Mets’ deGrom gets Cy with record-low wins; Snell takes AL
By JAKE SEINER
AP Sports Writer
Thursday, November 15
NEW YORK (AP) — After a season marred by narrow defeats, Jacob deGrom became a runaway winner.
The New York Mets ace easily won the National League Cy Young Award on Wednesday night, a reward for a historically fruitless season in Flushing. The right-hander had just 10 victories, the fewest ever by a Cy Young-winning starter.
The AL prize also reflected a change in voters’ values, with Blake Snell of the Tampa Bay Rays narrowly beating out past winners Justin Verlander and Corey Kluber for his first Cy Young. Snell pitched just 180 2/3 innings, fewest ever by a Cy Young-winning starter. Over full seasons, Snell is the second starter to win the award with fewer than 200 innings after Clayton Kershaw logged 198 1/3 in 2014.
“I definitely think the game has changed in that aspect,” deGrom said.
“I feel like it’s just turning more into quality of work and what did you accomplish in those innings,” Snell said. “I think that’s just the way it’s going.”
DeGrom easily beat out Washington’s Max Scherzer, who was seeking a third straight Cy Young and fourth overall. DeGrom got 29 first-place votes and 207 points from members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Scherzer had the other first-place vote.
In his first season after chopping off his distinctive long hair, deGrom cut down hitters from start to finish despite little help from teammates. He had a 1.70 ERA, the lowest in the NL since Zack Greinke’s 1.66 mark in 2015. Yet the 30-year-old right-hander went 10-9, eclipsing the low bar among starters of 13 victories set by the Dodgers’ Fernando Valenzuela in 1981 and matched by Seattle’s Felix Hernandez in 2010.
DeGrom allowed three runs or fewer in 29 consecutive starts to close the season, breaking Leslie “King” Cole’s 108-year-old record of 26 such outings. Yet the Mets were 11-18 in those games and 14-18 overall with deGrom on the mound.
“My thought process was, ‘Hey, take the ball every fifth day and continue to try to put this team in position to win and control what you can control,’” deGrom said.
Hernandez’s Cy Young victory signaled a major shift from voters, who once prioritized pitcher wins. The push toward advanced analytics made deGrom’s candidacy possible, and by September there was little debate deGrom was worthy, even as the Mets regularly wasted his dominance.
“This was one of my goals,” deGrom said. “The team didn’t end up where we wanted to be this past season, but you kind of set personal goals, and I think being able to accomplish something that has been a dream of yours is just something special. To be a Cy Young Award winner, you’re in great company, and it truly is an honor.”
Perhaps no pitcher had ever been such a hard-luck loser. New York averaged 3.5 runs in games started by deGrom, second only to Cole Hamels for worst support in the majors among qualified pitchers. During one stretch late in the season, the Mets totaled 10 runs over seven of deGrom’s outings, and four of those were driven in by the pitcher himself.
DeGrom nearly produced more wins above replacement than actual wins — an unfortunate sabermetric feat that has only been accomplished once, when the Philadelphia Athletics’ Eddie Smith went 4-17 with 4.1 WAR in 1937. Baseball-Reference calculated deGrom for 9.6 WAR.
The 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, he became the seventh rookie winner voted a Cy Young, joining fellow Mets Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden. R.A. Dickey was the only other Met to win a Cy Young.
The Mets unveiled a deGrom bobblehead featuring the Cy Young Award shortly after deGrom was crowned. They will give away 25,000 prior to a home game April 7 against Scherzer’s Nationals.
Snell got 17 first-place votes and 169 points to 13 first-place votes and 154 points for Verlander. Kluber had 71 points, followed by Boston’s Chris Sale and Houston’s Gerrit Cole.
Snell had a 1.89 ERA, third best in the AL since the DH was introduced, trailing only Ron Guidry (1.74) in 1978 and Pedro Martinez (1.74) in 2000. The 25-year-old pitched had 33 1/3 fewer innings than Verlander, but his dominance was enough to sway the electorate.
