US-Cuba Relations Challenge Baseball

first_imgSCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Yasmany Tomas took his last practice swings, packed his bat and carried his oversized No. 24 duffel bag toward the clubhouse.On the way, a dozen fans waited just outside a fence, calling the 6-foot-2 Cuban slugger’s name, holding out balls and gloves and begging for autographs and selfies.“Where’s the fat guy?” the 24-year-old Tomas asked, suddenly uneasy with the small frenzy.He called again for his interpreter and full-time assistant, Ariel Prieto. “Gordo! Gordo!” he shouted, using the Spanish word for fat.Realizing his countryman was on another field at the Arizona Diamondbacks practice facility, Tomas paused, then walked toward the fans alone. He grabbed a ball from a young girl with blonde hair, signed it and rushed out.“Gracias,” she said.For Tomas and dozens of Cubans arriving in the majors, even simple moments can be daunting adjustments. Learning English. Finding their way in a new country. Dealing with dual pressures of pro sports and being away from family for the first time.Tomas made one of essentially three choices for Cubans hoping to make a living playing baseball: stay in Cuba and make $2,500 a month at best if you’re a star; play in other countries like Japan for a modest shot at earning a salary in the low seven figures with the government’s blessing; or give up family and life in Cuba on hopes of hitting the jackpot in the majors, where the average salary is more than $4 million.Since the U.S. and Cuba began 2015 with steps to improve rocky relations, players and their families now navigate those choices and life changes through uncharted political waters.“I would love to be there in the stands when he starts to play, to give him the support we’ve always given him,” said Tomas’ mother, Melba Rosa Bacallao, holding back tears as she sifted through an album with pictures of her son from her two-bedroom house in Havana. “He always tells me that his daughter and we are his priorities, that he wants to get ahead in life for us.”Optimism in both countries and demand from U.S. teams are clearly growing despite the complicated landscape. The governments have made few tangible policy changes that significantly impact players, their relatives and the game. Baseball is treading carefully, not wanting to step on diplomatic toes.There were 74 Cubans on major or minor league rosters on opening day, 11 more than last year and more than double the 29 in 2008. Most developed in state-run academies where kids breathe baseball from an early age.Baseball’s lure has rippled through Cuba, where attitudes toward the U.S. have softened in the last few years as the island adapts to social, political and economic changes.President Barack Obama met recently with Cuban president Raul Castro, and the island will be taken off the list of state sponsors of terrorism.Players in Cuba talk openly about wanting to play in the United States, commenting in ways that used to be considered sinful by authorities who severely punished big league dreams. Officials have also discussed playing spring training games on the island, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said.And through deals in other countries not limited by the U.S. embargo, Cuba has shown signs it is willing to let players enter baseball’s free market.“Of course I would like to play where they play the best baseball in the world,” Yulieski Gourriel, star infielder for the national team, said during the Caribbean Series in Puerto Rico in February. “As long as we have authorization, we’ll always want to do so.”Gourriel made $1 million in Japan last season, then returned his pro team in Havana. After accounting for Japanese taxes, he paid 10 percent to Cuba’s baseball federation (which acted as his agent), taking home enough to be rich in a Communist country with limited options for spending and investment.Leaving isn’t always as difficult and dramatic as it used to be. Teen sensation Yoan Moncada, who in March agreed to a record $31.5 million signing bonus with the Boston Red Sox, left Cuba last year thanks to 2013 laws that allow citizens to travel abroad without an exit visa.No midnight speedboat to Mexico, no shady smugglers. He asked for and was granted release, established residency in Guatemala, then worked out for MLB clubs.Ballplayers released by the federation can travel elsewhere legally, said Antonio Diaz, a spokesman for Cuba’s baseball federation. Moncada “was discharged because he was of no interest to the national team,” he said.But, in accordance with the embargo, those hoping to play in the U.S. must sign an affidavit that says they won’t return to Cuba.Face-to-face contact with family becomes tough. Cuban law allows defectors to revisit eight years after departing, which former MLB players Jose Contreras and Rey Ordonez utilized two years ago. But U.S. immigration and strict tourist regulations regarding Cuba haven’t changed.“It’s very difficult. It takes a lot of time to get a visa for your family in Cuba,” said Seattle Mariners pitcher Roenis Elias, who fled Cuba in 2010.Changes in Cuba-U.S. policy since December have come mainly from the American side and aren’t specific to baseball. In January, the U.S. quadrupled the amount U.S. residents could send to Cubans to $2,000 per quarter.It also eased travel restrictions for Americans and loosened controls on U.S. businesses to spur the island’s small private sector.Netflix, MasterCard and online home rental service Airbnb have entered the Cuban market, though few on the island have high-speed Internet and most credit card issuers prohibit transactions from the country.No MLB on-demand yet.“Everybody is kind of figuring it out as we go, taking our lead from the diplomatic talks,” Dodgers General Manager Farhan Zaidi said. “That’s the optimistic view, that there’ll be greater openness.”Teams aren’t shy to spend huge amounts to snatch up the next big-league stars like Yasiel Puig or Jose Abreu. Boston signed Rusney Castillo last year for $72.5 million over seven years, and Tomas signed with the Diamondbacks for $68.5 million for six seasons.“They’ve shown that they’re ready to play in the major leagues, and that they can do it almost immediately,” said Junior Noboa, the Diamondbacks VP for Latin America.Next in line for a big bonus could be infielder Andy Ibanez, the youngest player for Cuba during the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Ibanez left the country illegally.Departing Cuba and signing a contract are but the first of many issues for players and their families.“They have to start from zero, they have no idea what’s going on,” said Prieto, a 45-year old former Oakland Athletics pitcher hired by the Diamondbacks to mentor Tomas. “They know baseball, but they don’t know the different philosophy of U.S. teams.”Tomas said he passed on offers from Japanese teams, leaving behind his immediate family and a then 8-month-old daughter.He is focused on life’s new encounters: autograph seekers, income taxes, local traffic laws. The sport and its universal language help the transition — baseball, after all, is called “beisbol” in Spanish, a home run is a “jonron,” and a strike is, well, a “strike.”Away from the field, his thoughts drift home to Havana, where a flat-screen TV and new Chinese refrigerator are some of the perks his newfound riches have provided his family. Tomas thinks improved relations should make it easier for players to reunite with relatives.“It would be something good, beautiful, to be able to be with your family after so much time without seeing them,” Tomas said.His mother just wants to make sure he’s eating well and handling his unique opportunity properly. “I think he doesn’t know what that kind of money means,” she said. “Even I can’t imagine.”The shy slugger intimidated by a kindergarten-aged fan is far from the rambunctious son she remembers. “He always raised his voice, like thunder,” Bacallao said. “I hope he speaks a little softer over there.”___By Ricardo Zuniga. AP reporters Mike Weissenstein and Anne-Marie Garcia contributed to this report from HavanaTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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Cuddyer Lifts Mets Over Giants, 5-4

first_imgNEW YORK — Michael Cuddyer and the New York Mets got one big hit after another June 11. Quite a contrast from the series opener against San Francisco, when they didn’t muster any.Cuddyer singled home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the Mets topped the Giants 5-4 to prevent a three-game sweep and move back into first place in the NL East.“It’s huge morale-wise for us,” Manager Terry Collins said. “Today was a big one.”Curtis Granderson scored twice and drove in a run to help New York win on a 91-degree night when chants of “Let’s go Giants!” rang out at Citi Field.The Mets beat the defending World Series champions for only the second time in 11 meetings, rebounding from a pair of humbling losses to start the series.San Francisco rookie Chris Heston pitched a no-hitter June 9, and Mets ace Matt Harvey was hit hard again the following night. So when New York finally pulled this one out, no wonder it was a relief.“Hard-fought series. Good road trip,” Giants Manager Bruce Bochy said. “You’d like to get greedy and get this one, but we just couldn’t hold the lead.”Sergio Romo (0-3) hit Granderson in the back on an 0-2 pitch with one out in the ninth. Granderson advanced to second on Andrew Susac’s passed ball and third on Juan Lagares’ groundout before Lucas Duda was intentionally walked.Cuddyer, who had a go-ahead double in the fifth, stroked a sharp single into center field and raised his right arm as he headed for first base, just ahead of the swarm of teammates that chased him down to celebrate.“It’s definitely a good feeling,” Cuddyer said. “To get swept at home … leaves a bad taste in your mouth.”It was Cuddyer’s first game-ending hit in nine years. “I knew it’d been a long time because I don’t remember the last one,” he said with a smile.Reminded it was a pinch-hit homer for Minnesota against the Angels on April 19, 2006, he said: “I do remember it then!”Jeurys Familia (2-0) pitched a scoreless inning for the win.Mets starter Jonathon Niese went seven innings in his second consecutive encouraging performance. He got 15 outs on the ground after entering 0-4 with a 7.96 ERA in his last five games.“A good outing to build on. My stuff felt great,” Niese said. “My mechanics are more sound.”The left-hander retired 12 in a row before substitute third baseman Eric Campbell committed a two-out error in the sixth. Brandon Crawford followed with his ninth homer, a long drive into the Giants’ bullpen in right-center that gave San Francisco a 4-3 lead.Hunter Strickland gave up three straight Mets hits to the start the seventh, including a leadoff double by pinch-hitter Darrell Ceciliani and Granderson’s tying single.Tim Lincecum held the Mets hitless until Travis d’Arnaud blooped an RBI double with two outs in the fourth. Niese opened the fifth with a double to deep center and scored on Duda’s sacrifice fly. Cuddyer put the Mets up 3-2 with a two-out RBI double.“I felt good all night,” Cuddyer said.Looking to win his seventh straight decision against New York, Lincecum was lifted after 4 2-3 innings.The first four batters reached safely against Niese, and San Francisco scored on Buster Posey’s run-scoring single and Justin Maxwell’s double-play grounder.“A big boost,” Niese said. “It could have got out of hand real quick.”(MIKE FITZPATRICK, AP Baseball Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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Diaz Beats McGregor With 48 seconds left in Second Round for UFC Upset

