The master-builder has passed

Frank Cashen was more than just a general manager. He came to the Mets in 1980 when Fred Wilpon and Nelson Doubleday purchased the team from Miss Payson’s daughters.
The Mets at the time were awful in every respect. As a teen my junior high school took a bunch of us students,before we would all graduate to high school, to Shea Stadium.
There were empty seats galore for the afternoon game with the Expos. The Mets would win that day as Neil Allen would save it for the Amazins in 1980.
Frank would build the team from that time into what it became,which was a power in the national league. Eventually they would become the team in baseball and in this city as well.
1983 when I did graduate high school I got to see the Mets and Phillies. The Mets would showcase Mr. Keith Hernandez who was acquired earlier that month in June for Neil Allen and Rick Owneby. Even though 1983 would end in disaster Frank had layed the groundwork for the glory that would come. Other moves and Davey Johnson at the helm made all the difference in future years.
Frank left a legacy when he would leave after the 1991. The Mets mattered! The Mets were not “the stems” anymore.
The Mets were to be taken seriously and they owned this town and it’s collective soul. Those Mets would only win once and should have won a lot more! The gentleman from Baltimore with his bow-ties and grand wisdom took my baseball team I grew up routing for and gave it pride. The Mets became a brand. Shea became the place to be. It was summer everyday and night in Flushing for a very long time. Frank was 88.
My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. Frank will be missed. However those times and those summers when the Mets played in the 80’s will be in all Met fans’ memories and hearts forever. Frank the master-builder was at the helm.

This is probably the wrong website to mention this. However I would be remiss if I did not mention and pay my respects to the family of Bob Hastings. Bob passed away at the age of 89. Known for his work in McHale’s Navy,All in the Family(Kelsey the bar owner)and on General Hospital as Bert Ramsey. Bob was a consumate pro and added a lot to any project he was involve with. I watched General Hospital when he was on the show. Of course I saw McHale’s Navy and All in the family. Fans of As the World Turns should know the gentleman that played Bob Hughes is the brother of Bob Hastings, Don Hastings. Even though Don was more well-known,Bob had a career in TV that was very fine and that was distinguished in his own right as well.

Have a Happy 4th of July. Celebrate life, love and this great country. Take care and be well.

A Rod does the right thing

I was stunned when I saw on the internet that Alex Rodriguez decided to drop his ligitation against major league baseball. Alex will take his 162 game suspension and then try to rebuild his career. Listen while I think Alex was in the wrong here;I don’t think Alex is a bad guy. He has a heart and he has a lot of good in him which includes his love for his family. Alex made bad choices as we have all made in our lives. Alex can come back from this and he can possibly resume his career or he can be part of baseball in some other way. After his punishment he does have a right to resume his life and earn a living. Anyway Alex did what was right ultimately and that is what counts,at least in my book. Take care and please be well.

A golden voice has passed

Ralph Kiner was a baseball legend and a new york sports institution. He played 10 years with the Pirates,Cubs and Indians and hit 369 homeruns. Ralph was a fierce homerun hitter whom if he had not been injured could have had even more of a legendary baseball career. Ralph would go from the ballfield to the booth. I think he started out announcing for the Chicago White Sox and then got out of his contract to announce for the Mets when they were born in 1962. From 1962-1979 Ralph was a third of a beloved and iconic broadcast team with Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy. I am 48 and my childhood memories include plenty of Met games with those three men bringing the action to all fans. Ralph would tell great stories. At times Ralph would make the occasional mistake; yet what broadcaster has not. Ralph would continue to broadcast into his 90’s(last season)when he would come on the broadcast and lend his opinions and insights. Even with bells palsy Ralph was still alert and sharp. He was a pleasure to listen to. I will never forget those Kiner Korners. Ralph would have the star of the game on which included Tom Seaver when he came back with the Reds and Keith Hernandez when he was with the Cards. The ironies of ironies he and Keith would forge a close bond that started when Keith got traded to the Mets in June of 1983 and would last until last season when Keith and Ralph would broadcast the games together. Ralph dated Elizabeth Taylor and Janet Leigh. He ran in the same circles as Sinatra and Bing Crosby. Ralph was 91. A real nice man and a real person as well. Ralph will be missed. His life was great. His passion for baseball and the Mets greater. My condolensces to his family and friends. Take care and God bless. 

