Sabermetrics Is Killing Bad Dugout Decisions

Not pitchout1.9879.527 The problem is that managers guess right relatively rarely. According to MLBAM’s, only 19 percent of pitchouts from 2011 to 2015 coincided with steal attempts. That means that for every pitchout that did so, more than four resulted in a ball while the runner stayed glued to the bag. About 36 percent of those pitches would have been balls anyway — the league-wide strike rate over that span was 64 percent — but that still means that pitchouts turned strikes into balls more often than they gave catchers a better chance of stopping a steal. And now that we know how much worse hitters perform after falling behind in the count, we also know that losing even a single strike comes at a significant cost.It’s likely that the decline in pitchouts is tied at least loosely to a corresponding decline in stolen-base attempts — which in turn is tied to a growing awareness of the cost of being caught stealing, another way in which managers have curbed their excesses. But even in a high-steal environment, a pitchout-heavy stratagem would be tough to justify. For the pitchout to make sense, managers would have to guess right almost 50 percent of the time, especially given that the tactic doesn’t act as a deterrent to future steals. And more and more managers are conceding that they can’t pull off the impossible.MLBAM’s records claim that the 2015 Boston Red Sox were the first team to play a full season without a single pitchout. Red Sox manager John Farrell disputed that stat, saying that the Sox threw three, according to the team’s internal numbers. But he acknowledged that Boston downplays the pitchout, although the coaching staff’s philosophy wasn’t dictated by a front-office study. “We try to put it in the hands of the pitcher and the catcher,” Farrell said. “So, varying our hold times, making sure that we school guys enough to have unloading times where they’re controlling the running game and minimizing that without artificially doing it through a pitchout.” In 2015, Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price and then-Seattle Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon pitched out 30 and 28 times, respectively, making them by far the most anachronistic skippers in their respective leagues.While the falling number of pitchouts might seem predictable in a low-steal era, other tactics have fallen out of favor in an environment where, at first glance, they’d seem positioned to thrive. Sac bunts and free passes have fallen despite a league-wide decrease in scoring — which tends to make sacrifices and intentional walks less costly — and pitchers’ deepening offensive ineptitude, which gives them greater incentive to bunt and makes the batters hitting ahead of them more likely to be IBB’d. PITCHPOP TIMETHROWING SPEEDCAUGHT STEALING PERCENTAGE Pitchout1.87s83.3mph52% The downward trend is attributable almost entirely to decisions made in the dugout. “During my career 100% of the pitchouts were called from the dugout,” former major league catcher John Baker, who retired last year, told me via email. “I called my own pickoffs, slide steps, holds and step offs, but I never once proactively called for a pitchout.”Baker backed up the conclusion of Baseball Prospectus writer Sam Miller, who showed in 2013 that pitchouts are probably counterproductive.“I NEVER liked pitchouts as a catcher,” Baker said. “We attempted to control the running game without wasting a pitch on a pitchout. Further, if the difference in time for the catcher’s release is negligible, what is the point of wasting a pitch?”When managers guess right with a pitchout, there is a tangible benefit. According to a combination of Statcast data from 2015 and play-by-play data from 2011-15 that was provided by MLB Advanced Media, pitchouts on attempted steals of second enable catchers to release the ball more quickly, put more power behind their throws and catch runners at a markedly higher rate than they do when they have to worry about receiving a regular pitch: How would a baseball fan from the 1980s, awoken from “Futurama”-style suspended animation, be able to tell that teams evaluate data differently in 2016 than they did 30 years earlier?Once our unfrozen fan figured out what a website is and how it works, the best tipoff might be the number of teams whose front-office pages include job titles like “quantitative analyst” or “decision scientist,” or the number of times per public statement that baseball executives say “process.” Maybe it would be on-base-percentage standout Shin-Soo Choo’s salary, which is tied for the sixth-highest among outfielders under contract for 2016 despite his pedestrian single-season highs of 22 homers, 22 steals and 90 RBIs. Or maybe the clincher would be the report that roughly 20 teams checked in with the Atlanta Braves about the asking price for starter Shelby Miller (including the Arizona Diamondbacks, who eventually landed him) despite Miller’s 6-17 win-loss record last season.In-game, the evolution would be obvious if you knew where to look, broadcast by tactical details like how few hitters shorten their swings to make contact or how willingly fielders play out of their typical positions. (There were seven infield shifts per game last season, up from less than one per game as recently as 2011.1According to totals tracked by Baseball Info Solutions.)But what’s missing from most games might be just as instructive as what’s become more common. Among the most conspicuous canary corpses lining the sabermetric coal mine are pitchouts, intentional walks and sacrifice bunts — three tactics in use since the 19th century that have seen their reputations suffer in the age of sabermetrics. None of them has gone extinct, but all are endangered, with each reaching its lowest recorded level last season.All three tactics force teams to accept something bad in order to increase their odds of getting something good. When managers decide to pitch out, they sacrifice the possibility of a strike for a better chance of nabbing a base stealer. When they signal for a sacrifice bunt, they give up an out to raise the probability of scoring a run on a single (or an additional sacrifice out). And when they order an intentional walk, they concede a baserunner to set up a matchup with a weaker batter who they believe is more likely to let them escape from the inning unscathed. In recent years, those costs and benefits have been better quantified, and research has suggested that the moves have long been abused.The pitchout’s decline2Based on 1988-98 Retrosheet.org data provided by Baseball Prospectus and 1999-2015 data provided by MLB Advanced Media. is the most precipitous: Run-expectancy tables based on records from hundreds of thousands of rallies and routine innings have revealed that in many cases, sacrifice bunts impair a team’s offensive outlook, while intentional walks improve an opponent’s. “I think that’s probably where some of the sabermetrician starts to come into play,” Farrell said.World Series-winning manager Ned Yost, whose old-school reputation has persisted despite his sabermetric bookshelf and extremely laissez-faire style, is at the forefront of the anti-IBB trend. The Kansas City Royals have ranked last in IBBs allowed for the past two seasons, thanks to Yost’s appreciation for the percentages. On the other side of the ball, “sac bunting is bad” had been a sabermetric maxim for decades before “Moneyball” made it mainstream. Even now, Oakland’s bunt total brings up the rear, but more clubs are keeping the A’s company.Neuropsychologically speaking, it’s easy to see why a manager would be tempted to try to prevent a steal, push across a run or bypass a scary batter. But baseball’s ever-tighter embrace of advanced stats is making managers smarter — more likely to take the long view and less likely to go by their gut.Thanks to Ezra Wise and Cory Schwartz of MLB Advanced Media, Rob McQuown of Baseball Prospectus, and Hans Van Slooten of Baseball-Reference.com for research assistance. read more

