An Inconsistent Strike Zone Hurt Both Teams in Game 3

CHICAGO — The Cleveland Indians won a 1-0 nail-biter on Friday night in Game 3 of the World Series. Two number-three starters succeeded in shutting down two strong offenses, allowing the game to come down to the final at-bat. But while the relievers were overpowering as usual, the most significant influence on this game wasn’t the wind, a single Indians hitter or managerial cleverness, but a seemingly inconsistent strike zone.Home plate umpire John Hirschbeck has a reputation for calling balls and strikes erratically, and that was on full display last night, creating shifting strike-zone boundaries that bedeviled both offenses.1A rough look at the strike zone plots for each team showed about 10 calls helping the Cubs, and seven helping the Indians. Data from PitchF/X needed for a quantitative comparison was not available at time of publication. For the Indians, Josh Tomlin turned in an unexpectedly solid line, allowing only two hits. At times, Tomlin was burned by bad calls, leading, for example, to a fourth-inning walk by Kris Bryant. But when the strike zone is called inconsistently, hitters tend to strike out more often and make weaker contact. That’s because pitchers can choose to target inconsistently called areas of the zone when it benefits them, while hitters can only decide whether to swing or not at what’s offered. When they’re uncertain, batters often opt to swing at pitches outside the zone, resulting in glancing contact and easy outs.Chicago Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks, who usually gets favorable strike calls due to his impeccable command, struggled mightily in allowing six hits and two walks in only 4.2 innings. The shifting zone did aid him in racking up six strikeouts, above what you’d expect based on his regular-season stats.Even as the inconsistent strike zone helped the pitchers, neither was overpowering. And with bullpens fresh after the day off, both starters were pulled before the 6th inning with the score 0-0, an event that has never happened before in MLB postseason history. That handed the game to the relievers, including an early appearance from Andrew Miller. They were as commanding as expected, except for one lapse by the Cubs’ Carl Edwards Jr., who allowed Coco Crisp to single in the lone run of the night.The Cubs came close to evening the score in the bottom of the ninth. With two runners in scoring position and two outs, Chicago dynamo Javy Báez was up to bat against Cleveland closer Cody Allen. He struck out whiffing to end the threat, leaving the Indians up 2-1 in the Series.The outlook for the Cubs is worrisome going forward: Their series win probability by Elo is down to only 37 percent.2For reference, that’s the same probability Elo gave the Indians before the World Series began. In his last start, Corey Kluber looked invincible, and the Cubs will have to face him in Games 4 and 7 of this Series (if it goes that far). That means they will need to pull off at least one upset against the 2014 AL Cy Young winner to clinch the series. While such a feat appears difficult, the Cubs managed an even more surprising performance against Clayton Kershaw in the NLCS, so it’s certainly possible. Nobody said ending a 108-year title drought would be easy.CORRECTION (Oct. 29, 12:05 p.m.): An earlier version of this article incorrectly described Corey Kluber. He was the 2014 AL Cy Young winner; he is not the reigning winner. read more

