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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Five Former All-Stars Who Need To Have Comeback Years in 2017

St. Louis did to Chicago what the Cubs did to the Cardinals during last year’s off season, signing a valuable part of their outfield to a free agent contract. In 2015 Jason Heyward went from the Cardinals to the Cubs, where he received a World Series ring.

This year, the Cardinals returned the favor, signing Dexter Fowler to a free agent deal. Fowler served as a spark at the lead off spot for the Cubs, as well as providing near Gold Glove defense in center field.

St. Louis hopes the overall season turns out as well as 2016 did for Heyward and the Cubs, who won their first Fall Classic in over one hundred years. In order for that to happen, the Cardinals will have to get better individual results from Fowler than the Cubs did from Heyward. Although he remained a top notch defensive right fielder, Heyward’s offensive numbers were disappointing. He struggled so much that manager Joe Madden did not even start him in several World Series games against the Indians.

The Cubs are hoping Heyward has a comeback season in 2017, as are a dozen or so other players. Several of them were mentioned in an article by David Schoenfield at ESPN.com on December 6,2016, a list including Arizona pitcher Zack Greinke, Boston infielder Pablo Sandoval, and Washington first baseman Ryan Zimmerman.

Omitted from that list are five other players who are hoping to bounce back after a down year, or in some cases, back to back down years. Here are five other prominent players who need to have comeback years in 2017.

Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins

The former American League Most Valuable Player has had two sub par years in a row, even though he still leads the Twins in quality at bats. Mauer’s batting averages in 2015 and 2016 were both more than thirty under his career .319 mark.

Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals

After earning the National League M.V. P. honors the season before, Harper hit just .243 and his 24 home runs were barely half of the total he hit in 2015. The outfielder is also hoping to improve his numbers considerably, since he is eligible for free agency after the season.

Andrew McCutcheon of the Pittsburgh Pirates

Trade talk regarding the former N.L. M.V.P. has been frequent throughout the winter, so his comeback may have to occur while he is wearing the uniform of a club other than the Pirates. Ben Revere of the Washington Nationals

After hitting.317 with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015, Revere’s average plummeted to .214 when he went to Washington. He really needs a comeback year for, like his teammate Harper, he will become a free agent at the end of the season.

Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals

His home run totals went up four from 2015, but his batting average dropped fifty one points to .221. Kansas City, which missed out on the playoffs after winning two straight pennants, needs Gordon to bounce back if they want to return to the postseason.

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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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Real Talk on Overcoming Addictions

There comes a point in your life when you say “enough!” The fight within becomes so unbearable that you say.” No more, that’s it I’ve had it.” You’re done being a victim. A quick shift in consciousness appears. You hit rock bottom.. There is no way but up. You realize that you have to look yourself in the mirror and get real with yourself and become the person you know that you can become. Decide now and realize that “one day” is an illusion, “one day” never comes. Do the things that need to be done, now. The drugs, the sex, the feeling sorry for yourself, the hypocrisy, the porn, the lying, the whining and complaining needs to become a thing of the past.

Sometimes the truth hurts and sometimes the truth about yourself needs to be revealed. Lying to yourself and waiting on something outside yourself to save you ain’t gonna happen. You save you. Only the individual knows his or her truth. The doubts and fears are brought to the surface. We all know what we have to do in order to save ourselves. We have to go to the place that we don’t want to go. We have to get uncomfortable. The shift in thought becomes freedom. Look within and find the source of your misery. Face that demon and overcome it. We can be shown the way to end suffering, but it’s up to us to make the first step. We have to man up. Start with the small things and then gradually do bigger things. Start being grateful for the things you have now. Act the part or fake it till you make it and become liberated. There are people in the world who have so little and they are so happy. Happiness is a state of mind. Act happy, act free, become an actor. Don’t tell others your intentions either. Shut your mouth and move in the direction of right thought and actions. There are people in the world with every luxury that the world provides and they are miserable as hell. Happiness is not in material objects, otherwise those with the most wealth and stuff would be the happiest.

The kingdom of heaven is of no use if we think we can bring our vices with us. Heaven is a mindset. The old self, thoughts and habits associated with that old self has got to go. A new self has to be created. It can begin with a creation of a new attitude, a new way of seeing things and deciding to let go of things that don’t serve us any longer. Life is a journey and we all have obstacles to overcome. Dwelling on the past is useless. Leave the past in the past where it belongs.

Winston Churchill was the prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955 and he has a famous quote that reads, “If you are going through hell, keep going.” Don’t stop in hell and extend your visit, move on. Hell is a passing phase and for those who know where the keys to heaven are can enter. Heaven and hell are states of mind. Get tired, get fed up and do the things necessary to leave hell and enter heaven. Pray, meditate, read books, listen to motivational talk and fight to overcome temptation with everything you have. Change the way you think now. Stop listening to useless opinions, negative commentary from so-called experts. Resist being distracted by things that have nothing to do with the improvement of your life.

Learn from your mistakes and look forward to the future you want. Leave the past in the past. Get out of your comfort zone and get talked about. People gonna talk about you anyway, they’re talking about you now. Realize that not everyone will like you. Don’t take it personal. Not everyone like God, so why would you be any different? It’s almost 2017 and it’s time out for playing.

Technology is available almost everyone on earth. If you live in an industrialized nation, then there are no excuses if you want help for your addictions or destructive habits. The internet is full of free information and videos on practically any subject. YouTube is a great source for getting help in overcoming addiction. There are people from all over the world that will give free advice and tips. Just as technology can be used for bad, technology can also be used for good. I love technology, because it has helped me in overcoming a very bad addiction. I am free now. It took hard work, praying, meditating, counseling, books, videos and going deep within. Start with noticing the silent self talk within. Be aware of the voice in your head and watch it. The voice has always been there, notice the voice and separate yourself from that voice. Look at the voice from a distance. Silence yourself and resist falling asleep. Silence your electronic devices and spend time alone and watch your thoughts. You will start to think about what you are thinking about. Realization of the false self shows itself. Next, you will see the addict, the complainer, and that false self for what it is. A new way of seeing is revealed. If you have ever said,”what was I thinking?” That realization is a glimpse into consciousness awakening.

Going through hell can be a great teacher. Decide now and change your mind. Quit playing and realize that life is passing regardless. Get fed up and make the change for a better life now. Do what you know you should do. Free your mind now.

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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.