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The Sherrill trade: Wish we were buyers instead of sellers

Posted on 30 July 2009 by Drew Forrester

George Sherrill probably can’t contain himself tonight as he ponders a new beginning in Los Angeles with a winning organization and a club in serious contention for a post-season berth this season. 

Sherrill’s thrilled to be out of Baltimore.

I’m not sure I feel the same excitement about today’s deal.

I’ve never really been a huge Sherrill-as-the-closer fan because he puts too many men on base for my liking.  That said, he was a gritty performer who succeeded more often than not.  Jorge Julio, he wasn’t.

The deal today, though is an on-going symbol of the O’s current state of mind and that’s what I’m having a hard time coming to grips with, I suppose.

Look around at the trading deadline and answer me this question: How many good teams are trading away their good players? And how many bad teams are trading away their good players?

You know the answer.

The “sellers” at the deadline are the franchises who are – generally speaking – going backwards.  The “buyers” are the teams trying to win or at least moving in the general direction of winning.

Once again, the O’s are deadline SELLERS, not buyers.

That bothers me.

They’ll survive without Sherrill, obviously.  I wonder, though, did the O’s inquire about Cliff Lee before the Indians dealt him to the Phillies for a couple of decent prospects and some towels?  Was there ever a consideration to approach the A’s about Matt Holliday and use him as a DH and 4th outfielder?  He has more ability in his hair gel than Felix Pie has in his body.  I’m not saying those deals could have been made, because I don’t know all the parameters and contract situations.  I’m just asking if there was ever a thought from Andy MacPhail and the club to be buyers at the deadline — instead of sellers?

We won’t know that answer because Andy’s not allowed to talk to the media unless he’s under the protective custody of the team’s PR staff.  

Selling off good players is what the Pirates do.  And we all know they stink.

The Indians have moved two of the best left-handed pitchers in the game over the last 15 months and received little value in return.  Don’t look now, but the Tribe stinks too.

Who knows what lies ahead in the next day?  Maybe someone will take Danys Baez in a pinch and maybe, just maybe, Aubrey Huff is in the last 24 hours of his O’s career.  I’d be OK with either of those guys packing their bags tomorrow.

For some reason, I’m just not high on the Sherrill deal.

And like I said, I’m not really that much of a Sherrill lover.

But on the whole, he has a lot more quality and value than Huff and/or Baez. 

I was hoping we dump one of those guys — or, perhaps, maybe we find a team silly enough (besides us) to take Pie or even the struggling Luke Scott. 

I wanted to be a seller by jettisoning the scrubs, not the good players.

Good teams acquire good players at the deadline.

Bad teams trade good players at the deadline.

There’s no doubt which profile our O’s fit.

Oh well, one MAJOR deal was struck today in Baltimore.  Michael Oher signed with the Ravens last night and was in Westminster this afternoon.  

And that reminds me:  it’s officially football season around here.

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 24 July 2009 by Glenn Clark

It’s been a while; so here are some “Weekend Picks”…..

AC Milan 2, Chelsea 1

There is of course no reason for me to pick an exhibition match; but I’m an Italian soccer fan, so I’m going with the Rossoneri.

Red Sox take 2 of 3 from the O’s

Jeremy Guthrie or Brad Bergesen will figure out a way to get a win somehow this weekend. Combined, they’re one pretty good pitcher.

Drew Bennett IS the receiver the Ravens sign

I don’t think they really have any interest in Joe Horn to be honest.

Let’s see what everyone else has to say…..

Best of Thursday’s WNST Blogs:

Drew Forrester says Rich Hill appears to be pitching giving way for Tillman

Nestor Aparicio excited for NFL Draft to move to primetime


The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Birds stand to ‘benefit’ from Spring Training move to Sarasota

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec thinks Baez ‘good bet’ to be traded

The Sun says Cubs interested in acquiring Zaun

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says getting out of Ft. Lauderdale ‘major leap forward’ for organization

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Red Sox haven’t been much better than Birds since All-Star break

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck remembers Ft. Lauderdale fondly

Carroll County Times’ Rich Dubroff says Baez preparing to celebrate 10 year anniversary since defection from Cuba

Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says Tillman likely to replace Berken or Hill in rotation

ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark says O’s want to be ‘overwhelmed’ to deal Sherrill


Norfolk Tides Official Site says Tillman struggled as Tides fell to Gwinnett

Bowie Baysox Official Site says finale with Harrisburg washed out

Frederick Keys Official Site says Tyler Henson’s 2 run double not enough as Keys fell to Salem

Delmarva Shorebirds Official Site says Kolodny homered for Shorebirds in win over Greenville

Aberdeen Ironbirds Official Site says Justin Dalles tallied game winning RBI as Ironbirds topped Hudson Valley

Bluefield Orioles Official Site says Hobgood gave up 3 runs (1 earned) over 2 innings as Orioles fell to Greeneville

The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Steve Bumbry went 2-3 with double, SB, RBI in Ironbirds’ win over Renegades

Frederick News-Post says Beato took loss as Keys fell to Red Sox

Virginian-Pilot says Justin Turner had 3 hits, 2B, RBI for Tides in loss to Braves


The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Harbaugh thinks Mason ‘honorable’ to not just come to practice and fake enthusiasm

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Harbaugh ‘loves and cares about’ Mason

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Newsome wants to know if Mason has ‘passion, love’ for game

USA Today’s Gary Mihoces says Steelers Ravens’ ‘biggest roadblock’ to winning AFC North

Fox Sports’ Peter Schrager says Peerman has chance to get playing time in Ravens backfield


The Sun’s Matt Bracken says former recruit Edet committed to North Carolina A&T

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens has Terps 52nd in preseason poll

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Terps stronger inside on D-Line than outside

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich says Terps have 9th best DB’s in ACC

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich says Terps have 3rd best special teams unit in ACC

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh introduces freshman kicker Nick Ferrara (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh introduces freshman RB Porzel (must subscribe)


