How Do You Calculate ROI in Retail?

first_imgAt some point in your retail loss prevention career, if you haven’t done so already, you will be called upon to help make procurement decisions on new technology, such as electronic article surveillance (EAS) or video surveillance. While you may be most interested in the features, functions, and benefits of the technologies, your CFO will be more interested in the oft-used cliché, “bang for the buck.” So, how do you calculate ROI in retail?This post explains the financial concepts required to conduct a cost vs. benefit analysis, as well as a full-fledged return-on-investment (ROI) analysis. It will also provide insight into the process by which your CFO decides the following key questions:What type of analysis (simple or complex) should be used?What are the costs and benefits associated with this project?How long will it take before the costs are recovered?Will the project turn a profit? If so, how much?How does the profitability of this project rank against all others?What Is ROI Analysis?Simply stated, an ROI analysis determines the amount and rate (percentage) of anticipated or earned profit, if any, from an investment. A pro forma analysis is conducted in the planning stages of a project using cost and benefits estimates. The idea is to calculate an expected or anticipated return based on well-reasoned assumptions. ROI analysis is also used after a project’s implementation in order to calculate the actual return and to see whether or not the investment met financial expectations.- Sponsor – There are basic and comprehensive analytical methods. The basic methods simply calculate a time horizon for cost recovery (payback) in months or years, or a simple return on investment percentage (what percentage of the cost will be, or has been, recovered). Payback ignores the concept of the time value of money, meaning a dollar that you have in your hands today is worth more than the promise or expectation that you will receive a dollar in the future. Payback also ignores any costs or benefits beyond the first year. Because of these limitations, we will not employ a payback calculation in this analysis.The more sophisticated and accurate calculations, often called discounted cash flow methods, try to encompass the following items and concepts:All fixed and variable costs and benefits, no matter when they occur,ROI measured against a prescribed time horizon, such as a five-year depreciation schedule,Taxes, opportunity costs, and the time value of money, andROI results compared to a benchmark or “hurdle” rate (a rate of return below which the project will be rejected).Net Present Value. Discounted cash flow analysis is a method of valuing a project using the concepts of the time value of money. All future cash flows (incoming [benefit] and outgoing [cost]) are estimated and discounted at a required rate of return to give their present value. The sum of all discounted cash flows covering the time horizon is the net present value (NPV). A zero NPV means the project repays the original investment and covers the required rate of return—essentially a breakeven. A positive NPV indicates a profit (over the required return), and a negative NPV indicates a loss. In capital budgeting, the discount rate used is called the “hurdle rate” and is usually equal to the incremental cost of capital. The ROI on a project must exceed the hurdle in order to be judged worthy of an investment. When choosing among a number of investments, the CFO looks for the highest NPV.Internal Rate of Return (IRR) is the rate promised by the project over its useful life. It is sometimes referred to as “yield on project.” The IRR is the discount rate that will cause the NPV of a project to be zero. Once the IRR has been calculated, it is compared to the company’s required (minimum acceptable) rate of return. If the IRR is equal to or greater than the required rate of return, then the project is acceptable. If not, it is rejected. Often, a retailer’s cost of capital is used as the required rate of return. The logic is that if a project cannot provide a return at least as large as the cost of the investment, then it is unprofitable.Both NPV and IRR are readily available formulas in spreadsheet programs. There is no need to calculate them by hand.Why Is ROI Analysis Important?First, an accurate return-on-investment analysis prohibits unprofitable decisions. A well-reasoned, thoroughly researched financial justification tends to inhibit emotional decisions, and promotes “buy-in” for the project, and helps the loss prevention department make a professional case to senior management for accepting and implementing new technology for retail stores.Quantifying Costs and BenefitsProper ROI analyses start with a thorough compilation of all costs and benefits that could possibly be associated with the proposed project. While each project may be different, the costs can be divided into three categories—investment, one-time preparation, and other.The main investment is the cost of any hardware or software licensing fees. These costs will most likely be depreciated (hardware) or amortized (software) over a fixed time horizon established in our generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).One-time preparation costs include sales taxes, freight charges, and the cost of site preparation and installation. These costs are added to the total investment for depreciation/amortization purposes.Other costs include such things as the labor required to operate or manage the project, maintenance, IT expenses, or any other incidental expenses. These costs may be one-time or annual, fixed or variable. Generally, they are not included in the investment, but are “expensed,” meaning they are accounted for in full when they are incurred.A “hard” cost, such as the cost of the EAS tags or other retail theft prevention system, is objective and easily acknowledged and quantified. All hard costs and benefits should be included in the ROI analysis. “Soft” costs/benefits are those that are more subjective estimates rather than precise calculations. For example, an anticipated improvement in labor productivity may not be as easily acknowledged and quantified. The most accurate ROI analyses rely upon “hard” costs as exclusively as possible and only include “soft” costs where the circumstances can be clearly understood and agreed upon by the project participants.Measuring the Major BenefitsThe “R” in ROI means return. A return is a tangible benefit, most often measured over time, which offsets some or all of the project’s costs. Each project has its own list of potential benefits. The most common benefit types in projects that implement new technology for retail stores are:Reduction in inventory shortage,Labor savings,Additional sales, andProductivity improvementA reduction in inventory shortage is usually the largest and most important potential benefit from loss prevention investments. If you think about it, we are making investments in security programs with the intention that shortage will be reduced from current levels, or that the countermeasures will keep shortage from rising to unprofitable levels. Shortage reduction and control is loss prevention’s raison d’être. We must be able to accurately estimate the impact that the project will have, or has had on shortage.The shortage performance graph below plots the inventory shortage results in a retail apparel store that had experienced a significant increase in shoplifting. After installing EAS, the results were measured after the first year, and future results were estimated over the balance of a five-year time horizon (years +2 through +5). In this example, EAS is the only countermeasure that was used, so any change in shortage can be directly attributed to its deterrent qualities. The horizontal (X) axis measures time, in years, and the vertical (Y) axis measures shortage as a percentage of sales. Under this scenario, shortage had been rising and the crisis point (year 0) was reached when shortage reached 5 percent of sales. EAS was installed at the end that fiscal year (year 0) directly after the annual inventory was taken. At the end of the first fiscal year of EAS usage (year +1), shortage dropped by 50 percent to 2.5 percent of sales. Management assumed that shortage