Hitters swing at meaty fastballs, on average, far more frequently than at off-speed meatballs. That feels intuitive, since hitters look for fastballs over the middle, so speedy meatballs are already where hitters expect them to be. With the pitcher ahead, hitters swing at meaty fastballs 93 percent of the time, but at non-meaty fastballs 80 percent of the time. We don’t see these gaps with off-speed pitches. In every case, the rates are just about even, suggesting that breaking balls, on average, may be as deceptive when they’re meaty as when they’re not. Alternatively, batters might not be able to track off-speed pitches as well as they track fastballs.Swinging is one thing, but we mostly care about swing results. We can also look at whether hitters make contact with meatballs more often.When hitters are swinging at off-speed pitches, they’re doing better on the meatballs. In every case, fastballs are struck somewhere between 87 percent to 90 percent of the time. But with off-speed stuff, there are clear differences in the contact rates — the mistakes are getting hit. There’s a reason hanging breaking balls have a bad reputation.So we know that hitters like to swing at fast meatballs and make better contact on off-speed meatballs, but what really matters is which bad pitches are most exploited.It’s no surprise that meatballs are turned around with more success than other, higher-quality strikes. What’s interesting is the extent to which that’s true. The biggest difference is with off-speed pitches in even counts — meaty ones have yielded a slugging percentage 119 points higher than non-meaty ones. In those situations, hitters are neither sitting on a fastball nor looking to swing at anything close.That’s indicative of the main discovery: There’s a far bigger difference for off-speed pitches than for fastballs in every type of count. The average overall fastball gap is 48 slugging points, while the average overall off-speed gap is 104 points.Off-speed pitches lead to more home runs, too. Here’s a table showing home runs per swing attempt:Of course, my analysis isn’t perfect. Meatballs and non-meatballs could probably be separated with greater purity, given infinite hours of time, and a meatball to Giancarlo Stanton doesn’t work the same as a meatball to Ben Revere. Under few circumstances should a pitcher ever want to throw a pitch up in the zone and down the middle of the plate. But as the evidence shows, most meatballs still don’t get punished. Pitchers get away with the majority of their mistakes because hitting is incredibly difficult and the fate of a mistake depends in part on the context. The way pitches are woven together can make a pitch down the middle surprising and effective, even if it wasn’t actually supposed to go there.What a meatball really is presumably changes with every situation. Meaty pitches are hit out of the park more often than non-meaty pitches, and the biggest difference is, yet again, with off-speed pitches in even counts, where a meatball is almost twice as likely to be hit out of the park as a non-meatball. (Note that these home run numbers were included in my earlier slugging-point analysis.)But all types of meatballs hurt somehow. The off-speed ones aren’t swung at as often, but when hitters do make contact, they’re clobbering the ball. The fastball variety, meanwhile, do entice a hitter to take a swing, leading to a ball that’s more likely to find its way around the defense. And whether it’s a fastball or an off-speed pitch, meatballs are still the most homer-friendly pitch I’ve seen.The more I looked into the meatball, the more it confirmed my suspicion: no matter the particulars, it’s the bad pitch we assumed it was. It was the middle of April, and the score was tied between the Miami Marlins and Seattle Mariners. It was the bottom of the ninth, the bases were loaded, and nobody was out. Marlins masher Giancarlo Stanton was at the plate against Mariners reliever Yoervis Medina, and Medina was ahead one ball and two strikes, in position to put Stanton away and extend the inning. But then he made a terrible mistake with a breaking ball, and Stanton knows what to do to with mistakes.Your browser does not support iframes.That pitch, that was a meatball — a pitch so appetizing a hitter can’t help but think of devouring it whole. And big league batters can eat; they don’t leave many meatballs on the plate.There’s only a limited understanding of what a meatball is. One general definition: “an easy pitch to hit, thrown right down the middle of the plate.” Major League Baseball’s official lingo agrees. Brooks Baseball defines “grooved pitches” as pitches thrown in the middle-middle of the plate, regardless of movement or velocity.But there has been no available resource that shows what happens to meatballs when they’re served up. So I looked at 1.7 million pitches over about six and a half seasons since 2008, culled from PITCHf/x and Baseball Savant, and found that off-speed meatballs lead to the kind of slugs that make highlight reels, but fastballs get swung at and hit more often.Meatballs are subjective enough that there’s no way to separate them from non-meatballs with 100 percent accuracy. But to analyze them I had to at least approximate a definition, so that I could create two buckets: one presumably containing mostly meatballs, the other presumably containing mostly non-meatballs.I’m defining a meatball as a pitch over the middle of the plate, between the thigh and the belt, and one that doesn’t hang around the bottom of the strike zone (because pitchers often throw low on purpose). So my data set includes pitches over the middle third of the plate, in the upper two-thirds of the strike zone, meaning 22 percent of the strike zone is meatball territory. But not all pitches that land in that area are meatballs. I’ve excepted knuckleballs, whose movement is usually too erratic,1Admittedly, a flat, undancing knuckleball can be a meatball made out of filet mignon. and also fastballs over 95 mph, under the assumption that at high enough speeds, meatballs don’t really exist. If Aroldis Chapman lays a 100 mph pitch down the pipe, a hitter barely catches a whiff of meat before the ball’s in the catcher’s glove.This definition includes about a quarter of the homers hit so far this season. But homers aren’t the only reason meatballs are interesting: They’re a vehicle to find out more about a pitcher’s worst mistakes, and how different those mistakes are from his peak performance.Take the chart below, which shows whether batters are more enticed to swing when they see a meatball coming toward them, as we suspect they are. I’ve split up fastballs and off-speed2“Off-speed” refers to both traditional off-speed pitches (e.g. change-ups), and breaking balls (e.g. sliders). pitches to show how they’re thrown and treated differently. The data is also broken down by how the count looks from the pitcher’s perspective3I separated pitches by count-types because hitters vary their aggressiveness depending on the count.: “ahead” refers to pitcher-friendly counts4Those are: 0-1, 0-2, 1-2, 2-2.; “behind” classifies pitcher-unfriendly counts5Those are: 1-0, 2-0, 3-0, 3-1.; and “even” encompasses counts where neither hitter nor pitcher is in the power position.6Those are: 0-0, 1-1, 2-1, 3-2.
After playing the love game, tennis champion Serena Williams has decided to call dating quits.“I have given up on dating,” Williams told Celebuzz. ”It just hasn’t worked out well for me.”The 30 year-old superstar, who has dated rappers Common and Drake, has given up on dating due to her failed relationships in the past, according to Celebuzz. Williams claims that her past relationships have hurt her to the point where she doesn’t care to date anymore.“I’m a really emotional person. I give my all and everything. I do make mistakes—like every human does—but the last relationship just was too much of a heartbreak for me. I just can’t go through that anymore. It was hard,” Williams said.Williams told Celebuzz she is focusing her attention on playing tennis, not dating.“I just have to remove myself from that atmosphere for about the next decade or so,” Serena added. “I can’t get involved.”On Atlanta’s V-103 radio station, DJ Ryan Cameron read aloud a text he had received from Common in response to a text Cameron sent to him about whether he was responsible for breaking Serena’s heart.“‘It wasn’t me,’” Common wrote back, according to Cameron.Williams is set to compete in the London Olympics this summer. She told Celebuzz she hopes to reclaim her title as the No. 1 ranked female player.