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Titans Lock Up Jason McCourty For 43 Million

The Tennessee Titans and cornerback Jason McCourty have agreed to a five-year, $43 million contract extension that will bound him to the team through the 2017 season, the Titans announced Thursday.McCourty, who was selected from Rutgers in the sixth round of the 2009 NFL Draft, enjoyed a breakout season last fall to establish himself as one of the NFL’s elite defensive backs. He started 15 games, intercepting two passes to match the team-best, deflecting a team-high 13 others and forcing one fumble. McCourty’s 107 total tackles ranked second on the squad.The new deal, which includes $20 million in guaranteed money and bonuses, culminates a summer’s worth of negotiations between the Titans and McCourty’s agent, Andy Simms.Simms had visited training camp earlier this month, but sounded doubtful as recently as earlier this week that a deal would get done anytime soon. All that changed on Thursday.The 6-foot, 188-pound McCourty is in the final year of a rookie contract that pays him $1.26 million annually, but Tennessee wasn’t about to risk letting him walk after losing Courtland Finnegan to free agency this past offseason.Finnegan wound up signing a five-year, $50 million deal with the St. Louis Rams after spending six seasons with Tennessee.McCourty played his college ball with his identical twin brother, Devin. The duo held down the Scarlet Knights’ two starting cornerback spots for two seasons. Devin McCourty, who redshirted his first season at Rutgers, was a first-round draft pick of the New England Patriots in 2010.With McCourty’s deal done, the Titans are expected to turn their attention towards working out a long-term deal for tight end Jared Cook, who is also scheduled to become a free agent at the season’s conclusion. Cook’s agent, Christina Phillips, has visited training camp this year, and discussions about a long-term contract for her client have already begun. read more

