Tag Archive | "All Star Game"

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Rabil, Ehrmann, Stanwick amongst those with area ties named to MLL All-Star Game

Posted on 24 June 2013 by WNST Staff

BOSTON (Monday, June 24) - Major League Lacrosse, the premier professional outdoor lacrosse league, today announced the 38 players selected for the 2013 All-Star Game presented by Moe’s Southwest Grill July 13 at American Legion Memorial Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. Players were selected through balloting process by MLL coaches and general managers.

The 38 players will be divided into two teams as selected by the winners of the MLL Ultimate Fan Fantasy contest. Cameron MacKenzie and Frank Ranfone will pick their teams playground-style to form their very own All-Star squads to compete in the game.  Several All-Stars will also participate in the Half-Time Skills competition which will include Fastest Shot, Accuracy and Freestyle contests. The All-Stars will be wearing specially designed jerseys that will be auctioned off following the game to benefit JDRF, the 2013 All-Star Game’s charity.

The Chesapeake Bayhawks led the selection with eight players chosen. Denver was a close second with seven players selected for the All-Star Game. Five Hamilton Nationals will play, while four players were selected from the Cannons, Hounds, Lizards and Rattlers. Ohio will have two representatives in the All-Star Game.

Rochester’s Matt Striebel will make his ninth consecutive All-Star Game appearance. Striebel has 17 points on the season, including four two-point goals, tied for the most two-point goals in the League.

Six-time Warrior Defensive Player of the Year Brodie Merrill, of the Hamilton Nationals, will participate in his eighth All-Star Game. Merrill leads the Nationals in ground balls with 45, good enough for sixth in the League.

Denver’s Lee Zink will be making his seventh consecutive All-Star Game appearance. The reigning Warrior Defensive Player of the Year is the anchor of the Outlaws’ defense.

Joining Zink will be his goalie, Jesse Schwartzman. Schwartzman is making his sixth appearance, the most of any goalie in MLL history. Schwartzman ranks first in the League for goals against average and has led the Outlaws to an undefeated record. Perennial All-Star and reigning League MVP, Brendan Mundorf was voted in as well but will be unavailable for the game and is not on the list of 38.

Hamilton’s Brett Queener will make his fourth appearance and second consecutive appearance, Reigning Warrior Goalie of the Year New York’s Drew Adams will make his third consecutive appearance, and Chesapeake’s Kip Turner will participate in his first All-Star Game. Turner is second in the League in both goals against average and save percentage.

At the faceoff X, New York’s Greg Gurenlian will make his first All-Star Game appearance, he will be joined by  Denver’s Anthony Kelly who will be making his fourth. Gurenlian and Kelly rank first and second, respectively, in faceoff percentage for players taking at least 100 face-offs.

Other League leaders playing in the All-Star Game are Nationals Kevin Crowley and reigning Warrior Offensive Player of the Year Cannons Paul Rabil. Crowley leads the League with 35 points and 26 goals. His 23-game point streak is a franchise record for the Nationals, earning his first selection to the All-Star Game.

Rabil is second in the League for points with 34 points. He ranks fourth in the League for goals with 20, fifth for assists with 12 and has two two-point goals on the season. This is his sixth consecutive All-Star Game appearance.

Fifteen different players will be making their All-Star Game debuts this year, including Turner, Gurenlian, Kelly and one rookie.

Rob Pannell, of New York, will represent the class of 2013 in the All-Star Game. Pannell finished his Cornell career at the NCAA Semifinals, won the Tewaaraton Award, and scored a hat trick in his first MLL game with the Lizards all within a week.

Also appearing in their first All-Star Games are Chris Bocklet, Kevin Cunningham, Barney Ehrman, Zack Greer, Jordan MacIntosh, Mike Manley, Ben Rubeor, Brett Schmidt, Drew Snider, Steele Stanwick, and Ryan Young.

The MLL All-Star Game, presented by Moe’s Southwest Grill, takes place on Saturday, July 13, at 7:00 pm in Charlotte, N.C., at American Legion Memorial Stadium, and will be broadcast live on ESPN2. If you don’t have your tickets for the event yet, be sure to check out the MajorLeagueLacrosse.com All-Star page for information.

Here is the full list of All-Star Players:

Position: Player (Team, Appearances in All-Star Game)

Attack:Chris Bocklet (Denver, 1), Ned Crotty (Rochester, 3), Kevin Cunningham (Hamilton, 1), Rob Pannell (New York, 1), Ben Rubeor (Chesapeake, 1), Steele Stanwick (Ohio, 1), Drew Westervelt (Chesapeake, 5), Ryan Young (Charlotte, 1)

Midfield:Matt Abbott (Chesapeake, 3), Steven Brooks (Chesapeake, 3), Kevin Buchanan (Boston, 3), Kevin Crowley (Hamilton, 1), Kyle Dixon (Chesapeake, 5), Zack Greer (Denver, 1), Jordan MacIntosh (Rochester, 1), Peet Poillon (Charlotte, 4), Paul Rabil (Boston, 6), Jeremy Sieverts (Denver, 2), Drew Snider (Denver, 1), Mike Stone (Boston, 2), Matt Striebel (Rochester, 9), Joe Walters (Hamilton, 6)

Defense:Barney Ehrman (Chesapeake, 1), Michael Evans (Chesapeake, 4), Ryan Flanagan (Charlotte, 2), Kyle Hartzell (Ohio, 3), Brian Karalunas (New York, 2), Mike Manley (Rochester, 1), Brodie Merrill (Hamilton, 8), Brett Schmidt (Charlotte, 1), Kyle Sweeney (Boston, 6), Lee Zink (Denver, 7)

Faceoff:Greg Gurenlian (New York, 1), Anthony Kelly (Denver, 4)

Goalie:Drew Adams (New York, 3), Brett Queener (Hamilton, 4), Jesse Schwartzman (Denver, 6), Kip Turner (Chesapeake, 1)