Alex Rodriguez has started the process of fighting his 211-game suspension from baseball.The Major League Baseball Players Association formally appealed his suspension Wednesday, which will send the case to an independent arbitrator.A spokesman for the MLB union, Greg Bouris, confirmed the appeal and said the players’ association has no further comment.The New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he too doesn’t have much to say about the appeal either.“I don’t think any of us thought it was going to be any different,” Girardi said. “As far as having a reaction, it’s kind of what I expected. It’s part of the process that was negotiated between MLB and the players’ association, and you let it play out. I expect him to play a lot. We need him to help us.”On Monday, Rodriguez was suspended for 211 games, which could see him off the field through the 2014 season.The Yankees’ player was involved in an investigation into Biogenesis of America, a debunked Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs to several MLB players.Since the suspension, Rodriguez has played in two games for the New York Yankees. The appeal process allows him to play until the issue is resolved.
Slovakia593377 Switzerland67157 Olympic Athlete from Russia2,5651,955 Germany1,429527 TEAMGAMESPOINTS You probably know this by now, but when the puck drops next week in Gangneung, South Korea, there will be no current NHL players on the ice. And whether it’s the NHL’s fault for being overly cautious and stingy or the International Olympic Committee’s fault for being stubborn — to be sure, it’s a mix of both — the fact remains the same: Pyeongchang 2018 will be the first Winter Olympics since Lillehammer ’94 not to feature a men’s ice hockey tournament stocked with players from the world’s best hockey league.The dearth of North American household names in the men’s tournament has a lot of people wondering if the games will even be worth watching. Every game will be contested while Americans and Canadians are about to go to sleep, are already asleep or are just waking from sleep. North Americans have been forced to ask themselves some important questions, such as: Is it really worth sacrificing sleep to watch a bunch of players you’ve never heard of battle it out for gold? And who are these guys anyway?This decision by the NHL, of course, makes Olympic hockey closer to what it was for decades when the league didn’t release its professionals. In 1980 in Lake Placid, the U.S. rallied behind a bunch of largely anonymous kids from the ranks of college hockey, and it became the country’s greatest Olympic moment. So maybe this is a good thing?A closer look at the rosters in South Korea this month will put a damper on such optimism. Teams are not exclusively bringing a collection of their brightest youngsters from the amateur ranks. They’re bringing something else: players plucked from the NHL scrap heap.You might think that the exclusion of the NHL would bring the average age of Team USA down from previous years, but the 2018 roster is older on average than those from Sochi in 2014 and Vancouver in 2010 — 29.4 versus 27 and 26.6, respectively. In fact, this is the third-oldest Team USA roster in the past 38 years. Finland48452 United States3,0831,216 Total IN NHL No current NHLers, plenty of former NHLersOlympic rosters with the most NHL experience and points accumulated Norway14530 Sweden1,612370 South Korea272 Canada5,4442,140 Many of these players have passed their prime, like Team USA stalwart Brian Gionta, who has more than 1,000 career NHL games on his resume. Others are simply out of NHL work: James Wisniewski, who last played significant NHL minutes in 2014-15, was released by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2016 after failing to impress on a tryout contract. He’s playing abroad now — in the second tier of the German league.To be fair, much of the age disparity can be accounted for by the fact that those early rosters had to be comprised of amateurs, which largely meant college players.1The IOC changed the rule to allow professionals in 1988, although the NHL didn’t agree to stop its season and release players until 10 years later. And it’s not as though those kids were stiffs — the 1988 team alone boasted players like Brian Leetch, Chris Terreri, Kevin Stevens, Craig Janney, Tony Granato and Mike Richter. The 2018 team features some college players who have the potential to go on and have fruitful NHL careers — Harvard’s Ryan Donato, for example — but the majority of the roster is made up of guys who’ll never get another sniff (or never got a sniff at all).This trend is worldwide: Each team has at least one skater with NHL experience on its roster, and six teams (Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Russia, Sweden and the United States) can count at least 1,000 combined NHL games played in their ranks. In total, the tournament boasts a combined 17,419 NHL games played. Source: NBC Olympics, Hockey-Reference.com Czech Republic1,330649 Total17,4197,379 Slovenia364 Team Canada leads the way with 2,140 NHL points and 5,444 NHL games among their Olympians. Those numbers may seem impressive until you realize that the equivalent numbers from the Canadian team in Sochi — the one with Sidney Crosby and Co. — were 8,400 NHL points and 12,936 NHL games.2Through the 2013-14 season.The Olympic rosters are clearly lacking star power. The one exception is the roster for Team Russia — er, Team Olympic Athlete from Russia — which boasts two forwards who each played more than 800 NHL games and scored more than 800 career NHL points: Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk.Kovalchuk is a former Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner, and Datsyuk won three consecutive Frank J. Selke Trophies between 2008 and 2010 as the league’s best two-way forward. Each Russian has some very good hockey left in his legs. They’re also the reason the Russians are the odds on favorites to win the tournament.Team Russia is also bringing Kontinental Hockey League star Sergei Mozyakin along to South Korea. Aside from current NHL sniper Alexander Radulov, no other player has won the KHL scoring title in the past decade. The KHL isn’t exactly the NHL, but it’s not exactly a beer league either: It’s the world’s second best hockey league, and 91 of the tournament’s 300 players currently play there. Russia’s games alone should be reason enough to tune in next week.As for the rest? Among the non-KHL cadre, 203 players play across 17 professional leagues spread throughout North America, Europe and Asia; five play NCAA Division 1 hockey; and one — Gionta — is currently not playing any competitive hockey at all. Some teams rewarded players who choose to play their professional hockey on home soil: Every Russian player plays in the KHL, every South Korean player plays in Asia League Ice Hockey, and every Swiss player plays in the National League.3A lot of NHL superstars — including Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin and Joe Thornton, to name a few — skated in the National League during the lockout of 2012-13. They did so because it is a very good hockey league.But other teams seem to prefer a more well-rounded bunch: The U.S. roster features players from seven professional leagues and a handful of college studs.4And Gionta. And the Slovenian roster features players from 11 leagues across Europe — from the Alps Hockey League to the Czech Extraliga (they know how to score pretty in the Czech Extraliga) to all three divisions of professional German hockey.5This tournament may not feature the world’s top talent, but no one could argue it’s not well-traveled.The NHL’s absence dictates that this won’t be the deepest or most talented group of hockey men ever assembled at an Olympics, but those North Americans willing to stay up late or wake up early will get to see a lot of players they’d never otherwise get to see.