The Red Sox triumph again

The Boston Red Sox have won their third world series in the past 10 baseball seasons. This was a team effort filled with guys who bonded together from different backgrounds to have a common goal.

Whether it was Shane Victorino,Jonny Gomes,John Lackey,or Mike Napoli. The Red Sox players,beards and all,had a hand in Boston bringing home, in Fenway Park, their eighth title in team history. Gomes’ big hit in game four. Victorino’s slam in game six of the ALCS and his performance in game six of the series. The steady rock John Lackey,who had two previous non-descript and disappointing seasons, pitched brilliantly in this post-season. And of course there was Big Papi, David Ortiz established a display of offensive dominance the likes that all baseball fans might never see again. David batted .688 and scared the Cardinals into walking him three times in game six.

Listen I don’t know if he is on PED’s or HGH. The speculation has and will continue to be there because of his past with the disclosure of past PED users(remember he was on the list that came out). David angrily denied his use of PED’s.

Yet a few years ago people were wondering if he was done. Since then he has had two great years 2012 and 2013 and a postseason for the ages. Big Papi has earned all of baseball’s respect. Yet I hope nothing negative or toward comes out. Dustin Pedoria is simply a marvelous baseball player. His leadership is sublime. His heart is immense. His skill at bat and in the field is superb. Dustin is a likeable and special baseball player who the fans of the Sox are lucky to have. Cherish this man Sox fans because when he goes, you might not be able to replace him anytime soon.

Jon Lester pitched brilliantly this postseason and if not for Big Papi he would have been MVP of the 2013 fall classic with his 3-0 record in the post season and his ERA in the ones, Jon is a great pitcher and is now the clutch pitcher and leader of the Sox staff, He has picked up the mantle from Josh Beckett and could become this generations’ Josh Beckett.

Finally kudos to John Farell who held the Sox together. Yeah they won 97 games. Yeah they were the best team in baseball from September on when they left the rest of the AL east in the dust. However when the Tigers and the Cards threatend to take those respective series from the Sox; John held it together. He did not panic and kept a steady presence. I can’t say I agreed with his moves. However all’s well that ends well. It is a results business and when you win to the victor belongs the spoils. And kudos to Uehara who is now the new Mariano Rivera. Uehara was like gold in reserve. He was as dependable as New England clam chowder on a cold northeastern day which means he brought relief and cured all ills when it was needed. Uehara might be now the reason why the Sox dominate for the immediate future.

The Cardinals suffer another bitter disappointment in the postseason. They lost a 3-1 lead to the eventual champion Giants in 2012 in the NLCS. They had a 2-1 lead in the fall classic this year only to lose the last three games. The third loss was over after the 5th inning of wednesday night’s clincher for the Bosox. Mike Matheny is a great young manager. He is in his early 40’s and will only get better. Their pitching staff lead by Wacha and Wainwright has a bright future. Young pitchers all of whom can throw fire.

The Cards need to upgrade their offense, and yes they do miss Albert Pujols because there is no fear in the St. Louis lineup that opposing managers have to deal with. Beltran is a great hitter,yet he is not what Big Papi is for the Bosox or what Miguel Cabrera is for the Tigers(when healthy). Matt Holiday is a good player;yet he is not a great player. There is time because of the Cards’ youth in their pitching staff. Yet they can’t miss too many more opportunities.

Goodbye Tim McCarver! He has been my source of baseball knowledge and truth since 1983. I am a met fan and I started listening to him on the telecast 30 years ago. Tim was honest and tough! He never pulled any punches and he brought class and dignity to any baseball telecast. Tim was a hit with the Mets and later with the Yankees as well.

He has been doing the world series since 1985 on ABC,CBS,or Fox. More than just a regular that all fans have gotten used to, Tim was and is the voice of this grand game we all care about. Time marches on and nothing stays the same forever. Yet all baseball fans who heard Tim and saw him as well will miss his insights at least on a national level. The tribute at the end of the world series was fantastic. It was perfect and it captured what the fall classic meant to Tim from being a player,broadcaster,and a fan. Goodbye and good luck to Tim McCarver the world series won’t quite be the same without you.

Take care,Be well.And see you next season!

Now what?!