Team: Player (Position, Appearances in All-Star Game)

Boston: Kevin Buchanan (Midfield, 3), Paul Rabil (Midfield, 6), Mike Stone (Midfield, 2), Kyle Sweeney (Defense, 6)

Charlotte: Ryan Flanagan (Defense, 2), Peet Poillon (Midfield, 4), Brett Schmidt (Defense, 1), Ryan Young (Attack, 1)

Chesapeake: Matt Abbott (Midfield, 3), Steven Brooks (Midfield, 3), Kyle Dixon (Midfield, 5), Barney Ehrman (Defense, 1), Michael Evans (Defense, 4), Ben Rubeor (Attack, 1), Kip Turner (Goalie, 1), Drew Westervelt (Attack, 5)

Denver: Chris Bocklet (Attack, 1), Zack Greer (Midfield, 1), Anthony Kelly (Faceoff, 1), Jesse Schwartzman (Goalie, 6), Jeremy Sieverts (Midfield, 2), Drew Snider (Midfield, 1), Lee Zink (Defense, 7)

Hamilton: Kevin Crowley (Midfield, 1), Kevin Cunningham (Attack, 1), Brodie Merrill (Defense, 8), Brett Queener (Goalie, 4), Joe Walters (Midfield, 6)

New York: Drew Adams (Goalie, 3), Greg Gurenlian (Faceoff, 1), Brian Karalunas (Defense, 2), Rob Pannell (Attack, 1)

Ohio: Kyle Hartzell (Defense, 3), Steele Stanwick (Attack, 1)

Rochester:Ned Crotty (Attack, 3), Jordan MacIntosh (Midfield, 1), Mike Manley (Defense, 1), Matt Striebel (Midfield, 9)

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Hardy, Jones join Davis as leading All-Star vote getters at respective positions

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Hardy, Jones join Davis as leading All-Star vote getters at respective positions

Posted on 08 June 2013 by WNST Staff

Hardy overtakes Andrus at shortstop in latest American League balloting figures

Jones Passes Trout for Top Outfield Spot; Cabrera Maintains Overall Lead

 

Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy, who is bidding for his second All-Star appearance and his first fan-elected start, has surpassed Elvis Andrus of the Texas Rangers in the second balloting figures for the 84th All-Star Game, to be played on Tuesday, July 16th at Citi Field in New York. The latest A.L. results were announced earlier this evening on FOX as part of its “Baseball Night in America” pre-game show. The second National League balloting results will be revealed tomorrow night on ESPN during “Baseball Tonight” at 7:00 p.m. prior to its Sunday Night Baseball telecast.

Hardy, an All-Star in 2007, is aiming to become just the third Orioles shortstop to earn a fan-elected start, joining Cal Ripken, Jr. (12 times; 1984-87, 89-96) and Miguel Tejada (2005). In addition, he is attempting to become the first A.L. shortstop other than Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees to earn a fan-elected starting nod since Tejada. Hardy, who leads all A.L. shortstops with 13 home runs and 37 RBI, has totaled 1,231,843 votes. He is trailed closely by Andrus, a two-time All-Star, who has received 1,045,885.

Hardy’s Orioles teammate Adam Jones has taken over the top spot in the A.L. outfield with 1,944,450 votes, and last week’s leader, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, follows right behind with 1,939,486 votes. Jones, striving for his third All-Star appearance and first fan-elected start, would become just the fourth Orioles outfielder in history to receive a fan-elected start, joining Hall of Famer Frank Robinson (1970-71), Ken Singleton (1981) and Brady Anderson (1997). Jones, who has reached base safely in 52 of his 61 games this season, ranks among the top 10 in the A.L. with 43 runs (tied for third), 77 hits (fourth) and 18 doubles (tied for fifth). Trout, the 2012 A.L. Rookie of the Year, is vying for his second Midsummer Classic appearance after becoming the seventh-youngest A.L. position player in All-Star history last year. The 21-year-old has reached safely in 55 games this season and his 24 multi-hit games are tied for second in the A.L.

Rounding out the top three outfielders is Torii Hunter of the Detroit Tigers, who has collected 1,067,973 votes as he aims for his fifth All-Star appearance and second fan-elected start (2002). The nine-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner, who is one home run shy of 300 for his career, would join Ron LeFlore (1976), Rusty Staub (1976), Chet Lemon (1984) and Magglio Ordoñez (2007) as the only Detroit outfielders to earn a fan-elected starting assignment. Hunter, in his first season in the Motor City, is trying to hold off a trio of outfielders, including Nick Markakis (1,030,653) of the Orioles, three-time All-Star and two-time fan-elected starter Jose Bautista (1,021,813) of the Toronto Blue Jays and 2009 All-Star Nelson Cruz (1,011,198) of the Rangers.

Hunter’s Tiger teammate Miguel Cabrera continues to hold the overall lead in the A.L. with 2,355,128 votes. The seven-time All-Star, who is bidding for his first-ever fan-elected start, leads the Majors with a .368 batting average, 67 RBI, 88 hits, 26 multi-hit games and a .447 on-base percentage. The 2012 A.L. MVP, who became the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years, also paces the A.L. with 47 runs scored. He is trailed at third base by 20-year-old Manny Machado (1,170,108) of the Orioles, who leads the Majors with 26 doubles and ranks second behind Cabrera with 84 hits.