OSU sophomore forward Jae’Sean Tate (1) during a game against VMI on Dec. 5 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Lexus Robinson | Lantern PhotographerIt took more than two weeks, but on Saturday, the Ohio State men’s basketball team finally picked up its third win of the season by topping the Virginia Military Institute 82-69.After the sourness of a four-game losing skid, the taste of victory was sweet for the Buckeyes, but that doesn’t mean the attitude around the Schottenstein Center is changing anytime soon.“We haven’t deviated from one thing that we’ve been doing the last week and a half in terms of watching film, how we’re watching, how we’re practicing,” said coach Thad Matta.The persistence by Matta and his players to keep hitting the rock, hoping it will eventually crack, seemed to work against the Keydets because many things inhibiting OSU during its losing streak went by the wayside. For the first time all season, the Buckeyes had single-digit turnovers with just nine, and for the first time since the season-opening victory over Mount St. Mary’s, they shot more than 70 percent from the free-throw line (78.9). Those areas have been the targets of heavy attention for Matta, especially the turnovers. To work on making smarter decisions with the basketball during the games, the coach had instituted a little disciplinary incentive during practice after the early-season struggles. “If we turn the ball over, there’s discipline issues,” sophomore forward Jae’Sean Tate said. “It really keeps in the back of your head, like, ‘I don’t wanna turn this over or I might have to run sprints on the side.’” The fear of additional running appeared to translate into results on the court against VMI on Saturday, and Tate said the team has no intent on returning to its old, careless ways with the ball.As a result of the win, Tate said positive vibes have been more abundant, and players have exhibited signs that they’re “getting their confidence” back. But even so, he added that the win doesn’t satisfy them or cure any ailments. “At the end of the day, we still have a losing record,” Tate said. “That’s still in the back of our heads. We still got a lot of work to do and everybody knows that.” A peek at Air ForceLooking to erase the losing record that it has, OSU is set to welcome Air Force to Columbus for the first meeting on the hardwood between the teams. The Falcons fly into Ohio’s capital city with a three-game winning streak and 6-2 record overall. Matta said Air Force will be a good test for the Buckeyes because of the offense it runs. The Falcons operate a variation of the Princeton offense, the coach said, which involves lots of movement and screens to try to clear space for guys to operate. “They’ve got guys that can take it off the bounce, their post is very effective inside,” Matta said. “They can put 90 (points) on the board, as they’ve done this year.” Leading the solid Falcon offense is sophomore guard Trevor Lyons. The 6-foot-3 left-hander attacks the rim fearlessly, while also complementing his game with a decent outside stroke. Lyons averages 15.3 points per game, while bringing in 4.4 rebounds per contest and handing out 4.1 assists. The Virginia native, whose older brother is the fourth-leading scorer in Air Force history, doesn’t take a break on the defensive end either, as he averages 2.8 steals per game, which is in the top 20 in the country. Lyons isn’t the only positive part of the Air Force defense, as Matta complimented the unit as a whole. The coach said the Falcons often rotate the defensive scheme that they use, going from different zone coverages to man-to-man principles. This can cause problems for young teams like the Buckeyes, but Matta said so far this season, he’s liked what he has seen from his guys when facing similar defensive approaches, which they did on Saturday. “I think we’ve been pretty decent with it,” he said. “We were a little bit slow reacting at the beginning, but once we got the right guys in the right spots, we had the ball moving and were getting wide-open shots.” Grateful for Giddens Matta mentioned the effective post player for Air Force, who happens to be senior center Zach Moer. The 6-foot-11 Texan is a solid scorer down low with a soft touch. He puts up 10.4 points per game, while also shooting an impressive 84 percent from the free-throw line. Fortunately for OSU, it will have its best low-post defender back in the lineup to help counteract the offensive abilities of Moer. Freshman center Daniel Giddens missed the game against VMI with an illness, but Matta said he will be good to go Tuesday night. Giddens changes nearly every shot that comes his way, as the 6-foot-10 Oak Hill Academy product is sixth in the nation with 3.33 blocks per game. Having him down low to block shots is key to disrupting opposing offenses, Tate said. “(Giddens) knows how to time up those blocks incredibly,” he said. “It definitely puts a little pressure on the offense, them driving in there just knowing (Giddens is there).” Tate said it also helps wing defenders like himself to know that if an opponent is able to beat a Buckeye off the dribble, Giddens is there as a “safety net.” Against a team such as Air Force that likes to slash to the hole and has a post player like Moer, getting Giddens back comes at the right time for OSU. The Buckeyes and Falcons are set to tip off at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Schottenstein Center.
It was four years ago when Joe Moore, Andrew Magill and Doug Verhoff came to Ohio State to play soccer.Now, the three seniors will be playing their last regular-season home game on Saturday. “The time’s gone really fast. … It’s sad but at the same time it’s exciting,” Moore said. “We got a chance this weekend to do something special, to end our senior year on a special note.”“It seems like yesterday we were coming here for preseason not knowing what to expect,” Magill said.The three seniors have had ups and downs the last four years. They have been to the NCAA tournament the last two seasons, and they’re hoping to get there this season. They were also part of the team that went to the NCAA College Cup in 2007.All three seniors have enjoyed their time at OSU and feel like they’ve achieved many goals, both individually and as a team. They would like nothing more than to go out on senior day and get a win against rival Michigan. “Ohio State fans hate Michigan,” Moore said. “So when you get a chance to not only beat them, but beat them in one of the biggest games of your career, it makes it even more special.” Not only is this a rivalry game, it is also an important game for the Buckeyes attempt to win the Big Ten.If Penn State loses or ties Friday night, a Buckeye win Saturday will put them on top of the Big Ten.If they win the Big Ten they receive an automatic bid. The seniors will take the field for their last regular season game 6 p.m. Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.Moore expects the game to be more physical than usual, as both teams will be fired up and ready to go, especially since it is a rivalry game. “You’re going to see a lot of physical play, there going to be some hits and probably a few more yellow cards,” Moore said, “but all in all it will be a good game.For both teams, it’s the last regular season game of the year, and for OSU it’s a chance to send their seniors off with a win. “We’re going to miss all three of them,” coach John Bluem said. “They’ve been great players in our program.”