would remain at the lower level over the rest of the time horizon.The dollar value of the reduction in shortage over the five-year time horizon is the financial benefit that will be entered into ROI calculation for the project. Assume that the store’s annual sales are $1 million. Assume further that shortage would have stayed at its crisis point of 5 percent (dotted red line) had EAS not been installed. Without EAS, annual shortage would be $50,000. Since the EAS installation, annual shortage dropped to 2.5 percent ($25,000), and with proper management, would remain at that lower level over the subsequent four years. So, the financial benefit gained by the use of EAS is the difference (at cost) between the shortage at the crisis point before the installation (5 percent) and the average rate of shortage after the installation (2.5 percent)—a savings of $25,000 at retail per year.To arrive at the cost of shortage, we must multiply by the cost of goods sold (COGS), in this case 55 percent. By “costing out” the change in shortage, we are treating it (accounting-wise) the same as we treat the cost of the EAS equipment, making the results “apples to apples.” This calculation will be shown later in the real-world example.Additional sales may be generated in other ways. If an EAS investment reduces shortage by 50 percent, there will be more merchandise available for sale than there was before EAS was installed. Will some of these items be sold? Without a doubt. The questions are:Can the amount of incremental sales be accurately estimated?How are incremental sales valued in the ROI analysis?Thanks to the work of retailers and academic researchers, studies have shown that there is an inverse relationship between item-level shortage and sales. In other words, statistics show that when shortage in certain items decreases, sales in those items increase. The range of the sales increase is wide, and at this point this type of benefit has to be considered “semi-soft,” meaning that while there is empirical proof that incremental sales occur, the estimate is still subjective, unless the retailer has conducted its own study. For this reason, an estimate of the impact of incremental sales will not be used in the real-world example analysis below.Calculating the financial benefit of an incremental sale, however, is straightforward. Doing so requires an additional piece of information—the “gross margin” percentage of the items in question. Suppose the EAS project results in provable incremental sales of $50,000 per year at retail, and the gross margin percentage of those items is 19 percent. To calculate the gross margin impact of the incremental sales, multiply them by the gross margin percentage ($50,000 x 19% = $9,500). This gross margin impact is the financial benefit that would be included in the ROI analysis.Labor savings can be included when an investment in technology results in a reduction in labor hours. Labor savings is a “hard” benefit that is calculated by multiplying a wage rate by the number of hours saved in the project. Typically, if labor hours are reduced, then employee benefits are reduced, as well. Often called a “benefits component,” it is usually expressed as a percentage of the base wage rate. Ask your human resources department for the rate.If the benefit component rate is 18 percent, and the hourly base wage rate is $10.00, then the benefit component is $1.80 per hour, and the “fully burdened” wage rate is $10.00 + $1.80 = $11.80. If the investment saves 120 hours of labor per year, then the labor savings benefitin the ROI analysis is $11.80 x 120 or $1,416 per year.Productivity improvement comes in many forms, but is not easily quantified. Suppose that an investment in video surveillance equipment allowed loss prevention agents to apprehend 15 percent more shoplifters per year than previously. Suppose further that the average value of each bust was $75.00, at retail, in recovered merchandise, and the number of annual cases had been 80 per year. A 15 percent increase in productivity allows the agent to work about twelve more cases, and results in an additional recovery of $900 at retail per year. Multiplying the amount of the recovery by the COGS of the items (55 percent) provides a benefit of $495 to the ROI analysis.How Do You Calculate ROI in Retail? A Real-World ExampleThe following simple real-world example will supply the data necessary to explain the analytical concepts discussed above.Suppose the management of the apparel chain mentioned above is trying to decide between installing EAS or video surveillance in a high-shortage store. The choice is between a simple EAS pedestal system with plastic tags and detachers versus an array of video domes interconnected to a monitor/switcher/recorder…nothing fancy. Suppose that the chain already used both countermeasures, and EAS has been proven to reduce inventory shortage by 50 percent and video by 35 percent. Assume, as we did above, that the store’s shortage is 5 percent of sales, and annual sales will be $1 million per year for each of the five years. The COGS for the protected items is 55 percent. The various costs have been identified and quantified in the chart:Shortage Reduction Benefit Calculation. In the EAS example, management expects shortage to decrease by 50 percent from 5.0 to 2.5 percent of sales and remain at the reduced level for the five-year time horizon of the project. The annual sales for the store is $1 million and the COGS for the protected items is 55 percent, so the annual ROI benefit from the estimated reduction in shortage is $13,750 per year.In the video surveillance example, management expects shortage to decrease by 35 percent from 5.0 to 3.25 percent of sales and remain at the reduced level for the five-year time horizon of the project. The annual sales and COGS are the same, so the annual ROI benefit from the estimated reduction in shortage is $9,625 per year.Choosing the Most Profitable Investment. Let’s calculate NPV and IRR for the competing technologies in our real-world example to answer the CFO’s questions from the opening paragraph:Will either countermeasure be profitable?Which one is more profitable?How long will it take to recover the investment?EAS—The annual benefit (at cost) from shortage reduction using the EAS technology is $13,750. From that we must account for all of the costs, beginning with the initial investment in EAS system, tags, and detachers, a total of $9,200. One-time preparation costs are $1,250. Both of these items must be depreciated. Annual costs include tagging and tag removal labor ($4,800) and tag replacement ($100). In years two through five there is an additional expense of $200 for maintenance. In addition, the impact of taxes (39%) and the cost of capital (8%) must be included. The results of these calculations are:Video Surveillance—The annual benefit (at cost) from shortage reduction using video technology is $9,625. From that we must account for all of the costs, beginning with the initial investment of $3,000 in the video domes, monitors, switchers, and recording device. One-time preparation costs are $1,010. Both of these items must be depreciated. Annual costs include system management labor ($6,000). In years two through five there is an additional expense of $100 for maintenance. In addition, the impact of taxes (39%) and the cost of capital (8%) must be included. The results of these calculations are:The Verdict Is EAS. Both countermeasures are profitable because the NPV calculations are greater than zero. The IRR calculations suggest that both generate a significant return over and above the 8 percent cost of capital used as the discount rate. Note, however, that the NPV for EAS ($15,400) is almost triple that of video ($5,900), and the IRR for EAS (65.08%) is almost 10 percentage points higher than that of video (55.12%).Based on these metrics, EAS is the countermeasure of choice. There are a couple of reasons. First, the assumed shortage reduction for EAS (50%) exceeded that of video (35%). Second, the annual costs for video in years two through five are higher.This article was originally published in 2010 and was updated February 19, 2018.  Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Delhi govt asks DMs to review court tribunal cases on fortnightly basis

