The Red Sox Bucked Convention To Build A Champion

After Manny Machado waved at a Chris Sale slider for the final out of Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday — the final pitch of the 2018 baseball season — Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez bolted toward the pitching mound and leaped into the arms of the lanky Sale. The celebration began there and spilled into the visiting clubhouse at Dodger Stadium, where the Red Sox sported goggles to protect themselves from the salvos of alcohol. They sang “New York, New York” and “California Love” as both songs blasted from portable speakers. The Red Sox had their fourth World Series title this century with a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, taking the series four games to one.But it’s how the Red Sox arrived at this point, as perhaps the greatest Red Sox team of all time, that is so interesting. While dominating the American League from wire to wire, and then doing the same to a postseason field of super teams, the Red Sox challenged so many narratives along the way.David Price proved that players can shed the most damning of labels with a change in approach (and perhaps just a larger sample of work). Dave Dombrowski, Boston’s president of baseball operations, cashed in trade assets accumulated by former general manager Ben Cherington for premium, veteran players like Sale — even at a time when so many teams were hoarding prospects and young talent. And when other teams elected not to spend in free agency, the Red Sox nabbed the best position player on the market in J.D. Martinez.MLB’s stiffer luxury tax acted something like a soft cap last winter as even large-market clubs like the Dodgers and Yankees vowed to stay under the tax threshold. The Yankees did so for the first time in the luxury tax era, and the Dodgers spent just $4 million on free agents, electing not to bolster what became a suspect bullpen in this World Series. These teams may have taken this route in part because free agency is increasingly viewed as an inefficient way to build a club — but they also likely had an eye on the upcoming free agent class headlined by Bryce Harper, Machado and perhaps Game 5 Los Angeles starter Clayton Kershaw if he elects to opt out of his deal.The Red Sox, meanwhile, were aggressors in a season of passivity. They ranked fourth in free agent spending, going over the luxury tax while leading the majors in payroll. With the slow free agent period, Martinez didn’t even reach an agreement with the Red Sox until spring training camps had opened. The five-year, $110 million contract he signed might not produce value for the club in its later years, but the Red Sox wanted to win in 2018 — and Martinez rewarded Boston with an MVP-caliber season and a home run in the clinching Game 5.1The Red Sox chose Martinez over Eric Hosmer, who inked an even greater deal — $144 million guaranteed — but posted a replacement-level season with the Padres.Those investments — salaries that not every club was willing or able to pay — paid off this October. In many ways, Boston built a super team the old-fashioned way.While much of the Red Sox’s positional group is homegrown beyond Martinez, the Red Sox paid a premium price to acquire Sale from the Chicago White Sox before the 2017 season — and he has been an elite arm in Boston. Prior to 2016, the Red Sox surrendered premium talent for closer Craig Kimbrel. They also gave a record deal to Price that winter — seven years, $217 million. It was their investment in Price that paid off in a big way in the final two weeks of October.On the biggest stage in baseball, Boston kept handing the ball to a pitcher who many doubted could perform in the postseason. Entering his Game 5 American League Championship Series start, Price had never won a playoff game he had started. He was 0 for 11 with a 6.16 ERA.To change his postseason reputation, Price changed his pitch mix.In dominating the Astros in Game 5 of the ALCS, Price threw a career-high share of change-ups, at 41.9 percent of his pitches. He followed that up in Game 2 of the World Series with a change-up rate of 28.4 percent before nearly matching that on Sunday in Game 5 when he threw 89 pitches, 23 of which were change-ups, for a rate of 25.8 percent. He threw just seven cutters, which was his most frequent nonfastball pitch in the regular season.After allowing a lead-off home run to David Freese on his first pitch of the game, Price blanked Los Angeles for seven innings. He retired 14 straight Dodgers before beginning the eighth by walking Chris Taylor, which ended his night. He allowed one run, two walks and three hits over seven-plus innings. He struck out five.Price has now won three straight October games, including each of his World Series starts. He’s no longer a choker. “This is why I came to Boston,” he said during a postgame interview. “I know it’s a tough place to play. I know it’s challenging with everything that is going to go on here. I’ve been through a lot in three years since I’ve been here.”Despite Price’s contributions, it was Steve Pearce who was named the World Series MVP for his home-run heroics, including a two-run blast off of Kershaw in the first inning Sunday. Pearce — acquired in a midseason trade — led all players in the series in win probability added, which measures the change in win expectancy between plate appearances. The Red Sox acquired Pearce for his platoon advantage against left-handed pitching, and he came through for them.All teams are trying to do the little things, to find value where others do not. All teams are employing data and video, development and coaching, to get more out of players already on the roster. But the Red Sox did a lot of big things, things that others thought they ought not to. They ignored many common narratives and leaguewide trends.It paid off in a big way. read more