Vacate the games. Slash scholarships. Fire the coach. However the NCAA decides to punish the Ohio State football program can’t be worse than the damage that’s already been done. The program’s previously impeccable reputation is dead, or at best, is on life support. OSU hasn’t always been considered the best team in the country, but it was always considered clean and transparent. Sure, there were a few bumps in the road, such as Troy Smith taking money from a booster and Maurice Clarett’s litany of offenses — but the issues were always dealt with and appeared to be isolated incidents. The overall reputation of the program was upheld. Until recently, the lowest I ever saw OSU fans was walking out of the Horseshoe after the Buckeyes lost to USC in 2009. After losing back-to-back national championships and a series of big games, OSU and coach Jim Tressel had the reputation that they couldn’t win the big one. They beat up on the weaker Big Ten teams, but when put on a big stage with some real competition, they choked because they just weren’t good enough. Buckeye fans hated that reputation. It ate them up. The USC game in 2009 was a chance for redemption and the Bucks lost on an 86-yard touchdown drive led by a kid fresh out of high school. It broke hearts. Walking out of that stadium, I remember OSU fans yelling and groaning in utter despair. One image that’s burned into my memory is two middle-aged OSU fans with their faces completely covered in scarlet paint nose-to-nose, ready to fight. I thought that was rock bottom for OSU. It couldn’t get any worse than that. I was wrong. At least OSU still had dignity. At least it still ran a clean program. Or so we thought. The Buckeyes might have had the reputation that they couldn’t win the big game in 2009, but it was still better than having the reputation of cheaters. Winning a few prime-time games and consecutive BCS contests can eliminate the “can’t win the big game” stigma, but cheating is an entirely different issue. Not only are the fans left to wonder if what they’ve cheered so passionately during the past 10 years was real, but the program’s reputation has been tarnished. In college football, reputation matters. OSU has seen the benefit of a good reputation in the past. The Buckeyes have received BCS at-large bids over teams with similar résumés, and they often have gotten the edge in the polls over unproven teams with identical records. Other factors obviously are in play, but reputation is a factor. Now that OSU’s image is in the gutter, these benefits may start to disappear. OSU will truly have to earn everything. Nothing will be handed to the program. It seems inevitable that the NCAA’s punishments will have some effect on the program’s future, but the damaged reputation will have lingering effects long after the punishments expire. The cheating reputation is now a permanent facet of OSU football history, and that’s what hurts the most.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Junior running back Jordan Hall’s two touchdown receptions in Ohio State’s 26-23 overtime loss to Purdue on Saturday were his first two of the season. But it wasn’t supposed to be that way. During spring practice, Hall was being used as a primary target in the passing game, often lining up as a slot receiver or catching passes out of the backfield. Many thought Hall, who ESPN NFL analyst Jon Gruden called OSU’s best player during a spring visit with the team, would be used to help offset what the coaches considered a very young and inexperienced receiving core. Former OSU coach Jim Tressel said that it was known the team was thin at the wide receiver position before the start of spring practice. With injuries, suspensions and a freshman quarterback, OSU has produced only 117.1 yards passing per game, which is ranked 117th nationally out of the 120 FBS teams. Hall had just two receptions for 12 yards heading into Saturday’s game, and it appeared the OSU coaching staff had abandoned its original plan to incorporate him into the passing game. But Hall exploded for three receptions for 58 yards and two touchdowns Saturday against the Boilermakers and seemed an integral part in the OSU game plan. He totaled 150 all-purpose yards and provided a spark for the Buckeyes offense all day. Hall’s first touchdown catch came with 11:42 remaining in the second quarter when OSU trailed, 10-0. OSU hadn’t had much success moving the ball, but on a third-and-10, Hall caught freshman quarterback Braxton Miller’s pass, eluded two Purdue defenders and ran 38 yards into the end zone to put the Buckeyes on the board. It was OSU’s only score of the first half. His second touchdown catch came with just 55 seconds remaining in the game and tied the score at 20. Hall escaped out of the backfield, caught an unbalanced throw from Miller across the field, and fell into the end zone. “I was blocking the edge on the play and I told (Miller) if you scramble I was going to leak out,” Hall said. “He scrambled and I raised my hands and he threw it into that spot.” Redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Jack Mewhort said he wasn’t surprised Hall was able to make a play in a big moment. “I saw Jordan grab it,” Mewhort said. “The kid’s a playmaker. I ran over there and gave him a big hug. It was the best thing ever.” The excitement was short-lived. A blocked extra point kept the game tied and sent the contest into overtime, and a 1-yard touchdown run by Purdue senior quarterback Robert Marve ended the game and sent the Buckeyes home with a loss. Next on OSU’s schedule is Penn State. Kickoff is set for Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Ohio Stadium.
Sophomore guard Ameryst Alston (14) takes a shot during a game against Michigan State Jan. 26 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU lost, 82-68.Credit: Kaily Cunningham / Multimedia editorThe Ohio State women’s basketball team fell to No. 25 Iowa Thursday, 65-61, but that might not be the worst loss stemming from the game for the Buckeyes.With just under two minutes to play and her team trailing by four, OSU sophomore guard Ameryst Alston drove down the lane to the hoop. After missing a tough layup, Alston fell to floor in obvious pain as the Hawkeyes (22-7, 10-5) pushed the ball up the court.After a Hawkeye foul on the opposite end of the court, Alston remained on the floor seemingly motionless as a team trainer came to her aid. She was eventually helped up and seemed to be favoring her right shoulder as she left the court. She would not return for the remainder of the game.Alston, who came into Thursday’s game with back-to-back 30-point performances, finished with 18 points and five assists.Despite outshooting and outrebounding the Hawkeyes, OSU could not make enough plays down the stretch to pull out the victory.The Buckeyes came out hitting on all cylinders in the first half, shooting 51.9 percent from the field including hitting four 3-pointers, yet trailed 36-34 after 20 minutes.OSU built a seven-point lead with 12:05 remaining in the game when senior center Ashley Adams scored two of her 12 points on an easy layup and it seemed as though the Buckeyes were going to pull away.This was not the case however, as Iowa’s lone senior, guard Theairra Taylor scored a season-high 21 points on Senior Night to lead the Hawkeyes to their second win against the Buckeyes this season.A bright spot for the Buckeyes was that four players scored in double figures including sophomore guard Cait Craft, who scored seven of her 10 points in the second half. Craft also assisted in holding Iowa junior guard and Lieberman Award finalist Samantha Logic to just five points on 2-9 shooting.The Buckeyes are scheduled to face the Minnesota Golden Gophers (17-11, 6-8) in the regular season finale for both teams Sunday afternoon at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.
