Month: May 2016

NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies Announce Signing of England Midfielder Joe Cole

North American Soccer League’s Tampa Bay Rowdies have unveiled their latest signing, England international midfielder Joe Cole. Cole, who has scored 10 goals in 56 appearances for the England national team, is considered “the most significant player to be signed by NASL in its history” by Rowdies owner Bill Edwards. After an illustrious career playing for some of the world’s best clubs such as West Ham United, Chelsea, and Liverpool, Cole has decided to move across the pond and will call Tampa Bay his new home.
The signing has placed Tampa Bay and NASL directly in the spotlight of the soccer world. The Rowdies averaged a total attendance of 5,857 during the 2015 season, some ways away from the 40,000 or more that Cole is used to playing in front of in England’s top tier. The club hopes that the new signing will draw larger crowds and strengthen the level of play within their squad and NASL as a whole. As soccer continues to increase in popularity in the United States, the Rowdies could become a dominate force within their league, especially if they continue to invest in experienced and skillful players such as Joe Cole.
After scoring only four goals in their last five matches, Tampa Bay currently sit in 7th place after having played seven matches in total. Cole is eager to turn the club’s misfortunes around after stating “I could’ve had two weeks off to freshen up, but I want to hit the ground running”.

Sunny Days for the Rays

It’s not the rainy season, but the Tampa Bay Rays are raining down home runs.

The Rays have totaled 60 so far, and Friday night, right fielder Steven Souza, Jr. and first baseman Steve Pearce each hit solo homers. The Rays washed out the Tigers in Detroit 7-5.

What’s happening? Third baseman Evan Longoria explained, “We added some guys who can hit home runs, and they’re showing up.” They definitely are. Eleven players have hit home runs so far this month. Longoria added that, although no one is near the league lead, several players have hit five or six homers.

Steve Pearce’s explanation is that “we’re feeding off each other.” Pearce is a new addition who’s really coming through. A utility player who was signed to a one-year contract, the most home runs he’s hit in a year has been 21 in 2014 He has seven so far in May.

Hitting coach Derek Shelton pointed out that the hitters simply aren’t making mistakes. “The biggest part is, don’t miss it,” he said. “I think that’s what separates a really good at-bat…some guys get it, and that’s why the ball’s been going out of the ballpark.”

But the Rays realize that home run hitters have their downside. Shelton acknowledged that the Rays’ strikeout numbers are high. He admitted that players swing and miss, but added that, “you take a little bit of the good with the bad.”

But for now, it’s raining and sunny in Tampa at the same time.

Another Tough Game for Chris Archer of the Rays

One of the biggest stories of the 2016 Major League Baseball season has been the poor performance of Chris Archer. The ace of the Tampa Bay Rays has not even been close to the dominating pitcher he has been in prior seasons. The May 22nd game against the Detroit Tigers was no different. The Tigers won the final contest of the three-game series. Detroit has only lost once in their past seven games. Many people thought that the game would be a low-scoring affair with Archer and Jordan Zimmerman on the mound for their respective teams. However, that type of pitcher’s duel did not materialize. Archer’s bad outing was not the only problem. Zimmerman was forced to leave the game early with a strain of his right groin.

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus attributed the success of his team to their ability to lay off many of the pitches Archer threw to them. This allowed Tiger hitters to get themselves into favorable counts. Archer’s pitch count was 77. He wound up giving up eight hits and six runs during the three innings he pitched. This was Archer’s shortest start in almost two years. Rays manager Kevin Cash continues to say that he is not overly concerned about Archer’s poor start. He said that a pitcher of Archer’s ability will eventually break out of his slump and start to string together some solid starts. The Rays hope this will be the case. They have no chance of winning their division unless Archer starts to turn things around.

Tampa Bay Lightning Defeat Penguins To Even Series

The Tampa Bay Lightning, attempting to return to the Stanley Cup Final this year, got one step closer with a defeat of the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final on Friday night. It was a must win for them because Pittsburgh was ahead two games to one and the next game is in the Steel City. In this game, Tampa jumped to a 2-0 lead after the first period on goals by Ryan Callahan and Andrej Sustr.