The lefty nicknamed Snellzilla wreaked havoc against the AL’s top lineups. He was 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA in four starts against the World Series champion Red Sox, and 2-0 in two starts each against the Astros and Indians. The Yankees roughed Snell up twice, but he got threw five scoreless innings in a victory Aug. 16. That came during a late-season run of nine consecutive wins for Snell, including a victory against every team in the AL East. He also made five starts against former Cy Young winners and went 3-0 with an 0.59 ERA.
Snell was the first player 25-or-younger to win 21 games since Barry Zito in 2002. He was highly regarded as a minor leaguer for his electric arsenal, but subpar control led to struggles during his first two major league seasons. He was even demoted to Triple-A for a month in 2017.
It all came together this year. Snell was a stalwart for a most unusual pitching staff, taking the ball every fifth day while manager Kevin Cash successfully experimented with reliever “openers” to start games in between. Snell led the Rays with 31 starts, and no other traditional starter had more than 17. After longtime franchise ace Chris Archer was traded to the Pirates on July 31, Snell went 9-0 with a 1.17 ERA.
“I felt with the opener, I had a bigger role on the team,” Snell said.
Snell is the second Rays pitcher to win the award, following David Price in 2012.
Scherzer went 18-7 with a 2.53 ERA and led the majors with 220 2/3 innings and 300 strikeouts. He was attempting to become the first player since Randy Johnson to win three consecutive Cy Youngs. He got the first-place vote of John Maffei of the San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 seconds and 123 points. Aaron Nola of the Philadelphia Phillies was third with 86 points, followed by Colorado’s Kyle Freeland and Arizona’s Patrick Corbin.
Verlander led the AL with 290 strikeouts while going 16-9 with a 2.52 ERA for AL West champion Houston. This is his third second-place finish since winning the Cy Young and MVP in 2011 with Detroit.
Kluber was attempting to win his second straight Cy Young and third overall. He went 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA for AL Central champion Cleveland and led the AL with 215 innings.
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Indians trade INF Gonzalez to Pirates in 5-player swap
By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer
Wednesday, November 14
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Indians traded one of their extra pieces. They’re keeping their bigger ones — for now.
Cleveland began what could be a busy offseason on Wednesday by dealing versatile infielder Erik Gonzalez to the Pittsburgh Pirates as part of a five-player swap.
The AL Central champions sent the 27-year-old Gonzalez, who appeared in 81 games for the Indians last season, along with minor league right-handers Tahnaj Thomas and Dante Mendoza to the Pirates for outfielder Jordan Luplow and infielder Max Moroff.
Gonzalez batted .265 with one homer and 16 RBIs last season for Cleveland, which signed the Dominican native in 2009. And while he filled a valuable utility role, he was not going to crack the starting lineup behind All-Stars Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez.
“That was a tough thing for us,” Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said. “We’ve had multiple conversations with Erik about it. He’s done so many things to impact the organization in his time with us, from the time he signed. He’s played every position on the field I think other than catcher at one point or another. But, as our roster has taken shape over the course of the past few seasons, we have not had an opportunity for him to play regularly.
“So, we feel this will give Erik an opportunity to play more with Pittsburgh and continue his career and potentially blossom into the everyday player we think he can be.”
The negligible move gives the Indians needed depth in the outfield, and it could be the first of many deals this winter.
Cleveland has not dismissed speculation it may be willing to trade prominent players, including ace Corey Kluber and right-hander Carlos Carrasco. Antonetti said it’s difficult to measure whether the team has seen an increase in teams wanting to do business with the Indians.
“I think what I would reiterate is that I think the conversations have reaffirmed for us that we have a lot of players on our roster and throughout our organization that are of interest to other teams,” he said. “And I think what that allows us to do is have a lot of dialogue with other teams about potential opportunities for us to move forward as an organization and get better.”
The 25-year-old Luplow is one of those opportunities. Cleveland’s outfield was decimated by injuries last season, and the team is not expected to re-sign Michael Brantley as a free agent.
Luplow appeared in 64 games over the past two seasons with the Pirates, who named him their top minor league player in 2017.
“He’s capable of playing all three outfield spots,” Antonetti said. “He’s spent most of the time in left and right, but we also believe he has the ability to play center field. He complements our roster really well as a right-handed-hitting outfielder that we think is capable of helping us at the major league level.”
Moroff has split the last three seasons between Triple-A Indianapolis and Pittsburgh, appearing in 26 games for the Pirates in 2018.
