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Dear Lionel Messi Please Please Dont Quit Argentina

To: Lionel Andres MessiFrom: Benjamin Morris, professional skeptic, sports researcher and Messi obsessiveDear Mr. Messi,Over the past half dozen years, you have been far and away the best player in the world’s most popular sport, but we know you’ve been having a bit of a rough time of late. You’ve been dealing with tax evasion charges. You’ve dealt with injuries, and fallen to third in scoring in La Liga. Your club team Barcelona was unable to repeat last year’s amazing treble after being knocked out of the UEFA Champions League in the quarterfinals.And finally, following Argentina’s loss against Chile in the Copa America final – in which you missed a kick that may have been the difference in a penalty shootout – you seemed to indicate an inclination to retire from the Argentine national team:It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn’t get it, so I think it’s over. I think this is best for everyone. First of all for me, then for everyone. . . . It’s very hard, but the decision is taken. Now I will not try more and there will be no going back.We’re not entirely sure what you meant by this, and I hope by the time this letter reaches you, you’ll have relented. But, just in case: Retiring is a terrible idea.Of course you don’t owe anyone anything, and you can do what you want. But here’s why you shouldn’t:You missed a damn free throw.Look, you screwed up. You missed a penalty kick that would have put Argentina ahead, and your team ended up losing. You also failed to put the ball on frame – thus violating the first rule of penalty kicking.But let’s dispel the myth that penalty kicks are easy. In the top divisions of soccer (the Big Five leagues and major international tournaments) about 75 percent of the penalty kicks taken connect – similar to the rate at which free throws are made the NBA (76 percent in 2015-16). But even this partly masks their difficulty, as penalty kicks are generally taken by the designated (and typically best) penalty kicker on each team.You’ve made about 78 percent of your penalty kicks, for both club and country. This is below the rate of some other top strikers like Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (who have made around 85 percent each), but is above average overall. For comparison, LeBron James has made around 74 percent of his free throws in his career (below average in the NBA) — and just made 72 percent against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.High-leverage misses are painful — had LeBron missed his second straight free throw in the waning seconds of Game 7 and the Warriors tied the game, it would have been a disaster, percentages be damned. But percentages win out in the long run nonetheless, and following this miss, you’ve now made three of your four shootout shots for Argentina, perfectly in line with your career penalty kick conversion rate.International play may not be as pretty, but you’re still the best at itAnother persistent myth in soccer is that you haven’t been as good for Argentina in international play as you’ve been for Barcelona in club play. While it’s true that the numbers you’ve put up at Barcelona have been mind-boggling, you’ve also played brilliantly for Argentina. To see just how much so, let’s look at some very basic stats: Goals plus assists per game played, for both club and country (excluding international friendlies). Here’s what we have according to ESPN Stats & Info data (which includes data from most club and some international results back to 2010-11, and from World Cups back to 1966): You come out on top, even though some players have fewer games and higher variance (the three other dots in your neighborhood are – you guessed it – Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic and Suarez). Of the players who have done worse for club than country, only Neymar and Robin Van Persie have produced within 0.1 GPA/G of the 0.88 you put up for Argentina.If you take an unweighted average of country and club performance, your 1.17 GPA/G easily tops all players, with Ronaldo second at 1.08 and Ibrahimovic in third at 0.96.Still not convinced? Here are a few hundred million other reasons to keep playing.So you’ve never won a major cup for Argentina. Continuing to play is no guarantee that you will. And no matter what you do, some Argentinians will never think you’re better than Maradona. International play is hard and high variance.But it’s also incredibly popular.You’ll be turning 31 at the start of the 2018 World Cup, meaning you could legitimately have two or three more runs on the grandest stage in sports left in you.Of the hundreds of millions of soccer fans who have seen you play, most have seen you in the blue and white.1Note your most famous fan isn’t wearing creamsicle. I think I can safely speak for all of us when I say that we appreciate seeing your magic on the international stage, even if it’s a long, frustrating and potentially futile struggle. Your play for Argentina has been the third-most productive on a game-by-game basis (0.88 GPA/G over 42 games). Of the 324 soccer players with at least 20 appearances for both (Big Five) club and country, only two have put together more productive runs: David Villa, with 0.90 GPA/G over 31 games for Spain and Klass-Jan Huntelaar with 0.96 GPA/G over 29 games for the Netherlands. (In fact, despite international soccer being notoriously low-scoring, the international version of yourself has been more productive than any club players save yourself, Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic and Luis Suarez.)As great as Villa and Huntelaar have been, they’re basically the result of the field playing playing “best hand” against you. How well have their international hot streaks have been corroborated by their club careers? In the Stats & Info data, Villa scored 0.49 goals plus assists per game in club play, and Huntelaar scored 0.61. You’ve scored 1.46. In other words, their combined club production still falls well short of yours.Your play with Argentina does affect your legacy. It cements it.But let’s face it: In Barcelona, you pretty much play for an all-star team in a game so unequal it makes Major League Baseball look like a communist revolution. You play for a team so good that you aren’t even the most productive player on it! I mean, you’re likely still more valuable, but Luis Suarez has had a Messi-like season.Playing for Argentina is your one chance to play a substantial number of games on a relatively even playing field.Of course, other players benefit from playing for what are essentially all-star teams as well, but on the other side: While Argentina is a decent team on its own, without you it doesn’t have the star power as Germany, Brazil, Spain or the Netherlands. Many players have been significantly more productive playing for their international team than their club team, and vice versa. We don’t always know which represents a player’s true strength, so let’s look at the less productive setting of the two for everyone: read more