first_imgTweetPinShare0 Shares LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nate Diaz beat Conor McGregor by submission with 48 seconds left in the second round Saturday night for the second spectacular upset of UFC 196.Miesha Tate also won the UFC bantamweight title at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, finishing Holly Holm in a rear naked choke with 90 seconds left in the fifth round.Diaz (20-10) was battered and bloodied for the first 1 1/2 rounds by McGregor (19-3), the UFC 145-pound featherweight champion and pay-per-view star fighting at 170 pounds.Diaz, who took the fight on less than two weeks’ notice, abruptly changed the bout with an electric series of punches before forcing McGregor to tap out on the ground.“I thought I landed with some good punches that got him off (his game),” Diaz said in one of his few post-fight comments not punctuated by exuberant profanity. “I started off slow, but I’m faster than anyone later on. My jiu-jitsu is always there for me.”Earlier, Tate (18-5) became the third 135-pound champion in UFC history by beating Holm (10-1), the woman who knocked out Ronda Rousey in November. Holm appeared to be unconscious when Tate finally released her from the choke to celebrate.“Not many people wouldn’t tap out,” Tate said. “She went out like a champion.”The main event was the greatest moment in the career of Diaz, a pugnacious veteran from a notorious fighting family in Stockton, California. Diaz had lost three of his past five fights and was just 5-5 since 2010, but his size and power abruptly finished McGregor, who had boasted of his plans to hold championships in multiple weight classes.The loss ended McGregor’s 15-fight winning streak since November 2010 and put a blemish on the loquacious Irish face of the UFC.“These things happen,” McGregor said. “I learn, I grow. I’ll face it like a man, like a champion.”McGregor is still the UFC’s 145-pound champion, but he agreed to fight Diaz at the welterweight limit less than two weeks ago when 155-pound lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos dropped out of his matchup with McGregor due to a foot injury.McGregor set a new UFC record with his $1 million disclosed purse for this fight, but that’s only a portion of the wealth bestowed on a champion who gets a percentage of pay-per-view sales and other undisclosed bonuses. He expected a comfortable win over Diaz, comparing the veteran to a gazelle about to be eaten by a lion.Instead, McGregor got bit.“I felt good in the first round, but I was inefficient,” McGregor said. “He was efficient. I wasn’t. I took a chance. It didn’t work out.”The penultimate fight at UFC 196 was a thrilling clash of styles, and Tate fought until the waning minutes before finally using her superior ground game to outstanding effect.“I feel like we had a great game plan,” Tate said. “I had to be patient. She’s very dangerous. She’s capable of catching anyone at any moment. She’s a very calculated fighter.”Holm appeared to be winning her first fight since she dethroned Rousey with a stunning head-kick knockout in one of the sport’s biggest upsets.Although Tate controlled the second round on the ground, Holm picked apart Tate with punches for the other three rounds before the fifth. Tate knew her advantages were on the ground, so she tried multiple takedown attempts that were defended well by Holm.Everything changed when Tate finally landed a desperate takedown attempt and got Holm’s back with 2 minutes left.Holm fought desperately to get out, but the veteran wrestler sunk in a choke that eventually left Holm apparently unconscious. Tate let go when she felt Holm go limp.Tate was overwhelmed after finally reaching her longtime goal. She lost twice to Rousey earlier in her career, but hasn’t lost a fight since 2013.Holm reveled in a publicity tour and a rally of 20,000 fans in her native Albuquerque after her win over Rousey, but the new champ decided not to wait while mixed martial arts’ most famous fighter regrouped for their rematch. Holm agreed to take on Tate, the very definition of a dangerous matchup for less experienced fighters.The UFC’s plans for an incredibly lucrative rematch between Holm and Rousey just got complicated.last_img read more

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CSKA Halts Itoudis’ Move to the National Team

first_imgCSKA Moscow prevented Dimitris Itoudis’ move to head coach the Greek National Basketball Team. Itoudis did, however, leave an open door to the position in the future.Late last week, the president of the Hellenic Basketball Federation (EOK) Giorgos Vasilakopoulos, came to an agreement with Dimitris Itoudis for the latter to become Greece’s new head basketball coach. Itoudis quickly agreed to a deal to take over the National Team, however Itoudis’ current club, CSKA Moscow, prevented the move with an official statement today.According to the club, the burden of taking on the National Team and CSKA Moscow would be too much for the coach to handle and it would benefit both sides if he focussed on his current team at the moment. The Greek coach would have to miss most of CSKA’s pre-season training (due to Eurobasket 2017 in September) and would have had to travel (and re-focus his attention) with the National Team for the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers which begin in November.Itoudis went on to say “For me it would have been a great honor to lead the national team of my country and lead it to success. However, after talking with CSKA and the Greek federation, we realized that the existing calendar makes it is almost impossible to properly serve the interests of my club and the national team, because both sides deserve my full attention on the road to success. I’m always ready to help the national team, and I hope that will happen at the right moment. I want to thank the Greek federation and Mr. Vasilakopoulos for their trust and hope that we will have the chance to work together in the future.Itoudis is currently rated as the best Greek basketball coach and led CSKA Moscow to last year’s Euroleague Title. CSKA Moscow are one of the heavy favorites to be crowned champions of Europe again this season.The Federation will now have to look into other options to replace Fotis Katsikaris’ position as head coach. The new “favorite” on the table is Panagiotis Giannakis and Aris’ current coach, Dimitris Priftis.Source: AGONAsport.com (http://bit.ly/2leyHEh), Facebook, Instagram, TwitterTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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CSKA edges Olympiacos in regular season finale (video)

