Windows 8.1 Transitions to Extended Support
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Update: Here's a couple of articles on the end of Mainstream Support for Windows 8.1:

1. https://www.onmsft.com/news/microsoft-ends-mainstream-support-for-windows-8
2. https://mspoweruser.com/time-upgrade-windows-8-1-exits-mainstream-support-today/

More than one year after Microsoft ended Windows 7 Professional/Windows 8.1 OEM pre-installation sales, Windows 8.1 will exit Mainstream Support.

After today, Windows 8.1 transitions to Extended Support and will not be fully supported anymore. Windows 8's server counterpart, Windows Server 2012 will remain in Mainstream Support until 9 October 2018.

The latest operating system, Windows 10 will be the only client OS that will be fully supported until 13 October 2020. All good things must come to a end sooner or later.

Starting tomorrow, Microsoft and its vendors will start slowly phasing out support for legacy operating systems as it will start a slow and painful death. Starting next month, users on Windows 8.1 will only receive critical security updates and bug fixes.

Also after today, customers who need help with any of Windows 8.1 features or are experiencing problems, they're gonna have to pay Microsoft to help them out.

In addition to this, Microsoft will no longer accept requests for warranty claims or any design changes to the Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 family of operating systems. For the next three months (until 10 April 2018), customers who are still on Windows 8.1 can enroll in a Extended Hotfix Agreement to pay for non-security related hotfixes.

Because Windows 8.1 is transitioning to Extended Support, newer components such as DirectX 12 or Microsoft Edge will never be offered for it.

Microsoft ended Windows 7 Professional and Windows 8.1 OEM system builder pre-installation sales on 31 October 2016. Since most of the supply for the Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 ran out in computer stores, consumers will not be getting a new computer with neither of these operating systems installed.

Microsoft terminated retail sales of Windows 8.1 on 1 September 2015. Despite the termination of retail sales, users can still purchase Windows 8.1 either on eBay or Amazon.

Prior to the release of Windows 10 on 29 July 2015, Windows 8.1 marketshare peaked at 13.12% compared with the Windows 8 peak adoption rate of 8.02% on September 2013.

Windows 8.1 was the successor to the Windows 8 operating system and was released to manufacturing on 27 August 2013 and was made generally available on 17 October 2013. Windows 8 support ended on 12 January 2016. Users who are still running Windows 8 must upgrade to Windows 8.1 in order to continue receiving support and security updates for the next five years.

Windows 8.1 will continue to be supported with security updates and bug fixes until 10 January 2023. It's no loss for any former Windows 8.1 users or anyone who never used the OS, but any existing customers will be clearly out of luck at this point, because Microsoft will shut down Windows 8.1 support completely and finally put legacy Windows operating systems out of its misery for good!

Customers who are still on Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 and upgrade to Windows 10 for free until 16 January 2018 after which the free upgrade will no longer be available.

Alabama Crimson Tide: 2017 College Football Playoff National Champions!
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After 20 weeks, the 2017 college football season has come to a end!

The Alabama Crimson Tide has won the College Football Playoff National Championship! This marks the fifth time in school history that the Crimson Tide won the title since the Bowl Championship Series began and their 17th overall claimed national title.

How did the two remaining teams advanced to the National Championship earlier tonight? One week earlier, in the College Football Playoff Semifinals, the #3 Bulldogs eliminated the #2 Oklahoma Sooners in the Rose Bowl Game by a score of 54 to 48 in 2 OT and the #4 Crimson Tide eliminated the #1 Clemson Tigers, 24 to 6.

The #4 Crimson Tide won the national title earlier tonight after they defeated the #3 Georgia Bulldogs, 26 to 23 in overtime! The Crimson Tide finish their season with a 13-1 record.

The Georgia Bulldogs with their loss, finish their school season at 13-2.