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Where BillsJets Ranks Among The NFLs Worst Division Rivalries

RIVALRYPRIMARY DIVISIONTOTALSHARE WITH ABOVE-AVG. ELOSAVG. ELO Cleveland v. CincinnatiAFC Central8514.1%1470 Chicago v. Green BayNFC Central9122.01504 Chicago v. DetroitNFC Central9111.01474 GAMES PLAYED New Orleans v. AtlantaNFC West9214.11474 And perish the thought that both would be good at the same time — only two Bills-Jets matchups have ever seen each team come in with an Elo of 1550 or better (think a solid 9- to 10-win team).All that said, Thursday night’s game does fall into the category of better-than-average Bills-Jets matchups, somehow. Although Buffalo and New York each dropped their Week 1 games, Elo still thinks they’re both decent teams, with ratings propped up by a pair of nonlosing seasons last year. In fact, 2015’s regular-season finale (which Buffalo won to spoil the Jets’ playoff hopes) also saw both teams enter the game with above-average Elo ratings, making Thursday’s matchup only the fifth time in the rivalry — and the first time since 2000 — that each was above the 1500 Elo mark in back-to-back games.So if you find yourself watching a couple of teams dressed in kitschy uniforms fight over Rex Ryan’s pride Thursday night, remember that things could be so much worse. In the grand scheme of the Jets-Bills rivalry, this is just about as good as it gets. Includes all games through Week 2 of the 2016 NFL season.Source: pro-football-reference.com Kansas City v. San DiegoAFC West9329.01506 After kicking off the NFL season with a Super Bowl rematch, Thursday Night Football is a little less exciting in Week 2. First of all, it’s one of those annoying “color rush” games, the NFL’s excuse to sell a few extra jerseys by dressing teams up in garish monochrome duds. (But hey, at least people with red-green color blindness will actually be able to follow the action this year.) More importantly, it’s also Jets vs. Bills — the NFL’s fourth-worst division rivalry of the post-merger era.At least, that’s according to our Elo ratings, which gauge the strength of each NFL team at any given moment in time. Since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, 29 pairs of teams have played at least 85 games against each other while belonging to the same division,1Why use 85 games as the cutoff? Because after those 29 pairs, the list of most frequent post-merger division rivals drops sharply from 85 matchups to 66, as we start to delve into pairings that haven’t happened since the NFL re-aligned in 2002. and the Jets and Bills are among the most frequent of those pairings, having played as division rivals in every season but one since the merger. (They didn’t face off in the strike-shortened 1982 campaign.) Unfortunately, they’re also both among the NFL’s losingest teams over that span; the Jets have the league’s sixth-worst winning percentage since 1970, and Buffalo has its 10th-worst.Even when the Bills and Jets have actually been good, it’s seldom come at the same time. Neither team did especially well in the 1970s, and although the Jets had their moments in the early 1980s — they made the playoffs four times between 1981 and 1986 — they’d already faded by the time the Bills assembled their great AFC dynasty of the 1990s. Both teams made the playoffs in 1998, but the Bills started wandering through the wilderness shortly afterwards, while the Jets have been about a .500 ballclub in the 21st century.So if we average together New York and Buffalo’s Elo ratings at the time of each matchup, they come out to 1475.7, the fourth-lowest average out of the 29 pairs of division rivals I mentioned above. (Only the Bears and Lions, Bengals and Browns,2Treating the old Browns (before they became the Ravens) and the new Browns as one entity. and Saints and Falcons were worse.) They’ve also simultaneously boasted pregame Elo ratings above 1500 — the mark of an average team — only 15.2 percent of the time, also fourth-worst since the merger. Buffalo v. New EnglandAFC East9116.51505 Detroit v. MinnesotaNFC Central9122.01496 NY Giants v. PhiladelphiaNFC East9636.51506 The NFL’s worst division rivalries (1970-2016) Detroit v. Green BayNFC Central9416.01488 Buffalo v. NY JetsAFC East9215.21476 read more

