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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The 2020 Schedule Meets the Chopping Block

Life isn’t fair, as it continually reminds us, but we try to keep sports as far from the harsh light of reality as we can. The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays certainly don’t start in the same place when creating a roster, but when those players are on the field, everybody has to play by the same rules. Whether you’re facing Gerrit Cole or whatever fifth starter the Baltimore Orioles Mad-Libbed onto the roster, you have to get actual hits, score actual runs, and make actual Statcast-blessed defensive plays.

It’s extraordinarily difficult to keep the schedules teams face fair. Ideally, we’d want every team to face the same strength of schedule. With complete discretion over the design of the season, that’s still a nearly ...

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QLE Posted: April 21, 2020 at 01:02 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: 2020 season, dan szymborski, schedule, shortened season

Fans sue MLB, teams over ticket money, ask for class action

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A pair of fans in New York sued Major League Baseball, Commissioner Rob Manfred and the 30 teams, asking for their money back for tickets and for certification of class-action status.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles by Matthew Ajzenman, who said he bought a partial season plan for more than 20 Mets games; and Susan Terry-Bazer, who said she purchased six tickets for a May 9 game at Yankee Stadium against Boston.

“Baseball fans are stuck with expensive and unusable tickets for unplayable games in the midst of this economic crisis,” the lawsuit said. “Under the pretext of `postponing’ games, at the directive of MLB, teams and ticket merchants are refusing to issue refunds for ...

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QLE Posted: April 21, 2020 at 12:57 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: lawsuits, postponement, tickets

Stepping up: Mets PA announcer offers kind voice amid virus

And now, for a change of pace:

NEW YORK (AP) — The requests come by the hundreds: the son of an emergency room nurse, the husband of a doctor, a hospital patient.

Colin Cosell studies them, sorts them. Normally he’d be at Citi Field, rousing the crowd as public address announcer for the New York Mets. Now he’s busy working at home, trying to cheer one fan at a time.

His creative contribution during this health crisis — crafting audio clips for everyone who asks — echoes the booming introductions big league hitters get when they step up to home plate.

“As personalized and customized as possible,” Cosell said.

 

 

QLE Posted: April 21, 2020 at 12:52 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: colin cosell, public address announcer

Historic Milestones Will Be Missed Without MLB in 2020

Any good argument supporting Ted Williams as the greatest hitter ever must mention the milestones he didn’t reach, in addition to all of his accomplishments.

Williams missed nearly five full seasons, including prime years from ages 24-26, while serving in the military. He easily would have reached 600 home runs and 3,000 hits. The lost seasons of Williams are tantalizing, their excellence surely would have rivaled the years of his two triple crowns, six batting titles and .406 batting average in 1941.

Now, we’re faced with the real possibility of a canceled 2020 season, which has been suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus. If that happens, every player will be a year older when baseball returns—one year closer to the end of ...

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Today in Baseball History: Fenway Park opens

On this day in 1912 two new ballparks had their grand openings: the Red Sox’ Fenway Park in Boston and Tiger Stadium in Detroit. On this date in 1916 the Chicago Cubs played their first game at Weeghman Park — renamed Wrigley Field in 1926 — as well.

What a day for ballpark history, eh?

We’ve talked a lot about the Tigers lately, and we mentioned Weeghman/Wrigley in the Federal League post from last week. I’m sure will give both of those places some longer treatments later as well, so let’s focus today on Fenway, shall we?

The Red Sox, then known as the Boston Americans, began play as a charter member of the American League in 1901. Their park: a rickety wooden structure located at Huntington and Rogers Avenues in the ...

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QLE Posted: April 21, 2020 at 12:42 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: ballparks, fenway park, history

Iconic Louisville Slugger maker is in a coronavirus slump thanks to shuttered factories

The outlook isn’t brilliant for Hillerich & Bradsby.

With its museum and factories shuttered, the maker of wooden Louisville Slugger baseball bats, one of the city’s most iconic brands, has no revenue coming in, Hillerich & Bradsby CEO John Hillerich IV told The Courier Journal.

The fifth-generation owner of the venerable company has been forced to furlough 171 people, the vast majority of his workforce. That means employees will still receive benefits like health insurance, but won’t get a paycheck. The rest are taking a 25% pay cut.

“We’re not doing any advertising. We’ve cut all our expenses we can. We’re just hoping we get back to normal before we run out of cash,” Hillerich said.

