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Friday, September 15, 2023

Cardinals’ disappointing 2023 season can and must be turned around in 2024; is John Mozeliak up for the task?

That brings us to the front office helmed by president of baseball operations John Mozeliak. There’s no assailing his broader record of success as the Cardinals’ lead operator. First as general manager and then in his current role, Mozeliak has guided the Cardinals since the fall of 2007, and they’ve enjoyed a tremendous level of success during his tenure - 10 playoff appearances and a World Series title in 2011. One lost season doesn’t meaningfully tarnish those prior achievements, especially in light of the Cardinals’ market size and (somewhat self-inflicted) payroll limitations, but it does raise questions about the future. That’s especially the case since Mozeliak failed to address the rotation last offseason, and that flawed rotation ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 15, 2023 at 09:32 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals

Hanshin Tigers clinch first Central League pennant since 2005

Teruaki Sato homered for the second straight game as the Hanshin Tigers beat the Yomiuri Giants 4-3 to clinch their first Central League title in 18 years and sixth overall on Thursday.
The Tigers, unbeaten so far in September, completed a three-game sweep of the archrival Giants at Koshien Stadium while extending their winning streak to a season-high 11 games.

“I’m glad we won the title today in front of Tigers fans at Koshien because we are going to Hiroshima tomorrow,” Hanshin manager Akinobu Okada said.

The Tigers and the second-place Hiroshima Carp are scheduled to play a two-game series from Friday at Mazda Stadium.

“I repeatedly told my players that September would be the month of a real battle, but we’ve won way more than ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 15, 2023 at 09:10 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: hanshin tigers, japanese baseball

Thursday, September 14, 2023

An “Old-Fashioned Pitchers’ Duel” Didn’t Always Mean What You Think

From that decade on, the context for “old fashioned pitchers’ duel” was established: There’s a lot of slugging in the game today, but there was once a time when baseball was ruled unilaterally by the men who threw the ball. However, that’s not where or how this saying began. The truly interesting history of the phrase begins well before Ruth ever sent one deep.

In a Montana newspaper’s write-up of NL Opening Day 1919—a piece delightfully headlined “Old Man Baseball Crawls Out Of Dugout”—one of the subheadings read, “Brooklyn Takes Two Games From Boston—Rudolph and Cadore Have Old-Fashioned Pitchers’ Duel. Oh-h-h Boy, Come On, She’s Off!” That’s a fantastic set of words, but after a 1918 season in which NL teams had averaged just ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 14, 2023 at 02:56 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: pitcher's duel

Red Sox fire Chaim Bloom

Bloom was named Chief Baseball Officer on October 28, 2019. He has worked in baseball for 19 years, starting as an intern for the Tampa Bay Rays, where he spent 15 years of his career preceding his time with the Red Sox.

In addition to this change, General Manager Brian O’Halloran has been offered a new senior leadership position within the baseball operations department.

The search for new baseball operations leadership will begin immediately. In the interim, the day-to-day operations will continue under the direction of O’Halloran, and Assistant General Managers Eddie Romero, Raquel Ferreira, and Michael Groopman.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 14, 2023 at 12:33 PM | 56 comment(s)
  Beats: chaim bloom, red sox

Is the AL Cy Young Race Cole’s or Too Close To Call?

According to our new Cy Young projection system, Cole is running away with the award. Per ZiPS’ forecasting, his lead in traditional Cy Young Points (CYP) over second-place Luis Castillo is the same as the gap between Castillo and seventh-place Zach Eflin. FIP-based CYP still has Cole in the lead, mostly due to his league-leading innings total, but there, he’s only narrowly ahead of Kevin Gausman. Gausman’s season feels quite similar to his 2022, when he earned just a single fifth-place vote despite leading the league in FIP thanks to elite strikeout and walk numbers.

This year, Gausman is also underperforming his league-leading FIP with uninspiring contact quality numbers. In many ways, his profile is a poor man’s Strider: better ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 14, 2023 at 11:10 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: cy young award, gerrit cole

Julio Rodríguez Joins What Could Become a Bumper Crop of 30-30 Players

Rodríguez is the second player to reach 30-30 this season, after Acuña, who hit his 30th homer on August 31 to go with what was then 61 steals (he added his 62nd later in that game). That was already an unprecedented combination, and with six homers and three steals since, he’s up to 36 of the former and 65 of the latter, with sights set on the first 40-70 season in major league history. Meanwhile, four other players currently have at least 25 homers and 25 steals, giving them reasonable shots of reaching 30 in both categories, and two others have an outside chance of crashing the party as well….

