In the long and varied history of sports heroes — from Pheidippides to Johnny Football — none has signed his name more often, nor more energetically and whimsically, than Pete Rose. Signing for dollars has been at the core of Rose’s livelihood, and lifeblood, since he was banned from baseball 25 years ago. For years now he has appeared four days a week, in five-hour shifts, at a memorabilia shop in a Las Vegas mall. The crowds don’t swarm, but they do come, steadily. An autographed ball costs $99, a bat $200, a jersey $40. Items are also bundled and sold in packages. It’s not unusual for Rose to move more than $10,000 worth of merchandise in a day.Prices and item choices are set not by Rose himself but by the company, Hit King Inc., that employs him. (He gets a flat fee for his work, but if sales pass a certain level, he receives a percentage of the extra money.) That means that when he’s signing somewhere else and has a different employer, the prices, and the menu, can vary. Just the other day, for example, Rose was in Cooperstown for Induction Weekend, where he has made almost annual autograph appearances for the past two decades. He signed at the Safe at Home shop on Main Street, less than 400 feet from the Hall of Fame to which he has been famously denied induction. In Cooperstown, customers could do a lot better for themselves than they could at The Art of Music store, Rose’s autographing venue in Vegas.Here’s a look at some of the price variability of baseballs with two popular Rose inscriptions, by retailer (keeping in mind that an autographed item for sale on eBay may be less reliably authentic than one signed in person or bought from Steiner Sports):The first inscription refers, of course, to Rose’s record career hits total; the second is a winking apology for the crime (betting on baseball) that landed him in the boat he’s in. Rose likes to lampoon his situation further: In certain circumstances he’ll sign baseballs with “I’m sorry I broke up the Beatles” or “I’m sorry I shot JFK.”Downtown Cooperstown is many things to many people on Induction Weekend but it is most conspicuously a bazaar for players selling their signatures. At any moment you can find scores of former big leaguers signing things in shops or at sidewalk tables along the narrow streets. Voices ring out, carnival-barker style, to let you know where to look for your favorite players. “Ernie Banks! A Hall of Famer, he’s right here! Come on in! Ernie Banks here today!”Special inscriptions like Rose’s are sometimes part of the transaction. This year, for example, the former Braves closer John Rocker, famous for his anti-New York rant in the late 1990s, was in town, capitalizing on the influx of Atlanta fans who’d come to see Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Bobby Cox get inducted. You could get a ball signed by Rocker for $20, plus $10 for a personal inscription. The inscription price rose to $25, though, if you wanted him to write “F New York” or “F the New York Mets.”So how does Rose’s Cooperstown fee of $60 compare with other players’ fees? Below is a look at the rate for some notable autographs during Induction Weekend. Typically, a Hall of Famer’s autograph sells for more than a non-Hall of Famer’s. So leaving out Rose’s figure, and relying on help from a pair of fine reporters (big cheers to David Bauer and Larry Mileo), I also calculated the average price for each of those two subsets of players. The autograph prices are set by the vendor and are determined, naturally, based on demand. It sometimes happened that a player appeared at more than one venue during the weekend and his autograph sold for slightly different prices. I took that into account.In comparison with Hall of Famers (the group Rose’s supporters believe he should be part of), Rose commanded 6 percent less than the average price. (Among teammates from the 1970s Big Red Machine, Rose drew about 13 percent less than Hall of Famers Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan and about 9 percent more than Hall of Famer Tony Perez.) Compared to other non-Hall of Famers, however, Rose killed it. Braves pitcher John Smoltz, who had the Atlanta contingent in town and who was billed on a price flyer as a “Future Hall of Famer” (he’ll get in next year) was the only non-Hall of Fame player whose autograph went for as much as Rose’s.Most surprising, given how long Rose has been at it and how deeply he has saturated the market for his own signature, is that his price has remained stable as he has continued to sell. At Safe at Home, the signed ball fee went up from $55 to $60 about seven years ago, according to store proprietor Andrew Vilacky, and has remained at that price. In Las Vegas, Rose’s autograph on a ball cost $79 when he was selling at the Field of Dreams in 2009. Today, at The Art of Music, he gets a 25.3 percent higher rate without any drop in volume.So why does Rose, now 73, still draw? As the eBay price in the first table