Tag Archive | "Bedard"

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The Orioles will be better next year — and more new lies after The MacFailure

Posted on 28 September 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

Our cool, growing (and still free!) sports media company had another great B2B-Business To Business event last week in Towson with @CoachBillick and an old friend and reader of WNST.net approached me and asked the eternal Orioles question:

“So, Nasty, I’ve read all of the issues regarding the Orioles and Mike Flanagan and Andy MacPhail and Free The Birds, but what are we as fans going to do? You need to offer solutions…”

Well, virtually every human being I’ve spoken to over the last three years – and I still have a ton of friends in upper management at Major League Baseball and all over the league — has concurred: this just isn’t going to change on the field as long as Peter Angelos is involved in Baltimore baseball ownership.

But, of course, I came to that conclusion five years ago when I did the original Free The Birds rally and campaign because in my mind – and time has proven me correct – this was long past the point of no return with the local community and most people of integrity within the baseball community in 2006.

And what I’ve come to realize is that this REALLY bugs the hell out of my internet critics – the fact that I’ve been right and honest and accurate all along.

I don’t think it took any “orange Nostradamus” or 19 chapters and 75,000 words worth of my book to predict that this civic nightmare would continue given Angelos’ tactics, mindset, age and propensity through his 82 years on the planet to want to fight with people. He sues people for a living.

I knew a long time ago that it was getting worse and not better. I knew it was going to become an easy $50 million annual profit center given the deal that Angelos negotiated with Major League Baseball once the Washington Nationals were hatched. I wanted to believe he was telling the truth in 2006 but he clearly wasn’t honest and indeed got the “last laugh.”

But I must say my worst fears of where this sick tale was going in 2006 never really factored in the possibility that Mike Flanagan would be committing suicide five years later in the middle of a fifth consecutive last-place season.

But I’m not at all surprised that the team has finished in last place every year since Free The Birds.

And I’ve now spent four full years without a press pass for this last-place debacle and sick civic disgrace while the team’s head of baseball operations runs away from me at public functions when I ask a few questions.

I’ve been asking myself for a month how the Orioles are going to handle this offseason of obvious unparalleled despair. Despite the kid gloves Captain Profit Andy MacPhail has been treated with here by his local media co-workers who are disguised as journalists — his tenure here is now complete and was a large, profitable “MacFailure” .

He’s slithering out of town in the dead of the night after changing exactly NOTHING about the Baltimore Orioles in real terms, other than the profit line. Oh, and there’s the spring training home in Sarasota that was 15 years overdue – and now another publicly-aided profit center — I don’t see anything about the farm system, the future or the current state of the roster that’s appreciably better than before.

I know this much: four years, four last-place finishes. That’s the record. It is what it is.

The whole franchise stinks.

What happens to Buck Showalter is anyone’s guess but word is he’ll be the new poobah in charge of “baseball operations” at 10:07 p.m. after Red Sox playoff magic leaves the Charm City – and all that really means is that he’s the next victim who will make a few million and go back to where he came from (in this case Dallas) a few years later with a tainted resume and some more losses and evenings of angst.

Of course, if he really thinks Angelos is committed to winning a World Series, angst is only the beginning.

Just 13 months ago Showalter said he knew what he was getting into with Angelos

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Orioles circa 2010: We know they’ll lie, but will they lie down again?

Posted on 06 April 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

I know, I’m like a freaking broken record. Every year I write about how I’ve wrongfully had my media pass revoked and every year the Orioles make up some more lies to justify all of their mean-spiritedness and lack of professionalism. It’s Opening Day, I’ve again been deemed “not a media member” but that’s just the “off the field” stuff.

On the field, the word “improvement” has been thrown around all offseason in regard to the Orioles. As I’ve said many times, when you lose 98 games it’s hard NOT to improve the following season. It can’t get much worse, really.

As sickening as it is that I’ve taken a myriad of phone calls, emails and correspondence wondering “if the Orioles can win 78 games” – as though this disgracefully low bar somehow passes for “improvement” – I am officially one of the optimistic orange Kool Aid drinkers circa April 5th regarding the 2010 season.