first_imgNew Delhi: To streamline processing of court and tribunal cases, the Delhi government’s revenue department has issued guidelines, asking all district magistrates to review cases on a fortnightly basis and send a report.The department warned of disciplinary action against erring officers for any lapse in compliance of guidelines.The additional district magistrates will be the reviewing officer and an officer not below the rank of the tehsildar will be the nodal officer-legal-cum-parivi officer for all cases involving revenue districts, according to the the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe nodal officer-legal will maintain the complete record of all court and tribunal cases in electronic module with fortnightly printout of same to be kept on record.”The district magistrates shall also review the court/tribunal cases on a fortnightly basis and send a report to the Legal Branch HQ (headquarters) in the prescribed format…,” the guidelines stated.The district magistrates may also bring to the notice of divisional commissioner (headquarters-II) the matters for escalating to appropriate level if any lapse on the part of government counsel is observed.last_img read more

Alberta changing craft beer subsidy plan after trade ruling

first_imgEDMONTON – Alberta’s finance minister says the province will abide by a free trade ruling against its craft beer subsidies, but says the program will be replaced with something else.Joe Ceci says the province is committed to helping its craft brewing industry grow, especially given it faces stiff protectionist measures in other provinces.Ceci wouldn’t say what the changes will be.A three-member appeal panel upheld an earlier ruling that Alberta’s subsidy plan contravenes the Agreement on Internal Trade.For two years, Alberta has been taxing all beer producers at the same rate, but also giving grants to Alberta brewers.Artisan Ales, a Calgary-based importer, challenged the program, saying it was unfair and cut deeply into its sales.last_img

Lanka President Sirisena promises hoteliers maximum financial help to revive tourism

first_imgColombo: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has assured hoteliers that the government will give them maximum financial relief to revive the lucrative tourism industry hit by the country’s worst terror attack on Easter Sunday that killed 253 people, including 42 foreigners. Tourism accounts for about five per cent of Sri Lanka’s economy, with India, Britain and China being the main markets. India is the largest source market for Sri Lanka, which received 2.3 million tourists from around the world in 2018. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: ReportAround 450,000 Indian tourists visited Sri Lanka last year and the island nation was expecting the total Indian tourist arrivals to cross one million in 2019. President Sirisena acknowledged during his meeting on Monday with the country’s hoteliers that the tourism and hotel industries were worst hit after the string of powerful blasts ripped through three churches and as many luxury hotels on Easter Sunday, killing 253 people and injuring more than 500 others. Also Read – Iraq military admits ‘excessive force’ used in deadly protestsThe bombs tore through three five-star hotels in Colombo: the Cinnamon Grand, the Shangri La and the Kingsbury. Forty two foreigners, including 11 Indian nationals, died in the attacks. Sirisena requested Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy to provide “maximum financial relief” immediately to the hoteliers, Sunday Times reported. Hotels Association President Sanath Ukwatte said hoteliers had invested large sums of money in the development of the hotels and requested the government to provide a moratorium or waiver on the capital and interest for a period of at least two years. During the meeting, the hoteliers also asked the government to hire the services of a professional public relations and communications unit to send out one message to the world. President Sirisena agreed to appoint a Cabinet sub-committee to look into the requirements of the hoteliers, the report said.last_img read more

