3 June 2003South Africa joined the rest of the world in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the conquest of Mount Everest last week, and two South Africans made sure the flag flew on top of the world. Game ranger Sibusiso Vilane made history in the process, becoming the first black African to summit the world’s highest mountain.32-year-old Vilane, who holds joint South African and Swaziland nationality, reached the summit of Everest with the rest of his international team on 26 May – in the face of extremely hostile weather conditions. Claire Keeton, reporting for the Sunday Times from Everest Base Camp, said that wind speeds were in the region of 80km/h, and temperatures down to minus 30 degrees Celcius.Vilane and his team spent 24 hours “in Everest’s ‘death zone’ above 8 000m, much of this time in the dark and fatal cold”, Keeton wrote. “Sibu had not only reached the top of Everest, he had survived it at its worst.”“When I reached the summit, I felt as though I was stepping onto a very sacred place and could not contain myself. I fell to my knees weeping”, Vilane told Keeton. “… I wanted to show the world that nothing could stop black people from standing on top of the world, given the opportunity.”Sibusiso Vilane on the Lhotse Face. (Photo copyright Rodrigo Ponce, Jagged Globe Mountaineering)Four days later, on 30 May, 36-year-old filmmaker Sean Wisedale reached the same 8 848m high spot. “As I look down, I can see Sibusiso’s flag, right here. The Swaziland and South African flags, right beneath me”, Wisedale told Patricia Glynn, who was reporting on the Discovery Everest expedition from Base Camp.Wisedale was the only member of the six-man Discovery team to reach the summit. Having made two attempts on the summit only to be forced back by the weather 350 metres from their goal, team leader Alex Harris reluctantly decided that the team had run out of the time and supplies they needed for a further attempt.Wisedale still felt strong enough for a third push, however, and was able to join another climbing party, with further backing from sponsor Discovery. The weather “window” finally opened, and Wisedale grabbed his opportunity. “I’m at the top of the planet now, the closest point to God”, he told Glynn from the summit. “If you want to get to the top, you’ve got to go to the top. God bless South Africa, God bless Discovery, and God bless our families.”‘All Africans stand 8 848 metres tall’“Sibusiso Vilane has made all of us – of all colours, cultures and stations in the continent – stick out our chests in justifiable pride and wonder”, President Thabo Mbeki said in a statement last week.“His example of sheer grit and optimism, not alone but in the closest partnership with others, is exemplary as we Africans face the Everest-like challenges ahead of us, notably to revive our continent and free it from past socio-economic subjugation”, said Mbeki, who is also chairman of the African Union (AU).Mount Everest, alone among the Seven Summits in having what mountaineers refer to as a “death zone” – anything higher than 8 000m. (Photo copyright Discovery Everest Expedition)“Years ago, in 1953, when the same Everest (named after a colonial surveyor-general in India) was first climbed, the splendid news broke over an imperial nation celebrating a coronation and a new life under a new monarch, in a changed world and a changing Commonwealth.“In not-incomparable circumstances”, Mbeki said, “Sibusiso has achieved fame just as a new era dawns in Africa – with the post-imperial strivings and struggles of Africans being recalled and lauded during the 40th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).“The spirit of the new African Union, which has arisen in strength from the OAU, inspires us all to march on to a sustainable life of success and plenty for Africa. In this we are in deadly earnest, and we can rightly see Sibusiso Vilane’s achievement as a very special inspiration to this end.”SouthAfrica.info reporter
1 November 2013South African canoeing development programmes have produced some outstanding successes since 1994, with initiatives like the RMB Change A Life Academy at Nagle Dam outside Pietermaritzburg producing champion paddlers from formerly disadvantaged backgrounds.Now, the Development Academy at Natal Canoe Club (NCC) in Pietermaritzburg is introducing the sport to young children and making huge inroads.With support from the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport and Recreation, the programme, which began in April, has so far hosted 1 100 children, and the response has been very encouraging.Sam Phungula heads up the project. He, in turn, answers to Thuthu Manyathi, who oversees the entire development programme. This includes the NCC Development Race, a Dusi Canoe Marathon seeding event, which was recently held for a second time.‘They are loving it’At a recent open day, Phungula spoke about the programme’s successes. “It’s pretty exciting. There are a lot of children who have been taking part and they are loving it,” he said.One of the most notable successes has been the number of girls the project has attracted. “They are the type of people that really want to do this, but they are the ones that are facing the biggest challenges. Since they’re coming from the townships, which are far from here, their parents are concerned about the distances,” Phungula said. The NCC, however, looks after transport for the children.