first_imgCSKA Moscow defeated Olympiacos Piraeus 90-86 Friday in the Russian capital in a tense and exciting tune-up for the two playoff bound teams. CSKA recorded its eight straight home win to finish the regular season in second place with 22-8 record. The champs will face Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz in the playoffs. Olympiacos lost its third game in a row to rank 19-11 and finish third. It will play Anadolu Efes Istanbul in the next stage. CSKA led for much of the game with the lead reaching 14 in the second quarter, but the Reds came back and stayed close down the stretch. Ioannis Papapetrou hit a deep three with 1:32 left in the fourth quarter that tied the score at 81-81, but Milos Teodosic, who shined with 11 fourth-quarter points, countered with a three-point play and the hosts made their free throws down the stretch to keep the win. Nando De Colo and Teodosic scored 23 points apiece to lead the winners, while Cory Higgins added 12 points, Andrey Vorontsevich 11 and Kyle Hines 10. Vassilis Spanoulis collected 16 points and 7 assists and Papapetrou also scored 16 for Olympiacos. Kostas Papanikolaou added 13 points off the bench and Georgios Printezis and Vangelis Mantzaris each netted 12.The CSKA offense was flowing as it scored the game’s first three baskets. Spanoulis drew the Reds back within 2, but CSKA continued to score with ease, while Nikita Kurbanov added a spectacular block of Khem Birch. Teodosic drained a three-pointer to make it 17-8 midway through the quarter. Vorontsevich’s first three-pointer gave the hosts a double-digit lead, 25-15, which is how the first quarter ended. Patric Young made a big impact inside for the visitors with offensive rebounds and a three-point play. However a four-point play by Vitaly Fridzon extended the margin to 31-19. The difference reached 14 on Higgins free throws, but Spanoulis kept the Reds from falling any further behind. Threes by Mantzaris and Papanikolaou drew Olympiacos within 8, but Hines free throws made it 47-37 at the break. Higgins came through with a steal and 4 points in the first minute of the second half, but Printezis scored 4 points and Papapetrou drained a triple in a 0-8 push that closed the gap to 51-45. Mantzaris took a steal in for a layup and later Spanoulis knocked down a three-pointer to make it 55-52. A pair of quick CSKA baskets for Vorontsevich and De Colo kept the hosts in control and then De Colo heated up as the hosts finished the third quarter with a 71-63 advantage. Papanikolaou scored 4 points early in the fourth quarter to bring Olympiacos within 71-69. CSKA remains ahead, but Olympiacos stayed close; Spanoulis made it 79-76 with three and a half minutes remaining. Papapetrou silenced the arena with a deep three with 1:32 that tied the score at 81-81. Teodosic countered with a basket-plus-foul and Higgins added free throws with 35 seconds left, but a quick three by Papapetrou kept the visitors alive. However Hines nailed a pair of free throws with 28 seconds left to all but seal the outcome. TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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AEK Comes Back to Draw with Rijeka, Will Fight in Vienna for Qualification

first_imgATHENS – AEK averted its first loss in the Europa League, but has not yet got the ticket to the knockout stages as its 2-2 draw at home with Rijeka on Thursday means it will have to avoid defeat at Austria Vienna on December 7 to qualify, Kathimerini reports.Gorgon scores two in first half, and is one of two Rijeka players to hit woodwork. Araujo responds for AEK before half-time, while Christodoulopoulos heads leveller Rijeka eliminated.AEK can qualify on matchday six if pasts Austria Vienna.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img

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Golden Still: Warriors Sweep Cavs for Second Straight Title

first_imgCLEVELAND (AP) — There were still a few seconds left on the clock when the Golden State Warriors stormed off their bench to begin a celebration that wasn’t guaranteed.They couldn’t wait any longer.They had reached their destination: dynasty.Stephen Curry scored 37 points, Kevin Durant added a triple-double and another NBA Finals MVP trophy and the Warriors won their second straight title and third in four years Friday night, 108-85 over the Cleveland Cavaliers to complete a sweep and perhaps drive LeBron James from his home again to chase championships.Love ’em or hate ’em, there is no denying them.“That’s how you know we’re a great team, is when everybody’s coming after us,” Durant said. “Whether it’s opponents, whether it’s different coaches panning for us, whether it’s the fans, the media that hate us, it feels good when you’re the team that everybody’s gunning for. It makes us better.”No team is better.Golden State. Golden standard.Overcoming obstacles all season long, the Warriors won their fourth straight finals matchup against James and Cleveland with ease.“Looking at this playoff journey, we knew it wasn’t going to be as easy as last year,” Curry said. “Then the challenges that faced us. In October we wanted to be back in this moment, and a lot went into it. It’s a great feeling to be back here.”It was the first sweep in the NBA Finals since 2007, when James was dismissed by a powerful San Antonio team in his first one. His eighth straight appearance didn’t go well either, and now there’s uncertainty where the superstar will play next.James, who said he “pretty much played the last three games with a broken hand” after injuring himself in frustration following Game 1, finished with 23 points and spent the final minutes on the bench, contemplating what went wrong and maybe his next move.Following the game, he sat quietly in his corner locker with a towel draped over his head. He arrived at his postgame news conference with a large black brace on his right hand and explained the injury was “self-inflicted” following an overtime loss in Game 1, which included a reversed official’s call and teammate J.R. Smith dribbling out the clock to end regulation.“I had emotions of you just don’t get an opportunity like this on the road versus Golden State to be able to get a Game 1, and I let the emotions get the best of me,” James said. “Pretty much played the last three games with a broken hand, so that’s what it is.”Act IV between the Warriors and Cavs featured a drama-filled Game 1. But from there on, Durant, Curry, Thompson, Draymond Green and the rest of this California crew showed why they’re the game’s gold standard.And they may stay that way.Not wanting to give the Cavs or their fans any hope despite the fact that no team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit in the NBA playoffs, the Warriors built a nine-point halftime lead when Curry ignored a closeout by James and dropped a 3-pointer.Then the league’s best team tightened the screws on Cleveland in the third quarter, outscoring the Cavs 25-13 and prompting Golden State fans to begin those drawn-out “War-eee-orrss” chants that provide a perfect musical accompaniment to their 3-point barrages.By the start of the fourth, the only question was whether Curry would win his first NBA Finals MVP or if it would go to Durant for the second year in a row.And again, it was Durant, who added 12 rebounds and 10 assists — more satisfaction and validation for a player who couldn’t beat the Warriors so he joined them.After surviving a rougher-than-usual regular season and beating top-seeded Houston in Game 7 on the road in the West finals, the Warriors pushed aside James and joined an elite group of teams to win multiple championships in a four-year span.Only Bill Russell’s Boston Celtics, the “Showtime” Lakers and the Los Angeles squad led by Kobe and Shaq, and Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls have been as dominant in such a short period of time.The Dub Dynasty.The path to this title was more precarious than the first two for coach Steve Kerr and the Warriors, who overcame injuries, expectations, a built-to-dethrone-them Rockets team and the brilliance of James, who may have played his final game in Cleveland.The 33-year-old, who came back to the Cavs and ended the city’s 52-year championship drought in 2016, is expected to opt out of his $35.6 million contract and become a free agent.“I have no idea at this point,” he said when asked if he played his final game for the Cavs. “The one thing that I’ve always done is considered, obviously, my family. So sitting down and considering everything, my family is a huge part of whatever I’ll decide to do in my career, and it will continue to be that.”James averaged 34 points, 8.5 rebounds and 10 assists in the series, but as has been the case in the past, he didn’t have enough help.Another Summer of LeBron is officially underway and there are already teams stretching from Philadelphia to Los Angeles hoping to land the three-time champion, who may have to go elsewhere to put together a cast strong enough — and as James made clear this week, smart enough — to bring down the Warriors.Right now, Golden State is on another tier and with Durant expected to re-sign with them in weeks and Curry, Thompson, Green and the rest still young and hungry, their reign could last much longer.“We’ve got a lot of three-time, two-time champs in there, and we’ll have plenty of time in our lives to discuss that later,” Curry said. “So want to keep this thing going as long as we can.”TIP-INSWarriors: Curry made a 3-pointer in his record 90th consecutive postseason game and extended his mark for 3s in road playoff games to 44. . Became the ninth team to sweep the finals. … Won a road game in 19 straight playoff series, tying the Heat’s NBA record.Cavaliers: James scored 748 points in the playoffs, the second most in a postseason behind Jordan, who scored 759 in 1992. Appeared in their 26th NBA Finals game, moving past Atlanta/St. Louis into 10th place all-time. … James averaged 34 points in his 13th postseason, his second-highest total.LUE BACKJames’ future isn’t the only one in question. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue, who took a medical leave this season while battling anxiety, said he intends to return.“I had some tough problems going on throughout the course of the season, and I probably could have folded myself, but I wasn’t going to do that,” he said. “I knew that even if I wasn’t feeling a hundred percent, I had to get back for the playoffs. That’s my time. That’s my moment. I had to fight through it. That’s what champions do. I gave everything I had.”By TOM WITHERS , AP Sports WriterTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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Hall of Famer, Pioneering Manager Frank Robinson Dies at 83