Has Mike Trout Already Peaked

Mike Trout has put up an amazing couple of seasons in Major League Baseball, not just for someone as young as he is, 22, but for anyone. His 19.62 wins above replacement (WAR) over his first two full seasons ranks as the 36th best two-year stretch for any batter ever. Only nine batters have had a better stretch by the age of 25, and they’re essentially a who’s who of Hall of Famers: Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Eddie Collins, Jimmie Foxx and Willie Mays. The list of players who put up better numbers at an earlier age doesn’t have any names on it.Conventional wisdom seems to be that Trout, an outfielder for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, is only going to get better. Much of that analysis relies explicitly on the traditional aging curve or on similar logic: MLB players and prospects typically improve rapidly through their late teens and early 20s, peaking around age 27. Trout was 21 last season, ergo, he has several years of improvement in his future.But regression to the mean dictates that the better the performance you’re looking at, the less likely it is to be duplicated. Players who put up huge numbers like Trout’s (or anywhere close) this early in their careers have a very high likelihood of having All Star- and/or Hall of Fame-quality careers. But how often do they improve on these initial breakout performances?I’ve taken all the players who put up more than 15 WAR over a two-year period at any point in their careers and broken them down by the age when they first accomplished the feat. Then I asked a simple question: Did they ever manage a better two-year period?The size of the bubbles represent how many players accomplished the “15 WAR in two years” milestone, and the y value of the bubbles show the percentage of those players who surpassed that milestone.As you can see, the odds of someone Trout’s age improving are ostensibly 100 percent, but that bubble represents a single data point: Alex Rodriguez. If you move to the much larger group of players between ages 22 and 24, the odds drop into the 50 percent range.On the other hand, some players who never managed a stronger two-year stretch still managed a strong third season immediately after their initial two-year breakout. In such cases, they may set a new two-year “peak” that overlaps the original. Thus, while never replicating their original two-year performance, they end up with a better two years on the books. This is the most likely time for a player to establish a new “peak,” because pulling it off only takes one well-timed season instead of two.Of the 75 players who achieved 15-plus WAR over two seasons, only 22 managed to replicate or exceed the feat later in their career. But an additional 15 improved their benchmark the following season. Counting these cases, the odds of a player’s two-year performance being his two-year peak drop substantially. Factoring this in and cleaning up the data a bit (I put the players in rolling 3-year age groups) gives us a result like this:For Trout’s case, there are a few other factors to consider:Cutting both ways: Trout’s numbers are higher than average in his age group. This makes it more likely that he’s a uniquely great player, but it also makes the numbers inherently less likely to be surpassed.Cutting in his favor: Trout was 21 last season, and his group covers players age 21 to 23. This gives him a slightly longer career ahead, and thus more chances to put up better seasons. Further, having pulled off such great numbers at such an early age probably increases the chances that he’s truly special. But there’s not really enough data to demonstrate this effect.Cutting against him: Trout is probably less likely to achieve a new two-year peak this year, because the strongest of the two seasons in this run was the first. Improving on his peak will require him posting better than 10.8 WAR — a feat which has happened only 22 times before, six of which were by Babe Ruth. (Also, though outside the scope of this post, it’s possible that the aging curve is no longer as favorable as it used to be).All things considered, the answer to whether Trout has peaked yet is “probably not,” though I think it’s far from being as much of a certainty as many people seem to think. Even some of the Hall of Famers mentioned above peaked early, and Trout’s start has been so strong that he could potentially do the same and still end up joining them. read more