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The Cavs Have Played The Defense Of Their Lives So Far —

Through the first three games of the NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers have slowed down the Golden State Warriors’ offense to an extent that few teams have been capable of this year. The Warriors have been held to an offensive rating of 101.5 points per 100 possessions — a whopping 10.4 points below their regular-season average. And during Games 2 and 3 of the finals in particular, Golden State was limited to offensive ratings that both rank in the bottom 15 percent of its game-by-game output this season. Reigning MVP Stephen Curry has mostly been neutralized,1His personal offensive rating in the series is nearly 40 points below his season average. and aside from Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala, his teammates — so superior on paper before the series began — have struggled to pick up the slack.In short, it’s been a masterful defensive performance by Cleveland. Indeed, since 1985, only the 1998 Chicago Bulls in their matchup with the Utah Jazz have done a better job holding an opponent below offensive expectations2In this case, the efficiency we’d expect based on a team’s regular-season ratings and whether the games were played at home or on the road. through the opening three games of an NBA Finals. But how much of it can we expect to hold up as the series goes on?To answer that, I looked at every best-of-seven NBA playoff series from the past 30 years, tracking how much a team’s defense defied expectations through the first three games and how much of that carried over into the remainder of the series:Weighted by the leverage of each series, the answer is 23 percent. So if a team (like Cleveland against Golden State) suppresses its opponent’s offensive rating by 12.5 points relative to expectations3This is different from the 10.4 figure above because we’re accounting for home-court advantage in the formal calculation. during a series’s first three games, we’d expect it to reduce that opponent’s offensive rating by about 2.9 points over the rest of the series.Twenty-three percent doesn’t sound like a lot, and this may speak a bit to what seems like one of the central debates of these finals so far — how much of Golden State’s struggles can be attributed to Cleveland’s defensive skill versus merely a run of bad shooting luck by the Warriors. History tells us that a team’s defensive performance over expectations through the first three games of a series is more than three-quarters ephemeral.But 23 percent of 12.5 points is nothing to sneeze at. Suppressing the Warriors’ offense by 2.9 points per 100 possessions brings them much closer to the NBA pack at that end. And while the Warriors have also done well defensively against Cleveland in the finals,4The Cavs’ 101.2 offensive rating for the series is running 5.7 points below expectation, although some of that should be tempered by the absences of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. the overall effect of a 23 percent carry-over from Games 1-3 would reduce Golden State’s chances of winning the finals by about 8 percentage points.Given the current circumstances of the series (Cleveland leads 2-1, with the remaining home games split evenly if the series goes to seven), that adjustment could be the difference between being favored to win the NBA championship and not. While our power ratings suggest that the Irving-less Cavs have a mere 40 percent chance of winning from here out despite the 2-1 edge, an 8-point tweak to those odds would make the series a virtual coin flip. And, perhaps not coincidentally, that’s essentially how Vegas currently views the finals.CORRECTION (June 12, 10:06 a.m.): A previous version of this article misstated the team with the best defensive performance compared to expectations in the NBA Finals since 1985. It was the Chicago Bulls in 1998, not the Utah Jazz. read more

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How A Weekend Of Upsets Changed The College Football Playoff