The Diamondback’s Aaron Kraut says James Padgett will wear #35 previously worn by Dave Neal

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Jordan Williams will wear #20


The AP says former Terp Langhorne had 16 points, 10 boards for Mystics in win over Sky Thursday night


The Official Site says lunch series with Niumatalolo starts again September 1

The Official Site says safety Emmett Merchant ‘most looking forward to’ Ohio State game

Go Mids’ David Ausiello says USAA sponsorship ‘great’ deal for Mids


Daily Racing Form’s Mike Farrell says Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra, Belmont winner Summer Bird to race for $1.25 million purse at Haskell

Thoroughbred Times’ Jeff Lowe and Frank Angst say Monmouth officials pumped up purse for Haskell by $250,000


The AP says Phelps arrived in Rome for World Championships Thursday

USA Today’s Vicki Michaelis says US Swimming Coach Schubert expects Phelps to be on 4×100 relay team


Examiner Jeff Hemelt says Palace ‘in the hunt’ for USL-2 playoffs


The Sun’s Kevin Van Valkenburg says thousands of fans showed off soccer ‘passion’ despite cancelled practices Thursday

The Sun’s Gabriella LaVerghetta offers history lesson on AC Milan

The Sun’s Danielle Chazen compiles history lesson on Chelsea

The Sun’s Ken Murray says international players at Towson, Loyola, UMBC all excited for WFC match

Washington Post’s Steven Goff says Sherwood grad Onyewu ‘emotional’ about playing with AC Milan before tonight’s friendly with Chelsea at M&T Bank Stadium

Washington Post says Chelsea topped AC Milan 2-nil at Rose Bowl earlier this week

Washington Times’ Tim Lemke says European events like tonight’s World Football Challenge ‘raise bar’ for MLS in United States


-Don’t like the NFL’s decision to move the Draft to a Thursday night; but fully understand it. The NFL has every right to try to create a ratings juggernaut and bring home mega advertising dollars; but it doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best thing for football fans. Much like the way Ravens fans gather on Sundays for what I can only describe as fellowship amongst fans; Draft weekends have created the same type of fellowship amongst fans. The NFL had that. They won’t anymore.

-Tonight’s match is particularly important for the city as the US tries to bring in a future World Cup. Having the best tickets of any of the stops on this World Football Challenge tour sets up well for getting future World Cup qualifiers or even a World Cup match. Baltimore may NOT be the best soccer market in the county, but being centrally located amongst east coast cities certainly gives us the advantage when it comes to being an ideal location for soccer fans to travel to.

-I don’t question Drew’s sources at all; and firmly believe that he is accurate. That being said; I will still be STUNNED if Andy MacPhail gives up on Rich Hill before Jason Berken.

Talk to you this weekend.


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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 16 July 2009 by Glenn Clark

If your reaction to the Terrell Suggs contract is “I can’t believe how much money he got considering he’s not even the best player at his position”; I fully understand where you’re coming from. While Suggs clearly received his market value, that value does seem to be a bit pricey. I’d rather him get that value wearing purple and black than in San Diego’s baby blue however.
If your reaction to the Terrell Suggs contract is “athletes make too much money”, I think you are probably better off not being a sports fan.

This is the way things work. The guys get what the market dictates. As a fan, you’ll probably have to adapt to it.

Let’s see what everyone else has to say……

Best of Wednesday’s WNST Blogs:

Luke Jones says Suggs can report to Training Camp on time after signing extension

Drew Forrester says Adam Jones ‘gets it’

Rex Snider doesn’t think fans ‘jealous’ of Suggs’ contract

Jason Jubb remembers Earl Weaver’s last game

Ed Frankovic says Caps to open ’09-’10 season at Bruins

Drew Forrester says Bassler won Maryland Open


The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Jones 1st half MVP

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says ‘MacPhail’s rebuilding plan seems to be working’

The Sun gives highest midseason praise to Bergesen, Scott

The AP says Jones got plenty of text messages after All-Star game performance

Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says MacPhail has decisions to make regarding Sherrill, Baez, Mora, Huff

Carroll County Times’ Jeff Yelton includes Brooks, Cal, Palmer on all-time Orioles All-Star team

Frederick News-Post’s Stan Goldberg says Bergesen building on Rookie of the Year credentials

USA Today’s Paul White says Huff ‘best power bat’ amongst players on trading block

CBS Sports gives Birds ‘C’ for first half of season

ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick says Sherrill, Baez, Huff will all be names thrown around in upcoming trade discussion


Baysox Official Site says Miguel Abreu named MVP of Eastern League All-Star Game

Frederick Keys Official Site says Zagone, Eddie Gamboa combined to shut down Kinston

Delmarva Shorebirds Official Site says Ryan O’Shea winner as Shorebirds topped Lexington

Aberdeen Ironbirds Official Site says Kenny Moreland loser as Ironbirds fell to Lowell

Bluefield Orioles Official Site says Jesse Beal loser as Bluefield fell to Bristol

The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Tides’ Jim Miller gave up one run on one hit in 1/3 inning in AAA All-Star Game

NBC Sports’ Aaron Gleeman says Tillman could be ‘sleeper’ in 2nd half of season


The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ravens make Suggs highest paid LB of all time with new deal

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Harbaugh has been texting Mason, plans to meet with him soon

The Official Site says Newsome thinks Suggs deal ‘consistent’ with other contracts Ravens have given their Pro Bowl talent

The Official Site says Suggs ‘would love to’ have Mason back with Ravens

The AP’s Frederic Frommer says Foxworth amongst NFL players who spent day lobbying at Capitol for Union support

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Suggs’ deal worth $63 million over 6 years

The Sun’s Ken Murray says former Skins GM Casserly thinks Suggs signing part of proof Ravens are ‘model organization’

The Sun’s Mike Preston says Suggs deal ‘smart’ move for Ravens

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says team source thinks Mason’s retirement may have to do with ‘family situation’

