Hi! Remember Me?

I’ve been gone too long.  I’ll be honest and say there won’t be much time in my future for mlblogging, what with marathon training and a WEDDING TO PLAN  :)  Mr. Always The Jake gave me a nice shiny ring while we were vacationing Christmas time.

If you want to hear about all the details and follow me through my tafetta and tulle-filled escapades (I’m sure there will be a few baseball mentionings as well, let’s be honest)…

 

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Additions

As the Indians continuously promote and demote in an attempt to find a lineup that can even semi-consistently manufacture runs, hold leads, and basically LOOK like a real baseball team, there have been a couple (relatively) new additions in my non-Wahoo related world I’d like to share with you…

 

My best friend’s little sister has by far the cutest little girl.  Sure, I’m biased, isn’t everyone?  But believe me when I say I’m not the gush over a baby in a stroller type, or squeal about “how precious” every item in the Target baby aisle is, nor have I ever referred to my “biological clock” or “tugging heartstrings” when discussing having children.  As of right now at least, I’m just not one of those girls.  Similar to my subdued love for Grady Sizemore, which I keep at bay simply to avoid being labeled with the likes of “Grady’s Ladies” who are into it for all the wrong reasons.  I love him primarily as a ball player, his stunning good looks are just a nice little bonus.  I can acknowledge that there’s a little vanity in the game – I mean would you rather watch Prince Fielder or Grady Sizemore trot around the bases after a homer?  And I can’t hear mention of Ryan Braun without instantly recalling those abs that are permanently burned into memory.  But isn’t it more likely that my love for baseball, rather than my love for handsome outfielders, will be reciprocated?  (Enter joke about Cleveland’s MLB-worst record not loving me back here) 

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Even though I’m sure we had a moment shortly after this picture was taken, I won’t hold my breath for you Grady…

I’m just being realistic here.  If I’m not ready to be a mommy, what’s the use pouring over onesies and ruffle-butt skirts and Nike Shox that fit in the palm of my hand?  Isn’t that wasted effort that could be put to use towards something that has a more plausible presence in my current life or very near future?  Maybe it’s my OCD or my ridiculously disciplined, efficiency-minded, business woman attitude, but what’s the use expending all that effort when there is such a slim chance of a positive or productive output?  I’ve never been a big daydreamer or fairy-tale type of girl – there are so many variables in life that you actually have the power to influence, why waste your time wondering about “what if”??

This isn’t saying that I’m against parenthood, or that my day to drool over diaper genies and jogging strollers will never come.  Who knows?  But it does not hold a solid presence on my very inflexible personal timeline at the moment.  So why waste my time?  Especially when I have this cute little bugger I can go play with if I ever require a baby fix.  (No diaper changing necessary!!) 

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This all being said, my surrogate-sisterhood bias should be completely nullified, and Corynn’s ultimate baby standing is rectified based on my non-traditional no-goochygoochycoo attitude.  Exhibit A. is proof to not only how freaking adorable Corynn is, but that she is a fellow shoe-fiend waiting to happen, just like her Aunt Sarah.

Now that I’ve expressed my current stance on family-hood and babies, meet the new addition in my life: Chico! 


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Sassy as you can see, just like his ‘momma’  :) 

I found this poor guy at a rescue shelter near me – he was days away from being euthanized, the previous owners just dumped him at the pound.  He’s an older dog - about 4 they guessed – and they were having troubles finding him a home with the over abundance of puppies everybody would fawn over the moment they walked in.  Puppies?  Babies?  Is there a connection here?? 

I toyed around with a couple different names once we got him home – the shelter “mom” said the poor guy is so confused he’s been called every name in the book.  We test drove “Baerga” (Carlos), “Rocco” (Baldelli), “Nolan” (Ryan), and “Coop” (-erstown), but finally decided to stick with Chico with complete preparation for the slew of Taco Bell jokes we were certainly going to hear.

I just couldn’t resist this guy.  He’s fun and loving and happy, and I would imagine the only feeling better than rescued-dog motherhood would be real motherhood.

Until that day comes though, Chico and I will live happy ever after in our own little doggie biscuits and tennis ball-filled world.