What’s driving this year’s potential bumper crop is the return of the stolen base thanks to the new rules — namely the pitch clock, ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 14, 2023 at 11:10 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: julio rodriguez

Plunking Down a Plan to Curb Strikeouts

With all that in mind, my plan for cutting down on league strikeouts is to add the following to the MLB Rulebook:

A team may not hit an opposing batsman with a pitch more than once per game. Any subsequent instances of the same team hitting an opposing batsman with a pitch shall result in the immediate ejection of the offending pitcher, even if the prior hit-by-pitch was committed by a different pitcher.

It’s simple. It leverages an outcome that is already discouraged and penalized. There is ample precedent both for beanballs to result in ejections and for sports leagues to implement escalating in-game penalties. So far as I know, no one has ever proposed this before. And most importantly. it targets the specific behavior that has led ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 14, 2023 at 10:36 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: strikeouts

The racist incident that shook baseball nine years before integration

On a midsummer day at Chicago’s Comiskey Park in 1938, a WGN Radio reporter asked an innocuous question to New York Yankees outfielder Jake Powell in a pregame interview: What did he do in the offseason?

The 30-year-old replied that he worked as a police officer in Dayton, Ohio, where he stayed in shape by cracking Black people over the head with his nightstick, using the n-word. WGN immediately terminated the interview and issued several apologies that night, but the outrage quickly spread beyond Chicago. Powell’s crude, racist comment led to a national backlash among African Americans that put the game on its back foot on race nearly a decade before baseball finally integrated.

The medium of radio helped escalate the controversy, ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 14, 2023 at 10:14 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: racism

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Max Scherzer to miss rest of regular season with shoulder muscle strain

Texas Rangers right-hander Max Scherzer will miss the rest of the regular season because of a strained muscle in his shoulder, the team announced Wednesday.

Rangers general manager Chris Young said it was unlikely Scherzer would be able to pitch in the postseason if Texas qualifies.

Scherzer has a strained teres major, a muscle that connects the scapula to the humerus.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 13, 2023 at 05:10 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: max scherzer, rangers

ESPN: The Biogenesis Files

The largest performance-enhancing drugs operation in U.S. sports history was exposed 10 years ago. Biogenesis of America, a Miami wellness clinic fueled by a cocaine-addicted biochemist who introduced himself as “Dr. T,” outed some of the nation’s biggest stars as PED users; still others have not been publicly tied into the scandal—until now.

Drawing upon more than 1,400 pages of confidential U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration investigative documents obtained exclusively by ESPN and dozens of interviews, this package of stories provides an unforgettable look at Tony Bosch’s operation, the attorneys and league officials caught using unsavory tactics, and the depths to which athletes will go for an advantage—and to protect their images


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 13, 2023 at 03:58 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: alex rodriguez, manny ramirez, melky cabrera, peds, ryan braun

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Baseball Hall of Famer John Smoltz Leads Latest List of Retired MLB Stars to Sign with PBX

PBX Pickleball, the organization that unites retired professional athletes with the pickleball community, has signed Baseball Hall of Famer John Smoltz, fellow Cy Young Award Winner and 3x All-Star Eric Gangé, World Series Champ and All-Star Game MVP J.D. Drew, 4x All-Star Russell Martin, 3x All-Star Jason Kendall, 2x All-Star Brian Roberts, 2x All-Star and World Series Champ Derrek Lee, 2x All-Star Jeff Cirillo, 4x Gold Glover and veteran MLB manager Mike Matheny, All-Star Russ Ortiz, and former MLB Manager of the Year Clint Hurdle as the latest PBX Pros.

Smoltz, Gagné, Drew, Martin, Kendall, Roberts, Lee, Cirillo, Matheny, Ortiz, and Hurdle join a list of accomplished retired professional athletes who will participate in the PBX ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 12, 2023 at 04:22 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: pickleball

Alek Manoah Refused Triple-A Assignment, Unlikely To Pitch Again In 2023

Alek Manoah’s disappointing 2023 season has reportedly come to an end.

According to Jeff Blair of the Sportsnet podcast Blair and Barker, Manoah failed to report to his Triple-A assignment in Buffalo because he was upset at the Toronto Blue Jays’ decision to sideline him in favour of the team’s other starting pitchers.

“It seemed like the Alek Manoah camp didn’t like the fact this option was coming because it was performance-related,” Blair said. “Kevin, you and I have both witnessed this from a Major League level to a Triple-A level, when guys get sent back and it’s performance-related, they’re a little salty about it.”...

