I’ve played, watched or coached baseball since second grade. As a youngster, I collected baseball cards, caught my first major league foul ball in grade school, and still check box scores every morning. Baseball is in my blood. And if you love the game, you’ve got to fly the colors.
Which explains why I’ve got shirts, jackets or jerseys for the hometown Mariners, the teams of my youth (Giants and Athletics) and a host of minor league teams representing the Aviators, Beavers, Black Barons, Crackers, Crawfords, Indians, Pelicans and Rainiers of Wichita, Portland, Birmingham, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, New Orleans and Seattle, respectively.
As you can see from the photos, when it comes to baseball, I wear my emotions on my sleeve. Make that sleeves.
Summer is officially over. But we’ve found one mean panda, viva la dodgeball, edible ninjas, CNN sappiness and some cool snowboard tech to keep us entertained. Enjoy this week’s Spike Likes entries.
Charlie Worcester: Don’t say no to the hilariously, cruel panda.
Gina Auffaunt: I found this article posted today about the dodgeball games that go on every Tuesday and Thursday in Cal Anderson Park. I’ve personally gone to watch of few of these games and it’s an enlightening experience. The players are about as diverse as they come, ranging from young to old, Capitol Hill hipster to athletic jock… all are welcome. It is an innocent game where everyone plays by the rules. It brings community together and I think it would be a shame to put an end to it. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012971119_tenniscourts23m.html
Last night, a perfect storm converged over Atlanta that had huge ramifications in Seattle. The result? The Emerald City is home to a championship sports franchise. No, it’s not the Mariners. Nor the Seahawks. Not the Sounders or Huskies either.
By virtue of their 87-84 victory over the Atlanta Dream, our own Seattle Storm completed a perfect 7-0 playoff run and captured the WNBA championship.
While the Mariners have produced a season of futility, the Seahawks look to rebuild, the Sounders took a step back, and the Sonics have left town, the Storm won their second league title in the last seven seasons. Congratulations, ladies, for doing twice what our many men’s teams have yet to accomplish.
Led by All-Star point guard Sue Bird, scoring machine Swin Cash and dominant center Lauren Jackson, Seattle gave our victory-starved city something to cheer about. For those like me who lament the Sonics move to Oklahoma City, and the emergence of Kevin Durant as a bona fide superstar, take comfort. We have our own all-world wonder in Jackson, a three-time league MVP and MVP of this year’s playoffs.
Judging by the raucous response from fans all around the Puget Sound area, the Seattle lady hoopsters have captured Seattle by Storm. To paraphrase Eric Clapton, Let it Reign!
Every year around this time, 30 million fanatical souls consult their player rankings, cheat sheets and crystal balls to select their Fantasy Football team for the upcoming NFL season. I am one such obsessed soul. Last Sunday, I participated in my Somerville League draft, along with nine other “team owners” from Chicago, Detroit, DC, Seattle, New York, Munich and Zurich. Each of us has selected the players we think will capture the league championship. Winning brings with it a four-figure cash prize and, more importantly, the coveted Sombardy Trophy, a golden football award named for Somerville and legendary coach Vince Lombardi.
In my four years in the league I’ve made the playoffs twice and lost the championship once. With the highest scoring team in the league last year, I thought I had the players to go all the way. Alas, it was not to be. I was bounced in the first playoff game, and all I could do was look forward to next year. Next year is now here.
Below is my roster for the 2010 season (named after my ancestry):
QB Philip Rivers
RB Steven Jackson
RB Frank Gore
WR/RB Brandon Marshall
WR Anquan Boldin
WR Hines Ward
WR Jeremy Maclin
TE Visanthe Shiancoe
K Jay Feely
BENCH Chester Taylor
BENCH Jerome Harrison
BENCH Steve Breaston
BENCH Terrell Owens
BENCH Alex Smith
BENCH Bernard Scott
BENCH Bernard Berrian
BENCH Mike Williams
BENCH Heath Miller
BENCH D. McCluster
Somerville—and NFL action—began yesterday, with the Vikings in St. Louis. I’ll keep you all posted on my quest for the Sombardy.