MAKES PLAYOFFWINS NAT’L TITLE AuburnSEC<1-10<1-2 FloridaSEC<1—<1— USCPac-122+2<1— TEAMCONFERENCEPROBCHANGEPROBCHANGE TennesseeSEC<1—<1— Washington St.Pac-124—<1— Oklahoma St.Big 123—<1— WashingtonPac-1232-205-5 West VirginiaBig 126+2<1— ColoradoPac-1210+2<1— UtahPac-122+2<1— AlabamaSEC90%+438%+7 Western MichiganMAC<1—<1— We’d said Louisville needed help to squeeze back into the playoff picture, and this past weekend provided it. If the Cardinals win out (the biggest obstacle to which is Houston, on the road, this Thursday night), they’d be slightly better than 50-50 to make the CFP. And Michigan’s loss only ratchets up the pressure surrounding “The Game” against Ohio State on Nov. 26: Provided each team beats its next foe (both Michigan and Ohio State are very likely to beat Indiana and Michigan State, respectively), the winner of the two rivals’ annual clash will be practically guaranteed to make the CFP — while the loser’s chances will be slim at best.All of these shake-ups will lead to a few weeks of extra anxiety for the coaches involved. But from a fan’s perspective, they took a relatively tidy (read: potentially boring) playoff picture and made it far more chaotic, a good recipe for an exciting climax to the season.Check out our college football predictions. MichiganBig Ten36-2012-7 Penn StateBig Ten8+6<1— OklahomaBig 1215+72+2 Will your favorite team make the College Football Playoff? See all of our predictions for the 2016 season » 2016 College Football Playoff predictions update (Nov. 16) ClemsonACC70-914-3 Ohio StateBig Ten56+1817+7 LouisvilleACC40+129+3 NebraskaBig Ten<1—<1— The big beneficiaries of that were Ohio State, which tacked 18 percentage points onto its CFP probability, and Louisville, which picked up 12 points — as well as the Big Ten’s less-heralded contenders (Wisconsin and Penn State) and whoever wins the Big 12 (probably Oklahoma), who now has a Hail Mary’s chance to make the playoff. Changes in FiveThirtyEight’s CFP prediction model are since last week.Source: ESPN Stats & InfoRMATION GROUP After one of the wildest upset weekends in history — three of the AP poll’s top four teams all lost on Saturday — you knew the college football landscape was due for some bulldozing. That applied to both the College Football Playoff committee’s rankings, which landed Tuesday night, and FiveThirtyEight’s CFP prediction model, which uses those rankings to simulate the rest of the season and project who will be left standing when the committee makes its final decision. Each leaves us with a cloudier view of the playoff picture now than we had a week ago.On the committee side, Washington dropped out of the rankings’ all-important top four (the Huskies fell to No. 6 after falling to USC), Clemson slid from second to fourth after its loss to Pitt, and Ohio State vaulted from No. 5 to No. 2. At the same time, Michigan stayed at No. 3 despite losing to Iowa, and Alabama strengthened its grip on No. 1 — so three of the top four from last week’s rankings remained in those coveted positions. But now slots 2 through 6 in the rankings are all occupied by one-loss teams, with six more two-loss teams directly behind them. Aside from the Crimson Tide’s ongoing dominance, there’s not much to feel confident about going into the final few weeks of the regular season.That point is underscored by our CFP prediction model. Alabama remained relatively steady, and now has a 90 percent probability of making the playoff; at this point, the Tide would likely get in even if they lost a game (whether to Auburn in the season finale, or perhaps even the SEC championship). But the weekend also took identical 20-percentage-point tolls on Michigan and Washington’s CFP probabilities, and lopped 9 points off of Clemson’s as well. WisconsinBig Ten24+92+1 read more

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In need of wins Buckeyes welcome lastplace Northern Michigan to Columbus

