Thursday, May 31, 2007

Giambi Expected To Miss Three Weeks

New York Yankees Designated Hitter Jason Giambi is probably glad to see the month of May come to an end. Giambi, who has been courting controversy the last couple of weeks after an interview with USA Today now has some physical obstacles to overcome.

The Yankees announced on Thursday that Giambi was going on the 15 day disabled list after suffering torn tissue in the arch of his left foot. Giambi will be fitted with a walking boot. A spokesman for the Yankees, said Giambi will be reevaluated in three weeks.
Giambi started the controversy after giving an interview to USA Today's Bob Nightengale saying he regretted taking "that stuff", and that MLB owed the fans an apology. About a week later an unsubstantiated rumor said Giambi had failed a test for amphetamines within the last year.
(c) Copyright 2007

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Beckett Wins Eighth Sox Beat Tribe 4-2

Boston Red Sox starter Josh Beckett coming off the disabled list, picked right up where he left off winning his eighth game in a row, as Boston defeated the Cleveland Indians Tuesday night by a 4-2 margin. Beckett, went seven innings allowing only three hits in his return. Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis extended his hitting streak to 21 games with a RBI double and a homer. Youkilis has multiple hits in nine consecutive games the most for a Red Sox player since Jim Rice in 1978.

Jeremy Sowers saw his record go to 1-5 as he took the loss for the Tribe. He had his only victory of the season in his last start, and is probably a good candidate to be sent down to Triple A Buffalo after Jake Westbrooki returns from the DL. Westbrook will make his first rehab start on Friday for Buffalo.
(c) Copyright 2007

Monday, May 28, 2007

Clemens Looks Strong In Triple A Outing

It looks like Roger Clemens annual tour of the minor leagues may have ended on Monday night, as he looked dominant in an appearance for the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees. Clemens overpowered the Toledo Mud Hens working six scoreless frames giving up just two hits, and struck out six as the Yankees beat the Mud Hens 2-0. Clemens did walk two but at times showed pinpoint control. as opposed to his last start for Trenton where he appeared to lose his control frequently.

Yankees vice president Billy Connors who was at the game, said this showed the parent club that Clemens was ready to join New York. Clemens, may still not pitch against the Boston Red Sox in their upcoming weekend series, as Mike Mussina, Chien-Ming Wang, and Andy Pettite are already scheduled to make the starts. Clemens will most likely make his 2007 MLB debut against the Chicago White Sox next Monday night.
(c) Copyright 2007

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Lackey Wins Eighth Angels Sweep Yankees

John Lackey, looking like he did in 2005 when he went 14-5 got his eighth victory of the year as the LA Angels defeated the New York Yankees on Sunday by a 4-3 margin. The win gave the Angels a sweep of the three game series giving them a four and a half game lead in the American League West.

The loss was the Yankees seventh in the last ten games, sending them to six games under .500 and last place in the American League East. They now trail the Boston Red Sox by 12.5 games. Scott Proctor who gave up too many walks in his relief stint of starter Mike Mussina took the loss. Francisco Rodriguez got save number 17.
(c) Copyrirght 2007

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Tribe Make It Two In A Row Over Tigers Win 6-3

For the first time since they last made the playoffs in 2001,the Cleveland Indians are the ones being chased, not the ones chasing. The Tribe made it two in a row over division rivals the Detroit Tigers Saturday, winning by a score of 6-3. The win gives Cleveland a one and a half game edge over Detroit in the American League Central.

Indians starter C.C. Sabathia, saw his record improve to 7-1, tying him for the lead in the American League for victories. Indians left fielder David Deliucci broke a 3-3 tie with a two run homer in the eighth, Victor Martinez also had a two run shot for Cleveland in the third. Indians closer Joe Borowski continues to impress, getting his league high 16th save in 18 appearances.