The Germans Are Young in Their Prime And Really Really Good

Update (July 13, 6:10 p.m.): Germany won the World Cup on Sunday, defeating Argentina 1-0 in extra time.In the fall of 2000, 11-year-old soccer wunderkind Thomas Muller left TSV Pahl, the local team near his hometown of Weilheim in Oberbayern,1For whom he once scored 120 of the team’s 165 goals in a season. and joined Bayern Munich’s youth academy. That same year, 22-year-old Miroslav Klose was co-leading the Bundesliga club FCK in goals, becoming a star in his own right. Fourteen years later, they’re both on the same Germany squad, with Muller chasing the World Cup goals record that Klose just tied. In Germany, one generation is being eclipsed by the next.On Thursday, the United States will have to tussle with both. The U.S. faces Muller, Klose and the rest of the German juggernaut in a match that FiveThirtyEight’s World Cup prediction model gives the Americans only a 15 percent chance of winning.2Luckily for the Americans, they don’t need to defeat Germany outright in order to advance to the knockout round. They can survive with a draw, or even a loss (pending the outcome of Thursday’s Portugal-Ghana match), which is a very good thing from an American perspective. Die Nationalmannschaft ranks as the third-best national squad3But the first-best nationalmannschaft. in the world according to ESPN’s Soccer Power Index (SPI), and it boasts the most potent offensive attack of any team. It is the United States’ most stout opponent yet.Germany has been nearly this good for four World Cups running. It finished in the top three in the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups, a feat that’s usually only accomplished when a country is experiencing a “golden generation” of talent. That’s when a rare confluence of gifted footballers simultaneously spring forth to lead their national team to glory. Germany had one of those over the past decade, with forwards such as Klose and Lukas Podolski, defenders Philipp Lahm, Arne Friedrich and Per Mertesacker, and midfielders Michael Ballack and Bastian Schweinsteiger.By the time such a group is in its third World Cup cycle, though, its heyday is almost always over. Indeed, Ballack and Friedrich are retired, and the rest are either on the wrong side of 30 — Klose, while still on the national team, is ancient at 36 — or rapidly approaching it. But this year’s German side isn’t being carried by the dimming stars of days past. Rather, it has produced an entirely new golden generation, right on the heels of the previous one, and led by the likes of Muller. This latest crop of players could go even further than their predecessors ever ventured; the FiveThirtyEight model thinks the Germans are the third-most likely team to win the Cup, giving them an 11 percent chance.The possibilities of this new era were apparent at the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championships, when Germany’s team navigated its way to the final and trounced England 4-0 to claim the tournament crown. Including Muller, eight of Germany’s 11 most-used players in this World Cup suited up for that 2009 U-21 side, either in friendlies or the Euro Championships. The talent of Mesut Ozil, Toni Kroos and Mats Hummels was already apparent on that team.4Mario Gotze barely missed that group; he was on Germany’s Under-17 team in 2009.A half-decade later, the whiz kids of the 2009 U-21 squad are fueling a top World Cup contender. The Germans aren’t the youngest team left in the tournament, according to my calculations (although they are somewhat close). Their roster, however, is structured in a way that maximizes production from players in the primes of their careers.For every team bound for the World Cup’s knockout stage (or more than 30 percent likely to advance, according to the FiveThirtyEight model), I computed the average age of the roster — and the standard deviation thereof — weighted by a combination of playing time and in-game performance.5Using each player’s percentage of team minutes played, adjusted up or down by how his WhoScored rating compared to the typical average of 6.75. The Germans are the fourth-youngest team likely to advance by this measure of weighted average age (behind Nigeria, Belgium and Switzerland), but more important, they have the third-smallest weighted standard deviation of ages (trailing only Chile and Argentina). More of Germany’s players, in other words, are in their prime.According to research from British journalist Simon Kuper,6Co-author of “Soccernomics,” which I wrote about here. soccer players enter their primes sometime between age 23 (for attacking players) and 25 (for defenders), and they stay in relative peak form until age 31. Not coincidentally, by my measure above, only two other national teams (Chile and Argentina) have received a larger share of their contributions in this World Cup from players ages 23 to 31, and nobody has gotten more from its players between the ages of 22 and 30.7I’m measuring the amount of contribution received from a given player by looking at how much of the team’s playing time he received, and also whether he produced more or less than an average player in that time, according to WhoScored’s player ratings (which use Opta data to gauge how well a player has performed). The WhoScored rating is an admittedly rough metric, but as far as all-in-one player indices go, it correlates fairly well with standings points at the team level. (This is not the ultimate test of a stat’s validity — to a certain extent, any metric with a strong enough “team adjustment” can appear to correlate well with team performance — but that’s another debate for another day.) Klose is the lone German outside of that age range to even take the field so far in the World Cup.Granted, Klose, Schweinsteiger and Podolski are still highly useful players; last Saturday, Klose scored as a substitute against Ghana to tie Ronaldo for the all-time lead in career World Cup goals, and Schweinsteiger is likely to start against the U.S. with Jerome Boateng sidelined due to injury. But for a team coming off three deep World Cup runs, the last two of which leaned heavily on the same venerated group, Germany’s veterans are not being asked to play a very substantial role this summer. And that wouldn’t be the case if Germany hadn’t built an impressive infrastructure for developing young soccer talent.As Nicholas Kulish wrote for the New York Times in 2012, Germany’s prolific soccer pipeline traces its roots back nearly a decade before its up-and-coming youth team met England for the Under-21 title in 2009. Following a nightmarish performance8Two losses, one draw and zero wins. at Euro 2000, Kulish noted, German officials (with plenty of backing from top club teams) massively re-invested in the country’s youth soccer system, including the launch of new academies, training centers and coaching programs at an expense of almost $1 billion. Years into the future, the result is a booming Bundesliga — and a flourishing national team.In many ways, Muller is the poster child for this reformation. When he enlisted with Bayern’s youth academy 14 years ago, it was almost precisely as German youth soccer was receiving its aforementioned stimulus package. Muller’s generation was the first to reap its benefits, and it’s probably not a coincidence that Germany’s current World Cup roster is so heavy with his contemporaries.Whatever the cause, in five years, Germany’s current crop of stars has matured from promising prospects on that U-21 squad to the most instrumental members of the senior national team. Several weeks ago, the Germans were something of a dark horse among the top contenders in this World Cup field. Before the tournament, none of ESPN’s 18 polled panelists picked Germany to win it all; nor did any of those queried by the BBC or Sports Illustrated (one lone writer from NBC’s ProSoccerTalk went with Germany). Now it’s clear that there’s another golden German generation on the pitch, and it’s almost completely in its prime. read more