It is my belief that this is the best team the Orioles have fielded this century. In 2004, the Orioles “best” performance was indeed 78 wins. Las Vegas has the 2010 Orioles over/under at 74 ½. If I were a betting man, I’d honestly take the “over” for the 2010 Orioles.

But this might be the year they finally prove they were right all along over these past 13 years of “rebuilding” and buying the bats and growing the arms.

Apparently, 78 wins will get a number of people here in Baltimore excited. At least that’s what people think until they realize that even that lofty “goal” would still be 25 games out of first place in AL East and the season would once again be effectively over right around June 20.

People have asked me every day for a month: “What do you think of the Orioles?”

My answer: “It begins with Kevin Millwood.”

Millwood is an unwitting victim of the wrong end of a big contract and the overlooking of putting Baltimore on his “not to visit” list when he inked his last contract in Texas. But, alas, he’s here now and needs to selfishly pitch well, even in MLB’s version of Siberia. He can set the tone with a big effort tonight in Tampa Bay.

It was different when guys like Scott Erickson and Sidney Ponson were poisoning the next generation of Erik Bedard’s with their antics of bush-league, lack of professionalism. Millwood needs to be the “anti-aging” Orioles starting pitcher. He needs to be more like Rick Sutcliffe and less like the aforementioned bunch of vermin who spread their foul temperament and antics through the franchise like baseball’s version of a clubhouse cancer.

I’m not sure what kind of guy Millwood is – and again, therein lies the Orioles ability to unlawfully deny me a chance to do my job after all of these years – but I hope he acclimates, pitches well and leads by example for kids like Brian Matusz, Brad Bergesen and Chris Tillman, who seem like the real thing.

Matusz might win 15 games this year if he stays healthy. And while that certainly IS progress, it’s not really much different than what Rodrigo Lopez and Eric Bedard both did twice in orange en route to meaningless, forgettable seasons for the Orioles.

But, as stated before, I’m bullish on the Orioles in 2010 in regard to “progress.” I think they might be OK and quite competitive against teams not named New York and Boston — if pieces fall into place and if good health can be found.

If the starting pitching can get them to the 6th or 7th inning five nights a week, that will allow for a more rested bullpen and a real chance for .500.

I’m sold on Miguel Tejada as a relevant third baseman in the AL East. I think he’ll hit .300 and be an RBI machine like he’s always been. He might be 50 years old for all we know, but I think he’ll be the least of the Orioles concerns at this point in his career. He’s coming as a complimentary player not the leader and “franchise” guy he was counted on to be six years ago. His lies, transgressions and B-12 shots will not even be a factor this summer in Baltimore.

Of course, this would be a good year for SOMEONE to step up and be the REAL franchise player.

Is it Nick Markakis, who is quietly putting together a nice Orioles career?

Or could it be Adam Jones, whose Tweets are fun to follow when he’s not up all night in San Diego?

Or will it be Matt Wieters, whose hype seemed justified over the final two months of 2009 when it appeared he was ready to become a star?

At least there are several All Star Game candidates in orange this summer. It’s not another summer of David Segui, B.J. Surhoff and Gregg Zaun playing out their late 30’s at Camden Yards.

I’m not a Dave Trembley fan – the team tanked and quit down the stretch last year and each of those 98 losses were well-earned late last summer. Again, when the owner is the cheapest in the game and when Trembley will manage for 1/10th of what the best managers in MLB yield for a salary, I get what the team is doing.

They’re making money. They’re hoping these kids pan out and selling it to what’s left of a tortured fan base and using their media moles to “plant the seed” of hope. At least they can say they “were patient” while Andy MacPhail built what this cake turns out to be circa 2013, when it allegedly will mature. (They’re always two years away from competing with the Yankees and Red Sox, aren’t they?)

So, are the baby Birds ready to fly? Can the team be relevant enough to compete through the All Star break without falling 15 games behind Boston and/or New York?

We’ll see. But for the first time in a long time, they can legitimately threaten to be a .500 team if they stay healthy and have some key young prospects step up the way the insider pundits around the sport believe they will.

If Matusz is real?

If Wieters is real?