OSU then-sophomore offensive tackle Isaiah Prince (59) prepares to make a block during the Buckeyes game against Oklahoma Sept. 17 at Gaylord Family Memorial Stadium. The Buckeyes won 45-24. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Former Photo EditorIn just its second game, Ohio State is going to have its No. 2 ranking tested against another top-five team when it hosts the fifth-ranked Oklahoma Sooners at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The Lantern breaks down what you should expect on both sides of the football in that matchup.Ohio State offense vs. Oklahoma defenseOklahoma will come into this game returning several key contributors from last year’s defense. Defensive end D.J. Ward, linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, strong-side safety Steven Parker, free safety Will Johnson and cornerback Jordan Thomas all return.Though a bulk of Oklahoma’s defense is coming back, the group was not overly effective last season. The Sooners allowed 432 yards per game last season and surrendered 46 total touchdowns, two more than they scored. They also picked off only 14 passes and ranked 32nd in the country with 32 sacks last season.“They have a lot of guys returning. You know, I think that their defense has definitely improved just from last year, from when we played them,” H-back Parris Campbell said. “One thing we can’t do is base their performance of last year on this year. Because like I said, they’re going to come here with a chip on their shoulder and they’re definitely a much improved team.”Junior wide receiver Parris Campbell (21) stands on the field during the 2017 season opener vs Indiana. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorStill, the unit is young as a whole. The starting middle linebacker, strong-side linebacker and three of the team’s five listed cornerbacks — including one of the two starters — are all true sophomores or younger. The backup defensive tackle is a freshman.The key to Ohio State beating Oklahoma last season was running the football. If the trends for Ohio State’s offense and Oklahoma’s defense from last season continue, Ohio State is likely to see an advantage on the ground.The Sooners allowed the 55th-most rushing yards per game last season, surrendering an average of 162.6 yards on the ground. The offense they are facing was the 11th-most potent rushing attack last season as Ohio State averaged 250.9 rushing yards per game. And after Ohio State ran for 292 yards against Indiana in its season opener, the Buckeyes’ offense can again be expected to operate primarily through the ground game.Coach Urban Meyer said both redshirt sophomore running back Mike Weber and freshman J.K. Dobbins will play against the Sooners, but he did not reveal how exactly the pairing will be deployed.Ohio State defense vs. Oklahoma offenseJust as the Buckeyes returned their entire defensive line from a season ago and have a line that’s possibly the best in the nation, the Sooners return every starter from their offensive line last season, and could make their own legitimate claim for the best line in the nation.Every player on the line was named at least to the honorable mention All-Big 12 team a season ago, and all started at least 10 games at their respective positions. The leader of the unit is left tackle Orlando Brown, a redshirt junior who was named a second-team All-American, the 2016 Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year and a team captain.Brown will match up against an equally well-recognized defensive lineman in redshirt senior defensive end Tyquan Lewis, the reigning Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year. Lewis remembers the matchup from a season ago and knows the difficulties of trying to get past a player of Brown’s caliber.“Oh he’s 6-foot-8, like 360 [pounds] I think, so he’s pretty athletic. Long arms, of course that’s a challenge,” Lewis said. “But I say, the main thing is, his technique and taking advantage of small things that he does with his arm and his feet. Just watching everything on film, just preparing for it.”The offense did lose several weapons since last season, though. Wide receiver Dede Westbrook was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fourth round of the NFL draft, while both of Oklahoma’s starting running backs — Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine — also left a year early to go to the draft.However, the offense will return one potent offensive weapon in junior tight end Mark Andrews, who finished the season-opener against UTEP with 134 receiving yards on seven catches, including a touchdown.Defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said the talent of Andrews is indicative of a team full of potential matchup problems for Ohio State.OSU sophomore safety Jordan Fuller (4) prepares for a play during the 2017 season opener vs Indiana. OSU won 49-21. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor“They have an unusually gifted tight end that I mean, he is as much a receiver as any receiver on the field,” Schiano said. “And they use him as such. So, it’s a matchup issue, all those kind of things. It’s a challenge.”Though first-year coach Lincoln Riley will be missing several key contributors, he will return his most explosive offensive playmaker to the team: quarterback Baker Mayfield.The redshirt senior will take the helm of the Oklahoma offense for the third straight season. He returns after a promising 2016 season in which he threw for 3,965 passing yards, completing 70.9 percent of his passes and connecting on 40 touchdown passes to only eight interceptions. He also added six more touchdowns on the ground with 177 rushing yards.Mayfield was incredibly effective against UTEP as he completed 19-of-20 passes for 329 yards and three touchdown passes, and Meyer knows that with his level of talent, he could provide the Buckeyes with a challenge.“[Mayfield is] one of the best players in America,” Meyer said Tuesday. “I think he’s carrying on what he does and that’s playing that position very uniquely and very aggressively. He’s a heck of a player.”The return of Mayfield and his offensive line could prove troublesome for Ohio State. Though Ohio State proved effective against the run versus Indiana, it found less success against Richard Lagow and an Indiana passing attack that totalled more than 400 yards through the air.The inexperienced secondary will be heavily relied on once again to step up. And against a quality opponent like Oklahoma, failure to do so could lead to the first loss of the season for the Buckeyes.Predictions:Edward Sutelan: Ohio State wins 38-35Colin Hass-Hill: Oklahoma wins 36-33
A week after 2018 three-star quarterback Matthew Baldwin decommitted from Colorado State, he pledged his services to Ohio State.The Austin, Texas, native flipped to the Buckeyes Thursday night amid uncertainty about the status of four-star Ohio State dual-threat quarterback Emory Jones’ commitment. Jones has taken multiple visits to Alabama and though he has reaffirmed his plans to be a Buckeye, the chance that he decides to play elsewhere remains.Baldwin is the 17th-best pro-style quarterback and the 436th-ranked overall prospect in the nation, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. He will take on redshirt senior J.T. Barrett’s legacy and become the only Texan signal-caller playing for Ohio State.Baldwin is the second-lowest ranked player in Ohio State’s 2018 class, above cornerback Marcus Hooker.
Ohio State freshman outfielder Kaitlyn Coffman (55) dives to get the out against Indiana. Ohio State won 2-0. Credit: Gretchen Rudolph | For The LanternAfter winning two of three games against Rutgers at home this past weekend, the Ohio State softball team (23-11, 7-2 Big Ten) is on the road again, heading to State College, Pennsylvania, to take on Penn State (19-20, 3-6 Big Ten). Despite the road trip, the Buckeyes come into the two-game set against the Nittany Lions with the hot hand, winning eight of their past 10 games dating back to March 22. On the other hand, Penn State has struggled of late, losing six of its past eight games. However, the Nittany Lions returned to the win column Saturday with a 7-4 win against Purdue. Ohio State head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly said Penn State has shown improvement, especially in its recent win against the Boilermakers.“They have better pitchers this year. There are some new people. They are doing a good job,” Schoenly said. “In general, between two of us, this is always a competitive series.”In the past three seasons, Ohio State has won five of its six total matchups against Penn State. But this season, the Nittany Lions have talented freshmen that the Buckeyes have not seen.Freshman infielder Chelsea Bisi is No. 2 on Penn State with a .356 average, recording a team-leading 24 RBI with nine home runs, tied for the team lead. Freshman outfielder Melina Livingston leads the team with a .364 average. On the mound, freshman pitcher Kylee Lingenfelter has a team-best 2.28 ERA with 45 strikeouts in 58.1 innings of work.Penn State senior outfielder Toni Polk is also performing well, hitting nine home runs with a team-high 31 runs scored.On Sunday, Ohio State showed off its offensive ability, blanking Rutgers 8-0 in five innings. Freshman infielder Ashley Prange, who recorded her first career grand slam in the game, said she is excited about continuing that success against the Nittany Lions.“I think it will be a good day, another conference game. So, just got to be prepared to go,” Prange said. Ohio State freshman outfielder Kaitlyn Coffman is aware of what Penn State can do, but is more aware of her team heading into the two-game midweek doubleheader. “I think they will be an OK team,” freshman outfielder Kaitlyn Coffman said. “We will still do the thing [that] we’ve been doing.” Ohio State will face Penn State April 9 at 5 and 7 p.m.