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Suggs needs to ‘deliver’ after breaking bank

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Suggs gets $33 million in bonuses

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says most free agent WR’s haven’t heard from Ravens

The AP says Suggs believes ‘best years ahead of (him)’

The AP says McNair’s widow files motion to oversee his estate because no will exists

CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco says Reed top safety in NFL

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Ravens continue to invest defensively, which is crucial in AFC North

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Ravens not ‘fully convinced’ Mason retiring

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Steelers’ Harrison voted ‘tougher’ than Ray Lewis

ESPN.com’s James Walker says with Suggs deal done, Ravens can turn attention to WR


The Diamondback’s Greg Schimmel says DB’s Anthony Wiseman, Nolan Carroll, Jamari McCullough, Terrell Skinner will provide Terps ‘veteran leadership’

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Turner, Carroll to attend ACC Media Day

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich says Torrey Smith, Ronnie Tyler amongst WR unit that is 2nd best in ACC

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem says Terps amongst 6 teams who have offered junior DeMatha OL Kouandijo (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem says prospect Josh Furman had ‘great bond’ with Terps coaching staff (must subscribe)


The Official Site says Big Ten/ACC Challenge showdown with Indiana to be shown on ESPN2

The Sun says Terps, Hoosiers to tip at 7:30

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says ESPN2 treatment better than ESPNU last year

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Burney’s career in jeopardy due to string of injuries

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says return vs. Clemson last year was particularly important to Burney

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem says prospect Mychal Parker ‘still lists Terps as favorite’ (must subscribe)

Turtle Sports Report’s John Talty says ’11 prospect Quinn Cook wants Maryland offer (must subscribe)


The Official Site says Randall Cooper awarded post-graduate scholarship


The Official Site says safety Kwesi Mitchell ‘most looking forward to’ Ohio State game

Go Mids’ Adam Nettina checks in with FB Alex Teich (must subscribe)


The Sun says former DB Nelson Munsey passed away at 61 from heart disease


Sporting News’ Dan Shanoff says Phelps won 5 ESPY awards


The Sun says trainer Tim Ice excited for Belmont winner Summer Bird to face off again with Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra at Haskell


-As far as my own personal Orioles report card; I’d give my highest praise to Luke Scott, Brad Bergesen, and Adam Jones; who all deserve A’s in my mind. George Sherrill would get an A-, and that would be the extent of my high grades.

Talk to you tomorrow.


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King Shame

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5 W’s and 1 H

Posted on 12 July 2009 by Luke Jones

The first half is in the books, and the Orioles are right where most of us thought they would be—last place and out of contention.

While it’s certainly been frustrating watching the Orioles’ inconsistent play, the club has also provided some excitement with the greatest comeback in club history—against the Red Sox, no less—and the unveiling of rookies Brad Bergesen, David Hernandez, Nolan Reimold, and the much-hyped Matt Wieters.

The 40-48 record and last-place standing does not reflect the positive strides made in the first half of the season.  Yes, there’s still a long way to go before we’re talking about the Orioles contending with the three heavyweights in the AL East, but as more youngsters join the fold, it’s easy to see this organization is in much better shape than it’s been at any point since 1997.

Will it be enough to put the Orioles back in the playoffs in the next few years?

Only time—and the willingness to acquire missing pieces via trades and free agency—will answer that question.

It will be interesting to see how active general manager Andy MacPhail will be as the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline approaches.  Aubrey Huff, Luke Scott, Danys Baez, Jeremy Guthrie, and George Sherrill would all figure to have value for contending clubs.  However, MacPhail’s patient approach is not conducive to making deadline trades.

Of course, the club does not HAVE to trade any of these players—though they would be foolish to keep Baez around—but the rest of July figures to be a busy time for MacPhail and his cell phone.

Here are the 5 W’s and 1 H for the week:

1.  Who is your biggest surprise and biggest disappointment for the Orioles in the first half?

If I posed this question in mid-May, the easy choice for biggest surprise would have been center fielder Adam Jones.  The Orioles’ lone All-Star representative is having a good year (.303, 12 home runs, 47 runs batted in) but has really cooled off after a blistering start.

The most pleasant surprise—if not an absolute lifesaver—has to be rookie starting pitcher Brad Bergesen.  The 23-year-old righty has shown great poise in leading the rotation with six wins (tied with Jeremy Guthrie) and a 3.54 ERA.

Bergesen doesn’t dazzle you with a blazing fastball or a devastating breaking pitch, but his heavy sinker induces ground balls—crucial for pitching at Camden Yards—and his command is comparable to a grizzled veteran.  It will be interesting to see if he can maintain the same level of effectiveness as teams become more familiar with the rookie in the second half.

The biggest disappointment has to be Guthrie.  The Orioles’ Opening Day starter hasn’t been right since spring training when he pitched in the World Baseball Classic.  Whether he’s been completely healthy is debatable, but there’s no question that Guthrie simply hasn’t made quality pitches to finish off hitters.

Guthrie is 6-8 with a 5.35 ERA and has surrendered 20 home runs in 18 starts.  If he can right himself after the All-Star Break, he would be an attractive option for a contending club.  At the very least, Guthrie rebounding would help stabilize a starting rotation that has struggled mightily outside of Bergesen.

2.  What are your thoughts on UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar?

I’ll admit to not being much of an MMA fan, but I’ve followed Lesnar going back to his days as a professional wrestler in the WWE.

Lesnar dominated Frank Mir—the only man to beat Lesnar—to retain his title at UFC 100 on Saturday night.  Perhaps more interesting than the encounter itself was Lesnar’s behavior following the match, which included a refusal to shake Mir’s hand and some lewd comments.

Though Lesnar apologized for his conduct, Vince McMahon had to be smirking when he learned of his former star’s behavior.  Lesnar has cemented his status as the most hated man in the sport, but it’s a good thing for UFC.  Fans love to hate a champion more than they love to cheer a champion.  To steal a page from pro wrestling, people will tune in just to watch the heel lose.