If Adam Jones can improve?

If Nick Markakis can remain consistent?

If Brian Roberts’ back can stay healthy?

If all of the young starters can get to the 7th inning with consistency?

If Tejada still has it?

And this is before we start projecting the likes of Jeremy Guthrie, Garrett Atkins, Luke Scott, Felix Pie and Nolan Reimond, who are all a literal box of chocolates. Does anyone really know what any of these guys will wind up doing come mid-summer? And what does anyone know about the bullpen, led by Mike Gonzalez?

Again – it’s the worst run franchise in professional sports. It’s not even close. That much has been borne out in living color over the past 13 summers. That will never change, even if Brooks Robinson is throwing out the first pitch on Friday. They are the worst group of people I’ve met in my 42 years on the planet — pure evil in their deeds, intents and actions.

But, perhaps this is the summer that all of their bloody deeds since 1997 are justified and they get people in Baltimore truly excited and energized about baseball.

If Tampa Bay could do it two years ago there’s no reason to believe the likes of Matusz, Wieters, Reimold, Bergesen, Tillman and company can’t step up to become very productive, young major leaguers and all hit their stride this summer.

It’s certainly a lot more possible than during the era of Omar Daal, Marty Cordova and Kevin Millar or any of the past sins of Peter Angelos’ ugly stewardship as the suddenly disappearing owner.

My real prediction: 78 wins.

I don’t think they can be above .500 with 54 games coming in the division against New York, Boston and Tampa Bay. But I think they will certainly be far better and more interesting on the field than we’ve seen here in Baltimore over the last 13 years.

But given the history, let’s all sip the orange Kool Aid one ounce at a time…

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“Happy with where we are”…really?

Posted on 31 December 2009 by WNST Interns

Recently Andy McPhail said in an interview that he was happy with where the Orioles stood at this point in the hot stove season. My response was basically “Really?”. I thought that we still were “in the pitching business” and still DESPERATELY needed another corner infielder who hopefully had some pop in his bat to place in the ol’ #4 hole in the order to get some protection for Jones and Markakis in the lineup.

I wonder whatever happened to the potential re-acquiring of Erik Bedard that was put out there big-time a month or so ago. Weren’t we looking to get him back for the right price as long as his medical reports came back OK? Does anybody out there in WNST-Land know what happened with that?

I must admit that, although I wasn’t jumping up and down, I was generally pleased with the acquisition of Kevin Millwood and moderately enthused about Mike Gonzalez and Garrett Atkins as far as what they could do to improve the club overall. Still, I was under the clear impression that they were by no means done this offseason. As we get past the holidays it becomes less and less likely that anyone of quality will still be available for the Orioles to pick up, notwithstanding the issues of how much we’re willing to pay, or even if they’d be interested in coming here.

Every day I get on the “official” Orioles website to see if there is any news, and every day the silence is deafening, unless you count the endless smiley-face comments about how wonderful it’s all going to be now. While, on the sidebars, we read about the Red Sox picking up Lackey and the Yankees getting Granderson and Vazquez.

C’mon, Orioles. Don’t stop now. We need at least one more reputable starting pitcher and someone who can hit more than 20 homers a year to help out in the infield. I know that our beloved GM said that we weren’t going to trade any of our prospects, but we seem to have so many to keep track of these days that I think we could spare one or two to really improve the club over the next year or two until hopefully the rest of the baby birds bloom.

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Millwood a curious option for O’s

Posted on 08 December 2009 by WNST Interns

One of the hottest rumors out of MLB’s Winter Meetings has the Orioles hot on the trail of Rangers right hander Kevin Millwood. Anyone that watched the Orioles deplorable starting pitching in 2009 can understand why the team is looking for a veteran starter to stabilize the young starting rotation, but Millwood is a curious option for the O’s. Texas recently picked up Millwood’s $12 million option for 2010 and is now reportedly looking to deal him for salary relief. If they were really looking for salary relief they would have simply declined the option. The thought that the Orioles will acquire Millwood for a minimal prospect in a salary dump deal is unlikely. The Rangers have reportedly requested Brandon Erbe or Felix Pie in return for Millwood. Trading either of those players for Millwood would be a mistake. If the Orioles can deal Jason Berken or Troy Patton for Millwood then I’m all for it. Anything more and it’s a mistake.