Joining Hardy and Cabrera in the A.L. infield is Hardy’s Baltimore teammate and first baseman Chris Davis and Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano. Davis, who has received the second-highest number of votes in the A.L. with 2,084,274, is contending for his Midsummer Classic debut, and would become the first Orioles first baseman since Hall of Famer Eddie Murray in 1985 to receive a fan-elected start. Davis, who leads the Majors with 20 home runs and a .719 slugging percentage, is on pace to hit 55 home runs and 55 doubles. He is trailed at first base by four-time All-Star Prince Fielder of the Tigers, who has tallied 1,469,537 votes. Cano, who is seeking his fourth consecutive starting assignment and fifth All-Star nod overall, would become the first A.L. second baseman to earn four consecutive fan-elected starts since Roberto Alomar had five from 1996-2000. Cano, who has garnered 1,851,371 votes, leads Major League second basemen with 15 home runs and a .510 slugging percentage, and he is tops among A.L. second basemen with 39 RBI. He is followed by three-time All-Star and two-time fan-elected starter Dustin Pedroia (1,106,949) of the A.L. East rival Boston Red Sox.

Minnesota Twins backstop Joe Mauer, who has totaled 1,492,396 votes, continues to lead Orioles catcher Matt Wieters (1,153,795), a two-time All-Star, behind the plate. Mauer, a five-time All-Star and three-time fan-elected starter, would join Hall of Famers Rod Carew (nine times) and Kirby Puckett (six times) as the only Twins to earn at least four fan-elected starts.

Eight-time All-Star and six-time fan-elected starter David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox maintains a comfortable lead at designated hitter, having received 1,716,410 votes. Ortiz, who is trailed by Lance Berkman (957,618) of the Rangers, would become the second Red Sox player in history to earn seven fan-elected starts, joining his former teammate Manny Ramirez. In addition, Ortiz would become the 10th player in A.L. history to receive at least seven fan-elected starts with a single team, joining Hall of Famers Cal Ripken, Jr. (17, Baltimore), George Brett (11, Kansas City), Carew (9, Minnesota) and Dave Winfield (7, New York), and other A.L. All-Stars Ken Griffey, Jr. (10, Seattle), Ichiro Suzuki (9, Seattle), Ivan Rodriguez (9, Texas), Jeter (8, New York) and Ramirez (7, Boston).

MLB’s All-Star Balloting Program is the largest of its kind in professional sports, and last year produced a record-shattering total of 40.2 million ballots cast. This year, more than 20 million Firestone All-Star ballots will be distributed at the 30 Major League ballparks, each of which will have 25 dates for balloting, and in approximately 100 Minor League ballparks.

In addition, fans around the world can cast their votes for starters 25 times exclusively at MLB.com and all 30 Club web sites – online or via their mobile devices – with the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by freecreditscore.com. During the voting period, the All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by freecreditscore.com will be available in English, Spanish, Japanese, Korean and Chinese, and will offer audio CAPTCHA functionality for visually-impaired fans. Banco BHD will sponsor online All-Star balloting in the Dominican Republic, making Spanish-language ballots available to fans in the Dominican Republic via LasMayores.com, the official Spanish-language Web site of Major League Baseball.

Every Major League Club began its in-stadium balloting no later than Tuesday, May 7th. When the in-stadium phase of balloting concludes on Friday, June 28th, fans will have the opportunity to cast their ballots exclusively online at MLB.com, the 30 Club Web sites and their mobile devices until Thursday, July 4th at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).

Firestone, the official tire of MLB, is once again the exclusive sponsor of the 2013 In-Stadium All-Star Balloting Program. The ballot features an All-Star sweepstakes, in which a winner will be rewarded with a trip for two to MLB All-Star Week, including airfare, hotel accommodations and tickets to the All-Star Game and other MLB All-Star Week events.

For the fifth consecutive year, this year’s ballot features the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select the three players in each League who they would most like to see participate in the Home Run Derby. The Fan Poll is also available online at MLB.com. The 2013 Home Run Derby, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day, will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8:00 p.m. (EDT) on Monday, July 15th. The 10 American League candidates are Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays; Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers; Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers; the winner of the 2011 Home Run Derby, Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees; Adam Dunn of the Chicago White Sox; the winner of the 2009 and 2012 Home Run Derby, Prince Fielder of the Tigers; Josh Hamilton of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles; Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays; and Mike Trout of the Angels. The 10 National League candidates are Carlos Beltran of the St. Louis Cardinals; Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers; Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals; Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves; Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers; Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates; Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants; Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins; Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds; and David Wright of the Mets.

The A.L. All-Star Team will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the N.L. All-Star Team will have eight fan-elected starters. The pitchers and reserves for both squads – totaling 25 for the N.L. and 24 for the A.L. – will be determined through a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers – A.L. skipper Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers and N.L. manager Bruce Bochy of the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants.

Immediately following the announcement of the American League and National League All-Star rosters, fans will begin voting to select the final player for each League’s 34-man roster via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by freecreditscore.com. Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each League over a four-day period and the winners will be announced after the voting concludes on Thursday, July 11th. Now in its 12th season with more than 350 million votes cast, fans again will be able to make their Final Vote selections on MLB.com, Club sites and their mobile phones.

This year’s final phase of All-Star Game voting again will have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com and the 30 Club sites via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining this year’s recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday, July 16th. The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International’s independent feed. Pregame ceremonies will begin at 7:30 p.m. (EDT). ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com or mets.com/asg.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 12 February 2013 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Golf-PGA Tour Northern Trust Open (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel Saturday & Sunday 1pm live on Golf Channel 3pm live on CBS. All golf from Pacific Palisades, CA), Champions Tour ACE Group Classic (Friday & Saturday 6:30pm Sunday 7pm from Naples, FL on Golf Channel), ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open (Thursday & Friday 12:30pm Saturday & Sunday 3pm from Yarralumla, AUS on Golf Channel); Women’s College Basketball: Clemson @ Maryland (Thursday 7pm from Comcast Center live on ESPN3.com), Maryland @ Virginia (Sunday 5pm from Charlottesville, VA live on ESPN2); Tennis: ATP Tour SAP Open (Saturday 4pm & 11:30pm Sunday 6pm from San Jose live on Tennis Channel); Boxing: Adrien Broner vs. Gavin Rees (Saturday 10:30pm from Atlantic City live on HBO)