suggests, no one is investing in his autograph in hopes of making much resale profit. Part of the allure is Rose’s continued fame — he may be the most famous non-Hall of Fame former baseball player alive. But there is more to it than that.What people keep buying is not just the autograph, but also the experience of getting it. Plenty of ballplayers can engage with the fan base, but nobody does it better or embraces it more than Rose does. Pete is extremely good at being Pete. You sit with him for five minutes during an autograph session. He’ll banter cornily (“Your name is Bob? Mind if I spell it backward?”) and crassly (“The whole time your wife was taking that photo with me, she had her hand on my ass”). He will give batting tips to kids (essentially, “Be aggressive”) and recall old at-bats with astounding clarity and detail. He’ll break off an anecdote about Willie Mays in a urinal, and he might, without warning or provocation, hold forth on the subject of blow jobs. However all this may sound to you, many customers clearly view it as value added. I have seen people wait to get their ball signed, spend the time with Rose, then get back in the queue and do it again.People are also drawn to Rose for the contradictions in his character — what to make of someone who both honored and dishonored the game so profoundly? Rose, through his gambling and his recalcitrance, has the lure of an outlaw hero. He’s also the only player in baseball history to be expressly denied a place on the Hall of Fame ballot, and that gives customers something edgy to discuss with him. As much as Rose might like to get inducted one day, he is not blind to the notoriety that his banishment has given him, nor to the understanding that, in the autograph trade, it may have helped his bottom line. “You know,” he once said to me. “Not being in the Hall of Fame — that’s my shtick!”For the right price, I’m sure, Rose will write that on a baseball for you.
Over in the Western Conference, James Harden’s Houston Rockets, however, rank as the fourth most unbalanced team in the past 31 years — in the 2nd percentile! Meanwhile, this year’s Warriors team is more balanced than usual, ranking in the 76th percentile, which is amazing given that Stephen Curry himself has 2.0 WAR through the first two rounds. The Dubs have a superstar and a well-balanced team. (Which probably goes a long way toward explaining why they’re so great.)The Cavs are favored not because their third, fourth or fifth starter is better than his counterpart on the Hawks. He isn’t. The Cavs are favored because they have LeBron James — and that’s probably enough to get LeBron to his fifth straight NBA Finals. The Fighting LeBrons — err, we mean the Cleveland Cavaliers — face off against the Atlanta Hawks for a trip to the NBA Finals. It’s the four-time MVP vs. four All-Stars.And it’s a close matchup, though the Cavs have a slight edge. The Hawks earned the top seed in the East and home-court advantage, but the Cavs still have a 63 percent chance of winning the series, according to our Real Plus-Minus projections.But if these two teams are similar in their overall level of talent, they are radically different in its distribution. This year’s Hawks team is historically well-balanced — like the 2004 Detroit Pistons, the 2006 Phoenix Suns and the 2013 San Antonio Spurs. The 2015 Cavs, in contrast, are largely carried by James (and, to a lesser extent, by Kyrie Irving).Atlanta has four players — Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap, Al Horford and DeMarre Carroll — who have all accrued 1.1 to 1.5 wins above replacement (WAR) through the first two rounds of the playoffs. Meanwhile, LeBron has amassed 2.1 WAR for the Cavs all by himself.The Hawks rank fourth out of the 124 teams to make the conference finals since 1985 in terms of the evenness of their production. (As measured by the distribution of WAR among the five players with the most minutes through the first two rounds, weighted quadratically.1That is, the player with the highest WAR is given a weight of one, the second-highest WAR player gets a weight a four, the third gets a weight of nine and so on.)By that measure, the Hawks’ score was 52.2. (The higher the score, the greater the contribution the team received from its less-heralded players.) LeBron’s Cavs, however, ranked 71 out of the 124 teams with a score of 26.9 — so they’re not extraordinarily unbalanced, but they are less balanced than the typical team in the conference finals. In addition to the brilliance of James, that number was primarily driven by the weak production from Cleveland’s fourth- and fifth-best players, namely Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov.Below is a table of each conference finalist since 1985 with their weighted WAR and its percentile. The Hawks are in the 98th percentile, while the Cavs are in the 43rd.2Past LeBron teams, whether the Cavs or the Heat, are even more unbalanced than this year’s Cavs team.