“Most of the girls say they really enjoy the sport a lot, which is good. They’re telling me that in two years’ time there will be many girls participating in the Dusi Canoe Marathon. I am very happy about that,” commented NCC Development Academy member Candy Mavundla, who completed the Dusi Canoe Marathon in a K1 boat for a first time earlier this year.‘I really enjoy that responsibility’“There are many people who are moved to do the sport,” she continued. “Sometimes they even come to my house and say ‘Candy, we also want to come and join your sport’, so I tell them what they need to do. I really enjoy that responsibility.”Participants in the project are taught water safety and how to paddle in guppy boats without paddles before they progress to boats with paddles.A rotational policy splits groups of 40 into two, with one out on the water and the other on land where paddling is discussed and general fitness taken care of. After the sessions the children feast on muffins prepared by Sam Phungula and are provided with transport home.“This programme has given the Development Team such a sense of responsibility and ownership. They are 100 percent responsible for it. It’s very gratifying to see,” said NCC general manager Brett Austen Smith.“I enjoy this a lot, a lot, a lot,” smiled Candy Mavundla. “It has been teaching me about leadership, especially with the coaching, because next year at university I will be doing sports management.”‘Something different about them now’Sam Phungula agreed. “The leadership skills in every one of us have grown a lot. We can talk to people now, we can handle people, even big numbers.“It is very rewarding. Even for the young guys, who are still at school, but are involved in the project, there is something different about them now.”The NCC Development Team has not restricted its involvement with communities to paddling alone. They also took on a community project to assist at an old age home in Imbali. “It has been something different for most of us who have never done something like that,” Phungula said. “We plan to do a community project every year.Reflecting on the visit to the old age home, he added: “We saw something different, something we are not used to seeing, like sick people. It taught us a lot.”Community leadersWatching the children enjoying themselves on the water, Austen Smith pointed out a young boy, not yet 10 years of age. “This chap has been here a few times. He is one of our regulars and you can see how comfortable he is now. He is one of the self-imposed community leaders now. He helps the other guys and tells them what to do. We’ve got a couple of leaders coming out of the communities,” he said.The next step for the NCC development programme will be to unearth some talented paddlers who can go far in the sport. With a club that won four of the six world titles South Africa claimed at the ICF Marathon World Championships in Denmark in September, talented and committed youngsters will find a way to shine.
Olive Ridley turtles have begun to arrive at Odisha’s Rushikulya rookery coast in Ganjam for their annual mass mating season that precedes the mass nesting that takes place here. Rushikulya rookery is a major nesting site for the Olive Ridleys along the Indian coast.Despite the congregation of large numbers appearance of large congregations for the mass mating season, the turtles Olive Ridleys had not appeared preferred for the mass nesting here at this coast in 2019.However, in 2018, there was double mass nesting was reported on this coast in February and April, with the total nesting figures reaching over 4,73,000.A few mating Olive Ridley pairs were spotted at sea by a patrolling boat of Forest officials, at a distance of around six kilometres from Purunabandha near the Ruhsikulya river mouth, on Tuesday afternoon. “Our patrolling team located three to four mating pairs at a single spot, while some singular mating pairs were located near by,” said Khallikote Forest Range Officer, Dilip Kumar Martha.According to the Forest officials, hundreds of Olive Ridleys have started to congregate for mating in deep sea, beyond the spot where the mating pairs were found. Usually, the mass mating of Olive Ridleys picks up in December and continues till the month of January. After this period, mating male turtles return while the females remain for the mass nesting season.Meanwhile, the Forest Department has started the groundwork to keep the beach prepared to welcome the marine guests for mass nesting in February, next year. A 10-member team from the Forest Department is patrolling the sea near Rushikulya rookery to ensure the safety of the arriving Olive Ridleys and to also check the entry of fishing trawlers in the area.The Forest Department has set up six on-shore camps in the five kilometre stretch of the mass nesting beach, from Purunabandha to Prayagi near the Rushikulya river mouth. Two persons have been deployed at these camps to regularly document the condition of the beach, protect the surrounding area, inform of any debris deposited by the sea, restrict the entry of predators like stray dogs and search for possibility of turtle carcasses that float to the coast.With the help of the locals and various social organisations, this stretch of the mass nesting coast is being cleaned every alternate day, Mr. Martha said.