How TEN Drove Revenue and Cut Costs By Overhauling Sales Ad Ops

first_imgIt was 2014, and TEN: The Enthusiast Network was at a turning point. The media business had changed dramatically, and digital advertising was becoming more time-consuming and labor intensive, and also a more important revenue source. The company found itself bogged down by inefficient processes in both its print and digital workflows. What’s more, Atwood says, by implementing credit card processing in Élan, TEN was able to run credit and post payments, simultaneously eliminating the need to manually post payments, reducing both errors and staff. Reconciliation with DFP, third-party reporting, and insertion orders was difficult. All in all, Atwood says, the MSGL Élan Web upgrade has moved TEN from a cobbled-together, inefficient workflow to a streamlined, automated, efficient set of processes that both reduces costs and increases revenue. It created one source of entry for all orders, beginning in the Élan CRM through porting to DFP and billing in the Elan digital module. Accounting systems relied on manual deferrals. Inefficient workflow required heavy staffing, and ad ops staff had to enter orders that had already been entered elsewhere. The company’s digital workflow was similarly challenged: Even systems for events and other media fell short of what TEN needed: As a result of the adoption of Élan Web, TEN experienced a whole slew of benefits, including: Digital orders were manually booked in DFP (DoubleClick for Publishers) with no visibility in internal systems until billing. After months of evaluation, establishing both priorities and key performance indicators, TEN decided to move to an integrated workflow using MSGL’s Élan Web software — including specific modules for CRM and commissions, print and digital, credit control, credit-card processing, and reporting. The workflow would help TEN reduce costs, enable reporting across all media, decrease errors and increase efficiency. Élan Web also tracks and posts deferred revenue eliminating manual journal entries. This reduced billing time for digital by four weeks. There was inadequate reporting across sales efforts, including pipeline, bookings, and billings. It increased accuracy in reporting commissionable revenue by using Élan reports based on billing and revenue recognition. Sales reps are now able to easily monitor what they are being paid in a given month. So TEN, in conjunction with Media Services Group (MSGL), began to plot a fresh start. The company had been using MSGL for years for various elements of its workflow, but now it needed something covering all of its workflows in a unified manner, across all corners of the company. The company was able to combine print, digital, and events on one invoice and create customized billing schedules. “We’ve been using MSGL for 20 years,” Atwood continues. “We upgraded to their new web version. What we wanted from MSGL was the ability to upload an order from a spreadsheet. We were getting spreadsheets from our clients. We asked MSGL for the ability to do that. Prior to Élan Web, we were manually trying to do our billing and pipeline reporting. This upgrade has been beneficial. The less pipes of data you’re using, the better, when it’s all coming from one system.” “Now, three years in, we are very happy with the software,” Atwood adds. Specifically, she says, the company, whose brands include Motor Trend, Hot Rod, Transworld Skateboarding and nearly 60 others, had a number of challenges the print side: It allowed the ability to tag orders for capping and third/fourth-party monitoring.  There was similar lack of reporting for pipeline, bookings and billings, as with digital advertising. Clearly, across the company, TEN’s processes needed to be fixed. And just as clearly, the technology infrastructure was woefully out of date. It allowed increased automation in reconciliation of orders with outside insertion orders to optimize and actualize digital campaigns. There were issues with delayed billing — all digital orders were entered by billing after month’s end, taking up to 90 hours, with further delays of three-to-four weeks when the finance department reconciled data. The company was using a paper and email workflow, with sales reps manually filling out insertion orders in Word and Excel and handing them off to ad ops to enter. Because of the duplication and manual entry process, errors were frequent in order entry, and data didn’t match throughout the process. Élan increased speed-to-book-and-serve orders in DFP by uploading large orders to Élan using Excel. Larger orders took 3-4 days to book in DFP versus mere hours in Élan. It increased the efficiency of the digital ad ops staff and timely delivery of campaigns. The ability to book late orders and go live quickly was enhanced. Here’s a look at the specific workflow modifications the TEN team took, thanks to the MSGL Élan Web upgrade: There was duplication, with sales reps entering orders separately in a CRM and into a Word or Excel doc. Élan Web enabled reporting at the advertiser and property level across all channels (print, digital, events and broadcast). And implementing MSGL’s Customer Portal will automate invoicing, thus eliminating paper invoices and tearsheets. URLs are embedded in the invoice to review tearsheets for print. For digital orders, sped-up cashflow by invoicing on time and accurately. The digital workflow lacked the tools to monitor creditworthiness. Events were billed in a miscellaneous module at month’s end, requiring manual entry by the billing team. It allowed TEN to decrease costs in the billing and ad operations departments.  All insertion orders are now sent from the system and signed and returned electronically, eliminating the need to email, fax or upload by salespeople. Manual insertion orders were eliminated. Using a simple entry in the CRM, sales reps are able to create pipeline reporting that doesn’t burden the reps with cumbersome order entry. “Our digital business has grown and our print has declined, and billing and tracking is extremely difficult,” says Pauline Atwood, senior director of accounts receivable and operations, noting that TEN — formerly known as Source Interlink Media and based in El Segundo, California — was formed from a combination of formerly independent companies with legacy workflow processes. “One of our big hurdles was going digital. We were entering orders after they had arrived. We had no visibility of what we were running. Our billing was taking weeks to enter. It was important for our cashflow to get our bills out and paid earlier.” “Customers can access the portal to see open and paid invoices, their aging and pay invoices via credit card or e-check,” Atwood says. “This workflow will also decrease costs. Customers can also buy remnant space or special deals posted on the portal.”  Élan Web eliminated multiple invoices for one contract and consolidated invoices, which were the cause of confusion, internally and externally. All order entry was moved upstream to the sales staff and support teams. For more about MSGL’s Élan software, click here.last_img read more

