Breakout prospects for 2020 |


Every organization takes pride in its ability to identify and develop talent. We’re the same way at MLB Pipeline, especially when it comes to predicting future breakout prospects.

Looking at last year’s list of breakout candidates, we see many examples of players who realized their potential en route to becoming some of the sport’s premier prospects. White Sox outfielder Luis Robert shot up from No. 44 to No. 3 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects list thanks to a 32-homer, 36-steal campaign across three levels, while Blue Jays right-hander Nate Pearson, another three-level climber in ‘19, ascended from No. 90 to No. 10.

With the start of the 2020 season around the corner, MLB Pipeline once again is picking one breakout candidate from each organization. And while some of the names on this year’s list might be more recognizable than others, they all have the potential to jump on the scene during the upcoming season and establish themselves as can’t-miss prospects.


Blue Jays: Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP (No. 6) — The Mets’ second-round pick from the 2018 Draft pitched better than his numbers suggest he did at Class A Columbia, and he made six impressive starts for Class A Advanced Dunedin after joining the Blue Jays in the Marcus Stroman Trade Deadline deal to finish his first full season with a 126/24 K/BB and .238 BAA in 106 2/3 innings. The 19-year-old righty is a high-ceiling pitching prospect, armed with a plus fastball-curveball combo, an advanced changeup and a mature overall feel for his craft that could help him move quickly through the Minors.

Orioles: DL Hall, LHP (No. 3, MLB No. 60) — Baltimore’s 2017 first-rounder boasts some of the best pure stuff in the Minors among left-handed pitching prospects, with a plus fastball-breaking ball pairing and a promising changeup. Hall’s overall control, however, leaves much to be desired after the 21-year-old southpaw issued 6.0 BB/9 over 80 2/3 innings last season at Class A Advanced Frederick. The good news is that Hall has never had any issues missing bats (11.1 K/9 across his first 185 1/3 pro frames) and continues to be tough to barrel (.201 BAA), so it’s easy to envision him taking a step forward in 2020 with improved strike-throwing ability.

Rays: Shane Baz, RHP (No. 7, MLB No. 94) — Acquired from the Pirates as the PTBNL in the lopsided Chris Archer deal, Baz spent all of 2019 at Class A Bowling Green in the Midwest League, pitching to a 2.99 ERA with 87 strikeouts and 37 walks in 81 1/3 innings (17 starts). He was especially good down the stretch, too, posting a 2.22 ERA over his final six regular-season starts for the Hot Rods before turning in an eye-opening performance in the Arizona Fall League. With a fastball that can touch triple digits, a devastating slider and a raw but promising changeup, the 20-year-old right-hander could develop into a front-of-the-rotation force if he can improve his control and command.

Red Sox: Gilberto Jimenez, OF (No. 7) — A $10,000 steal from the Dominican Republic in 2017, Jimenez skipped a level last season and led the short-season New York-Penn League in batting (.359) in his U.S. debut. The best center-field defender and one of the fastest runners in Boston’s system, he’ll make the jump to full-season ball in 2020.

Yankees: Clarke Schmidt, RHP (No. 5) — Schmidt had Tommy John surgery as a South Carolina junior a month before New York made him a first-round pick in the 2017 Draft. Though he has been brought back slowly, taking that summer off and totaling 114 innings in 2018-19, he already has reached Double-A and shows the makings of four plus pitches.


Indians: Aaron Bracho, 2B (No. 13) — Bracho’s advanced bat earned him a $1.5 million bonus out of Venezuela in 2017, but he didn’t make his pro debut until last season because he fractured his right arm in May 2018. A switch-hitter who possesses deceptive power and precocious command of the strike zone, he hit .296/.416/.593 in the Rookie-level Arizona League last summer.

Royals: Kyle Isbel, OF (No. 8) — The Royals were excited after Isbel’s exceptional pro debut after they took him in the third round of the 2018 Draft, but his 2019 season was interrupted by injuries and he played in just 59 games. He made up for lost time in the Arizona Fall League and should use his impressive .315/.429/.438 (leading the league in OBP) showing to catapult him to the upper levels of the system

Tigers: Parker Meadows, OF (No. 12) — The Tigers knew that Meadows — Rays outfielder Austin Meadows’ younger brother — would need time to develop when they selected the athletic prep outfielder in the second round of the 2017 Draft, and his .221/.296/.312 showing over 126 games at Class A West Michigan in his first full season only confirmed that assessment. However, the 6-foot-5, 205-pounder’s five-tool profile offers reason to be optimistic about his future, as all the raw qualities are in place for the 20-year-old to develop into an impact player.

Twins: Wander Javier, SS (No. 7) — While it’s true the Twins didn’t protect Javier on their 40-man roster this offseason, that was a relatively low-risk move given the shortstop hasn’t played above A ball. A torn labrum cost him the 2018 season and he struggled once he got to full-season ball for the first time in late May of 2019 (.177/.278/.323). But he still has tremendous tools, the ones the Twins saw when they gave him $4 million to sign in July 2015.

White Sox: Matthew Thompson, RHP (No. 13) — Before Chicago selected Thompson 45th overall last June, it had spent just two picks that early on high school pitchers in the previous 17 Drafts (Gio Gonzalez in 2004, Spencer Adams in 2013). Though he was inconsistent as a senior last spring, the White Sox love his athleticism and quick arm, which could result in a mid-90s fastball and plus curveball once he’s fully developed.


A’s: Marcus Smith, OF (No. 30) — The Kansas City high schooler was a bit of a surprise third-round pick, one who wasn’t on our Draft Top 200 list in 2019, but he sure made the A’s look smart during his relatively brief pro debut in the Arizona League (.361/.466/.443 in 29 games). That advanced approach should serve him well and let him use his 70-grade speed to his advantage in his first full season of pro ball.

Angels: Jeremiah Jackson, SS/2B (No. 4) — He’s yet to reach full-season ball, but he set the stage for the jump by leading the Pioneer League in home runs and RBIs in 2019. He’ll need to cut down on his strikeouts (33 percent rate), but he’ll also only be 20 for all of 2020, so there’s time for him to refine his approach and become a truly impactful middle infielder.

Astros: Jeremy Pena, SS/2B (No. 8) — The son of offensive-minded second baseman Geronimo Pena, Jeremy was one of the best defensive shortstops available in the college class of 2018, when Houston popped him in the third round out of Maine. His glove was as good as advertised in his first full pro season, when he exceeded expectations by batting .303/.385/.440 with 35 extra-base hits and 20 steals between two Class A levels.

Mariners: George Kirby, RHP (No. 6) — Kirby made a name for himself as a control artist at Elon University and parlayed that into being a first-round pick last June. He showed just how good that command was by not walking a single batter in 23 innings during his pro debut. Seen as a safe pick who could ride his pitchability quickly up a ladder, his first full season could show that he’s more than that, with the potential to join others from his class on our Top 100 in 2020.

Rangers: Cole Winn, RHP (No. 4) — One of the most polished high school pitchers in the 2018 Draft, Winn went 15th overall but struggled more than expected while being kept on a tight leash in his first full pro season in 2019. But he finished the year with a 2.81 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 51 1/3 innings over his final 12 starts, showing signs of a quality four-pitch mix once he dials in his command.