Megan Rapinoe (center) and Abby Wambach (right) speak to OSU women’s soccer coach Lori Walker during an OUAB event on March 28 at The Ohio Union. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorTwo of the most prominent American female athletes visited Ohio State on Monday night to discuss a wide variety of topics in a crowded Archie Griffin Grand Ballroom at the Ohio Union. The event, put on by OUAB, featured former U.S. Women’s National Team forward Abby Wambach and current midfielder Megan Rapinoe. The duo sat down with OSU women’s soccer coach Lori Walker for a talk about women’s rights, gay rights and Wambach’s retirement. Those in attendance listened to the moving words and topics that the athletes presented. Wambach and Rapinoe are coming off a FIFA Women’s World Cup title, the third in U.S. history. The duo described their feelings when meeting President Barack Obama and riding on floats through New York City for their championship ticker-tape parade.However, these women had a much larger message to leave with students.Both Rapinoe and Wambach have come out as lesbian in recent years, and wanted to let people who are struggling with their sexuality know it is OK to be gay. The World Cup champions described the points in their life when they discovered they were gay, and the triumphs and struggles they encountered while doing so.Wambach said she plans to release a book toward the end of the year describing not only her successes in life, but also her failures and darkest moments. The all-time leading goal-scorer in the history of international women’s soccer said she will open up in ways that no one knows about, and that some of the details in the book might be shocking to some readers. Even so, Wambach said she is not scared about unleashing this information, and she is completely comfortable with who she is.For the first time publicly, Wambach announced she will join former U.S. women’s soccer player Brandi Chastain and donate her brain for concussion research. Rapinoe said she would follow suit, as well, although she noted she doesn’t use her head quite to the extend Wambach does. Rapinoe talked about her engagement and upcoming marriage to singer-songwriter Sera Cahoone and her excitement surrounding the event. The USWNT winger was recently inducted into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame and is a large proponent of the LGBT community.Rapinoe said she feels that her advocacy role is not only about the story of her own sexuality, but to make other people of the LGBT community feel comfortable with who they are and to “be your best you.”Throughout the discussion, Wambach touched on her recent retirement from soccer, and what her future plans are both in life and in the realm of the game. The 35 year-old said she knew it was time for her to retire when then-teammate Kelley O’Hara came in as a substitute and scored a goal against Germany in the semifinal of the 2015 World Cup. Wambach said at that moment she felt that she could leave the team after being a leader and member since 2001 and it would be “in good hands.”The former teammates in Wambach and Rapinoe remain great friends, and Wambach said she plans to remain involved in the game of soccer, specifically with the USWNT. The champions will also drive to become even bigger advocates within the LGBT community and always remind people to not care and to be happy with who they are.A full story about Rapinoe and Wambach’s decision can be read here.