The New York Mets, in 2013, are in serious trouble. The Mets were not going to be contenders in 2013. Yet this is bad to put it bluntly. The Mets lost a 20 inning nightmare on Saturday 2-1. The Mets could not bunt when it was called for in the bottom of the 17th inning when the Mets lead off the inning with a Justin Turner double. Terry Collins did not elect to bunt because no one on his team could bunt. Had the Mets been able to bunt then the Marlins would have had to load the bases and bring the infield and outfield in because it would have only been one out with a runner at third. Yet because the Mets are not able to bunt the game went on. Three more innings of frustration and the Mets were on their way to a nightmare loss. Shawn Marcum was heroic. However sooner or later,because the Mets could not win the game,he would have had to given up a run due to being tired. He pitched eight innings of solid relief and because Collins had to use his bench there was no other players for Collins to have gone to, so Marcum had to hit in those innings.

Then when you think it can’t get worse it does. The Mets lose 8-4 in extra innings albeit the game did not go 20 frames this time around. They had a 4-1 lead which Niese and the bullpen could not hold. Add in a error on a tough hop, by Daniel Murphy, the lead run scores for the Marlins to take a 5-4 lead off of Parnell. Collins brings in Robert Carson and he proceeds to give up a three-run homerun. Ballgame!

If this was not earth-shaking enough that the Mets got swept in back-to-back weekend series by the Marlins( The Mets are 3-8 against the Marlins on the wrong side of the ledger . The Marlins are 10-41 against the rest of baseball!).Ike Davis, Mike Baxter,and Robert Carson got sent down to AAA in Las Vegas. The big news was Ike Davis,who was seen as a cornerstone, now is in the minors. Listen this was the right move because Ike has not produced at all and he needs to work on his swing and get his game back together. Now the Mets need to fill the 1st base void. I believe that Lucas Duda should be a 1st. He is an average outfielder at best and Lucas does have power. 1st base is a power-position and unless Daniel Murphy becomes this generation’s Keith Hernandez, then Duda at 1st makes the most sense.

When the Mets swept the Yanks in this year’s edition of the subway series; I did not blog I did not say a word to Yankee fans at work. I did not jump up and down. Why?! Because I knew the Mets were susceptable to losing to the Marlins. This team is going nowhere fast and I am afraid Terry Collins(who has done a real good job all considering)is going to lose his job and be collateral damage for the Mets of 2013. The players can’t be fired. All the players can’t go to the minors!

If the Wilpons are going to spend in the offseason and gets two outfielders and if the Wilpons are going to spend to improve the bullpen,then maybe as Met fans we all can look back on these times as bad memories. If the Wilpons intend to improve the team. If not more agony is to come! Anyway hopefully Zach Wheeler will be up soon and pitch in the next two weeks. At least Harvey and Wheeler is something for Met fans to look forward to.

I won’t comment on the Biogensis scandal yet. However if baseball(who is not showing their hand)has documented and solid evidence then player suspensions will come and be plentiful which will shake baseball’s core.

Take care and please be well!

The Mets make a step in the Wright direction

As a Met fan I have been very critical at times with the actions of the Wilpons that have ranged from not signing and willing to commit to the right baseball players to holding on to players that are no good just because they don’t want to pay off a bad contract(Oliver Perez,Luis Castillo,and Jason Bay).

Yet as critical as I have been I also need to be fair.This past friday morning about 2am-3am the Wilpons got it done.Earlier in the week they made their star/franchise player David Wright a very fair offer.

This past friday morning Mr.Wright signed! In total it is for 8 years 138 million if you take the 16 million he will make in 2013 and add in the 7 year extension.

This marks a hopefully sign and an excellent move on the Wilpons’ part.David is the face of the franchise.He is a very good player who is in his prime.David is 30 and he is even more capable of putting up greater stats and production in my opinion.Now the Mets have their leader back in the fold(sort of speak).David is also a quality person off the field as well.The Mets now can draw other players here now and in future years as well because the presence of Wright and a willingness to make financial committments to players.Great job guys all the way around!

Now the Mets have to decide on what to do with R.A. Dickey and they need to upgrade catcher and the outfield postions as well.

If the Mets are serious about continuing in this direction of becoming “players” with the Braves,Phillies,Nats,and Yankees then they need to get a centerfielder in the mold of a Victorino,Michael Bourne,or Nate McClouth.Two of those guys are going to be on the expensive side.McClouth might not be.I hope Sandy Alderson reaaly thinks about it.