Braves: Bryce Ball, 1B — Ball spent two years in junior college before transferring to Dallas Baptist for his junior year. The Braves nabbed him in the 24th round of last June’s Draft after he hit .325/.443/.614 with 18 homers and then he hit 17 more combined in the Appalachian and South Atlantic Leagues during his pro debut. He might have the most power in the system and has already shown the ability to get to it.

Marlins: Braxton Garrett, LHP (No. 7) — The seventh overall pick in 2016, the Alabama high school product required Tommy John surgery after just four pro starts, costing him all of 2018. Garrett looked like his old self last season, pairing a low-90s fastball with a plus curveball in high Class A, and could move quickly in 2020 as he puts elbow reconstruction further behind him.

Mets: Francisco Alvarez, C (No. 5) — Alvarez’s $2.7 million bonus in July 2018 was one of the top totals handed out during the 2018-19 international period, and it wasn’t long thereafter that he began to receive rave reviews from those inside the organization. The Mets challenged Alvarez last summer in his pro debut, assigning him straight to the Rookie Gulf Coast League before a quick promotion to the Appalachian League, and the then-17-year-old backstop responded by slashing .312/.407/.510 with seven homers in 42 games between the two stops. The Venezuela native is already perhaps the best pure hitter in New York’s system, with defensive chops behind the plate that could make him an impactful two-way catcher.

Nationals: Jackson Rutledge, RHP (No. 3) Taken with the No. 17 overall pick in last year’s Draft, Rutledge, a 6-foot-8 right-hander, has some of the best pure stuff among college pitchers from his class with an explosive mid-90s fastball and a wipeout slider that front his four-pitch mix. Harnessing his stuff to throw more strikes and developing a better changeup will be developmental keys for the 20-year-old in his first full season, though he’s exactly the type of power pitcher the Nats have successfully developed in the past.

Phillies: Francisco Morales, RHP (No. 6) — One of the top pitchers in the 2016-17 international signing class, Morales has tremendous raw stuff. In many ways, it played well during his full-season debut in 2019, as he struck out just over 12 batters per nine innings and held hitters to a .226 batting average. He needs to refine his command to reach his very lofty ceiling, but here’s betting he takes a big step forward in 2020.


Brewers: Tristen Lutz, OF (No. 2) — Tabbed as the Brewers’ top breakout candidate a year ago, Lutz advanced to Class A Advanced Carolina in 2019 and produced a nearly identical line (.754 OPS, 13 HR, 137/46 K/BB) compared to his first full season (.742 OPS, 13 HR, 139/46 K/BB). The elevated strikeout rates fuel questions about the 21-year-old’s hit tool, but there’s a lot to like in his blend of right-handed power potential and patience at the plate. Lutz has the makings of becoming an everyday corner outfielder if it all clicks for him, and a strong showing at Double-A in 2020 would mark a significant turning point in his development.

Cardinals: Ivan Herrera, C (No. 6) — Signed out of Panama for $200,000 in July 2016, Herrera was pushed up to full-season ball at age 18 in 2019 and responded to the challenge by slashing .284/.374/.405 with nine home runs in 87 games across two levels, including Class A Advanced Palm Beach. Herrera continued to impress on both sides of the ball after the season as one of the Arizona Fall League’s youngest players and will enter 2020 with a big up arrow next to his name.

Cubs: Brennen Davis, OF (No. 3) — Though scouts considered Davis one of the better prep athletes in the 2018 Draft, a hamstring injury slowed him as a senior and helped Chicago grab him in the second round. More advanced than expected, he batted .305/.381/.525 and flashed 30-30 upside in low Class A last season — albeit while limited to 50 games by multiple finger injuries.

Pirates: Jared Oliva, OF (No. 11) — A seventh-round pick out of Arizona in 2017, Oliva has had a solid, if unspectacular, first two full seasons of pro ball with a career .274/.348/.403 line, to go along with an impressive 84 steals. He opened a lot of eyes by leading the AFL with 11 steals (in 12 attempts) and hitting .312/.413/.473, setting the stage for a big 2020.

Reds: Tyler Stephenson, C (No. 7) — The 2015 first-round pick got hit by the injury bug quite a bit during the first stages of his career, but he’s going to look back at 2019 as the year it all started to click. After a solid regular season in Double-A, the backstop had a very strong AFL campaign (.347/.372/.410 in 49 at-bats) to earn a spot on the 40-man roster. A big follow-up campaign should vault him onto the top catching prospects list and have him ready for Cincinnati.


D-backs: Kristian Robinson, OF (No. 2, MLB No. 71) — Signed out of the Bahamas for $2.5 million in July 2017, Robinson offered a glimpse of his potential in 2019 as he slashed .282/.386/.514 with 14 homers and 17 steals while ascending from Class A Short-Season Hillsboro to Class A Kane County in his age-18 season. The 6-foot-3 outfielder’s massive right-handed power highlights an all-around exceptional set of tools, and, overall, it gives him one of the higher ceilings in the Minors among teenage prospects.

Dodgers: Diego Cartaya, C (No. 11) — MLB Pipeline’s top-rated international amateur in the 2018 class, Cartaya signed for $2.5 million out of Venezuela. Often compared to Salvador Perez, he has the tools to make a difference offensively and defensively and hit .281/.343/.432 between two Rookie-ball stops in his 2019 pro debut.

Giants: Alexander Canario, OF (No. 7) — Signed for $60,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2019, Canario possesses the quickest bat in San Francisco’s system and batted .318/.377/.623 with 16 homers in 59 games between the Rookie and short-season levels last year. He fits the right-field profile well and could have even more value if he’s able to stick in center.

Padres: Reggie Lawson, RHP (No. 21) — The Padres’ second-round pick in the 2016 Draft, Lawson spent much of the ’19 season on the injured list with a balky right elbow, but he returned late in the season to make six starts for Double-A Amarillo, then dominated while making three impressive outings in the Arizona Fall League (0.82 ERA, 14 K, 11 IP), where he operated with a mid-90s fastball, a sharp, 12-to-6 curveball and a promising changeup. With his blend of size and stuff, Lawson could break out in earnest with a healthy 2020 campaign.

Rockies: Helcris Olivarez, LHP (No. 25) — Olivarez made his United States debut in 2019 and missed a lot of bats in the Pioneer League (11.76 K/9 in 46 2/3 IP), largely with a very lively fastball. He’ll need to improve his command (4.63 BB/9) and tighten up his secondary stuff, but the ingredients are all there for him to take a big step forward, perhaps with a move to full-season ball.

Jim Callis is a reporter for Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Related posts

What’s the big deal about wedding rings?

With Vera Chidi-maha

SEASON’s greetings my people!  Hope we are having moderated fun? It is important that we stay safe while celebrating the Yuletide and planning for the New Year. Wishing us all a productive 2020 ahead.

When I got married years ago, my hubby’s wedding ring never left his finger, not even when  asleep. I tell you, it was wonderful. I adored him for it.