Maria Sharapova had talked about getting some good sleep a day before the final. On Saturday, she seemed to be in a state of stupor as cherubic Petra Kvitova stunned her with a clinical 6-3, 6-4 verdict to clinch the ladies’ singles title at Wimbledon.In its 125th edition, there had to be something special about The Championships. That Kvitova would soar like a kite in the clear blue sky over the Centre Court was not expected against the former champion whose aggressive brand of tennis was missing.Left-handers in any sport are natural and graceful. Kvitova was no different as the Czech Republic native, the first left-hander after Martina Navratilova to win the title here, churned out smart tennis against the seasoned champion.Petra Kvitova vs Maria SharapovaAs the match progressed, Kvitova was on fire. She got the vital break for a 4-2 lead in the first set when Sharapova hit two straight double faults from 30-all. She eventually served out the set at love.Each fan lucky enough to be present inside Centre Court loved the brand of tennis which Kvitova played. But what caught the attention of the fans’ was her unflappable temperament in the biggest match of her career.Shouts of ‘Maria… Maria..” rent the air initially, as the Russian is better known here and has been coming to the Mecca of tennis for such a long time.The high decibel grunts were accompanied by heavy forehands as well. But where Sharapova came short was in her own service games, unable to hold as well as she is capable of.advertisementBreaks exchanged hands quickly in the second set. Finally, Kvitova made the big surge ahead for a 4-2 lead. More unforced errors crept into Sharapova’s game and Kvitova knew all that she had to do was play her natural game.There were times when Kvitova missed the ball in the speedy rallies. But with the crowds changing loyalties, she was fully focused. Serving for The Championship at 5-4, Kvitova blasted two forehand winners for a 30-0 lead. Sharapova then slammed a return into the net.Championship point for the 21-year-old. The six feet tall Kvitova took a deep breath, cranked her left arm up and let fly an ace. A new champion was born and Kvitova sank on her knees and then stood up after a short while. She kissed Sharpova across the net and threw her sweaty wrist band into her racquet bag and buried her face in the pink towel.Maria Sharapova sits in her chair after being defeated by Petra Kvitova. APIt had just taken an hour and 25 minutes to seal the title but her tennis journey from the old club courts in Bilovec (Czech Republic) to holding the Venus Rosewater Dish on Centre Court at Wimbledon was indeed emotional.”It’s hard to find words standing here with the trophy and seeing all the great players in the Royal Box,” she said just after lifting the trophy.”Of course I was nervous, because I thought I could win Wimbledon. But I did what was important and focused on each point,” added the new diva of women’s tennis.As she came for the post-match conference, Kviotva let her hair loose. She was first asked a question if there were tennis courts back home in Czech Republic!She replied calmly and then described the emotions her father has gone through. “My father is still crying and he has been crying after every match. It’s an unbelievable feeling to be a Wimbledon champion,” she said in an emotional voice.Asked on Sharapova’s game, Kviotva was reserved in her observations. “I was surprised how I was focussed on the point and the game. It was about the serve for sure and the return. Maria he made some double faults, even though I was prepared for a fast player,” she added.Kvitova has earned 1,100,000 British Pounds for her win on Saturday and this is a huge pay cheque for a player winning her first Grand Slam title.ResultsWomen’s singles final: Petra Kvitova (CZE x8) bt Maria Sharapova (RUS x5) 6-3, 6-4Men’s doubles final: Bob and Mike Bryan (USA x1) bt Robert Lindstedt (SWE) and Horia Teacau (ROU x8) 6-3, 6-4, 7-6Women’s doubles semi-finals: Sabine Lisicki (GER) and Sam Stosur (AUS) bt Marina Erakovic (NZL) and Tamarine Tanasugarn (THA) 6-3, 4-6, 8-6Mixed doubles semi-finals: Mahesh Bhupathi (IND) and Elena Vesnina (RUS x4) bt Paul Hanley (AUS) and Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE) 6-2, 3-6, 7-5
