Cleveland Has A Better Chance Than Chicago To Return To The World Series

The youth of the Cubs, epitomized by the selection of Kris Bryant as the National League Most Valuable Player, has many people discussing a return to the World Series next year and beyond for the team from Chicago’s North Side. In actuality, it seems that their opponents in this past Fall Classic are more likely than the Cubs to reach it again in 2017.

Several key members of the Cubs are facing free agency, most notably closer Aroldis Chapman and leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler. Postseason pitching hero Jon Lester will return, but veteran battery mate David Ross has retired. The loss of his personal long time catcher, who was brought over from Boston to Chicago primarily at Lester’s request, may cause the left hander to be less effective in 2017.

Cleveland, on the other hand, will be adding a star player to a lineup that managed to somehow win the pennant without him. Outfielder Michael Brantley, the team’s M.V.P. in 2015, will return after missing nearly all of last season due to injury. They will also get back catcher Yan Gomes, who missed much of the season as well. The path to the playoffs promises to be easier for Cleveland next season. Two of the perennial powers that rival the Indians in the American League Central division, Detroit and Chicago, are going to be considerably weaker as they enter rebuilding mode. The Tigers are looking to trade veterans such as Julio Iglesias and Ian Kinsler in hopes of getting top prospects, and the White Sox are marketing ace left hander Chris Sale and center fielder Adam Eaton.

Also weaker are the teams the Indians breezed through in the playoffs, which saw Cleveland win seven of the eight games in the two rounds. Boston, who was swept in three games by Cleveland, will very likely miss the presence of “Big Papi” David Ortiz. The perennial All-star and likely Hall of Fame designated hitter retired after the season.

Toronto, who was dispatched by Cleveland in five games in the Championship Series, will be losing at least one of its key sluggers Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista. Both All-Stars are free agents this winter, and each will command contracts so large that it would be impossible for the Blue Jays to sign the duo.

On the other hand, the Cubs’ most probable playoff opponents are likely going to be stronger. Washington, which finished behind Chicago for most victories last season, is seeking to acquire Sale from the White Sox. That acquisition would strengthen an already formidable starting rotation, anchored by Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer. The Nationals are also on target to sign Fowler away from Chicago. The Dodgers, who came just two games from wresting the pennant from the Cubs, are actively pursuing several power hitters that could push them over Chicago in the playoffs. Milwaukee outfielder and former National League M.V.P Ryan Braun continues to be linked in possible trades with Los Angeles.

While there is no doubt that the Cubs will be the favorites to win the pennant again in 2017, Cleveland might be an even better bet to repeat. After all, they won it last year without two of its best players, both of whom should be healthy in the spring.

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Economic Cycles, Stock Market Crashes and the Scary Scenarios

Here we are ready to inaugurate a new president in 2017 and our stock markets are at all-time highs after a huge ‘Trump Bounce’ after the election. Many that study stock market history admit that we are in a need for a pull back as the DOW is almost ready to break 20,000 pts. What does all this mean?

Well, many analysts are suggesting it is very possible we could get a market correction in mid to late 2017 and that it could be 10-20% by the time it is done, the longer this nonsense goes on, and the bigger the bubble builds then the bigger the drop, we are over bought, almost everywhere. Then all that money printed that ended up inflating emerging markets will look for safe haven, coming back here in the short term. As those go one-by-one, that money flies out, because the money is looking for the nicest looking house (for now) in a majorly bad neighborhood, look at the EU, Japan, Middle East, India, and who knows what the hell China’s real numbers are, they have one thing going for them, they own our debt – but that might not be worth much if things go on. All that money coming back to safe haven in the US will cause inflation here, but at what cost?

Cheap loans, another bubble burst and look at the Student Loan issues 35% in default (past 90-days) and cheap car loans is only producing higher repo rates which are hidden by increased sales figures. It’s all lipstick on a big pig, socialism doesn’t work and you can’t have utopia unless you build it, and that takes capitalism which we are crushing into next week for the falsehood of cronyism. But I digress.

