bulbul Drive landfill is a remarkable triumph and a deserving victory for the hundreds of tenacious and brave residents who campaigned tirelessly for years to close down the landfill.”And he is over the moon at being awarded “the Nobel Prize for grassroots environmentalism”.Environmental allianceThe SDCEA embraces a holistic approach, with an ideal of achieving environmental justice for all. It focuses on water and land issues, basic human rights, all types of pollution, and resisting toxic industrial expansion, development and infrastructure projects that seek to destroy the community. The group challenges policy and legislation, builds education and awareness, and community empowerment.Guardian of EarthD’Sa seeks out environmental justice, explaining: “This is about equity and justice as well as basic human rights while living in harmony with nature and other species. It is about those with power – the politicians as well as the corporations – abusing the poor.“Today in South Africa I see the increase of injustices and inequality towards people and the environment and the way in which we all interact with the built environment as well. What is noticeable to me is the destruction of our social systems, ecosystems, flora and fauna as well as many other aspects of the world we live in. As a result of this inequality – together with Brazil, South Africa is the most unequal country in the world, where the gap between the richest and poorest is the greatest – the level of poverty is rising, and there is a general lack of access to basic needs such as water, energy, housing and proper sanitation.”With the increase in industry and toxic emissions, he says, the level of health concerns escalated to an extent that the community realised they needed to take a stand and fight for their rights to an environment that was not harmful to their health and well-being. “For me it was more than just a stand; it was to bring to the attention of all community members, [the] government, and huge corporations that corporate polluting activities – condoned by [the] government – are killing us, the residents of South Durban, daily.”Current challengesStill fearlessly fighting, D’Sa has great plans in the pipeline. He is contending a proposal to expand the port of Durban that would shift and misplace thousands of South Durban residents and exacerbate waste, pollution and traffic in the neighbourhood.“[The government] wants to develop a dug-out port which will result in some of us losing our homes. We are losing our social fabric and our urban neighbourhoods are changing from residential to peripheral industrial wastelands,” he explains.The major infrastructure development of the dug-out port will be backed by the Infrastructure Development legislation which basically gives the government the right to do as it pleases, for the “good of the nation” and elite corporate wealth. This is the SDCEA’s focus over the near future.“[The expansion] will cause the biggest social upheaval since apartheid. We already suffered enough trauma under apartheid; we lost our lands, our houses, our communities. We don’t want to go through that again,” says D’Sa, who has vowed to fight the plan at every step.It was a foreboding echo of history, said Global Community Monitor executive director Denny Larson, “as corporate and other forces legally and forcibly evict people from land where they’ve been living for a long time. It would be the largest removal of residents – many subsistence fisher folk – since apartheid.”Listen to Desmond D’Sa hereGoldman Environmental AwardEstablished in 1989 by late San Francisco civic leaders and philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman, the Goldman Environmental Prize annually honours grassroots women and men from inner cities or remote villages who make significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often taking personal risks.The winners receive $175 000 (about R1.8-million) and a bronze sculpture called the Ouroboros that depicts a serpent biting its tail, a symbol of nature’s power of renewal in many cultures.There are two ceremonies: first, in San Francisco at the War Memorial Opera House. Over 3 000 people attend the always packed, emotion-filled event. Later that week, prize recipients attend the second ceremony in Washington DC. At the ceremonies, short documentary films provide an introduction to the recipients and their accomplishments.Other winnersOther winners this year include the Indonesian biologist Rudi Putra, who dismantled illegal palm oil plantations causing deforestation; Russian zoologist Suren Gazaryan, who exposed government corruption and the illegal use of federally protected forestland along Russia’s Black Sea coast; Ruth Buendia from Peru, who stood up to dam construction that would have uprooted indigenous people; the American attorney Helen Slottje, who provided pro-bono legal assistance to defend many towns targeted by gas drilling operations; and Ramesh Agrawal from India who, from his small internet café, began a successful campaign to stop a huge coal mining project in an area already affected by pollution.