Play ‘Em Sam Bradford: Bradford has looked impressive as a rookie so far this season. Last week against Seattle, he threw for 289 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. This week, Bradford faces a Detroit defense that ranks 26th in passing defense and has allowed at least two touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in three of its first four games. If you’re looking for a bye-week quarterback, consider Bradford. Eli Manning: Last week against Chicago, Manning threw for 195 yards and no touchdowns, but the Giants’ defense was the main focus. This week, Manning faces an awful Texans secondary. Look for Manning to rebound against a defense that allows 338 yards passing per game. Jamaal Charles: Charles has scored one touchdown in his 2010 campaign, but look for success this week against the Colts. Through four games, running backs have averaged 22 points in standard scoring leagues against the Colts’ defense. Charles will continue to split carries with Thomas Jones, but Charles’ seven yards per carry is worth noting. Mark Clayton: It’s hard to believe how well Clayton has fit so well in the Rams’ system after being traded from Baltimore. Clayton caught five passes for 72 yards last week against Seattle, but was targeted 14 times. He will continue to be consistent against a Lions defense that surrenders 27 points per game. Marques Colston: It’s time to wake up, Marques. Colston has been irrelevant in the Saints’ passing game this season, with 190 receiving yards in four games. Believe it or not, Colston hasn’t had more than 70 yards in a game. Expect Colston to find the end zone against a subpar Cardinals defense. In his last game against Arizona, Colston had eight catches for 114 yards with a touchdown. Bench ‘Em Carson Palmer: Last week, Palmer threw for 371 yards and two touchdowns against the Browns. However, the Bengals trailed early, which allowed Palmer to air it out. Palmer’s next challenge is to face a Tampa Bay passing defense that ranks 10th in the league. The Bengals will utilize the running game, since that has been Tampa Bay’s weakness. Darren McFadden: McFadden is battling a hamstring injury that could cost him a start this week. Whether McFadden is healthy or not, look for Michael Bush to get a majority of the carries. The Chargers hold their own against the run and McFadden’s last game against San Diego wasn’t impressive, as he had just 68 yards and lost a fumble. Terrell Owens: Owens shocked us all with his performance last week, 222 yards and a touchdown. For those of you trying to get on the T.O. bandwagon, get off. Owens will continue to be mediocre as the Bengals try to find an identity on offense. LaDainian Tomlinson: As expected, Tomlinson had a monster game against Buffalo, with 133 yards and two touchdowns. This week the Jets face a Vikings unit that allows 87 rushing yards per game and is coming off a bye. The Vikings will crowd the box and force Mark Sanchez to make plays downfield. The Vikings haven’t allowed a touchdown to an opposing running back in their last two games.
Ohio State defensive lineman Nathan Williams will likely miss the remainder of the season, first-year OSU head coach Luke Fickell announced Tuesday. Williams, a senior, has been out of action since injuring his left knee against Akron on Sept. 3 and undergoing arthroscopic surgery on Sept. 14. Fickell said Williams will “probably have another surgery” but offered very few details in regard to the situation. “I don’t know much more,” Fickell said. “It looks like (Williams) is done for the season.” Williams led the Buckeyes with 4.5 sacks in 2010. He was also effective dropping into pass coverage last year, tallying three passes defended and recording an interception. In 2011, he was named to the preseason watch list for the Ted Hendricks Award, given to the nation’s best defensive end. Former OSU head coach John Cooper told The Lantern Tuesday that he feels Williams is possibly the Buckeyes’ best player. “I think we got some really, really bad news today regarding Nate Williams,” Cooper said. “(He), in my opinion, arguably might have been our best football player.” As far as the effect Williams’ absence has had, and will have on the Buckeyes defense, Fickell turned the focus to moving on. “He hasn’t played since the first game,” Fickell said. “It’s a part of the game. Sometimes when you figure out what you’re going with, it might make you better, too. “We’re not going to sit and dwell upon it.” Senior linebacker Tony Jackson said that although the team would obviously want to have Williams back, it must press forward. “We’d like to have him back,” Jackson said. “If he could go, we’d definitely have him in there. But if he can’t go, we’ve got to go on without him. We can’t just stop because we lost one player or something happened. We’ve got to keep moving on.” Under NCAA bylaw 14.2.4, Williams would be able to apply for a hardship waiver, which could grant him an extra year of eligibility. According to the bylaw, a player is eligible to apply if he or she suffers an “incapacitating injury or illness” during the first half of the team’s season, and competes in no more than three games or 30 percent of the team’s games, whichever is greater. OSU will continue play without Williams on Saturday at Illinois’ Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3:30p.m. and will be televised on ABC.