3.  Where would you most like to watch the Ravens play a road game?

After watching the Ravens lose to the Steelers in Pittsburgh last January—and being pelted with an ice ball by a Pittsburgh moron fan as I left Heinz Field—I’ll pass on a return to western Pennsylvania for at least a couple years.

I’m excited to go on the WNST Fenway and Football Trip the first weekend in October to watch the Ravens take on the Patriots in Foxboro.  It should be a great time watching Ray Lewis and the defense matching up against Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and the New England offense.

The trip to Green Bay in December is very tempting, but a Monday night in DECEMBER at Lambeau Field feels frigid just thinking about it.

4.  When will we see another Orioles pitcher throw a no-hitter?

San Francisco Giants pitcher Jonathan Sanchez hurled the first no-hitter of the MLB season on Friday night, and it caused me to think about the long drought the Orioles have endured in that department.

Other than a combined no-hitter by Bob Milacki, Mark Williamson, Mike Flanagan, and Gregg Olson in 1991, the last Orioles’ no-hitter was pitched by Hall of Famer Jim Palmer in 1969.  In the last 15 years, Mike Mussina and Daniel Cabrera flirted with no-hitters a few times, but neither was able to complete it.

Pitching a no-hitter involves a great deal of luck, and it is by no means an indicator of a team’s—or pitcher’s—overall success.  Sanchez was struggling and had even been removed from the starting rotation before Giants pitcher Randy Johnson went on the disabled list.  You just never know.  If you need proof, take a look at Don Larsen.  The only man to pitch a perfect game in the World Series had a career 81-91 record.

The New York Mets have won two World Series titles in their 47-year history but have never enjoyed a no-hitter.

5.  Why can’t LeBron James and Nike have a sense of humor?

Seriously.  It’s great that James and Nike hold a camp for young players to rub elbows with the NBA star, but when it was reported that Nike confiscated all recordings of Xavier’s Jordan Crawford dunking over James in a pickup game, I couldn’t help but shake my head.

Would it have really been THAT damaging to James’ reputation to allow the video to pop up on YouTube?  I’m sure the clever minds at Nike could have concocted a clever ad around it.

For now, we’ll have to settle for this:
King Shame

6.  How much longer do the Orioles go with Jason Berken and Rich Hill with Chris Tillman and others waiting in the wings at Norfolk?

Though both pitched well over the weekend, it’s hard to imagine the club continuing to go with either pitcher in the starting rotation if they stay at their current pace.  Even with the solid work in their last starts, Hill still has a 6.92 ERA and Berken isn’t much better at 5.87.

Tillman started for the USA in today’s Futures Game and appears close to being ready for the big leagues.  Despite giving up two runs in his only inning of work in St. Louis, the 21-year-old righty has a 7-5 record, a 2.50 ERA, and 88 strikeouts at Triple-A Norfolk this season.

Unless the club decides to give Hill another chance in the rotation, Tillman could easily be in Baltimore by the end of July.  After Tillman, David Pauley (7-6, 3.67 ERA) would probably be the next arm in line, though he isn’t considered to be a long-term answer in the rotation.


Shameless Plug Alert:  I’ll be joining Glenn Clark on the Comcast Morning Show on Monday morning from 6 to 10 a.m.

To be totally honest, I can’t remember the last time I was up that early, but it should be fun.

Have a good Monday.

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Orioles’ future on display Sunday

Posted on 11 July 2009 by Luke Jones

The Orioles may be approaching the All-Star Break in a familiar position—out of contention—but their promising future will be on display Sunday afternoon, both in Baltimore and St. Louis.

Rookie right-hander Brad Bergesen—the Orioles’ biggest surprise of the first half—will take the hill in the Orioles’ final game before the break, but two other young pitching prospects will highlight their talents before a national television audience in St. Louis.

We’ve heard the numerous reports about the Orioles’ “Big Three” of Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, and Jake Arrieta, but how many fans have actually seen them pitch?

Probably not too many.

We’ll get the chance to see Tillman and Matusz on Sunday, as the two prospects will take part in the Futures Game at 2 p.m. on ESPN2.  Arrieta participated in last year’s game.  The annual contest features some of the most promising minor leaguers in baseball.

The 21-year-old Tillman—one of the key pieces acquired in the Erik Bedard trade—appears to be the next in line for a promotion to Baltimore, pitching to a 7-5 record and a 2.50 ERA with Norfolk.  The Triple-A prospect was recently rated as Baseball America’s eighth-best overall prospect in its midseason report.

Tillman, 6-foot-5,  is averaging more than a strikeout per inning and has added an improved changeup to a repertoire already including a mid-90s fastball and a sharp curveball.  Club officials are excited about his vast success at such a young age but are trying to balance this enthusiasm with a fear of rushing the young pitcher, a dilemma becoming more difficult with the struggles of starters Rich Hill and Jason Berken in Baltimore.

Even more impressive than Tillman is the progress of Matusz in his first year of professional baseball.  The club’s first-round pick in 2008, Matusz did not sign a contract in time to play with a full-season team last year.

After going 4-2 with a 2.16 ERA in only 11 starts at Single-A Frederick to begin the season, the southpaw was promoted to Double-A Bowie last month.  In his four starts with the Baysox, the 22-year-old has posted unbelievable numbers, including a 4-0 record, a 0.34 ERA, and 32 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings.

His most recent start was an eight-inning, one-hit effort against the Harrisburg Senators in which Matusz struck out 11 batters.  Matusz has allowed only one earned run since being promoted from Frederick.

Matusz was just one spot behind Tillman on Baseball America’s midseason list at No. 9, but the organization figures to handle Matusz similarly to Matt Wieters by allowing him to play an entire season in the minor leagues before promoting him early next season.