It gave me a sense of security (You know the kind of feeling that assures one that other women would definitely keep off).

Just two years into our union, my bobo suddenly started forgetting to wear his wedding ring. For many days, I kept reminding him. Of course, each time I reminded him, he would snatch it from me and quickly put it on.

After playing the role of the constant reminder for some time, I had to give up. It finally dawned on me that this man does not want to wear the wedding ring anymore.

Many thoughts went through my mind. Could it be that he was having an affair and his new girl does not like his putting on his  wedding ring? Each time I tried to bring up the subject, he would shout me down. ‘What’s the big deal about putting on a wedding ring? Why do you like making a mountain out of a mole hill? Does the absence of a wedding ring negate my feelings for you? Listen, if you must know, the girls out there prefer to date men who spot on wedding rings’.

Before I could find my voice in response to his outburst, he continued, ‘Ladies, these days prefer dating married men. They know we are more caring than this small, small boys,

‘So, my darling wife, for the last time, stop making this ring an issue in this house. Ring or no ring I love you, it is you I chose to marry and that settles it’.

Read Also: How to deal with confessions in a relationship

Hmm, to say I was dumbfounded would be an understatement. I simply walked into the room and slammed the door. I mean, how could he justify what is wrong? Since we got married, my two rings have never left my finger (the wedding and the engagement rings). Why do I have to be the only one putting on my wedding ring? For me,

the ring means more than a wedding ring. It is more than that. It makes me feel responsible, owned. All I know is that it makes me feel complete. When I remove it, I feel like a lot is missing.

I sought to know the reason why some men had suddenly stopped putting on their wedding rings. The first person I spoke with was my boss in the office; it took him a few minutes before he could respond ‘my wedding ring? I simply don’t like wearing jewelleries’. (What an excuse!) So, a wedding ring blessed by a priest has suddenly become a mere  jewellery? Another respondent said, he is just wearing his ring to please his wife. (Hello, so the marriage is now one sided Abi? Hmm men!) When further asked where his ring was right now, he said it was in his pocket!

Another respondent claimed that he lost his wedding ring while driving. He said that the ring fell off as he was steering his wheels (Readers, if you believe this, you will believe anything!) he said he has not had the time to visit the goldsmith for another one.

Yet, another respondent claimed his ring suddenly became too tight for his finger, when he started adding weight and that he would fix it soon via expansion. (Since when did we start adding weight on our fingers?) Our men are never short of excuses.

Anyhow sha, we as wives wish our men good luck. Whatever it takes, we will not stop spotting on our wedding rings. We love you and we are proud of you. I want to use this medium to give accolades to our husbands out there that still proudly spot their wedding rings; the world appreciates you. Please do keep it up, you do make us proud. Cheers! Once again, Seasons Greetings!

Related posts

Everything You Need To Know About Nigeria’s Film Director, Tope Oshin-Ogun – How Nigeria News

person laptop

Tope Oshin is a Nigerian television and film director, producer and casting director. In 2015 Pulse magazine named her as one of “9 Nigerian female movie directors you should know” in the Nollywood film industry and in March 2018, in commemoration of the Women’s History Month, Tope was celebrated by OkayAfrica as one of the Okay100 Women.

The interactive campaign celebrates extraordinary women from Africa and the diaspora making waves across a wide array of industries, while driving positive impact in their communities and the world at large.

Tope hails from a devout Christian family. As a child she engaged in drawing, singing and dancing, and had aspirations to be a painter.

She studied economics at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State, but left the course to study Public Administration, and then Theatre Arts, TV & FIlm Production at Lagos State University.

She became more interested in filmmaking and later studied Film Production, and Cinematography at Colorado Film School of the Community College of Aurora, Denver, and Met Film School, Ealing Studios, London respectively.

Tope is also an alumnus of ‘Talents Durban’ and Berlinale Talents, a networking summit of select outstanding creatives from the world of film and drama series across the globe.

Tope, who was an actor for 12 years, featuring in films like Relentless (2010 film), cut her teeth in directing, working as an assistant director for The Apprentice Africa and has since become known for directing popular African TV dramas and soap operas such as Hush, Hotel Majestic, Tinsel (TV series) and Season 6 of MTV Shuga.

Though she has directed several introspective short films such as The Young Smoker, Till Death Do Us Part, New Horizons and Ireti, she is known for her 2012 feature film Journey to Self, and March 2018 feature film release New Money.

Oshin has produced some of the highest box office breaking movies in Nigeria, including the 2015 romantic film Fifty, about four fifty-year-old female Lagos residents, which broke box office records upon release in December 2015, taking N20 million in the first weekend and The Wedding Party 2, as at 2018, the highest grossing Nigerian film.

In 2016, she produced and directed the documentary, Amaka’s Kin: The Women Of Nollywood, as a memorial to prominent filmmaker Amaka Igwe, who died in 2014. The documentary addresses issues facing Nigerian female directors, working in a male-dominated industry.

As a follow up to her documentary, in 2017, and as part of the BBC 100 Women season, Tope celebrated the new generation of women filmmakers reinventing Nollywood, by presenting the BBC documentary Nigeria-Shooting It Like A Woman.

Apart from the BBC World Service documentary, Tope’s Amaka’s Kin – The Women Of Nollywood also influenced a lot of other TV shows and literary works alike, including Niran Adedokun’s book Ladies Calling the Shots.

Tope also has a thriving career as a Casting director and has cast for several film and television projects including all 3 Nigerian seasons of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation drama series Shuga.

Since 2015 till date, Tope has served as a juror for the International Emmy Award.


Related posts

How ‘The Good Place’ made the cast, creative team and maybe even the viewers better people

creative team and maybe even the viewers better people - CNN

(CNN)“It felt a little bit like what I imagine sending your kid off to college feels like,” says Kristen Bell about wrapping up “The Good Place,” currently in its fourth and final season on NBC. “It’s a good and bad feeling.”