first_imgBy: David Ginsburg and Ben Walker DAVID, AP Sports WritersCrowding the plate, fearsome and fearless, Frank Robinson hammered his way into the Hall of Fame.His legacy, however, was cemented the day he simply stood in the dugout at old Cleveland Stadium as the first black manager in Major League Baseball.Robinson, the only player to earn the MVP award in both leagues, died Thursday at 83. He had been in failing health and in hospice care at his home in Bel Air. MLB said he was with family and friends at the time.“Frank Robinson’s resume in our game is without parallel, a trailblazer in every sense, whose impact spanned generations,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.Robinson hit 586 home runs — he was fourth on the career list behind only Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays when he retired and now ranks 10th. An MVP with Cincinnati and Baltimore, he won the Triple Crown while leading the Orioles to their first World Series championship in 1966. FILE – In this Nov. 9, 2005, file photo, President Bush awards baseball legend Frank Robinson the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, the first black manager in Major League Baseball and the only player to win the MVP award in both leagues, has died. He was 83. Robinson had been in hospice care at his home in Bel Air. MLB confirmed his death Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019.(AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson, File)Robinson was the only player to hit a ball completely out of old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore and once connected for grand slams in consecutive innings of a game. But he didn’t just slug away, as evidenced by a .389 on-base average boosted by 1,420 walks against 1,532 strikeouts. Extremely alert on the bases, he had 204 steals.Robinson played the game with grace, yet was known as fierce competitor who combined hard work with natural talent. He crowded the plate, yielding to no pitcher, and didn’t seem to care about being brushed back or getting hit by a pitch 198 times.“Pitchers did me a favor when they knocked me down,” Robinson said. “It made me more determined. I wouldn’t let that pitcher get me out.”And opposing pitchers noticed.“Frank Robinson might have been the best I ever saw at turning his anger into runs. He challenged you physically as soon as he stepped into the batter’s box, with half his body hanging over the plate,” Hall ace Bob Gibson once wrote.“As a rule, I’m reluctant to express admiration for hitters, but I make an exception for Frank Robinson,” Gibson wrote.Robinson carried a similar philosophy as a baserunner, unapologetically sliding spikes high whenever necessary.“The baselines belong to the runner, and whenever I was running the bases, I always slid hard,” Robinson declared.Robinson broke in with a bang as a 20-year-old big leaguer. He tied the first-year record with 38 home runs for Cincinnati in 1956, scored a league-high 122 times and was voted NL Rookie of the Year.Robinson was the 1961 NL MVP after batting .323 with 37 homers and 124 RBIs for the pennant-winning Reds, and reached career highs in runs (134) and RBIs (136) in 1962. He was an All-Star, too, in 1965, but Reds owner Bill DeWitt decided Robinson was an old-ish 30 and time to make a move.That December, Robinson was the centerpiece in what would ultimately be one of the most lopsided trades in baseball history, going to Baltimore for pitchers Milt Pappas and Jack Baldschun and outfielder Dick Simpson.Robinson became an instant hit with the Orioles in 1966 as the unanimous AL MVP.On May 8, he became the only player ever to hit a home run completely out of Baltimore’s home park, Memorial Stadium. The drive came against Cleveland ace Luis Tiant and the spot where the ball sailed over the left-field wall was marked by a flag that read “HERE” that remained in place until the Orioles left for Camden Yards in 1991.Robinson batted .316 with 49 home runs and 122 RBIs during his first season in Birdland. He then homered in the first inning of the 1966 World Series opener at Dodger Stadium and capped off the four-game sweep of Los Angeles with another homer off Don Drysdale in a 1-0 win in Game 4.Robinson hit two home runs against the Reds — of all clubs — in teaming with future Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson to win another crown for the Orioles in 1970.All told, Robinson was an All-Star in five of his six seasons with Baltimore, reaching the World Series four times and batting .300 with 179 home runs. The cap on his Cooperstown plaque carries on O’s logo.Pappas went 30-29 over two-plus seasons with the Reds, Baldschun won one game in 51 appearances over two years with Cincinnati and Simpson hit five home runs as a part-time outfielder for the Reds during two mediocre seasons.Robinson was traded to the Dodgers before the 1972 season. He played for the California Angels in 1973 and was dealt to Cleveland late in the 1974 season.Robinson had coached for the Orioles and worked in their front office when he became their manager in 1988 after the team opened at 0-6. Things didn’t get much better right away as Baltimore went on to lose its first 21 games and finished 54-107. The next season, the O’s went 87-75 and Robinson was voted AL Manager of the Year.Tough and demanding, he went 1,065-1,176 overall as a big league manager.A no-nonsense guy, Robinson also had a sharp wit. That served him well in Baltimore where, in addition to being a star right fielder, he was the judge for the team’s Kangaroo Court, assessing playful fines for missing signs, uniform mishaps and other things he deemed as infractions.At the time, the Orioles had a batboy named Jay Mazzone, whose hands were amputated when he was 2 after a burning accident. Mazzone capably did his job for years with metal hooks and became good friends with Robinson.Some players, though, initially weren’t sure how to treat the teen.“Frank Robinson broke the ice,” Mazzone said. “He was running his Kangaroo Court and calling a vote among the players, whether to fine somebody or not.”“It was either thumbs up or thumbs down,” he recalled. “After the vote, he said, ‘Jay, you’re fined for not voting.’ Everybody laughed. After that, I was treated just like everybody else.”Survivors include his wife, Barbara, and daughter Nichelle.There was no immediate word on funeral arrangements.TweetPinShare0 Shares FILE – In this Dec. 3, 1971, file photo, Frank Robinson displays trophies he received for being the Most Valuable Player in both the American and National Leagues at his home in Los Angeles. Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, the first black manager in Major League Baseball and the only player to win the MVP award in both leagues, has died. He was 83. Robinson had been in hospice care at his home in Bel Air. MLB confirmed his death Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Harold Filan, File)center_img An All-Star outfielder in 12 seasons and a first-ballot selection to Cooperstown, Robinson also was a Rookie of the Year and picked up a Gold Glove.But his place in the sport’s history extended far beyond the batter’s box and basepaths.In 1975, Robinson fulfilled his quest to become the first African-American manager in the big leagues when he was hired by the Cleveland Indians. His impact was immediate and memorable.The Indians opened at home that year and Robinson, still active, batted himself second as the designated hitter. In the first inning, he homered off Doc Medich and the crowd went crazy, cheering the whole April afternoon as Cleveland beat the Yankees.The Reds, Orioles and Indians have retired his No. 20 and honored him with statues at their stadiums.Robinson later managed San Francisco, Baltimore and Montreal. He became the first manager of the Washington Nationals after the franchise moved from Montreal for the 2005 season — the Nationals put him in their Ring of Honor, too.More than half the major league teams have had black managers since his debut with Cleveland.Robinson later spent several years working as an executive for MLB and for a time oversaw the annual Civil Rights Game. He advocated for more minorities throughout baseball and worked with former Commissioner Bud Selig to develop the Selig Rule, directing teams to interview at least one minority candidate before hiring a new manager.For all he did on and off the field, Robinson was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush in 2005.Born Aug. 21, 1935, in Beaumont, Texas, Robinson attended McClymonds High School in Oakland, California, and was a basketball teammate of future NBA great Bill Russell. But it was on the diamond, rather than court, where fame awaited Robinson.Former Orioles pitcher Jim Palmer, who also gained first-ballot entry into the Hall, once called Robinson, “the best player I ever saw.”Starting out in an era when Mays, Aaron, Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams were the big hitters, Robinson more than held his own over 21 seasons. He finished with 1,812 RBIs and hit .294 — he played in the World Series five times, and homered in each of them.last_img read more

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Olympic Runner Semenya Loses Appeal on Testosterone Rules (Vid)