Laughter is not Medicine Study

first_imgEl Jaddida – A new scholarly review conducted by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) affirms the various risks of laughter on people.“Laughter is Medicine” has been around for a long time until researches carried by the BMJ unveiled the hidden drawbacks of laughter.According to the same study, laughter may cause jaws to dislocate, hernia to pop out, asthma attacks, headaches, cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat or abnormal heart rhythm), ribs to break if laughter is fierce and urinary tract problems when laughter is suppressed. However, despite the erstwhile drawbacks, doctors do not deny the advantages of laughter.For instance, it can reduce anger, anxiety and stress.It can also reduce cardiovascular tension, blood glucose concentration and risk of myocardial infarction.In short, before you decide to put a frown on your face, a nice smile is the best gift to give people around you. Smile and the world will smile back to you.last_img read more

In Cooperstown a Crowded Waiting Room

Jessie Schwartz for The New York Times Baseball writers elected no one to the Hall of Fame on Wednesday, despite what might have been the deepest ballot in years.The failure of the writers to pick Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens was not a surprise given the low vote totals received in the past by Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro, other players associated with the use performance-enhancing drugs. But the vote totals for Bonds and Clemens, just 36 and 38 percent, were lower than expected.Craig Biggio, who received 68.2 percent of the vote in his first year of eligibility, will almost certainly make it into the Hall of Fame someday. Still, his profile is quite similar to Robin Yount and Roberto Alomar, two players who did better in their first year on the ballot. (Yount got 77.5 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot in 1999, while Alomar got 73.7 percent of the vote in 2010 and made it in the next year.)Perhaps the clearest effect of the crowded ballot, however, was realized among candidates who were returning to the ballot from last year. Of the 13 players who carried over from the 2012 ballot, nine received a lower share of the vote, including Lee Smith, Alan Trammell, Fred McGriff, Don Mattingly and Bernie Williams.This is atypical; instead, players usually add votes with each additional year they spend on the ballot. Since 1967, when the Hall of Fame adopted balloting rules similar to the ones it uses now, about two-thirds of holdover players gained ground from their prior year’s vote percentage.It is possible to be a bit more precise about this pattern. Based on an analysis of Hall of Fame voting between 1967 and 2011, I found that the increase in a player’s vote total is typically proportional to his percentage from the previous year. In his second year on the ballot, for example, the typical player’s vote share increases by a multiple of about 1.1.Thus, a player who received 10 percent of the vote in his first year would be expected to receive about 11 percent on his second try, while a player who got 50 percent of the vote would go up to 55 percent.The pace of improvement is typically highest in the first several years that a player spends on the ballot, slowing down once he has been eligible five or six times. (The exception is in a player’s 15 and final year of eligibility, when he may receive a fairly large boost.) But these small percentage gains can add up, something like the way in which interest compounds over time. For example, as shown in the chart below, a player who gets just 30 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot would be projected to make it in on his 14th year of eligibility if he follows the formula each year.In practice, the growth in a player’s vote share is rarely this smooth — and you should not necessarily expect the pattern to hold for Bonds and Clemens. (Instructively, the vote shares for McGwire and Palmeiro have actually been declining.) Nonetheless, Hall of Fame candidates typically have a tailwind as time passes.This year, however, veterans on the Hall of Fame ballot faced a headwind instead. The next chart compares the actual vote that each player received against that projected by the historical formula. Actual results in 2013 compared to projections based on historical patterns.Twelve of the 13 players underperformed their projection; the exception was Dale Murphy, who got a larger-than-average boost in his final year of eligibility, but still came nowhere close to winning election.Even some players who gained ground did not necessarily help their chances. Jack Morris went from 66.7 percent of the vote to 67.7 percent, below his projection of 69.4 percent. The small difference could be important because next year will be Morris’s final year of eligibility, and he projects to be very close to the 75 percent threshold for election. (Perhaps the player who had the best year, instead, was Tim Raines, whose vote share grew to 52.2 percent from 48.7 percent, and who is now a clear favorite to be elected someday by the writers.)Most other players lost ground outright. Trammell, in his 12th year of eligibility, declined to 33.6 percent from 36.8 percent of the vote. He was an underdog to make it in before, but now he seems to have very little chance. The same also holds for Smith, who lost most of what he gained last year after years of stagnant vote totals.McGriff, as Joe Posnanski writes, seemed to be a plausible candidate to gain ground this year as writers sought out players who were perceived as clean, as opposed to known or suspected of steroid use. Instead, his vote share declined to 20.7 percent from 23.9 percent. Williams had received just under 10 percent of the vote in his first year of eligibility, but his case was not entirely hopeless; players like Bob Lemon and Carl Hubbell were eventually selected by the writers with a similar vote total in their first year.Instead, Williams fell below the 5 percent threshold required for a player to stay on the ballot.The crowded and confusing ballot may be affecting these players in several ways. The most obvious is that the writers are limited to voting for a maximum of 10 players. This year, according to the sample of ballots collected by the Twitter user @leokitty, 24 percent of writers used all 10 of their picks. That compares with 12 percent in 2011, and just 4 percent in 2012.Did the 10-vote limit keep Biggio and Morris out of the Hall of Fame, perhaps along with other players?Actually, it was almost certainly not responsible all by itself. Of the 24 percent of writers who used all 10 ballot slots, 90 percent did name Biggio, meaning 10 percent did not. At best, therefore, if all writers who exhausted their ballots would also have named Biggio if they had unlimited votes, he would have gotten only 10 percent of the 24 percent, adding only 2.4 percentage points to his overall vote total.The logic here is that it’s hard to make a case that Biggio was only the 11th or 12th best player on the ballot. Instead, most of the writers who left him out were probably more like Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Heyman wrote that he saw Biggio as the eighth best player on the ballot — but he also thought that only six were worthy of inclusion. Most of the writers who left Biggio out, in other words, were those who take a conservative overall approach to how many players they want in the Hall of Fame, and not those who ran out of ballot positions.Morris is a more debatable case. If all writers who maxed out their ballot slots had included him, he would have come very close to 75 percent of the vote. However, Morris is also a highly polarizing candidate. Those writers who included him often thought he was among the very best players on the ballot; on several ballots, in fact, Morris was the only player named. But other writers think he falls fall