Another Candidate for Best Memory*…

(I’d like to take a moment here to send my wishes to a baseball nation that gained three new angels at the tremendous loss to their families, friends, and teammates.  Prayers.)

In the wake of Opening Week there is always much to absorb and reflect on; will offseason moves make the impact expected?  Will last year’s stars have repeat performances, and will the duds make a comeback?  Will the new big rookie live up to the hype?  What will be the first NYY tabloid headliner of the year?

Well this season is no different, if not more so.  I spent my spring training preparing for the barage of questions us Cleveland fans would endure, full of unsettled rotations, a post-rehab lineup heart, unproven and untapped farm talent, and how a couple big names would transition from the ivy to Lake Erie.

As most of you would probably agree, this preseason seemed to drag forever, despite the WBC’s futile efforts to curb our “real baseball” appetites.  And so without further adeau, I’ll get right into my Opening Weekend story.  No need to keep ya’ll waiting any longer.

<tv timeout for me to scream, as iexplorer just froze on me again, therefore losing 1hr+ of writing>

Keeping with tradition I bought the BF opening weekend tickets for his birthday, which so conveniently for him (and me!) lands in the second week of April.  Also keeping with the tradition, we sat in our favorite seats in right field, but this year got an upgrade to Row A – front row baby!

The morning of the game we rose early and excited (think 5 year olds on Christmas) to coffee and “it’s Gameday!”s.  We layered, and layered, and layered, and smoothed the wrinkles out of our jerseys (him in a navy Hafner, me in a blank throwback) before pulling them on for the first time of ’09.

I sped mostly the entire way to Cleveland, arriving in the parking garage in record timing, which was highly unnecessary as we left quite early.  We made a pit stop at the E 9th street vendor to see what kind of goodies they had in store for us this year, but came up empty handed.  Guess we’ll have to wait for the season to get underway before they come up with anything clever.

As we stood outside the right field gate amongst the other anxious fans you could feel the excitement of a new season hovering in the atmosphere.  Or maybe that was the bone-chilling wind tunnel we were all corralled in.  Regardless, I’ll call it excitement.  When they (finally) opened the gates we all filed in, grabbed our complimentary fleece scarves (thanks Progressive), and fled to our seats.

 

DSC01014.JPGOnce we came within view of the field we were instantly disappointed to find the previous night’s rainfall sent the teams inside for BP.  Stupid Ohio.  We took the opportunity to take in the beauty of an empty, cleanly drug, ready-for-baseball stadium, and all of the promises and let downs, memories and future it holds.  Have I mentioned I love this game?

 


DSC01016.JPGIt was a gorgeous, unseasonably warm (ha, high 40′s) day, with a clear blue sky and a warm sun shining on us all game.  Things were looking good, and I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face.  Our seats were amazing, as I knew they would be, and we for once weren’t stuck sitting near a screaming kid, an obnoxious thinks-they-know-it-all, or a perpetually concourse-bound “fan” that sees no harm in making everyone stand up to get to his middle aisle seat in the middle of a pitch.  All was right in the world, and I was certain we would be part of the Tribe’s first W of the season.

Our first Tribe-interaction was not ideal.  Pavano was running laps on the warning track, and ended each run right in front of us.  I felt bad bc either a) nobody knew who he was or b) nobody likes him, so I yelled a couple well-wishes, and was adamantly ignored.  The BF yelled a couple wishes of his own, his not so supportive, as he was not impressed by Carl’s latest outting.  BF clearly falls into category b) and I quickly jumped ship.  Not performing and not acknowledging your (few) fans will not get you far in Cleveland, Carl.

 

DSC01020.JPGWe said ‘forget you dude,’ and headed over to the 3rd baseline to watch the two Raffies play catch.  Carl Willis looked on, splitting time between his former pen standouts and watching a former standout starter run off his newly acquired spare tire.

 

DSC01024.JPGBetancourt handcuffed Perez and we took a humbling moment as we watched him take off his glove and shake out his hand.  Turns out taking one off the palm hurts even the big leaguers.  Perez paid him back with a short hopper a few moments later.