first_imgGENEVA — Olympic champion Caster Semenya lost her appeal Wednesday against rules governing unusually high testosterone in female runners, meaning she and other women like her will have to take medication to suppress their levels of the male sex hormone if they want to compete in certain events.In a landmark 2-1 ruling , the highest court in world sports said the proposed rules from track’s governing body, the IAAF, are discriminatory, but “such discrimination is a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means” of “preserving the integrity of female athletics.”The IAAF argued that unusually high, naturally occurring levels of testosterone in athletes like Semenya with “intersex” conditions that don’t conform to standard definitions of male and female give them an unfair competitive advantage, and it decreed a maximum for females.The 28-year-old South African runner whose sculpted biceps and super-fast times have led others to question her accomplishments declared she will not be stopped by the ruling, issued by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.“I know that the IAAF’s regulations have always targeted me specifically,” Semenya said in a statement. “For a decade the IAAF has tried to slow me down, but this has actually made me stronger. The decision of the CAS will not hold me back. I will once again rise above and continue to inspire young women and athletes in South Africa and around the world.”Matthieu Reeb, General Secretary of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, CAS, speaks to journalists during the release of the decision in the case of South Africa’s runner Caster Semenya, left, the current 800-meter Olympic gold and world champion in front of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (Laurent Gillieron/Keystone via AP)The two-time Olympic champion in the 800 meters will have to lower her testosterone levels if she wants to defend her world title in September in Doha, Qatar.Semenya was traveling to Doha on Wednesday for the first Diamond League track meet of the season, where she is expected to race in the 800 on Friday. The Diamond League is an annual series of meets for the top athletes in the world, and the event is the last one before the new rules apply.Testosterone is a hormone that strengthens muscle tone and bone mass. Because of that, it is against the rules for athletes to inject or swallow testosterone supplements. Some women have what is known as hyperandrogenism, meaning they have naturally occurring levels that are unusually high.The IAAF rules require women to lower their levels below 5 nanomoles per liter of blood. According to the IAAF, most females, including elite athletes, have levels of testosterone circulating naturally in their bodies of 0.12 to 1.79 nanomoles per liter, while men have levels that can be dozens or even hundreds of times higher — typically 7.7 to 29.4.Semenya’s level is considered private medical information and has not been disclosed.The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee decried the ruling, saying, “We maintain that the rules are ill-thought and will be a source of distress for the targeted female athletes.”“This decision marks a massive turning point as it now redefines what a female athlete in particular is,” said Natalie du Toit, head of the organization’s athletes commission, adding: “Knowing Caster and the hard work she has put into her sport, we support all her endeavors, and we are all behind her.”The IAAF went into the case arguing that female runners with high testosterone have an unfair advantage in events from 400 meters to the mile. However, the court suggested that the IAAF apply the rules only up to the 800 because the evidence was not clear that women with hyperandrogenism have an edge in the 1,500 meters.That could give Semenya a route to compete at the world championships without taking medication, such as birth control pills.A further appeal is possible to Switzerland’s Supreme Court in Lausanne. But judges rarely overturn decisions of the world sports court.The scrutiny of Semenya’s muscular body has cast doubt on the integrity of her track achievements throughout her career. As a teenager in 2009, she won her first world title in Berlin. Hours before the race, the IAAF had asked for Semenya to undergo a gender verification test.Semenya’s case was the second attempt by the IAAF to regulate such athletes. In 2015, a panel including two of the same judges who heard Semenya’s case suspended the IAAF’s first attempt in an appeal brought by Indian sprinter Dutee Chand.The judges four years ago said the IAAF did not prove hyperandrogenic women gained a significant advantage, and invited the governing body to submit new evidence. The IAAF produced a fresh scientific study.FILE – In this Monday, Feb. 18,2019 file photo, South Africa’s runner Caster Semenya, current 800-meter Olympic gold medalist and world champion, arrives for the first day of her hearing at the international Court of Arbitration for Sport, CAS, in Lausanne, Switzerland. Caster Semenya will find out Wednesday, May 1, 2019 if she has won her appeal against IAAF rules to curb female runners’ high natural levels of testosterone. (Laurent Gillieron/Keystone via AP, File)Semenya is not the only female athlete with high natural levels of testosterone but has become an unwilling face of the issue. Two weeks ago, Olympic silver medalist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi confirmed she has the same hyperandrogenism as her rival in the 800.Referring to the rule, Niyonsaba said: “For me, it’s about discrimination. It doesn’t make sense. I didn’t choose to be born like this. What am I? I’m created by God.”At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Semenya and Chand were publicly identified as women with high testosterone, but other athletes implied that other runners, including medalists in the 800 meters, also had elevated levels.“I think that we need separate events for them and for us,” said Nataliia Lupu of Ukraine said after running against Semenya. “You can see that it’s easy for them.” Semenya will “definitely win against us, even without using her full strength.”By: Graham Dunbar, AP Sports WriterTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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Altuve’s HR in 9th Sends Astros to World Series Over Yankees

first_imgHOUSTON — Jose Altuve, the 5-foot-6 driving force of Houston, delivered a swing that will play in Astros’ highlights forever.Altuve homered off Aroldis Chapman with two outs in the ninth inning and Houston outlasted the New York Yankees 6-4 Saturday night to advance to the World Series for the second time in three years.“That’s one of the best moments of postseason history,” Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow said.In a bullpen Game 6 with a back-and-forth finish, DJ LeMahieu hit a tying, two-run shot off Astros closer Roberto Osuna in the top of the ninth. Altuve answered with a two-run drive to left-center, setting off a wild celebration at Minute Maid Park and earning himself AL Championship Series MVP.“Beautiful game,” Altuve said.Astros ace Gerrit Cole was waiting to pitch a potential Game 7 on Sunday. Instead, the postseason star — undefeated since May 22 — can be lined up for Game 1 at home against the NL champion Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.Yuli Gurriel hit a three-run homer in the first inning, and flashy outfield defense helped Houston’s relievers defeat the Yankees and their vaunted bullpen.It almost fell apart in the ninth. Gio Urshela singled off Osuna leading off for his third hit of the game, and LeMahieu put a ball into the first row of seats in right field — inches over the glove of leaping George Springer — to tie it at 4.Altuve, a sparkplug touted as Houston’s heart and soul, didn’t let this one get away.“I get asked to describe Jose Altuve all the time,” manager AJ Hinch said. “I think MVP is what he is.”The teams combined to use 14 pitchers in a drawn-out game that lasted 4 hours, 9 minutes.Houston’s Will Harris, who got four outs over the sixth and seventh innings and has yet to allow a run this postseason, was glad Houston’s bullpen got to show its stuff.“We have a lot of guys with a lot of pride that are really good at their jobs,” he said. “And I was excited for the opportunity for us to prove that today.”The defense helped. Right fielder Josh Reddick dived for Brett Gardner’s liner for the second out of the sixth. An inning later, left fielder Michael Brantley laid out for Aaron Hicks’ shallow floater and doubled off Aaron Judge at first.Gurriel, a holdover from Houston’s 2017 championship team, was 1 for 20 to start the ALCS before his drive in the first inning. He jumped all over a high-and-tight fastball from opener Chad Green, and his shot into the Crawford Boxes was his first connection this postseason.It’s the third time Houston has eliminated New York in the past five postseasons. The Astros won the 2015 wild-card game in the Bronx and beat the Yankees in seven games in the 2017 ALCS before winning their first title.“I feel like we are on equal footing with them,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Unfortunately, sports can be a little bit cruel for the team that goes home.”Washington is seeking its first championship in the 51-season history of the Montreal Expos/Nationals franchise. The original Washington Senators won their only championship for the nation’s capital in 1924 and last reached the World Series in 1933 before becoming the Minnesota Twins for the 1961 season.Gary Sánchez had an RBI single in the second and Urshela homered in the fourth for the Yankees.Alex Bregman gave the Astros an insurance run with an RBI on a forceout in the sixth inning.Brantley’s double play elicited one of the loudest ovations of the night — before Altuve’s blast — from the sellout crowd of 43,357 which included Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan and Craig Biggio and Rockets stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook, who watched from the front row in personalized orange Astros jerseys.New York was 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position and 3 for 24 over the final five games of the series. The franchise lost its fourth straight ALCS after falling in 2010, 2012 and 2017. The Yankees will go without a World Series appearance in a calendar decade for the first time since the 1910s.“The work never ends,” Boone said. “And we’ll continue to try and I guess close that gap.”Altuve doubled off Green with one out in the first inning and Bregman drew a walk with two outs. After a short visit to the mound, Gurriel knocked the next pitch into the seats in left field for a 3-0 lead. The runs were Houston’s first with two outs in the series.Houston had been 4 for 40 with runners in scoring position before that big swing.Brad Peacock, who threw eight pitches in a scoreless eighth inning Friday night, became the fourth pitcher ever to finish a postseason game and then start the next day, and the first since 1924.He needed seven pitches to retire the side in the first before running into trouble with two outs in the second. Josh James ended the inning by striking out Gardner.Ryan Pressly had another gutsy escape, too. He hurt his right knee again fielding a bases-loaded grounder by Didi Gregorius but limped over to tag him for the final out of the third. Pressly, who grimaced as he went toward the dugout after one pitch, had arthroscopic surgery on the same knee on Aug. 22 and returned Sept. 20. Pressly also got two strikeouts with the bases loaded in Game 4.He said that some scar tissue broke off on the play but that he’ll be ready to go this week.“It’s the World Series,” Hinch said. “It will be all hands on deck.”By KRISTIE RIEKEN AP Sports WriterTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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Nadal Beats Tsitsipas to Stay in Contention at ATP Finals