If we don’t get a back pedal on the stock market soon, it will all come at once, and 2008 was 8-years ago remember? That wasn’t a recovery that I’d be bragging about – basically we’ve increased regulations, size of government, and cut our military – all very stupid things to do in the present period. We are digging a hole, and I assume when if it starts to fall apart the left will blame capitalism and get their people back into power – and they will just make things worse – this seems to be a repeating problem with humanity doesn’t it? That is what socialists always attempt to do, but it all collapses anyway – Venezuela, Argentina, Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Zimbabwe, hell, how about that Arab Spring a few years ago, still in shambles – Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Yemen, who’s next? Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia? Civil unrest, food shortages, people will demand what was promised and take down their governments to get what’s left. Beware the socialist mobs. But I keep digressing.

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National League Teams Already Have DH, So Why Wait?

After nearly fifty years, the experiment will finally be recognized as a success. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has hinted that the designated hitter, which the New York Times once called a “gimmick,” will be used in the National League.

It was in 1973 that teams in the Junior Circuit elected to have another player hit for the pitcher, a concept that most considered a short term effort to increase offense. History was made that spring when Ron Bloomberg stepped to the plate for the Yankees to become the first DH ever.

The DH quickly became a valuable tool for American League clubs, who went on to win five of the next seven World Series. Although the DH was not used during the Fall Classic, one must admit that it certainly proved advantageous in several respects during the season.

Because they did not have to bat, the American League pitchers were better rested with fewer bumps and bruises than their National League counterparts. The A.L. managers had happier players, since each team had nine starters and thus increased playing time for everybody.

Now that the Commissioner has broached the idea of the DH across the board, players on the National League teams can look forward to similar happiness. Manfred declared that the DH in the National League could come as early as the 2017 season. bolder move would be to institute the DH this year, an idea which would intensify the season as well as increase what has been an embarrassing lack of offense over the past half decade. This would be particularly welcome now, since almost half of the teams in the N.L. find themselves in complete rebuilding mode.

Not only would using the DH help these clubs compete, but it would also increase fan interest during the rebuild. Most clubs already have players who fit the DH mold perfectly, and here is the list of those sluggers.

Braves: Nick Swisher

The veteran has been a clutch hitter with decent power and pop throughout his career, but he currently has no spot in Atlanta’s regular lineup.

Brewers: Jonathan Lucroy and Chris Carter

Having Lucroy in the lineup without having to catch every day would certainly increase his production and career. He has already had experience at first, so he could occasionally allow Carter to get a defensive rest without losing his turn in the order.

Cardinals: Matt Adams

Adams would be the perfect DH, especially against right handers. A bonus for St. Louis would be using Yadier Molina as the DH against lefties, thereby preserving his health for a postseason run.

Cubs: Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Soler

Schwarber’s struggles in left were apparent in the playoffs last year, as he had been catcher for most of his career. With the DH in play, he could still catch on occasion and allow Soler to rest defensively.

Diamondbacks: Yasmany Tomas

The International free agent still has no true defensive home after an entire year in Arizona. He would be the perfect fit as DH, almost the Big Papi of the N.L.

Dodgers: Andre Ethier

Instead of trying to trade Ethier, as they have done for the past few winters, Los Angeles could have his quality bat in the lineup every day.

Giants: Buster Posey and Brandon Belt

The former Most Valuable Player and star catcher has already suffered several significant injuries behind the plate, so he has been used occasionally at first. Providing San Francisco with the option of the DH would help Posey’s production and lengthen his career, while allowing Belt more opportunities to spell the outfielders.

Marlins: Ichiro Suzuki

Another former M.V.P., Suzuki is still one of the most exciting players around. Seeing him bat every day would be a good reason for Miami fans to start coming to games. Mets: Wilmer Flores

Currently the fan favorite has no regular position, and he has enough power to warrant a role as the club’s DH.

Nationals: Clint Robinson

He is too good of a hitter to be a backup outfielder/first baseman, so Washington could really benefit from the implementation of the DH.

Padres: John Jay

He was acquired over the winter to be a backup outfielder, but a DH role could allow Jay to be a good veteran presence as San Diego undergoes a rebuilding year.

Phillies: Darrin Ruff

There is already controversy about Ruf taking playing time away from veteran All-Star Ryan Howard, a problem which the N.L. DH would immediately quell.