 

DSC01023.JPGAs catch wound down I told the BF to yell something to try and get the ball.

the bf:  “They aren’t going to pay attention to a 25 year old guy.  You do it.”

me:  “Well they aren’t going to pay attention to me with a 25 year old guy next to me.  Go down there.”

As they got ready to run I gave a little “RAFFIE!!” and got a smile and a strike from Perez.    Turns out it’d be one of the few he’d throw this series.  After their run I tried my luck again with “RAFFIE!” and this time caught the attention of old Mr. ‘Court is in session.’  He came over and signed the warm up ball he almost took off the shins moments earlier, and I made great efforts to improve my post-Omar conversation skills:

me:  “You didn’t get him too bad did you?  We need him you know!”

RB:  “He hurt me too!”

me:  “Haha”  (Oh we need you too!  Would have probably been ideal here)  “Good luck this season”

RB:  “Thank you”  <continues signing>

At this time Perez is down a little further signing for a big group, but I am fully content with my ball and sig, since I figured my days of autograph seeking were long passed me.  And then the 12 year old pony-tailed tomboy snuck out of me, and I decided to head over to the crowd to see if I couldn’t get the full “battery” on my ball.

I climbed a few seats, but waited patiently in back and avoided trampling any small children.  I saw a little opening and siddled up to the fence, and decided if I wanted to catch him before he left I was gonna have to do more than stick my marker and ball in his face.

me:  “How’s your hand Raffie?  He get you good?”

RP:  <looks up from current autograph.  walks over and grabs my ball and marker>  “Oh it’s just too cold.”

me:  “You’ve got a good start, good luck this season!”

RP:  “Yeah, thanks.”

I head back to our post by the foul pole, careful not to smudge my Sharpied treasures.

the bf:  “Must be nice to be a pretty blonde at a baseball game…”

We head back over towards our seats, him in search for a beer and me gloating ever so slightly.  ‘It’s gonna be a good day…’ I say for the hundredth time.

We sit down at our primo VIP sunshiney seats for a few moments, and see a briggade of Cliff, Kelly, and Mr. Willis trotting towards the bullpen.  The bf and I trade glances, throw our shame and inhibitions out the window, and head over to scope out the reigning Cy Young winner from close range.

 

DSC01029.JPGI’m playing super photog and taking in all the action through the screen on my camera.  Turns out midway through warm up Cliff wanted a fresh ball, so he looked up for anyone that was paying attention, and found the bf.  Apparently being a pretty blonde pulls little weight if you’re incessantly snapping away and changing digital settings on your Sony Cybershot.  The fruits of my labor paid off though, as you can tell…

 

cliff sequence.jpgWe’ll fast forward through the game, because at this point ya’ll have heard all about the superb start my Tribe is off to, and I’m tired of analyzing and dwelling on it.  DeRosa’s 9th inning, 2 out, bases clearing double that brought us within one did well to excite the fans that were sitll around, but unfortunately we came up short again.  The silver lining is that double snapped a 1-21 skid my beloved cubbie-turned-indian was sitting in, and I was able to silence threats of dropping him from all three of my fantasy teams.  Check out those stats baby.

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So the game is over, and it’s still a beautiful day, and we’re bumming about the loss.  We again decide to go a little retro and head down to the player’s parking lot, ala 3rd grade I know, but we were having a great time and didn’t care what our inner critic thought.  I swore to myself a while ago I’d never show my face at those fences again unless it was whilst climbing into Grady’s Audi with him, but we both get a teensy thrill seeing players dressed like “real people.”

Our first close encounter was with newcomer Trevor Crowe.  It’s always unfortunate when a player gets his chance at the sake of another player’s injury, but Crowe has been making an impression regardless of the cause.  He also made quite an impression with the girls at the fence, what with his piercing green eyes and very GQ-esque jacket and denim.

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He was very pleasant, but not overly friendly.  Fair enough, we just lost and he didn’t play.  Tally up autograph #3.

I’ll quickly recap the rest of the afternoon.  A shadow crept over E. 9th and Carneige as the sun set behind the Prog…

 - The bf runs to the other side of the parking lot in hopes of getting Cliff’s sig on his warm up ball.  He succeeds.