Alex Jones, the BBC One Show host, has announced she is pregnant with her first child.The TV presenter, 39, said she and her husband Charlie Thomson are expecting a baby in the New Year.The couple married in December last year.The news was immediately hailed by fans, who congratulated the happy couple. Jones has previously spoken candidly about fears for her fertility, after learning of a family history of early menopause.Addressing an audience at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, in London earlier this year, the television presenter said: “Safer sex is important but so is learning about fertility otherwise you end up where I am now saying: ‘Oh egg freezing, I don’t know about that’.”As most girls I spent all of my teenage years, twenties, thirties, doing everything I could to avoid getting pregnant and then it’s just like Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse of the Heart – a day arrives and then you go ‘gosh, maybe we should have a baby’.” The Welsh host revealed that her mother had an early menopause at 43 and added: “I have a five-year window potentially to get this done.”She described last year how she met her husband Charlie Thomson when she was 34 but did not think about children for a long time.She said: “The penny hadn’t dropped for me, I had just met this boy, I had a lovely job although it’s not more important than a family.”Jones, who competed on Strictly Come Dancing in 2011, is currently making a documentary called The Truth About Fertility. 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. Charlie & I are very happy to confirm that we’re expecting a baby in the new year. Feel so lucky that we’re about to become parents. Xx— Alex Jones (@MissAlexjones) September 2, 2016 @sallyscampervan none— Alex Jones (@MissAlexjones) September 2, 2016
At the age of 18, in April 1945, Peter enlisted with the Royal Army Service Corps, during the last months of the Second World War. In fact he jokes that Hitler threw in the towel when he heard he would be up against this Leicestershire lad. Peter Davies lived what many would regard as an enviable and admirable life; serving with the British Army in the world’s trouble spots, followed by a fulfilling career and a long and happy marriage.But since the age of three Peter harboured a deep secret, one he felt unable to share with anyone. He had long considered himself a woman.Now, at the age of 90 and after the death of his beloved wife, he has taken the brave step of coming out as transgender and has begun female hormone treatment.Peter has become Patricia. Patricia Davies as a Corporal in the Army, when she was still PeterCredit:Mercury Press But he was soon shipped to the Far East, in the run up to the surrender of Japan, and went on to serve in India, East Africa and Palestine, where British troops were targeted by Zionist insurgents fighting to establish the state of Israel.“You took your life in your hands in the army,” said Patricia. “I lost a couple of mates and had a close shave myself. But it was alright overall and I feel quite proud having served during the war and having done military service, in particular during the trouble in Palestine.The Army was not an easy place to be, especially for someone like Peter.”I had to keep my mouth shut about being transgender, you couldn’t flaunt that as that would have been a disaster,” she said. “Transgender wasn’t really known in those days. I would have been classed as homosexual, which would have caused problems in the army. I would have ended up in prison. But I got through it.”Peter got married at the age of 21, a few months after leaving the Army, and went on to work as an industrial photographer.The marriage was a happy one, lasting 63 years until the death of Patricia’s wife six years ago.Remarkably, perhaps, Peter – as she was still called – had managed to sum up the courage to open up about her feelings and true identity to her wife as early as 1987. Indeed his wife even bought jewellery and dresses for her to wear in secret. The World War Two veteran says she has never felt more at ease with herself, since she began not only dressing and acting like a woman, but also starting hormone replacement therapy.Indeed, she now feels so comfortable with her female identity she has done what just a few years ago would have seemed unthinkable – Patricia has told her neighbours she is no longer a man.”It feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I was living a lie,” said Patricia, who lives in a village in Leicestershire.”I have been keeping quiet. I have slowly started to tell some of my neighbours. Everybody said ‘don’t worry, as long as you’re happy’.”It wasn’t always like this, however.Patricia says she long suppressed her desire to live as a woman knowing the repercussions it would bring at the hands not only of those around her, but the authorities – who would have at the time regarded such a condition as a deviant aberration. Even though she opened up to her late wife about her feelings in 1987, Patricia, seen here during Army service, remained living as Peter after receiving abuse from people in the street Credit:Mercury Press But Peter kept his identity secret for fear of the reaction of those around him, only changing his name recently and getting his doctor to change her medical records to ‘female’ last year.”I was 60 when it all came pouring out to my wife, she was very sympathetic and helped me all the way but we agreed to keep it quiet. She used to buy me jewellery and she would call me Patricia. I kept it a complete secret.“When I first came out to my wife I started to wear female shoes, some teenagers spotted it and started hurling abuse,” said Patricia.”They used to often throw eggs at my windows too. They did it so much I had to get the police involved. But they have grown up and gone now thankfully. I also started to wear female tops. People thought I was weird and bonkers but I don’t care.” Even though she opened up to her late wife about her feelings in 1987, Patricia remained living as Peter after receiving abuse from people in the street Credit:Mikey Jones/Mercury Press “I feel quite relieved, quite happy. [The best thing about coming out] is being accept as a woman. That has been something I’ve wanted all of my life.”Since coming out last year, Patricia has become a member of The Beaumont Society, a support group for the transgender community, and has also joined the Women’s Institute.“I socialise with them and have a natter,” she said. “I’ve been made most welcome in the societies. I think people will benefit from being educated on this a bit more.”I’m known to pretty much all the old faces in the village. I’m quite content now and I wear a skirt and blouse. I don’t wear any men’s clothes any more.”If people don’t like what they see then I don’t care but no one seems to be causing me any trouble. Nobody questions it though. Nobody seems to bat an eyelid, they accept me as I am.”Despite having to suppress her identity for fear of retribution Patricia appears remarkably free of bitterness.”I was never totally unhappy. I always made the most of things and looked on the bright side of things,” she says. “I’ve always had a wicked sense of humour. I’m having a great time. I have a new lease on life.” It was the 2015 BBC Two sitcom, Boy Meets Girl, which portrayed the lives of transgender characters, that encouraged Patricia to make the change.She said: “It’s not 100 per cent safe now but it’s much better than it was. People that I have told seem to be very accommodating and haven’t thrown abuse at me.”There was a TV show in the 1970s about a man that wanted to dress as a woman and at that point I had never even heard the word ‘transgender’. I looked it up and there it was and I knew I was transgender. 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 atmosphere [around being transgender] was not safe. People did not understand what transgender was,” she said.”Really even the medical profession didn’t understand it as the treatment was to give you the ‘electric shock treatment’.”They thought they could make you better. They didn’t realise it was something that you could not cure.”Because of the general hostility of people I kept quiet. It wasn’t until recently that I felt safe to come out and I felt an overwhelming desire that I wanted to break free. So I came out and I’ve not regretted it.”Patricia says she felt from the age of three that she was not a boy and even then tried to live as a girl, thanks in part to an understanding mother.“I knew a girl called Patricia and I decided I wanted to be known by that name but it didn’t stick,” she said. “From about the age of four I didn’t want to play with boys’ toys. I didn’t want toy soldiers. I wanted an ironing board.”My mother seemed to go along with it. We went to see Peter Pan and I wanted to be a fairy. She made me a wand. She didn’t say it was strange.”I have always been attracted to women but not in a sexual way. I’m not gay. My attraction to women was that I wanted to be like them. I would have liked to be like the pin-ups.”
Meanwhile a separate study published in the same journal examined women’s experiences with seeking help for postnatal depression.The analysis of 24 UK studies which obtained data through interviews and focus groups found that some women did not seek help because of “stigma”. “But it’s incredibly hard for GPs to explore all the physical and psychological factors affecting our patients’ health within the time constraints of the consultation as it stands. We need these checks to be much longer as standard, so that we are able to give the same attention to the new mother as we do to the baby – but this needs many more resources for our service, many more GPs, and many more practice staff.”On the exercise study, Dr Shakespeare added: “Physical activity has numerous benefits for all patients’ physical and mental health – so it’s not surprising that this study has found it to have a positive effect on reducing some perinatal mental health issues, such as postnatal depression, in new mothers.”GPs are highly trained to take into account all factors potentially affecting a patient’s health when making a diagnosis – including lifestyle factors – and we will use this to develop a treatment plan based on the individual patient in front of us, in conversation with them.” The authors said that women felt under pressure to be “good mothers” and that “failure” impacted negatively on their mental health and their likelihood to seek help.They said this was consistent with other reports which found the fear of failure may cause women to “self-silence”.”The combined fear of stigma and the high expectations that women have of themselves further undermine their self-worth, increasing distress,” they wrote.Dr Judy Shakespeare, spokeswoman for perinatal mental health for the Royal College of GPs, and co-author of the study, said: “Attitudes towards mental health do seem to be improving across society – but a terrible stigma still surrounds mothers with mental health problems, not least from the women themselves.”As this paper shows, many women think that if they disclose their concerns, they will be judged negatively or are frightened that social services might get involved.”We know it takes an enormous amount of courage for women to approach their doctor with concerns, so it is vital that when they do they are taken seriously, not told that what they are feeling is ‘normal’, and that they feel safe and secure enough to disclose their feelings to healthcare professionals.”The routine six-week postnatal check, offered to all new mothers after giving birth, is an important opportunity for GPs and new mothers to discuss issues around mental health and wellbeing – and begin to address any resulting concerns. 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. Exercise could help women alleviate symptoms of postnatal depression, a new study has found.Aerobic exercise should be considered as a “management option” for women who have recently given birth and are showing depressive symptoms, researchers said.And physical activity could be a potential preventative measure among all postpartum women, they added.Researchers from the University of Birmingham examined data from 13 trials including 1,734 women.Their study, published in the British Journal of General Practice, concludes that exercise – either in group sessions, individually or when added to other interventions – is effective in reducing postpartum depressive symptoms.The authors wrote: “UK clinical guidance recommends psychological therapy and antidepressants for postnatal depression. However, women can be reluctant to take antidepressants postnatally and the availability of psychological therapies is often limited.”Given the high prevalence of postpartum depression and the potential for exercise to be a low-cost, freely available intervention, aerobic exercise should be considered as a management option for postpartum women with depressive symptoms and as a potential preventative measure more generally in postpartum women.”
