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The Canadian Press

Baseball Hall of Famer, knuckleballer Phil Niekro dies at 81

ATLANTA — Phil Niekro threw a pitch that baffled hitters and catchers.Heck, he didn’t even know where it was going most of the time.But the knuckleball carried Niekro to more than 300 wins, earned him a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame and gave him a nickname that stuck for the rest of his life.Knucksie.The longtime stalwart of the Atlanta Braves rotation died after a lengthy fight with cancer, the team announced Sunday. He was 81.The Braves said Niekro died Saturday night in his sleep. He lived in the Atlanta suburb of Flowery Branch, where a main thoroughfare bears his name.He was the seventh Hall of Famer to die this year, the most sitting members to pass away in a calendar year, according to spokesman Jon Shestakofsky. The others were Lou Brock, Whitey Ford, Bob Gibson, Al Kaline, Joe Morgan and Tom Seaver“These names, and these men, will be remembered forever in Cooperstown,” Shestakofsky said.Niekro won 318 games over his 24-year career, which finally ended in 1987 at age 48 after he made one final start for the Braves. The right-hander was a five-time All-Star who had three 20-win seasons with Atlanta.Dale Murphy, who won two straight NL MVP awards as a teammate of Niekro’s, was among those who mourned his death.“Knucksie was one of a kind,” Murphy wrote on Twitter. “Friend, teammate, father and husband. Our hearts go out to Nancy Niekro, the kids and grandkids. So thankful for our memories and time together. We’ll miss you, Knucksie.”Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, this year’s NL MVP, described himself as “heartbroken.”“An amazing pitcher but an even better man!” Freeman said on Twitter. “Thanks you Phil for all the laughs and wonderful memories over the years.”Niekro also pitched for the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays late in his career.Incredibly, he had 121 wins after his 40th birthday.“We are heartbroken on the passing of our treasured friend,” the Braves said in a statement. “Knucksie was woven into the Braves fabric, first in Milwaukee and then in Atlanta. Phil baffled batters on the field and later was always the first to join in our community activities. It was during those community and fan activities where he would communicate with fans as if they were long lost friends.”A statue of Niekro delivering his trademark pitch is located outside of Truist Park, the Braves’ stadium.Niekro didn’t make it to the big leagues until 1964, when he pitched 10 games in relief for the then-Milwaukee Braves. He made only one start over his first three years in the big leagues but finally blossomed as a starter in 1967 — the Braves’ second year in Atlanta — when he went 11-9 and led the National League with a 1.87 ERA.With a fluttering knuckleball that required catchers to wear an oversized mitt, Niekro went 23-13 as the Braves won the first NL West title in 1969. He was runner-up to Seaver for the Cy Young Award, the closest he ever came to capturing pitching’s premier prize though he finished in the top six of the balloting four other times.Niekro also had 20-win seasons in 1974 and 1979, despite pitching for a team that fell on hard times after its appearance in the inaugural NL Championship Series, where the Braves were swept in three games by New York’s Amazin’ Mets.Niekro also led the league in losses for four straight seasons, losing 20 games in both 1977 and ’79.He finished with a career record of 318-274 and a 3.35 ERA. Niekro was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997.His younger brother, Joe, also had a long baseball career with an arsenal that included the knuckleball. He won 221 games over 22 years in the big leagues, making the Niekros baseball’s winningest set of siblings, with a total of 539 victories, just ahead of Gaylord and Jim Perry.Joe Niekro died in 2006 at age 61.Phil Niekro pitched a no-hitter in 1973 but his most memorable game with the Braves came in 1982, when the team started the season with 13 consecutive wins and improbably won the NL West title by a single game to send Niekro to the playoffs for only the second time in his career.On the final weekend of the season, the 43-year-old Niekro pitched a three-hit shutout and hit a two-run, eighth-inning homer that led Atlanta to a crucial 4-0 victory over the San Diego Padres.Niekro finished 17-4 with a 3.61 ERA in 35 starts, but he didn’t get a decision in his only start of the NL Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals as the Braves were again swept in three straight games. He never made it to the World Series.Niekro picked up his 300th win in 1985 while pitching for the Yankees. He reached the milestone by shutting out the Blue Jays 8-0.Philip Henry Niekro was born in Blaine, Ohio, and learned the knuckleball from his father, who played for a coal-mining team in eastern Ohio.