10. Mumford & Sons (Wednesday & Thursday 8pm Patriot Center); Big Head Todd & The Monsters (Friday 9pm Rams Head Live); Crack The Sky (Sunday 4:30pm & 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Tim Reynolds & TR3 (Monday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Brian McKnight (Thursday 7pm Rams Head Center Stage); Little Big Town (Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club); Anthony Hamilton (Tuesday & Wednesday 8pm Howard Theatre); Soul Asylum (Tuesday 8pm State Theatre); Pentatonix (Monday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); the virginmarys “King of Conflict” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

Can’t think of a bigger no-brainer than Mumford & Sons’ “Babel” having won Album of the Year at the Grammys. In fact it was such a no-brainer I was certain it would be messed up…

The name Tim Reynolds doesn’t jump out at you? Maybe this will help.

I honestly dig Little Big Town a lot. But nothing they’ve done has ever topped their debut…

The virginmarys were the last really cool band I heard in 2012. I will need this record.

9. Royal Comedy Tour feat. Sommore, D.L. Hughley, Bruce Bruce & Mark Curry (Friday 8pm 1st Mariner Arena); Seth Myers (Sunday 8pm Stevenson University Owings Mills Gym); Mike Epps (Friday 7pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); Nick Offerman (Friday 8pm & 10:30pm Warner Theatre); Larry The Cable Guy (Saturday 5pm & 8pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall); A Good Day to Die Hard” out in theaters (Thursday); Skyfall“, “The Sessions” and “The Man With The Iron Fists” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); Glenn Clark’s Valentine’s Day plans (Thursday)

As you know, my Valentine’s Day plans don’t change much from year to year, even if I’m now celebrating as a soon-to-be married man. I put on a little D’Angelo, grab some massage oil and then head DIRECTLY to this…

It’s called “romance”, kids. Get in on it.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Navy players named to postseason All-Star Games

Posted on 12 December 2012 by WNST Staff

ANNAPOLIS, Md.—Navy slot back Gee Gee Greene and wide receiver Brandon Turner have been selected for postseason all-star games.

 

Greene has been selected to play in the Raycom All-Star Football Classic, which will be played Saturday, January 19 in Montgomery, Ala.  The game will be broadcast live by CBS Sports Network.

 

Greene is Navy’s leading rusher in 2012 with 765 yards and three touchdowns on 108 carries.  He is averaging 7.1yards per carry, which is tied for the second best rushing average in school history for a single-season.

 

Greene is also a threat out in the passing game as he is second on the team in receiving with 17 catches for 297 yards and two touchdowns.

 

He has rushed for 2,011 yards and 10 touchdowns in his career, while catching 47 passes for 758 yards and seven touchdowns.  He is averaging 7.1 yards per carry in his career, which is fifth all-time at Navy, while his 3,452 all-purpose yards ranks fourth in school history and he is just three yards behind Chris McCoy for third.

 

Turner will play in the Casino Del Sol All-Star game on January 11 in Tucson, Ariz.  The game will be broadcast live by ESPN.

 

Turner was Navy’s leading receiver this fall with 20 catches for 297 yards and three touchdowns.  Turner’s biggest catch of the year was his 49-yard pass reception late in the fourth quarter that set up quarterback Keenan Reynolds’ game-winning touchdown run last Saturday against Army.

 

Turner has 38 career catches for 710 yards and seven touchdowns .  He is averaging 18.7 yards per catch in his career.

 

Navy will travel to San Francisco to take on Arizona State on Saturday, Dec. 29 at the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at 4 PM.  The game will be televised live by ESPN2.

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All Star Game to Forget

Posted on 13 July 2012 by scottzolotorow

This year’s Midsummer Classic will be quickly forgotten by the American Leaguers who got crushed by the San Francisco Giants. Matt Cain, Melky Cabrera, Pablo Sandoval, and Buster Posey all contributed towards the National League’s 8-0 victory over the American League. Amazingly the final score really leads people to believe that the entire AL team played horribly, and I’m not saying that the game was close, but only 3 American League pitchers allowed hits. Verlander and Harrison who combined to allow the 8 runs in just two innings. Five of their combined eight hits were for extra bases, which is unacceptable for any pitcher in a regular season game for just two innings work. But this is the All-Star game and I think Justin Verlander and Matt Harrison will survive. Chris Sale allowed 2 hits and fought out of the jam.

The bigger problem for the AL was only getting six hits. Two of those six were by Yankees and another was David Ortiz, making three out of six from the American League East. Oriole catcher, Matt Wieters, hit a ball that was caught at the Warning track, a ball that at Camden Yards is a home run.

As Orioles fans there are two positives from this game. The first is Jimmy Johnson’s shutdown inning with a strikeout and setting the NL down 1-2-3 in the 8th. The 2nd positive is that in that 8th inning all three Oriole All Stars were on the field at the same time.   That is the first time since 2005 that 3 Orioles were playing at the same time during the game. Unfortunately both Wieters and Adam Jones where hitless in their combined three at bats.

This loss was the 3rd straight for the American League after having a dominant reign in the thirteen seasons prior where they never lost and tied once in that miserable night in Milwaukee. With 21 of the last 26 World Series winners having home field advantage and the last nine teams to host a game seven, winning those contests, should this poor showing really give the National League representative of the Fall Classic the advantage? ABSOLUTELY NOT! I think the fact that a Wildcard team can receive home field advantage over a 100 game winning team is absolutely absurd. There is no good explanation for this other then Bud Selig wants fans to stay interested in the game. What he doesn’t realize is that the MLB All Star Game is 100 times better then the other three games combined. The Pro Bowl is a joke, which many players turn down chances to play in, the NBA all star averages 300 points a game and the NHL has a fantasy draft for its game.