Pirates: Michael Morse

Had the DH come last year, the Pirates would probably have kept Pedro Alvarez. Nevertheless, Morse could fill a similar role in 2016.

Reds: Devan Mesoraco

Any doubt whether the catcher can fully recover from surgery to be an effective backstop, a situation that would leave Cincinnati without the All-Star’s valuable bat.

Rockies: Mark Reynolds

Reynolds, even though listed as a corner infielder, has always been the N.L.’s version of a DH. An edict from Manfred would simply make it official.

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The Future of Android Games, Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality

Mobile gaming has come a very long way since the introduction of crude & simple games like Snake and Pong which were available on early Nokia phones. Mobile processors and graphics are now as powerful as desktop computers were just a few years ago. Older generations still remember lugging around a Game Boy or Game gear and begging their parents for another game. New generations literally have access to 100’s of thousands of games on their mobile device.

In short, mobile gaming has exploded in just a few years time. In the month of July 2016 there were 63.1 million arcade games downloaded & games in the “strategy” category generated $195M revenue. In a recent study over 37% of mobile app users with 30 minutes of free time choose to play games over any other activity. We’ve all seen it and we’ve all done it ourselves, whether its waiting for an appointment or sitting at the airport, we pull out our mobile device and jump into a quick game to kill the time.

So what does all of this mean for the future of android gaming? For starters, the massive amounts of revenue and user interest in android gaming has bolstered continuous innovation and fierce competition in the global marketplace. For example, just 12 months ago, top executives were saying they didn’t see any major benefit to augmented reality. With the release of Pokemon Go and estimates citing as much as $500 million in revenue in just 60 days, I think we can all agree augmented reality is here to stay. Virtual reality is another area that has been picking up steam in recent months. You can now buy virtual reality headsets at local gas stations for a mere $30. Or if you’re on a budget you can purchase Google Cardboard for as little as $7.00. There are still only a limited number of VR enabled games but that number is increasing daily. Not only that, as more and more people experience VR we are sure to see a blockbuster release sooner or later.

Let’s take a look at some real life examples of recent game releases. Dawn of Titans which was recently released on Google Play was in development for over 2 years. This is akin to the development cycle of a mid-level PC game release on Steam. The game features mass controlled troops, world building elements and impressive graphics. A few years ago this would be considered a major release for the Android platform. These days this is just another drop in the massive pond. With over 2.4 million apps and games currently listed on Google Play it’s become harder and harder to stand out. This is actually good news for gamers as developers are working harder and faster to create new innovative titles to attract users.

I firmly believe that both Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) titles are going to gain more traction in 2017. Major developers who can pump out triple A content can’t be left in the dust while indie developers pump out AR and VR enabled games. They will be forced to port existing titles and come up exciting new ways to interact with the mobile devices.

There are many gimmicky games available that utilize the phones microphone, gyroscope, camera and accelerometer. However, these sensors combined with AR and VR could bring a whole new experience to gamers. Imagine walking through a recreated 3D world that represents your neighbourhood, immersed in full virtual reality, and using your phone as a targeting device to defend against waves of zombies. This is already possible with the technology that is available, it just needs to be packaged in a user friendly way that people can enjoy. Combining meticulous graphics with well thought out virtual reality experiences would be impressive indeed. If you’re familiar with PC based virtual reality demo’s you already know how immersive the experience can be. It’s only a matter of time before these same experiences make their way to our mobile devices en masse. And to think, only 30 years ago we were playing Mario on our beloved Nintendo consoles. Let’s not even mention the Virtual Boy that burned your eyes after 2 minutes of playing tennis. Android games and mobile games in general have come a long ways since then and they will continue to push barriers even further in the near future.

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SEO Tactics That Need to Be Considered

The year is close to the end and SEO consultants are already debating over the strategies and tactics that needs to be followed in the coming year 2017. Several has already researched and published several things and here are we. We have researched and compared several activities to identify which will work and where we did general silly mistakes.

After a clear indication and detailed research, we have identified few tactics that will definitely work in the coming year. Several had already in the marathon & performing much better and few are new (actually not new, but generally misguided prior).