 

QLE Posted: April 21, 2020 at 12:38 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: louisville slugger

MLB players say pay shouldn’t be cut if empty ballparks

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball players are upset over the prospect teams may seek additional pay cuts if games are played in empty ballparks due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Their anger was stoked last week when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he was told by Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon that the union would have to agree to lower salaries if games are played without fans.

A March 26 deal between the sides stated “the Office of the Commissioner and Players Association will discuss in good faith the economic feasibility of playing games in the absence of spectators or at appropriate substitute neutral sites.” The union points to another passage covering salaries in which players agree to give up 1/162nd of base pay ...

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QLE Posted: April 21, 2020 at 12:35 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: behind closed doors, dollah dollah bills, y'all, players

Source: Marlins CEO Derek Jeter forgoing $5M salary

MIAMI—Marlins CEO Derek Jeter told team employees during a conference call Monday that he is indefinitely forgoing his salary during the coronavirus pandemic, a source told ESPN confirming multiple reports.

Jeter, who has a reported salary of $5 million annually, told members of baseball ops on the call that they will be paid through at least May 31, the source said.

According to reports, other members of the Marlins’ executive team agreed to take pay cuts.

Major League Baseball spring training was suspended March 12 because of the pandemic. The start of the season, scheduled for March 26, has been indefinitely delayed.

 

QLE Posted: April 21, 2020 at 12:32 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: derek jeter, salaries

Alex Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez Retain JPMorgan to Raise Money for Mets Bid (EXCLUSIVE)

Retired baseball star Alex Rodriguez and his fiancé, recording artist and actor Jennifer Lopez, have retained JPMorgan Chase to raise capital for a possible bid on the New York Mets, people familiar with the matter said.

The superstar couple is working with managing director Eric Menell, the bank’s co-head of North American media investment banking, said the people, who were granted anonymity because the matter is private. Menell didn’t respond to several requests seeking comment.

Representatives for Rodriguez and Lopez did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Wilpon family, which owns the Mets, said in December they were in talks to sell up to 80% of the Major League Baseball team to hedge fund titan Steve Cohen in ...

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QLE Posted: April 21, 2020 at 12:27 AM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: alex rodriguez, mets mets mets, ownership

Monday, April 20, 2020

J-Lo, A-Rod in Talks to Buy New York Mets

According to Variety’s Scott Soshnick, Rodriguez and his fiance, Jennifer Lopez, have joined forces with JPMorgan Chase “to raise capital for a possible bid on the New York Mets,” the publication wrote on Monday night.

Let’s just pretend like you don’t know who I am.
Believe it if you say that you’re not a fan.

villageidiom Posted: April 20, 2020 at 11:52 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: alex rodriguez, arod, mets, new york, new york mets, nl east, team sales

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-20-2020

Bemidji Daily Pioneer, April 20, 1920:

Here’s indisputable evidence that the Filipino people have been Americanized! The great American game of baseball is the rage in the islands. This [linked] photograph shows a parade which preceded one of the big games in Manila. Baseball is played from one end of the archipelago to the other and, as in branches of athletic sports, some classy players have been developed.

In 1996, Bobby Chouinard became the first MLB player born in the Philippines. A second Filipino-born player made it to AAA ball last year, but didn’t play particularly well there. Tim Lincecum is half-Filipino but was born and raised in suburban Seattle.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 20, 2020 at 10:31 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Cubs legend Greg Maddux’s pitching philosophy: ‘It’s not a speed contest’

Cubs legend and Hall of Famer Greg Maddux didn’t blow hitters away on the mound. The right-hander used a combination of location and changing speeds to keep hitters off balance rather than blow them away with high velocity.

Maddux relied on a sinker, circle changeup, cutter, and two- and four-seam fastball during his 23-year career. Although his fastball often sat in the upper 80s, he enjoyed plenty of success.

“It’s not a speed contest, it’s a pitching contest,” Maddux told WSCR’s Matt Spiegel. “And I believe that. I bought in to that. I always relied on locating fastball and changing speeds when (I) had to. That was my way. When you’re facing Randy Johnson or Roger Clemens or somebody like that, that definitely throws ...

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QLE Posted: April 20, 2020 at 12:56 AM | 52 comment(s)
  Beats: greg maddux, speed

Giants’ Farhan Zaidi explains how Buster Posey, Joey Bart can play together

Ever since the Giants selected catcher Joey Bart with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, questions began about what the Giants would do with Buster Posey. Both players’ strong performances in spring training this year didn’t exactly quiet the questions.