LeBron And Kobe Probably Got A Lot More AllStar Votes Than They

On Thursday, the NBA announced the final results of fan balloting for the 2015 All-Star Game, to be held in New York City on Feb. 15. The fans’ votes determined which players — specifically, two guards and three frontcourt players — will start for each conference. (Reserve selections are made by the league’s head coaches and will be announced next Thursday.)Some of the results were beyond dispute. For instance, Golden State’s Stephen Curry led all NBA players with more than 1.5 million votes, an honor thoroughly befitting the current league leader in Real Plus-Minus (RPM). Others were less supportable; Kobe Bryant garnered more votes than all but three players despite sub-replacement level play this season, while Carmelo Anthony was elected an Eastern Conference starter despite his Knicks’ well-documented awfulness.The fans have a long history of casting votes for big names playing subpar ball, and it’s clear there’s not a perfect relationship between All-Star voting and actual on-court value. To see what kind of link exists between the two, I plotted vote totals against RPM wins above replacement (WAR) for the 50 players whose results were released Thursday. For a sense of how many WAR are generally needed to earn a given number of votes, I also ran a local regression between the two numbers.The relationship between voting and WAR isn’t particularly strong, especially for players with fewer than 5 WAR. Once a player is beyond that territory, it appears he can at least begin to grab voters’ attention with better play. But for players below that threshold, performance can be lost in a sea of other confounding factors.Bearing in mind that rather large caveat, the most underrated player in the sample was the Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard; his 7.4 WAR appears to deserve nearly 800,000 votes, but he amassed less than half that. Similarly, Paul Millsap of the Atlanta Hawks was picked on only about 122,000 ballots, despite a WAR total that would seemingly justify over four times as many votes.At the other end of the spectrum, Bryant certainly looks overvalued — his 1.15 million votes were about four times what would be expected from his WAR total. But the player with the biggest disparity between actual and predicted voting this season is Kobe’s old rival LeBron James. James’s 5.5 WAR seems to correlate with about 412,000 votes — roughly the same as what the Chicago Bulls’ Jimmy Butler compiled (and deserved) in the balloting — but James’s actual total of 1.47 million beat that prediction by more than a million votes.Here’s each player’s vote total compared to what would be expected based on WAR: read more