According to the research, traditional approach of “off-page activities” and “on-page activities” will definitely work with few ideological changes. Lets discuss in detail:

On-site SEO Tactics (On-page activities)

To get ready to face hurdles in 2017, SEO Specialists should work first on On-site SEO Tactics. On-site SEO means the work done on the own website instead of other’s. From site structure to website speed, it incorporates several factors, such as-

 

  • UI and Navigation – Great UI always leads to the conversions, user interaction and better impressions. While clear navigation helps to improve visit duration of an individual user. Included in it, they are an essential elements to get rank and get authorized by several active users and webmasters. Use easy navigational formats, proper context placement, elegant web design, etc. to provide better user experience.
  • Site Architecture – A proper architectural design will definitely lead to the ranking and also impact on user experience. While at the different side, it will help to recognize user behavior as well. Site Architecture promises to the proper alignment, proper placement of context and a clearer look. Follow standards of web design, include high level graphics, relevant videos, error-free content, and things to improve user click behavior.
  • Site Interlinking – Interlinking plays a vital role in site ranking. As it leads a user to different pages on the same website and shares the link juice to others, it helps to improve page rank as well as the keyword impressions on Google. Use proper linking structure and anchor on relevant keyword to relevant web page to get noticed by Google crawlers.
  • Site Speed and Crawl ability – Faster loading enhances user experience and help a website to hold users for more duration. To make your website faster on browsers just minify your CSS and JS file and enable the compression of your resources. Even you should work on caching functionality, which amazingly improves crawl speed.
  • Mobile Responsiveness – It is the most essential element to rank well on mobile devices and get higher rate of user interaction. Google has already announced the necessity of responsiveness in its previous update – Mobilegeddon. So, adopt responsive layouts to rank well on search engine’s SERP for both desktop searches and mobile searches.
  • Schema Markup – To identify things accurately, we need few markups that define what it is, why it’s used, who own it, etc. Similarly, search engines also needed few markups to identify site’s elements. That’s why Google itself created Schema Markups that defines the author, title, logo, and several other elements in a website. It helps to index accurately and return back for the accurate search queries.
  • Local Identity Markup – As per Google’s Pigeon update, it’s essential to include Local NAP (Name, Address, Phone no) to get ranked high for local results. This markup results much better for the geocentric searches. So, include your local identity and get ranked better in 2017.
  • Include Authorize trust signals – Authorized websites will get some betterment in the SERP, as they reveal their trust signals. Their trust signals can be their partner’s logo, their SSL certificate, their trademark, etc. So, include trust signals to get user’s trust, this is essential in the near future.

Off-site SEO Tactics (Off-page activities)

On a parallel side, expert digital marketers needed to work on Off-site SEO tactics to create a better presence on search engines. By making authentic, relevant and themed links, we can face the hurdles and overcome from the obstacles in the coming year. Let’s discuss the major off-page activities that will lead in 2017:

 