By refusing to report to Buffalo, Manoah has allegedly lost the opportunity to pitch for the Blue Jays at a Major ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 12, 2023 at 03:01 PM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: alek manoah, blue jays

Sources: Mets hiring David Stearns as president of baseball operations

The New York Mets are hiring David Stearns as their president of baseball operations, sources told ESPN on Tuesday, tabbing the architect of multiple division titles in Milwaukee to help deliver the first World Series championship to Queens in nearly four decades.

Stearns, 38, has long been rumored to take over the Mets after stepping down as Brewers president after the 2022 season and will officially begin in early October, after the regular season ends, sources told ESPN.

A New York native who grew up a Mets fan, Stearns was denied permission by the Brewers to talk about the Mets’ top baseball operations job after the 2021 season.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 12, 2023 at 01:16 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: david stearns, mets

The Athletic: A former White Sox exec on skimming bonuses, team ownership, life after prison and more

On May 16, 2008, the White Sox fired senior director of player personnel David Wilder, along with two scouts, as the result of an FBI investigation into a bonus-skimming scandal in the Dominican Republic orchestrated by the trio. They were found to have defrauded the Sox organization of more than $400,000, receiving kickbacks from signing bonuses and contract buyouts of Latin American players. It was part of a wider investigation into the practice in Major League Baseball. Wilder eventually pleaded guilty to mail fraud in federal court, and in 2013, he was sentenced to two years in federal prison…..

Do you feel like you weren’t valued before you started skimming?

That’s the reason I started doing it. I got passed over for a World ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 12, 2023 at 10:54 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: white sox

Monday, September 11, 2023

Report: Angels open to trading Mike Trout if he wants out

The Los Angeles Angels are willing to trade Mike Trout if the All-Star outfielder requests one, according to a USA Today report.

Earlier this month, Trout said he plans to discuss the future path of the organization with team management in the offseason.

“When it’s brought up in the offseason, you’ve obviously got to talk about it, and think about it,” Trout told the Orange County Register. “I haven’t thought about it yet. There are going to be some conversations in the winter, for sure. Just to see the direction of everything and what the plan is.”

Trout still has seven years and more than $248 million left on a 12-year, $430 million contract he signed in 2019.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 11, 2023 at 11:23 AM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, mike trout

Nationals primed to make jump from rebuild to contention sooner than expected

The Nationals entered the season with low expectations and stumbled through the campaign’s first half at the bottom of the NL East at 36-53. However, something changed following the All-Star break. Washington started to win series after series and has now posted a 28-25 record in the second half.

A young core led by CJ Abrams, Keibert Ruiz, Lane Thomas, MacKenzie Gore, and Josiah Gray has helped turn a corner following a 107-loss campaign last year. The building blocks of the next good Nationals team are starting to show.

“We’re having much more of a fun summer covering this team than I thought we were going to,” longtime Nationals broadcaster Bob Carpenter told theScore in August. “I thought we were going to have to be making excuses ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 11, 2023 at 11:11 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals

Cubs calling up top prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong, sources say

The Chicago Cubs are calling up their top prospect, outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong, sources told ESPN.

Crow-Armstrong, 21, is ranked 15th in ESPN prospect guru Kiley McDaniel’s latest top 50 prospects. He compiled an .876 OPS split between Double-A and Triple-A this year, including 20 home runs and 37 stolen bases. He’s considered one of the best defensive center fielders in the minor leagues and will likely get a chance this week to roam spacious Coors Field, where the Cubs play a three-game series against the Rockies.

The son of the actress that played the mom in “Little Big League” is now a big leaguer.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 11, 2023 at 10:57 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, pete crow-armstrong

A’s Financial Details Reveal John Fisher’s Claim Of $40 Million Losses For 2023

While attendance is projected to be up for 2023, ticket and suite revenue is projected to be down more than $5 million compared to 2022. This likely comes in two forms: the number of season ticket holders or suite holders has dropped in favor of lower ticket sales. The A’s also donated the entire gate from the June 13 game against the Rays – one of the “reverse boycott” games – to charity.

To add, the A’s sponsorship revenue is projected to take a hit dropping from nearly $10 million in 2022 to $6 million in 2023.

On the plus side, local media rights from their deal with NBC Sports California will be $67.988 million for 2023, up from $66.275 million.

