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On Carlos Ruiz and Catcher Defense

On Carlos Ruiz and Catcher Defense

Carlos Ruiz picked a good time to nab his second base stealer of the year. If not for this rifle to get Gregor Blanco at second for the first out in the bottom of the ninth, Marco Scutaro gets walk-off winner with next at-bat, a double to center. The Phillies don't even get a chance.

Still, style points don't change Ruiz's concerning caught stealing line so far: 2 for 10 (.200).

That's worth watching. When you look back the explosion in Ruiz's production last year, when he failed a drug test for Adderall that triggered a 25-game ban, a significant uptick in his CS% was right along with it.

Before 2012, Ruiz had only once in his career gotten more than 30% of base stealers -- in 2007. His six-year career average was 26.3%. In 2011, he only caught 23.0% of 100 who tried.

Last year: 34.0% of a nearly identical number of attempts.

In relative terms, that was the difference between the worst of 11 qualifying catchers (Brian McCann) and cracking the top 5 in all of baseball.

How does that translate? Take away 13 base runners in scoring position, where on average ML teams drove in a run in about 35.1% of at-bats, and Ruiz arguably saved 4.5 more runs on SB attempts alone.

That doesn't even begin to factor in the difference of 10 extra outs, whether they ended in an inning, changed a strategy or killed the mojo of a rally. Clearly a big deal.

Ruiz hasn't said how much amphetamines helped his game. But when you consider what they do -- heighten focus, in some cases enough to create "tunnel vision" -- it stands to reason that a little extra concentration could go just as far behind the plate as it does at it.

Still, stolen base attempts don't occur in a vacuum. The pitcher (his handedness, delivery, even what pitch he's throwing) often determines whether the catcher even has a chance.

You could argue that for most of the eight steals on his record this year, Ruiz was toast from the start. Four came in the two starts when Roy Halladay realized things in his shoulder were fraying like twine. Two others were with rookie Jonathan Pettibone on the hill. Another, with the lumbering Phillippe Aumont.

In other words: 70% of Ruiz's stolen base equation this year weren't factors last year.

With rookie righty Tyler Cloyd joining the rotation Friday, and with lefty John Lanann likely out for at least another three weeks, Ruiz's help isn't likely to get better any time soon. So even if the company mattered more than the chemicals last  year, Ruiz needs to be sharp as he can be moving forward.

And yeah, breaking his 4 for 29 slump at the dish would be nice, too.

CSNPhilly Internship - Advertising/Sales

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CSNPhilly Internship - Advertising/Sales

Position Title: Intern
Department: Advertising/Sales
Company: Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia
# of hours / week: 10 – 20 hours

Deadline: November 20

Basic Function

This position will work closely with the Vice President of Sales in generating revenue through commercial advertisements and sponsorship sales. The intern will gain first-hand sales experience through working with Sales Assistants and AEs on pitches, sales-calls and recapping material.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Assist Account Executive on preparation of Sales Presentations
• Cultivate new account leads for local sales
• Track sponsorships in specified programs
• Assist as point of contact with sponsors on game night set up and pre-game hospitality elements.
• Assist with collection of all proof of performance materials.
• Perform Competitive Network Analysis
• Update Customer database
• Other various projects as assigned

Requirements

1. Good oral and written communication skills.
2. Knowledge of sports.
3. Ability to work non-traditional hours, weekends & holidays
4. Ability to work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment
5. Must be 19 years of age or older
6. Must be a student in pursuit of an Associate, Bachelor, Master or Juris Doctor degree
7. Must have unrestricted authorization to work in the US
8. Must have sophomore standing or above
9. Must have a 3.0 GPA

Interested students should apply here and specify they're interested in the ad/sales internship.

About NBC internships

Ex-Penn State president Graham Spanier's suit against ex-FBI boss dismissed

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Ex-Penn State president Graham Spanier's suit against ex-FBI boss dismissed

Former Penn State president Graham Spanier's criminal conviction means he is barred from pursuing defamation claims against former FBI director Louis Freeh, a judge ruled on Wednesday.

Spanier, who said Freeh made false statements about him in a scathing 2012 report on Penn State's handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal, was convicted in March of covering up a 2001 abuse allegation against the retired assistant football coach.

Citing Spanier's conviction, Freeh's lawyers argued the defamation suit should be dismissed. Senior Judge Robert Eby said in his ruling that lawyers for both sides agreed Spanier's conviction on a child endangerment count barred him from pursuing his civil claims.

Freeh, in a statement issued by his lawyer, said he was "not surprised that this frivolous and malicious claim has finally been dismissed."

Freeh concluded in his report for Penn State's board of trustees that Spanier, two other administrators and late football coach Joe Paterno concealed abuse allegations against Sandusky for more than a decade out of a desire to avoid bad publicity for the university.

Former athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz pleaded guilty to child endangerment and were sentenced to jail.

Spanier faces two months in jail but is free on bail while he appeals. He said in a statement Wednesday that he's confident he will win his appeal and will be able to resume his defamation case against Freeh.

Sandusky was found guilty in 2012 of sexually abusing 10 boys and is serving 30 to 60 years in prison. He has maintained his innocence.

Penn State has paid out nearly a quarter-billion dollars in fines, settlements and other costs associated with the sex abuse scandal, and the football program suffered heavy NCAA sanctions. More than 100 of Paterno's victories were briefly erased from the record books.

Paterno's family and supporters hotly dispute Freeh's findings.