(c) Copyright 2007

Friday, May 25, 2007

Griffey Jr. Now Eighth On Career Home Run List

Ken Griffey Jr. is now in eighth place in career home runs in all of MLB history. Jr. broke a tie with former Minnesota Twins slugger Harmon Kilibrew, on Friday night as he hit roundtripper #574 against the Pitsburgh Pirates. Paul Maholm was the pitcher who gave up the gopher ball to Griffey,in the sixth. The game went ten innings as they were tied at four after nine, but Pittsburgh scored six unanswered runs in the tenth to win the game. Griffey is now just nine homers away from catting Mark McGwire who is in seventh pace
(c) copyright te 2007

King George Says Not All Is Rosy In The Bronx

King George Says Not All Is Rosy In The Bronx

New York Yankees principal owner and managing partner, George Steinbrenner has spoken, and according to published reports, not all is well in Yankee Land. Steinbrenner, spoke with the Associated Press, in a report published on Friday and among other things said that general manager Brian Cashman was on a "Big hook." Steinbrenner said that Cashman wanted total authority, in team matters, that he currently has it, and the team's future is right now in his hands.

Steinbrenner, also told the A.P. that manager Joe Torre is not in any short term danger, that the team is not looking to make a change at the field general level. Steinbrenner, speculated that current Yankee coach Don Mattingly would probably become a fine manager some day. When asked to comment on New York DH Jason Giambi's interview last week, when Giambi said MLB owed the fans an apology the Yankees owner did appear to be pleased. Steinbrenner said that Giambi "should have kept his mouth shut. The matter is in the hands of the baseball commissioner."

(c) Copyright 2007

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Smoltz Gets Career Victory 200 Tops Mets 2-1

Atlanta Braves starter John Smoltz may have reserved himself a future spot in Cooperstown on Thursday night, as he became the first pitcher in MLB history to record 200 wins and 150 saves. Smoltz got win number 200, against former teammate Tom Glavine as the Braves topped the New York Mets 2-1. Smoltz worked seven innings of scoreless ball. Matt Diaz went deep for the Braves, and Bob Wickman back off the DL worked out of trouble in the ninth for the save. Glavine was looking for career victory 296 but took the loss.

(c) Copyright 2007

Hancock's Dad Milk's Tragedy For Cash

Hancock's Dad Milk's Tragedy For Cash

There is an old joke about the young man who was convicted of murdering his parents in cold blood. When the judge asked the convicted man if he had anything to say for himself he said "Have pity on me Your Honor for I am an orphan."

It takes a lot of nerve to make a statement like that in those circumstances. It was also the first thing that came to mind when I saw that Josh Hancock's father was suing several parties saying they contributed to his son's death.

Hancock, a pitcher for the ST Louis Cardinals died back on April 28, after he got extremely intoxicated in a bar following a game between his team and the Chicago Cubs. It was an afternoon game and according to attorneys for Hancock's father, the pitcher spent 3 and a half hours at the establishment. He had ingested enough alcohol that the coroner's report said his blood alcohol level was 0.157 nearly twice the legal limit in the state of Missouri which is 0.08. He then got into his SUV in which police also found a small quantity of Marijuana. It was theorized that Hancock was on his cell phone and speeding, when he slammed into the back of a tow truck that was pulled off the highway to help another disabled vehicle. Unfortunately, Hancock was killed upon impact there were no other injuries.

On Thursday May 24, it was revealed that Hancock's father had filed a suit against others that he say played a role in his son's death. He is suing the establishment where he got intoxicated, the establishment's owner former Cardinal Mike Shannon, and Shannon's daughter the bar manager. The suit states that they should have stopped serving him alcohol, because he was so intoxicated. He is also suing the tow truck company owner, the tow truck driver, and the driver of the disabled vehicle. As far as we know the Marijuana dealer was not named in the suit.

I feel very badly that such a promising young man's life was ended on April 28,2007. But Josh Hancock had nobody to blame but himself for his demise. We are talking about a normal intelligent rational adult here. He should have known he was too drunk to drive. It was not anybody else's responsibility, not the bar's and certainly not the disabled vehicle, or the tow truck driver. As tragic as this episode was thankfully no innocent bystanders were hurt. And we are talking about a Major league baseball player, even if by some strange chance he was making the league minimum, are you telling me that he could not afford to be taken home by a limo or a cab? Of course he could, but now we get down to that sense of invulnerability, which all young people have but athletes most of all.