“I refuse to spend my final moments being allowed to play with these people in misery — I think that would be pitiful,” says Bell. “I didn’t want to let that ruin it, because it is a gift. It really does feel like we did it for a reason, and when you see the ending you’ll know.”
When the finale comes, it will mark the end of a long, always fitfully funny but also moving journey of striving for enlightenment and self-betterment in the afterlife of a group of damned souls — Eleanor (Bell), Chidi (William Jackson Harper), Tahani (Jameela Jamil), Jason (Manny Jacinto), plus the reforming demon Michael (Ted Danson) and the ultimate Siri/celestial automaton Janet (D’Arcy Carden). It’s meaty philosophical, territory peppered with silly swear word substitutes.
    “I definitely felt the anxiety of landing the plane more acutely than in previous years,” the show’s creator and executive producer Michael Schur tells CNN. A veteran of “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” — two series both riotously funny and deeply warm-hearted which also struck pitch-perfect notes as they concluded — Schur admitted his team sweated many details crafting “The Good Place’s” endgame. “We spent a massive amount of time on the ending. Because we really wanted to get it right,”
    “I feel like we had a fairly good handle going into it, where our end point was,” says supervising producer and writer Jen Statsky, who explained that the series’ creative team constantly took a “forward-thinking” approach to the way the story unfolded season by season, neatly set up the story and character arcs to play out in subsequent episodes, which paid off as the final season was conceived. “You want to give the proper ending to these characters.”
    “And to make sure that we had covered all the ground we wanted to, and to be like, ‘Did we explore every facet of these characters and of the world?'” adds co-executive producer and writer Megan Amram, nodding to the rich, comic afterlife mythology the series has constructed. “In some ways we’ve been talking about the ending of the show almost since we started writing the show.”
    Thus the decision to end after four seasons, on their own terms, at a moment in time where broadcast networks tend to mine hit series for as long as they possibility can. When it became apparent that the fourth season would lead to the most organic and satisfying conclusion, NBC deferred to Schur’s creative vision. “We knew why [it was time to end], and it was because of the meaning of the show and it was because we were telling story that deserved its ending,” says Bell.
    As the cast and crew delved into the many ethically and morally thorny issues the show’s characters would have to contend with, they found themselves in an extended learning curve as they routinely consulted academic experts in fields such philosophy, neuroscience and criminal justice to bring nuance and context to the series. “We’ve learned so much about so much stuff,” says Schur. “It’s been like a rotating course of lectures that we’ve had in our writers room, and it’s been so fun.”
    “We’ve all been very lucky to work with various writers rooms before, but this is the first one that felt like a combination writers room/college course,” agrees Statsky. “And for a true dummy like myself, it’s been very enjoyable to just not only get to be at work, but get to be learning about these topics that I had no previous knowledge of.”
    “This is paying us to go to college,” laughs Amram.
    Bell says that by exploring such heady, meaningful topics, even through a comedic lens, had a profound effect on everyone involved in the show, leaving everyone considering seriously what it meant to make a positive impact, both on those around them and on a global scale.
    “There are these opposing theories in my head about ways to be, to state my opinion fighting for good or do it with my art, and I vacillate between the two,” says the actress. “This was one where I felt like I really did it with my art, where I was a part of saying some things that I wanted to put out in the world, and I was really lucky to be able to be offered a job that was both creatively fulfilling and emotionally fulfilling to my sort of maternal instincts towards the world…I hope to get both again, but this is a pretty lucky experience.”
    The show’s conceit, to strive to be better even in the face of eternal damnation, proved downright infectious.
    “In the fabric of the show we talk about, life is a lot of little choices,” says Amram. “The show helped me realize that going through my day, I am presented with a lot more moral decision-making than I had previously thought. And I try to always make this slightly better choice now. And I think that is what the show is about. It’s like, when presented with two things, think about it, and maybe try to make the slightly better choice.” As a result of her involvement on the show, for example, Amram committed to a vegetarian lifestyle.
    “I don’t think that I totally understood the level of which moral decision making can become a factor in your life, where from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep almost everything you do has a moral component,” says Schur. “It can drive you nuts. I’m not necessarily saying this is a good thing.”
    “We do it when we order lunch and when we have any big decision to make. You can get really paralyzed,” adds Schur, noting that the show used the character of Chidi and his inability to resolve micro-ethical considerations to illustrate the point.
    How 'The Good Place' made the cast
    “If you let the idea of making a moral decision infect your life to that level, you become a nonfunctioning human being,” he adds. “The important thing is that you think about it, and then the next most important thing is that you are okay with the idea that you’re going to blow it sometimes…You need to let yourself off the hook when you do things that aren’t exactly perfect.”
    It’s a quandary that resonates deeply for the actor who brings Chidi’s indecision to life.
    “A lot of that is a very intuitive manifestation of a lot of my own stuff,” says Harper. “Maybe it’s more universal than I thought. Maybe a lot of people feel that way, but I personally get stuck a lot, and I think that just seeing what that paralysis looks like can actually be freeing, because sometimes it’s really useful to see it from the outside, the commitment to an action or inaction, how frustrating that can be. Especially to someone who is like, ‘Any choice you make right now will be better than not making one’… The most salient thing about the show and especially about this character for me is that.”
    Harper says that as a result of being a part of “The Good Place,” on screen and off, he couldn’t resist a powerful impulse for self-improvement.
    “I’ve learned in a very visceral way that people make the world, and the world that we are so privileged to inhabit for these past four seasons is beautiful, and wonderful, and full of good feelings and positivity and kindness,” he says. “And there’s no way to have that environment at work and not feel like, ‘Well, why can’t this be what the rest of my life is like?’ So coming away from the show, I want to make sure that I try to put as much good into the world as I can going forward.”
    Much of that is a result of the people Schur invited in to “The Good Place’s” world, says Stasky.
    “Mike’s an expert picker of people to work on projects. He has a very good radar for good people who want to make good things and treat each other well in the process of making those things. He empowers people to feel like they are a part of the project, and that really I think creates this environment where everyone is just happy, they’re happy to come to work, they feel they have a stake in it, and it’s a fertile ground for relationships to grow.”
    Indeed, as the public face of the show, the cast has demonstrated an emotional investment in both “The Good Place” and one another that’s rare among even the oft-self-proclaimed “families” of other TV series. A recent panel at the Television Critics Association’s press tour found the actors all tearing up as Danson waxed poetic about what a gift the series had been to them. And the show’s fans are likely to have similarly intense feelings about its departure.
    But will it have a lingering effect on the way its viewers choose to impact the world?
    “I am extremely wary about ascribing success or failure to the show in any goal,” says Schur. “People used to ask if I felt like ‘Parks and Recreation’ had convinced people that government could be good or something.”
    “The only thing you can ever do is you can be very specific about what the show is saying. You can’t force people to hear the message or to react to it in any specific way,” he continues. “I don’t know whether people engage with the show purely comedically, or whether they engage with it spiritually, or academically, or whatever. I don’t think you can ever hope to control that. You can only say, ‘Here’s the thing: now it’s yours. You can react to it however you want.’ And we certainly have hopes that that’s true, but I don’t think there will ever be a meaningful way to gauge that.”
    Harper, however, offers anecdotal evidence to suggest otherwise.
      “I remember this one time there was a woman on a train who recognized me from the show, and we started crying,” he says. “I feel like there’s a real desire for people to see other people being good to each other, especially where we’re at right now in the country where it just doesn’t feel like that’s happening very much.”
      “It gives you hope that this is something that is possible, that there’s someone out here that’s thinking about these things, and putting it on television for people to watch.” Harper adds. “It must be comforting for people to know that people like Mike Schur exist.”

      Related posts

      How Colorados Robin Fraser is breaking ground for black coaches in MLS

      The longtime MLS assistant and former USA defender is only the second African American head coach in league history


      Robin Fraser stood stoic on the sideline at Red Bull Arena as the Colorado Rapids stymied the New York Red Bulls. To his right his former teammate, Chris Armas, was trying to rally the Red Bulls to come from behind, but a second Rapids goal has put the game to bed. It was the beginning of a stretch for the Colorado that would see the team win five out of six games, before falling just short of this seasons MLS playoffs.