Real Madrid won the first leg 1-0 against Bayern Munich at BernabeuBayern Munich seems to be going through a bumpy ride right in the crucial part of the season.Dominant until a few weeks ago, Pep Guardiola’s team has been less-than-convincing in some recent matches.In the Champions League, Real Madrid takes a 1-0 lead into the second leg of the semifinals on Tuesday and will seek to use Bayern’s recent weakness in defending against counterattacks to its advantage.With 14 titles between them, nine of them Madrid’s, these are two of the most successful Champions League teams. Bayern is hoping to become the first team to retain the title.Here are five things to know about Tuesday’s match:THE RIBERY FACTORFranck Ribery adds an element of the unexpected to Bayern’s game.The mercurial France winger makes Bayern’s game more difficult to figure out. His dribbling and goal scoring often make the difference. The problem is, Ribery has been far from stellar in recent weeks.Ever since losing out in the Ballon d’Or vote (Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo won the title), Ribery appears to be in a sulking mood. The sensitive Frenchman has had little impact in recent matches, including the first leg in Madrid.Ribery may have woken up just in time. In Saturday’s 5-2 win over Werder Bremen, Ribery scored a goal and played a role in two in what was his best game in weeks. Coach Pep Guardiola was seen encouraging one of his key players on the touchline.advertisement”You know how important he is for this club, for the players. He played with aggression (against Bremen). He was playing like he was angry, and he needs that … He needs to be angry with himself,” Guardiola said Monday.”He’s always fighting, fighting, fighting. He’s one of the best players in Bayern’s history. We need him and a good performance to reach the final.”POSSESSION IS GOOD, GOALS ARE BETTERPep Guardiola’s mantra about controlling possession is coming under scrutiny following a few unconvincing performances. Bayern dominated in Madrid, especially in the first half, but lost the game to a perfectly executed counterattack finished by Karim Benzema.Werder used the same game plan: while Bayern spent most of the first half passing the ball around, Werder used the two chances in had off fast breaks to score two goals, a 100 percent efficiency. Bayern turned the game around in the second half, when some of its regulars came off the bench.Bayern has conceded eight goals in its last three Bundesliga games at home and was ripped apart 3-0 by Borussia Dortmund’s counter game. It is the only one of four semifinalists to have conceded in the first leg.”Madrid is a fast team. If you lose the ball you have to get back into position straight away. They’re one of the fastest teams in the world,” Guardiola said. “I know (Madrid coach Carlo) Ancelotti’s mentality and I rate his football. I can’t imagine he will defend the result for 90 minutes.”Of course, we know what we need. We need more than one goal to progress. We also have fast players but they are always in a position to hurt us.”MADRID’S NEMESISMunich has not been good to Real Madrid before. Bayern has eight wins against Madrid at home, with one draw.Madrid has a terrible record in Germany: two wins with 19 defeats and six draws. But Real Madrid eliminated two German sides in the two previous rounds this season, Schalke and Borussia Dortmund. Madrid won 6-1 at Schalke, but lost 2-0 in Dortmund and came close to being eliminated.Madrid and Bayern have met in European Cup semifinals five times, with Madrid coming through only once, in 2000. In the most recent matchup, Bayern won on penalties in 2012.The last two times Real Madrid won the title, it defeated Bayern – in the semifinals in 2000 and in the quarterfinals in 2002.RAMOS’ REDEMPTIONIf there is one Real Madrid player more than any other who will be eager to play well at Bayern Munich it is defender Sergio Ramos.Ramos, who has lifted several trophies with Madrid and the World Cup with Spain, suffered perhaps his lowest moment as a football player when he missed a spot kick in a penalty shootout against Bayern two years ago at the same stage in the Champions League.Bayern went through to the final after goalkeeper Manuel Neuer saved Cristiano Ronaldo’s and Kaka’s spot kicks before Ramos launched his try well high over the bar at the Santiago Bernabeu.advertisement”It was hard but you have to put it behind you, look forward and leave bad memories behind you,” Ramos said. “These moments define your professional career. We hope everything goes well and that I can finally play in a Champions League final.”ELUSIVE 10th:Real Madrid has been seeking that elusive 10th European Cup title since 2002, and missed out the last two seasons by falling in the penultimate stage.Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti oversaw Milan’s home and away wins (both 2-1) over Bayern in the 2002-03 group stage, then overcame the German side 5-2 on aggregate in the round of 16 in 2006. In the following season, Ancelotti’s Milan got past Bayern in the quarterfinals.”At this stage in the competition the psychological aspect is more important than tactics,” Ancelotti said. “We have to be strong mentally in order to do our best to reach the final.”