Of course, skeptics will argue that plenty of former Baltimore prospects have played in the Futures Game and flopped in Baltimore—and they would be correct with Matt Riley, Radhames Liz, and Garrett Olson as three examples—but a number of current Orioles have participated in the Futures Game including Nolan Reimold, Danys Baez, Felix Pie, and Lou Montanez.

The Futures Game, first staged in 1999, holds an impressive list of past participants who are now thriving at the big-league level.  Past selections include Lance Berkman, Ryan Braun, Adam Dunn, Josh Hamilton, Hanley Ramirez, CC Sabathia, Grady Sizemore, and Chase Utley.

There are no guarantees—after all, the young pitchers are still only hurling against Double-A and Triple-A talent—but it’s easy to get excited when considering Matusz, Tillman, and Arrieta are all rated higher than Bergesen was on the Orioles’ list of pitching prospects.

For the sake of Orioles fans suffering through another summer of meaningless baseball—at least in terms of the AL East standings—Sunday should be a nice reprieve and, hopefully, a promise of what’s to come.

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Brad Bergesen #35 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium May 19, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Brad Bergesen

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Brad Bergesen: My Orioles 1st half MVP

Posted on 09 July 2009 by Marco Romanell

The term “most valuable player” is one that has differing meaning to everyone. Is the most valuable player the player who has the most impressive stats? Is it the player that is the most recognizable? Or is it actually the player that is the most “valuable” to his team’s success?

To me, the definition for most valuable player is clear and concise. In fact, it is right there in the title. Most Valuable Player to me means the person, who has the most value to their team,which constitutes more then just wins and losses. So my Orioles first half MVP is none other then the new ” ace” of the starting staff, Brad Bergesen.

Many people will be quick to call me out for not choosing Adam Jones because of his numbers and his All-Star status, but they need to look deeper into what value Bergesen and Jones provide the Orioles.

Jones is currently hitting .308 with 12 home runs and 47 runs batted in. These numbers were impressive enough to make him the Orioles lone representative in the All- Star game but they do not make him my 1st half MVP. There is no doubt in my mind that when his career is over Adam Jones will be a perennial All-Star and one of the greatest Orioles to ever put on a uniform, right now I give the MVP nod to Bergesen for many reasons.

Brad Bergesen #35 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium May 19, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Brad Bergesen

Bergesen is currently 5-3 with a 3.59 ERA and only 50 strikeouts in 97 2/3 innings pitched. To find the true value of Bergesen to the Orioles, you need to look deeper then his stats.

After  pitching 5 2/3 innings in his major league debut on April 21st, Bergesen has lasted less then six innings only three times in his next 14 starts. In his last 8 starts Bergesen has pitched an average of 7.2 innings and has lowered his ERA from 4.94 to 3.59.

Sitting here and regurgitating stats is not going to show Bergesen’s true value but will give you a little basis for my argument. To me, Bergesen’s real value to the team is his ability to save the bullpen and give the Orioles a chance to win every fifth day. He works quickly, and his teammates know that when he pitches they usually only need three or four runs to win. I believe that Bergesen has the respect and confidence of his teammates and that is a value that can’t be measured with statistics.

Another important characteristic that Bergy has is his “bulldog” like mentality and willingness to pitch until he can’t pitch anymore. For Orioles fans that remember seeing Erik Bedard pull himself out after 75 pitches, It is refreshing to see a 24 year old that is willing to throw as many pitches as possible to get the job done.

Bergesen only failed to eclipse the 85 pitch mark just once- a game against the Philies where he tired himself out running the bases the inning before- and has thrown over 100 pitches seven times. The mantra of the Orioles over their 11 straight losing seasons has been that come June, the bullpen is on fumes and they lose a lot of leads. Brad Bergesen has done his best to buck this trend and the less Chris Ray is in the game, the better off the Orioles are.

Ask George Sherrill, Jim Johnson, Danys Baez and the rest of the bullpen who the Orioles 1st half MVP is and they will give you the same answer I gave: Brad Bergesen.

At 23, Bergesen represents hope and rejuvenation to the fans every time he pitches.

That might just be what makes him the most valuable.

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 02 July 2009 by Glenn Clark

I’m not going to beat up Dave Trembley for pulling Brad Bergesen. There is no excuse for the fact that Jim Johnson and George Sherrill couldn’t get the job done in the 9th; and for the fact that the team couldn’t get a hit for most of the game.

It is much too easy to blame the manager when the team loses a bad game. Could Trembley have left Bergesen in the game to pitch the 9th? Sure he could have. Bergesen could have gotten into trouble and left the game rattled moving forward. But Trembley went to his reliable finishers, and they let him down. I’m not going to beat him up for that.

But there are PLENTY of other things to beat him up about-like the miserable lineups he manages to put together. Oscar Salazar hit a pinch hit 3 run homer on Tuesday night. Where was he in Wednesday’s lineup? I understand Ty Wigginton has a good history against Josh Beckett (and playing him paid off); but Salazar should have found his way in somehow.

Let’s see what everyone else has to say……

Best of Wednesday’s WNST Blogs:

Drew Forrester says ‘jealousy’ of Red Sox made Tuesday’s comeback win even better

Nestor Aparicio can’t take much more Trembley

Luke Jones says Berken, Hill have to ‘prove themselves’ in upcoming starts

Marco Romanell says Tillman, Patton could be headed to Birds ‘sooner than later’

Tom Clayton says Jones, Sherrill deserve to be All-Stars

Lawson Lambert thinks Reimold deserves to be Rookie of the Year

Ed Frankovic says Caps sign former Flyer Knuble


The Official Site’s Brian Eller says Johnson, Sherrill can’t hold lead in 9th as Sox beat Birds in 11

The Official Site provides numerical evidence of loss

The Official Site’s Brian Eller says Guthrie takes ball tonight for Birds in Los Angeles vs. Lackey, Angels

The Official Site’s Brian Eller says Uehara to miss 3-5 weeks with partial elbow tear