As for the other outfield positions.Lucas Duda will be back in left.Will Scott Hairston be back?The Mets need a rightfielder.I think if the newsreports are accurate Ichiro won’t be back with the Yanks which means Nick Swisher won’t be available.Also unfortunately Russell Martin won’t be available either because he signed with the Pirates.Mike Napoli is out there,yet the Yanks are now going to go after a catcher.

Clearly the Mets have a lot of work to do and they probably are not going to be good until 2014 or maybe 2015 at the very least.Yet I can be patient being a Met fan.At least the Wilpons,with their actions as far as Wright is concerned,made me as a Met fan proud and hopeful.Here’s to 2013 and hope!

Take care and please be well.

The Giants win in a blaze of glory

The San Francisco Giants are world champions for the second time in three seasons.What was thought of as good team with promise in 2010,before and during that year’s playoffs,is now on the verge of becoming a dynasty in 2012.

The Giants did it with pitching especially this season.Their starting pitching and their bullpen were all brilliant in the fall classic.

Zito,Vogelsong,Bumgarner,Cain,Affeldt,Lincecum,and Sergio Romo are were brilliant this series and in the postseason.Romo had to take over for Brian Wilson.All he did was pickup and establish himself as the newest relief star with two saves in Detroit.The Giants gave the mighty bats of the Tigers the deep freeze.The Tigers only scored six runs in four games.

Detroit swept their way into the fall classic and now have been swept out.Pablo Sandoval was named MVP of the fall classic.His game one set the tone.Three homeruns.Two off of Verlander knocked the Tigers for a loop and gave the Giants confidence.

Marco Scutaro the 37 year old journeyman who started the year in Boston then was imported by the Giants from the Rockies got the game winning hit in the 10th by driving in Ryan Theriot.Marco started his career with the Mets 10 years ago.Six teams and 10 years later he is a world champion.

Buster Posey is now this generation’s Thurman Munson.What I mean by that is Thurman was the emotional leader; the clutch and tough leader of the Yankees of the 70’s.Posey is now that type of leader for the Giants!

Buster, whose ankle was destroyed in a collision at home plate in 2011,came back this season in a wave of glory.He has won his second title in three seasons.Moreover Buster will be MVP of the National League with his grand season in 2012.

He had a homerun last night to put the Giants ahead 3-2.His tag of Prince Fielder at the plate in game two kept the Tigers at bay(no pun intended).Brilliant finish for a guy who,outside of maybe Joe Mauer,is the best backstop in the game.

The Giants were down 0-2 to the Reds.They win three games in Cincinnati.They were down 3-1 to the Cardinals.They win game five 4-0 with Zito on the mound and at the plate.Then they take care of business in game six and seven to get to the fall classic as the skies open up in San Francisco at AT and T park in the 9th inning of game seven.Then they go on to sweep the series and make the end of the season as matter-of-fact as any end of the season can be made.

Congratulations to the Giants and the city by the bay.As long as they keep their pitching in tact this team will be heard from in the next few seasons which is a nightmare for the National League and the rest of baseball as well.

Take care.Be well and see you next season!

The World Series so far

Well it is October 27th on the east coast where we citizens are bracing for Hurricane Sandy which they say will be potentially worst than Hurricane Irene about more than a year ago this past September.Hopefully Sandy won’t wreak the havoc and destruction that is feared.

In Detroit the Tigers are up against it.Detroit has scored three runs in two games.The Giant pitching has been brilliant with Zito,Bumgarner,and the bullpen lead by the very unique and talented Tim Lincecum.Now Tim has come out of the bullpen to dominate this postseason which has given the Giants a greater edge in pitching over the Tigers.Verlander was beaten soundly in game one giving up two homeruns to Pablo Sandoval(who went on to hit another and put himself in the lofty company of Reggie,Pujols,and the Babe).Fister pitched well;yet lost 2-0 in game two.Thank God Doug is allright from getting hit in the head by that linedrive.