When the Scarlet and Gray teams face off in the Spring Game Saturday, the passing and blocking advantages give the Scarlet Team the edge for securing victory.The coaching staff was divided into Scarlet and Gray teams, which in turn drafted rosters to play against each other Saturday. Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman will lead Scarlet along with assistant coaches Everett Withers, Mike Vrabel, and Tim Hinton. Defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell will coach Gray, with Kerry Coombs, Ed Warinner, Stan Drayton and Zach Smith assisting him.Braxton Miller, the rising sophomore starting quarterback of the Buckeyes, was drafted to the Scarlet roster. The quarterbacks for the Gray roster will be rising redshirt junior Kenny Guiton and incoming freshman Cardale Jones.As a true freshman, Miller showed his ability to be a dynamic dual-threat quarterback. While Miller had his ups and downs last season, this will be his first opportunity to take the field and show his progression with Herman leading the offense.Guiton had a strong Spring Game performance last season, completing 11 of 21 pass attempts for 167 yards and two touchdowns. That said, he is not the true playmaker that Miller is, and having him gives Scarlet a big advantage in the game.Additionally, the Scarlet team has a much more experienced offensive line. Four of this year’s five expected starters – rising redshirt junior Jack Mewhort, rising redshirt junior Corey Linsley, rising senior Reid Fragel and rising redshirt junior Marcus Hall – are on the Scarlet roster. The Gray roster includes rising junior guard Andrew Norwell, a returning starter from last season, but rising sophomore Antonio Underwood is the only other offensive lineman on their roster with any playing experience.Gray has an edge at the offensive skill positions. The top five returning receivers from last season – rising sophomore wide receiver Devin Smith, rising redshirt senior tight end Jake Stoneburner, rising junior wide receiver Corey Brown, rising redshirt sophomore wide receiver Verlon Reed, and rising senior running back Jordan Hall – are all on the Gray roster. That said, their success as receivers will rely upon Guiton’s ability to pass the ball, and Miller is the much more talented passer. Rising junior running back Carlos Hyde and redshirt junior Chris Fields highlight the skill position talent on the Scarlet roster.Scarlet is also loaded with much of OSU’s top defensive talent.The roster is led by rising junior defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, a massive, athletic defensive tackle who emerged as a star last season with 10 tackles for loss. Their roster also features possibly the most talented linebacker on the roster, rising sophomore Ryan Shazier, who played tremendously when he earned time in the starting lineup late last season. The Scarlet roster also features three of last year’s four starters from the secondary: rising redshirt junior safety C.J. Barnett, junior safety Christian Bryant and rising senior cornerback Travis Howard.Rising senior defensive end John Simon, who was a third-team AP All-American last season, will lead the Gray defense up front. Rising redshirt junior Adam Bellamy and rising redshirt senior Garrett Goebel are returning starters on the Gray defensive line, and the wild card for them up front could be senior Nathan Williams, a talented pass-rusher who missed the entire 2011 season with injury.However, while Gray might have an edge in comparing defensive lines, Scarlet has the edge among linebackers and defensive backs. The Gray roster only has two returning starters among the defensive back seven: rising redshirt senior linebacker Etienne Sabino and rising redshirt sophomore Bradley Roby.Additionally, the Scarlet roster will have a clear edge in kicking field goals with rising junior Drew Basil. Rising senior punter Ben Buchanan will give Gray an edge in the field position battle, but Miller showed last season that he has the ability to drive the team to points from poor field position.As OSU is still learning the offense, I expect their defensive talent to have the better success in this game. That said, I expect Miller to lead the Scarlet offense to more breakthroughs, and therefore a Spring Game victory.Score Prediction: Scarlet 20, Gray 14
Ohio State landed its first recruit in nearly three months when four-star safety Tyreke Johnson committed to the school, adding another highly regarded recruit to the top 2018 class in the country.A Jacksonville, Florida, native, Johnson is the fifth-ranked safety in the nation and the 38th-best prospect overall, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. He joins five-star Jaiden Woodbey and four-star Josh Proctor as the third safety in the class. The Buckeyes have two cornerbacks, four-star Sevyn Banks and three-star Marcus Hooker, committed. Johnson attends Trinity Christian Academy, the same high school as freshman cornerback and former five-star recruit Shaun Wade. He is the fourth Floridian in the class to commit to Ohio State. Johnson is the first player in the 2018 class to pledge his services to the Buckeyes since junior college defensive tackle Antwuan Jackson Jr. committed on Sept. 12.