In search of their first series sweep, the Ohio State men’s hockey team (2-5-1) returns to Columbus to compete in a two-game series against the Northern Michigan Wildcats (2-4-1) this weekend.Last season’s matchup between the two CCHA squads resulted in a split at Marquette, Mich. OSU lost the first contest, 3-1, but followed with a 2-0 victory in the following game.The Buckeyes finished their four-game road trip over the past two weekends with a 1-2-1 record. OSU split a series at Lake Superior State and was only able to muster a tie in their second contest versus Notre Dame after a first-game loss.At this point of their season last year, OSU had a similar record, at 3-4-1 in their first eight contests. After their slow start, OSU went on a run in which it posted a 14-2 record in its next 16 contests.The Buckeyes will look to duplicate last season’s winning streak of last season when they host the Wildcats on Friday and Saturday at the Schottenstein Center.Northern Michigan hasn’t won a contest in its past four games. The Bobcats are coming off of a series sweep by Miami and are looking to try to get back on track in Columbus.Going into this weekend’s series, the Buckeyes are fifth in the CCHA standings with a 1-2-1 record. The Bobcats are sitting at the bottom of the heap with a 0-2-0 conference record.The Bobcats’ 2008-2009 campaign ended with a 19-17-5 overall record and an 11-12-5 CCHA record. After shutting out the University of Michigan 2-0 in their first CCHA contest last season, Northern Michigan only posted one victory out of their next 15 contests. The lengthy losing streak prematurely doomed their 2008-2009 season.Northern Michigan has a roster that it filled with experienced veterans that host hosts six seniors.Some key returners this season are junior forwards Gregor Hanson and Mark Olver. Senior goaltender Brian Stewart will look to finish his collegiate hockey career on a strong note after posting a 2.32 average goals allowed per game last season.Olver is currently tied in the league for lead in conference points with four and is tied for a league-high with three goals. OSU’s sophomore forward Zac Dalpe joins Olver on the top of this list with four points of his own.The Buckeyes continued to use a different goalie in each contest in the series versus Notre Dame. Dustin Carlson started in game one and is still looking for his first victory from between the posts. Cal Heeter was able to hold the Fighting Irish to only two goals in the second game that ended in a tie.OSU will likely compete by using their two-headed goalie system in their next upcoming series.After the Northern Michigan series, OSU stays home to host Western Michigan next weekend. read more

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Mens basketball Kam Williams announces he will return to Ohio State

On May 1, Williams took to social media to deny a report from CBS Sports that said Williams had decided to pull his name out of the NBA draft. Williams declared for the draft in late April, but did not hire an agent, which allowed him to receive feedback from professional teams without sacrificing his eligibility. The deadline for Williams to withdraw from the draft and come back to school was 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.Williams’ decision to return to Columbus for his redshirt senior season provides a boost to coach Thad Matta’s Buckeyes. OSU lost redshirt junior forward Trevor Thompson to the NBA draft and senior forward Marc Loving to graduation. JaQuan Lyle also left the team for undisclosed reasons on April 11, a big loss for a program that has been struggling for the last two seasons.Williams – along with juniors C.J. Jackson and Joey Lane and incoming freshman Braxton Beverly – are the only guards on OSU’s roster.Last season, Williams played in all 32 games, averaging 9.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and one assist per contest.  OSU finished 17-15 and missed both the NCAA Tournament and the NIT. OSU redshirt junior guard Kam Williams (15) pushes past Navy senior forwar James Hemphill (32) during the Buckeyes season opener on Nov. 11. The Buckeyes won 78-68. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Former Photo EditorOhio State guard Kam Williams announced Wednesday he is returning to school for his fifth season, ending a weeks-long speculation over his future plans. In an Instagram post, Williams posted a photograph of him celebrating while fans are standing and cheering. Williams wrote, “Just as excited is those dudes.” read more

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Opinion Why Ohio State will win

