The Braves have an Outkast bobblehead night and it’s awesome
The Atlanta Braves SpottieOttieDopaliscious Outkast bobblehead night
“Throw your hands in the air
And wave ‘em like you just don’t care
And if you like fish and grits and all that pimp shit
Everybody let me hear you say, “Oh-yeah-yer””
The Atlanta Braves are hosting another bobblehead night at Truist Park, and this time the bobblehead is for the greatest rap group of all time, OutKast.
May 25: @Outkast bobblehead night at @TruistPark! pic.twitter.com/oAk2LsvwAq
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) February 28, 2023
This was announced during their thread of bobblehead days they’re going to be having at the stadium. In addition to OutKast, the Braves are hosting an AJ Minter bobblehead night and a Ron Grant bobblehead night.
In previous years, the Braves have done bobbleheads for both players and other people who are associated with the Braves. Last year, they had the bobbleheads of the three pitchers who won the Cy Young in Atlanta, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and John Smoltz, a Ronald Acuna Jr. bobblehead and a bobblehead of “The Freeze”, a gameday event where he races a fan along the outfield.
This is by far the coolest bobblehead that they’ve done, however. Having OutKast members Big Boi and Andre 3000 in the car together of course, with the different eras of Braves jerseys on is super cool, and an awesome way to honor the Atlanta legends.
The Braves have to win this game, though. There’s no choice involved in this. The other team must simply be willing to take the dive because there’s no way that the Braves can lose on Outkast night.
Can the 49ers really win with ANYONE at QB? A simulation investigation
Let’s answer this question with science!
The San Francisco 49ers have some soul searching to do at quarterback. They have Trey Lance, a player who underwhelmed, but they invested immense amounts of draft capital into. Then there’s Brock Purdy, the Mr. Irrelevant phenom who became one of the best stories of the 2022 season. Finally we have Jimmy Garoppolo, the reliable, oft-criticized hand who might give this team the best chance to win right now.
Lance and Purdy are on cheap rookie deals. Jimmy G will cost considerably more as a free agent, but has his fair share of supporters including Niners great Joe Montana. This whole discussion about what the team has done at QB has people wondering: Can anyone win at QB with this team?
San Francisco boasts one of the NFL’s best defenses. It’s skilled at every level with no discernible weakness. Meanwhile on offense life is made considerably easier thanks to Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. It’s enough to make people wonder if the system is so good in the Bay Area that the QB himself doesn’t really matter.
Let’s put that to the test with the best tools available to us: Madden 23. What happens to the 49ers when we sim an entire season, changing only the QB? Is it true that this big decision really isn’t so difficult when anyone can be effective on the 49ers?
Meet Zach Wilson, starting quarterback of the 49ers
I’m not going to lie, this took a stupid amount of work to actually make happen. The Jets were extremely reluctant to accept trades for Zach Wilson. Finally I managed to convince them by trading Jimmy G and two draft picks to get Wilson’s services.
Now the big question [hits simulate season]
THE 49ERS CAN WIN WITH ZACH WILSON!
The team went 11-6, won the NFC West, made it to the playoffs before losing to the Giants in the divisional round. As for Wilson, he absolutely lit the NFL on fire while working in the 49ers offense.
And now, your new quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers… Baker Mayfield!
I don’t know if this is turning the difficult slider up or down — but we have a benchmark. Wilson had the 49ers win the division at 11-6 and go to the playoffs. Mayfield is a statistically superior quarterback in Madden, so naturally the team should do better, right?
THE 49ERS CAN WIN WITH BAKER MAYFIELD!
It’s not as impressive as a Wilson-led Niners team, but they still win the NFC West.
The team goes on to lose to the Packers in the Divisional Playoff round, but now we’re two-for-two on “anyone can win with the 49ers.” However, the biggest test is yet to come because it’s time to meet …
Nathan Peterman, starting quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers
It’s now time for the biggest test of the “49ers can win with any QB” theory. Nathan Peterman is unquestionably one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL, and his 49 overall rating makes him one of the worst in Madden 23 as well. There is absolutely no way this team can go to the playoffs again, right?
THE 49ERS CAN WIN WITH NATHAN PETERMAN!
Peterman did better on the Niners than Baker Mayfield did — and not only that, but he set the league on fire.
This time the team lost again in the Divisional Playoff round, this time to the Washington Commanders. It happens, especially when you’re led by Nathan Peterman.