James Murphy On Advice From David Bowie Being Done With Producing

first_img Is James Murphy “Done” Producing For Good? james-murphy-advice-david-bowie-being-done-producing Facebook James Murphy On Advice From David Bowie, Being “Done” With Producing Twitter News Email The GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter, producer, and LCD Soundsystem bandleader hints he might be hanging up his production spurs in new interviewBrian HaackGRAMMYs Aug 31, 2017 – 5:00 pm James Murphy’s production and engineering portfolio is quietly impressive.Outside of his thrice GRAMMY-nominated work with his band LCD Soundsystem, for which he is the frontman and chief songwriter, Murphy has contributed tracks and helped produce full albums for many of the bigger names in the alternative, indie, and dance-pop scenes.When building his first studio, he sought advice from former boss and mentor Steve Albini. He worked on a track with the Gorillaz and André 3000 in 2012. In 2013 he produced a song with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, with whom he also shared a well-documented misspent youth in New York City around the turn of the millennium, for their fourth studio album Mosquito.He produced the lion’s share of songs on Arcade Fire’s Best Alternative Music Album GRAMMY-nominated Reflektor, and played drums on two songs from David Bowie’s Best Alternative Music Album and Best Engineered Album GRAMMY-winning Blackstar.During the Blackstar sessions, Murphy sat in a room with GRAMMY-winning producer Tony Visconti and GRAMMY-nominated bandleader Donny McCaslin and casually suggested Bowie should consider using a different chord progression on an undisclosed song from the album (advice which Bowie actually took when recording).Yet, in the face of his impressive catalogue, he told Guardian that the lessons he’s gained from reviving LCD Soundsystem after a 5-year hiatus have left him with the sense that he may forgo producing altogether.Murphy describes himself as a series of contradictions that amount to a controlling nature that’s at odds with a hypersensitivity to people’s feelings. He indicates that his short-lived presence at Bowie’s Blackstar sessions – where he’d been initially brought in as a potential co-producer with Visconti – became a moment where he recognized his nature might be incompatible with the requirements of a producer role. “I feel like I’d possibly been brought in to play some kind of Brian Eno role and that is so far from what I am,” he explains.  “I’m not being inflexible, I’m not being stubborn, it’s just not there. I can’t produce. I think I’m done producing. I can’t do it.”Longtime fans surely know that Murphy’s neuroses and idiosyncrasies tend to drive him to create his best work, so it’s certain that his assertion that he’s “done” producing must be taken with at least a medium-sized grain of salt.Interestingly enough, the specific advice he got from Bowie that prompted him to put his doubts aside and revive LCD Soundsystem is likely the biggest indication that Murphy’s production career is not yet over: “I was talking about getting the band back together. [Bowie] said, ‘Does it make you uncomfortable?’ I said ‘Yeah’, and he said, ‘Good – it should. You should be uncomfortable.'”Read More: Explore The Strokes’ First Years In New Rock BookRead morelast_img read more