Ohio State redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins throws a pass in the first quarter of the Buckeyes’ game against Michigan State. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorIn the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, the home of the Ohio State football team, there is always a timer ticking down. Through the Buckeyes’ 27-26 road win against Penn State and the 49-20 road loss to Purdue, the timer continued to tick down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until what they consider the biggest game of the year. The Ohio State players and coaches did not come to Ohio State to play Penn State. They did not come to Ohio State to play Michigan State or Purdue. They came for one game.“The Game,” which many consider the greatest rivalry in all of sports, has arrived: Ohio State vs. Michigan. But Ohio State is in a different spot than it usually is heading into the Saturday after Thanksgiving. After the Buckeyes’ 52-51 overtime win on the road against Maryland, Ohio State opened as 4-point underdogs to Michigan, the No. 4 team in the country and the Big Ten team in the driver’s seat for the College Football Playoff. This will be the first time the Buckeyes, under head coach Urban Meyer, will come into a game as an underdog since the 2014 National Championship against Oregon — a game Ohio State won handily 42-20. That’s a 51-game streak of being favored snapped. But, based on the history of the rivalry, especially during Meyer’s tenure, it’s been one-sided. Ohio State has not lost to Michigan since Meyer took over as head coach, winning by an average of 10.5 points. Since Jim Harbaugh took the Michigan head coaching job in 2015, the deficit in losses for the Wolverines has not been close other than a 3-point, double-overtime loss in 2016. But this game is different. Harbaugh leads a Michigan team with the No. 1 total defense in college football, with opponents averaging 234.8 yards per game and allowing 3.97 yards per play. In the passing game, the Wolverines have allowed the least amount of yards through the air, giving up 123.2 yards per game, 18.5 yards more than any other team in the country. However, Michigan has not faced a passing offense ranked nationally in the top 30. In the first game of the season, the Wolverines faced Notre Dame, who now has the No. 39 pass offense in the nation, and allowed 170 yards passing to senior quarterback Brandon Wimbush, giving up one touchdown and getting one interception. Ohio State has the No. 4 pass offense in the country. With redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins leading the way, the Buckeyes average 359.5 passing yards per game, throwing 37 touchdowns compared to seven interceptions. This is the matchup that will allow Ohio State to win this game: Haskins taking advantage of a top-ranked pass defense that really has not seen much trouble this season from a quarterback of his caliber. But this is only one matchup. The rest is what needs to have the Buckeyes worried. The Ohio State defense, which has allowed a combined 100 points and more than 1,000 yards to Maryland and Purdue combined, is facing a Michigan offense in which Harbaugh, after three seasons, found his quarterback. Harbaugh found the player he wants to lead Michigan to its first win against Ohio State since 2011: junior quarterback Shea Patterson.Patterson leads a Michigan offense that is the most efficient passing game Ohio State will face this season, No. 14 in the country. The former Ole Miss quarterback is completing a career-high 65.9 percent of pass attempts, throwing 18 touchdowns compared to four interceptions. If Ohio State wants to stop Patterson and the Michigan offense, including senior running back Karan Higdon, who is recording his first 1,000-yard campaign, the Buckeyes will have to rely on the only consistent aspect of the defense: the defensive line. Despite allowing 237.4 passing yards per game, the No. 77 Ohio State pass defense is holding opposing quarterbacks to a 52.8 percent completion rate against the unit, No. 2 in the Big Ten behind the Wolverines. Redshirt junior defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones and sophomore defensive end Chase Young will have to consistently be in the Michigan backfield, disrupting both Higdon and Patterson to find any success on Saturday. But the reality is, Patterson will get some passes off and test the Ohio State corners and safeties just like the teams before them, lobbing deep throws to sophomore wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones.  The big test for Ohio State will be whether Haskins, sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins and a room full of veteran receivers, including redshirt seniors Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin and Johnnie Dixon, can keep up with the Michigan offense even against the best defense in the country statistically. Meyer said Monday that talent differential has never been an aspect of this game in particular and that it’s always been close. This is the game Ohio State has prepared for all season. No matter where the Buckeyes are at, Meyer and company have found a way to win. Will it happen for the Buckeyes on Saturday? Yes, and there is a blueprint to do it. read more

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Daughter whose mother became first baby born on Loganair flight joins cabin