I guess that you could rationalize, that Hancock's father is so grief stricken that he is just lashing out in anger at the world, and this is the way it is manifesting itself. Bad things do happen to good people, sometimes for inexplicable reasons. It is understandable to want to point fingers, so that you don't have to blame your own son. If that is the reason, then when Mr. Hancock hopefully is able to get a little more past his grief, he will drop these suits. The problem in our day and age is the motives behind peoples actions. If Mr. Hancock is just looking for a payoff than he should be ashamed of himself, and will only further sully his son's reputation.

(c) Copyright 2007

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Giambi Meets With MLB Officials

Giambi Meets With MLB Officials

New York Yankees DH Jason Giambi met with representatives of Major League Baseball on Wednesday, reportedly to discuss an interview he had last week with USA Today reporter Bob Nightengale. In the interview Giambi stated that he regretted taking "that stuff", and said that MLB owed the fans an apology for the cloud of controversy that hung over the game. Baseball players union general counsel Micheal Weiner confirmed that a meeting with MLB Commissioner Bud Selig was requested to talk about the interview. Giambi said that he thought the meeting went well, and that no followup meeting was scheduled. Giambi may still be in for more hot water, as the New York Daily News says Giambi flunked a screening for amphetamines within the past year. Giambi would not comment on the matter, and there has been no official confirmation from MLB at this time.
(c) Copyright 2007

Sea Dogs Take Bite Out Of Rocket

Sea Dogs Take Bite Out Of Rocket

Roger Clemens Wednesday start for the Yankees Double A franchise the Trenton Thunder didn't turn out as he planned. The Rocket did not appear to be ready to make his next start in the Majors as he gave up three runs on six hits in just five and a third innings as he faced the Red Sox Double A affiliate the Portland Sea Dogs. Clemens according to reports, appeared to have some control problems, and at other time he looked fatigued. He threw 102 pitches 64 for strikes. He had earlier said that his goal was to get his first Major League start on June 28, a date that will probably now not be met.

(c) Copyright 2007

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Baseball's New "Witch Hunt" Beyond Reprehensible

Baseball's New "Witch Hunt" Beyond Reprehensible

See, I told you this would happen! According to Saturday's New York Post MLB is going to reward Jason Giambi's honesty last Wednesday by subjecting him to an investigation. George King the Yankees beat writer reported on Saturday, that according to New York General manager Brian Cashman, MLB is currently investigating whether Giambi had been using steroids after the ban went into effect. If so it could possibly earn him a 50 game suspension, or possibly void the balance of his contract with the Bronx Bombers.

So, instead of grabbing onto Giambi's candor as a golden opportunity for MLB to once and for all admit that it went through a tainted era, and air their dirty laundry they do the exact opposite. Instead of coming clean they are circling the wagons, making Giambi the out cast. They say no good deed goes unpunished, and there is no further proof than this sad situation.

Baseball fans can not stand for this hypocrisy. If they allow Bud Selig, George Mitchell, and the owners to make an example of this man, than it will prove that they were involved in a more complicit way than any of us ever imagined. Media and fans alike realized that baseball management and ownership realized that their players were not bulking up naturally. However, up until this time we all believed that it was done in a benign way, by looking the other way, by pretending to be ignorant. If Jason Giambi is punished for his candor, in my opinion it smacks of a cover up. why would MLB want to punish Giambi for talking unless they had something to hide. Could the the thing he did not want to talk about with Bob Nightengale, the reasons he took steroids be because he was pressured by ownership?

A far fetched scenario to be sure, but why would baseball want to punish Jason Giambi for trying to come to terms with his past indiscretions. And do you possibly think another athlete will dare speak out? They would have to be suicidal. King mentioned Jason Grimsley in his article, and how after he admitted he was using banned substances, he was banned by MLB. Grimsley, was forced to come out with his confession, he was the subject of a Federal Investigation. No one forced Jason Giambi to admit to past mistakes, last Wednesday except his conscience. For that he should be commended, not punished.

(c) Copyright 2007

Friday, May 18, 2007

Giambi Takes Courageous Stand

Giambi Takes Courageous Stand

Jason Giambi has become my new hero, and you don't know how much it pains me to say this. Not because I have anything personally against him. I have interviewed Giambi countless times over my 11 years covering the Major Leagues, and he was never in my most or least favorite categories. Some times Giambi, could be extremely talkative, other nights not so much. Actually I had never really formed a strong opinion about the man during my interaction with him. But the reason it pains me to admit that he is my new hero is he is a member of the New York Yankees. If you are a frequent visitor of this site, you know that I, am originally from New England, and grew up a Red Sox Fanatic.That automatically, makes me a Yankees hater, it's either in the genes or the water, scientists have yet to determine the actual cause. But in spite of that Jason Giambi has become my new hero because of the courageous stand he has undertaken.