Man Utd keeper De Gea defends inconsistent form: The odd mistake?by Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United goalkeeper David de Gea has defended his inconsistent form.De Gea came in for some criticism last season, but the goalkeeper – who’s just signed a new contract – says he was happy with his performances.He told Sky Sports: “I think people, when they look back on last season, they are thinking about the last few months.“If you focus on the season as a whole and, in particular, the first seven months of that season I was quite happy with my form.”“You can say the contract is there in the background – it’s not even in the back of your mind – that’s put to one side. The day-to-day training, going out on the pitch, that’s what you’re focusing on – and helping the team, of course.“Talking about the odd mistake, form can come and go with any player, but you are more under the microscope when you’re a goalkeeper. It’s not easy to keep up very high standards.“I’ve been here for a number of years now and to be on top form all the time it’s tough. There are moments when you feel better in yourself form-wise and moments where you’re not quite so good. Mistakes happen, goalkeeper’s live with them and I’m no different.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Liverpool defender Matip declares himself fit for Man Utd clashby Freddie Taylor8 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool defender Joel Matip insists he’ll be fit to face Manchester United on Sunday.The defender has missed the Reds’ last two matches against Leicester City and RB Salzburg.”I’m back in training and hopefully I will stay fit,” he said on Thursday. “I’m back in training and I feel good. Of course, if I’m needed, I will be there.”Injuries [happen] to a player. Now I’m back, I hope I stay fit and I can focus on the positives.” About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say
“No one should have to make the difficult decision between their family’s health and putting food on the table. We know that for many working households, needed prescriptions were going unfilled too often because Fair PharmaCare deductibles were too high. The changes we have made will provide thousands of families with the relief they need.”Previously, a household earning a net annual income between $15,000 and $30,000 would have to pay between $300 and $600 in deductibles before Fair PharmaCare would start to provide coverage assistance.Ministry of Health data has shown a link between low-income levels, deductibles and decreased drug spending, indicating that families will forgo filling prescriptions because of the cost, opting for other essentials, such as housing and groceries.Families earning under $45,000 in net annual income are also benefiting from this investment. Deductibles and co-payments have been lowered for households earning between $30,000 and $45,000 net, annually. Fair PharmaCare co-payments have also been eliminated for seniors born before 1940 earning a household net annual income up to $14,000, and for the lowest income households, those earning up to $13,750.Previously, anyone registered with Fair PharmaCare, even people with the lowest incomes, would have to pay out-of-pocket before receiving 100 percent coverage.The Government says by eliminating the family maximum for the lowest-earning families and reducing it for those earning less than a net annual income of $45,000 – families will save more on prescriptions throughout the year. VANCOUVER, B.C. – The B.C. Government is helping families get the prescription drugs they need as part of the Fair PharmaCare investment.The Government is investing $105 million in reducing or eliminating deductibles and co-payments for lower-income households.Minister of Health, Adrian Dix, says that no family should have to make the decision between buying food or family health. For more information on Fair Pharmacare, you can visit the Pharmacare website.
Mumbai: Terming India a well-balanced and in-form outfit, former Sri Lanka pacer Chaminda Vaas predicted that Virat Kohli and his men would reach the semi-finals of the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup. The former left arm bowler was however guarded when talking about his own country’s chances in cricket’s showpiece event to be held in England and Wales from May 30, while mentioning sling-arm pacer Lasith Malinga as a key factor. “Indian cricket has been dominating in the last two-three years. They have good back-up fast bowlers. They will do wonders. Indian team is very balanced. They will do well. My prediction is, India will definitely reach the semifinals (in the World Cup),” Vaas told reporters here on Tuesday. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhVaas is on a visit to Mumbai to inaugurate a local T20 tournament along with former teammate, left-arm spinner Rangana Herath. Meanwhile, Herath sounded optimistic about Indian spinners doing well in the World Cup. “They (the Indian spinners) have been playing well, especially (Yuzvendra) Chahal and Kuldeep (Yadav). That’s why they have picked right-arm leg spinner and the chinaman (in the squad) and the other guy also (Ravindra Jadeja)… and I am sure in the coming World Cup,they will do (give) their best,” said Herath, who has picked 433 Tests wickets. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterHearth also remarked team are usually picking right-arm leg spinners or chinaman’s for their wicket-taking ability. “You may give extra runs but you need kind of wicket-taking options. That’s why they (the teams) pick the right-arm leg-spinner or chinaman (bowlers),” explained Herath, one of the best left-arm spinners of his times. Herath predicted that there will be a stage in the World Cup where the spinners would come into play. “The World Cup will be played all across England. In the later part, there will be some assistance for spinners as well at the same time, you can see some dry pitches as well. I am sure the spinners will get chance at one stage,” he added.