The Cubs Beat The FrontRunning Indians At Their Own Game

During their 5-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians in Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday, the Chicago Cubs did something no team has consistently been able to do this postseason: get ahead of the Indians and stay there.Cleveland was 8-1 in the postseason heading into Wednesday’s game, so you wouldn’t expect them to have spent much time trailing. But they were notable front-runners even by the standards of a team with such a great record. Before Game 2 of the World Series, the Indians and their opponents had completed 81 innings during this postseason. Of those 81, Cleveland led through 57 of them — 70 percent — and was either leading or tied through 73, a staggering 90 percent rate of success (or at least, nonfailure) in the scoreboard battle. In games they won, they trailed in just one inning.1Seven of the eight innings they trailed came in one game — Game 4 of the ALCS against the Toronto Blue Jays.Going back to the advent of the wild card in 1995, both of those figures were the highest any team had ever carried through Game 1 of the World Series, and it wasn’t especially close. Even the 1998 Yankees — who won 114 regular-season games and then turned the playoffs into their own personal victory lap — only led or were tied through 85 percent of their innings through Game 1 of the World Series. And the oft-forgotten 2005 White Sox, who basically perfected this formula, checked in at 83 percent. These Indians have been the most front-running team in modern postseason history. 92007Red Sox10160212059.480.2 72012Orioles6118321129.582.0 102014Giants10952352247.779.8 62014Royals8940331644.982.0 YEARTEAMTOTALLEDTIEDTRAILEDLEDLED OR TIED 81995Braves8535341641.281.2 42007Rockies7445161360.882.4 32005White Sox8153141465.482.7 Top front-running playoff teams through World Series Game 1 21998Yankees9361181465.684.9 12016Indians815716870.4%90.1% Includes all postseason games since 1995, when the wild card was introduced, but excludes teams who only played in the wild card gameSources: Baseball-Reference.com, Retrosheet NUMBER OF INNINGS% OF INNINGS 52015Mets9557211760.082.1 The key to front-running is a versatile, opportunistic offense (check), good starting pitching (check) and — most importantly — a lights-out bullpen (um, check). Cleveland is custom-built for winning that way, and they’ve shown just how effective it can be in the small-sample gantlet of the playoffs. You can bet other teams will think about how to copy that style going into next season and beyond.But on Wednesday night, the Cubs beat the Indians at their own game. It was Chicago who struck first, claiming a 1-0 lead within the game’s first 15 pitches; it was Chicago who nickeled and dimed an extra run in the third and tacked on insurance in the fifth; and it was Chicago who kept their lead secure with dominant pitching, including six strikeouts from Mike Montgomery and Aroldis Chapman in three and one-third relief innings. Against the Cubs in Game 2, the Indians trailed in more innings (nine) than they had in the entire playoffs combined heading into the game. It was a win right out of Cleveland’s playbook.As the series shifts to Chicago on Friday, it should be interesting to see how Cleveland responds. Aside from overcoming a brief 1-0 deficit in the first inning of Game 1 of the ALDS, we haven’t really seen the Indians mount any comebacks this postseason. Of course, the Cubs hadn’t been an especially strong front-running club themselves before Game 2 — until Wednesday, they’d led through less than half of their postseason innings — instead showcasing a variety of other ways to win. But given Chicago’s great starting rotation and the apparently rust-proof hitting of Kyle Schwarber, Cleveland might need to prove they can win from behind, too. read more