Giambi on Wednesday in an interview with USA Today's Bob Nightengale said he regrets that he took steroids, and that Major League Baseball should have apologized to their fans long ago. Giambi stated that players and owners should have stood up, admitted mistakes were made put rules in place and moved forward. Instead of that happening MLB just refused to acknowledge the mistakes made. I don't know if you realize the guts it took for Giambi to make these statements. For every member of the media like me that lionize the man, there will be ten others who will take him to task. In the next few days you will read in your local newspaper, or on other websites, media members taking Giambi to task. They will chastise for indicting other players, and the game in general. Other's will ask what took him so long to admit to his guilt, and this is just a publicity ploy.

And don't think for a minute that this is going to be sitting well with MLB. Donald Fehr and the player's union must be going out of their collective minds. And any player who has taken a steroid or even a steroid precursor, will see Giambi as Public Enemy Number One. And other players will be angry at Giambi, even if they have never ingested anything stronger than a vitamin, just on principle. They will perceive Giambi as a "stoolie" someone who has betrayed the confidentiality of the clubhouse. And also Bud Selig and the MLB owners are not going to be pleased. This is exactly the opposite of the "Ostrich Mentality" they have tried to use as a defense these last few years. Giambi is saying this just doesn't fly. And this coming down when Barry Bonds who has more of a cloud hanging over his head than any other player in the game today, is on the precipice of breaking Henry Aaron's record for career home runs. Not exactly the type of statement you want coming out on the eve of an event that is already shrouded in controversy.

I don't know why Jason Giambi chose to unburden himself at this time and in this way. However this can be a golden opportunity, for MLB to make a clean breast of things. Hopefully Fehr and Selig have already spoken and will be soon be having a joint press conference making that apology to the fans that Giambi asked for. It is a chance once and for all to put a very sad chapter behind them. Hopefully, but unfortunately doubtfully. One final coda; I have a friend in the Cleveland Media that over the last couple of years, when ever Giambi went on a hot streak, he would start spouting that Giambi was back on the juice. I secretly believe most of the reason he would say this was because he knew it would get a rise out of me, challenging him that with the testing going on Giambi would be out of his mind to take the chance. I can't wait to hear his reaction when he finds a copy of this article in his e-mail.

(c) Copyright 2007

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Why The Disparity?

Two Athletes,Two different Sports. One Athlete was known as a model citizen on and off the field during his playing career. He was heavily involved in charities, protecting abused children. He was admired and respected by his peers, and management. Fans got caught up with his accomplishments on the field, and was said by many pundits, that he may have brought his sport back from the dead. The other Athlete, was also an exemplary player on the field, however, his playing days were filled with controversy. Allegations were made that this Athlete, was involved with drugs, hung out allegedly with unsavory characters, and at times looked as if he would end his career in infamy. Both Players were eligible for their respective sports Halls of Fame recently.

One made it in his third year of eligibility, the other, now looked at as a pariah, didn't get close to being inducted. Of course the two men I am talking about are former Slugger Mark McGwire, and former Dallas Cowboy great Michael Irvin. Irvin, the man who had the controversial career, made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. McGwire, who along with Sammy Sosa, brought Baseball back from the abyss, received less than 25 percent of the Baseball writers votes. McGwire's troubles started after refusing to answer questions of possible steroid use when he testified before Congress. His name has been mud ever since. In fact, his good guy reputation may be in part the reason that this man has been vilified the way he has been.

Because McGwire was so idolized during the story book season that he first broke Roger Maris' single season home run record, people probably thought they were deceived. Where as the Barry Bonds of the world are looked at with a jaundiced eye, Baseball fans thought McGwire was special. Great dad, great teammate, great guy. I saw similar situations unroll twice during the last few years in Cleveland. The Indians, Jim Thome, and the Cavaliers Carlos Boozer, were both looked at by fans in Northeast Ohio as being on a separate plain. Regular Joes, blue collar guys who actually played for the love of the game. Fans were literally shocked when both players left Cleveland to take more money elsewhere.