The Orioles would be better served going after a FA starter like Rich Harden or Jon Garland. They’re both younger than Millwood, have had success in the AL, and Garland is just as durable, plus the Orioles wouldn’t have to deal a young player to acquire either. The Orioles are also said to be interested in bringing back Erik Bedard, who may miss the beginning of the season due to an injury. Garland and Bedard would be a good start to the offseason and would cost nothing but Peter’s money.

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Fueling the Hot Stove

Posted on 12 November 2009 by WNST Interns

The MLB GM meetings are currently underway in Chicago and the rumors have been flying fast and furious. The GM meetings are a precursor to the MLB Winter meetings and may give us some indication of moves that could be made in the coming weeks. Most Oriole fans would agree that the club’s biggest needs are, in no particular order, a veteran starter, closer, 1st basemen, 3rd basemen and some right handed pop.

On a positive note we’ve heard some intriguing names swirling around the Orioles over the past few days. MLBtraderumors.com reported that the Orioles have had discussions with the Marlins regarding 2nd baseman Dan Uggla, who would convert to 3rd for the O’s. The Marlins would most likely be interested in young pitching in return for Uggla, something the O’s have been stockpiling. The 29 year old Uggla has averaged 30 homers and 90 RBI in his 4 big league seasons. He would represent a significant offensive upgrade to Melvin Mora and would solidify third base and provide some right handed thump for the middle of the order. Other third base options linked to the Orioles include Mark DeRosa and the soon to be released Garrett Atkins of the Rockies.

Erik Bedard’s name has also been linked to the O’s. The best thing Bedard ever did for the Orioles was get traded for Adam Jones. He only made 30 starts in the past 2 seasons for the Mariners, but at the right price Bedard could be an interesting option for the O’s. He’s not an Ace, but he’s familiar with the team and the city, has had success in the AL East and could come at a bargain price considering his injury history. Bedard isn’t John Lackey, but he could help solidify a very young rotation.

As for the top free agent names, Matt Holiday, Jason Bay and John Lackey, don’t expect the Orioles to make a serious play for any of them. If they didn’t sign free agents with Baltimore ties last year I can’t see them shelling out big money for Holiday or Lackey. It’s likely that Holiday, a Scott Boras client, won’t sign until after Christmas. Bay could wait for Holiday to set the market.

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How ’bout dem O’s!

Posted on 16 April 2009 by WNST Interns

The Orioles are continuing their modus operandi from the past few years and are teasing us with winning baseball at the beginning of the season.  If you are a true orange and black fan it is hard not to get excited at the start of a new season, especially when they have started off so well winning each of their first three series.  Opening Day was an incredible experience this year and it surpassed past years due to the uncertainty of the weather and the eventual payoff at the end of the game.  The clouds threatened to rain on our parade and one of the best parties of the year in Baltimore.  The sun peeked out for a while in mid-afternoon but the rains came again right before game time which seemed like an omen representing the big bad Yankees hanging over our heads.

 

As you know by now the game was not rained out after all and the Orioles were like a bright ray of sunshine cutting through the clouds.  The bats came alive for 10 runs that day and chased Cy Young award winner and 161 million dollar mercenary CC Sabathia in the 4th inning.  It was an absolutely fantastic day for baseball and it was made even better by the fact that loyal Orioles fans did not let the Yankee supporters in attendance drown out their cheers.  The infamous lets go Yankees chant that can be clearly heard at Camden Yards in the later months of the season as the seats turn from orange to green was overpowered by boos for Tex-liar.  For the first time in over a decade I could feel the camaraderie of O’s fans permeate the stadium.  The way the O’s dominated the majority of that game made the Boog’s BBQ and the ample amount of brew taste that much sweeter.