Walls that gave up Nazi secrets to be preserved in new museum

first_imgSeveral of the rooms at Trent Park where the German prisoners socialised – and the walls through which their conversations were recorded – will now be restored and preserved for posterity.Ms Lederer, whose grandfather – a Czech refugee – was one of the intelligence officers tasked with gathering information from the German Prisoners of War, said:“It will now be museum instead of all being luxury flats, which is a huge triumph and of interest for the future. Younger people aren’t always necessarily interested, but they will find it if its there.”Microphones hidden in the walls, furniture and even pot plants at Trent Park, near Cockfosters, north London, allowed military intelligence to gather invaluable information from the Germans who – unaware they were being spied on – spoke freely among themselves. Helen Lederer, whose grandfather served with British intelligence at Trent House, in north London At Trent Park it really was the case that, in the words of the World War Two propaganda slogan, the walls had ears.It was through those walls that as part of an ingenious undercover operation British intelligence eavesdropped on the 59 high ranking German officers being held prisoner there.More than 70 years on the English country house where such valuable information was extracted was destined to be turned into luxury flats – its intriguing history lost forever.But it can now be revealed that developers have agreed to set aside part of the extensive building for conversion into a museum, following a campaign by local residents and historians, including the comic and writer Helen Lederer. Helen Lederer, whose grandfather served with British intelligence at Trent House, in north LondonCredit:Andrew Crowley Some of the German officers held at Trent Park during WWIIcenter_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Such was the value of the overheard conversations that it allowed British intelligence to discover the existence of Hitler’s secret weapon programme at Peenemunde, in the Baltic, and subsequently inflict heavy damage on the plant during a bombing raid in August 1943.The officer’s loose talk also gave up information which was used by the allies to defend the Atlantic convoys against U-Boat attacks.“It was sort of James Bond, but it saved lives,” said Miss Lederer. “My grandfather spoke fluent German. He met and assessed the Nazi officers at Trent Park and was able in his work with the secret listeners to prevent loss of life during the war. He’d be assessing their psychology and getting as much information as possible.“My grandmother would see him off in the mornings and nobody knew until a few years ago. It was absolutely wonderful to discover my grandfather did do something.”According to historian Helen Fry, who wrote The M Room about the Trent Park eavesdropping operation, the German officers also boasted about the war crimes they had committed, unaware their conversations were being recorded.“They became completely unguarded,” she said.Following the defeat of Nazi Germany Trent Park is understood to have been used as part of the West’s Cold War intelligence operations against the Soviet Union, though much of the detail about this period remains classified.The building later became part of Middlesex University, until its sale to Berkeley Homes last year.Ms Fry told Radio 4’s Today programme: “There’s a lot of history about the place that we’re still not allowed to share. It’s something that could be explored when more of the Cold War stuff is released.” Some of the German officers held at Trent Park during WWIICredit:Bundesarchiv last_img read more

Naomie Harris picks up an OBE and reveals theres a very good

first_imgActress Naomie Harris is made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II James Bond star Naomie Harris has said there is “a very good chance” Daniel Craig will return as 007. Harris, who played Moneypenny in 2012’s Skyfall and 2015’s Spectre, was speaking after she was appointed an OBE by the Queen at Buckingham Palace on Thursday.   Harris received her honour for services to drama Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The actress met the Queen at Buckingham Palace on Thursday Actress Naomie HarrisCredit:Getty Harris said she thought fans would be “very disappointed” if Craig did not return to the role, adding: “I think the fact that the last two Bonds –  Spectre and Skyfall – have been the highest-grossing Bond movies of all  time shows that people love him as Bond, and they desperately want him to  return.  Earlier this week – the week Craig became the second-longest serving 007 –  James Norton and Michael Fassbender were said to be the frontrunners to  become the next Bond. According to bookmakers Coral, betting surged on the likes of Norton and  Fassbender taking over from Craig in the next film – but Harris is not convinced, telling the Press Association: “I don’t think that’s true. I  really don’t think that they’ve moved on from Daniel.  “And I don’t think Daniel is immune to that as well, I think he’s very aware of that, so I think that adds an extra level of pressure. But he has to ultimately do what feels right to him. “But I know that we, as a cast, collectively want him back. I know that Barbara and Michael – our producers – desperately want him back, so I think  the only person that needs persuading is Daniel.”   Harris received her honour for services to dramaCredit:AFP/Getty Naomie Harris and Daniel Craig in SkyfallCredit:Francois Duhamel center_img Harris will attend the Oscars on Sunday  The Hollywood actress’s royal encounter comes just days before the Academy Awards, where she is up for an Oscar for her role as a drug addict in Moonlight. Harris, who is synonymous with the character of Moneypenny, has previously spoken of her desire to see Craig return as Bond following speculation he may leave the role – and now says that if she was a betting woman she would  put her money on him to return.  Naomie Harris and Daniel Craig in Skyfall The actress met the Queen at Buckingham Palace on ThursdayCredit:PA Shortly after the release of Spectre, Craig said he would rather “slash my  wrists” than appear in another film as the secret service agent.  But Harris said that comment was “just a joke” and that it can be difficult  to translate jokes in print. Harris has previously said she wants to continue appearing in Bond films  “for as long as they’ll have me”. In a week that will see her go from the Palace to Los Angeles for the  glittering Oscars ceremony on Sunday, Harris said: “I’m not going to forget  this week.” She is nominated in the supporting actress category for her role in Moonlight as Paula, the drug-addicted mother of a young black gay man  growing up in Miami. “I don’t think I have a chance of winning at all,” she said, adding that it  is “incredible” to be nominated.  She said the experience of collecting her award from the Queen was  “lovely”, and said the monarch asked her what she was working on at the  moment.  Harris was wearing a dress by Mary Katrantzou and teamed it with a clutch by Bottega Veneta.  Harris will attend the Oscars on Sunday  Actress Naomie Harris is made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth IICredit:PA Actress Naomie Harris “I think there’s a very good chance that Daniel will come back. I think  it’s way too early to be thinking about other people at this stage.” The 40-year-old star, who received her OBE for services to drama, added:  “If I was going to bet, that’s the way I would bet.” last_img read more