      Really fucking good, that felt really good, Fraser said when a Rapids staffer asked him how he felt after the whistle. He had not held a head coaching job for nearly seven years when the Rapids offered him the opportunity to return to his native Denver. In that span, Fraser served as the tactician behind the Red Bulls Supporters Shield win in 2013, and was the assistant to long-time friend Greg Vanney when Toronto FC became the first MLS team to win a domestic treble in 2017 and came within a penalty shootout of winning the Concacaf Champions League the following spring.

      When Fraser took the sidelines again, it ended a span of over year in which MLS did not have a black coach. He is the fifth black coach ever in MLS and just the second African American. Before the Rapids offer came along, Fraser had been linked with several opportunities when he was an assistant. In interviews with the Guardianand others, Fraser said he didnt think race played a role in whether he was passed over for previous opportunities.

      Although MLS has its own version of the Rooney Rule mandating teams to interview minority candidates for any coaching or technical staff position there are few African Americans on backroom staffs. One reason is the relatively high cost of coaching courses with A license courses costing $4,000. These costs weigh heavier on members of disadvantaged communities. The FA acknowledged this and implemented grants for coaches from black, asian and minority ethnicities to cover Uefa coaching costs, but USSF has not implemented a similar program. Still, Fraser said he saw the makeup of his coaching classes diversify.

      Once upon a time, it was easier to go get licensed, but the courses now are far more detailed and as a result we are on the cusp of coaches becoming better and its something that Ive seen over the last five or six years, Fraser said. I feel like over the last five or six years, the coaching has gotten better because of the education and coaches are learning in a number of these advanced courses that are being offered.

      Fraser said he was able to move more quickly through the process because he was a former player. US Soccers Pro License is only available to professional coaches. He said he has noticed that there are more minorities in the coaching classes that he recently took than when he began his education more than a decade ago.

      When I did the Pro Course, it was only 12 to 15 people so its hard for me to say what the courses look like, but I do think there is a greater diversity of coaches coming through the courses, Fraser said. Its a function of the net being wider and more people playing. Theres a greater diversity of players and that means theres a greater of ex-players who are trying to be coaches.

      Colorado Rapids (@ColoradoRapids)

      Read more:

      Related posts

      Dish customers lose FOX, FS1 amid carriage dispute as NFL, MLB seasons heat up

      news Dish customers can’t watch FOX, FS1, FS2, Big Ten Network and Fox Deporte because of a carriage dispute.

      Dish subscribers will miss critical sporting events as the satellite and streaming service blacked out FOX amid a carriage dispute.

      FOX-owned cable channels FS1, FS2, Big Ten Network, Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Deportes are also dark for Dish customers. FOX launched a website dedicated to informing viewers on the blackout that impacts 17 markets across 23 states plus Washington D.C.


      “DISH is at it again, choosing to drop leading programming as a negotiating tactic regardless of the impact on its own customers. DISH elected to drop FOX networks in an effort to coerce us to agree to outrageous demands. While we regret this is DISH’s preferred approach to negotiating, we remind our loyal viewers that the FOX services are widely available through every other major television provider,” FOX wrote on the site.

      Dish issued a press release outlining its side of the story and urging FOX to focus on “reaching a fair deal.”

      The blackout comes at an unfortunate time for viewers, as FOX heads into a weekend filled with marquee college football games, pivotal Major League Baseball games and Week 4 of the NFL season.

      FOX’s Week 4 NFL games include the Washington Redskins at New York Giants, Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs at Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams.

      news NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes’ Kansas City Chiefs visit the Detroit Lions Sunday on FOX. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

      Customers will continue to miss major live sporting events if the blackout continues past the weekend, as a doubleheader of Major League Baseball playoff games is scheduled for Oct. 4 on a FS1.


      FS1 and FOX will continue to carry MLB playoff games for the duration of the month, ending with exclusive coverage of the World Series.

      The Rams visit the Seattle Seahawks on FOX’s “Thursday Night Football” and WWE’s highly anticipated “Friday Night SmackDown” also debuts on FOX next week.

      In addition to the live events, Dish customers will miss hit shows such as “The Masked Singer,” “Fox News Sunday,” “Empire,” “9-1-1,” “The Simpsons” and “The Resident.”

      Neither Fox News Channel nor Fox Business Network is impacted by the blackout.

      Related posts

      Emmys 2019 predictions: who will win, and who should win?

      Another competitive year pits old favorites against critically acclaimed upstarts. Will there be a Game of Thrones victory lap? Will Fleabag upset Veep?

      Awards and prizes

      Outstanding Drama Series

      The Emmys conversation is dominated, of course, by Game of Thrones, HBOs decade-defining, lavish fantasy epic that wrapped after eight sprawling seasons this spring. Thrones is an Emmys juggernaut it won for best drama series in its last three eligible seasons (2015, 2016 and 2018) and is nominated for 32 awards this year, the most for any single season of television, ever. (The show already won 10 awards at last weekends Creative Arts Emmys). The question this year, however, is whether the majority of the 24,000 Emmy voters will still reward Game of Thrones after a divisive, narratively uneven final season. Thats likely to be the case, especially with traditional rivals such as The Handmaids Tale, Stranger Things and The Americans no longer in the running. But younger, smaller shows could spoil the victory lap; HBOs other entry, Succession, received five nominations for its critically acclaimed first season, and BBC Americas Killing Eve could ride a solid second season and the wave of popularity for stars Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer and creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge to a win. Other nominees Better Call Saul, Pose, Ozark, This Is Us and Bodyguard all have sizable audiences and, for the most part, critical praise, but probably lack the momentum to topple Westerosi dominance.

      Will win: Game of Thrones

      Should win: Succession

      Outstanding Comedy Series

      Its a testament to the ever-expanding state of comedy in 2019 that despite a near-total turnover in nominees, last years most competitive category remains as tight and stacked this year. The only returning nominees from 2018 are HBOs critically adored Barry and the defending champion, Amazons The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. The 50s-set comedy, with 20 nominations, has broad support among Emmy voters, but as in outstanding drama, the sentimental favorite here is a beloved HBO series in its final season: Veep. Veep has won twice already, and though its final season was, like Game of Thrones, not of its previous caliber, the series could still win based on the popularity of its star, Emmys mainstay Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

      Phoebe Waller-Bridge in the second season of Amazons Fleabag. Photograph: BBC/Two Brothers/Steve Schofield

      But both frontrunners contend with several strong, and popular, new entries. Barrys brilliant dark comedy Bill Hader as a hitman trying to become an actor could take home a win for its second season, as could the searing sophomore season of Phoebe Waller-Bridges Fleabag. And Russian Doll, shepherded by comedy veterans Natasha Lyonne and Amy Poehler, enjoyed a splashy, moment-seizing debut early this year. Schitts Creek and The Good Place, though broadly appealing, are long shots.

      Will win: The Marvelous Mrs Maisel

      Should win: Fleabag

      Outstanding Limited Series

      Its a year of strong entries for limited series: the moody, ephemeral Sharp Objects topped several critics lists (though its Emmys stock has dropped considerably since the show premiered in summer 2018), Showtimes Escape from Dannemora earned solid, if not overwhelming, positive interest, and Fosse/Verdon effectively revised the history of a storied Broadway partnership. But theres really just two options for the Emmy, both 80s-set historical dramas that mine famous tragedies for searing cultural and political relevance. Will voters go for HBOs meticulously crafted, expertly adapted Chernobyl? Or the wounding, pristine When They See Us, Ava DuVernays mini-series on the Central Park Five?