The MLB fans will take the All Star Game seriously weather it means anything or not, its an important night where the entire country’s spotlight is on this one game because there is no other important event in the country happening on this night. Selig needs to cut the crap and “make it fun” and not “make it count.” By the way the last home team to lose a game seven at home happens to ironically be our beloved Orioles in ’79 to Pittsburgh.

 

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red sox o’s

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Forget the Home Field Advantage: An AL Team Will Win the World Series

Posted on 11 July 2012 by Big Chee

Wretched. Sucky. Lopsided. These are just some of the adjectives I stumbled upon on Twitter this morning that described last night’s All Star Game, an 8-0 blowout victory for the National League. Right out of the gate, Justin Verlander, arguably the best pitcher in the American League, surrendered 5 runs to give the National League a comfortable lead. From there, the American League had no answer for Cain, Gonzalez, Strasburg, Kershaw, Dickey, Hamels (you get the picture), and Melky Cabrera’s two run homer turned the game from a solid lead to a drubbing.

Speaking of Twitter, baseball fans on social media seem to be crying foul over the home field advantage the NL will earn once again in the World Series. I was not one of them, and I still believe that there is nothing wrong with adding a little competitive spirit to the Mid-Summer classic, I explained in my last blog on WNST.net.

However, in this 2012 season, let’s not spend too much time on this argument, because, quite frankly, it does not matter. This year, the American League’s individual teams are far superior to the National League, and it’s not even close. That can be evidenced by the fact that the American League went 142-110 (.563 win %) over the National League in interleague play this year, and the AL team with the best record (NY Yankees) swept the team in the NL with the best record (Washington Nationals.) Don’t get it twisted, I am well aware that the Texas Rangers have been victims of the American League losing two years in a row in the ASG, and if the Rangers had been home Game 7 last year, the results very well could have been different. However, one exhibition game in July cannot change the fact that there are five teams in the American League that are better than all in the National League,  even if it was a beat down. Here are the five teams that would beat the National League pennant winner in 2012, even if the game is held in the Nation’s Capital.

1.)       The New York Yankees

The Yankees are defying the post steroid era notion that achieving greatness is all about pitching. The 7yr/$161 Million Dollar Ace CC Sabathia has been solid, but his 3.45 ERA is far from spectacular. Ivan Nova might lead the staff with 10 wins, but his 3.92 ERA is even higher than Sabathia’s. Phil Hughes has been up and down all season, Andy Pettite is on the 60 Day DL and Hiroki Kuroda is simply an innings eater. Not to mention Michael Pineda’s season ending injury before the season even started, as well as the legend Mariano Rivera’s freak accident while shagging fly balls that put the rest of his career in jeopardy. This season could have been lost for the Yankees. However, they have the best winning percentage in baseball at the break, leading the Orioles by 7 games in the AL East.

In post steroid era ball where players in their 30s are supposed to be tailing off and fading into the sunset, the Yankee veterans only continue to shine. They lead the majors with 134 home runs as a team.  Derek Jeter at 38 years old is tied for 1st in hits in the American League with Miguel Cabrera. Nick Swisher is on pace for over 100 RBIs. Eric Chavez has shown flashes of the player he was in his prime in Oakland, his versatility and personality has been great for the clubhouse. Andruw Jones has been punishing left handed pitchers as of late. And let’s not forget that Robinson Cano and Mark Texiera’s important defensive ability. All Star Curtis Granderson continues to be worth the investment when they snatched him from Detroit before last season, he has 24 HRs at the break. This lineup is loaded 1-9 and even superb National League starters like Clayton Kershaw and Steven Strasburg cannot find relief in this lineup.

2.)       Texas Rangers

You may be wondering: How can the Texas Rangers be on this list when they have lost the World Series the past two years in a row without the home field advantage? Or you may be curious how the Rangers will fare after two integral pieces of their 2011 postseason out of the conversation this year. I’m talking their #1 last year, CJ Wilson, who left for Los Angeles and their preseason #2 starter Derek Holland who has been less than mediocre in 2012, spotting a 5.05 ERA at the break.

Production at the plate has been key for another successful season thus far in Arlington for the Texas Rangers, who sport the 2nd best record in baseball at 52-34, leading the Angels by 4 games in the West. You can make an argument that despite his recent cool-off from his historic April, Josh Hamilton had a MVP 1st half, batting .308, leading baseball in both HRs (27) and RBIs (75). Ian Kinsler leads the majors with 63 runs scored. Fellow All-Stars Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli are key contributors to the Rangers leading the majors in team average (.280), runs (443), hits (844) and RBIs (430).

The pitching staff inevitably will have to play a big part in this team’s success just like 2011, and there are new names that will do so. Despite a somewhat slow start by Yu Darvish, the $100 million man from Japan made the All-Star Team and continues to improve and adjust to the American game. Fellow All-Star Matt Harrison has been even better with an 11-4 record and 3.10 ERA. Roy Oswalt adds a veteran presence, even if he has been up and down. If the lineup just continues business as usual in dominating opposing pitching staffs, this should lessen the pressure of this staff to carry them to a World Series victory.

3.)       Los Angeles Angels

The Angels seem to get lost in the conversation for World Series favorites at the All-Star break, due to the fact that if the season ended today, they would face the Baltimore Orioles in a one game playoff for the wildcard draw in the postseason. They are 48-38, four games back of Texas in the AL West, probably short of the lofty expectations this team faced to start the 2012 season. The Angels made the biggest splash at MLB’s Winter Meetings, signing preseason favorite AL MVP Albert Pujols to a 10 year/$254 million dollar deal. In addition, they snatched up former Texas Ranger and Cy Young contender CJ Wilson to form a 1-2 punch with Jered Weaver that could be the best in the game.  While the Angels are getting slowly but surely getting back on track, their start to 2012 was not exactly a smooth ride. Pujols went 92 at-bats in the month of April without hitting a home run. Weaver & Wilson have been rock solid, middle of the rotation guys Dan Haren and Ervin Santana have been extremely disappointing with 4.86 and 5.75 ERAs, respectively.