It was the first time Pittsburgh’s young goaltender, Matt Murray. looked a little shaky. After a 4-0 Tampa lead at the end of the second period, it was clear he was not having a good game and Marc Andre Fleury took over in the third period. That seemed to spark the Penguins who mounted a furious comeback with three straight goals. Phil Kessel got his eighth goal of the playoffs to break the ice (no pun intended) for Pittsburgh and Evgeni Malkin finally scored ten minutes later to close the gap to 4-2. Malkin has been in a scoring slump since the New York series and he looked frustrated up to that goal. After that the game got really interesting as Chris Kunitz brought the Penguins to within one goal of the Lightning. This was something that seemed unlikely in a game that had been dominated by Tampa Bay.

The Lightning did finally prevail after all to tie the Eastern Conference Final series at two games each with game 5 scheduled in Pittsburgh Sunday night.


Winston Wins Even in the Offseason

Jameis Winston is gaining fans and support this offseason with his performance on the field and maturity off of it. Offensive coordinator Todd Monken confessed his hesitation about the second-year quarterback since he originally wanted Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, but Winston has managed to change his mind. The news is a good sign for the team as they head into the season with a new head coach and regime. The Buccaneers will need confidence at the quarterback position if they hope to make a playoff run in the competitive NFC South Division and Winston has won over management as the long-term face of the franchise.

The Buccaneers selected the former Florida State quarterback as the first pick of the 2015 NFL Draft in hopes of solidifying the position after years of uncertainty. In his rookie year, Winston had 22 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. It was a promising showing for the former Heisman winner and national champion best known for his strong arm and size. Tampa Bay will have a head coaching change for the 2016-2017 season with Dirk Koetter at the helm and the organization is confident that Koetter can pick up where former coach Lovie Smith left off. Koetter helped develop Winston last season and helped shape Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan’s career as well.

Tampa Bay Lightning Tie Series 2-2

The Tampa Bay Lightning evened the series at two games apiece after a thrilling 4-3 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals. After losing two games in a row to the Penguins, the Lightning got off to a fast start when Ryan Callahan scored a goal on Matt Murray after only 17 seconds of play. Tampa Bay was the superior team for the first two periods, but Pittsburgh did not go down without a fight. The Lightning started the third period with a 4-0 lead, but goals from Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin cut into the score. A power-play goal by Chris Kunitz shifted the momentum back over to the Penguins and it took two saves from goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy in the final minutes to help his team escape a potentially series changing collapse.

It has been a nail-biting series for Tampa Bay fans with the team losing the last two games in the playoffs. Friday night’s game was a must-win for the Lightning, who could not afford to head back to Pittsburgh down two games. Instead, Sunday night’s Game 5 will serve as a tiebreaker and intense showdown when the Penguins play host to the Lightning once again at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. If Tampa Bay gets off to another fast start in Game 5 and can pull off the victory Sunday, they have the chance to finish up the series at home Tuesday night at Amalie Arena for Game 6.

Impossibly, Tampa Bay Leading MLB in Home Runs

Before the 2016 season began, baseball pundits were marveling at the possibility of an American League East team shattering the season record for team home runs. Of course, that team was the Baltimore Orioles, sporting sluggers like Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, and the newly-signed Mark Trumbo and Pedro Alvarez. What nobody expected was that midway through May, the AL East franchise pacing the majors in dingers would be … the Tampa Bay Rays.

Yes, the Rays, heralded for their bottomless supply of cheap, young pitching, had bashed 58 homers entering Friday night’s games, one more than Baltimore. Led by Steven Souza and former Rockie Corey Dickerson, Tampa Bay features seven players with at least five home runs, including the glove-first Kevin Kiermaier, already halfway to his seasonal best, and Orioles castoff Steve Pearce, who signed with the Rays this offseason for a below-market $4.75 million.