Doria Ragland, mother of the bride, wells up inside St George’s ChapelCredit:Dominic Lipinksi/PA The Royal Collection Trust range, which is made in Stoke-on-Trent, includes a decorative miniature coffee mug, coffee mug, pillbox, tankard and plate. The Royal wedding souvenir phenomenon dates back to Queen Victoria’s wedding to Prince Albert in 1840, linked to the rise of mass production in Victorian Britain. It remains a thriving industry today, with an estimated £222 million spent on memorabilia in the run-up to the 2011 royal wedding, according to the Centre for Retail Research. Prior to the scandal, it was Ms Markle’s wishes to include both parents in her wedding day. Prince Harry’s press secretary Jason Knauf had said: “Both of the bride’s parents will have important roles in the wedding.“On the morning of the wedding, Ms Ragland will travel with Ms Markle by car to Windsor Castle. Mr Markle will walk his daughter down the aisle of St George’s Chapel.“Ms Markle is delighted to have her parents by her side on this important and happy occasion.” Meghan Markle’s mother Doria was seen in tears inside St George’s Chapel as she waited to watch her daughter marry into royalty. Doria Ragland welled up before and during the ceremony in Windsor after an emotional build-up to the big day. Sitting with her hands clasped on her lap, she was visibly tearful as she watched her daughter take centre stage inside the chapel.She watched the ceremony from the opposite side of the chapel from the Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. But when Ms Ragland was required to witness the signing of the register, there was a touching moment when Prince Charles offered her his hand. Doria Ragland and Meghan Markle Claire Ptak, owner of Violet Bakery in Hackney, east LondonCredit:Victoria Jones/PA It is believed to be the first time a Royal couple have eschewed tradition by not serving a fruit cake to their wedding guests.The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge chose Fiona Cairns to make their 2011 wedding cake, a traditional multi-layered fruit cake with a floral design.Read more about the wedding cake here. Other possible destinations could include Tuscany, Hawaii, Turkey and the Philippines.Read more about the honeymoon options here. He added: “It’s very important to her that both her parents have a special role in the day.”Ms Markle’s mother Doria Ragland met the Queen this week, along with other members of the royal family, having flown in to England before the wedding. The honeymoonPrince Harry and Ms Markle will delay their honeymoon to go straight back to work in the week after their wedding, scheduling their first public engagement as a married couple just days later.The couple will go on honeymoon privately later this year, before a “busy” autumn including a trip to Sydney for the Invictus Games. But where will they go?Namibia has pulled ahead as the odds-on favourite. The southern African nation is best known among travellers for the enormous Sossusvlei sand dunes of the the Namib Desert, but reports suggest that the couple are looking instead at a safari trip to Hoanib Valley Camp in the country’s north west. The parents walked through to hand-in-hand to officially register their children as a married couple and they left the chapel side-by-side, behind Harry and Meghan.Ms Ragland arrived having spent the night with Meghan at the Cliveden House Hotel – which advertises itself as a venue with a history of unapologetic debauchery and the scene of the most heinous of scandals.The Markle family has been embroiled in controversy of its own after Thomas Markle – Meghan’s father – failed to show up for the big day. He was due to walk his daughter down the aisle, but in a break from UK tradition, it was Ms Ragland who arrived at the wedding venue with the bride-to-be. They arrived having travelled the short distance from the Cliveden House Hotel, whose website describes how the hotel has hosted “powerful personalities, debaucherous parties and scandalous affairs” for more than 350 years.It was built in 1666 by the 2nd Duke of Buckingham as a gift to his mistress.The privately owned Grade 1 listed stately home is surrounded by 376 acres of National Trust groundsThe accommodation decision is a break with UK tradition, which usually sees the bride travel with her father before he gives her away in the wedding ceremony. 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. Wedding cakeThe couple asked Claire Ptak, an east London pastry chef, to make an organic lemon and elderflower wedding cake incorporating “the bright flavours of spring”, according to Kensington Palace. It will be covered with buttercream and decorated with fresh flowers. Souvenirs and wedding chinaThe royal bride and groom-to-be have approved a range of commemorative china to celebrate their nuptials. The exclusive design in white and cornflower blue has a monogram of the couple’s initials at its centre, tied together with white ribbons and surmounted by the coronet of Prince Harry. The decorative border of each piece is inspired by the ironwork of the 13th-century Gilebertus door of St George’s Chapel and each is finished with 22-carat gold. Ms Ragland was thrust even further into the limelight as her former husband recoiled under a cloud of controversy and reports of ill health, after it emerged he had allegedly posed for paparazzi photographs. Botswana, where they holidayed in the early days of their whirlwind relationship, is also a good bet, (Ms Markle’s engagement ring features diamonds from Diana’s personal collection, and a stone from Botswana), but wherever they go, the newlyweds will be looking for seclusion away from the limelight as they start their married life together.
The NHS is guilty of a “ridiculous waste of resources” – and could improve care without spending a penny more, its most senior doctor says. He said too many surgeons were left unable to operate – sometimes on a daily basis – because of a failure to tackle bedblocking, with beds filled by those unable to discharged for want of help at home. Writing for The Telegraph, the senior surgeon said that too often, the system had stopped functioning even before the first patient arrives for surgery…. Prof Keith Willett, medical director for acute care, urged staff to stop “fuming” when the system “grinds to a halt” and instead do more to prevent beds being blocked by patients who should have been discharged.