I have not even mentioned Mike Trout, the best position player in the American League not named Josh Hamilton. The All-Star Game last night gave Trout national exposure. The baby faced 20 year old not only leads the American League in batting average at .341, but he gets himself in position to score more than anyone in the AL as well with 26 steals at the break. Mark Trumbo will continue his power surge and build off his 22 home runs. Torii Hunter is continuing to prove how valuable of a veteran he is on this roster in the #2 spot in the lineup as well as his defensive ability in the outfield. Manager Mike Scoscia has the experience and savvy to keep this team rolling in the 2nd half and in the playoffs. It would be shocking if the AL West does not produce two of the four teams in the Final 4 of the American League playoffs.

4.)       Detroit Tigers

Fittingly, the Tigers are mentioned right after the Angels, another team that failed to live up to expectations after they partook in an active offseason. Prince Fielder signed with Detroit for 9 years, $214 million making him the second biggest FA signing behind Pujols.  Ace Justin Verlander was the starter in the American League All Star Game. Yet this team is only 44-42 at the break and in 3rd place in the worst division in the American League, the Central.

Again, there is too much talent on this team for this to continue. Let’s start with the pitching staff. Don’t overthink Verlander’s meltdown last night in the first inning. He’s in contention for another Cy Young, as he leads the league with strikeouts at 128 and is 4th in the majors with a 2.58 ERA. Max Scherzer, 8-5, has been much improved and rookie Drew Smyly has hit the All Star break in stride, winning his last two starts and holding a 4-3 record into the break.

At the plate, Miguel Cabrera is certainly in the running along with Hamilton and Trout for AL MVP. He is hitting .324 and is tied in first with Jeter for hits with 111 , is 2nd in the AL behind Hamilton with 71 RBIs Right below the young phenom in batting average is Austin Jackson of Detroit, hitting .332. Prince Fielder has not been atop the league as far as statistics go, but his presence at the plate will be a huge factor in determining where the Tigers go in the 2nd half.

Finally, let’s not also forget their manager Jim Leyland. This guy has been in the game long enough and had plenty of success throughout his entire career to not let this slow start get his guys unraveled. His cool demeanor will allow for his players to bring it all together making a run to the World Series in 2012.

5.)       Chicago White Sox

However, the AL Central leading Chicago White Sox are my choice for the 5th team that would win the World Series against an NL team because they are better than any of the NL teams that will be in the World Series. Now hear me out on this one:

A good portion of this article has been in regards to the strength of the lineups of each of these teams. When you take a look at the White Sox, their lineup is certainly potent enough to compete at the next level. And just like the Yankees, the veterans are getting it done on the South Side. Let’s start with the resurgent Adam Dunn. Whatever it was that Dunn did in the offseason to get this mojo back after his disastrous 2011 campaign, it has turned him into a comeback player of the year candidate. He leads the American League in walks and is 2nd in HR with 25. How about Alex Rios? He is third in the AL in hits for the first place White Sox. Still think Team Captain Paul Konerko is not a Hall of Famer? He just made is 6th All Star Game and is 3rd in the AL in average at .329. Finally, if you’ve never heard of Alejando De Aza, it’s ok. But get to know him now: he’s 5th in the AL in runs scored and chipped in 15 SBs.

Speaking of guys one might not ever heard of, let’s move onto the pitching staff and ace Chris Sale. Sale has been so spectacular this season that he could have easily been selected to start last night’s All Star Game and who knows? Maybe it would have been worth watching All this 23 year old has done is spot a 2.19 ERA, .95 WHIP (both 2nd in the AL) along with 10 wins. Let’s not forget another member of the White Sox who could be mentioned as Comeback Player of the Year in Jake Peavy. He leads the team with 108 K’s, and just made his 3rd All Star appearance. Also, keep an eye on Jose Quintana in the 2nd half. In 8 starts he is 4-1 with a 2.04 ERA.

Even if you are just a casual baseball fan, you probably could have guessed the first four teams on this list.  As far as the fifth position, there are plenty of teams that can receive consideration. The Tampa Bay Rays starting rotation features All Star David Price which led the MLB last year in ERA. The Boston Red Sox started 2012 slow, but are slowly creeping into the Wild Card conversation and getting healthy. Let’s not forget about the great things that the Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians have done this year! If those two teams acquire some big name pitching at the deadline, they could certainly be considered for a shot at the World Series.

So there you have it. There are the five teams that will beat the Dodgers, Nationals, Giants, Braves, Pirates or whoever the National League crowns champions and earns home field advantage in the World Series. Let the debate begin…

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What the MLB All-Star game is missing

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What the MLB All-Star game is missing

Posted on 11 July 2012 by James Finn

I’ve seen and heard far too much negative about the MLB All-Star game.  Why does this player get elected over that one?  Why does an exhibition game count?  Why should anybody on the Padres or A’s have any influence on October baseball?  Who the hell is Wade Miley?

There’s no “fixing” the All-Star game.  It is what it is.  Except the whole “Make it count” thing, that’s easy.  Maybe that doesn’t get fixed until Bud Selig retires, but it’s an easy fix.

Selecting players to these games is always a challenge.  It’s been this way for years.  Popular players = Ratings = Revenue, so a fan vote is needed.  In this emerging age of social media and interactivity, if you aren’t engaging your fans, you probably are losing your fans.  MLB did a stellar job this year of engaging the Fan vote, especially with the “Final Selection”.  The campaigning, though a bit overdone, absolutely had the public participating.  Additional kudos to Twitter for being able to handle the load when the voting began there.