 

I have been impressed with the way the Orioles are swinging the bats this season.  Izturis capped off the great Opening Day win with his first and probably only homerun this season, but aside from that he is the only player who needs to significantly increase his offensive production.  He was signed to upgrade a poor up the middle defense and has been a drastic improvement over 2008’s garbage group barring last evening’s boot in the third inning against the Rangers.  Zaun has not dominated with the bat so far but as all O’s fans know he was signed to mentor Matt Weiters once he is called up, and Zaun has done an adequate job in his stead.  We are however waiting with bated breath for Weiters’ arrival.

 

Aubrey Huff has impressed me with his transition to full-time first baseman.  Like I said he will never be mistaken for JT Snow over there but he is serviceable, and a significant upgrade over Kevin “Red Sox” Millar.  Huff won a Silver Slugger at first base last year which is a significant accomplishment considering first base is typically an offense first position.  The way he has been swinging the bat lately I really think the O’s should try to sign him to an extension.  Three or four years might get it done and they don’t have anyone in the minors even close to ready to supplant him in the near future.  Gone are the days of guys like Calvin Pickering and Ryan Minor toiling in the minors waiting to get a shot.  Lets get over our huff about what Aubrey said (it really wasn’t all that bad to start with) and embrace what he has been doing for the ball club.

 

Speaking of toiling in the minors, the trade for Felix Pie, who has been yanked up and down by the Cubs over the last few years, was a low risk/high reward deal.  Pie represents a potential impact player on defense, and a capable offensive player with speed.  The only thing the O’s gave up was Garrett Olsen a below average lefty who had virtually no upside, and unless he pulls a John Maine and comes out of nowhere to be a decent end of the rotation guy this is a can’t lose scenario.  The mastermind of the Orioles recent terrific player personnel decisions Andy MacPhail has really outdone himself on his two biggest trades.  Trading a steroid using, older than he claimed to be, unhappy player with declining power and range for 5 players including Houston’s best pitching prospect in Troy Patton, Luke Scott our starting DH, as well as Matt Albers and Dennis Sarfate who are strong bullpen contributors has to be one of the biggest hoodwinks of all time.  It is only outdone by MacPhail’s other conquest over former Seattle Mariner’s GM Bill Bavasi.  A trade in which he dealt a disgruntled, no heart, only wants to pitch six innings crybaby who never lived up to the potential of his great stuff in Erik Bedard for 5 players including future face of the franchise centerfielder Adam Jones, as well as stud pitching prospect Chris Tillman and All-Star closer George Sherrill. 

 

O’s fans may not agree with everything MacPhail has done but no one can argue that this team has not improved significantly over past couple years, especially with building depth in the minor leagues.  The one complaint that I would raise is to question why they are starting guys like Adam Eaton and Mark Hendrickson who are guaranteed to have an ERA over 6.00 in place of young players like Brad Bergesen.  Bergesen could give up a ton of runs and be chased in the early innings just as easily, however Bergeson is in his early 20’s and actually has some upside.  With a little bit of experience he is almost destined to be better than those two stiffs.   Hendrickson was drafted by the 76’ers, 31st overall in the 1996 NBA draft, to quote EJ Pipkin’s 2004 campaign catchphrase “Who Knew?”  Maybe he should think about a return engagement with the NBA and put us out of our misery.  Prospect Radhames Liz is thought to be a starter and has recently been recalled; however he is a bullpen guy, period.  Liz has no upside as a starter but as a reliever he may find some late inning success.

 

The off-season signings of Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts seem like a harbinger of good things to come.  As the team continues to develop I hope that MacPhail will be able to sign our young players to long-term deals and keep the core guys together throughout their careers from the minors to major league success.  Let’s hope the O’s can continue to remain competitive for the remainder of the season, I want to see a game that matters in September for a change.

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From Camden Yards

Posted on 28 May 2008 by WNST Staff

Here are a couple of notes from Camden Yards
 
  • There have been some very long and hard hit homeruns here so far. The homeruns that Bobby Abreu and Jason Giambi hit just landed. Giambi hit his second ball of his career onto Eutaw Street. Melvin Mora tried to hit Latroy Hawkins in the Yankees bullpen with his homerun in the 5th inning. In a related note, Mora said it was not intentional.
 
  • Grevis Vasquez is here sitting in front of the press box and was jumping up and down like a wild person when Bobby Abreu launched his homerun out of Camden Yards.
 