first_img“It’s probably linked to the unusual circumstances in which my mum was born but both of us share this interest.”My family is originally from Orkney, so it’s wonderful to be working for an airline which holds such established roots with the islands and I’m looking forward to working on some of the services operating to Kirkwall.” It’s not how I imagined I’d give birth to my third child and looking back on it, it seems a bit more dramatic than it actually wasFreida Devin Freida Devin with newly born Katy, now mum of Chloe Stott in 1973Credit:Collect/Loganair/PA A teenager whose mother was the first baby to be born on board a Loganair aircraft has become a member of the airline’s cabin crew.Chloe Stott, 18, is the daughter of Katy Stott, who was born 2,000 feet above Orkney on August 2, 1973.Her mother Freida Devin had boarded the air ambulance in Stronsay to travel to hospital in Kirkwall but baby Katy arrived only a few minutes into the eight-minute flight. Freida Devin with newly born Katy, now mum of Chloe Stott in 1973 The teenager whose mother was the first baby to be born on board a Loganair aircraft has become a member of the airline’s cabin crewCredit: Martin Shields/Loganair The teenager whose mother was the first baby to be born on board a Loganair aircraft has become a member of the airline's cabin crew She has just moved from Orkney to Aberdeen, where she will be based from for work.center_img As they could not fly back to Kirkwall immediately, he and the doctor – who has since died – accepted the offer of accommodation in two police cells for the night.Once Mrs Devin and her baby daughter had returned to the island in 1973, Loganair presented her and husband Charlie with an inscribed goblet for Katy to mark the occasion alongside a model Islander plane on a wooden plaque.Mrs Stott, 43, owes her name in part to the experience as she was christened Katy Ferguson Leynair Devin, adopting the doctor’s surname while inheriting “Ley” after Captain Bayley and “nair” from Loganair.Mrs Devin, who now lives in Elgin, Moray, said: “It’s not how I imagined I’d give birth to my third child and looking back on it, it seems a bit more dramatic than it actually was. “I knew I was in capable hands, with everyone doing their best to keep me comfortable for the duration of the flight. 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. “It was only afterwards that I found out Katy was the first baby to be born on an air ambulance, which is an interesting conversation starter.”It was also nice of the airline to offer us such thoughtful gifts and I’m still grateful to everyone who was there to assist me on that summer night, over 40 years ago.”In total, 22 babies were born aboard Loganair air ambulance services. Captain Bayley still remembers the night Katy was born en route to Kirkwall, with a nurse and doctor on board.He said: “You can imagine the noise and stress in the small Islander cabin leading up to this moment and the huge relief at the birth of a healthy baby.”We diverted to Aberdeen, which was especially opened for us, duly amended the flight plan to add another soul on board and we were greeted on arrival by police and ambulance.” Thick fog then prevented the Britten-Norman Islander aircraft from landing in Kirkwall and Captain Jamie Bayley had to divert to Aberdeen, about an hour and ten minutes away.Miss Stott and her mother both have a deep interest in aviation and the teenager has now fulfilled her ambition of becoming a cabin crew attendant, having completed a training course to join Loganair.She said: “I’ve wanted to be a cabin crew attendant for as long as I can remember.last_img read more

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Plastic waste already building up in UK following Chinas ban

first_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. China will accept virtually no more imported waste plasticCredit:Thomas Dooley/Moment Editorial Mr Ellin said many UK recycling businesses stopped shipping plastic to China in the autumn because of fears it might not arrive before the deadline.“We have relied on exporting plastic recycling to China for 20 years and now people do not know what is going to happen,” he told the Guardian.“A lot of (our members) are now sitting back and seeing what comes out of the woodwork, but people are very worried.”He warned that the ban could have severe consequences for council recycling in the UK in the short term.“If it no longer pays for our members to take this waste and sort it once it has been collected by councils then that might stop,” he added.“That might mean that councils no longer collect recycling in the same way. It could be chaos, it really could.”In 2016, China processed 7.3 million tons of plastic waste – half the world’s recycled plastics. UK recycling firms are now having to look to Malaysia and Vietnam for their exports.However, these are unlikely to have the capacity to make up for the lost Chinese market.Recoup, an organisation which recycles plastics, said the ban could lead to the stockpiling of plastic waste and a move towards incineration and landfill. China will accept virtually no more imported waste plasticcenter_img Britain ships around two thirds of its used plastics there for recycling – about 500,000 tons – each year.The ban, imposed as part of a drive towards self sufficiency and in order to prevent environmental contamination, means councils will have to send much of its waste for incineration or landfill unless an alternative market is found. China’s ban on importing millions of tonnes of plastic waste is already causing a build up of rubbish at recycling plants around the UK, experts have warned.The decision, which means that half a million tons of the toxic substance could be burned in Britain rather than exported is predicted to bring chaos for councils in the weeks ahead.Simon Ellin, chief executive of the UK Recycling Association, said his members had already seen lower grade plastics piling up and warned urgent action was needed.“You can already see the impact if you walk round some of our members’ yards,” he said.“Plastic is building up and if you were to go around those yards in a couple of months’ time the situation would be even worse.”The leaders of the UK’s recycling industry admitted that they have “no idea” how to cope as China’s policy came into force on January 1.last_img read more