Pellegrini wants top six finish for West Hamby Ian Ferris10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveWest Ham are hoping to make it five straight Premier League wins for the first time since 2006.”The most important thing is to be in the top six at the end of the season,” said boss Manuel Pellegrini.”There are still 21 games to go. We are in a good moment now so we must try to take it game by game and add points.” TagsPremiership NewsAbout the authorIan FerrisShare the loveHave your say
Ghaziabad: A senior sub-inspector (SSI) of UP police who was posted at a police station in Baghpat district allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself in his head at his residence in Kavi Nagar area of Ghaziabad on Friday morning. Cops said that the deceased committed suicide over some personal issues which are being investigated.According to police, the deceased has been identified as Madhup Singh (45), a native of Allahabad District. Singh was posted as Baleni police station at Baghpat district and lived with his family at Sector 23, of Shashtri Nagar in Kavi Nagar area of Ghaziabad. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderAs per one of Singh’s relatives, he was getting ready for his duty while his wife was preparing breakfast when he shot himself. “Singh had returned home after dropping his son to school around 7:30 am and was getting ready for his duty. It was around 8 am when he answered a phone call and was shouting over the caller. A few minutes later, his wife who was in kitchen heard a gun shot and rushed to the room. The room was locked from inside and she immediately called the neighbors who broke open the door. Singh was found lying in a pool of blood on the floor with a bullet shot in his forehead,” said Santosh Dixit, Singh’s friend. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsMeanwhile, police officials said that no suicide note has been recovered from the spot. “Police received information about the incident around 8:30 am and a team rushed to the spot. The deceased shot bullet in his forehead and died on the spot. The body was taken into custody and sent for postmortem. Prima Facie it appears that he shot himself because of some personal reason,” said Shlok Kumar, Superintendent of Police (city), Ghaziabad. “Singh’s family members told police that before committing suicide, he received a call from an unknown caller. We are getting into the call details and are trying to identify the caller. Investigations into the case are underway and the actual reason can only be ascertained after investigations,” added Kumar. Singh is survived by his wife and two children, a 12-year daughter and a seven-year-old son. Singh had joined the UP police in 2004 as a constable after his father’s death who was a Sub-inspector.
Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday termed lynching as an “inhuman” act and called for stern action against perpetrators of such crimes.Talking to reporters in Latur district during his ongoing ‘Mahajanadesh Yatra’, Fadnavis also said he is a “Hindutvawadi” person but with a scientific mindset. Several incidents of mob fury have come to light from various places across the county in recent times. To a query on it, Fadnavis said, “Mob lynching is inhuman and it is absolutely wrong. The perpetrators should be ready to face the consequences for their actions. There should be strict action against those involved in lynching.” Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’When a reporter asked whether he, representing a “Hindutvawadi party”, was considering financial aid for those performing ‘yagnas’ (ritual in front of sacred fire often with mantras) for good rainfall, Fadnavis said, “I am a Hindutvawadi person but with a scientific temperament.” So far, there has been no need of carrying out any cloud seeding drive for artificial rains in the Marathwada region, he said. Cloud seeing in a procedure under which an array of chemicals is used to aid precipitation in clouds. There was a demand for facilitating artificial rains in the drought-prone Marathwada some weeks back when the region was not receiving good monsoon showers.