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Gabby Douglas Reveals the Extent of Pain She Felt

Gabby Douglas (@gabbycvdouglas/Instagram)After facing a barrage of online criticism and harassment during the 2016 Olympic Games, gymnast Gabby Douglas is finally speaking out.The three-time gold medalist, who was heavily criticized about her hair at the 2012 Beijing Olympics, faced similar condemnation this year along with accusations of a lack of patriotism and poor sportsmanship. For Douglas, the recrimination was hurtful.“I had [to] take off social media before the Olympics,” Douglas told Teen Vouge on Facebook Live Wednesday, Dec. 21. “Then, after team finals in Rio, I Googled myself and there was just so much noise. First, it started with me not having my hand over my heart, then my hair, then me not being supportive. I was like, ‘Oh my God, I have no idea where this is coming from.’ It was hard.”Online commenters reignited the 2012 fury over Douglas’ hair during the Games in Rio De Janerio, Brazil, in August. One person proclaimed the 20-year-old’s tresses “makes me so mad.”Then, Douglas stood at attention during the national anthem but didn’t place her hand over her heart like the rest of her Final Five teammates. In reaction, a Twitter user deemed Douglas a “sorry American.” Finally, when teammate Simone Biles won gold in the women’s individual all-around, Twitter took aim at Douglas for allegedly feeling salty over the triumph.“Every single day, I’d come back to the village after every single training practice and I literally bawled my eyes out,” Douglas said. “I would cry and cry and cry because people were being so mean.”The judgment visibly took a toll on the gymnast towards the end of the Olympics, when USA Today reported Douglas seemed to be holding back tears as she scrolled through her phone.Douglas also addressed criticism about her serious demeanor during the 2016 Games, noting she had simply grown up since she last competed in the Olympics at age 16.“Going from 2012, I was this smiley, bubbly Gabby,” she explained. “And in 2014 to 2016, I was like, ‘I’ll be a little more mature, a little more sass.’ And everyone was like, ‘What’s wrong with her? She’s not smiling, something’s wrong.’ And I’m like, ‘No, this is mature Gabby.’ I love to laugh, there’s nothing wrong with that. Just don’t put me in a category, you know? Let me do what I need to do out on the floor.”Douglas has advice for other people who have dealt with cyberbullying: Don’t change.“There’s [sic] people out there that love you guys and your life is very important and very valuable,” she said. “Always be strong and you can overcome it, you really can.” read more

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DR Poachers ordered to pay fines and go home

first_img Related Items:court, dominicans, fine, poachers Dominican Officials agree to stop sex trafficking, poachers Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Recommended for you Police get wanted man; Magistrate Court back open Laundry detergent thief goes to court, Alleged Ganja dealer arrested Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 29 Jul 2015 – The TCI Prosecutor hopes the Dominicans captured stealing marine product from our waters will find the money to pay their fines and go home. Public Prosecutor Clement Joseph said it is far more costly to TCIG to keep these men in remand for six months; a bill he estimates at $5,000 per day for the 28 men now convicted of poaching. Over the six months, this is a $900,000 cost to house the poachers in the TCI. Magistrate Clifton Warner heard a whale of a tale yesterday from the 28 poachers who say they thought they were in Puerto Plata in the DR. The men, who had been staying at the detention center since the raid last Thursday said their captain lied to them. That captain eluded capture last week; left the 28 men, 14 boats outfitted with 14 Yamaha engines, spear guns, air compressors, hoses and other equipment outlawed in the TCI to face officers on their own. One by one, in court the 28 repeated their sorry tale. Telling Warner they were “betrayed.” The men, in the end plead guilty to all eight charges and were fined $5,400 each; a total of $151,200 in fines. The Magistrate had given them until 4pm to pay those fines. Minister responsible, Porsha Smith called the arrest, “…a proud moment as …these civil servants have shown courage and bravery and deserve our recognition and gratitude.” Smith in the statement issued Tuesday added that, “It is important that all potential violators understand that we will not stand by, while our waters and natural environment be abused. Anyone that insists on malicious efforts similar in kind to these will be caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” At last check the Dominicans captured in this pilferage were actively trying to raise the money to pay the fine.last_img read more