 
  • Although there has been a combined six homeruns hit here so far tonight, that is still a long way from the record of 11 from July 1,1994 versus the California Angels. The Angels hit five that night while the Orioles hit six; here is the box score from that night.
 
  • The record for most homeruns by an opponent in one game is six which where hit by the Texas Rangers on August 22, 2007.
 
 
  • Jason Giambi’s homerun went on to Eutaw Street for the 41st in Camden Yards history. It was the second one he has hit out there. His other one was on Sep.29, 2005, off of Erik Bedard. Can you guess who had the first one into Eutaw Street and who it was off of?
 
Back with more later, I think there might be a chance that home run record could be in jeopardy.

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Pregame notes

Posted on 14 April 2008 by WNST Staff

Adam Jones was much of the talk during Dave Trembley’s pregame speech. Here are some of the highlights:
-He is not worried about Adam and how he is handling his struggles. Dave says Adam handles the good and the bad all the same.
 
          Adam does not think he has done anything to deserve all the hype that has been created around him. He is aware that he was made to be the center piece of the Bedard trade. The Orioles are having a T-shirt night for him tomorrow night here at the yard
 
          Trembley said that he is not worried about how Adam is handling his struggles right now at the plate. Trembley said he handles everything the same
 
 
          Adam was here early today to take batting practice with Terry Crowley
 
          When you look at how Adam has started out here this season, it is pretty interesting to compare that to how Nick Markakis started his first eleven games in the majors.
Markakis (11g 06 season) 9-35 .257 avg 2hr 3rbi
Jones        (11g 08 season) 8-38 .211 avg 0hr 2 rbi
 
Here are some other notes from pregame:
          O’s say that would be tremendous  to get 5 innings out of Albers tonight
          The issues the team has had on the road are not anyone person’s fault
          Trembley feels like what the O’s are doing to teams early this year are now what teams are doing to them
          Did not want to change lineup right now because team will act to how you react
          Said one of the questions right now is “are pitchers getting us out right now or are we getting our self out?”
          Sherrill and Beird have used the least amount of pitches to record three outs

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Erik Bedard

Posted on 04 April 2008 by WNST Interns

Ken Zalis is not the president of the Erik Bedard Fan Club. Focusing on Bedard’s 40 career wins and unwillingness to go deep into ball games, Zalis questions Bedard’s heart.

I think Erik Bedard is a very good pitcher, but I’m not sure if he has the “make-up” of a true ACE.

Your thoughts on this topic are, as always, welcomed.

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Pregame notes from Camden Yards

Posted on 04 April 2008 by WNST Staff

Here are some new notes from Camden Yards:
  • Dave Trembley said that the rotation will go Trachsel(Fri), Loewen(Sat),Guthrie(Sun),and Cabrera(Mon). Brian Burres will stay in the bullpen the next couple of nights and likely start the first game of the Texas series on Tuesday.
 
  • Trembley said that all the pitchers and position players stayed even after the game was rained out yesterday to get their work in.
 
 
  • Trembley still feels that Bedard is one of the best pitchers in baseball and that he is grateful to him for what he did while he was here
 
  • Today will be the first time that Perlozzo and Trembley will be able to speak face to face since the coaching change
 
 
  • Sam Perlozzo spoke with the media before the game and you can listen to the entire session under the Toyotaliveweb audio vault
 
  • Besides Erik Bedard and Sam Perlozzo, former bench coach Lee Elia makes his return to Baltimore as the on field consultant for the Mariners
 
 
  • Jarrod Washburn is 3-0 versus the Orioles in his career as a starter. He did lose a game in a relief appearance back in 1998
 
  • Aubrey Huff is 12-31 with 1HR and 4rbi’s against Washburn
 
Here is the O’s lineup for tonight
  1. Brian Roberts 2b
  2. Melvin Mora 3b
  3. Nick Markakis RF
  4. Kevin Millar 1b
  5. Aubrey Huff DH
  6. Jay Payton LF
  7. Ramon Hernandez C
  8. Adam Jones CF
  9. Brandon Fahey SS

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