However, following an undefeated season in the American Athletic Conference and the University of Central Florida Knights' victory over the Auburn Tigers by a score of 34 to 27 in the 50th Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, the UCF Knights finished with a perfect record of 12 wins and no losses and the Auburn Tigers finishing their season with 10 wins and 3 losses. The UCF Knights' claim of their national championship was unrecognised by the NCAA and as such, the selection committed ranked the Knights 12th at the end of the regular season.

#13 Quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa was named the Offensive Player MVP for the 2018 CFP National Championship. He finished the game making 14 completions of 24 attempts (58.3%), rushing 166 yards with 3 touchdowns, 1 interception, 2 sacks with 20 yards lost. He replaced Jalen Hurts to start the 2nd half of the game.

#94 Defensive Tackle Da'Ron Payne Jr. was named the Defensive Player MVP for the 2018 CFP National Championship. He only made 6 tackles including 3 solo tackles.

Nick Saban, head coach of the Crimson Tide wins his 6th national titile, tying Paul "Bear" Bryant for the most by head coach in poll era (since 1936). This is also the Crimson Tide's 3rd straight 13-win season and the second longest streak in major college football history!

The 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship Game was played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia with an attendance record of 77,430. The national anthem was performed by Zac Brown Band with the halftime show being performed Kendrick Lamar for the first time in history as well as the Million Dollar Band and the Georgia Redoat Marching Band.

With the exception of the all-star college football bowl games later this month, college football has headed into a long off-season. The 2018 college football season will begin anew on Thursday, 30 August 2018. That's less than 233 days from today!

For now, congratulations to the Alabama Crimson Tide for winning their 5th national title in the last 9 seasons!

The Alabama Crimson Tide are the champions of college football! :w00t::heart:

The Road to Super Bowl LII has begun!
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After 17 weeks and 256 games, the 2017 NFL regular season has come to a close and the final playoff standings have been revealed! The NFL has entered the knockout stage - the NFL Playoffs!

The defending Super Bowl LI champion, the New England Patriots will return to the post-season! The Patriots finished the regular season with 13 wins and 3 losses (.813) and winning the last three games of the NFL regular season.

The defending NFC champion, the Atlanta Falcons finish the NFL regular season, as the #6 in the NFC with 10 wins and 6 losses (.625), winning the last game of the regular season earlier this week.

The New England Patriots are looking to win their 2nd Super Bowl title and their 6th Super Bowl title overall.

The worst team in the NFL this year is the Cleveland Browns. The Browns finished their regular season having to NOT win a single game - no wins and 16 losses, two years of misery that followed a 1-15 finish in the 2016 NFL regular season. I suspect that if the Cleveland Browns don't win games in the 2018 NFL season, its head coach, Hue Jackson could be fired!

Speaking of firings, New Year's Day 2018 was Black Monday for coaches in the National Football League! Four underachieving head coaches lost their jobs as 2017 came to a close. Here's a run down:

1. John Fox, head coach of the Chicago Bears was fired from his job has head coach. He had a three year stint with the Bears with a overall record of 14-34 (.292). Such a winning percentage has head coach is the second-worst in Bears' franchise history.

This past regular season, the Bears finished the year with 5 wins and 11 losses (.313) and the Bears last made it to the NFL Playoffs in 2010 only to lose to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game that year.

2. The Indianapolis Colts fired head coach, Chuck Pagano after six season. This came as no suprise after his third consecutive year failing to make the playoffs. The Colts finished the year with 4 wins and 12 losses (.667) with an overall record of 53 wins and 43 losses (.553) as head coach.

3. The Detroit Lions fired coach Jim Caldwell after four years with the Lions. He lead his team to three winning records in his four seasons, but ultimately fell short this past season.

Under his coaching career with the Lions, they went 36-28 (.563), but never won a playoff game. This year, the Lions finished their regular season with 9 wins and 7 losses (.563) only to be eliminated from playoff contention.

4. Lastly, the Oakland Raiders' can head coach Jack Del Rio and ended up getting the pink slips removing him from his role has head coach.

The Raiders finished their disappointing regular season with 6 wins and 10 losses (.375). His firing ends his three-year tenurs with a 25-23 record (.521).