Both of these men were the recipients of far more fan vitriol than other former Cleveland athletes. The reason being, more was expected from Boozer, and Thome, and when they showed that like other players that money was important to them, fans felt betrayed. Irvin, who was followed by controversy his entire career, not only made it to the Hall, but is now a prominent T.V. Broadcaster. Is this really fair? Mark McGwire was never caught using any illegal substances, during his playing days. There is no vial of blood or urine from McGwire with damning evidence. All the negative reaction he has received is based on conjecture.

Is McGwire a scapegoat? I believe so! There is plenty of blame to be spread around for the "Juiced Era" of Baseball, including Team owners, and management. Nobody was complaining when Sosa and McGwire, had their magical seasons, even though there were suspicions throughout MLB. MLB owners, sat by as they saw their athletes, getting bigger and bigger. In fact if not for the book by Jose Canseco, and the subsequent investigation by Congress, Steroids would probably be as prominent today as they were a decade ago. A former MLB player who I covered on an every day basis a few years back has admitted to taking substances, although he says he was prescribed the substance by a physician. We all had suspicions about this gentleman because of his volatile mood swings during his playing days, but not one member of the media ever talked about it on the record. There has been only one case of a Hall of Fame Caliber athlete who was caught with steroids in Baseball.

That was Rafael Palmeiro who then tried to pin the blame elsewhere. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig had a chance to draw a line in the sand then. He should have said that because Palmeiro did test positive for steroids, that he would not be eligible for the Hall, but Selig did not have the intestinal fortitude to make that call. No it is far easier, for Selig,and MLB owners to play like an Ostrich with their collective heads in the sand, and allow the Baseball Writers of America, to do their dirty work for them. There are too many guilty parties out there for McGwire to be the poster boy of the excesses of MLB. McGwire belongs in the Hall Of Fame,if not then the game will always suffer from the taint of hypocrisy.

(c) copyright 2007

Friday, May 11, 2007

Schilling Has The Right to Be Upset

Can't say I blame Curt Schilling one bit for his ranting at the collected media after Orioles broadcaster Gary Thorne made the ludicrous statements that he did Wednesday night, during the broadcast between Baltimore and Boston. In case you have been in another dimension over the last couple of days here is the story.Thorne, on Wednesday night told his audience that Curt Schilling's bloody sock that got so much attention during the 2004 ALCS, was actually a public relations move, to make Schilling seem more heroic. Thorne claimed that he was told this by Red Sox backup catcher Doug Mirabelli. Now on Thursday, Thorne takes to the airwaves, and says it was all just a misunderstanding.

He says he did not realize that Mirabelli was being sarcastic, when he "allegedly" made the comments. But the damage had all ready been done, Thorne had needlessly sullied two players reputations. Schilling on his website released a blog entry, here in part is what he said " If you haven't figured it out by now, working in the media is a pretty nice gig. Barring outright plagiarism or committing a crime, you don't have to be accountable if you don't want to. You can say what you want when you want and you don't really have to answer to anyone.You can always tell the bigger culprits by the fact you never see their faces in the clubhouse. Most of them are afraid to show themselves to the subjects they rail on everyday."

Curt is absolutely correct, I covered the Cleveland Indians for 11 years, and during that time period, there were numerous cases where newspaper columnists, or talk show hosts, made inflammatory statements, and then would not show up in the clubhouse for days, or even weeks. Meanwhile, we beat reporters who were in the locker room on a daily basis had to deal with the ramifications of cleaning up the mess, that our peers had made. To many athletes, "The Media" is just this faceless blob and they lump us all together. So if a reporter or columnist from a Northeast Ohio newspaper, made an asinine statement about a player, many players would stop dealing with the media in general. As someone who has been proud of my craft, and believes that without my integrity and reputation, I am nothing I resent being put in that position by others.