Oh about game two.The idea has been floated that Jim Leyland should have played the infield in when the bases were loaded with no out in the 7th inning.I tend to disagree because the idea is to get the outs and Leyland thinking probably was that his team can score enough runs to win the game.If the infield is in the potential exist for a big inning.The Tigers have not gotten it together offensively and the Giants have made great defensive plays in this series so far from Gregor Blanco to Angel Pagan to the great relay throw from Scurato to Posey to nail Fielder at the plate in game two.An excellent tag as well on Buster’s part.

Now the season hangs in the balance for the Tigers.Anibal Sanchez has to pitch equally as well as Fister did this past Thursday night.Plus the Tigers’ bats have to wake up in motown.Be aware all the Giants need is to take one in Motown.If they do that at worst they go back to San Francisco up 3-2.For Detroit to win this series they really need to take all three games in Comerica.Not easy plus consider Ryan Vogelsong is pitching tonight for the Giants and Matt Cain looms in game four.

This part of my post is a bit unusual because it is about football in a baseball website;yet my thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Alex Karras.The tough and irrascible Karass was a superstar with the Lions in the 1960’s and he went on to great sucess as a TV star and in the movies as well.Karass was a classy man and he was a tough guy in the tough times of playing pro football in the 1960’s.He will be missed.

Also my thoughts go out to Chuck Pagano and the Colts.Coach Pagano was diagnosed with Leukemia and now is getting treatment.I hope he is back on the sidelines soon.The Colts miss him and this job means the world to him as he finally has his chance to build another dynasty in Indianapolis with Mr.Luck at the helm.Get well coach!

As we people of the east coast prepare for Sandy.Be safe.Be smart.Be careful and be prudent.Take care and please be well.

The Tigers roar over the Yankees

To be honest I thought the Detroit Tigers could and would beat the Yankees before the ALCS started.The Yanks depended too much on the homerun in the regular season.

During the playoffs the pitching is so good that the homerun as a weapon is taken away.Also the presence of Verlander,Fister,and Max Scherzer the Tigers could more than hold their own against the Yankees pitching staff.However while I thought the Tigers would win I never thought it would be in a four game sweep.In fact if you really look at it the Yankees were totally dominated in this series.Take away the 9th inning of game one where Ichiro and Ibanez hit back to back two-run homeruns to tie the score at four off of Jose Valverde;then the Yanks only scored two runs off of Detroit’s starting pitching.

After game two I did not see how the Yanks could mount a comeback.Justin Verlander did not have his best stuff in game three;yet the Yanks only scored one run when Eduardo Nunez hit a homerun off of Verlander in the 9th.Once the Yanks were down 3-0 it was really all over but the shout.

Oh yeah because of 2004 where the Red Sox came back from a 0-3 deficit against the Yankees in the ALCS;most fans were wishing and hoping.However miracles are very rare in sports.Teams have to have everything align properly and have to play at a level that far exceeds what they did previously.That is what happened in 2004.Boston played a lot better after game three and in games four and five the Red Sox beat the Yankees’ mighty bullpen twice to get the series back to New York for game six where they had the pitching matchup with Schilling.

In this series the Yankees could not hit! Robbie Cano,Alex Rodriguez,Nick Swisher,Curtis Granderson,and Mark Texeira were not productive.Why did this happened? Well a combination of the pitching of the Tigers and the ineffective Yankee offense.Give congratulations to the Detroit Tigers who did not get it in gear until the last five weeks of the regular season.They have the best hitter in the game in Miguel Cabrera who should be the unquestioned MVP in the American League.In Prince Fielder the Tigers have a great hitter to protect Cabrera.Delmon Young,who was the MVP of the ALCS,provided an anchor of timely hits.And how good was Phil Coke.The ex-Yankee carried the day in games two-four with his relief appearances.The Tigers are going to need Valverde if they are going to win the world series.Yet Phil Coke is a more than capable fill-in(pardon the pun).

This series had a load of drama more than “the young and the restless”and “general hospital”combined.First losing Jeter,when he broke his ankle in game one was a major setback.Jeter is the emotional leader of the clubhouse and his presence and his bat was missed.