first_imgLONDON — Rafael Nadal staged another comeback to stay in contention for a semifinal spot at the ATP Finals.The top-ranked Spaniard still needs help from Daniil Medvedev to avoid an early exit.Nadal rallied to beat already-qualified Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-5 on Friday for his second win of the round-robin stage. That still won’t be enough, though, if Alexander Zverev beats Medvedev in the last match of the group phase.That would leave Zverev, Nadal and Tsitispas with identical 2-1 records. But Nadal would finish third in the group based on the tournament’s tiebreaker rules.Making things worse for Nadal is that his win ended Medvedev’s chances of advancing, meaning the Russian (0-2) has only pride to play for against Zverev.Nadal lost his opening match to Zverev and saved a match point at 5-1 down in the third set against Medvedev on Wednesday before rallying to win.Spain’s Rafael Nadal plays a return to Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece during their ATP World Tours Finals singles tennis match at the O2 Arena in London, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)The comeback against Tsitsipas wasn’t quite as dramatic. Nadal never faced a break point in the match but lost the last three points of the first-set tiebreaker to hand the Greek the lead.But he broke for a 5-3 lead in the second set and again to make it 6-5 in the third, then converted his first match point when Tsitsipas netted a forehand.Regardless of whether he advances, Nadal is guaranteed to leave London with the year-end No. 1 ranking after Novak Djokovic was eliminated in the group stage on Thursday with a loss to Roger Federer.It’s the fifth time that the 19-time Grand Slam winner ends the year atop the rankings, tied for second on the all-time list with Djokovic, Federer and Jimmy Connors. Pete Sampras did it six times.At 33, Nadal is the oldest man to finish the year as No. 1.However, he has never won the ATP Finals despite qualifying for a 15th year in a row. He has had to pull out of the tournament on six occasions because of injuries and reached the final only twice, the last time in 2013.___TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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Control-level design challenges in smart factory automation systems

first_img Continue Reading Previous On precisionNext It’s Not a Software Performance Problem — it’s a Software Performance Opportunity The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is often used to address new concepts that apply to multiple industries that share requirements beyond the Internet of Things (IoT) such as real-time communication and controls as well as increased safety, security and reliability. A term used as a further subset of the IIoT is Industry 4.0, which applies IIoT concepts to manufacturing and factory automation. While these movements are broad and future-looking, a few key concepts from these movements are starting to be implemented. Concepts like smart maintenance based on predictive analytics and distributed intelligent systems bring many benefits such as higher flexibility improved efficiency and reduced down time due to maintenance. However, the implementation of these concepts expands existing design challenges for factory automation equipment.Factory automation systems designed for Industry 4.0 typically contain three main levels of equipment that drive real-time communications and control:The field level where I/O modules, actuators, and drives are engaged in the physical operation of the factory,The control level where PLCs or CNCs collect information from and issue commands to the field level,The operator level where human machine interface (HMI) devices communicate information with operators and where operators can issue commands.Figure 1. Three levels of equipment (Source: Texas Instruments) Each of these levels has its own set of taxing design challenges that require optimized hardware and software solutions. The challenges related to the control level are particularly difficult to meet due to a number of factors, such as increasing manufacturing efficiency and the enablement of Industry 4.0 concepts. Pressures to increase automation and decrease the price of solutions drive up the number of nodes each controller is expected to communicate with, but real-time requirements remain.At the same time, designs become more complex as manufacturers begin incorporating new concepts that are coming out of the Industry 4.0 movement. For example, supporting cloud connectivity to report data used for predictive analytics requires a mix of real-time and non-real-time functions to be supported from a single device, and the real-time performance must increase from generation-to-generation to support additional field level nodes. Control level equipment faces the design challenges that apply to all industrial automation designs- power consumption, long supply lifetimes and reliability requirements.In addition to these concerns designers face certain challenges that arise from the increasing number of nodes that one controller can support. A larger number of supported nodes means that fewer controllers are needed in the overall factory solution to create a less expensive automation solution or that more nodes can be supported in the factory for higher levels of automation. However, with the increase in the number of supported nodes, the processor performance must also increase while still consuming low enough power as to not force an increase in the size of the enclosure.  Additionally, most PLCs are designed to not require a fan so power dissipation is a key design aspect.With PLCs and CNCs concurrently controlling a high number of nodes or functions in the factory, the real-time aspects of their operation is critical.  Two components are needed for a solution to the tight timing requirements: real-time operating systems (RTOSes) and flexible time-aware peripherals for industrial communications. Real-time operating systems are used in these types of equipment for their determinism and ability to control latency in order to meet the critical timing needs. Commercial RTOSes have been widely used in industrial control applications for many years, and there is also a growing interest in RT Linux solutions which have all the advantages of the large open source community around Linux while adding the time-awareness and determinism required for industrial automation applications.Next Page >> Leave a Reply Cancel reply You must Register or Login to post a comment. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.center_img For the communications peripherals portion of the real-time solution, the main need is to support industrial fieldbus protocols in a way that allows for low latencies and reduced protocol cycle times  even when there is the demand for an increased number of nodes. It becomes an even more complex challenge when it is considered that multiple fieldbus standards must be supported from a single design. Multi-protocol support is necessary in order to make the end products compatible with the multiple standards that may be found already in use in a factory- such as EtherCAT, PROFINET, Ethernet/IP and more. Support for multiple protocols is complex to solve with hardware (ASICs), as different board designs will be needed for each supported fieldbus since each protocol may require its own specific ASIC. It is a smaller challenge if a programmable approach is taken where a software or firmware change is all that is needed to change the fieldbus protocol.To facilitate this real-time communication solution, controllers need a large number of peripheral interfaces since they communicate on multiple levels with the fieldbus networks in the factory, with the backplane for the connected I/Os, actuators, drives, or with other controllers. Due to the implementation of Industry 4.0 concepts, they are also communicating with data collection servers for predictive analytics using protocols such as OPC UA. All of this together drives a need to have a large number of peripheral interfaces, especially Ethernet and to also have a flexible, programmable communications solution.Industry 4.0 implementations require systems to efficiently support real-time and non-real-time tasks can also pose challenges. There needs to be separation of the tasks so that an error in the non-real-time task—transferring analytics data to a server— will not cause a failure or delay in the real-time task of communicating with field nodes. One solution would be to put the tasks on completely separate processors; however this adds cost and increases the power consumption and size of the design. Multicore processors provide a better solution on the hardware side, and software virtualization allows partitioning of real-time tasks onto one core or cluster which runs a high-level OS like Linux, and non-real-time tasks onto a separate core or cluster running an RTOS. Designers must pay attention to resources required for each task, but hypervisor solutions that provide a framework like this are available from the popular RTOS vendors for the industrial space.Another effect of Industry 4.0 is that wireless connectivity technology is beginning to find its place in the industrial space. This is driven by the substantial and measurable cost savings in engineering, installation and logistics that wireless communication promises. The increased data throughput, security, reliability, interoperability and flexibility of Wi-Fi networks make them an increasingly viable option for industrial applications. Wireless networks are up to 10x cheaper than the wired alterative and engineering costs are dramatically reduced as extensive planning is no longer required to route wires. Wireless connectivity solutions carry the advantage of easy provisioning, meaning that these networks can be easily re-configured without the need of re-wiring or changing hardware setup. To save power, wireless system on chips (SoCs) are designed to enter extremely low-power states, consuming only few milliwatts in connected idle state. Wireless SoCs can be easily integrated with most microprocessing units (MPUs) or even microcontrollers supporting SoC-specific bus interfaces such as SDIO. While real-time industrial Ethernet communication is not moving to wireless connectivity in the near term, applications like maintenance through over-the-air upgrades and safe flexible data gathering are primary drivers for the integration of wireless technology into factory automation equipment. The TI WiLink Wi-Fi and Bluetooth/ Bluetooth low energy combo connectivity modules make a great wireless connectivity choice for the Sitara line of processors with a complete solution available today.While Industry 4.0 and more broadly the IIoT continues to grow, so will the challenges in factory automation systems, especially those related to communication. A flexible, programmable communication solution like the PRU-ICSS on TI’s Sitara ARM processors, gives developers the ability to create more effective factory automation solutions by adapting to changing standards and upgrading to new communication protocols as they are introduced to the market. The PRU-ICSS is a fully-deterministic real-time communications solution that can be programmed by developers or used with firmware provided by TI for EtherCAT, Profinet, Ethernet/IP, and more industrial standards.Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInMoreRedditTumblrPinterestWhatsAppSkypePocketTelegram Tags: Digital last_img read more