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Poppi Worthingtons mother pleads for new case after grotesque police failings

first_imgThrough his lawyers, Mr Worthington had supported the second hearing, but when his moment in court came, he refused to answer 252 questions in case might incriminate him. Poppi’s mother said last night that she was “disappointed” that he refused to give “crucial evidence”. Show more Recording a narrative verdict with the case of death as asphyxia caused by “unsafe sleeping conditions”, Mr Roberts said that at some time after 2.30am, Poppi was taken from her cot into the double bed, where she was assaulted. He said the verdict of unlawful killing was not available to him, as he would need to be satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt that she had died as a result of murder or manslaughter, and he had concluded the abuse did not kill her. Poppi was failed by authorities almost from the moment police were informed of her death. Officers did not secure the scene and allowed vital evidence, including her nappy, to be thrown away. Poppi's father, Paul Worthington, Mr Woodcock said: “That little girl will probably never get justice because of grotesque failings into the police investigation into her death but we owe it to her to campaign for a public inquiry.”Because the CPS has already re-examined the case twice, Mr Woodcock said he had “little optimism” for criminal charges, but added: “If there are people who think there is a serious chance of being able to get a conviction on the evidence available, then no stone should be left unturned.”Yvette Cooper, Labour chairman of the home affairs select committee, said yesterday: “This is a deeply disturbing and distressing case. Poppi Worthington and her mother have been completely failed by the system. We need a full investigation into how this has gone so badly wrong.”The coroner, who had pointed out that Mr Worthington was the only person who knew what had happened in those final hours, said that his accounts  “do not stand up to scrutiny”.David Roberts heard evidence from more than 40 witnesses after he applied to the High Court to quash an original inquest, held in 2014, which lasted seven minutes and was shrouded in secrecy. Click here to read about an official report that found a total lack of “professional curiosity” by health workers regarding the troubled family background of Poppi Worthington meant vital questions which might have prevented her death were never asked. Paul Worthington, Poppi’s father, arriving for last year’s inquest in CumbriaCredit:Richard Rayner /NNP 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. Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Poppi Worthington's father, Paul Worthington, giving evidence at Kendal County Hall center_img Paul Worthington, who denies any wrongdoing, refused to answer any questions about his daughter Poppi’s final moments at an inquest into her deathCredit:Peter Byrne/PA John Woodcock, the Labour MP for Barrow-in-Furness, where Poppi was living at the time of her death, yesterday wrote to the Home Secretary calling for a public inquiry. Court artist sketch of Paul Worthington during the inquest at Kendal County Hall Credit:Elizabeth Cook /PA Mr Worthington has consistently denied any wrongdoing.A CPS spokesman said: “We are aware of today’s verdict. There are no plans to review our charging decisions in relation to this case, but we would of course consider any referral from the coroner.”Timeline: Toddler’s death that triggered long-running legal case Paul and Poppi Worthington Despite a pathologist raising concerns that she had been sexually assaulted, a criminal investigation was not opened for eight months, meaning that no witnesses were formally interviewed. Nazir Afzal, who decided not to charge Mr Worthington in 2015 as head of the CPS for the North West, said at the weekend that police failures prevented a trial.Poppi was buried after her body was released by the coroner in February 2013, despite the full inquest not having concluded, meaning her cause of death was never formally established.   The mother of Poppi Worthington last night pleaded with prosecutors to re-examine the death of her 13-month-old daughter after a coroner ruled that the girl was sexually assaulted by her father in her final hours.After a five-year fight for answers, the coroner ruled that Paul Worthington had assaulted her before she was found dead. It is the first time that the cause of Poppi’s death in December 2012 has been fully examined.The Crown Prosecution Service has refused to bring criminal charges because a series of police failings means there is a lack of evidence.After the verdict, Poppi’s mother, who cannot be named, said that the “past five years have been a complete nightmare” and she was “relieved that despite there being some gaps, she is now closer to the truth, even though that truth is devastating”.“Not knowing what happened to Poppi on that day, and knowing that there were evidence-gathering failures by the police in the very early stages of the investigation, has made things even worse,” her lawyer Fiona McGhie said.She added that this was the third time, including two fact-finding hearings by a judge, that a court had found that Poppi had been abused. “My client hopes that the CPS will take another look at this case,” Ms McGhie said.last_img read more

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