NASA astronaut Anne McClain speaks out about allfemale spacewalk change

first_img 23 Photos Now playing: Watch this: Anne McClain during a spacewalk on the ISS on March 22. NASA Excitement turned to disappointment this week when NASA announced it had to shuffle astronaut assignments, scrubbing what would have been the first all-female spacewalk in history. The reason: There wouldn’t be enough medium-sized spacesuit torsos available in time for the Friday event.NASA astronaut Anne McClain, who just completed her first spacewalk at the International Space Station on March 22, spoke out in defense of the decision on Wednesday, saying it was based on her recommendation. “Leaders must make tough calls, and I am fortunate to work with a team who trusts my judgement. We must never accept a risk that can instead be mitigated,” McClain tweeted. “Safety of the crew and execution of the mission come first.” This decision was based on my recommendation. Leaders must make tough calls, and I am fortunate to work with a team who trusts my judgement. We must never accept a risk that can instead be mitigated. Safety of the crew and execution of the mission come first. https://t.co/VU9QNaHHlK— Anne McClain (@AstroAnnimal) March 27, 2019 NASA Space NASA’s wildest rides: Extreme vehicles for Earth and beyond SpaceX: Watch Crew Dragon capsule dock at ISS for the… Commentcenter_img Tags 1 NASA astronaut Christina Koch and McClain were originally slated to head out into the vacuum of space together to continue work on a project to upgrade the batteries for the station’s solar power system. Now Koch and NASA’s Nick Hague are set to share work duties outside the ISS on Friday.McClain made the call after her first spacewalk when she decided she would be more comfortable in a medium suit rather than a large. It takes time to properly prep a spacesuit and only one medium suit was ready to go, so Koch will wear it on Friday. A third spacewalk scheduled for April 8 is tentatively set for McClain and Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques. McClain had one more tweeted message for people who are bummed about the spacewalk adjustments: “Tune in — history is made every day up here!” 1:50 Sci-Tech Share your voicelast_img read more

Dengue cases fall slightly 3 more die

first_imgAn aedes mosquito. File PhotoThree more dengue patients died in Keraniganj of Dhaka, Faridpur and Shariatpur on Monday night and early Tuesday although there is a downtrend in fresh dengue cases across the country, reports UNB.At least 1,572 patients were hospitalised in 24 hours till 8am on Tuesday while 6,470 patients are currently undergoing treatment at different hospitals and clinics.Of the deceased, a rickshaw-puller identified as Shaheb Ali, 35, died in Faridpur district while a housewife, Fatema, 45 died at Mitford Hospital.In Faridpur, Shaheb Ali of Matikanda in Sadar upazila of Rajbari was admitted to Faridpur Medical College Hospital with fever on Monday, said Mahfuzur Rahman Bulu, an assistant director at the hospital.He died around 10:30pm.Seven people have so far died of dengue at the hospital, Bulu said.At least 70 people infected with dengue were admitted to the hospital in the last 24 hours, raising the number of dengue patients to 357.Fatema, hailing from Bandar upazila of Narayanganj, died at Mitford Hospital on Monday after being diagnosed with dengue.Some 105 new patients with dengue fever were admitted to the hospital in the last 24 hours as of Tuesday while 81 people got released from the hospital after taking dengue treatment.In Shariatpur, housewife Suraiya Begum, 35, wife of Kamal Dhali, died after being infected with dengue at her house in Damuda upazila, said former upazila health and family planning officer Syed Anowar Hossain.She was diagnosed with dengue on 16 Aug.Civil surgeon Khalilur Rahman said so far 326 dengue patients were identified. Currently, 56 patients were being treated at hospitals in the district.The number of dengue patients was 1,615 on Monday, 1,706 on Sunday, 1,460 on Saturday, and 1,719 on Friday, according to the Health Emergency Operation Centre and Control Room of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).Meanwhile, the number of new infections at district level also declined in the last 24 hours from Monday’s 858 to 822 on Tuesday.Currently, 3, 413 patients are hospitalised in the capital and 3,057 around the country.The government has so far confirmed the deaths of 40 people although unofficial estimates suggest the death toll is much higher.Since the beginning of this year, 56,369 patients infected with dengue were hospitalised.last_img read more