When accounting for all local operating revenue streams the A’s are ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 11, 2023 at 10:24 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, revenue sharing

Sunday, September 10, 2023

The NL Cy Young Race Is Still Wide Open

Strider’s 3.83 ERA would be the highest of any Cy Young honoree, ahead of 1983 AL winner LaMarr Hoyt (3.66), 2001 AL winner Roger Clemens (3.51), and 2005 AL winner Bartolo Colon (3.48), all of whom finished first thanks in large part to having notched 20 or more wins. Adjusted for ballpark and league scoring levels, Clemens’ 80 ERA- and Colon’s 82 ERA- are both substantially better than Strider’s 86, which is at least better than Hoyt’s 88, as well as the 87 of 1982 AL winner Pete Vuckovich (on a 3.34 ERA). Still, that ERA is the biggest impediment to voting for Strider, whose 6.28 runs per game of offensive support has helped push his won-loss record to 16–5 nonetheless.

If not Strider, then who? One could point to Wheeler, ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 10, 2023 at 01:09 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: cy young award, spencer strider

Saturday, September 09, 2023

Yankees’ David Wells defends Brian Cashman, calls out players in Old-Timers’ Day rant

“It always seems that the GM and managers are getting fired and blamed,” Wells said. “If I was the GM, I would start sending a message. I don’t care who it is. If he’s in the stink hole, send that son of a gun to Triple-A or Double-A and send him a wake-up call. I don’t care how much money they’re making. Send a message to them and let them go sit down there and think about it.”

Wells proceeded to criticize the Yankees’ clubhouse culture, as well as their usage of analytics — something that’s “ruining the game.” The three-time All-Star and two-time World Series winner thinks the Yankees have a great team with plenty of talent, but they don’t have the camaraderie necessary to win.

“I go into clubhouses, guys ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 09, 2023 at 04:43 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: david wells, yankees

Friday, September 08, 2023

Chas McCormick’s lack of playing time has some Astros vexed, speculating over weight

McCormick has appeared in 95 games this season despite batting .289 with 20 home runs.

Some, who spoke to the outlet, said they have been frustrated by his inconsistent playing time.

“No, why (would) you even ask that?” Baker replied on Wednesday when asked if McCormick’s weight was an issue.

“That’s something that you’re always aware of, you know what I mean. As long as it doesn’t affect your performance, then it’s not really that much of a concern.”

Baker did acknowledge that McCormick was playing with a little more weight on him this season.

The Astros outfielder said that he put on the weight during his stint on the injured list.

“I feel stronger. I like being this heavy,” McCormick said. “I guess if I ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 08, 2023 at 06:22 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, chas mccormick, dusty baker

Four reasons behind the Texas Rangers’ late-season collapse that has them outside the playoff bracket

1. The bullpen has been a disaster

Disaster is a strong word but it is appropriate here. The Rangers held a lead in eight of the 15 losses during this 4-15 stretch. Four times they had a lead in the seventh inning or later and four times they blew a lead of at least three runs, including in three straight games at one point. In two of the four wins, the Rangers blew a lead in the sixth inning or later, and had to come back.

Turn even four of those eight leads into wins, and we’re talking about a tolerable 8-11 stretch and the Rangers being in a wild-card spot, rather than a disastrous 4-15 stretch that has them on the outside of the playoff bracket. The bullpen has been a liability all year and it has been especially bad in the second ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 08, 2023 at 06:08 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: rangers

Sources: Rockies, Germán Márquez agree to 2-year extension

Right-hander Germán Márquez and the Colorado Rockies are in agreement on a two-year, $20 million contract extension, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan on Friday.

The team announced the extension but did not disclose terms.

Márquez, 28, had Tommy John surgery in May and will miss most of 2024….

Márquez will make $10 million both years with $10 million in potential performance bonuses for 2025, sources said.

Colorado did have a $16 million contract option on Márquez for 2024 with a $2.5 million buyout


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 08, 2023 at 06:03 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: german marquez, rockies

Hochman: Mark McGwire’s 70-HR season, 25 years ago, through eyes of opposing pitcher and STL native

At Busch Stadium II, McGwire hit No. 61 on his dad’s 61st birthday, 25 years ago Thursday. And the next night at Busch — Sept. 8, 1998, at 8:18 PM — McGwire became the first to ever hit No. 62. And it was against Sosa and the Cubs.

McGwire, of course, finished the season with 70. Sosa slammed 66. And they rooted for each other along the way. Their smiles on the outside were pure. What was on the inside sure wasn’t.