 - Amidst the cries and screams for Victor, nobody seems to notice little Asdrubal exited with him.  I give a little yell and I’m quite certain if the bf wasn’t there, I would have left with his number.  I settled for an autograph and a pleasant conversation.  Next time, next time…

 - The next (and last) to appear at our fence is Masa Kobayashi, and at this point there are only about 10 cars left in the parking lot (including the security guards’) and 5 other people with us at this end of the lot.  I attempt a conversation with Masa about our coinciding birthdays, but due to my lackluster Japanese and his broken English, it was a supreme failure.  He tried to say something about “you… 5, me… more.”  The only deciphering we figured was that I was 5 when he started playing in the bigs?  The world may never know…

I apologize for wrapping up this post so abruptly, but due to the quite lengthy nature and the fact that I just watched the replay of today’s 10-2 routing at new Yankee stadium (** and MLBlogs timing out my session, I luckily saved midway through but still lost quite a bit.  Can we do something about the autosave feature?? **) I think it’s time to sign off.  More to come soon, the drought is hopefully over for my blogging as well as the Tribe.

On the bright side, two more wins and we’ve got a streak on our hands!  :)

 

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Fastball, Curveball, Snowball?

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Wait, we’re supposed to have baseball here in three days?

“Injury Delay” = anxiety attack.

Know what I DON’T like seeing while trying to watch the game on Gameday at work with no live television coverage?

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Talk about feeling helpless.  Instant anxiety attack.

Opening Day!!!

I mean, it wouldn’t be a season opener without a little snowfall in Cleveland…  Lucky the boys are looking at mid-50s and sunny in Arlington for the big game today.

All I care about though is that this stays this way:

Sat Apr 11

Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy

47°

 

I’ll be on GameTracker keeping tabs while at work today – these early start games are killing me! 

Good Luck boys, and Happy Baseball Season to all you fans out there!

Can life get any better??

Sooo much has happened over the past week and a half and I am beyond ashamed that it has taken this long for me to give you all an update.  From the bottom of my heart MLBloggers, I am sorry.

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109 Row A

Either somebody has been watching over and blessing my every move these past couple days, or StubHub lets some really dumb people sell on their site.  Either way, on Saturday of Opening Weekend I will be camped out in my favorite section (109 – right field just before the angle of the seats turn) in the FRONT ROW.  It’s likely Choo (or Francisco, or Carroll, or Garko, or Crowe…) and I will be BFFs by the end of the game since we will be in such close proximity every half inning.  My excitement is inexpressable.  The only thing that could make this situation any better is if it was the Friday Opener, but due to my NEW JOB (reference memo:)  I will unfortunately not be able to attend the 4 oclock game.  Also, a guarantee that we will not get snowed out would be grand (a la 2007, which we had tickets to as well, same section, NOT row A…) ((p.p.s. we sat in 109 last year also – fyi after three times it’s officially a streak.))

Anyways the doubl-y great news about these fabulous tickets is that the crazy person that put them up for sale on StubHub must have been blissfully unaware of the magnificence of these seats and only marked them up $2 from face value.  I wish StubHub disclosed personal information, as I would like to send a large bouquet of expensive blooms to this divine soul with the money I would have potentially paid for these tickets.  (Easily double.)

Fantasy Draft

This will be my third year playing in a Yahoo Fantasy league, and I have been notoriously unsuccessful despite my thorough research and planning (I am an Excel nerd freak of nature).  I’m not completely satisfied with this year’s draft, but I think it went alright.  Apparently I have some subconscious connection with the Pirates, possibly I feel bad for them and want to support the only decent players they actually have(/had) through fantasy management?  I’m not sure.  But overall I think I’ve got a good balance of big bats, on base guys, and a couple speedsters for the overlooked SB category.  Also, a couple versatile players pretty much ensure I’ll have a near-complete roster for every game.  (Sean, if you’re reading, I know you’re laughing.  I still like him -  MVP 2009, in my opinion.) 