5. At the conclusion of Week 13 of the NFL regular season, on 4 December 2017, the New York Giants fired head coach Ben McAdoo.

Even if the Giants finished their final game of the regular season with a victory against the Washington Redskins, they ended their dismal season with just 3 wins and 13 losses (.188), the worst team in the NFC this year.

Prior to the firing, he ends his two-year tenure with the Giants with just 13 wins and 15 losses (.464). In the 2016 NFL Playoffs, the Giants were eliminated by the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Wildcard Game.

6. Lastly, on a happy note, the Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians announced his retirement from the National Football League. He retires from coaching after five successful seasons with the franchise.

With his five-year tenure with the Cardinals, he finished with a 49-30-1 record (.614) and a overall NFL career record of 58-33-1 (.636). After the 2014 NFL regular season, the Cardinals lost to the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Wildcard Game and in the following year, the 2015 NFL Playoffs, the Cardinals survived their first round, but but lost again to the Panthers in the NFC Championship Game.

This past regular season, the Cardinals finished their dismla regular season with 8 wins and 8 losses (.5).

Moving away from firings, here are the final 2016 NFL standings and how the top six NFLteams in each league qualified for the playoffs:

* Final AFC Standings
1. East: New England Patriots+++**: 13-3 (.813)
2. North: Pittsburgh Steelers++: 13-3 (.813)
3. South: Jacksonville Jaguars: 10-6 (.625)
4. West: Kansas City Chiefs: 10-6 (.625)
5. South: Tennessee Titans+: 9-7 (.563)
6. East: Buffalo Bills+: 9-7 (.563)

The following teams in the AFC have been eliminated from playoff contention are: Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Chargers, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans

* Final NFC Standings
1. East: Philadelphia Eagles+++: 13-3 (.813)
2. North: Minnesota Vikings++: 13-3 (.813)
3. West: Los Angeles Rams: 11-5 (.688)
4. South: New Orleans Saints: 11-5 (.688)
5. South: Carolina Panthers+: 11-5 (.688)
6. South: Atlanta Falcons+*: 10-6 (.625)

The following teams in the NFC have been eliminated from playoff contention are: San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks

+++ Clinched division, home field advantage and first-round bye
++ Clinched division title and first-round bye
+ Clinched wildcard spot
** Defending Super Bowl Champion
* Defending AFC/NFC Champion


ESPN, ABC and Watch ESPN will simultaneously broadcast the first game of the AFC Wildcard playoff while NBC will broadcast the NFC Wildcard playoff game on Saturday. On Sunday, CBS will broadcast the other AFC Wildcard playoff game while FOX will broadcast the other NFC Wildcard playoff game.

Next weekend, NBC will broadcast the first NFC Divisional playoff game while CBS will broadcast the first AFC Divisional playoff game. On Sunday, CBS will broadcast the second AFC Divisional playoff game while while FOX will broadcast the second AFC Divisional playoff game.

CBS will broadcast the AFC Championship Game and FOX will broadcast the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, the 21st.

ESPN, AFC and Watch ESPN will simultaneously broadcast the 2018 AFC-NFC Pro Bowl on Sunday, the 28th.

Lastly, NBC has held the right to host Super Bowl LII on Sunday, 4 February 2018.

And now, here's how the first round of the NFL playoffs have been set up:

* AFC Wildcard Playoffs
(3) Jacksonville Jaguars vs. (</b>6</b>) Buffalo Bills, Sun @ 1:05 PM EST on CBS
(4) Kansas City Chiefs vs. (5) Tennessee Titans, Sat @ 4:20 PM EST on ABC/ESPN

The following teams in the AFC receive first-round byes and will face off against each other in the Divisional Playoffs:

(1) New England Patriots vs. (3) Jacksonville Jaguars/(6) Buffalo Bills, Sat 1/13 @ 5:15 PM EST on CBS
(2) Pittsburgh Steeler vs. (4) Kansas City Chiefs/(</b>5</b>) Tennesee Titans, Sun 1/14 @ 1:05 PM EST on CBS