short of Hall of Fame standards and would not have picked him no matter how many votes they had to spare.Nor, obviously, were Bonds’s and Clemens’s totals affected to any material degree by the 10-player limit. Nobody left Bonds off their ballots because they thought he had only the 11th-best statistical record; they did so because they don’t think steroids users should be in the Hall of Fame. (In fact, most of the writers who maxed out their ballot slots included Bonds and Clemens; the writers who are willing to consider performance-enhancing drug users have much more crowded ballots than those who are not.)Instead, players like McGriff, Trammell, Williams and Edgar Martinez were probably most affected by the 10-player limit. The logic for McGriff, for example, is very close of the opposite of that which might be applied to Biggio. It’s fairly hard to sustain a case that McGriff was one of the best six or seven players on the ballot this year. But you might credibly argue that there is a glut of a dozen or so qualified players, McGriff among them, and you had to leave McGriff out because of the ballot limit.However, the players are not only being affected by those writers who ran out of ballot slots. There were a higher-than-average number of writers this year who listed very few players, or even none at all. Some 10 percent of voters named two or fewer players this year, according to Leokitty’s spreadsheet. That is lower than in 2012, an underwhelming year on the ballot, when 16 percent of voters did so.But it is less than 2009, 2010 or 2011, when between 3 and 8 percent of writers listed so few players. Some writers are deliberately listing very few players as a protest vote, whether against the steroids era or the Hall of Fame balloting process.Between the protest voters on the one hand, and the maxed-out voters on the other, the players are being squeezed at both ends.Finally, some players may be harmed by the psychology of the ballot. If Clemens were not on the ballot, for example, then you could credibly make a case that Curt Schilling was the best pitcher on the ballot (if you don’t think that Morris is). But Schilling’s accomplishments look poor by comparison to Clemens’s, as do those of almost any pitcher — even if you aren’t willing to vote for Clemens because of his steroids use. The same holds for outfielders whose statistics might be compared with Barry Bonds’s.There is even something to be said for the so-called “paradox of choice”: that when presented with too many options, we may be overwhelmed with information and have trouble making any decisions at all.Hall of Fame voting is ultimately designed to be a consensus process. One reason that players tend to gain votes over time is because the writers are looking at what their peers are doing and value the endorsements of their colleagues. Moreover, because they have as many as 15 chances to elect a player, many writers tend toward conservatism initially. There is no way to remove a player from the Hall of Fame once he has been elected, but you can change your mind to include him later. When a writer initially votes “no” on a player, it really means “wait and see” in many cases.But consensus is harder to achieve when members of a group have divergent values and ideologies. Instead of the typical friendly arguments about how a player’s lifetime accomplishments might be weighed against how dominant he was in his best seasons, or how to compare players at different positions, the writers are now spending most of their time arguing about who used steroids and when, and how this should affect Hall of Fame consideration. Many have passionate beliefs about this, whichever side of the argument they take. An increasing number of writers would like to elect a dozen or more players; an increasing number would like to lose the whole “steroids era” to history. Good-natured debates may be replaced by tactical considerations, as voters make guesses about who everyone else might vote for, or where their ballots might be wasted.Next year will place even more pressure on the voters, when Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas and Mike Mussina are added to the list of candidates. Those who apply little discount for steroids use may credibly claim to identify 15 or more qualified candidates, and even those who do not may have to drop one or two names that they otherwise see as worthy. The New York Times will probably not have to publish a blank page again, but no one but Maddux seems sure to make it in.,Jessie Schwartz for The New York Times Baseball writers elected no one to the Hall of Fame on Wednesday, despite what might have been the deepest ballot in years.The failure of the writers to pick Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens was not a surprise given the low vote totals received in the past by Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro, other players associated with the use performance-enhancing drugs. But the vote totals for Bonds and Clemens, just 36 and 38 percent, were lower than expected.Craig Biggio, who received 68.2 percent of the vote in his first year of eligibility, will almost certainly make it into the Hall of Fame someday. Still, his profile is quite similar to Robin Yount and Roberto Alomar, two players who did better in their first year on the ballot. (Yount got 77.5 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot in 1999, while Alomar got 73.7 percent of the vote in 2010 and made it in the next year.)Perhaps the clearest effect of the crowded ballot, however, was realized among candidates who were returning to the ballot from last year. Of the 13 players who carried over from the 2012 ballot, nine received a lower share of the vote, including Lee Smith, Alan Trammell, Fred McGriff, Don Mattingly and Bernie Williams.This is atypical; instead, players usually add votes with each additional year they spend on the ballot. Since 1967, when the Hall of Fame adopted balloting rules similar to the ones it uses now, about two-thirds of holdover players gained ground from their prior year’s vote percentage.It is possible to be a bit more precise about this pattern. Based on an analysis of Hall of Fame voting between 1967 and 2011, I found that the increase in a player’s vote total is typically proportional to his percentage from the previous year. In his second year on the ballot, for example, the typical player’s vote share increases by a multiple of about 1.1.Thus, a player who received 10 percent of the vote in his first year would be expected to receive about 11 percent on his second try, while a player who got 50 percent of the vote would go up to 55 percent.The pace of improvement is typically highest in the first several years that a player spends on the ballot, slowing down once he has been eligible five or six times. (The exception is in a player’s 15 and final year of eligibility, when he may receive a fairly large boost.) But these small percentage gains can add up, something like the way in which interest compounds over time. For example, as shown in the chart below, a player who gets just 30 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot would be projected to make it in on his 14th year of eligibility if he follows the formula each year.In practice, the growth in a player’s vote share is rarely this smooth — and you should not necessarily expect the pattern to hold for Bonds and Clemens. (Instructively, the vote shares for McGwire and Palmeiro have actually been declining.) Nonetheless, Hall of Fame candidates typically have a tailwind as time passes.This year, however, veterans on the Hall of Fame ballot faced a headwind instead. The next chart compares the actual vote that each player received against that projected by the historical formula. Actual results in 2013 compared to projections based on historical patterns.Twelve of the 13 players underperformed their projection; the exception was Dale Murphy, who got a larger-than-average boost