      Will win: Chernobyl

      Should win: When They See Us

      Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama

      Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer in Killing Eve. Photograph: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy Stock Photo

      With last years champion, Claire Foy, and Elisabeth Moss not in contention, the race for best dramatic actress is fairly wide open, though given her recent Golden Globe and SAG awards, Sandra Oh in Killing Eve is the favorite. Ohs most likely rival is her co-star, Jodie Comer, whose scene-stealing turn as the serial contract killer Villanelle only turned more heads in the second season. Emmy voters could, however, choose to reward Emilia Clarke, nominated four times but with no wins, for her nearly decade-long work and an especially heavy lift in the final season as Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones. Theres an outside chance each for established awards favorites Laura Linney (Ozark) and Viola Davis (How to Get Away With Murder). Mandy Moores nomination is already a win for This Is Us, and it seems unlikely Emmy voters will pick Robin Wright (House of Cards) for a show that has faded significantly.

      Will win: Sandra Oh (Killing Eve)

      Should win: Jodie Comer (Killing Eve)

      Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama

      This could be Bob Odenkirks year the much-loved star of Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul has lost three previous nominations (to Jon Hamm, Rami Malek and Sterling K Brown). But Billy Porters electric performance in Pose could sway voters, and never count out a representative from Westeros (Kit Harington has never won for his portrayal of Jon Snow on Game of Thrones). Bateman, as the director-star of Ozark, has years of TV cred playing in his favor, while Sterling K Browns performance in This Is Us has already garnered him the award. Milo Ventimiglias nomination is, like his co-star Mandy Moores, itself a win for the lone network series represented in the category.

      Will win: Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)

      Should win: Billy Porter (Pose)

      Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy

      This year will mark either a triumphant return to tradition or a changing of the guard for best comedy actress. The obvious favorite is Julia Louis-Dreyfus for the final season of Veep. Louis-Dreyfus has won six (six!) times before for her role as Selina Meyer, though a year of ineligibility last year opened up the door for Rachel Brosnahan as the star of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. In any other year, Brosnahan could confidently assume a repeat, but competition this year is stiff, even outside of Louis-Dreyfus. Phoebe Waller-Bridge was luminous as the triple threat creator/writer/star of Fleabag. Natasha Lyonne had a breakout year in Russian Doll, and Catherine OHara who last won an Emmy in 1981 has decades of goodwill and a passionate fanbase for Schitts Creek on her side. Christina Applegate (Dead To Me) is unlikely to eke out a win, but crazier things have happened.

      Will win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep)

      Should win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep) or Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag)

      Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy

      Bill Hader as a hitman turned struggling actor in Barry. Photograph: HBO

      Last years winner, Bill Hader, returns again with a strong case for the second season of Barry, though he could be unseated by two popular TV veterans: Ted Danson, for network darling The Good Place, and Eugene Levy of cult-favorite Schitts Creek. If anyone outside those three were to score an upset, it would probably be Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method), a six-time nominee who last won in 2013 for Behind the Candelabra. Don Cheadle (Black Monday) and Anthony Anderson (Black-ish) have each delivered solid work beyond their respective TV seasons, but thats unlikely to stem the tide of support for Hader, Danson or Levy.

      Will win: Bill Hader (Barry)

      Should win: Bill Hader (Barry)

      Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie

      Yet another strong category pits industry favorites Patricia Arquette (Showtimes Escape from Dannemora), Michelle Williams (FXs Fosse/Verdon) against relative newcomers Joey King (Hulus The Act) and Aunjanue Ellis (Netflixs When They See Us). Williams likely has the edge, given the overwhelming critical praise for her portrayal of old Hollywoods Gwen Verdon. But awards regular Arquette, also nominated for best supporting actress in a limited series for The Act, might eke out the win. The prospects for Amy Adams, once a frontrunner, have dimmed in the more than year since Sharp Objects premiered. Niecy Nash is also a possible spoiler for When They See Us.

      Will win: Michelle Williams (Fosse/Verdon)

      Should win: Michelle Williams (Fosse/Verdon)

      Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie

      Jharrel Jerome in When They See Us. Photograph: Atsushi Nishijima/Netflix

      Benicio Del Toro (Escape at Dannemora), Hugh Grant (A Very English Scandal), Sam Rockwell (Fosse/Verdon), and Mahershala Ali (True Detective) all achieved solid performances, but go up against the surging popularity for actors from the two defining mini-series of the year: Jared Harris of Chernobyl and Jharrel Jerome of When They See Us. The winner probably depends on the outcome of best limited series: the Emmys will want to reward When They See Us somewhere, and Jeromes turn, as the only actor to carry his character through the full series arc, was devastating.

      Will win: Jharrel Jerome (When They See Us)

      Should win: Jharrel Jerome (When They See Us) or Jared Harris (Chernobyl)

      Outstanding Variety Talk Series

      At this point, all the nominated variety talk series either cover basically the same political material Trump and his headline-grabbing scandals, from Sharpie-edited maps to the Mueller report or riff on friendly celebrity chats and games. The two exceptions are the weeklies Full Frontal With Samantha Bee (TBS) and HBOs Last Week Tonight with John Oliver which have more time to select and dig deeper into larger, more opaque subjects. Emmy voters are more likely to reward John Olivers unabashed, absolutely no-bullshit HBO show, but the real outstanding star is Colbert, whose consistency five nights a week outpaces all the other hosts.

      Will win: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver

      Should win: The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

      Outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series

      Anthony Carrigan (Barry)

      Stephen Root (Barry) Will win

      Henry Winkler (Barry)

      Alan Arkin (The Kominsky Method)

      Tony Shalhoub (The Marvelous Mrs Maisel) Should win

      Tony Hale (Veep)

      Outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series

      Sarah Goldberg (Barry)

      Sian Clifford (Fleabag)

      Olivia Coleman (Fleabag)

      Betty Gilpin (GLOW)

      Alex Borstein (The Marvelous Mrs Maisel) Will win

      Marin Hinkle (The Marvelous Mrs Maisel)

      Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live)

      Anna Chlumsky (Veep) Should win

      Outstanding supporting actor in a drama series

      Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones. Photograph: Associated Press

      Jonathan Banks (Better Call Saul) Should win

      Giancarlo Esposito (Better Call Saul)

      Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones)

      Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones)

      Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) Will win

      Michael Kelly (House of Cards)

      Chris Sullivan (This Is Us)

      Outstanding supporting actress in a drama series

      Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones)

      Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) Will win, Should win

      Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones)

      Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones)

      Fiona Shaw (Killing Eve)

      Julia Garner (Ozark)

      Outstanding supporting actor in a limited series or TV movie

      Stellan Skarsgrd (Chernobyl)

      Paul Dano (Escape at Dannemora)

      Ben Whishaw (A Very English Scandal)

      Aante Blackk (When They See Us)

      John Leguizamo (When They See Us)

      Michael K Williams (When They See Us) Will Win, Should Win

      Outstanding supporting actress in a limited series or TV movie

      Patricia Arquette (The Act)

      Marsha Stephanie Blake (When They See Us)

      Patricia Clarkson (Sharp Objects) Will win, Should win

      Vera Farmiga (When They See Us)

      Margaret Qualley (Fosse/Verdon)

      Emily Watson (Chernobyl)

      Related posts

      The Bachelorette Is The Worst Show On Television, So Why Do I Never Miss An Episode?