And so, like many things in American history, it’s complicated. They broke seemingly unbreakable records but used performance-enhancing drugs. And we fans have had to navigate the emotions, compartmentalize the facts, come to terms with what’s in our hearts and in our heads. Yes, OK, maybe that sounds a little ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 08, 2023 at 10:55 AM | 76 comment(s)
  Beats: mark mcgwire

Thursday, September 07, 2023

The Athletic: MLB just tweaked Triple A’s electronic strike zone: What you need to know and why it matters

Let’s try to clear this up:

The “old” zone: Hopefully, you recall the piece we published last month, looking at what’s gone on while MLB was spending this season trying out electronic ball-strike technology (aka “ABS” for Automated Ball-Strike System) across Triple A for the first time. As part of that experiment, the league also lowered the top of the strike zone by about two inches. So has that lower zone been a popular change? Ha. Let’s just say it’s been a zesty topic of nonstop chatter among hitters and pitchers in those leagues. Imagine that.

The “new” zone: The magic word to describe what’s changing isn’t “bigger” or “smaller.” It’s more like “personalized.” The league is now empowering its ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 07, 2023 at 05:04 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: automated strike zone, robot umpires

“There is some extra anxiety”: How MLB handles security, increased threats

Ryan Walker wasn’t really prepared for the ugliness that can come with pro sports. The San Francisco Giants reliever was a 31st-round draft pick, never remotely high profile until he got to the majors.

It was then, after giving up a run in a Giants loss — a game he entered with the team already trailing — that Walker got threats on social media: “You deserve to die.”  “I’ll find your wife and kill her.” “I hope your wife never has a child.”

The next day, Walker’s wife, then pregnant with their first child, got similar threats.

“You look on Instagram, there are usually always a few people who are threatening you in some sort of a way, whether it’s you or your family or even your kids,”  Walker said. ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 07, 2023 at 04:36 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: security, social media

MLB Rumors: Stephen Strasburg’s Nationals Retirement Press Conference Canceled

The Washington Nationals reportedly won’t be honoring Stephen Strasburg on Saturday after all.

According to Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic, the planned retirement press conference for the pitcher ahead of Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers has been canceled….

As for the contract, Bob Nightengale of USA Today noted the Nationals still had to pay the rest of it out:

That contract is apparently at the center of the most recent decision, as Ghiroli reported, “it was the Nationals who approached Strasburg about retiring and paying him the full amount of his contract, sources briefed on the matter say. The team wants to change the terms.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 07, 2023 at 04:00 PM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals, stephen strasburg

Tuesday, September 05, 2023

How former Jumbo Shrimp Robert Garcia went from retiring to The Show

It was over. Robert Garcia was done, retiring. All he was waiting for now was the Kansas City Royals filing his paperwork.

Only, they didn’t… And sitting at his desk at his new job in the real world on a cool December day, Garcia’s phone buzzed. It was a former teammate alerting him that he had been selected by the Miami Marlins in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft. If Garcia wanted it, his baseball career was still on.

“I was not expecting it (being selected in the Rule 5 draft) at all,” said Garcia. “I had actually retired, and I was at my job at my desk and got a text from a buddy saying, ‘Hey, I am going to miss you.’ And I told him I was not coming back, and he was like, ‘Wait, you just got selected in the ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 05, 2023 at 04:06 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: robert garcia

Anthony Rendon ducks health question with ‘no habla inglés’ brushoff

The Los Angeles Angels third baseman, who’s on the 60-day injured list with a shin injury, ducked a question Sunday on his health.

Rendon said, “No habla inglés today,” before putting on a hoodie and leaving the clubhouse, according to The Athletic’s Sam Blum.

That comes months after the 33-year-old Rendon was suspended for four games by Major League Baseball after video of a physical altercation with a fan in Oakland went viral.

The Angels slugger was recorded grabbing a fan by their shirt at Oakland’s Coliseum after losing the season opener to the Athletics, 2-1, appearing to take a swipe at him — though he did not connect.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 05, 2023 at 11:14 AM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, anthony rendon

Monday, September 04, 2023

How Much Value Did the Angels Lose By Going All-in?

All told, the go-for-it decision cost them an estimated $27M in prospect capital. They not only missed a golden opportunity to beef up a bad farm, but they absolutely decimated what was left of it. This will leave them bereft of young impact talent for years to come.

To be fair, they’ve promoted a few young players to the major-league level already (and have been one of the most aggressive teams to do so, calling up guys like Logan O’Hoppe, Zach Neto, and Nolan Schanuel). But the pipeline is dry.

So how much did the veteran waiver-wire dump salvage those losses?

Assuming any on-field production they would have received from those veterans would have been worthless, since they’re out of contention, the only positive here is the ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 04, 2023 at 11:58 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: angels

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