At this point I started to lose hope. Is there any way to make the 49ers lose? A desperate situation causes a rash move…
Welcome 49ers starting quarterback, kicker, 39-year-old Robbie Gould
Yes, this is possible. As a quarterback rating Gould is a 12. Yes, TWELVE. Nathan Peterman is four times the QB that Robbie Gould is. It’s time to demolish the 49ers once and for all.
[SLAMS SIMULATE BUTTON]
Okay, so it didn’t break exactly — but I absolutely could not force the 49ers to start Robbie Gould at quarterback for 17 games. I tried literally everything. I made it impossible for the CPU to sign anyone from free agency. I removed roster minimums at each position. I turned off auto-filling rosters and I removed all injuries. I ensured there was NO chance the team could ever find another QB, and every single time I simmed a season with Robbie Gould at quarterback the game would reject my human override, sign Brock Purdy, and finish out the year.
We found Madden’s breaking point, and it was starting quarterback Robbie Gould.
So, what did we learn from all this?
Despite all the angst about who will start for the 49ers in 2023 we’ve seen that the team can keep winning with absolutely anyone. So, my suggestion for Niners fans who are busy arguing over Lance vs. Purdy vs. Garoppolo to know that literally anyone can bring this team success.
Unless of course they ask for Robbie Gould to play quarterback, then the stadium might burst into flames.
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MLB’s rule changes are more popular than you might think
MLB’s rule changes are polarizing, but they aren’t hated by fans yet
Making any changes in the way a baseball game is played is certain to bring derision. For years, every rule in the MLB rulebook has been sacrosanct.
But with a boom, MLB has entered the 21st century, like it or not.
This year the league announced five major rule changes and the solidification of an already controversial rule. MLB hopes the changes will improve rate of play and the speed of the game. Now fans are going to find out just how different baseball will look.
In a possible surprise twist, MLB fans don’t necessarily hate the changes. Fans that spent decades debating if pitchers should hit or not – to the point where in one league there were two separate sets of rules – are split on the new rules, but have a slight level of favorability toward most.
To be fair, one of the most noticeable changes will actually make the game look more like it had for most of MLB history. This year teams won’t be allowed to move infielders back-and-forth across the infield, going in and out of shifts. Forcing teams to almost certainly play a standard defensive alignment with two fielders on either side of second base.
According to the latest SB Nation Reacts survey, a slight majority of fans are actually in favor of the rule change.
Similarly, another rule change may play to the favor of the hardline fan. The grumbling middle-aged fan who is always mad at a pitcher who doesn’t just get back on the mound or a hitter who takes too long to get ready will have to find something else to complain about. This season pitchers and hitters will have only 15 seconds between pitches.
Again, maybe as a result of strange bedfellows with fans looking for more action teaming up with fans who are tired of all the “extra” between pitches, nearly two-thirds of fans like the new rule.
The only other change that fans seem to be in majority support of is the newly sized bases. MLB will feature bigger bases this year, no longer allowing for 90-feet between each base, but hopefully opening up action on the base paths while simultaneously avoiding injuries. More than half of responding fans said they are in favor of the new bases.
Just on the other side of the voting ledger, fans aren’t as excited for the limits being put on pitchers checking runners on the bases. The league, again hoping to open up the running game while speeding up the game, will limit pitchers to stepping off the rubber only twice during each plate appearance.
In theory, this could open up situations where a pitcher isn’t allowed to step off the rubber for any reason in a crucial situation without risking penalty. Possibly with that in mind, fewer than half of fans said they support the rule change.
The one rule change that doesn’t appear to have anything to do with increasing action may also take away one of the game’s best moments for comic relief.
The always entertaining position-player-pitching will become a little more rare this season after the league felt teams were getting a little too free and easy with when they’d make the change. After a record-setting year of position players on the mound, MLB now has strict limits on when it can happen.
That change has support from just a hair over a third of fans.
The least surprising result came from the only rule that was already on the books. Despite reported support from both players and ownership, fans have been vocal over the hatred of the extra-inning “ghost runner” rule.
Since 2020, MLB extra innings have started with a runner on second base, theoretically to increase scoring and keep games from going deep into extras. The anecdotal results on that goal have been mixed, but the rule is now set in place for good.
But fewer than a third of fans said they like the rule.