“He was a very good pitcher,” Niekro told ESPN in an interview after his playing days were over. “He hurt his arm one spring, didn’t warm up good enough, couldn’t throw a fastball anymore. Another coal miner taught him how to throw the knuckleball.”The elder Niekro passed it on to his son, who learned to grip the ball with his fingernails on the seams. That kept the ball from spinning, causing it to move in all sorts of confounding ways on its way to the plate.“He threw it to me one day.” Niekro said of his father. “I asked him what it was. He showed me how to hold it. Didn’t know what it was, didn’t know anything about it except that I liked it.“I never knew how to throw a fastball, never learned how to throw a curveball, a slider, split-finger, whatever they’re throwing nowadays. I was a one-pitch pitcher.”Well, that wasn’t entirely true.In his 300th victory, Niekro said he didn’t throw a knuckleball until the final batter, using it to strike out former teammate Jeff Burroughs to end the game. At the time, Knucksie was the oldest pitcher in baseball history to toss a shutout, a mark since broken by Jamie Moyer.?I always wanted to pitch a whole game without throwing knuckleballs because people thought I couldn’t get people out without throwing them,? Niekro said afterward, with brother Joe sitting alongside him in Toronto.After going 11-10 with a 3.97 ERA in 1983, Niekro had an acrimonious split from the Braves, who wanted him to retire so they could focus on their younger pitchers.But Niekro was far from done. He won 16 games each of the next two seasons with the Yankees and even made the All-Star Game for the final time. He picked up 11 more wins with Cleveland in 1986 before his knuckler finally ran out of steam.Niekro started 1987 with the Indians and was traded to Toronto in August, only to be let go by the Blue Jays after getting roughed up in three starts. He decided to retire but only after returning to Atlanta to make his final start in a Braves uniform.Niekro lasted just three-plus innings, giving up six hits, six walks and five runs before he left the mound for the final time to a raucous ovation from the crowd at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.While the knuckler was his trademark, Niekro was an all-around athlete. He won five Gold Glove awards and was a decent hitter for a pitcher, wracking up seven homers and 109 RBIs.Niekro remained active in the Braves organization after his retirement, taking part in alumni activities and often serving as a special instructor at spring training. He managed Atlanta’s Triple-A farm team for one season, but struggled in the role. He also guided the Colorado Silver Bullets, a barnstorming women’s baseball team sponsored by Coors.Niekro is survived by his wife, Nancy, sons Philip, John and Michael, and two grandchildren, Chase and Emma.Longevity was the hallmark of Niekro’s career, which was spent largely in obscurity pitching for Braves teams that rarely managed a winning season.The knuckleball put little stress on his right arm, so he made at least 30 starts every season from 1968-86 — excluding the strike-shortened 1981 campaign — and finished with 245 complete games in his career.He was even able to make infrequent relief appearances, earning 29 saves.In 1979, at age 40, Niekro made a career-high 44 starts, completing 23 of them. He went 21-20 with a 3.39 ERA for a dismal Braves team that finished 66-94.He remains the last pitcher to both win and lose 20 games in a season.In this era where teams value velocity above all other traits, the knuckleball has essentially become extinct.“There’s nobody around who can teach how to throw a knuckleball,” Niekro said in the ESPN interview. “There’s very few pitching coaches that I worked with that actually came out on the mound and told me what I was doing wrong with the knuckleball. Because they just didn’t know.“I was on my own.”___Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at https://twitter.com/pnewberry1963 His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paulnewberry___More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsPaul Newberry, The Associated Press