  • Authentic Link Building – Authenticity comes first when we talk about user trust. Even for the search engine crawlers, authentic link building makes a website trustworthy and helps to improve impressions on a search engine. So, try to get better outbound links from.edu or.org websites or from highly ranked (high DA, PA and PR websites).
  • Content Marketing – Content appears as one of the most important factor in SEO and used as a lead tactic in off-page optimization. From traditional activities to the modern assignments, content used everywhere. But not ordinary, having creative, unique and effective content is essential for better impressions on search engines and it affects the user behavior as well. So, use relevant, grammar-free, unique, expressive and out of the box content for your SEO campaigns in 2017.
  • Authorize Guest Networking – The term networking will impact negatively for the crawlers and because of that, Google somehow didn’t recognize Guest networking for ranking. But if it used in a positive aspect, guest blog networking will impact much better. As they are highly relevant, most authentic and user centric, so, they directly lead more users to a website.
  • Keyword Optimization – Every strategy begins with the selection of relevant keywords, who takes the lead and makes a website visible in SERP for different search queries. Proper placement of keywords in a content (i.e. Keyword Density) and the proximity are essential to get benefited through selected keywords. So, use highly relevant keywords, keep focus on density and proximity, use them in headings and title, etc.
  • Local Listing for all – As per Google’s Pegion Update, local results will completely influence by local listings, NAP and local keywords. By doing local directory submissions, local citation, classifieds on local portals and promotions using local keywords will improve the rank for local searches. So, try to involve GEO specific keywords and local listings in your strategy for 2017 SEO.
  • Active Blogging – Be active to make your promotions worthy. As content marketing is an essential tactic of promotions, blogging is another way of content marketing. On your own blog, company’s blog or on other’s relevant blogs, continual blogging will improve your impressions. So, actively write informative, effective and relevant content for blogging purpose.
  • Themed Linking – In 2017, try to focus on thematic linking, as it shows more relevant and attract targeted audience. Themed linking simply means to the conceptual back linking or getting backlinks from similar concept websites. So, try to search relevant and similar theme sites through competitor analysis, backlink check or searching Google for similar content and place your backlink there.
  • Link Reclamation – Another technique that will give assurance for the better results. Reclamation simply means to recreate broken links by making them revive. For that you can search broken links on highly authorized websites such as Wikipedia, and target relevant thematic content towards your own website. So rebuild your authenticity by using link reclamation in 2017.
  • Client Testimonials/Reviews – Recommendation always improves user trust as well as the Google’s. By asking client testimonials and reviews (obviously positive) on different portals, such as Google business page, Facebook Page, Glassdoor and others, will enhance the ranks and impressions. So, ask positive reviews and testimonials from clients to rank well in 2017.
  • Improve Visual Content Engagement – Text only content can’t make you enhance your user stay on the website. As it somehow makes them bore and ruin their experience. Even no-one has time to read huge content. So, try to involve expressive and engaging visual content such as graphics, images, videos, animations, etc. to improve user engagement and to reduce bounce rate.

 

Social Networking Tactics (Social Signals)

Previously, these are known as a part of “Off-Page Tactics”, but now they have an individual preference and an impact on ranking and impressions on search engines. As a recommended tactic, these signals also consider to make conversions and direct connection. So, that’s require to keep your faith and focus over social signals and work on its elements, such as-

 

  • Social Activeness – Be active on social networks to create a recognized identity. A post on a daily basis can help you to transform your business page into a brand and aware relevant audience about your services, products and features.
  • Improve circle/Friend list of relevant fields – Be clear about the audience before selecting one as a friend on your business account. As it is solely for promotions and conversions and somehow work as a showcase, but only for the relevant one. So improve your friend list with most relevant users, which can help you to generate more pennies in less promotion.
  • Enhance Network – Along with the enhancement in friends, that’s also essential to be a part of different, but relevant communities and groups. It will help you to enhance your reach in the same industry and improve the chance of conversions.
  • Active Blogging on Social Networks – As an emerging platform, social networks are the perfect place to do blogging. As they guarantee about the self promotion and highest reach on a single post, they also assured you about more user interaction. Even the content placed on social platforms such as – Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, Stumbleupon, etc. will get high authority and index sooner.
  • Ask for Social Reviews – Social networks worth a lot to make your business a brand. So, be active on it to be always identified, authorized and recognized by several. Even, never leave a single day without interacting, sharing your thought and asking your circle for the reviews. As these are much appreciated way to get ranked on search engines.

Analytics and rapid check (crosscheck activities)

Google used to change its search algorithms on a regular basis (several times in a single year), which caused for the failure of several tactics and also amazingly improve few ones. In those changes some are seriously the giants such as previous – Panda, Penguin,

So, it’s an essential thing to cross check the work by keeping eyes on a few things, such as-

 

  • Google Tool Analysis – As an SEO consultant, we are used to with these tools and connected with them regularly. Even these are essential to calculate traffic and to analyze site errors. Moreover, that tools like Google Analytics and webmasters can be utilized to improve the site’s crawl ability, sitemap indexing, user behavior, manual penalties, and much more.
  • In-Page Analysis – To identify user’s behavior on a single page, we generally use In-Page Google Analytics tools. This clears out the user flow, means on which direction user reads the content and interacts with which context more. With a clear percentage, we can analyze the context worth and according to that we can modify our context.
  • Performance Measurement – To identify the worth of work, we need to do performance measurement on a regular basis. It includes backlink checking, broken link checking, 404 checking, link error checking, authority checking, etc. By the rapid checkup, we can make ourselves assure about the results and it will help us to prepare further strategies.
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