Casablanca- Sometimes cops hastily jump to conclusions! Yosra Aajir, a 17-year-old Dutch-Moroccan girl with diabetes was recently arrested in a store in The Hague, The Netherlands, after two guards had mistaken her for a drug addict who was injecting drugs and urinating in the store.Yosra Aajir, 17, and of Moroccan origins, accompanied one of her friends to a store. Once in, she abruptly felt that the level of her blood glucose increased.Yosra then rushed into a fitting room to test her blood sugar level. She was surprised when her blood meter indicated 33.3, which was evidently too high. In a hurry, Yosra pulled her pants down to inject insulin. As she did so, she had some urine leakage, something that typically happens to people who have diabetes.Two store guards drew open the fitting room’s curtain to surprise her injecting insulin surrounded by urine on the floor. Shocked by their discovery, the store guards mistook Yosra for a drug addict who hid behind the curtain to inject drugs.Yosra was then taken to the office of the HEMA, a Dutch discount retail chain. Meanwhile, her friend vainly tried to convince the guards that Yosra had diabetes and that what they had seen behind the fitting room’s curtain was what all people with diabetes typically do.Yosra was allegedly treated like a criminal, harshly pushed against the wall and had her hands cuffed before she was taken to the police station.“I was arrested for shop destruction through urine,” Yosra told a Durtch news source. “I spent four hours in a police cell, and when I showed my medical certificate, they said, ‘That’s probably a trick to be allowed out of the cell way earlier. So do many immigrants.”Yosra’s arrest has stirred indignation among Moroccans in The Netherlands as well as in Morocco. Ahmed Marcouch, a Moroccan MP, is expected to ask questions to the Minister of Justice in The Netherlands.In the same vein, the Islam Democrats Party has written questions to The Hague mayor and some council members.“We are tired to be treated as second-class citizens,” Abdelbasset Zaghdoud, a Moroccan-Dutch told MWN.“Dutch pride HEMA, the security store guards and the police have to come with an apology,” he added.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed
We are now less than a week away from almost all pitchers and catchers reporting, and the two biggest free agents on the market — Manny Machado and Bryce Harper — have yet to sign. The rumor mill around them continues to swirl, but we’re tired of not knowing for sure where these two will play this year. So we thought we’d take matters into our own hands, instead of simply waiting around for the latest hot-stove updates.To that end, we called on our friends at Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP), a strategic simulation game that allows players to put on their general manager hats and run their own teams. We asked them to simulate out the careers of Harper and Machado a bunch of times under scenarios where they sign with a bunch of different teams. Think of it as the multiverse of MLB possibilities that still could play out, depending on where these two superstars end up signing.It’s important to note that this is all guided by the game’s artificial intelligence, so it’s based on a simulation engine primarily intended for fun gameplay.1Though it can be a pretty serious simulation, as far as these things go. Perhaps you’ve heard of the soccer sim Football Manager and its notoriously addictive qualities? OOTP is essentially the same game, except for baseball. Having said all that, in the true spirit of J. Henry Waugh’s Universal Baseball Association, what if …… Machado signs with the White Sox?Frequency: 80 percent of simulations2OOTP ran 25 sample offseasons for us, tracking how often each player signed with which team.Average contract: Eight years for $198 millionSix-year team wins: 78.7 per seasonSix-year WAR: 6.0 per seasonBest playoff result: Loses divisional series in 2021Machado is one of the brightest stars in the OOTP universe, with an overall rating of 77 out of 80 (using the traditional 20-80 scouting scale). If he were to sign with the White Sox, one of his most frequently rumored suitors in real life, OOTP sees him having a tremendous individual debut in Chicago, putting together an All-Star season worth 6.5 wins above replacement. But the White Sox would have to wait until 2020 to improve as a team, leaping from 63 wins in 2019 to 92 in 2020, with Machado once again having a strong 5.8-WAR season. Chicago would average 92 wins per season in 2020 and ’21, making the playoffs both years, but they would top out with a tough five-game loss in the American League Division Series in 2021, then drop down to 80 wins in 2022 as Machado’s teammates regress.He would average 5.7 WAR per season over the next two years, but the Sox would miss the playoffs both seasons, with Machado opting out of his contract to join the New York Mets on a five-year, $197.5 million deal before the 2025 season. (Chicago would be fine without him, making the American League Championship Series in 2025 and 2026.) In New York, Machado’s individual numbers would decline to an average of 4.1 WAR per season, but he would help the 2028 Mets reach the World Series — where, in classic Mets fashion, they would lose to the Astros in seven games. After bouncing to the Nationals and Rockies in the early 2030s, Machado would retire in October 2032 with a JAWS score of 63.4, which should easily earn him a place in the Hall of Fame.