C   Ryan Doumit

1B Adam Dunn

2B Mark DeRosa

3B Casey Blake

SS José Reyes

OF Nate McLouth

OF Ryan Ludwick

OF Xavier Nady

Util Brad Hawpe

BN José López

 

Can’t complain about my P’s – took a couple risks with some guys coming off bad years, one that didn’t find it necessary to get off the couch during the off season, and stacked up on probably one more closer than was necessary, but who knows whether Mármol will be able to hang at the end of the pen.  But, I have faith.  And I take great pride in not relying solely on the $ rankings or using AutoDraft.  

 

SP Tim Lincecum

SP Javier Vázquez

SP Matt Garza

SP Fausto Carmona

SP Armando Galarraga

SP Jair Jurrjens

RP Francisco Rodríguez

RP Carlos Mármol

RP Kerry Wood

RP Fernando Rodney

RP Aaron Heilman

 

Cavs tix

Speaking of my wonderful new job that is not only propelling me into the “real world” but also expanding my wardrobe at an exponential rate, I got a wonderful welcoming surprise the other day.  My company and our parent company are very supportive of Cleveland sports (which is a HUGE plus – a single Terrible Towel hangs in the whole place, and you better believe they hear about it everyday) and they routinely have drawings for the game tickets that are not being expensed to clients or the corp big shots.  (Apparently there are 3 different sets of Tribe season tickets that are floating around the co, including club seats and somewhere in the 160′s <home dugout>, just waiting for me to get my hands on them!)

So it was my third day on the job, nearing end of day, when someone stopped by and dropped two tickets on my desk for that night’s Cavs game.

me: “Nuh uh.”

coworker: “Yep, have fun”

me: “I won??”

coworker:  “… yes.”

me: “Really?”

coworker: “Yes. You won.”

me: <stupid grin slowly spreads across my face and I gingerly reach for tickets> “Wow, I’ve never won anything before… OMG these seats are amazing!  I really won??? <coworker slowly departs from the vicinity of my cubicle>  Gosh this is awesome, it’s only my third day!  Are you sure this isn’t a joke? <said to nobody, since there is no longer anyone standing at my cube>  Wow, I’ve got to find somebody to go with me…  Uhh I can’t believe this!…”

 



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We sat front row (tons of leg room!) not ON the court, but the first level off the ground.  I was jonesin’ for a soft pretzel, but couldn’t pass up the middle eastern plate with hummus and pitas when the server came around.  I’ll tell you what, premium seating sure is convenient and nice as a little treat, but its definitely a whole different game experience.  Obviously I can’t complain about free tix, but we were hoping for some ThunderStix and got tired of the snooty looks we got everytime we stood up to cheer.

(memo: we also had a great view of the ‘RMR’ portion of Lebron’s marketing company, LRMR, who along with the King himself make up the legendary “Four Horsemen”)

CSU Mens’ bball

The Nederlanders (said in an over-exaggerated Dutch accent) over the power house Dominican Republic wasn’t the only upset in the wide world of sports yesterday.  Unknown to virtually anybody outside of the upper midwest, the Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship has been invading Indianapolis where the Butler Bulldogs have been planning a repeat of their 2008 NCAA Sweet 16 appearance.  Their season-long Top25 ranking posted them as the at-large favorite, so Cleveland Sate’s 57-54 upset blind-sided pretty much everybody, and they are currently sitting pretty waiting on their seeding.

*memo to March Madness bracketeers:  you heard it here first, CSU is this year’s Cinderella team.  I’ll accept thank you’s and small gifts when each of you win your pools due to the unforseen upset* 

Half Mar training

Still going strong.  Hit the double digit mark (10 miles!) last weekend and could not have been more proud of myself.  As the weather starts making a turn for the better (every other day it seems) the next challenge will be to prep my legs and lungs for the biting-cold salt-water air that is awaiting me up on the lake.  I also finally decided on a new pair of running shoes (MAJOR decision making process) and will begin breaking those in tonight so they are ready for the race. 

 


shoe.jpgThe new Nike Air Max Moto 6′s – I had the 5′s and was absolutely smitten with them.  These are from the Livestrong collection, and I have a matching shirt that I will be wearing to the race.  I’m running for a cause, y’all!