22Rafael Devers98Ozzie Albies97Yordan Álvarez94 21Ronald Acuña Jr.99Bo Bichette84Carter Kieboom3 11Michael BrantleyHOU325.3 18Clayton KershawLAD314.1 Some of this onslaught of young star power was to be expected, such as with Trout and Christian Yelich — a pair of former MVPs — or Alex Bregman, who became that kind of player last season. Even Acuña, whose full-season breakout seemed apparent from the beginning of the year, could be included on that list. Some of it has involved precocious young players maturing quickly, as in the cases of phenoms such as Tatís and Juan Soto, or midseason call-ups like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Yordan Álvarez. Others still have either improved themselves to truly dominant levels (Bellinger, Marcus Semien) or seemingly emerged out of nowhere to become borderline MVP candidates (Ketel Marte, Pete Alonso). All have combined to give us the most potent group of under-30 position players the game has ever seen.WAR is adjusted for the league’s run environment and the overall value of various statistics, so this isn’t just a matter of today’s players seeing their value pumped up by record home run rates. There are always only so many WAR to go around in a given season, and this crop of young batters are grabbing a greater share than any of their historical counterparts. This is “Generation OPS,” and they’ve bent the game to their will. Instead of moaning about those changes, we should take a moment to appreciate the historic nature of what they’re doing.Of course, since WAR is a zero-sum game, other player groups have suffered at the expense of these bright young hitters. One cohort whose struggles aren’t all that surprising is older (age 30 and up) position players, who now account for just 13 percent of all the value produced in MLB. That’s the lowest share they’ve had since 1901, breaking the old record of 14 percent set last season and a far cry from the 28 percent mark which 30-and-over hitters achieved 20 years ago, at the height of the steroid era in 1999.Although the effect of performance-enhancing drugs on 1990s power numbers may have been overstated, one of the underrated effects of those chemical enhancements was the extension of productive careers beyond the normal aging curve. Now that those anomalies seem to be a thing of the past, aging hitters are less valuable — and less desirable — than ever before.A group whose struggles are perhaps more surprising, on the other hand, is the current batch of young pitchers. Pitchers under age 30 this season account for just 24 percent of all major league WAR, their smallest share since 2001, and the subgroup of pitchers age 25 or younger have produced only 7 percent of WAR, their smallest share since 1996.Some stellar young pitchers have bucked this trend. Atlanta’s Mike Soroka, 22, is having one of the best seasons ever by a starter so young, and the crop of slightly older hurlers — which includes Lucas Giolito of the White Sox, German Marquez of the Rockies and Shane “Don’t Call Me Justin” Bieber of the Indians — have been lights out. But as a whole, pitchers age 25 or younger have put up only 17 percent of pitching WAR leaguewide and have logged only 20 percent of all innings across baseball — the lowest share of innings pitched since 1947.Ancient pitchers (age 35 and older) aren’t in great shape, but they’ve nearly tripled their share of pitching WAR from last year.3Going from 3 percent in 2018 to 9 percent in 2019. And prime-age or slightly old hurlers (between age 26 and 34) are doing great, recording 74 percent of pitching WAR4Trailing only 2017 for the largest share since 1996. and eating 73 percent of innings — the third-most ever for that age cohort.5Trailing only 1920 and 1938. Despite longstanding evidence that fastball velocity and overall pitching effectiveness peaks in the early 20s and declines progressively with age, the list of 30-something pitchers having great seasons this year is incredible, especially when juxtaposed against how few batters can say the same: 10Zack GreinkeHOU355.4 23Cody Bellinger100Alex Verdugo93Adalberto Mondesí91 27Mike Trout100Christian Yelich99Jeff McNeil96 16Whit MerrifieldKCR304.2 26Matt Chapman98Mookie Betts98Javier Báez98 20Fernando Tatís Jr.98Juan Soto98Vladimir Guerrero Jr.92 28Marcus Semien98Max Muncy96Nolan Arenado94 8Charlie MortonTBR356.0 1Lance LynnTEX327.8 AgeFirst placeSecond placeThird place 19Mike FiersOAK344.0 29Anthony Rendon98George Springer97Freddie Freeman94 6Justin VerlanderHOU366.2 *WAR is prorated to 162 team games.Ages are as of June 30.Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, FanGraphs 4Jacob deGromNYM316.6 rkPlayerTeamAgeWAR* 2Max ScherzerWSN347.6 12Carlos SantanaCLE334.8 7DJ LeMahieuNYY306.2 20Cole HamelsCHC353.9 17Brett GardnerNYY354.2 This year’s best old players are almost all pitchersMajor League wins above replacement (WAR) leaders for 2019 players age 30 or older, with pitchers highlighted in gray 9Stephen StrasburgWSN305.4 If you believe many media stories about the present (and future) of baseball, the sport is doomed. The current crop of young players are ruining the game: They aren’t famous enough, strike out too much and hit too many home runs. Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio, indeed.This is, of course, mostly just nostalgia-tinted silliness. We’re really going to complain that there are too many home runs? Really? Even if you do take offense with the prevailing style of baseball in 2019, it shouldn’t obscure the fact that today’s up-and-coming stars are objectively awesome. From Cody Bellinger and Ronald Acuña Jr. to Mookie Betts and Fernando Tatís Jr. — to say nothing of Mike Freaking Trout, who is only 28 years old — MLB is awash in young talent just begging to be properly appreciated, if we bothered to take the time.The truth is, this particular season might contain the best group of young or prime-age hitters there has ever been, which is saying something in a sport whose history runs back to the 19th century. According to wins above replacement,1Using our JEFFBAGWELL metric to blend WAR from Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs. position players age 25 or younger (as of June 30) have produced 17 percent of leaguewide value — the 25th-largest share in any season since 1901 — and those between age 25 and 30 have accounted for 28 percent of all WAR — the fifth-most ever, and second-most2Behind only 1995. since 1917.Added together, under-30 hitters are producing roughly 45 percent of all WAR in baseball this season, the highest share in modern history. Trout alone accounts for 1 percent of that (!) — his greatness is a whole story unto itself — but he’s not the only 20-something position player who’s shining in 2019. Here are the best players by WAR at each age and the percentile rank for their season, relative to other seasons at the same age in baseball history: 13Nelson CruzMIN384.5 Today’s young batters are historically greatPercentile rank in wins above replacement (per 162 team games), relative to historical* seasons at the same age, for 2019 batters under age 30 15Eduardo EscobarARI304.4 14Josh DonaldsonATL334.4 3Mike MinorTEX317.4 24Pete Alonso97Yoan Moncada96Bryan Reynolds95 5Hyun-Jin RyuLAD326.4 As good as those older pitchers are, however, their value still pales in comparison with the young sluggers who step into the batter’s box against them every night. Amid MLB blaming its own players for not being more famous and all the complaining about Three True Outcomes, it can be easy to lose sight of how exciting this young crop of stars is. But don’t be fooled by older generations pining for a version of baseball that doesn’t exist exactly the way they want it to anymore. The game now belongs to players like Bellinger, Acuña, Tatís and Soto — and it’s going to be greater for it.Check out our latest MLB predictions.CORRECTION (Aug. 14, 2019, 10:50 a.m.): A previous version of this article incorrectly identified German Marquez’s team. He plays for the Colorado Rockies, not the Oakland Athletics. 25Ketel Marte99Alex Bregman99Jorge Polanco96 *Since 1901.Ages are as of June 30 of a given season.Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, FanGraphs