Yet relatively little research has been done on giraffes, compared with other large animals such as elephants, rhinoceroses, gorillas and lions, say the researchers.Prof Janke and his team looked at DNA taken from skin samples from 190 giraffes from across Africa.Analysis showed there were four highly distinct groups of giraffe, which apparently do not mate with each other in the wild. Scientists have stuck their necks out and decided that the giraffe is not one species, but four.Until now, only a single species of giraffe made up of several sub-species had been recognised.But new DNA evidence shows that four distinct species of the animals exist – and they are genetically at least as different as brown and polar bears. The unexpected discovery, published in the journal Current Biology, highlights the urgent need to protect the world’s tallest mammal, say researchers.Geneticist Professor Axel Janke, from Goethe University in Germany, said: “We were extremely surprised, because the morphological and coat pattern differences between giraffe are limited.”Giraffes are in dramatic decline across their range in Africa. In the last three decades their numbers have dropped from more than 150,000 individuals to fewer than 100,000. Giraffes have already become extinct in seven countries. They are killed for their meat and their habitats are being destroyedSir David Attenborough There are four types of giraffeCredit:Jean-Francois Monier Researchers looked at giraffes’ DNACredit:Gareth Fuller /PA The scientists categorised four species of the animal: the southern giraffe (Giraffa giraffa), the Masaigiraffe (Giraffa tippelskirchi), the reticulated giraffe (Giraffa reticulata), and the northern giraffe(Giraffa camelopardalis).The northern giraffe includes the elusive sub-species, the Nubian giraffe, from Ethiopia and South Sudan. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Earlier this year Sir David Attenborough told the Telegraph that giraffes are facing a “silent extinction” as their numbers in the wild dwindle.“These gentle giants have been overlooked,” he said. “ It’s well known that African elephants are in trouble and there are perhaps just under half a million left.“But what no one realised is there are far fewer giraffes. Giraffes have already become extinct in seven countries. They are killed for their meat and their habitats are being destroyed. Time is running out.” Giraffe populations are on the declineCredit:Jean-Francois Monier /AFP
And then there was the case of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office’s “bun tower” getting stuck under Chelsea bridge in 2006. Based on a traditional tower, usually made from bamboo and covered in baked buns, a steel replica was create in Wales and a driver was given “very detailed instructions” on how to get it into London the night before the show. “Of course, it came in on the Friday night, the bloke driving it ignored all the instructions and put the directions in his sat nav and ended up wedging it under the bridge in Chelsea,” Mr Reid said.”This bloody thing just wedged itself completely under the bridge and London traffic came to a standstill until somebody went and let the tyres down and got it out, it was extraordinary.” Mr Reid said he usually spends around 15 months planning before the big day “You are dealing with lots of complex relationships, people who want to be in a certain place, for example Hong Kong has a particular number they like because it is luckier than any other number so we try and build that into [the procession].”While dealing with each organisation’s request, he also has to make sure the bands are far enough apart not to drown each other out and animals that “don’t like other types of animals” are separated.”You can’t mix donkeys and horses, you can’t mix reindeer and horses so you have to have them in different places and they don’t like it if they smell each other,” he said. “It is bonkers really, the whole thing. It takes a good bit of fiddling with.”The Wednesday before the parade each year the organisers run what has become known as a “ghost parade”, wheeling the Lord Mayor’s carriage out in the early hours. The new Lord Mayor, Dr Andrew Parmley, and his wife Wendy wave from the coach during the rehearsalCredit:Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire It is the perfect parade; a three-mile procession steeped in 800 years of tradition and watched by hundreds and thousands of people as colourful floats, marching bands and, finally, the Lord Mayor’s golden carriage pass through the streets of London. But behind the scenes of the Lord Mayor’s Show is “organised chaos on a colossal scale” with last-minute mishaps and unexpected issues forever cropping up, the show’s pageantmaster has revealed. In a rare interview, Dominic Reid, an architect and solider who is celebrating his 25th year organising the parade, revealed the secrets of getting the world’s largest unrehearsed procession to run smoothly. This year, the show will welcome the new Lord Mayor Dr Andrew Parmley, the principal of the private