The Official Site’s Brian Eller says Jones sat out Wednesday’s finale as ‘precautionary’ measure

The Official Site’s Brian Eller says Birds partnering with Baltimore City schools

Red Sox Official Site’s Jeff Seidel says Youkilis, Baldelli provided heroics for Sox in 9th

Angels Official Site’s Lyle Spencer says tonight’s game vs. Birds first of 10 straight at Angel Stadium for Halos

The Sun’s Dan Connolly says Birds couldn’t finish off win after Bergesen’s stellar start

The Sun’s Dan Connolly says Wigginton continued mastery of Beckett with homer

The Sun’s Kevin Cowherd says Birds go through emotional swing with Tuesday’s comeback, Wednesday’s loss

The Sun’s Dan Connolly says Tuesday’s comeback still resonated at OPACY Wednesday

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says David Hernandez will take Uehara’s roster spot ‘indefinitely’

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says loss to Red Sox resembled “Mother’s Day Massacre”

Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says nearly 30,000 at Camden Yards saw Birds drop finale to BoSox

Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says Uehara may not pitch again for 2 months

The AP says Baez took loss in finale

The AP’s David Ginsburg says Trembley reports surgery ‘not required’ for Uehara

Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin says Varitek, Beckett thought BoSox got ‘character’ win after bad loss

Boston Herald’s Steve Buckley says Lugo hero for Red Sox in victory

Providence Journal’s Joe McDonald says Papelbon finished off win with 20th save

Sporting News’ Stan McNeal says Markakis deserves to be All-Star


Bowie Baysox Official Site says Valido homered in win over Akron

Delmarva Shorebirds Official Site says Allar took loss as Shorebirds fell to Hickory

Aberdeen Ironbirds Official Site says Erbe lost rehab start to Oneonta

The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Michael Abreu, Jonathan Tucker, Perrault, Oullette all named Eastern League All-Stars

The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Wilfredo Perez got win in relief for Baysox


The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Steelers coach Tomlin called out Oher at Rookie Symposium

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Rice, McGahee lead backfield competition

The Official Site’s Geoff Peckham says ESPN thinks Mason, Gregg ‘underrated’

The Sun’s Kevin Van Valkenburg says Ravens installing grass at M&T Bank Stadium before AC Milan-Chelsea match

ESPN The Magazine’s Anna K. Clemons says Ravens 29th best franchise in all of sports

ESPN.com’s James Walker says players think Reed better ‘all-around’ safety than Polamalu

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Ravens have 2 weeks to get Suggs’ deal done


The Sun’s Matt Bracken says Matt Robinson following in footsteps of Atholton coach Kyle Schmitt with commitment to Terps

The Diamondback’s Jakob Engelke says Terps featured on ESPN Wednesday

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem says Virginia TE prospect Josh Lovell still high on Terps (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem breaks down secondary with Don Brown (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem says DT commit Andre Monroe chose Terps over New Mexico (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh says Suitland DB commit Jeremiah Johnson ‘lifelong Terps fan’ (must subscribe)


The Diamondback’s Aaron Kraut says Vasquez spouting off again

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Terps staff ‘satisfied’ with roster even without Stephenson

Fox Sports’ Jeff Goodman says Vasquez expects to win ACC regular season and Tournament titles


Examiner Matthew Schlissel says home opener vs. Coastal Carolina Tigers’ only night game of season


Inside Lacrosse’s Jon Brand says former Jay Rabil helping producers of film “Crooked Arrows”


The Official Site says Slotback Chris Hill ‘most looking forward to’ Ohio State game

The Official Site says Niumatalolo announces class of ‘09

Go Mids’ Adam Nettina says Park City prospects interested in Naval Academy (must subscribe)


The AP says Tiger played with Cowboys QB Romo in Pro-Am Wednesday

Frederick News-Post’s Greg Swatek says House minority leader Boehner played in same group as Tiger, Romo

Frederick News-Post’s Greg Swatek says Lucas Glover hoping to build on U.S. Open win at AT&T National

Washington Post’s Barry Svrluga says following AT&T National, U.S. Open next big event at Congressional

Washington Post’s Thomas Boswell says Glover trying to avoid failures of former U.S. Open champs like Steve Jones, Michael Campbell

Washington Post’s Tracee Hamilton says Barnes hasn’t had chance to settle down since strong finish at Open

Washington Times’ Barker Davis says defending champ Anthony Kim brings ‘love-hate’ relationship with putter into AT&T National

Washington Times’ Ben Goessling says Romo hit at Earl Woods Memorial Pro-Am

Washington Times’ Ryan O’Halloran says Caps coach Boudreau also played Pro-Am

Washington Times’ Barker Davis says Mahan, Furyk have next best odds (behind Tiger) to win AT&T National

Washington Examiner’s Craig Stouffer says Fairfax golfer Steve Marino expects big crowds at Congressional

Washington Examiner’s Rick Snider says Jessica Simpson also amongst highlights at AT&T National

Washington Examiner’s Kevin Dunleavy says PGA Tour Commissioner Finchem reports ‘no positive tests’ since drug testing policy began about a year ago


Daily Racing Form’s Marty McGee says Borel no longer rider for Mine That Bird

Thoroughbred Times’ Ed DeRosa says Woolley, owners looking for jockey to commit to Derby champ through Breeders’ Cup


The Sun says Phelps not happy about swimsuit ruling


-I’ll take Tiger Woods to win the golf tournament this weekend. Mostly because he’s playing in it. If he wasn’t playing in it, I doubt I’d bother to pick a winner; because no one would care.

Talk to you this weekend.


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Koji, Bergesen and some other Orioles musings

Posted on 01 July 2009 by Marco Romanell

The Orioles had the greatest comeback in team history on Tuesday night bailing out Rich Hill who was once again ineffective. Today the Orioles placed Koji Uehara on the DL while Brad Bergesen was once again stellar.