Be on the lookout for next week’s survey to cast your vote and have your voice heard.
Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.
5 amazing basketball buzzer-beaters this weekend, ranked
There were so many buzzer-beaters this weekend at every level of basketball. Let’s rank ‘em.
Folks, March is right around the corner. For some this might mean spring cleaning, going outside more and overall better vibes. However, March means one true thing: the NCAA tournament is back! That means we get more insane plays as the games start to mean a bit more.
In the last week of February, we got a taste of March from some absolutely insane buzzer beaters. Which, of course, means we’re going to rank them!
5. Trae Young sinks the Nets
This one feels like it should be higher, yet it only comes in at 5. Young is incredibly skilled, and uses the shot fake to perfection to get his defender off the ground and get a free shot. However, it just feels like this shot didn’t mean as much in the grand scheme of things. Highly underrated skill to get the shot off, though. Deserves major props.
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 26, 2023
4. Hunter Dickinson sends the Wolverines to overtime
This one also required a whole lot of skill. Michigan C Hunter Dickinson had to catch the ball off the inbound after being fronted by a Wisconsin defender, which made him have his back to the basket as he caught the ball. He then had to turn around and get into place from three point range as time was expiring, and it was pure.
THIS IS FEBRUARY!
WE’RE GOING TO OVERTIME. pic.twitter.com/Lvqq1Bd7WI
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) February 26, 2023
3. Matthew Cleveland sinks the Hurricanes
It’s one thing to beat your rival school on a buzzer beater.
It’s an entirely other thing to do it like this, on the road, like Florida State’s Matthew Cleveland did to Miami over the weekend. The immediate rebuttal to a would-be game winning three by Miami being one-upped by a miracle shot warms this FSU fan’s heart, and the fact that it was the same guy who beat Virginia on almost the exact same shot is an added touch of clutch.
WHAT A FINISH!!!!!
An absolutely epic comeback by the Noles. @FSUHoops | #ACCMBB
— ACC Men’s Basketball (@accmbb) February 25, 2023
2. Arizona State’s halfcourt heave takes down Arizona
This one goes above FSU’s because of distance. Arizona State’s Desmond Cambridge Jr. let that shot go from beyond halfcourt, and drilled it to beat their rival school, a top ten team on the road. The best part is that you can hear the air come out of the stadium after Cambridge sinks the game winner. Just pure class.
ARIZONA STATE WITH THE STUNNER‼️
The Sun Devils upset #7 Arizona with a shot beyond the half-court at the buzzer pic.twitter.com/6Dt5zlmQ3X
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) February 25, 2023
1. Caitlin Clark’s finishing touch on a masterful performance
If you haven’t heard, Iowa guard Caitlin Clark is one of the best basketball players in college basketball, regardless of men or women. The junior guard had 34 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in their win over Indiana, but this three pointer were the most important of her 34 points. She comes off the screen and has to get set in position with 1.5 seconds left, and absolutely drills it. The celebration after is top tier as well.
OH MY GOD!! THE BUZZER BEATER 3 BY CC!!!!@CaitlinClark22 x #Hawkeyes pic.twitter.com/IEAohn8ZbF
— Iowa Women’s Basketball (@IowaWBB) February 26, 2023
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How to watch Jake Paul vs. Tommy Fury
Streaming information and more for the Jake Paul vs. Tommy Fury
YouTuber turned boxer Jake Paul faces perhaps the toughest opponent of his career on Sunday when he squares off with Tommy Fury. The cruiserweight bout between the two has been years in the making. They were initially scheduled to fight back in December of 2021, but Fury suffered a rib injury which forced the bout to be rescheduled. A new date was set in August of 2022, but Fury was denied entry into the United States.
Sunday afternoon they will finally meet after nearly two years of jawing between the two, and here is how you can watch.
When: Sunday, February 25 (main card starts at 2:00 p.m., ET, with the Paul-Fury bout schedule for approximately 5:00 p.m. ET)
Where: Diriyah Arena, Diriyah, Saudi Arabia
TV/live stream: ESPN+ PPV
DraftKings Sportsbook odds: Paul -155, Fury +130
There has been discussion in recent days over whether this is really as tough of a challenge for Paul as is being let on. Fury, the younger half-brother of heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, has an unblemished 8-0 record with 4 KOs, but his opponents have a combined record of 24-176-5.