… Machado signs with the Padres?Frequency: 20 percent of simulationsAverage contract: Eight years for $212 millionSix-year team wins: 83.3 per seasonSix-year WAR: 5.0 per seasonBest playoff result: Loses league championship series in 2024If Machado were to sign with San Diego, OOTP’s AI thinks that he would make about $14 million more over an eight-year contract than he would with the White Sox. But how would his Padres do on the field? In this universe, Machado would have an incredible initial campaign in Southern California, putting up 7.5 WAR and winning the National League’s MVP in 2019. His team, though, would only improve from 66 to 76 wins, good for third place in the NL West, and Machado would later struggle to repeat his amazing debut season. The simulations have him averaging just 4.1 WAR per season in 2020-21, with the Padres winning only 71 games a year. But in 2022, Machado would bounce back with 5.2 WAR, and San Diego would win 95 games, making the divisional series. It’s part of a three-year playoff surge for the Padres, peaking with 100 wins in 2024 — but that team is projected to crash out of the playoffs with a disappointing five-game NLCS loss to the Dodgers.That offseason, Machado would opt out of his initial contract and sign a five-year, $157.5 million deal with the expansion Memphis Scouts — which are a thing in this universe! — where he would spend the next five seasons playing reasonably well (4.2 WAR per year), but losing so many ballgames would surely give him flashbacks to the horrid 2018 Orioles. The best season of Machado’s final years is forecast to be an out-of-nowhere 4.3-WAR season with the 101-win Cincinnati Reds in 2032, but that team would ultimately lose in the divisional series. In September 2035, Machado would retire from pro baseball as a probable Hall of Famer.… Machado signs somewhere else?While OOTP’s AI thinks Chicago and San Diego are the destinations most likely for Machado, it also forced him onto the Phillies, Yankees and Twins for the sake of the full multiverse. The first two outcomes are about a wash individually, with Machado nearing 7 WAR in his best simulated season for each team and producing roughly the same total WAR (33.9 in New York, 32.6 in Philly). He would also stay longer in each city: seven years with the Phillies before opting out to join the Giants and the full eight-year contract span with the Yankees. But in terms of team performance, Machado wouldn’t win a World Series in either Philadelphia or New York, coming closest with a seven-game ALCS loss in 2022 as part of his Yankees timeline. It’s kind of a sad set of outcomes for a pair of teams that you’d think would offer Machado the greatest chance of team success. As for the Twins, they would be very successful with Machado, winning 90.2 games per season in his five years in Minnesota, including a World Series berth in 2021. But he would also opt out of that contract as early as possible, moving on to sign a massive deal with the Giants. Such is the way of Minnesota sports. So where should each star sign? If these OOTP simulations are any indication, it looks like Harper and the Cardinals would be best off with him playing right field in St. Louis, and Machado should lean toward manning the hot corner for the Padres. But those are but two options in the multiverse of possible outcomes. The only thing that we are 100 percent certain about is that at least one of these teams should sign these guys now. Stars like Machado and Harper shouldn’t still be going into spring training without a deal in place — for their own sake and for the sake of fan bases whose teams can use them to compete this season.Special thanks to Richard Grisham and Out of the Park Developments for their help with this story. Let’s move on to Harper, whose future is more difficult to read than Machado’s. OOTP’s AI predicted that he’d sign with any of four teams — the Giants (64 percent), Cardinals (20 percent), Padres (12 percent) and Dodgers (4 percent) — and that’s not even the full spate of his commonly rumored options. But let’s peer into OOTP’s crystal ball anyway. What if …… Harper signs with the Giants?Frequency: 64 percent of simulationsAverage contract: Seven years for $175 millionSix-year team wins: 82.1 per seasonSix-year WAR: 3.3 per seasonBest playoff result: No playoffsThe Giants are a weird team that won 73 games last season despite trying to contend, and they do have the need for a corner outfielder like Harper if they want to try it again in 2019. According to OOTP, San Francisco would pay about $15 million to $20 million more over a seven-year deal than Harper’s other potential suitors, and they wouldn’t get much postseason success out