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Beside The Points For Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017

Things That Caught My Eye

Ohtani narrows it to seven

Japanese pitcher Shohei Ohtani has narrowed his search for a MLB team down to seven, with New York and Boston notably absent from the list. Right now Ohtani looks to be 20 percent higher than the league average in ERA and on-base-plus-slugging, which is nuts. Only a few dozen players each year beat the 20 percent above average benchmark in either stat, it’d be crazy to hit both. [FiveThirtyEight]

Russia’s banned

Russia was banned from competing in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in light of the complex doping regime the nation operated throughout the Sochi games. So far 11 medals have been stripped from Russians. But with the nation out of the 2018 games, it’s worth looking at which nations may stand to gain. Had Russia not competed in Sochi, and its 33 medals been reallocated, China would have left with five more, Norway four, Germany, Canada, France, Italy and the U.S. three. [FiveThirtyEight]

African players making gains in the NFL

Native-born and first-generation African players are all over the NFL, with 30 teams having at least one African on their roster. Cleveland has the league high, with B.J. Bello, David Njoku, Emmanuel Ogbah, Larry Ogunjobi, and Victor Salako. African players have been making steady gains in the NFL since Howard Simon Mwikuta played for the Cowboys in a 1970 preseason game, and players who have returned home to start development programs have accelerated that progress. [The Undefeated]

A Jonas testifies in soccer corruption trial

Kevin Jonas, one of the Jonas Brothers, testified in Brooklyn that yes, he had gone to a Paul McCartney concert in Buenos Aires in 2010. The circumstances surrounding the testimony have to do with the trial of Juan Angel Napout for money laundering, racketeering and wire fraud. Napout allegedly used his FIFA influence to score tickets to that concert. His lawyers refused to concede there even was a Paul McCartney concert, so prosecutors called on a celeb to solve the problem. Soccer is weird. [Vice Sports]

Try out our fun new interactive, Which World Cup Team Should You Root For?

LeBron remains the best

LeBron James remains as good as ever, notching career highs in true shooting percentage, three point percentage, assist percentage, block percentage, and the second highest free throw percentage of his career. While his defense is slightly off his peak performance, James hasn’t really missed much of a step. [FiveThirtyEight]

They did it!

The New York Giants are cleaning house, firing GM Jerry Reese and coach Ben McAdoo after a disastrous season. The team is in the capable hands of defensive coordinator, a man who is 10-38 as a head coach. [NorthJersey.com]

Make sure to try your hand at our fun NFL can you beat the FiveThirtyEight predictions? game!


Big Number

284 kg

Congratulations to Sarah Robles, who won the 2017 IWF World Weightlifting Championships, becoming the first U.S. woman to take gold since 1994. Robles lifted 126 kg in the snatch and 158 kg in the clean and jerk (three kilograms shy of the record) for a total of 284 kilograms. [Team USA]


Leaks from Slack:

emily :

 

emily :

!! that means the two biggest buildings at nike HQ will be named after Serena Williams and Mia Hamm. hell yeah !!

(also cause I guess the new big WHQ buildings are getting athlete names.. so the whole “She’s the only one!!!” isn’t exactly true)


Predictions




Oh, and don’t forget
Kasparov with the jokes

Walt Hickey is FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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