Paul’s last fight came on October 29. On that night he took a unanimous decision over UFC Hall of Famer Anderson Silva. Fury last fought on April 23, 2022, beating Daniel Bocianski (11-2) on “points” in a six-round fight. That bout came on the undercard of the Tyson Fury-Dillian Whyte fight, which Fury won in a sixth-round TKO.
Our friends over at Bad Left Hook are keeping a running blog, covering every bout leading up to the Paul-Fury fight later today. You can follow along with them here.
Haas F1 offers an incredible example of their reliability during pre-season testing
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen highlighted how reliable the VF-23 was this week in Bahrain
Pre-season testing ahead of the 2023 Formula 1 season is now complete, and all ten teams are pouring through mountains of data accumulated over three days at Bahrain International Circuit. While lap times are to be taken with a grain of salt, as teams are using different fuel loads, tyre compounds, and running different programs, reliability is perhaps the biggest lesson teams can learn during testing.
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen offered an amazing indicator of where their VF-23 was at the conclusion of testing, in a statement shared with the media including SB Nation. “It’s been a busy three days and that’s a very positive thing. Today we got a lot of laps in, and I was in the car from the beginning to the end – I only came out to go to the toilet!”
It was a solid three days of work for Magnussen, Nico Hülkenberg, and the entire Haas team. They completed 414 laps over the three days in Bahrain, fourth-most among the ten teams:
A busy three days for @AlphaTauriF1 #F1 #F1Testing pic.twitter.com/Jsx0S51x5V
— Formula 1 (@F1) February 25, 2023
For Hülkenberg, it was a “good” three days that provided the team with a ton of information about the VF-23, information that is important for both the engineers, and the drivers. “All in all, it’s been good. I’ve got mileage in the car and I think I got what I was personally looking for, to get off on a good foot with the car, and find a good connection and harmony,” said Hülkenberg after testing. “I feel comfortable that the car does what I say and not the other way around. We’ve collected huge amounts of data that the team will go through and analyze over the next few days, and it’s all information that’s important for a driver as well.”
As for where Haas might stack up when the lap times count for real, that is still an open question. The feeling around Haas is that the team could push to the top of the midfield this season. Former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer called the pairing of Magnussen and Hülkenberg the “best ever lineup for Haas,” and some outlets have listed Haas among the winners of pre-season testing.
Team Principal Guenther Steiner keeps his cards close to his chest, but did admit there was progress from last year. “In general, the test went very smoothly with very few issues compared to years before. The whole team came here very well prepared – we did our homework – so when we arrived, we were ready to go, and you could see that,” said Steiner on Saturday. “It was good progress from last year so now we need to see where we stack-up. It’s difficult to say still but we are in the midfield, let’s see if we’re at the top or the end of the midfield but we’re now ready for the race next weekend.”
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Braves-Red Sox spring training game ends in a tie after an automatic strike
Saturday’s spring training game between Boston and Atlanta ends in a tie thanks to new pitch clock rules
The new MLB rules, including the pitch clock, are going to take some getting used to.
Saturday’s spring training game between the Boston Red Sox and the Atlanta Braves is the perfect example.
It was the situation that every child growing up playing baseball dreams of. Game tied at 6, bottom of the ninth inning, bases loaded and a 3-2 count. Atlanta infielder Cal Conley was at the plate, facing Boston relief pitcher Robert Kwiatkowski. Kwiatkowski started in for the sign from his catcher and came set to throw a critical pitch on a full count.
But then, this happened:
Cal Conley does not get set in time and gets called for the strikeout and the game ends pic.twitter.com/rQ8KOv0Sa6
— Gaurav (@gvedak) February 25, 2023
Conley was charged an automatic strike for not being ready in time under the new pitch clock rules, and the strike out was called.
Under spring training rules, there is no extra baseball, so the game ended in a 6-6 tie.
In the new rules introduced for this MLB season, batters are required to be in the batter’s box and “alert” with at least eight seconds remaining on the pitch clock. The pitch clock is not visible on this angle, but under the new rules, the home plate umpire is wearing a belt that buzzes to keep the umpire informed of the timing rules.
That buzzer must have gone off, because home plate umpire John Libka called the automatic strike, and the game ended in a tie.
Not … exactly how kids dreamed of that situation unfolding when playing in the backyard growing up, but this is the new normal in MLB. Thankfully everyone has spring training to get adjusted before this happens in the regular season.