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Logic Technology: Insyde now supports AWS CloudHSM

first_img Continue Reading Previous Renesas: automotive integrated Cockpit Reference Solution based on R-Car SoCNext Infineon: ultra-small barometric pressure sensor Insyde Software announced that its UEFI firmware, InsydeH2O and its robust systems management solution Supervyse now support AWS CloudHSM as an alternative to physical HSMs for BIOS and BMC firmware certificate signing.AWS CloudHSM is a cloud-based hardware security module (HSM) that enables customers to securely generate, store, and manage cryptographic keys used for data encryption using FIPS 140-2 Level 3 validated HSMs. This alternative provides customers the convenience and flexibility of a modern, managed cloud-based service that quickly scales worldwide and reduces the cost of designing, implementing and deploying traditional hardware-based HSMs, all while still meeting corporate, contractual, and regulatory compliance requirements for data security.Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInMoreRedditTumblrPinterestWhatsAppSkypePocketTelegram Tags: Tools & Software last_img read more

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Enabling more effective healthcare with the internet of medical things

first_imgAccording to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 610,000 people die of heart disease in the U.S. every year — that’s one in every four deaths. Cardiac health is one of the most important parameters for a person’s overall health. The internet of medical things (IoMT) is enabling a new generation of wearable, multi-parameter, continuous cardiac monitoring systems to improve healthcare management in a variety of hospital, clinic, patient care, and home environments.The IoMT is a connected infrastructure for medical devices and services that collect and analyze data that is sent to healthcare providers. Today, these devices include sensors that measure temperature, humidity, and vibration, as well as algorithms that identify a limited number of heart conditions.Next-generation designs are looking to add parameters that would identify a wider range of arrhythmias using smarter and more complex algorithms. For instance, disposable “patches” that resemble invisible bandages with a few, very small ICs could be worn comfortably on the skin for longer times to monitor and manage cardiac health.Connected cardiac monitoring systems will include three main elements: Wearable wireless sensor node(s), a data management service, and cloud-based analytic platforms.The electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor node (e.g. ECG patch or heart rate-monitoring conductive garments) and data management service collect cardiac data from the wearable device in a data center. The sensor node is typically a one- or three-lead ECG monitoring device with up to three electrodes (wet or dry) attached to the electronics on the patch.The cloud-based platform gathers and analyzes the cardiac data using complex algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) engines to identify potential abnormal heart functionalities. The results can be added to the patient’s medical records and made available to the designated healthcare organization and cardiologist in charge.Analog front ends The ECG signal conditioning path (Fig. 1 ) includes the analog stage, which is used to sense, amplify, and cleanup the analog waveform. The ECG signal amplitude ranges from hundreds of microvolts to about 5 millivolts. The signal includes low-frequency (50/60 Hz) noise coupled from AC lines, high-frequency noise from body muscles and often RF noise from different equipment in the proximity of the device. In the case of wearable devices, the ECG signal baseline would have undesirable fluctuation due to motion artifacts.Thus, highly complex analog front ends (AFE) are often used to clean up and digitize ECG signals. The AFE includes EMI filters to remove RF noise; a high-pass filter with a typical 0.5-Hz corner frequency to remove the base line fluctuation; a low-pass filter with a typical 150-Hz corner frequency to filter out-of-band signal; a notch filter to filter 50/60 Hz noise; a low-noise programable instrumentation amplifier to amplify the signal, and an analog-to-digital converter to digitize the signal for post processing of the sampled data.Fig. 1: Typical IoMT connected cardiac monitoring sensor node and the related signal path. Continue Reading Previous MicroMax: rugged relay systems interface unitNext The new kid on the block for low-power wireless connectivity A key requirement for the AFE is to maintain the characteristics of the ECG waveform from the patient throughout the signal path. This is achieved by minimizing the effects of noise and inaccuracies (e.g., gain error, offset error, etc.) throughout the signal path under all operating conditions.High-performance MCUs The next stage in the path is a microcontroller (MCU) for post processing and/or housekeeping of the digitized ECG data. Depending on the type of the wearable monitoring device, the sampled raw ECG data in the wearable sensor would be either analyzed on the fly to detect the most common cardiac arrhythmias and then saved in the nonvolatile memory in the system, or stored in the memory for off-line analysis at the end of the device’s lifetime.The former approach is taken in the newer generation of disposable wearable ECGs, requiring higher-performance MCUs with a DSP engine and higher code/data storage memory to accurately detect several common arrythmias on the fly in addition to storing larger amounts of raw data for post processing. Additional requirements include smaller footprint electronics, precision AFEs and lower power consumption.The additional memory and higher performance of the MCU introduce challenges in power performance and the size of the die. These challenges need to be addressed by utilizing advanced low-power process nodes with small cell geometry, and by including power management features to allow for efficient power management schemes at the system level.The system MCU must have low consumption per operating frequency (better than 50 µA/MHz) and include a variety of operating modes with scalable frequency to allow for flexible power management at the system level. A very common method involves cycling of the MCU “on” and “off” with a profile based on some custom proprietary usage models of the system.As the radio and the MCU dominate power consumption in the system, their usage needs to be as low as possible. To limit power consumption during the power cycling process, the MCU must provide sub-microamp current consumption in standby operation mode and have a very fast transition time (no more than a few microseconds) from standby to the normal operating mode to minimize switching power losses.The newer AFEs are required to operate continuously at a lower power consumption (typically below 100 µW) and include dedicated low-power digital signal processing circuits (e.g. R-to-R peak period measurement) in addition to the analog signal path. This would lower the amount of signal processing by the MCU. In general, features such as enhanced diagnostics, vital-sign parameter monitoring, and additional signal measurement (e.g. Bio-Z) contribute to the AFE’s complexity.Ultra-low-power connectivity The last stage of the signal path in the ECG sensor node is some type of low-power wireless connectivity to enable communication to the gateways such as smartphones or custom sensor hubs. Data transmission to the cloud platform and healthcare centers can include raw ECG data, possible arrhythmia or normal rhythm information as well as some other system parameters measured during the operation. Currently, low-power Bluetooth is one of the most commonly used wireless interface. NB-IoT and CAT-M type of connectivity are being evaluated for future use.The trend toward smaller form factor, more cost effective, and significantly longer lasting disposable ECG patches means a higher level of integration for the ultra-low-power signal path in a tiny system on chip (SoC) or system in package (SIP) device. Some challenges faced in the miniaturization of the electronics are the need for a cost-effective semiconductor process node suitable for low-power precision mixed-signal (analog and digital) circuitries, and the availability of a more cost-effective small footprint packaging technology.Ultra-low-power consumption is one of the key requirements for this new type of ECG patch, as it can significantly increase the continuous cardiac signal monitoring/analysis lifetime beyond the current duration of seven to 15 days. Lower power consumption also allows developers to include additional vital sign monitoring, which gives them a competitive advantage.Currently, patches use single-coin type batteries with a typical capacity of several hundred mAh. However, there are efforts to use smaller, lower capacity and more cost-effective batteries combined with an energy harvesting method using “battery-less” sensor nodes based on specialized new semiconductor process technologies such as silicon-on-thin-buried-oxide (SOTB) and sub-threshold processes.The challenge of transitioning energy harvesting-based cardiac monitoring patches from research labs to the market is the availability of continuous and consistent energy sources to harvest at the point of use. The industry is exploring the use of sources such as body heat, vibration from motion, or dedicated RF energy in the surrounding environment to address this key challenge.Finally, cardiac monitoring SoC design would require successfully integrating mixed mode circuits on a very small piece of silicon without interference across the allocated boundaries in the layout. This would require special design expertise to prevent the propagation of noise generated by high-frequency switching digital and RF circuits to the neighboring precision analog circuity.The IoMT is shifting traditional reactive healthcare towards a more affordable preventive system with potentially lower costs. Combining advancements in semiconductor, connectivity, and material science technologies with the power of AI offers the potential for life-altering applications for the betterment of society.>> This article was originally published on our sister site, Electronic Products: “Internet of medical things enables connected cardiac monitoring systems.” Ash Patel and Bahram Mirshab are with the Healthcare Segment, Renesas Electronics America Inc. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInMoreRedditTumblrPinterestWhatsAppSkypePocketTelegram Tags: IoT Leave a Reply Cancel reply You must Register or Login to post a comment. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. 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Lanner: HybridTCA, the benefits of converged infrastructure