in his final year of eligibility, but still came nowhere close to winning election.Even some players who gained ground did not necessarily help their chances. Jack Morris went from 66.7 percent of the vote to 67.7 percent, below his projection of 69.4 percent. The small difference could be important because next year will be Morris’s final year of eligibility, and he projects to be very close to the 75 percent threshold for election. (Perhaps the player who had the best year, instead, was Tim Raines, whose vote share grew to 52.2 percent from 48.7 percent, and who is now a clear favorite to be elected someday by the writers.)Most other players lost ground outright. Trammell, in his 12th year of eligibility, declined to 33.6 percent from 36.8 percent of the vote. He was an underdog to make it in before, but now he seems to have very little chance. The same also holds for Smith, who lost most of what he gained last year after years of stagnant vote totals.McGriff, as Joe Posnanski writes, seemed to be a plausible candidate to gain ground this year as writers sought out players who were perceived as clean, as opposed to known or suspected of steroid use. Instead, his vote share declined to 20.7 percent from 23.9 percent. Williams had received just under 10 percent of the vote in his first year of eligibility, but his case was not entirely hopeless; players like Bob Lemon and Carl Hubbell were eventually selected by the writers with a similar vote total in their first year.Instead, Williams fell below the 5 percent threshold required for a player to stay on the ballot.The crowded and confusing ballot may be affecting these players in several ways. The most obvious is that the writers are limited to voting for a maximum of 10 players. This year, according to the sample of ballots collected by the Twitter user @leokitty, 24 percent of writers used all 10 of their picks. That compares with 12 percent in 2011, and just 4 percent in 2012.Did the 10-vote limit keep Biggio and Morris out of the Hall of Fame, perhaps along with other players?Actually, it was almost certainly not responsible all by itself. Of the 24 percent of writers who used all 10 ballot slots, 90 percent did name Biggio, meaning 10 percent did not. At best, therefore, if all writers who exhausted their ballots would also have named Biggio if they had unlimited votes, he would have gotten only 10 percent of the 24 percent, adding only 2.4 percentage points to his overall vote total.The logic here is that it’s hard to make a case that Biggio was only the 11th or 12th best player on the ballot. Instead, most of the writers who left him out were probably more like Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Heyman wrote that he saw Biggio as the eighth best player on the ballot — but he also thought that only six were worthy of inclusion. Most of the writers who left Biggio out, in other words, were those who take a conservative overall approach to how many players they want in the Hall of Fame, and not those who ran out of ballot positions.Morris is a more debatable case. If all writers who maxed out their ballot slots had included him, he would have come very close to 75 percent of the vote. However, Morris is also a highly polarizing candidate. Those writers who included him often thought he was among the very best players on the ballot; on several ballots, in fact, Morris was the only player named. But other writers think he falls fall short of Hall of Fame standards and would not have picked him no matter how many votes they had to spare.Nor, obviously, were Bonds’s and Clemens’s totals affected to any material degree by the 10-player limit. Nobody left Bonds off their ballots because they thought he had only the 11th-best statistical record; they did so because they don’t think steroids users should be in the Hall of Fame. (In fact, most of the writers who maxed out their ballot slots included Bonds and Clemens; the writers who are willing to consider performance-enhancing drug users have much more crowded ballots than those who are not.)Instead, players like McGriff, Trammell, Williams and Edgar Martinez were probably most affected by the 10-player limit. The logic for McGriff, for example, is very close of the opposite of that which might be applied to Biggio. It’s fairly hard to sustain a case that McGriff was one of the best six or seven players on the ballot this year. But you might credibly argue that there is a glut of a dozen or so qualified players, McGriff among them, and you had to leave McGriff out because of the ballot limit.However, the players are not only being affected by those writers who ran out of ballot slots. There were a higher-than-average number of writers this year who listed very few players, or even none at all. Some 10 percent of voters named two or fewer players this year, according to Leokitty’s spreadsheet. That is lower than in 2012, an underwhelming year on the ballot, when 16 percent of voters did so.But it is less than 2009, 2010 or 2011, when between 3 and 8 percent of writers listed so few players. Some writers are deliberately listing very few players as a protest vote, whether against the steroids era or the Hall of Fame balloting process.Between the protest voters on the one hand, and the maxed-out voters on the other, the players are being squeezed at both ends.Finally, some players may be harmed by the psychology of the ballot. If Clemens were not on the ballot, for example, then you could credibly make a case that Curt Schilling was the best pitcher on the ballot (if you don’t think that Morris is). But Schilling’s accomplishments look poor by comparison to Clemens’s, as do those of almost any pitcher — even if you aren’t willing to vote for Clemens because of his steroids use. The same holds for outfielders whose statistics might be compared with Barry Bonds’s.There is even something to be said for the so-called “paradox of choice”: that when presented with too many options, we may be overwhelmed with information and have trouble making any decisions at all.Hall of Fame voting is ultimately designed to be a consensus process. One reason that players tend to gain votes over time is because the writers are looking at what their peers are doing and value the endorsements of their colleagues. Moreover, because they have as many as 15 chances to elect a player, many writers tend toward conservatism initially. There is no way to remove a player from the Hall of Fame once he has been elected, but you can change your mind to include him later. When a writer initially votes “no” on a player, it really means “wait and see” in many cases.But consensus is harder to achieve when members of a group have divergent values and ideologies. Instead of the typical friendly arguments about how a player’s lifetime accomplishments might be weighed against how dominant he was in his best seasons, or how to compare players at different positions, the writers are now spending most of their time arguing about who used steroids and when, and how this should affect Hall of Fame consideration. Many have passionate beliefs about this, whichever side of the argument they take. An increasing number of writers would like to elect a dozen or more players; an increasing number would like to lose the whole “steroids era” to history. Good-natured debates may be replaced by tactical considerations, as voters make guesses about who everyone else might vote for, or where their ballots might be wasted.Next year will place even more pressure on the voters, when Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas and Mike Mussina are added to the list of candidates. Those who apply little discount for steroids use may credibly claim to identify 15 or more qualified candidates, and even those who do not may have to drop one or two names that they otherwise see as worthy. The New York Times will probably not have to publish a blank page again, but no one but Maddux seems sure to make it in. read more