Womens champion vs sexist dinosaur BBC tees up campaigner Eilidh Barbour as

first_imgIn 2015, the BBC was forced to apologise for a comment Alliss made during The Open. Zach Johnson was lining up a putt, and when the camera alighted on Johnson’s wife, Kim Barclay, Allis said: “She’s probably thinking, ‘If this goes in I get a new kitchen.’”Viewers complained in their droves on social media, branding him a sexist. One wrote: “Who said the dinosaurs died out millions of years ago?”Barbour joins a team that includes Alliss, Ken Brown and Andrew Cotter. She will make her debut at the PGA Championship in May.She has covered golf for BBC Radio 5 Live and is familiar to sports fans as a reporter on Football Focus, Final Score, the Euro 2016 tournament and FA Cup games. She also fronts the BBC’s coverage of women’s football and women’s rugby. She is passing the baton to Barbour, 34, a fellow Scot with whom she has a special link. Aged 14, Barbour wrote to Irvine and asked how she could get into sports broadcasting.“I remember watching Grandstand when it was massive and it must have been one of the first times Hazel Irvine ever presented it,” Barbour has recalled. “I suddenly thought, ‘Oh, girls can do that job.’”Hopefully, Alliss will agree. The veteran commentator caused outrage last year when he said the fight for women’s rights in golf had “buggered up the game for a lot of people”.He insisted that Muirfield, the Scottish club, was right to bar female members and described the controversy as “bull—”. “The clubhouse is full of bloody women. They love going there for nothing,” he said, adding that women should marry members instead of trying to become them. She is also a golfer. “I don’t like shopping and other stuff that my mum likes, so golf is our thing that we do together,” she has said.Welcoming her replacement, Irvine said: “I am delighted that a fellow Scot, Eilidh Barbour, will be given this chance. Eilidh wrote to me when she was a teenager asking for advice about how to get into broadcasting. Happily I wrote back.“We’ve worked together often since. She is a lovely, unaffected person and an extremely capable broadcasters. Over the last few weeks I have been working with her to help prepare Eilidh for her new role. I’m sure that she will enjoy it as much as I have.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Eilidh Barbour One is a “sexist dinosaur” who believes that the fight for gender equality in golf has “buggered up the game”.The other has fronted a campaign to get women into the sport and is a rising star at the BBC. How Peter Alliss and Eilidh Barbour will get on remains to be seen, but they are to be colleagues after Barbour was named as successor to Hazel Irvine as the face of the BBC’s golf coverage.Irvine is stepping down after 25 years as a golf presenter and eight years as the corporation’s lead anchor for the sport.This year’s Masters from Augusta will be her last golfing event, although she will remain as the face of snooker and continue to host major events such as the Olympics. She explained that she wanted “to re-align my on-air commitments around the changing needs of my family”.center_img Hazel Irvine Hazel Irvine is standing down as the face of the BBC’s golf coverage The clubhouse is full of bloody women. They love going there for nothingPeter Alliss on Muirfield Alliss asked: “What’s wrong with men-only areas? You have men’s lavatories and ladies’.” He has also referred to women’s equality campaigners as “bra-burning merchants”.last_img read more

Lecturers strike universities refusing to bow on pension reforms leaked letter reveals

first_imgOn Friday, university heads bowed to lecturers’ demands and agreed to meet on Tuesday for talks with University and Colleges Union (UCU), which represents academic and campus staff. But a leaked email, seen by The Telegraph, discloses that the vice-Chancellor membership body Universities UK (UUK) will not go back on plans to make controversial changes to the pension scheme.  Students face further disruption during the summer term, as a leaked letter reveals that university heads will refuse to alter their decision on pension reforms. Hours before… Lecturers are poised to escalate their protests in the coming months, threatening to wreak havoc on students who are due to sit their exams and finals.last_img