Here are some thoughts on Koji, Bergesen and other Orioles musings:

Changes likely plentiful in the Orioles rotation:

Earlier today news came in that Koji Uehara would be sidelined for 7-8 weeks all but ending his stay as a fixture in the Orioles rotation, for the present and future. Koji is not scheduled to return until early September and by that point the Orioles will likely just decide to shut him down for the season. As of now David Hernandez will take over for Koji but if he struggles, he may be moved down.

Koji may not be the only starter that will not be in the rotation by season’s end ; in fact I believe that nobody but Brad Bergesen is “safe” to keep their spot. Rich Hill has been flat out awful of late and a few more poor outings could land him in the bullpen.

The most intriguing situation is that of Jeremy Guthrie. Anointed the Orioles’ “ace” before the season( a role now occupied by Brad Bergesen), Guthrie has been incredibly inconsistent but could be a major trade tool for the Orioles. Guthrie has won his last two starts and will only cost a team $650,000 if they were to acquire him. With pitching being at a premium throughout the league it is likely many teams will be calling Andy MacPhail asking about Guthrie. If the Orioles like what they hear, don’t be surprised to see Guthrie dealt.

If Guthrie is dealt and Berken continues to struggle expect Chris Tillman and Troy Patton to be in the rotation earlier then expected, probably  sometime in early August. In addition to these two there are any number of pitchers at Norfolk and Bowie like Jake Arrieta that could be September call ups.

Who is the Orioles best trade chip?

By no means are the Orioles going to have a Florida Marlins like fire sale but they will be sellers as opposed to buyers at the deadline. Many names like Aubrey Huff, George Sherrill, Danys Baez, Melvin Mora and Jeremy Guthrie have all had their names floating amidst trade talks. Andy MacPhail is not going to give these players away for nothing but I expect to see at least two players that are starters or major contributors to the club, playing elsewhere come August 1st.

The players that the Orioles are likely to get offered the most for are Aubrey Huff and Jeremy Guthrie. Huff is power left handed bat that has shown he can play first base better then people expected which now has him garnering interest from National League teams. One of the teams supposedly interested is the Mets, who have the reputation of parting with prospects to win now. If the Mets are in contention for the Wild Card and the Division and Carlos Delgado is still on the DL expect them to offer a lot to the Orioles to acquire Huff.

Jeremy Guthrie, as I mentioned earlier, should peak the interest of many teams due to his low salary and the fact that pitching is at a premium. Despite being 6-7 with a 5.11 ERA Guthrie is more then a serviceable major league pitcher who could be a very effective 3rd or 4th starter for a contending ball club.

Is Ty Wigginton the answer at hot corner?

Ty Wigginton hit another home run on Wednesday afternoon giving him six on the season which is four more then Melvin Mora. Wigginton has 16 fewer at bats then Mora and has the same number of RBI’s on the season. Wigginton is starting to look like the 20+ home run bat that the Orioles hoped he would be, while Mora is having his worst year in an Oriole uniform. I do not believe Wigginton is the 3rd baseman of the future but he is better currently then Melvin Mora and he should play more because of this. Mora will continue to start because of his tenure with the club, but how long can his anemic run producing bat be plugged into the number 5 hole in the lineup before the Orioles realized it is time for a change.

Base running blunders galore!!

Felix Pie was thrown out by five feet while trying to “stretch” a first inning single into a double, quelling any chance for a big inning. Pie joins the long list of Orioles that have made base running blunders to run the Orioles right of the inning, a problem that looks to be getting worse before it gets better.

Poor fundamentals are a direct result of poor leadership and I believe Dave Trembley is a major part of the Orioles poor fundamentals. I know every big league player should know how to run the bases, but if they can go out there and continue to make mistakes with out repercussions from the manager, then they will continue to make those same mistakes. Maybe instead of having the promotion where the kids run the bases after the game, the Orioles should be the ones running the bases instead.

There are still many questions marks about the ball club and it will be interesting to see how things play out after the deadline.

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Who’s Left In O’s Bullpen?

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Thyrl Nelson

Are the O’s really selling us Chris Ray as our lefty specialist?


In his blog on MASN, Roch Kubatko reported that manager Dave Trembley is no longer concerned with carrying a left handed specialist in the bullpen. Did I miss the point in the season where he was concerned?


You could say, particularly early in the season, the Orioles suffered a great deal from Trembley’s unwillingness to play lefty/righty match ups late in games, instead seeming to paint his relievers into roles based on what inning it was.


Roch’s blog points to the fact that Ray is holding lefties to a .133 batting average in the minors. Allow me to point out, that it was matching up with left handed hitters that pretty much sent Ray packing in the first place.


On the season, Ray has faced, at the major league level, more lefties than righties. In 33 at bats, right handers are hitting .152 against Ray, with just 2 doubles, no other extra base hits, 5 RBI, 5 BB and 13 K. In 34 at bats against lefties, Ray has been hit to the tune of .559, with 4 doubles, 2 homers, 11 RBI, 6 BB and just 4 K. They should be keeping Ray as far away from the lefties as possible.


With only Hendrickson and Sherrill as lefties in the bullpen, the need for a specialist is glaring, especially since the only real candidate for the job is currently best serving in the closer’s role for now. But given the way Castillo was pitching in the role, and Walker before him, it won’t make much difference in the short term anyway. Now it will just be more obvious why we can’t get tough lefties out, late in games.


Maybe they’ll give Hendrickson a shot in that role, even though lefties are hitting nearly .300 against him this season. If so, it’d probably create the need for a long reliever to take his current role over. Maybe it’s an indication that Koji could be pitching for his spot in the rotation over his next few turns. In that case, someone else from the bullpen would have to be moved too. Maybe Baez, and well as he’s pitched, he’d probably still be worth more to the O’s, on someone else’s roster. 


It’s a glaring need for a team that’s playing well, and winning close games. But for what’s it’s worth, they’ve basically played all year already without a good lefty specialist. Now it’s just official. Anything that gives Dave Trembley less to strategize about is probably a good thing for now too.