Antonetti dealing young players — especially pitchers — like Thomas and Mendoza is difficult, but sometimes necessary.
“Two young pitchers out in Arizona that we like, that have some upside,” he said. “Obviously, they’re a little ways away from the major Leagues, being both 19 years old. So, guys that definitely have some potential to continue to grow and develop and develop into major league pitchers. But, for us to acquire Max and Jordan, we thought it was a worthwhile deal for us to make, because they’re two guys that can help our Major League team here in the near future.”
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Why are some Americans changing their names?
November 15, 2018
Associate Professor, Michigan State University
Kirsten Fermaglich does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Michigan State University provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.
In 2008, Newsweek published an article on then-presidential candidate Barack Obama titled “From Barry to Barack.”
The story explained how Obama’s Kenyan father, Barack Obama Sr., chose Barry as a nickname for himself in 1959 in order “to fit in.” But the younger Barack – who had been called Barry since he was a child – chose to revert to his given name, Barack, in 1980 as a college student coming to terms with his identity.
Newsweek’s story reflects a typical view of name changing: Immigrants in an earlier era changed their names to assimilate, while in our contemporary era of ethnic pride, immigrants and their children are more likely to retain or reclaim ethnic names.
However, my research on name changing suggests a more complicated narrative. For the past 10 years, I’ve studied thousands of name-changing petitions deposited at the New York City Civil Court from 1887 through today.
Those petitions suggest that name changing has changed significantly over time: While it was primarily Jews in the early to mid-20th century who altered their names to avoid discrimination, today it’s a more diverse group of people changing their names for a range of reasons, from qualifying for government benefits to keeping their families unified.
Jews hope to improve their job prospects
From the 1910s through the 1960s, the overwhelming majority of people petitioning to change their names weren’t immigrants seeking to have their names Americanized.
Instead, they were native-born American Jews who faced significant institutional discrimination.
In the 1910s and 1920s, many employers wouldn’t hire Jews, and universities began establishing quotas on Jewish applicants. One way to tell if someone was Jewish was his or her name, so it made sense that Jews would want to get rid of names that “sounded” Jewish.
As Dora Sarietzky, a stenographer and typist, explained in her 1937 petition:
“My name proved to be a great handicap in securing a position. … In order to facilitate securing work, I assumed the name Doris Watson.”
Since most petitioners were native-born Americans, this wasn’t about fitting in. It was a direct response to racism.
The changing face of name changing
While 80 percent of petitioners in 1946 sought to erase their ethnic names and replace them with more generic “American-sounding” ones, only 25 percent of petitioners in 2002 did the same. Meanwhile, few name changers in the past 50 years have actually made a decision like Barack Obama’s: Only about 5 percent of all name change petitions in 2002 sought a name more ethnically identifiable.
So why, in the 21st century, are people feeling compelled to change their names?
The demographics of name change petitioners today – and the reasons that they give – suggest a complicated story of race, class and culture.
Jewish names disappeared in the petitions over the last two decades of the 20th century. At the same time, the numbers of African-American, Asian and Latino petitioners rose dramatically after 2001.
On the one hand, this reflected the changing demographics of the city. But there was also a marked shift in the class of petitioners. While only 1 percent of petitioners in 1946 lived in a neighborhood with a median income below the poverty line, by 2012, 52 percent of petitioners lived in such a neighborhood.
Navigating the bureaucracy
These new petitioners aren’t seeking to improve their educational and job prospects in large numbers, like the Jews of the 1930s and 1940s.
Instead, today’s petitioners seem to be trying to match their names with those of other family members after a divorce, adoption or abandonment. Or they’re looking to fix bureaucratic errors in their records – the misspelled or mistaken names that were long ignored, but have increasingly become major problems in the 21st century.
In the wake of Sept. 11, the nation’s obsession with security translated to an increased anxiety surrounding identity documents. This anxiety seems to have particularly burdened the poor, who now need the names on their birth certificates to match drivers’ licenses and other documents in order to get jobs or government benefits.
Roughly 21 percent of petitioners in 2002 sought to correct errors on their vital documents, while in 1942, only about 4 percent of petitions had been submitted to change a mistake on an identification document.