Donald Trump could threaten to pull US troops out of Ukraine and refuse to take part in joint Nato exercises if Britain and other European countries fail to commit to increased spending on defence, military figures and diplomats fear.Senior sources involved in preparations for this week’s Nato summit are concerned that the US president will begin talks with Vladimir Putin about “redrawing the security landscape” across Europe if leaders refuse to meet Mr Trump’s demands to shoulder a bigger share of the military “burden”.Military and diplomatic figures told The Telegraph of fears over a possible offer that Mr Trump could make to Mr Putin at a planned summit between the two leaders in Helsinki on July 16 – four days after Thursday’s summit in Brussels.Separately, speaking to The Telegraph, Tobias Ellwood, the defence minister, warned: “Given the US’s footprint in Europe and Putin’s recent hostile actions that has eroded continental stability, much hinges on the outcome of the two forthcoming summits. And Britain, as Europe’s largest and most capable military force, is right to play an influencing role in US thinking.”It comes as Britain’s ambassador to America today launches a staunch defence of the UK-US relationship under Donald Trump, insisting military ties remain “stronger than ever” despite some policy differences. 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. A diplomatic source said officials feared that Mr Trump would use this week’s summit to withdraw American military support over the spending row. “Ukraine is really in danger,” the source said.An official familiar with Britain’s preparations for the summit added: “We could be in a situation where, between them, Trump and Putin will come up with some dodgy deal that they’ll try to portray as a political win to both their countries but will ultimately leave Europe exposed and vulnerable at a crucial moment in our history with so much instability on the continent.” Writing in the Telegraph ahead of Mr Trump’s UK visit, Sir Kim Darroch admits that both countries have had to talk “frankly” over issues such as steel tariffs and the Iran nuclear deal. Mr Ellwood said: “As we make the case for further UK defence spending so should our Nato allies. The world is becoming more dangerous, the threats more complex and growing on multiple fronts. So it’s understandable for the US to air frustration and ask European nations to do more – especially as some states are yet to meet their standard 2 per cent obligation. “And it’s in Europe’s direct interest to upgrade our defence posture, as our economies, heavily reliant on access to international markets, will be affected if we can’t guarantee security for that access as well as put out potential fires in future markets.”Mr Trump wants Theresa May to go further on defence spending, and in a letter to Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary, Jim Mattis, his US counterpart said America was concerned that Britain’s military power and diplomatic influence were “at risk of erosion”.Last week it emerged that Mr Trump was already considering transferring or withdrawing personnel from Germany, where the US currently has around 35,000 troops. For decades, America’s military presence in Germany has been viewed as a bulwark against a potential Russian invasion of Europe. The world is becoming more dangerous, the threats more complex and growing on multiple frontsTobias Ellwood, Defence minister Britain is one of only five states that currently meets a Nato targets of spending 2 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on defence, with Spain and Belgium spending 0.9 per cent, and Germany’s contribution set at 1.2 per cent. Nato forces, including US troops, take part in Sabre Strike exercise in Poland in JuneCredit:Georgina Stubbs/PA The diplomatic source warned that Mr Trump could use the offer of cutting back the US military presence in Europe to secure a reciprocal assurance from Mr Putin in Helsinki that Russia will use its influence on Tehran to help secure the withdrawal of Iranian troops from Syria. Israel views Iran’s presence in Syria as an existential threat. The source claimed that Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, has tried to persuade both Mrs May and Mr Trump of the need to enlist Mr Putin’s help.The source warned that Mr Putin’s ability to achieve Iran’s withdrawal from Syria was questionable, and warned against Mr Trump making any offer in exchange for a false promise.”Russia pretends it can deliver to achieve these short-term aims. They just need the hook to get [Trump] on.”We need to be in a very strong position in the West to negotiate with Russia … [which would be threatened by] cutting some kind of theoretical deal which sounds purely naive.” However he adds that it is only because Britain and America have a relationship that is “so close and open” that they can share their grievances with honesty. The US has a military presence, ranging from troops to aircraft, in Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.The US had been scaling back its presence in Europe until Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, when Barack Obama launched a major drive to support and train the armed forces of Nato states on Russia’s borders, to guard against future aggressive moves. Only last month America led a joint Nato exercise in Poland and the Baltic states, involving 18,000 soldiers.
His family insisted that he had been buried with nothing of financial value, but his remains have been now exhumed and the burial plot secured. The body of a enforcer for the notorious Adams crime family has been exhumed by police in Manchester after his grave was desecrated twice in a week.Graver robbers are thought to have dug up former boxer William Isaac’s grave in the hope of finding expensive jewellery rumoured to have been buried with his remains.Mr Isaac, who died age 45 in 2013 after an accident at his home in the Republic of Ireland, was an enforcer for the Adams Family, a London-based gang linked to 25 murders over 30 years.He had been buried in the same plot as his mother, but Greater Manchester Police said on Tuesday that his body had been exhumed after two separate raids on his grave at Blackley cemetery on 28 June and 4 July, the Manchester Evening News reported.Detective Inspector Claire Moss from Greater Manchester Police, said: “We believe that this incident was targeted to this specific plot.”This is a despicable act, and it has caused the family an enormous amount of anguish and grief in finding out that their loved one’s grave has twice been disturbed in what is meant to be a place of rest.“The motivation for this incident is unclear at this stage of the investigation, but the family want to make it known that their loved one was not buried with any items of monetary value.” Mr Isaac had reportedly organised the security at the End End funeral of Ronnie Kray, and in 1997 was cleared of carrying out the “murder” of Manchester businesswoman Pat Hayes, 46.She had been shot twice in the head as she slept and Mr Isaac was accused of the carrying out the murder for his mother Rita, 67, who stood to inherit Hayes’s property as well as property in Florida.He was later jailed for three years after police found ammunition hidden in a sock in his car. 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 grave of William Isaac at Blackley Cemetery, Blackley, Manchester. Police were called to reports of damage to a cemetery plot on two occasionsCredit:Sean Hansford/Manchester Evening News
– Can you see #MeghanMarkle?- Nope.- She’s in a dark coat…- I know what she looks like Sarah. We can’t see her.- There’s nothing I can do Simon. I can draw you a picture?Tense stuff as @BBCSimonMcCoy and @SarahCam3 try valiantly to cover #RoyalVisit live without a camera pic.twitter.com/aGt82zu4P3— James Davies (@jamesorharry) 18 January 2018 Later when the due date of the Duchess of Cambridge’s third child was announced he said: “Now, bearing in mind that they announced that she was pregnant back in September and it was thought that she was around two or three months pregnant, I’m not sure how much news this really is.”But anyway it’s April so clear your diaries, get the time booked off because that’s what I’m doing.” Simon McCoy: the gift that keeps giving. pic.twitter.com/XimJgyW31o— BBC Three (@bbcthree) 18 October 2017 He was dispatched to Windsor for the BBC’s rolling coverage of the Royal wedding in May – a move he put down to his boss’ “fantastic sense of humour”. 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 last time I cried was over the Royal wedding, when Meghan was walking up the aisle, Harry saw her for the first time and just went ‘wow’,” he told the S Magazine. “It was a magical moment.”McCoy added that although it was not good for his image, he liked the Royal family. “Everybody thinks I don’t and that’s what the image of me is, but I do like them. I think they’re great.”Mr McCoy later told the Telegraph: “It’s all true.” But after describing avid Royal fans as “fruitcakes” in the build up to the wedding, the unenthusiastic reporter claimed he shed a tear when Meghan Markle walked down the aisle. A BBC newsreader has tried to shake off his anti-Royal image by claiming he wept when the Duchesss of Sussex walked down the aisle. Simon McCoy is known for his amusingly lacklustre enthusiasm when reporting on Royal news. The gaffe-prone presenter regularly teases the BBC’s weather forecasters live on air has become a darling of the 24-hour rolling news cycle for his sarcastic and “honest” coverage. When reporting from outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s hospital, London, on the day Prince George was born, he told viewers: “Plenty more to come from here of course, none of it news, of course because that will come from the Palace.”But that won’t stop us, we’ll see you later.”