      I’m about to make a bold statement, so hold onto your hats!

      I love watching The Bachelorette.

      I already know what you’re thinking. Yes, I know it’s generally degrading. I know it makes otherwise good folks look like imbeciles. I know I’m being emotionally manipulated by myriad producers and editors whose sole job is to secure ratings. I know, I get it. But, ain’t ya ever heard of a guilty pleasure afore?

      Growing up, I watched only a handful of episodes from a couple seasons. I was first introduced to the show at 13, when I began to see Trista Rehn‘s face on the cover of every tabloid magazine at the grocery checkout. I remember being fascinated with the show’s concept. A bunch of dudes fight over one girl and then she has to pick her favorite ultimately making him the “winner.” But “winner” of what? Her heart? A game? Both? That sounds like fun!

      Thankfully, as a young adult, I didn’t waste my time being sucked into Bachelor Nation (the title given to super fans, ya know like Dead HeadsLittle Monsters, or Beliebers). No, as a young person I spent my time on more important things. (Like watching every episode of  and)

      It was until my mid-twenties that I officially joined the “Nation.” Now, the show has me dutifully plopped in front of a television set every Monday night.

      And I’ve done a lot of thinking and asked myself some pointed questions: Why do I love this show so much? Why do I look forward to Monday nights with such fervor? Why do I ignore the unrealistic message it’s sending to folks about relationships and love? Am I morally obligated to denounce the show in the name of feminism while saving my own dignity?

      While these are important and reflective questions to ponder, I already know the overarching answer is a blunt no. No, I won’t stop watching this show for the foreseeable future. But now, it’s time for my reasons…

      Why do I love this show so much?

      The simple answer (and arguably the most important): it’s entertaining. The folks who produce this show have gotten things down to a perfect science. They know exactly how to craft an episode or season’s trailer to leave you excited and salivating. Now, I’m not saying it’s great television. It’s trash. But like a crappy romance or dime-store novel, you just can’t help but turn the page. Or in this case, endure the commercials.

      Why do I look forward to Monday nights with such fervor?

      You know how folks love to get together for the Super Bowl? No matter who you are, how little you care about sports, or how much you hate Tom Brady, everyone LOVES to watch the Super Bowl. It’s a gathering. An excuse to get together with friends and family. A reason to pull out the old Crock-Pot and make Mom’s chili. A great opportunity to clink your beers and cheer on a team. Doesn’t matter which one, just pick a side.

      You see where I’m going with this… Monday’s are an excuse to get together with my girlfriends and sisters. Drink rosé and predict what might happen after the commercial break. Will the cocktail party be canceled tonight? Is Luke P finally going the f*$% home? Then there are all the mid-week, post-show convos. Are you all caught up yet? What did you think of Jed? Yeah, I’m free for lunch on Thursday!

      The Bachelorette is a really great excuse to hang out.

      Why do I ignore the unrealistic message it’s sending to folks about relationships and love?

      Let me rephrase this question: is it wrong for me to support a show that so inaccurately and unrealistically depicts relationships and love? I guess this question goes hand in hand with “Am I morally obligated to denounce the show in the name of feminism while saving my own dignity?” My answer to both is: no.


      There. I said it.

      No, it’s not normal to date 30 people at the same time. No, it’s not normal to “need” to hear that someone “loves” you after 4 dates. And no, it’s not normal to truly and firmly believe that a man you’ve known for less than six weeks should propose to you. My biggest pet peeve with the show — other than repeatedly hearing Chris Harrison say “The most dramatic (insert noun) ever is about to begin!” — is how contestants seem to forget that other people exist on Planet Earth.

      “No!” they say, “I want THAT ONE!” And we all know that has to do with the chase and competitive nature of the show. It’s not so much that they’re in love with the Bachelor or Bachelorette, they really just want to win. And then, maybe they can go on to do something really great with their lives, like use Instagram to promote products they don’t even use themselves. FabFitFun codes for everyone!

      Here’s the thing, the people that decide to go on the show, know exactly what they’re signing up for. They know they’re going to get to meet cool people, grow their Instafollowing, travel all over, and hey, maybe they’ll get engaged to someone. If it’s truly real love, they’ll stick it out. If not, they’ll announce it in an Instagram post and then move on with their lives, FabFitFun commission check in tow.

      Oh and as far as my own personal dignity goes, I’m pretty proud of its current state and not watching a vapid reality show isn’t going to make me “better than anyone else.”

      Now, let’s all cross our fingers and hope Hannah B. picks Tyler C.


      Related posts

      Climate change and the US south for a year

      I crisscrossed a region my own that is mired in a culture of denial and delay. The conversation on the climate crisis has not changed fast enough


      Its 96 degrees in downtown Beaufort, North Carolina, a place where I spent much of my childhood. The sidewalk is too hot for dogs to walk on. The iconic wild horses, visible on Shackleford Banks, wade in the marsh, munching cordgrass. Ive been watching the horses since I was in elementary school, and now Im sharing them with my elementary school-aged daughters on summer vacation.

      My girls love them, as I did. The legend is that the horses swam to safety from an old Spanish shipwreck. Its moving to watch the small, strong horses grazing on the dunes. For now, theyve survived the latest big hurricane, and theyre free.

      The 100 or so wild horses have one square kilometer of high ground on which to weather hurricanes and sea level rise, and a shortage of fresh water endangered by encroaching salt water and storm surge. Some scientists recommend that the Shackleford horses be relocated, although they have been there for centuries.

      The story is a familiar one that will be told in a thousand different ways as the atmosphere warms in the years to come: we must think creatively and quickly to save the things we love.

      I wrote my Climate Changed column between hurricane seasons, in the wake of Hurricane Florence and before the start of Hurricane Barry. I close the column from Beaufort, a place where Florence brought a record storm surge; it caused $17bn in damage to the state. As my daughters and I drive over the bridge into Morehead City, I see bulldozers still clearing the last of the Channel Marker restaurant, a fixture of Atlantic Beach flooded during Florence.

      I thought that Hurricane Florence might serve as a turning point in the conversation about the realities of climate change in a region still mired in a culture of denial and delay. After a year of research and reporting, I am not convinced that the conversation has changed fast enough, if much at all. Here in Beaufort, like Miami and Charleston, I encounter deniers, continued waterfront development, hurricane damage and blistering temperatures.