The NFL I feel does the best job with their Pro-bowl selections, splitting the vote between Fans, Players, and coaches.  Perhaps if baseball could mirror what the NFL does, we’ll see deserving players like David Wright start, and under performers like Dan Uggla be omitted.  Regardless of how it’s handled, it will spark debate.  It’s a part of any sort of selection process (sports, The Oscars, American Idol).  This is a predictable debate in media at All-Star time every year, and makes for good filler.

I have a different argument.

The All-Star game needs a “Skills Challenge”.

And I’m not talking about watching roided-out freaks whack a batting practice home runs.  Not that it doesn’t take skill, it’s only that after 3 hours, it becomes excruciating to watch.  It becomes redundant, and I can only tolerate Chris Berman’s “Back-Back-Back-Back” call so much before I’m “Click-Click-Clicking” my remote.  Don’t eliminate the Derby.  There are many fans that enjoy it, just, supplement it with something else. I’m talking something similar to what the NBA and NHL currently do (and NFL used to do).  Here are my ideas.  I’m open to suggestions on the names.

1) The “Top Gun” Challenge:  Who’s got the quickest Fastball?  Put your arm to the test.  I’d love to see Justin Verlander, Steven Strasburg, and Tim Lincecum, match heat?  10 pitches for each pitcher.  Top speed wins.  Must be a strike to count.  Would need a high Ultimate bragging rights, and something really cool for your Wikipedia page.

Note: Not to be confused with the “Top Gun Karaoke” Challenge, where you attempt to get the entire bar to join you in “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling”

2) The “Around the Diamond” challenge:  This is a SPEED challenge. Who’s most likely to hit an inside the park home run?  This challenge would pit the fleetest of foot in a timed race around the bases.  Bourne, Bryce, Kemp, and a handfull of speedy rookies could help settle the debated argument of Fastest in the league.

3) The “To the plate” challenge: Who’s got the best gun in the outfield?  Ichiro? Markakis? Francoeur? From the warning track of the outfield, you must hurl the ball down to home.  It would provide different results each year, as the hosting ballpark is bound to have different dimensions.

I’m open to something new.  I’d even sit down and watch the pitchers play carnival games.  Throw the ball and knock down the 3 milk bottles stacked on top of each other.  Or how long does it take them to knock down all the furry cats?

Are players likely to do this?  Would club owners allow their players to participate?  Probably not.  They’ll press the argument it’s not worth risking injury.  Truth be told, you can be injured at any given time, regular season, skills competetion, leaping into home plate after a walk-off homer, pick-up basketball game, playing Guitar Hero, and as I learned on Monday, falling asleep while tanning.

@JamesTFinn on Twitter

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Fixing the MLB All-Star Festivities

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Fixing the MLB All-Star Festivities

Posted on 10 July 2012 by Brett Dickinson

After the 2002 All-Star game, the genius that is Bud Selig thought it would be a great idea to place value to the game by determining home field advantage for the World Series. Since, the game is more competitive, as managers are actually utilizing the 34 man rosters, instead of throwing players out there to get them in the game (even if it’s out of position). But its results leave a disadvantage to the best teams in the league. Over a 162 game season, the teams with the best records deserve home field throughout the playoffs.

Players such as Jose Altuve for the Houston Astros and Ryan Cook for the Oakland Athletics, who play for teams with no chance at even a Wild Card spot, will determine who has home field in game seven of the series. Now it does not always end incorrectly, but why is the risk necessary. There are other ways to not only make the game, but the entire week more competitive.

Instead of matchups be between the American vs. National Leagues, change the format similar to hockey; U.S.A vs. the World. The game is so diverse now that assembling rosters for both squads will be equally accessible as the current system. This should not be just for the game though, but all the festivities, including the Home Run Derby.

One of the most rememberable moments from last year’s games was watching David Ortiz wipe the sweat off Robinson Cano’s head during the derby; blasphemy for a Red Sox and Yankee to interact this way in any other portion of the season. The bond between country men will always be stronger than team ties, so why not use that to the MLB’s advantage.

The Future’s game already follows this format, but why not expand upon that idea as well; as the game only displays highly touted lower level minor leaguers. Why not add a Rising Star’s game (like the NBA has already done), where players from higher level farm systems and up-and-coming rookies mixed into rosters. Who wouldn’t want to see Manny Machado take on Yu Darvish? Dylan Bundy pitch against Jesus Montero?

The competitive nature would be dually noted at the Major League level, as the players are playing for pride again; a notion lost over the years with the million dollar salaries. If the World Baseball Classic has proven anything, it is a nations bond is much stronger than an individual’s allegiance to a franchise. It will get back to the idea that the Mid-Summer Classic is not about money but ability. Both teams could easily be re-tooled with this year’s All-Stars.

Imagine these starting lineups:

USA
C: Buster Posey
1B: Prince Fielder
2B: Dan Uggla
SS: Derek Jeter
3B: David Wright
LF: Ryan Braun
CF: Josh Hamilton
RF: Curtis Granderson
DH: Mark Trumbo
SP: Justin Verlander
RP: Craig Kimbrel
CP: Jim Johnson

World
C: Yadier Molina
1B: Joey Votto
2B: Robinson Cano
SS: Elvis Andrus
3B: Miguel Cabrera
LF: Carlos Gonzalez
CF: Carlos Beltran
RF: Jose Bautista
DH: David Ortiz
SP: Felix Hernandez
RP: Fernando Rodney
CP: Aroldis Chapman

Current day baseball is an international game and MLB should take advantage of being the most diverse league in the world. Competition will bring out the best in the top notch athletes across the sport, making the All-Star game once again relevant (without lessening the regular season).

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All Star Final Vote: Who gets Mine?

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All Star Final Vote: Who gets Mine?