Bart, 23, opened eyes for the second straight spring, batting .438 with a 1.401 OPS and two home runs in nine games. A healthy Posey didn’t disappoint, though.

Posey, 33, hit .455 with a 1.206 OPS and went deep once. Players and coaches alike raved about how Posey looked this spring, and a big season could have been in order before the sports world was put on hold. If you ask president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, it’s clear flexibility is king, even when it comes to these ...

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QLE Posted: April 20, 2020 at 12:53 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: buster posey, giants, joey bart

Sunday Notes: Taylor Trammell Loves Fans (and Wishes More Looked Like Him)

I’m not privy as to whether the Cincinnati Reds assign a grade to character in their draft reports. I also don’t know how much the San Diego Padres weigh that attribute when pondering possible acquisitions. I do know that Taylor Trammell projects as more than a quality big-league outfielder. He projects as a role model.

Trammell became a Padre last summer. Part of the trade-deadline deal that sent Trevor Bauer to the Queen City, he’d been selected 35th overall by the Reds in the 2016 draft out of Kennesaw, Georgia’s Mount Paran Christian School. Blessed with plus raw tools, Trammell is slotted No. 69 on our 2020 Top 100 Prospects list.

A prima donna he’s not. When he reaches the big leagues, Trammell will do so with a genuine ...

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MLB teams can furlough non-players during coronavirus shutdown: report

Anyone that works for a baseball team but can’t pitch, hit, or run might have one last paycheck to last them through the pandemic.

Major League Baseball will inform teams on Monday that they can furlough or reduce the pay of coaches, managers, scouts and some front-office personnel as soon as May, per a report from The Athletic. Though ballclubs aren’t required to shave payroll, commissioner Rob Manfred’s planned May 1 suspension of Uniform Employee Contracts permits teams to make cuts at their discretion to manage plummetting revenues during baseball’s ongoing coronavirus shutdown.

Manfred has so far declined to activate a similar provision in its major league Uniform Player Contracts, which lets the commissioner suspend ...

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QLE Posted: April 20, 2020 at 12:35 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: coaching staffs, coronavirus, front office, furloughs, managers, scouts

Nationals won’t raise banner, present rings until fans are back in the ballpark

The Nationals were prepared to raise their World Series banner and distribute championship rings at their April 2 home opener two weeks ago, but they’re going to continue to wait to hold those ceremonies until their fans can be a part of them again.

On Saturday, Mike Rizzo, Washington’s President of Baseball Operations, joined MLB Network Radio’s Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette on Sirius XM to talk about how the team is handling the suspension of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus outbreak and what he thinks things will look like once baseball returns.

When asked whether he thinks the Nationals are missing out on some of the celebrating they earned when they won the World Series last October, Rizzo explained that the club just plans ...

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QLE Posted: April 20, 2020 at 12:25 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, mike rizzo, nationals, pennant, rings

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Wade Boggs wonders if he had coronavirus, got it from Red Sox ace Chris Sale

TAMPA — Baseball Hall of Famer Wade Boggs is wondering if had a bout with the coronavirus last month and, if so, whether he may have gotten it from Red Sox ace Chris Sale.

Boggs said Friday that he was so sick in early March that he had to go to a hospital near his Tampa home in the middle of the night, and was diagnosed at the time with pneumonia and sent home for a “really rough” recovery.

But now that symptoms of COVID-19 have become clearly identified, he is hoping soon to take an antibodies test to find out if he had the disease that has spread around the world.

“About the beginning of March I had pneumonia and just three days of high fever and cough and all that good stuff,” said Boggs, 61. “I went to the hospital and ...

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QLE Posted: April 19, 2020 at 01:08 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: chris sale, coronavirus, wade boggs

Could George Costanza have made it in the big leagues?

I know what you’re thinking. Nick, are you really so starved for content that you’re plumbing these depths? And yeah, it’s been a while since we’ve had a lot to write about. But on some level, this is a matter that’s been burning at the edges of your psyche for years now. Don’t deny it. No, don’t walk away. Come back. I’m not going to hurt you.

Look, it’s okay. You’re among friends. You can admit it. You have, in fact, watched the Seinfeld clip of George Costanza teaching Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams how to hit and wondered if the small Jason Alexander-shaped man could consistently hit in a big league lineup.