      A great blue heron is silhouetted by the reflection of the rising sun at Lake Johnson Park in Raleigh. Photograph: Alamy


      If there is any part of the south where technology, tax dollars and public opinion are aligning to make changes, its Miami, even though new waterfront real estate is still being built. But for the most part, climate change discussions continue to fall along party lines in a divided nation. To many rural southerners, the bigger, well-funded environmental movements seem to be rooted in California and New England. The conversations appear to be taking place in the echo chamber of privileged believers.

      I saw more of the south while reporting for this column than I ever saw in my 30 years of living there. My travel reinforced what I already knew: there is no one south. In 2019 it is multitudinous, diverse and still reckoning with its plantation economy and cruel social history. It has PhDs, evangelicals, Trump enthusiasts, environmentalists, artists and activists. Its this very tension that has often made the south the genesis of social movements; one hopes it might happen again, and soon.

      Social and environmental racism, income inequality and poverty are as present as they have ever been, and are only weaponized by climate change, as I reported from Virginia and Natchez, Mississippi.

      I found that in places like eastern North Carolina, the river parishes of Louisiana, Miami, and Mississippis Gulf coast, chronic exposure to natural disasters has resulted in psychological resilience, and created a desire in some to go down with the ship. In places like New Orleans, trauma strengthens the sense of community. As Tropical Storm Barry moved in to New Orleans, I emailed with former interviewees who shared forecasts and concerns. Im gritting my teeth, one wrote. But Im not evacuating. Home is sometimes more an emotional than a rational commitment.

      In eastern North Carolina, where I grew up and write from, climate change was never a polite topic of conversation. I was told the same in a coffee shop in Mississippi, and by a minister in Georgia. Too many southerners are still dancing around the reality of climate change, and the cost of avoiding the conversation is going to be steep.

      What does a better and more inclusive conversation look like? Non-traditional environmentalists can be critical allies in addressing the culture of climate change denial below the Mason-Dixon Line, like hunters in Arkansas and evangelical Christians in places like St Simons, Georgia. But too often, the perspectives and interests of frontline communities are ignored, further exacerbating the environmental racism so pervasive in the south.

      When it comes to climate change preparedness in this region, part of the continued challenge is that the power structures of the old south remain in place. A Pew survey indicated that white evangelical protestants are the least likely to profess a belief in climate change. Power companies, developers and conservative politicians have a vested interest in deregulation and maintaining the environmental status quo, and many paint environmental concerns as nothing but liberal pagan ideas.

      When I began this column, I felt more of a duty to listen to all sides, but frankly I do not believe that climate change is an issue of which one can pretend, or afford, to hear both sides. I believe that to deny climate change and delay productive action in 2019 is malicious and akin to governmental malpractice. A government that is not actively protecting its citizens from the future challenges of climate change (property loss, food system collapse, increased intensity of storms, flooded infrastructure, extreme heat, economic disruption) is not acting in the interests of its citizens. A politician who delays climate action is not acting in his or her constituents best interests, and may be going so far as to actually cause harm.

      We do not need to hear another word from deniers, or cater to their anti-science position. Something the progressive south has always struggled to do: take the megaphone away from the people who want to live in the past.

      Now that Ive seen more of the south, I cant help but feel losses and concerns in a specific way. As I began to write this final column, a fire raged through the Everglades, which I had driven through just months before. Storms threatened to challenge the already saturated Mississippi and its river control structures. I thought about the gators in the marsh, the last wild panthers darting to safety in the Everglades, the bartender who was kind to me in an ancient pub on Natchez-under-the-hill. The loss of life and landscape in climate change scenarios has always troubled me, but now it is real and urgent in a way it has never been before.

      When the wild horses of Shackleford Banks weather storms, the dominant male gathers his harem on high ground or in the deep parts of the maritime forest, and they turn their backs to the wind and rain. A researcher observed that while wild herds are typically divided into harems, the divisions break down in extreme weather. The horses gave up their internal political dynamics, he said, staying together on the relatively highest ground of that site. That is how they survive.

      To navigate the decades ahead, and save the places we love and call home, southerners will need to dismantle old political dynamics and build new, inclusive alliances.



      Related posts

      Climatic change and human impact on climate

      Scientists say July at least equalled and may have beaten hottest month on record

      climate change

      The record-breaking heatwave that roasted Europe last month was a one-in-a-thousand-year event made up to 100 times more likely by human-driven climate change, scientists have calculated.

      Around the globe, July at least equalled and may have surpassed the hottest month on record, according to data from the World Meteorological Organization. This followed the warmest June on record.

      Temperature records were broken in many countries, wildfires continue to devastate vast areas of Siberia, the Greenland ice sheet is melting at a near record rate, and the risk of drought has grown more acute across wide areas of central and eastern Europe.

      The extreme heat is particularly unusual because it is not an El Nio year the phenomenon usually associated with prolonged temperature surges. Instead, scientists say it is driven to a large extent by carbon emissions from car exhausts, power plant chimneys, burning forests and other human sources.

      How much these factors loaded the dice in the two- to three-day heatwave during the last week of July was the subject of an attribution study by a consortium of meteorologists and climatologists at the UK Met Office, Oxford University and other prominent European institutions.

      It found that the extreme heat in France and the Netherlands, where temperatures peaked above 40C, was made at least 10 times and possibly more than 100 times more likely by climate change. In the UK, which set a record of 38.7C on 25 July, the human impact on the climate made the high temperatures at least two to three times more probable.

      There was considerable variation from place to place, but in all the studied locations the scientists said it would have been 1.5C to 3C cooler without climate change.

      A Nasa satellite image shows winds carrying plumes of smoke over Russia, centre right, as wildfires raged in Siberia. Photograph: Joshua Stevens/Nasa/AP


      Although the recent heat has been described as historic, it is unlikely to remain that way for long, according to the authors of the study. It will not make history. These records will be broken in few years, said Friederike Otto, of the University of Oxford. What we see with European heatwaves is that all the climate models are underestimating the change that we see. She said further study would investigate how likely it was to have two intense heatwaves in the space of two months.

      The paper says the extreme heat will have an impact on human wellbeing, though the data on this often lags, which can mean it fails to draw much public attention.

      Heatwaves during the height of summer pose a substantial risk to human health and are potentially lethal, the paper says. The full impact is known only after a few weeks when the mortality figures have been analysed. Effective heat emergency plans, together with accurate weather forecasts such as those issued before this heatwave, reduce impacts and are becoming even more important in light of the rising risks.

      The UN secretary general, Antnio Guterres, who has called a special climate summit of world leaders in September, said the seasons were moving alarmingly far from their usual path. We have always lived through hot summers, but this is not the summer of our youth. This is not your grandfathers summer, he said. Preventing irreversible climate disruption is the race of our lives, and for our lives. It is a race that we can and must win.

      The World Meteorological Organization expects 2015-19 to be the warmest five-year period ever recorded. July has rewritten climate history, with dozens of new temperature records at local, national and global level, said the organisations secretary general, Petteri Taalas. Unprecedented wildfires raged in the Arctic for the second consecutive month, devastating once pristine forests which used to absorb carbon dioxide and instead turning them into fiery sources of greenhouse gases. This is not science fiction. It is the reality of climate change. It is happening now and it will worsen in the future without urgent climate action.



      Related posts