Mens hockey Late goals provided momentum in Game One against Michigan

Ohio State players celebrate after a goal by junior forward Kevin Miller. Credit: Nick Clarkson | Lantern reporterGoals within the final minute of periods have the ability to build momentum, and Ohio State took advantage by netting two of them.On Friday night, the Buckeyes (17-8-6, 8-6-1-1) defeated the Michigan Wolverines (9-17-3, 2-11-2-2) by a score of 4-2. While the Wolverines took the early lead, it was a breakthrough by OSU senior forward David Gust that swung the momentum of the game in favor of the Buckeyes.An interference penalty late in the first period on Michigan defenseman Joseph Cecconi provided the first of the influential power play goals.Sophomore forward Dakota Joshua attacked the net with a powerful wrist shot that deflected off of Michigan goalie Jack Lafontaine. Simultaneously, Gust set himself up in front of goal to put in the rebound with a backhand shot with less than a second left in the first period.In the second period, a late power-play goal by senior forward Nick Schilkey increased the Buckeyes’ lead to two goals. Schilkey set himself up for a rebound similar to Gust and put the puck in net with six seconds left. His 24th goal of the season turned out to be the final tally in the game.Coaches preach to their players that the final two minutes of every period are the most crucial times in a game, and OSU’s Steve Rohlik reaffirmed that message.“It was a difference in the game,” he said. “You score with 0.1 and six seconds left, it’s a heartbreaker for the other team.”The momentum these types of goals create were evident in the flow of the game. Following Gust’s tally, the Buckeyes picked up two quick second-period goals from junior forward Kevin Miller.“Getting (Gust’s late goal) gets us back in the hockey game and you want to build off of late goals like that one,” Joshua said. “We most certainly did coming out and getting those two goals in the second period.”Miller did not focus on his two quick goals, but rather the momentum Gust’s goal had heading into the first break.“You see it all the time in hockey. If there’s a late goal in a period, it really has some momentum heading into the intermission,” said Miller.For the team, OSU will look to carry the momentum gained from Friday’s game into Saturday’s rematch with Michigan. Puck drop is at 5 p.m. for their final regular season matchup with the Wolverines. read more