 

Alright, I feel much better now that I’ve gotten all of that off my chest and updated all of you avid readers (ha.)  Still counting down to when baseball is finally back in Cleveland – until then I’ll be living off Spring Training updates here, here, here, and here.  Go Tribe!

Memo:

For those of you that were concerned, rest easy.  I’m still alive.  I got a new job *yay!* and have been busy adapting, learning, and shopping for an updated business professional wardrobe :)

ST = wonderful.  sigh…

WBC = still on the fence.  anticipating action to decide if i’m def. pro or against.

Grady = if you stay on this rate of one injury per three seasons, I think you (and we) will be alright.

Half Marathon = still going strong!

Yankee Years = haven’t picked it up in honestly a week.  That could be a testimonial for my hectic schedule, or the suckiness of the book.  I haven’t figured out which yet.

St****ds = if anybody caught the Inside the Lines special ( I did not ) about Paul Lo Duca’s trainer/supplier of all things performance enhancing, he is a <former?> MMA fighter/trainer/”local celebrity” of my lovely past hometown of Youngstown, OH – may him, Boom Boom Mancini, and Omarosa (The Apprentice) continue the infamous legacy of that God-forsaken city for many years to come.

Snippets and synopses – a running take on ST Opener

The Baseball Gods are giving us a good omen – it’s above freezing in Cleveland on Opening Day.  Highly unlikely in February.  Or March, or April…

 -

I’ve got my “Nachos” (tostitos and salsa) and “Bee-er Hee-re” (out of an authentic ’95 game day cup) ((yes, I was a cup-monger at one point in my days)), and am seriously thinking of going outside to fire up the grill and throw some “Stadium Franks” on.  I know there’s some stadium mustard around here somewhere… 

-

Likely to be the story all season – shaky on the mound, defense gets out of inning.  The offensive potential we have better live up to its terms, at least three out of every five days. 

“Now it’s Grady and the Gang coming up next…” 

-

I hate Aaron Rowand.  You have a stupid stance and look like Splinter from TMNT.

-

I want to hate Lincecum, but I don’t.  What a freak of nature.  Gotta love a little guy that can pack a punch, though.

-

Hafner is apparently adopting a “line drive approach” this season.  Excuse me?  You don’t get the name Pronk hitting line drives.  Unless you’re hitting them through the outfield walls.

Garko, field 2 for baserunning drills.

-

Francisco, you can join him.

-

Welcome to the team DeRosa.  You have earned your keep.

-

Holy Ishikawa.  Can I get a distance on that ball?

Ugh, while you’ve got the tape measure out, can you get his second one for me too?  Ouch.

-

I’m guessing Matt and Rick were the voices of reason behind the newly added names and numbers on the back of the ST jerseys.  With all the substitutions and MiLB-ers being tossed in the lineup, how’re they to really know who’s up to bat from the announcers’ booth?  Plus, they’re getting up there in years and all that tanning is likely to be killing some of Rick’s brain cells, they need all the assistance they can get.

-

I’m definitely not complaining, but I’m kind of wondering if the Ad Sales team at STO is all on vacation?  Commercial break just featured a 6 for 6 sweep of Indians views, including two different “Are you IN the Tribe?”, two for Bruce Drennan’s (don’t get me started) Division Rival 6-Pack, and a couple STO sponsored highlight reels.  Loving it, your weekly sales meeting mgr will probably not

-

It’s apparent the young guys are here to prove themselves, and they are out for blood.  Love to see a couple “Charlie Hustle”s on the field.

-

I’m curious to see how far a well-hit bunt would travel in this AZ air.  Can I get a push bunt with a little loft on it from someone?  I’m really curious…

-

Well obviously a 10-7 loss, albeit exciting till the last out, isn’t ideal.  But I feel pleasantly satisfied with the baseball smorgasbord I just partook in.  Metaphorical comfort food for a starved fan never tasted so good.

 

… We have baseball!

“Sower’s first pitch in the brand new ballpark is a called strike.”

Seasonal Affective Disorder is officially cured.

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