For the fans of the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button, you likely will not use it anymore. In the habit of hitting the ‘enter’ button after you type a search query? Break this one, because it is no longer necessary. After months of testing, and weeks of hype and speculation, Google has revealed Google Instant, the newest change to the way that we search: live updating search results.
Google Instant attempts to improve the user experience even more: by saving time, providing smarter predictions and serving instant results. Google estimates that Instant will save 11 hours of search time for every second spent searching. With the combination of time savings, and more accurate search results, Google is certainly staking their claim as the most forward-thinking company in search.
Google’s announcement this morning began with some amazing statistics: over 1 Billion searches occur on Google each week. In these 1 Billion searches, it takes more than 9 seconds to enter a search term, with many searches taking 30 to 90 seconds. Google Instant promises to save 2-5 seconds per search, as well as decrease the time it takes a user to click on a search result as well.
How does it work? As you type in your search query, the search results will adjust based on what you Google Instant searches for you as you type, predicting the most likely keywords that you will search. Once you see results that match what you are looking for, simply stop typing. Your results are already there.
Here, we began a search for ‘woodpecker’ to show the results that we got along the way:
How Will Google Instant Impact Paid Search?
One of the largest concerns about Google Instant for B2B Advertisers is how this new tool will impact paid search. Specifically, the impact on ad impressions. As users type in a query, the search results rapidly change, displaying different ads with every keystroke. As shown in our search for ‘woodpecker’ we returned paid advertisements for MapQuest, the Pacific Science Center, the Woodland Park Zoo and more, before we finally got to information about woodpeckers.
According to Google, an ad impression is counted if a user takes an action to choose a query (for example, presses the Enter key or clicks the Search button), clicks a link on the results page, or stops typing for three or more seconds.
Google Instant will also change the layout of the Google search results pages. Because the search suggestions box remains open, the organic results, as well as any top position ads, are pushed down the page. In some cases, the organic results are pushed completely below the fold, and users will only see the search suggestions box, as well as paid advertisements.
Though this will initially increase impressions and clicks on paid search campaigns, the quality of the clicks received is not likely to improve. With organic results beginning far below the fold, many users will confuse paid and organic searches- resulting in low quality clicks on top performing ads. Paid ads in position 1 and 2 will likely show above the organic search results, but below the search suggestions box. Ads in lower positions (particularly positions 3, 4 and 5) appear to have a higher rank because the paid search results on the right side begin at the top of the page.
With increased impressions due to the ever changing search results pages, paid search marketers can expect to see a decline in their click through rate (CTR)- simply due to this increase in impressions. Because CTR is one of the main components of quality score, B2B Advertisers may see a change in the overall competitive landscape of paid search. Will quality scores begin to decline because of Google Instant? At this point, we can just wait and see.
From tennis pros, your hometown brought to life to a baby brought back to life, animal bffs to a fair weather hiker, here is the latest edition of Spike’s Likes brought to you by the friendly staffers at Hodgson/Meyers.
Gary Graf: This Spikester likes hiking around Mt. Rainier National Park (as long as the sun is shining).
John Kennedy: Happy to see football season is back.
Willem Buys: Words, presented by RadioLab and NPR.
Robert Coats: Talk about creative inspiration. It is from Google Experiments and really pushes the boundaries of HTML 5 and pulls in data from multiple sources to create a presentation that is beyond interactive and falls into the category of “submersive” messaging. Granted, Google Experiments is using a music video in this instance but it perfectly showcases the possibilities of not only how you deliver a message to your target audience but how you can submerge that audience in the message and make them a part of it. Enjoy this glimpse at the future of the web presentations at http://www.thewildernessdowntown.com/ and customize this to your location.