“When I apply for Medicare premium payment program,” one petitioner explained in 2007, “they denied it because my name doesn’t match my social security card.”
Why change your name if it won’t help?
There’s also another key difference between today and the early 20th century: limited upward mobility.
Even though multiple studies have shown that people with African-American-sounding names are more likely to face job discrimination, poor African Americans in Brooklyn and the Bronx aren’t getting rid of their African-American-sounding names.
Perhaps this is because poor or working class people in 21st-century America have fewer possibilities for upward mobility than there were for Jews in the 1940s working as clerks, salesmen and secretaries.
So even if having an ethnic-sounding name might hinder middle-class African Americans’ ability to find a better job, there’s less of an incentive for poor people of color to change their names.
Racism against Arab-Americans
There is one striking exception, and it demonstrates the powerful role discrimination continues to play in American society.
After Sept. 11, there was a surge of petitions from people with Arabic-sounding names.
Their petitions were achingly similar to those of Jews in the 1940s, though many of these newer petitioners were more open about the hatred they faced:
“Prevailing attitudes and prejudices against persons of Arabic descent have been adversely affected as a direct result of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001,” one petitioner wrote. “Petitioner wishes to change his name to a less demonstratively Muslim/Arabic first name.”
By 2012, however, petitioners with Muslim or Arabic names had stopped changing their names in large numbers. That probably doesn’t have anything to do with a more tolerant society. Instead, in 2009, the New York City Police Department began conducting surveillance into New York’s Muslim and Arab communities using Civil Court name change petitions, sending the message that the act of changing your name might make you as much of a suspect as keeping it.
Although there has been substantial change in the name change petitions over the past 125 years, there’s one lasting lesson: Name changing is not a simple story. It hasn’t moved smoothly from an era in which immigrants simply wanted to fit in, to an era in which diversity is welcome.
Instead, name changing illustrates that racial hatred and suspicion have been a lasting presence in American history, and that intertwined definitions of race and class are hardening – and limiting – the opportunities of people of color.
November 15, 2018
Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy Receives $280,000 in Grants for Law Enforcement Training Courses
(LONDON, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced that his office’s Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy has received two grants totaling $280,000 to provide training for Ohio law enforcement officers on topics including identifying impaired drivers and investigating traffic collisions.
The grants were awarded by the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Ohio Traffic Safety Office, through funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, to support several courses offered at the Attorney General’s Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA).
“Ohio law enforcement officers play a critical role in keeping our roads safe, and our goal is to provide them with advanced training, knowledge, and skills they can use to help protect our communities,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “These grants will support courses that help officers identify impaired drivers, monitor vehicle speed, and prevent collisions, among other topics.”
An Impaired Driving Training Grant award totaling $200,000 will be used to reimburse the cost of tuition for Ohio law enforcement officers who attend the following OPOTA courses:
- Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE), which helps officers identify alcohol- and drug-impaired drivers.
- Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) Instructor, which certifies participants to instruct courses on field sobriety testing.
- A Traffic Safety Grant Program award totaling $80,000 will be used to reimburse the cost of tuition for Ohio law enforcement officers who attend the following OPOTA courses:
- Advanced Traffic Collision Investigation (Level II), which covers advanced techniques for investigating traffic collisions, including measuring, mapping, and analyzing vehicle behavior.
- RADAR and LiDAR Operator, which teaches participants to operate radar and lidar devices (which measure speed) and includes field exercises, mock trial preparation, and courtroom testimony practice.
- RADAR and LiDAR Instructor, which trains participants to provide instruction on the operation of radar and lidar devices and on trial preparation and giving courtroom testimony.
- Traffic Collision Investigation (Level I), which covers techniques for investigating traffic collisions, including preparing field sketches and applying mathematical formulas to determine vehicle speed.
- Vehicle Dynamics (Level III), which provides techniques and formulas for investigating traffic collisions, including instruction on vehicle systems, vehicle motion, hydroplaning, rollovers, and determining energy, speed, and velocity.
Law enforcement officers may register for these and other OPOTA courses on the Ohio Attorney General’s website. The Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy, which is part of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, provides instruction in a variety of subjects for the Ohio law enforcement community using the latest research and recommended professional practices.