This move, to me, has MacPhail written all over it. We’ll see how it plays out.








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Another MacPhail Fire Sale?

Posted on 22 June 2009 by Thyrl Nelson

Is there a tougher job in sports than Andy MacPhail’s?


We all know what a legendarily difficult boss Peter Angelos is reputed to be. By now, we’re all well aware that the AL East may be the most difficult division in all of sports, in which to be competitive. And free agents, also seemingly aware of both of those glaring inadequacies have avoided Baltimore like the plague. There was little reason to believe, when he took the reigns just a few short years ago, that MacPhail could have even a modicum of success.


On the positive side, by the time he stepped into the picture, the difficulties that he was up against were already more than apparent to the fans. Further, the franchise itself was in as bad of shape as it’s ever been, seemingly leaving nowhere to go but up. And moreover, doing a worse job than the 4 regimes that preceded him seemed nearly impossible.


Still, the job that MacPhail has done, in such a short time is nothing short of remarkable. He’s turned nearly the entire roster over in short order, and given the fans reasonable hope for the future. When it’s all said and done, the Bedard trade may go down as the best in Orioles’ history (which would be saying a lot), and we’re just starting to see the real benefits of the Tejada deal, which was pretty good too, relatively speaking of course.


If MacPhail is ultimately able to see this process through, and so far there’s no reason to believe that he can’t, he may be due more credit than even Ozzie Newsome for front office savvy, again relatively speaking of course.


In Newsome, we as fans have been given a great blessing, there’s no need to chronicle that here. And in MacPhail, we may have lucked into another. Again, given the difficulty of his circumstances, what MacPhail has accomplished already may rival the genius of Ozzie. If he sees this thing through, he’ll certainly be due at least as much credit as the Wizard, probably more. It’s a debate that I’d love to be having sometime soon, that’s for sure.


So now with the NBA and NHL in the rearview mirror, and the start of the Ravens’ season still months away, MacPhail and the O’s have center stage. And despite all of the great work that he’s done already, he still has work to do. And the choices won’t be easy ones.


The O’s have not only done a great job at rebuilding so far, they’ve also done a remarkable job at selling the process to the fans. After 12 years of losing, it’s not just a matter of getting fans to be patient through the process. With many disenfranchised fans already, the O’s are attempting to win back fans with the process, despite the fact that they can’t credibly hope to win now. It’s a tough sell, but it’s working.


Astute trades and scouting have led to an exciting product on the field, if not a competitive one. Yet every time they looked poised to pack it in, and we as fans get braced for the swoon, they manage to put together a string of games like their current one.


It’s a nice problem to have, but it won’t make MacPhail’s job any easier, as the pennant race takes shape. Although the O’s won’t likely find themselves in the race for a post season berth this year, the pursuit of .500 could be realistic, and for some fans could be exciting enough. Again, it’s important to think relatively here, and the chance to finish above .500, or even outside of the AL East basement, may be enough to keep some fans interested.


Others, like myself, sold already on the future are looking at a number of ‘tweeners on this team. Players who we could reasonably hope would be contributors, if and when the O’s are ready to compete, or who could be moved for value now, in an effort to continue to load up the farm system.


If the O’s are a traveling sale, they’ve done a great job of showcasing their merchandise over the past couple of weeks. If they’re not, then they’ll need to take proactive measures to insure not to lose these guys for nothing down the line.


There’s nary a contender in baseball that couldn’t find room for Aubrey Huff in their everyday lineup. He’s a professional hitter, known for strong finishes, and can play multiple positions. If the O’s have one guy that could probably get them value from a contender, Huff might be the one. As a free agent this off season, not dealing him is a roll of the dice too, unless you take measures to re-sign him before free agency comes up. Maybe the promotion of Brandon Snyder to AAA gives some indication that the O’s could be looking to him as a replacement, but Huff would be tough to replace in the middle of the order. If you trade him you could also possibly make another run at him as a free agent this off season.


Danys Baez is finally pitching well, and it would be tough to envision him in an O’s uniform beyond this season. He’s still overpaid, even for the way that he’s pitching, but with the O’s already low payroll, there’s no reason not to pay a good portion of his salary, and get back some prospects from a contender. Surely there’ll be a market for Baez at the deadline.


George Sherrill is another tough choice, because he could be seen as a valuable commodity down the line. Still, it’s tough to envision a real contender, especially another 2 or so years down the road, using Sherrill as anything more than a setup man, or lefty specialist. By using him as the closer, the O’s have certainly increased his future earnings potential, making him likely an overpriced option in either of those roles. Sherrill bounced back from early difficulties to redeem himself and boost his value. The O’s should probably sell high on this one.


Jeremy Guthrie is rounding into form once again, and could be a nice part of the rotation going forward, but the abundance of arms at the minor league level, and the desire to continue to restock that pool could lead to Guthrie being dealt to a contender. As a rule 5 pick up in the first place, Guthrie almost represents found money, and could be a long shot to be here for the long term.


Luke Scott is probably young enough to be enticing, but will probably never have better value than he does now. It’s tough to envision Scott improving on, or even maintaining his current pace. He may be the best sell high option on the team.


Anything that you could get for Pie or Andino, or even Wigginton, should probably be explored, although it’s tough to envision any of them fetching much in return. And as for Melvin Mora, he’d have to be encouraged to waive his no trade clause, which is unlikely. Even more unlikely given the fact that the O’s continue to pamper Mora, and leave him in the 5th spot despite his lack of production.


Which if any of these players to deal, and what to get in return can and probably will be the subject of much discussion and debate leading up to the trade deadline. At the end of the day though, I’ll trust that MacPhail has a plan in mind, and will continue to do the right thing. He’s earned that much at least. And much like his counterpart Ozzie Newsome, MacPhail is quickly proving that questioning his methods could be risky business.






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