Some context may be necessary here. One of the running gags of this episode is that George has become a ...

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QLE Posted: April 19, 2020 at 12:54 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: george costanza, seinfeld, yankees

Bobby Winkles, former Arizona State baseball coaching great, dies at 90

Bobby Winkles, who as Arizona State’s first varsity baseball coach laid the foundation for one of the nation’s most prominent college programs, died Friday.

Winkles’ teams won three College World Series titles in his 13 seasons, and he was inducted as a charter member of the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Winkles gave up minor league baseball to start his coaching career at ASU in the 1958-59 school year, just as ASU was becoming a university. He took the Sun Devils to Omaha, Neb., for their first College World Series in 1964 and won the national championship in 1965, ’67 and ’69. Winkles, who also managed two major-league teams, was 90. (born March 11, 1930)

The Arizona State baseball history goes back to at least ...

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QLE Posted: April 19, 2020 at 12:50 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: bobby winkles, obituaries, rip

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Book Excerpt: Future Value: The Battle for Baseball’s Soul and How Teams Will Find the Next Supersta

Depending on what your career goals and timetable are, and despite the fact that everyone in baseball took a unique path, there are lanes to place yourself in to increase your odds at success.

If your goal is to be a GM (this is the most common dream), then you need to figure out what your separating skill will be (you don’t have one right now) and go down the path to be an expert in that area. Increasingly, being an ace scout isn’t a recipe to run a team, so that’s not the smartest way to position yourself for a move up the ladder to GM. You can come up in scouting departments or player development, but be based in the office so you have a management point of view, are getting face time around those people, and are in those ...

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QLE Posted: April 18, 2020 at 01:20 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, jobs

Vin Scully ponders when opening day will arrive in Dodgers video

(AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers showed off some of their stadium renovations in a video narrated by retired broadcaster Vin Scully and posted on social media.

Construction work has continued during the coronavirus pandemic to create two acres of interactive areas, retail and concessions behind the outfield pavilions.

Scully ponders when the return to Dodger Stadium will occur.

 

QLE Posted: April 18, 2020 at 01:17 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: dodger stadium, vin scully

Half a World Away, the Korea Baseball Organization Looks to Play

There’s no joy in Mudville or anywhere else in the United States as far as the 2020 baseball season goes, but halfway around the globe, the story is very different. The Chinese Professional Baseball League regular season got underway on April 11 in Taiwan, and the Korea Baseball Organization is poised to resume its exhibition season in South Korea on April 21, also without fans in attendance, with an eye towards beginning its regular season in early May. The twist is that both leagues are playing to empty ballparks due to prohibitions against large gatherings as a means of combating the spread of the novel coronavirus. But where Major League Baseball is staring down the very real possibility that its entire season could be wiped out due ...

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QLE Posted: April 18, 2020 at 01:03 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: korean baseball

Lost Seasons Mean Lost Milestones

Baseball is a statistics-heavy game, and that’s true even for those who don’t think of themselves as being part of the saber set. Because the game’s rules have had a relatively high degree of consistency across eras, the sport’s career milestones have also enjoyed a certain constancy throughout its history. That doesn’t mean that 600 homers from a player whose prime came in the 1960s are exactly the same as the 600 homers a player in the Wild Card era hit, but when you’re talking 600 homers, you’re always talking about someone who was really, really good at hitting home runs.

And while we would like to think that Hall of Fame voting is based off deep analysis and not round numbers, the fact remains that milestones still play ...

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QLE Posted: April 18, 2020 at 12:58 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: 2020 season, dan szymborski, milestones

Why we watch: Sports movies’ emotional connections resonate

Jumping ahead to the meat of this:

With all of that in mind, The Associated Press is presenting a one-of-its-kind Top 25 of sports movies, a suggestion of what to put on the screen while stuck at home. This is, of course, what we do at the AP: We rank things. So 70 writers and editors around the world voted on the best in the history of sports cinema.

The AP Top 25—actually, 26 films made the cut, because there was a three-way tie at No. 24—was released Friday, with “Hoosiers” at No. 1, narrowly ahead of “Rocky” and “Bull Durham,” which shared the No. 2 spot. “Caddyshack” and “Slap Shot” were next, followed by “Field of Dreams,” “Raging Bull,” “Major League,” “The Natural” and “A League of Their ...