However, Newton’s Third Law of Motion holds: for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. As the Tampa bats have sizzled, the Tampa ace has fizzled. Chris Archer, who finished fifth in AL Cy Young voting in 2015, and was named in the league’s elite this preseason, has seen his walk rate increase by almost two batters per game, and his ERA rise by more than a run.

It’s not surprising that the Rays remain competitive in the tight division, though how they’re doing it — with homer-happy bats rather than stellar pitching — is.

Drafting Roberto Aguayo was a wise decision by Tampa Bay

Many Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans were incredulous when the team selected Florida State kicker Roberto Aguayo with the 59th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Indeed, it is rare for kickers to be drafted so high. Since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, NFL teams have only selected 21 kickers within the first three rounds of the NFL Draft. But changes within the game should make fans reconsider their initial misgivings.

With the extra point spot moving back to the 15-yard line in the 2015 NFL season, kickers missed a league-record 71 point-after-touchdown attempts last year.

At Florida State, Aguayo set college football records with 157 points scored, and 94 consecutive made extra point attempts. In 2013, he received the Lou Groza Award, bestowed upon the nation’s best college football kicker.

With the extra point becoming a more changeling feature of NFL football, coaches front office members are placing more emphasis on accurate kicking. Fans who weren’t pleased with the Aguayo acquisition may be grateful if his kicking skills help give the Buccaneers enough victories to reach the playoffs in 2016.

What Led to Venezuela’s Impending Collapse?

Open says Venezuela’s collapsing economy is sure to enter the history books as one of the worst disasters to hit a nation. Many experts like Jose Velasquez Figueroa suggest that the economic horror show that is Venezuela could have been avoided. Among the avoidable problems was the desire to employ market and price controls. Governments have done this in the past. The United States instituted such policies in the early 1970’s, but the results were not what was expected. Venezuela choose to employ market and price controls and, considering the awful state of Venezuela’s fiscal health, these interventions are being blamed for horrible consequences.
The problems in Venezuela are multifold. No one would suggest price and market controls are the only factors that lead to devastation in Venezuela. Venezuela is suffering from a horrible drought, an environmental catastrophe made worse by the fact the country is reliant on hydroelectric power. A lack of electricity is not exactly going to help bolster an economy.

That said, the situation was already bad due to a host of poor decisions by the government. There is only one positive to come out of the eventual collapse of Venezuela. Economists would be able to review the fall of the nation and point out the many missteps other countries should avoid.

Sadly, the eventual case study analysis will be of no benefit to those in Venezuela suffering now. The collapse of Venezuela looks like it is on a glide path and many lives are going to be ruined as a result.

The History of Eric Pulier

Being a successful businessman and philanthropist often times go hand in hand. Entrepreneur Eric Pulier is definitely not an exception to this rule, as his known success can tell anyone.

Eric Pulier was born and raised in Teaneck, New Jersey and spent a chunk of his life there before graduating high school. Afterwards, he began attending Harvard University in 1984 and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English and American Literature, while also studying computer science and environmental studies. He graduated from Harvard as a magna cum laude in 1988, and was also an editor for The Harvard Crimson, the school’s newspaper at the time. Also during his time at Harvard, Pulier participated in some classes at MIT.

Upon completion of his collegiate studies, Pulier moved to Los Angeles in 1991, where he currently resides and his first project was founding People Doing Things (PDT). PDT is a company that manages to address issues such as health care, education and wellness among other subjects through the use of technology. Pulier has also been responsible for executive positions in multiple companies, including being the founder of Digital Evolution in 1994, the co-founder and director of Media Platform, Inc in 2007 and a co-founder of ServiceMesh Inc.

Eric Pulier is also a known philanthropist, having been a generous donor to several non-profit organizations such as the X-Prize Foundation, where he also sits on the innovation board. X-Prize is an organization that designs and manages competitions with the intent of encouraging developments in technology that mankind will benefit from in the near future. Pulier is also a donor for the ACE Foundation, which is an organization that reshapes and further develops software in efforts to combat all of the major problems facing humanity. One of the projects the foundation takes on is allowing the distribution of clean drinking water for all people.

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