Broadcasters like Gary Thorne must be taken to task. If "The Media" has no credibility, than we can not properly do our job, which is to be a conduit, or a pipeline for you the sports fan. Every time I am in a locker room, I feel that I am Your eyes, Your ears, and Your voice in that facility. I try to ask the questions that I think you the sports fan want to know the answers to. As long there are broadcasters like Gary Thorne and others, who pollute the airwaves without properly checking their facts, all of the media will be looked at with a jaundiced eye. No wonder according to public opinion polls, we as a profession have less credibility than used car salesman. This is because of the Gary Thornes of the world, on days like this I am not so proud to be a member of "The Media".
(c) Copyright 2007

Ready For A New Home Run King?

In spite of Major League Baseball's lack of enthusiasm he's going to do it. And this time it's for real not just for second place. Yes, in the not too distant future San Francisco Giant Barry Bonds will be the record holder for career home runs as he eclipses Henry Aaron's mark. I could never really understand all the hoopla when Bonds passed Babe Ruth, at 714. It was for second place, it was irrelevant it no longer mattered, Henry Aaron had surpassed that record when I was a senior in High School. Since when in American society are we concerned with second place? I don't remember too many libraries being built for Michael Dukakis, Walter Mondale, or Robert Dole do you? We celebrate winners in this society, not runners up! To make a big deal over Bonds passing the Babe was just ludicrous, and in saying that I am in no way diminishing the Bambino's importance to the game. He is the man who saved baseball after the Black Sox scandal, and as I have stated in a previous article, he was Sports first modern superstar. But with that being said the record was broken in 1974, before half of our population was even born!

But now it counts! When Barry Bonds breaks 755, the game will have a new Home Run King, and there are many inside and outside of baseball that would prefer that this day would never arrive. Barry Bonds is not looked upon as a hero by many, in fact he could in many ways be considered more infamous than famous. He is not warm and cuddly and humble. He's proud and sensitive, and a person many consider a prima dona. Travis Fryman when he was the Cleveland Indians third baseman back in the club's glory days when they had an All Star at every position may have put it best. He said "We have a lot of Thoroughbreds in this clubhouse, and they tend to get a mite skittish at times."

Barry Bonds would fit that description, in every aspect. He come from Baseball Royalty background, his dad being a great player Bobby Bonds, who was haunted by his own demons during his playing days. And his Godfather and surrogate dad since Bobby's passing is none other than Willie Mays one of the greatest living players. Bonds was raised in Major League clubhouses, and grew up always being treated special. So is it any surprise that the man has an enormous ego? How could he possibly be expected to be any different, when our society encourages the special treatment of the athletically gifted. The true surprise is when you run into the exceptions, those people are truly special. So Barry is not a sympathetic character, and his antagonistic relationship with the media certainly does not help any. Barry Bonds is one of the very few legendary players over the last decade to play in MLB that I have not had any contact with, so I can not go on anything other than my peers anecdotes. But I have never had any contact with any member of the media, that had anything nice to say about this man. And in this day and age of 24 hour satellite sports coverage, the media can make you or break you. If the player has a good relationship with the media, that player can get away with a lot of indiscretions. If that player has an adverse relationship the media will turn over every stone they can to find that fellow's flaw. And when we do we pile on like flies on dung.

Besides Mr. Bonds less than charming persona there are of course the continuing allegations of this man using "performance enhancing products" over the last few years. Grand Jury testimony has been leaked to the public, and the terms "the creme and the clear" have become part of our modern sports lexicon. But here again there is no irrefutable proof, there is no vial of blood or urine that MLB has proving this. It is here say evidence, maybe enough to convict you in the court of public opinion but not enough to convict you in a court of law. And if in fact that Bonds has taken anything, does MLB have anybody else to blame but themselves? Baseball prospered like never before during the last few years, and MLB owners were not about to take too close a look at things. If you are ignorant how can you be blamed, even if you have to go out of your way to avoid seeing the warning signs. So even though Henry Aaron will not be there to witness it in person, soon his mark will be broken. And like it or not it is something that MLB and their fans have to deal with, one way or another. Whether baseball tries to ignore it or celebrate, when this tree falls in the forest it will make a huge noise. One that may reverberate for decades.
(c) Copyright 2007

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  • From Cleveland, Ohio, United States
  • Matt has been involved in sports media for over ten years, with experience covering the NFL, NBA, and MLB for the past 13+ years.
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