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PewDiePie Announces "Big Change" to His YouTube Channel – ComicBook.com

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PewDiePie has announced a big change to his YouTube channel, inspired by the likes of Corpse Husband, Dream, and a growing trend amongst popular streamers on Twitch and YouTube. After a two-week break from YouTube, the platform’s most popular content creator is back. In the build-up to his return, the king of YouTube teased a “big reveal.” Following up this tease, today, PewDiePie released a new YouTube video titled, “I’m Back With A Huge Announcement.” And as you would expect, the video is already trending and has nearly two million views. Of course, every PewDiePie upload achieves wild engagement, but this video, in particular, is garnering extra attention for the aforementioned announcement.

For those that haven’t seen the video, PewDiePie is taking a page out of the playbook of Dream, Corpse Husband, Pokimane, and other streamers and YouTubers and will now hide his identity behind an avatar. According to PewDiePie, he’s getting rid of his self-facing camera and doing the “reverse face reveal” to stay relevant.

“I’ve realized that the only way for me to stay relevant at this point… it’s necessary for me to do this,” said PewDiePie, clearly joking. “Corpse Husband… no face cam, no face reveal, massively popular. Dream… no face cam, no face reveal, massively popular.”

Right now, the YouTuber hasn’t decided on a final avatar, but for most of the video, he did use a temporary one, or more specifically, the avatar below:

pewdiepie
(Photo: PewDiePie)

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For now, it remains to be seen how permanent this change will be. In the video, PewDiePie asks fans for help in finding and choosing an avatar, suggesting at the very least the avatar above won’t be around for long. Again though, it’s hard to gauge how long PewDiePie will keep this going. In the video, he’s clearly joking around and perhaps poking fun at the trend, but it also seems like he’s going to keep the avatar at least for a little while.

For more coverage on all things gaming — including all of the latest on PewDiePie — click here or check out some of the relevant links listed below:

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Microsoft reverses Xbox Live price hike, will add free multiplayer for some games – Yahoo Canada Shine On

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Eat This, Not That!

The 10 Most Unsafe States During COVID, According to a New Study

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President, has admired our Federalist heritage—but not the fact that every state has handled the coronavirus differently. It’s resulted in some areas containing the virus—and others overrun. A new Wallethub study, using data collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The COVID Tracking Project and rt.live, has ranked all 50 states, in order from most to least safe during the pandemic. The factors they considered: vaccination rates, COVID-19 positivity, hospitalization, death, and transmission. Read on to see the bottom ten, ending with the absolute least safe—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus. 10 Kansas On the same day it was reported that four nurses in rural Kansas refused to administer the vaccine, deaths rose, currently standing at 3,579 and 7,930 hospitalizations. That includes this heartbreaker: “A Salina couple’s love is being celebrated as they died from COVID-19 while holding hands,” reports KAKE. “‘They were just full of love and happiness,’ Sharolyn Hoffman, the daughter of Bert and Carol Stevenson, said. ‘They got married later in life, after previous marriages, and so, I think they finally found their love match,’ Hoffman said.” 9 Arkansas Earlier this month, the state hit records for hospitalizations, and the surge has included an outbreak in the Legislature. “Rep. Lanny Fite, who serves District 23 in Saline County, said Wednesday that he tested positive but has not had any symptoms,” reports KATV. “Fite said he is isolating at home and had already been quarantining since Rep. Milton Nicks tested positive last week. Fite sits next to Nicks in the House chamber. Rep. Keith Slape tested positive for the virus on Monday.” 8 Pennsylvania Getting a vaccine in Pennsylvania or nearby New Jersey is proving nearly impossible for some. “David Zalles, 82, spent an hour on Montgomery County’s website before he realized all the appointments to get the coronavirus vaccine were already booked,” reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Five weeks after the coronavirus vaccine rollout began nationwide, millions are now eligible to get the shots in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. But the states are still receiving far fewer doses than they need, and with no centralized system for administering them, confusion and frustration reign among the vaccine-hungry public.” 7 California California has made headlines worldwide for the severity of its COVID outbreak. The surprising thing isn’t that it’s on this list, but that it’s so far down. “Now, with the crisis showing signs of easing, the main reason for the catastrophic surge is coming into focus: a false confidence that the pandemic could be kept in check,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “For the public, that complacency showed up in fatigue and frustration over safety restrictions. Officials, for their part, were caught off-guard by how rapidly, and how broadly, the virus spread once the numbers began to climb. By Christmas, so many patients struggling to breathe needed to be hospitalized in California that emergency rooms in large swaths of the state closed to ambulances as doctors stuffed patients in hospital corridors. The holiday surge has so far killed more than 18,100 Californians, more than doubling the state’s total death toll from the pandemic in less than three months.” 6 Georgia “Some grim perspective as the average number of deaths per day in Georgia from COVID-19 for the last two weeks has exceeded 100 for the first time ever and the number of confirmed cases has now surpassed 700,000, according to state data,” reports Fox 5. “As of 3 p.m. Thursday, the Georgia Department of Public Health reports 11,511 confirmed deaths and 1,378 probable deaths since the start of the pandemic. That is an average of 101 confirmed deaths per day for the last 14 days or 1,411 confirmed deaths in the same time period. Just over 14.2% of all confirmed deaths in Georgia have happened since the New Year, according to state data.” 5 South Carolina “South Carolina’s death toll is climbing to tragic new heights. Data from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control shows the state broke its single week record for deaths the week of January 9, tallying 329 confirmed and suspected deaths,” reports WIS News. “The previous record was 325 deaths, counted the week of July 25. Between the weeks ending on Dec. 26 through Jan. 16, DHEC has tallied 1,160. That’s the deadliest four week span of the pandemic.” 4 Nevada “A surge of Nevada coronavirus cases following December holidays may have passed, but deaths are still spiking, experts told a panel guiding the state’s COVID-19 response Thursday,” reports News 4. “‘It’s pretty likely that we’re right in the throes of the peak related to mortality,’ chief state biostatistician Kyra Morgan told the COVID-19 task force a day after state health officials reported a new record high number of deaths in one day, 71.” 3 Mississippi Another state, another Legislative breakout. “At least three members of the Mississippi Legislature recently tested positive for COVID-19, and now there’s a debate between House and Senate leaders about suspending the session,” reports WAPT. The light at the end of the tunnel seems far away. “At the current rate, it would take almost nine months to vaccinate Mississippians now eligible to receive COVID-19 shots, with the majority receiving their doses at Mississippi State Department of Health drive-thru clinics,” reports the Sun Herald. 2 Alabama “Alabama is grappling with surging deaths as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations remain high and intensive care unit capacity is stretched,” reports ABC News. “The state reported record numbers of new cases and hospitalizations following the holidays. At one point last week, only 39 ICU beds were available statewide.”RELATED: If You Feel This, You May Have Already Had COVID, Says Dr. Fauci 1 Arizona “Over the course of the pandemic, the Yuma area has identified coronavirus cases at a higher rate than any other U.S. region. One out of every six residents has come down with the virus,” reports the New York Times of the country’s “Salad Bowl.” “Each winter, the county’s population swells by 100,000 people, to more than 300,000, as field workers descend on the farms and snowbirds from the Midwest pull into R.V. parks. This seasonal ritual brings jobs, local spending and high tax revenue. But this year, the influx has turned deadly.”No matter where you live, follow the public health fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don’t go indoors with people you’re not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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Pewdiepie Returns To YouTube With A Face Reveal | TheGamer – TheGamer