Ohio State mens tennis team seeks 1st NCAA championship

The Ohio State men’s tennis team will begin NCAA Tournament action at home Friday. The Buckeyes are going into the tournament as the No. 4 seed, and they will look to bring home their first-ever national title. Sixty-four teams from around the nation were selected May 3 to be part of the 2011 NCAA Championship Tournament. The Buckeyes were one of 31 teams that automatically qualified for the tournament by winning their conference championship. OSU earned that bid May 1, when it clinched its sixth consecutive Big Ten Tournament title in Madison, Wis. OSU will begin the NCAA Tournament with home-field advantage. The team will host Notre Dame, East Tennessee State and Ball State for the first two rounds of the six-round tournament Friday and Saturday. “It’s always much easier to win at home than on the road,” said coach Ty Tucker of the advantage. OSU (30-2) opens the NCAA Tournament against Ball State (15-14). The last time the Buckeyes played the Cardinals was during the 1994–95 season. Overall, OSU is 9-3 against Ball State. “After two weeks off, you have to establish in the first round that you’re ready to play,” Tucker said of the Friday match. If the team advances past the first two rounds, the Buckeyes will travel to Stanford, Calif., to compete. “We need to focus on the first two rounds,” senior co-captain Balazs Novak said. The biggest competitors the Buckeyes could face throughout the tournament are Virginia and USC, Tucker said. OSU lost to Virginia once already this season, 4-1, in February. “There are a lot of good teams,” senior co-captain Matt Allare said. “Virginia hasn’t been beaten at all, and USC are the back-to-back champions.” The last time the Buckeyes made it to the NCAA Tournament finals was in 2009, when they fell to USC, the reigning national champion. “We’re No. 4 in the nation, but you look at other teams and they’re so good,” senior co-captain Shuhei Uzawa said. “We just need to give it everything we’ve got.” Despite the tough competition, OSU’s ultimate goal is to bring home the national title. “That’s one of the three or four goals every year,” Tucker said. “I think that has to be the goal.” Novak said winning the championship title would be a great achievement for the team and that it would mean everything. The first match in Columbus will be between Notre Dame and East Tennessee State at 10 a.m. Friday at the Stickney Tennis Center. read more

Football DreMont Jones selected No 71 overall by Denver in 2019 NFL

Ohio State redshirt junior defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones (86) leads the Buckeyes out on the field to start the 2018 Spring Game on April 14, 2018. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for DesignOhio State produced its fifth defensive line prospect in two years Friday, when former defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones heard his name called as the No. 71 selection by the Denver Broncos in the 2019 NFL Draft.Jones finished his Ohio State career with 114 tackles (22 TFL), 9.5 sacks, three fumble recoveries and a pick-six this past season against TCU.The former Buckeye earned third-team all-Big Ten honors at defensive tackle in 2017, followed by first-team all-Big Ten honors in 2018.Jones’ redshirt junior season was arguably his best, as he finished with career-highs in tackles for loss (13) and sacks (8.5).The St. Ignatius product declared for the NFL Draft in the weeks prior to Ohio State’s contest against Washington in the Rose Bowl, but still participated in the game. read more

Pep Guardiola wants John Stones in midfield

first_imgManchester City manager Pep Guardiola is considering a midfield role for defender John Stones.John Stones made a brief cameo in an advanced midfield role on Sunday as Manchester City defeated Chelsea in the Community Shield match at Wembley.When captain Vincent Kompany came on as a late substitute in the 2-0 Community Shield win over Chelsea, Stones briefly moved up the field.Pep Guardiola was happy with what he saw and hinted at possible playing time in midfield for the Manchester City defender this season. FourFourTwo reports.“John made an excellent World Cup and showed again his personality,” Guardiola said.“I was happy to see him in the last 10 or 15 minutes like a holding midfielder. John maybe can play there. We will see what’s going on in the future.”Premier LeaguePremier League Betting: Match-day 5 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Going into the Premier League’s match-day five with a gap already beginning to form at the top of the league. We will take a…“In the Premier League, there are a huge amount of games and everybody will be involved.”When asked if John Stones will get regular playing time this season, Guardiola said.“John has to know he has to play at a good level because Vincent and Nico [Nicolas Otamendi] are there, and they are going to play.”“Then, they have to play good. In the higher teams in the top tier, when they play in all competitions, you need this kind of competition.”Manchester City remain favourite to win the league. Their league title defence starts away to Arsenal this weekend.last_img read more