of it. They are projected to average 85.5 wins per season over the first four years of Harper’s deal, finishing second in the NL West (and out of the playoffs) each year. They would also get classic inconsistent Bryce: 5.7 WAR in Year 1, followed by 2.2 and 2.9 WAR (both seasons riddled with injuries), then 4.4, and then 0.6 in a terrible 2023 season during which Harper would hit .209, with the Giants crashing to 74 wins.After six up-and-down seasons by the Bay, Harper would sign a four-year, $116.8 million deal with the Brewers. He is projected for a strong season on a playoff-bound Milwaukee team in 2025 but then just 2.1 WAR per year over the next two seasons before opting out early yet again to join … yes, the Yankees. During his inevitable run in pinstripes, Harper would boast an .821 OPS as his Yanks make (and lose) the ALCS in 2028, but he would put up negative WAR over the next two seasons. He would retire at age 38 after being released by New York (and briefly rejoining the Giants). Harper’s final JAWS score of 49.9 would put him right on the edge of the Hall of Fame relative to other right fielders.… Harper signs with the Cardinals?Frequency: 20 percent of simulationsAverage contract: Seven years for $151 millionSix-year team wins: 87.2 per seasonSix-year WAR: 4.9 per seasonBest playoff result: Loses World Series in 2027 and 2030This is one of the most successful universes either star free agent had in our OOTP simulations. In this world, the Cardinals would grab Harper for the bargain-bin price of $151 million, and he would stay with them for a total of 12 seasons thanks to another midcareer contract extension. St. Louis would be mostly competitive throughout Harper’s dozen seasons there, averaging 87 wins per year and making the playoffs nine times, including two pennant-winning runs. Harper is projected for 53.4 total WAR in a Cardinals uniform (which would actually rank him just below Ozzie Smith for fifth on the franchise’s all-time leaderboard), winning the 2023 NL MVP with a 1.033 OPS and 7.4 WAR. In Harper’s final season as a Cardinal at age 37, OOTP sees St. Louis losing the 2030 World Series to (Machado’s?) White Sox in a heartbreaking seventh game.After leaving St. Louis, Harper would sign a three-year, $62 million deal with the Mets, but a fractured knee would cost him 88 games in his first New York season, and he wouldn’t be the same player afterward, averaging just 1.1 WAR/year in 2032-33. Following an ineffective 51-game stint with the Giants in 2034, Harper would retire as a surefire Hall of Famer with a JAWS score of 69.2.… Harper signs somewhere else?Harper has been linked to so many teams, it’s tough to keep track sometimes. So we asked OOTP to look at the other teams its own AI saw Harper signing with (the Padres and Dodgers), plus the Phillies, White Sox and Harper’s erstwhile team, the Nationals. Of those, the Dodgers easily offer the greatest amount of team glory — in fact, they would basically become a dynasty with Bryce on board, winning the 2020, 2021, 2023 and 2024 World Series and losing it in 2025 (as Harper would put up 44.3 WAR during seven seasons in L.A.).3Just for good measure, Harper would return to Washington in this Dodgers simulation, after a four-season stint with the Mariners, and would also win the 2030 World Series with the Nats in his age-37 season. Individually, Harper would finish with 98.3 WAR in that universe, edging out his 93.2 WAR in the Cardinals simulation for the best of the options we looked at. The rest offer varying degrees of lesser success from both a team and personal perspective, with the Phillies, Nats and Padres projected to make the playoffs a few times on Harper’s first contract (he would re-up with the Padres and Nationals for the long-term in those simulations) and Harper accumulating just shy of 80 career WAR in each universe.
Ohio State Billy Price prepares to snap the ball to J.T. Barrett in the first half in the game against Illinois on Nov. 18. Ohio State won 52-14. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOhio State (9-2, 7-1 Big Ten) stood still at No. 9 in the College Football Playoff rankings after thumping Illinois (2-9, 0-8 Big Ten) 52-14 on Saturday.The other Big Ten teams in the rankings are No. 5 Wisconsin, No. 10 Penn State, No. 16 Michigan State and No. 22 Northwestern. Michigan dropped out of the rankings from No. 24 after losing to Wisconsin 24-10. The Buckeyes will play the Wolverines at noon Saturday.The Buckeyes and the Badgers will face off on Dec. 2 in the Big Ten Championship Game with Ohio State representing the East and Wisconsin the West.The top four in the rankings consists of No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Miami (FL.), No. 3 Clemson and No. 4 Oklahoma. Wisconsin and No. 6 Auburn are the first two out. Here are the full rankings. Alabama Miami (FL.) Clemson Oklahoma Wisconsin Auburn Georgia Notre Dame Ohio State Penn State USC TCU Washington State Mississippi State Central Florida Michigan State Washington LSU Oklahoma State Memphis Stanford Northwestern Boise State South Carolina Virginia Tech