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YouTube’s biggest single content creator Felix Kjellberg, better known as Pewdiepie, has returned from a brief three-week break that he took during the first of the year. During his return episode, we learned that Pewdiepie—after a decade of being on YouTube—was finally going to give us a face reveal…in reverse.

Over the last ten years, we’ve become very familiar with what Pewdiepie looks like. The YouTuber has never been shy about showing his face and sharing stories of his life, no matter how embarrassing they may have been. However, given the popularity of YouTubers like Corpse Husband and Dream—who have never shown their faces—Pewdiepie felt that it was time to finally do a reverse face reveal.

Related: Developer Teases Terrifying New Sounds For Minecraft 1.17

In his first video in three-weeks, Pewdiepie returned to his usual comedic review of his community’s subreddit, r/pewdiepiesubmissions. Before jumping into the memes, though, the YouTuber used his intro to do what he called a “reverse face reveal.” All this entailed was turning off his camera and having his editor put an avatar in place of his face.

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As usual, Pewdiepie asked his audience to help him out by creating their own avatars and promised that the highest voted one would be his new avatar. Outside of YouTube, Pewdiepie has recently penned a deal with the video distribution company Jellysmack to bring video content to his Facebook page.

This deal prompted a strangely titled article in the New York Post that claimed that the YouTuber was “making a comeback.” The article contained a caption that said Pewdiepie had been absent for the last five years. Of course, this was all in reference to his absence from, and return to, Facebook—not YouTube. Not one to waste an opportunity, though, Pewdiepie was quick to point out that Felix Kjellberg had been making videos in his absence—in reference to a long-running joke that Pewdiepie and Felix Kjellberg are actually two different people.

Pewdiepie has proven time and again that he can not only keep his audience engaged but that he is still capable of growing his community. In 2020 alone, the YouTuber gained six million followers, through a combination of let’s play and reaction videos. At the end of the day, he has a total of 108 million followers on YouTube. With his reach extending to Facebook in the near future as well, it would be safe to say that Pewdiepie is going to be more prevalent than ever.

Next: CultureFly’s My Hero Academia “Quirks” Box Leaves Something To Be Desired

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