Harrodian School in Barnes and organist of 35 years at St James Garlickhythe church. It will have a particular emphasis on music, including a special commission. Mr Reid, who is also the managing director of the Invictus Games Foundation and who took over the pageantmaster role from his father John, said he “loves” organising the show and has no plans to retire, as yet. “We have had lots of fun along the way, it has been a fantastic privilege to do it,” he said. “It has been really wonderful and my life now populated with these daft and insane moments.”The Lord Mayor’s Show is on Saturday. It starts at 9am with a river pageant before the procession, which starts at Mansion House, at 11am. The fireworks are at 5.15pm. The Lord Mayor of London’s State Coach passes St Paul’s Cathedral during the rehearsal for the show on Wednesday Credit:Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office’s “bun tower” got stuck under Chelsea bridge while being transported to the show in 2006 Despite the rehearsal happening annually, Mr Reid said Londoners still haven’t caught on. “What I love are the people who just encounter it on their way to work and look absolutely amazed… it is entertaining,” he said. But despite the careful planning, there are always things that go wrong. “There is always something, I remember once turning up and somebody had very carefully built a traffic island somewhere where I wasn’t expecting to have a traffic island,” Mr Reid said. “It stopped us getting from one side of the road to the other and caused us to reroute a whole lot of stuff.”In 1994, Mr Reid forgot to make sure Christopher Walford was in the back of the Lord Mayor’s carriage before it set off.Eight years later, the then Lord Mayor, Roger Gifford, had to be transferred into the back of Mr Reid’s Land Rover mid-parade when one of the wheels on his carriage “jammed on” at Blackfriars.”He was very humourous about it and it all went down very well,” Mr Reid laughed. Speaking to The Telegraph ahead of this year’s show on Saturday, the 55-year-old said he usually spends around 15 months planning before the big day. It takes him up to three days to decide on the running order of the procession alone – a process he calls “shunting” – as he uses colour-coded cards to ensure he meets each float, charity, band and organisation’s specific needs. He not only meticulously measures the route, calculating timings to the nearest second, but “walks it a lot” including at 4am just to check nothing has changed. “I have a very complex spreadsheet with an algorithm built into it that helps me calculate timing and gaps and stuff, but the actual putting into order we do with cards and slots on a board,” he said. The steel replica eventually made it to the show Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
A company director has been sent to prison after telling a judge that doing unpaid work as a punishment was beneath him.In rejecting the offer of community service, Owen Ambrose, an IT specialist, added that he found it difficult resisting assaulting fellow convicts who were also on the same scheme.Judge Peter Moss heard that Ambrose said carrying out unpaid work was demeaning and monotonous and it required “all his strength” not to be physically violent towards other offenders. He said that the prosecution did not want a trial on the issue.However, Judge Moss said that the shoplifting offence on August 24 this year at Morrisons in Shepherds Bush, put Ambrose in breach of the suspended sentence in any case. He imposed one month’s prison for the shopping theft and eight months’ jail for the breach.The court heard that the defendant planned to sell chocolates and pain-killing tablets taken from the store to help feed a Class A drug habit costing up to £100 a day.Andrew Turton, defending, said his client had worked in IT.”He is now living rough and goes shoplifting to get money to buy drugs. He presents as an intelligent and engaging young man,” he said. Mr Ambrose said it took all his strength not to be physically violent towards other offendersLee Harris, prosecuting Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The 28-year-old company boss had fallen prey to a drugs habit and had become homeless as a result, the court heard.He appeared before Judge Moss at Guildford Crown Court via video link from prison and was jailed for eight months for shoplifting and for breaching a suspended sentence imposed for car theft in February 2015. “I would rather to prison,” he said via the video link.He admitted the shoplifting offence but denied failing to comply with a direction to do 100 hours unpaid work without reasonable excuse.Ambrose told Judge Moss: “I do have an excuse.”Lee Harris, prosecuting, said that after receiving the suspended prison term, the defendant failed to keep in contact with probation staff after completing only five hours of the unpaid work programme.”He said he found unpaid work demeaning and monotonous,” said Mr Harris. “Mr Ambrose also said it took all his strength not to be physically violent towards other offenders.”