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QLE Posted: April 18, 2020 at 12:54 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: movies

Yogi Berra Could Have Been a Cardinal for $500. They Said No

It’s another hot and humid St. Louis summer in July 1941. But that’s not what 16-year-old Lawdie Berra is thinking about right now. He’s sitting in the back seat of Cardinal General Manager Branch Rickey’s big black Lincoln on his way to Forest Park with his friend Joe Garagiola up front and some kid named Schoendienst fidgeting in the seat next to him. Poor guy is covered with angry red bites all over his arms and neck. Lawdie heard someone call him Red at the tryout camp in Sportsman’s Park just a few minutes ago, but these bites can’t be the reason.

Lawdie saw right away that Schoendienst can hit — from both sides of the plate — smacking line drives to all fields when it was his turn at bat. And he wasn’t bad at ...

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QLE Posted: April 18, 2020 at 12:40 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: branch rickey, cardinals, red schoendienst, what-ifs, yogi berra

Today in Baseball History: the Indians trade Rocky Colavito

The Cleveland Indians spent much of the second half of the 20th century as a punchline, but they were a good and sometimes great team from the late 40s through the 1950s.

They won the 1954 pennant with 111 wins in a 154-game season. After a couple of down years they bounced back up to 89 wins in 1959, thanks to fantastic seasons from Minnie Minoso and a young slugger named Rocky Colavito, who led the American League in homers with 42. As Colavito had just turned 26 and was in his prime, it seemed like after those couple of down seasons, the Tribe would be back to challenging the Yankees for preeminence in the American League as the 1960s dawned.

But then the unthinkable happened: on April 17, 1960 — two days before Opening Day — ...

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QLE Posted: April 18, 2020 at 12:33 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: curse, history, indians, rocky colavito

Joe Buck turns down $1 million offer to commentate adult videos

With barely any live sports to call, some professional commentators have turned to calling home videos of their dogs or races around the backyard pool.

Fox’s Joe Buck offered to call random videos sent in by his followers – and unsurprisingly, received a few NSFW submissions in his inbox. Buck joked that he wasn’t in the right stage of his life to commentate such activities, but one company tried to change Buck’s mind by offering him a massive check.

In a news release, adult site ImLive announced an offer to Buck of $1 million to commentate 25 live cam shows per week for a total of six weeks, which seems like a low offer and a lot of work for one of the most famous voices in sports.

Buck, it turns out, was flattered by the ...

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QLE Posted: April 18, 2020 at 12:29 AM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: joe buck

Yasiel Puig in no rush to sign, doesn’t think MLB will return in 2020

Nearly six months after becoming a free agent, Yasiel Puig says he’s no closer to signing a contract.

Given the current circumstances, he doesn’t think that will change anytime soon.

In a recent interview with Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald, the former Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians outfielder opened up on how the coronavirus pandemic and Major League Baseball’s subsequent shutdown has impacted his free agency.

Among the notable talking points: Puig revealed that he’s in no rush to sign given the uncertainty in the world and specifically around baseball. In fact, Puig indicated his focus is slowly turning toward 2021.

For those curious about the last man standing when the hot stove ended this off-season. ...Read More...

QLE Posted: April 18, 2020 at 12:22 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, yasiel puig

Friday, April 17, 2020

The Chinese Professional Baseball League OMNICHATTER

By popular demand, a thread dedicated to discussing this league and its activities.

QLE Posted: April 17, 2020 at 04:26 PM | 402 comment(s)
  Beats: chinese professional baseball league, omnichatter

Orioles Prospect Zac Lowther Is Adding Polish to His Vexing Funk

Zac Lowther was described as having “vexing funk” when he was profiled here in August 2018. That hasn’t changed. The 23-year-old southpaw — now No. 12 on our Orioles Top Prospects list — still disrupts timing with his delivery. Moreover, he continues to flummox hitters. In 148 innings last year at Double-A Bowie, Lowther logged a 2.55 ERA, fanned 154, and allowed just eight gophers.

Prior to last season, Eric Longenhagen described how Lowther “hides his arm behind his body… and has nearly seven feet of down-mound extension.” Last week, the 6-foot-2, 235 pound lefty shared that his recent developmental strides have been more mental than physical in nature.

“A lot of it is working on consistency and how I approach ...

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QLE Posted: April 17, 2020 at 01:28 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects, zac lowther

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