* NFC Wildcard Playoffs
(3) Los Angeles Rams vs. (6) Atlanta Falcons, Sat @ 8:15 PM EST on NBC
(4) New Orleans Saints vs. (5) Carolina Panthers, Sun @ 4:40 PM EST on FOX

The following teams in the AFC receive first-round byes and will face off against each other in the Divisional Playoffs:

(1) Philadelphia Eagles vs. (3) Los Angeles Rams/(6) Atlanta Falcons, Sat 1/13 @ 4:35 PM EST on NBC
(2) Minnesota Vikings vs. (4) New Orleans Saints/(5) Carolina Panthers, Sun 1/14 @ 4:40 PM EST on FOX

The winner of the wildcard playoffs will advance to face off against the top two seeded teams in the conference in the Divisional Round and those who survive the Divisional Round will face off again in the Conference Championship games for the right to advance to Super Bowl LII on Sunday, 4 February 2018.

The losers will be eliminated and will go home for the new year.

Enjoy the NFL post-season!

First journal entry of 2018!
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With 2017 now history, we're now entered 2018! I sure hope that everyone has a happy and safe new year! :D
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Last journal of 2017...
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This is gonna have to be the final journal entry of 2017!

I'll see ya in the new year!
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100 years ago today...
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It was on this date in 1917 that a muitions explosion near Malifax, Nova Scotia killed 1,950 people in the largest artificial man-made explosion before the development of nuclear explosion at that time. The people who were killed were hit by the blast, debris, fires or collapsed buildings. 9,000 others were injured.

At roughly 8:35 AM Atlantic Standard Time (AST), Mont-Blanc collided at low speed at approximately 1 knot (1.2 mph or 1.9 km/h) with the unladen Imo, chartered by the Commission for Relief in Belgium to pick up a cargo of relief supplies in New York. The resulting fire on board the French ship quickly grew out of control. Nearly 20 minutes later at approximately 9:04:35 AM AST, the Mont-Blanc exploded releasing an equivvalent energy of roughly 2.9 kilotonnes of TNT (12 gigajoules).

Nearly all structures within a 800 metre (half-mile) radius, including the entire community of Richmond, Nova Scotia were obliterated and there was also widespread damage in Dartmouth, NS.

For more information on the disaster, read this Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halifax_Explosion

Houston Astros: 2017 World Series Champions!
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For the first time in franchise history, the Houston Astros have won the World Series!

The Astros did just that after they upset the Los Angeles Dodgers by a score of 5 to 1 in Game 7 and the final game of the 2017 World Series. The Astros eliminate the Dodgers, four games to three and deny the Dodgers their first World Series championship since 1988.

This was the second year in a row that the World Series went to a decisive Game 7.

The Astros' first ever win in franchise history, put a end to their frustration when they were denied a World Series championship back in 2005 when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox.

The average time of the 113th World Series was 3 hours and 42 minutes with an average attendance record of 49,529.

#4 Center Fielder, George Springer was named the 2017 Willie Mays World Series Most Valuable Player! He was credited for a batting average of .379 throughout the World Series, scored 29 at bats, scored 8 runs, 11 hits, 3 doubles, 5 home runs, 7 runs batted in 5 balls on bases and 8 strikeouts.

With all of his hard work, he got to drive home his new 2018 Chevrolet Silverado Centennial!

The 113th edition of the World Series were played at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles (games 1, 2, 6 and 7) and at Minute Maid Park in Houston (games 3, 4 and 5).

And now with all of that said, the Major League Baseball season now heads into the 2017-2018 off-season. Including Spring Training, the All-Star Game and the postseason, the 2017 MLB calendar year lasted 252 days or 36 weeks.

The 2018 MLB calendar year will begin anew in late February, although an official date has yet to be announced. The 2018 MLB regular season will start on Thursday, 29 March 2018 where it will feature the first full slate of Opening Day games in 50 years and the earliest beginning date at any traditional Major League ballpark.