Second where have you gone Alex Rodriguez and Robbie Cano? An immortal baseball player vanished before the nation’s eyes.So much so he was taken out of the lineup and replaced by a player in Eric Chavez who,to put it kindly,was less than effective.If I was Joe Girardi I would not have taken Alex totally out of this series.Oh yeah everyone that wants to pick on Alex for his behavior while he was on the bench;what else do you want him to do?! You want him to cry and destroy the dugout! Then fans would say he is not about the team! Because he gave baseballs to fans in the stands and said hi mom on TV Alex is now seen as being disrespectful to the game! Give me a break! Personally if I was Alex and could start over in Miami or Los Angeles I would not block the Yankees from sending me there.Alex is 37 and he is not the player he was in 2005 when he was MVP of the AL.Yet Alex has a lot left and he might just need to go someplace else.He has nothing to prove because of what he accomplished and did in 2009.Plus he won two MVP’s while he was here in 2005 and 2007.

As for Robbie Cano.What can you say?! This man is arguably the Yankees’ best hitter who disappeared with the wind.The Yanks have a serious issue here because they will have to pay him big time to keep him.Yet now the Yankee brass has to pause and think is he worth it?! Robbie was lazy in the field and dreadful at bat.Soon when Jeter and/or Alex retire from the Yanks(should Alex still be there)this will becomes Cano’s team.If Cano does not mature then how does any Yankee fan feel good about Robbie Cano leading this team?!

As for the other Yankees that is another story for another time.For now the Tigers have taken out the Yankees for a second postseason in a row.The Bombers got bombed.The Tigers now await the winner of the Cards-Giants for the world series which will start next wednesday night.The Yanks need to do some soul-searching and look for answers for 2013.

Take care and please be well.

The Yankees are at a crossroads

There are times in sports when a team is  up against it.They either recover and move further toward their goal or all out disaster happens.The Yankees are now at  such a crossroads.

They lost the first game of the ALCS 6-4 in 12 innings.Moreover and more importanly they lost their captain Derek Jeter.Jeter dove into the hole between short and second on a ground ball up the middle.Jeter twisted and turned and broke his ankle.Steve Donahue and Joe Girardi had to help Jeter off the field.Jeter will be out three months(length of time for rehab).Most especially Jeter is out for the rest of the postseason.

The Yanks now must solider ahead without their captain and emotional leader.Alex Rodriguez must now carry the mantle of leadership.He has to hit and soon if the Yanks are to have any real chance in their quest for another championship.Also it must be Cano,Texeira,Granderson and/or Swisher.

Jeter,Ichiro,and Ibanez all hit last night in game one of the ALCS.

The Yanks were down 4-0 when Ichiro and Ibanez hit two-run homeruns in sucession.The wonderful Raul Ibanez contines to be a savoir for the bombers.The score was tied 4-4 before the Tigers won the game in the 12th.Detroit has an issue with Valverde who once again,in the postseason,could not protect a lead.

Before last night there was game four of the LDS in Oakland;the A’s came back from a 3-1 deficit to win 4-3.The Tigers had to go to a fifth game to close out the pesky A’s.

The Tigers showed their mettle in the extra frames.However to be honest they got a break.Nick Swisher,who is a good guy with energy and great spirit,misplayed a ball in right which gave the Tigers the 5-4 lead which they added to for a 6-4 lead which Detroit would win by.

Now the Yanks are in real trouble.If they don’t win game two;they will then have to deal with Justin Verlander in game three down 0-2.Remember the format now after today the next three games will be in Comerica.It is possible the ALCS won’t get back to the Bronx even at 1-1.At 0-2 the Yanks can practically forget it.

A crossroads game indeed.The rest of the Yanks will have to step it up.Nix will play short.Nunez will be added to the roster.Of note Nick Swisher could be benched with either Ichiro or Ibanez in right.Nick has not hit in the postseason and his misplay of a line-drive in right now put a glaring spotlight on Swisher.

This now becomes a decision Joe Girardi seriously has to think about.However it comes down to as if often does to Alex Rodriguex. Alex has to step up as he did in 2009 if the Yanks are to have any chance.Alex can carry the team and be an emotional anchor for the Yanks as he was in 2009.He has that type of talent to have that type of impact.No other player is as good as he is or as important(with Jeter on the shelf)on the Yankees.If Alex is to rebound and to be redeemed he has to do it now;otherwise I don’t think the Yankees will make it.

Jeter can’t be replaced on the field or emotionally.Yet the Yanks do have the talent to pickup the slack.Now the Yanks have to step up and prove it.It all starts today.

Take care and please be well.

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