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TCI Premier presented Year One token of appreciation from PDM Cabinet

first_img Related Items:#magneticmedianews, #Premierpresentedtokenofappreciation Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#TurksandCaicos, December 26, 2017 – Providenciales – In a surprise move at the PDM Administration’s one year report press conference, there was a presentation to the premier,  finance minister  and People’s Democratic Movement party leader, Hon Sharlene Robinson.“The elected members from your team have watched you during the campaign and over this last year, and your leadership not only in government but also in our political party and wanted to give you something, you have been giving of yourself and this country for a very long time, and we’ve decided that a small token of appreciation and admiration that we have for you, that we should display it here in live color in front of the whole Turks and Caicos and let you know that we love you, we appreciate you, we really do appreciate the work that you do and the selflessness in the way that you do it.  And with that we would like to give you this little commemorative gift as a small token of our appreciation and love.”Flanked by her Cabinet and two other elected members, the country’s first female premier was all smiles and equally as grateful for being singled out at special.“I couldn’t have asked for a better team to work with, I mean I know sometimes I do breathe down their necks a bit, and I would like to say thank you to each and every one of the ministers and to say to Turks and Caicos why they are the best.”The PDM on December 20 celebrated one year of being sworn into office as Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands after a resounding win at the polls on December 15, 2016.#MagneticMediaNews#Premierpresentedtokenofappreciationlast_img read more

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Ajax scout De Jong is more like Iniesta than Busquets

first_imgAjax scout Tonny Bruins Slot believes Frenkie de Jong’s “exceptional quality” is more like that of Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta to Sergio Busquets.The Dutch star has agreed to join Barcelona for next season on a five-year contract in a €75m transfer fee along with bonuses of €11m.The Catalan giants fended off competition from Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City to win the race for De Jong’s signature.At just 21 years old, De Jong is one of Europe’s most exciting young talents and will be expected to start out as an understudy to Busquets before succeeding the Spaniard in his midfield role at Camp Nou.But Bruins Slot reckons that De Jong is a player more in the mould of Iniesta than Busquets or even another Barcelona legend in Xavi Hernandez.“He has such a fine technique, he’s a footballer of the very top level,” Bruins Slot told Esports Cope.Sergio Ramos, Real MadridZidane reveals Sergio Ramos injury concern for Real Madrid Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Zinedine Zidane has put Sergio Ramos’ availability for Real Madrid’s trip to Sevilla next weekend in doubt after withdrawing him against Levante.“De Jong can play in Busquets’ position, but he doesn’t have the defensive level of Sergio. He has exceptional quality, though. He could play Xavi’s role, too, but he’s more Iniesta.“His profile is to drift to the left and his vision can be taken advantage of in the final third. He has a touch like [Michael] Laudrup.”He added: “He needs to improve physically, though. He’s young, only 21, and he has to grow to compete in Spanish football.“But he can add something extra playing in a team with players like Lionel Messi, the greatest. He doesn’t lose the ball, he has great vision and, I repeat, a great touch.“He is a serious kid, a really good person and a cool customer. He’s not influenced by his surrounding or the fans – he has a competitive mentality.”De Jong played the full 90 minutes of Ajax’s 3-1 win over SC Heerenveen in the KNVB Cup to seal their spot in the semi-finals of the competition.last_img read more

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Parents headed to court in college admissions cheating scam

first_img Posted: March 29, 2019 Categories: Local San Diego News, National & International News FacebookTwitter March 29, 2019 AP AP, center_img 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsBOSTON (AP) — More than a dozen parents charged in a nationwide college admissions cheating scheme are due in court.They are expected to make initial appearances Friday in federal court in Boston.They’re among 33 prominent parents charged in what authorities have called the biggest college admissions scam ever prosecuted.Authorities say the parents paid an admission consultant to rig their children’s test scores and bribe coaches at sought-after schools.Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are charged in the case but are not scheduled to appear in court until next week. They have not publicly addressed the allegations.On Thursday, former Yale University women’s soccer coach Rudy Meredith became the third person to plead guilty in the case.The admissions consultant at the center of the scheme has also pleaded guilty. Parents headed to court in college admissions cheating scam Updated: 10:40 PMlast_img read more