Posted on 04 July 2012 by James Finn

The Final Vote.  The last chance to select a deserving player to the 2012 All-Star Game.  5 players selected from each league, and the fans vote for who is most deserving (but really, who’s most popular and/or who plays in the larger market).  Voting can be done online, or via text message (which is fantastic if you have unlimited texting).  Locally, Jason Hammel is in the running for one of these spots, but likely blew his chances with a poor outing on Tuesday.  About 45 minutes down 95, Rookie Wunderkind Bryce Harper is up for one of these spots on the NL roster.

Allow me to break down who I’m voting for in each league.  I’ll begin with the NL, as the majority of readers here won’t be fans of my AL choice. (Spoiler Alert: It’s not Jason Hammel.)

National League: Aaron Hill (Arizona Diamondbacks)

My choice was made a bit easier when Chipper Jones was promoted to the All-Star team after Matt Kemp’s injury will force him to be a spectator.  Aaron,. as of this posting, is last in NL voting, but I feel is getting overlooked.  He’s become the only player since 1931 to hit for the cycle twice in the same season.  He executed this feet over a 2 week span.  In the month of June, Hill batted .370, with 13 multi-hit games, and a .700 slugging percentage.  Not bad for a #2 hitter.  His diamondbacks finished the month 16-10, helping pull his club over a .500 record at months end (although, they have dropped 4 straight).  He might not be the sexy pick Bryce Harper is (he’ll have plenty of opportunities), or the eventual winner (David Freese became a star in last years Fall classic), but ultimately, has my support.

 

American League: Jake Peavy (Chicago White Sox)

Ok.  Hear me out, Baltimore.  No this isn’t a reaction to Hammel’s 12 Earned runs over his last 2 starts.  This is simply a reaction to how well Peavy has performed this season.  His 6-5 record doesn’t jump off the page as a must have on the All-Star roster, but, Wins and Losses does not a pitcher make.  In 16 starts this season, Peavy has delivered a quality start (at least 6 innings, with no more than 3 earned runs) 13 times, with 3 complete games.  His ERA 2.96, 101 K’s and 0.99 WHIP are among the league leaders.  Peavy has been the victim of Run Support.  In the 5 games he’s lost this season, the White Sox have managed to score a mere 2 runs (which is peculiar, as the Sox are the 4th highest scoring team in the AL).  Peavy could easily (and should be) a 10 game winner.  He, however, is overshadowed by his own teammate,  Chris Sale, who has near identical stats, but has found runn support.  An All-star selection for Peavy would solidify a great comeback story for a pitcher who has hit rock-average since his 2007 Cy-Young season.  Yu Darvish, ill win this spot, as he has the entire far east clicking and texting for him.

Why not Jason Hammel?

This decision is not going to make me popular, so be it.  I LOVE Jason Hammel.  It’s so much more than a crush.  Hear me out.

It’s not his stats.  I can compare what he’s done, and how he, with the help of Wei-Yin Chen, have been the model of consistency to an Orioles starting rotation.  What he’s done is the ultimate “I’ll Show them” after being packaged out of Colorado.  I’m proud of what Hammel has done this season.  Perhaps when he is ultimately left off the roster, it puts a chip back on his shoulder.  Mentally, he can mow down batters in every MLB city, saying to himself “This is for not voting me in”.  Hammel’s value is that he’s underrated.  An All-star selection messes with that mantra a bit.  Additionally, he’s only 29.  He’s not exactly Chipper Jones, jockeying for one more day in the sun.  If Hammel has truly evolved into the pitcher he’s shown he can be, this won’t be the only time he’s in the conversation for the All-Star game.  Finally, the Birds are well represented in Kansas City.  By Hammel not being selected, he’ll be good and ready to take the bump the first game after the break.

And honestly, If by some unlikely twist of fate, Hammel makes the cut, I’ll be the happiest man in all of Birdland.

Please send all your hate in the comments below.

@JamesTFinn on Twitter.

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Os All Star Snubs

Posted on 03 July 2012 by scottzolotorow

The O’s will send three players to the All-Star game next Tuesday at KauffmanStadium in Kansas City. Adam Jones and Matt Wieters will both play in their 2nd classic, while shutdown closer, Jim Johnson, will attend his first. Pitcher Jason Hammel has a chance to be the fourth, you can vote for him on the Orioles website, it’s unlimited and I voted probably at least 100 times.

Over the last six seasons, the Orioles hadn’t sent more than one player to the game.Of the current players only three had made the Midsummer Classic as a member of the Orioles: recently re-injured Brian Roberts (’05 and ’07), Adam Jones (’09), and Matt Wieters last season. The most all-stars the Orioles have ever had in a single season was seven back in 1970. From the ’69 season through the ’72 season the Orioles sent at least six players each year.

But this season could have seen a few more Orioles in Kansas City.  In my opinion along with Hammel; JJ Hardy, Pedro Strop, and Chris Davis all put up numbers that would usually qualify for the All-star team. Pedro Strop to me is the biggest all-star snub. He has the 7th lowest ERA in the  majors at 1.25 and has only allowed 5 runs in 36 innings pitched. He has one of the nastiest sliders and 2-seam fastballs in the game but because he just a set-up man, he didn’t make the classic. It’s a real shame that relievers don’t make the classic. A team’s bullpen is very important to their team’s success with only the closer getting recognition, just look at the Orioles bullpen last year as opposed to this season. JJ Hardy has the most home runs by an American League shortstop and is third in the American League in RBI’s. But his most impressive stat is his .992 fielding percentage. Hardy has only committed 3 errors and has started every game but one. Now for the man who I want to see hit in the home-run derby and play in the game, Chris Davis. Davis has the 6th highest average for a first basemen in the Major League and the 2nd most home runs of any first basemen with 14. Those are as good of offensive numbers as any all-star first basemen in baseball. So next season I expect 75 votes from every Orioles fan, i registered the maximum 25 on each of my three email addresses. If you say that you only have one, I now expect you to create two more just to vote for the Orioles next season. But seriously folks, If Orioles fans don’t vote for these lesser know studs, who will!

 

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