For now, congratulations to the Houston Astros, the champions of the baseball world for the first time in franchise history!

2017 World Series
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Since the start of the 2017 MLB postseason, there were ten teams that qualified for the playoffs. Now, only two teams are left standing. The American League champion, Houston Astros and the National League champion, Los Angeles Dodgers.

The 113th edition of the World Series will begin this Tuesday, 24 October 2016 and if necessary, will conclude with Game 7 on Wednesday, 1 November 2016. If a decisive Game 7 is necessary, this will be the only World Series game to be played into November.

American League Champion: Houston Astros
The Houston Astros finished the regular season with 101 wins and 61 losses (.623), the best record in the American League West and the second best record in the league overall.

The Astros won its first American League West title since moving from the National League Central starting in its 2013 season and their first division title since 2001. The Astros make it back to the World Series for the second time in franchise history, only to lose to the World Series in 2005 to the Chicago White Sox.

As the #2 seed, the Astros eliminated the Boston Red Sox in four games of the American League Division Series (three games to one) and denied the New York Yankees their first AL pennant since 2009 in the American League Championship Series in seven games (four games to three).

#35 Starting Pitcher, Justin Verlander was named the 2017 American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player. Making 2 starts, he pitched an average of 8 innings, 5 hits and 1 run, 2 balls on bases, 21 strikeouts, .78 earned run average, .71 whals plus hits per inning pitched and .17 batting average against the New York Yankees.

Since 31 August 2017 trade, he pitched to a 9-0 win-loss record with a 1.9 earned run average in 56 2/3 innings pitched during the remainder of the regular season and postseason.

National League Champion: Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers finished the regular season with the best record in Major League Baseball overall with 104 wins and 58 losses (.642).

It only came after a late season slump in which the Dodgers lost 20 of the 25 games (higglighted by 11 straight losses), lead to questions about whether the Dodgers would either succeed in the postseason or risk elimination from playoff contention.

The Dodgers recovered from the slump to win eight of its final ten regular season games, securing their fifth consecutive National League West title and home field advantage throughout the MLB playoffs.

In the National League Division Series, the Dodgers swept and eliminated the Arizona Diamondbacks (three games to none) and in the National League Championship Series, eliminating the defending World Series champion, Chicago Cubs in five games (four games to one).

With their win, they end years of frustration and make their first appearance in the Fall Classic since they won it all in 1988 and the tenth since the franchise move from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958 and their 19th overall appearance.

#3 Second Baseman, Chris Taylor and #10 Third Baseman, Justin Turner were named the 2017 National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player.

Chris Taylor earned the award for scoring 3.8 at bat on average, 5 runs, 4 hits, a double in Game 5 and a triple in Game 3, 2 home runs, 3 runs batted in, 5 bases on balls and 2 strikeouts earning him a .316 batting average.

Justin Turner scored 3.6 at base on average, 3 runs, 6 hits, 2 home runs, 7 runs batted in, 5 balls on bases and 4 strikeouts, earning him a .333 batting average. His walk-off home run happened in Game 2.

YouTube TV will be the first ever internet television series presenting the sponsor of the 2017 World Series after Major League Baseball sold presenting sponsorships to all of its postseason series for the first time. This is also going to be the first World Series in which home-field advantage was decided by a regular season record and will also be the First Fall Classic with two 100-win participants since the 1970 World Series.

Neither the Dodgers nor the Astros met in interleague play during the regular season.

Will the Los Angeled Dodgers win the World Series for the first time since 1988 or will the Houston Astros win their first World Series championship in franchise history?

Find out and enjoy the 2017 World Series!

The road to the 2017 World Series has begun!
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After more than six months, the 2017 Major League Baseball season has come to a close!

Hohn Coppolella resigned as the Atlanta Braves general manager after an investigation revealed alleged international free-agent market infractions more extension and serious. As general manager, he finished his three seasons with the Braves with a overall 207-278 record (.427). The Braves has not made it to the postseason since 2013 when they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series.

The defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs and defending American League champion, Cleveland Indians make it back to the postseason. The Cubs will face off against the Washington Nationals on Friday in the NLDS. The Indians await the winner of the American League Wildcard Game between the Minnesota Twins and the New York Yankees. The Indians finished the season with the best American League record of 102 wins and 60 losses.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have the best record in Major League Baseball this year with 104 wins and 58 losses (.642), finishing the regular season with a 2 win steak and winning 8 out of the last 10 games.

For the losers, the Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants are the worst team in Major League Baseball this year. Both teams finished the year with 64 wins and 98 losses (.395). The Tigers finished the season 38 games behind, lost the last game of the year and finish with just 2 out of the last recent 10 games. The Giants finished the season 40 games behind, won the last game of the regular season and won 5 out of the last recent 10 games.

Now that the playoff race has come to a end, only two surviving teams in each league will make it all the way to the 2017 World Series and only one World Series champion will be crowned. Here are the final standings for the five best teams in the league and how they finished out this past season:

Final American League Standings
1. West: Cleveland Indians+++* (102-60, .63)
2. Central: Houston Astros++ (101-61, .623)
3. East: Boston Red Sox++ (93-69, .574)
4. East: New York Yankees+ (91-71, .562)
5. Central: Minnesota Twins+ (85-77, .525)

The following teams in the American League have been eliminated from playoff contention are: Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Athletics, Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers, Tampa Bay Rays, Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox

Final National League Standings
1. West: Los Angeles Dodgers++++ (104-58, .642)
2. Central: Chicago Cubs++* (92-70, .568)
3. East: Washington Nationals++ (97-65, .599)
4. West: Arizona Diamondbacks+ (93-69, .574)
5. West: Colorado Rockies+ (87-75, .537)

The following teams in the National League have been eliminated from playoff contention are: Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, Miami Marlins, New York Mets, San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds

++++ - Best record in Major League Baseball
+++ - Best record in the American/National league
++ - Clinched division title
+ - Clinched wildcard
** - Defending World Series champion
* - Defending American/National League champion
strike - Eliminated after losing wildcard tiebreaker


The top team in bold-italics indicate team with the best record in the league. The figures in (parenthesis) indicate wins, losses and percentage of wins.

So with that all said, this is how the first round of the MLB post-season is going to look like:

American League Wildcard Game
(4) New York Yankees vs. (5) Minnesota Twins

National League Wildcard Game
(4) Arizona Diamondbacks vs. (5) Colorado Rockies

Prior to the start of the League Division Series, the six surviving MLB teams that made it to the postseason will receive a first-round bye. The winners of the League Wildcard Game will face the following teams in the League Division Series:

American League Division Series
(1) Cleveland Indians vs. (4) New York Yankees or (5) Minnesota Twins
(2) Houston Astroes vs. (3) Boston Red Sox

National League Division Series
(1) Los Angeles Dodgers vs. (4) Arizona Diamondbacks or (5) Colorado Rockies
(2) Chicago Cubs vs. (3) Washington Nationals

The winners of the League Division Series will advance to the next round, the League Championship Series with the right to represent the league champion in the 113th edition of the World Series. The losers of the MLB playoffs will be eliminated and head home for the Winter.

Enjoy the postseason!

Tom Petty (1950 - 2017)
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Thomas Earl Petty, an musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and actor. Earlier this morning, was found unconscious and in full cardiac arrest at his home earlier this morning. He died at 8:40 PM PDT at the University of California-Los Angeles in Santa Monica, California. He was 66 and his birthday was 18 days away.

Born in Gainsville, Florida on 20 October 1950, he was best known for the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, but was also a member and co-founder of the band, The Traveling Willburys and his early band Mudcrutch.

During his 37-year career in music, he sold more than 80 million records worldwide, making him one of the best selling musical artists of all time. He was inducted into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

He will be deeply missed.

For more information on the life and music career of Tom Petty, read this Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Petty

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