first_imgLanner HybridTCA converged infrastructure is pre-integrated with compute, switch and storage. The hardware convergence saves 2U spaces that generic server occupies, and the space-efficient can better accommodate the installations of network switches. The interior connection within the servers reduces manual cable connection error and simplifies the maintenance.From power supplies, fans, controllers to main boards, Lanner HybridTCA solutions adopt modular designs to simplify maintenance complexity and provide fast, precise technical support and RMA services. Cable-less Design eliminates problems associated with cable connections and offers hot-swappability and high level of serviceability.IEEE 1588 defines the protocols to synchronize the clocks of two hierarchical computing systems, said a master and a slave. Unlike traditional network time protocol (NTP) with synchronization at few milliseconds, IEEE 1588 further achieves the time precision within tens of nanoseconds.The implementation of IEEE 1588 is particularly beneficial in synchronizing the clocks of various applications and services within a computer network infrastructure. In a global-scale enterprise IT network, where services and applications can be highly distributed across the globe, IEEE 1588 can synchronize the clocks between the branch and the headquarter to ensure the records of operations in the same hierarchical orchestrations. In fact, Lanner’s HLM-1030B/C supports IEEE 1588 expansion module.The HTCA-6600 is a high availability chassis 6U telecom network appliance with 6 x86 CPU blades and 6 I/O blades. Provided is BCM StrataXGS Trident-II/II+ BCM56854/56860 Switch Fabric with 720/1280 Gbps, 6 x Swappable I/O blades on the front, supporting up to 2x Switch blades or 6x Ethernet blades in a NEBS compliant design.Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInMoreRedditTumblrPinterestWhatsAppSkypePocketTelegram Tags: Boards & Modules Continue Reading Previous Parasoft joins MISRA C and C++ Working GroupsNext Würth Elektronik expands LAN portfolio with WE-LAN AQlast_img read more

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Germany need big changes, says Loew after World Cup crash

first_img\R Frankfurt Am Main, Jun 28 (AFP) Germany’s coach Joachim Loew today acknowledged that far-reaching changes were needed after the Mannschaft’s shock exit from the World Cup, adding that he needs some time to consider his future with the team. “The Mannschaft did not demonstrate what it can usually do,” he said at Frankfurt airport as the humiliated team arrived home after finishing at the bottom of the table in the group stages. “As coach, I bear the responsibility and must of course ask myself why we didn’t succeed. That will require a bit of time, and we will hold talks about it,” he added. But the coach stressed that “with the elimination, with the deep disappointment that we have experienced, we now need to think about which are the correct measures to take”. “We need far-reaching measures, we need clear changes. We’ll need to talk about how we’ll do that,” he added. After 12 golden years in charge crowned by the 2014 World Cup win in Brazil, Loew is under fire as a dismayed Germany question if he has placed his faith in too many former stars past their prime. The daiy Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said only Loew’s departure could give Germany the “new start” it needed. German Football Association chief Reinhard Grindel said the sports management would put forward their analysis of the disastrous World Cup campaign to federation chiefs in the coming week. “Then I would also expect the coach to comment about his future,” said Grindel. The DFB extended Loew’s contract as Germany head coach until 2022 just before the World Cup kicked off, and Grindel had previously stated his job was safe regardless of how Germany perform at the tournament. (AFP) ATKATKadvertisementlast_img read more

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From streets of Chennai to International Stadiums: A story of Chennai’s budding footballer

first_imgSangeetha is famous as a soccer star in her locality in Chennai. The chirpy 18-year- old might live on the streets of George town but she has achieved more than anyone will ever know.Sangeetha led the India team for the Street Children Football World Cup in Russia in May. This wasn’t her first high-profile match- she also led her team for the World Cup in Scotland.Her family of five lives on Pilayar Kovil Street. Her father was an alcoholic and left them to fend for themselves when she was a little child. She dropped out of school when she was 13 and worked in a utensil manufacturing factory. An NGO rescued her and she agreed to go to school on one condition and that was they would have to let her play football.”People didn’t want me to play first because I used to wear shorts and t-shirt. I would walk a long way like boys. But I used to go”, said Sangeetha as she was casually chatting with us. Her mother Selvy who works as a domestic help said the same. “First I had a problem and told her not to. But then I left her alone. She wears shorts and pants. She won’t wear a churidar. Even I have left her to herself now”.Sangeetha used to play football on the streets of George town and she was the talk of the locality as the only girl who would run around with boys. But now she says she’s respected much more. “I represented India after growing up on the streets. No one cared about us before that. Now I get respect. They used to look at us with spite”.advertisement India team for the Street Children Football World Cup in Russia (Karunalaya Facebook Photo)Her younger brother dropped out of school and works as a sales boy. Her elder sister still works in the utensil factory but this footballer knows that she has to study hard because losing out on education means losing sport. “I studied on this street under these lights in the sun and rain. I got a good score in the 10th of 351”. Sangeetha is pursuing her bachelor’s in physical education at Queen Mary College in Chennai and hopes to coach football for free in the future.While telling us tales about her visits abroad she gets animated talking about the cold climate and her flight journey. But she also narrates that the procedure wasn’t easy for her as she did not have a house nor an address proof to give officials. “We have given these shop addresses as our address. The passport office refused me a passport saying we might just leave from here”.But after much coaxing and pleading she won her feat and led the team to Russia where she scored a goal against Mexico.Sangeetha and her team might not have won the world but her passion, zeal and determination convey a much larger message. This is a young girl who fought all odds became a footballer and now wants to uplift the entire community she grew up with through football.last_img read more

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Everton sign French defender Lucas Digne from Barcelona

first_imgEverton have completed the signing of France international Lucas Digne from Barcelona, the Premier League club said on Wednesday.Digne, 25, has signed a five-year-deal with the Merseyside club and will compete with Leighton Baines for the left-back position.Digne spent two seasons at Barcelona, making 46 appearances across all competitions. Speaking about his move to Everton, he said that is thrilled to come to the Premier League.”I want to show my best football here and discover the best league in the world. Everybody loves the Premier League. I am loving the fact I am coming here,” Digne told Everton’s website.”I am not afraid, I am excited. For me, it is a new challenge to discover a country, a league, people and a great club such as Everton. It is fabulous.”| Incoming pic.twitter.com/H9vI0owCRmEverton (@Everton) August 1, 2018Digne, who missed out on France’s World Cup squad this year, previously played for French top-flight side Paris Saint-Germain, winning two Ligue 1 titles, and also completed a loan spell at Italy’s AS Roma.Everton manager Marco Silva praised Digne’s attributes and welcomed the competition with Baines at left-back.”He is a high-quality player, aggressive, with good technical ability and…he has demonstrated his clear quality in Barcelona,” Silva said.”Lucas is a player who will add competitiveness in a position where we only had Leighton Baines last season and he is accustomed to winning. This is his mentality having captured titles in his career and having these on his resume.”advertisementEverton travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers in their opening league match on August 11.(With inputs from Reuters)last_img read more

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India are not a one-man team: Dean Jones on Kohli’s exclusion from Asia Cup

first_imgFormer Australian cricketer Dean Jones feels the upcoming Asian Cup is going to be an “unbelievable” opportunity for players like Ambati Rayudu and Manish Pandey as India continue their search for the best middle-order combination.The Indian selectors on Saturday announced the squad for Asia Cup and rested captain Virat Kohli, while naming Rohit Sharma to lead the team in the 50-over tournament to be held in the UAE later this month.”India are not a one-man team. No one’s going to replace Kohli but I’ll tell you what, it is an unbelievable opportunity for Pandey, Ambati Rayudu and these boys, and don’t forget MS Dhoni. I am looking forward to him having a huge series,” Jones said.Jones further said that the Rohit-captained team looks exciting and the Asia Cup can give the youngsters a perfect platform to cement their spot.”I think it’s a great team led by Rohit Sharma, they got their bowlers right who can reverse swing and at the death, 25-30 overs will be bowled for the spinners. They got (Yuzvendra) Chahal, Kuldeep (Yadav) and Axar Patel bowling beautifully.Virat Kohli rested for Asia Cup 2018, Rohit Sharma named India captain”Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) and (Jasprit) Bumrah will bowl at the death, they got a very good balance,” he added.Asked if Kohli’s absence will affect the marquee clash against arch-rivals Pakistan on September 19, Jones said the world will be watching the match, irrespective of whether the Indian captain plays or not.Team India for Asia Cup, 2018 announced. Rohit Sharma set to lead the side in UAE #TeamIndia pic.twitter.com/mx6mF27a9KadvertisementBCCI (@BCCI) September 1, 2018″It is all about Blue for them (the Indian team) and trust me when Green meets Blue there will be excitement and fireworks,” he said.”I am looking forward to him having a huge series. So trust me or not Kohli is not playing, but when Pakistan meets India the world will be watching,” he added.India begin their campaign against a qualifying side on September 18 and the very next day clash with arch-rivals Pakistan in a league clash.(With agency inputs)last_img read more

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