Tag: Jerry Manuel

New York Mets: What the Mets Need To Do in the Offseason

Ever since I started following baseball and pretty much all four major sports, my favorite team has been the New York Mets. Why? I have no idea. But I have never been more disappointed with the Mets than the 2010 season. They have had so many bad memories and so few good ones.

The Mets have to make changes in the offseason and it starts off when Jeff Wilpon fires both Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel. These two alone have been absolutely awful for the franchise. Here is a list of the good players Minaya has gotten:

Johan Santana

Carlos Beltran and Delgado

Paul Lo Duca

Billy Wagner

That’s it. Now let’s look at the bad:

Luis Castillo

Oliver Perez

John Maine

JJ Putz

K-Rod (could go either way)

Kazuo Matsui

And there are plenty more. Omar has been brutal to the Mets over the past six seasons with having only one good season in 2006.

Now you can’t really blame Jerry for everything he has done. These are the players he has to work with. But you can blame him for a lot of things, whether it’s pulling Johan Santana out too early or bringing in the wrong guy from the bullpen. They have to make a managerial change whether it’s Joe Torre, Bobby V, or Wally Backman…Jerry has to go.

Next, get rid of either Beltran, David Wright, or Jose Reyes. I like all three of them and they try hard…not every night but most nights. Obviously they haven’t done anything together since 2006, and it has messed up the Mets’ chemistry. Of the three, I’d rather see Beltran go because, since his surgery, he has done nothing.

Next, get rid of Perez and Castillo. Probably the two worst moves Omar has ever made was signing these two god-awful players.

They can’t do anything right and none of them has had one good game. The Mets have good young pitching in the minors and Ruben Tejada can fill in the second base slot, even though I would want to see a more experienced player.

Next, keep the young guys up. Tejada, Josh Thole, Ike Davis, and Jon Niese. Give Jenrry Mejia more time in the minors.

And finally, get a new closer. K-Rod is screwed.

Here is a list of free agents I would love to see the Mets go after:

Cliff Lee

Aaron Miles

Carl Crawford

Magglio Ordonez or Jayson Werth

Ted Lilly

Jake Westbrook

Rafael Soriano 

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Breaking a Promise

I usually keep my promises and I think I did a good job on this one but I have finally broken down and decided it was time to make my comments about my beloved New York Mets.

The promise was a simple one I made in Spring Training because of the major conflict I was having about my rooting status for this team. You see, I spent the entire 2009 season bashing the manager of this God forsaken club, Jerry Manuel, because, although he might be a great guy and a wonderful manager to play for, I really believe he may be, along with Art Howe, one of the worst managers not only in Mets history, but in all of baseball.

I spent article after article clearly pointing out his misuse of the pitchers, his inability to make a starting lineup where players would find themselves playing everyday, and most importantly, his in game decisions that have cost the Mets no fewer than 10 games last year, and subsequently, at least that many or more this year.

My promise however has not stopped me from watching every single game they’ve played this year from the first pitch until the last one but also attending road games in San Diego, LA, San Francisco, Phoenix, Colorado, and Philadelphia. I will not let anyone tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to the Mets.

Manuel must share the blame of this team’s failure to be consistent and win on a regular basis. Omar Minaya, hopefully in his last year as the General Manager, has once again shown that he reacts to situations rather than take the initiative and make decisions regarding players prior to the disasters that happen constantly to this team.

I’m not going to rehash what should have been done after the fact because that has already been beaten to death by more qualified writers than myself. I’d like to address what to do from this point of the season with less than 30 games left to play.

Time has run out on both Manuel and Minaya. Why bother to let them finish the season? Do they deserve to? I think not. If John Ricco is or is not the new Mets GM for next year, give him the interim title right now. It’s not that he could do anything in the final 3 weeks of the season anyway, but it would give him a head start on the winter meetings and the hot stove arena which he will be thrust into. If he’s not the man for the job, it’s no big deal as a title means nothing if you’re not able to accomplish anything anyway.

They should say “bye, bye” to Jerry as well. Lets bring Wally Backman or anybody else to be the interim manager. My reasoning for this is that we have brought the main club our top players from AA and AAA for this final run to nowhere, and personally I’d rather have anybody else for their induction into the big leagues than Jerry Manuel.

In addition to those two firings, (finally) I would shut down, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, and Johan Santana immediately. Reyes and Santana are easy ones. They are still hurt to some degree and despite their competitiveness, they are susceptible to re-injury more than any other player on the team. As for Beltran I’m not as concerned for him to re-injure himself, as I am to see what some of the new guys can show during the final weeks of the season. Besides, Beltran must be made accountable for waiting so long to have the surgery on his leg, thus keeping him out for the first half of the season. He is a lame duck center fielder for the Mets next year unless he decides he will need to play his ass off in his final contract year. Having the next three weeks off should give him something to think about for the winter.

Maybe somebody should make the decision on Bobby Parnell one way or the other. He’s either your full time closer or he’s not. Make up your mind already. For me, if I have a guy who hits triple figures on the radar gun, I want him as my closer. That why Bard will be the closer in Boston next year and Papelbon will be pitching somewhere else.

A number of things are for certain. Attendance is way down and you can’t blame that only on the economy. We could have had Halladay and we chose the wrong guy. Enough money could have kept us Billy Wagner who would have been our 8th inning answer and the replacement when Francisco went bazonkers on his girlfriend’s father. Castillo should have been released and Jenrry Mejia should have spent the entire year learning how to start in AAA, but I promised not to dwell on the past.

Do I feel 2011 could be a turning point year? Well maybe a little. I see 2012 being the year we will actually be back in the hunt. Next year our new manager and GM will have to be on the same page, and the ownership who has spent money foolishly needs to lock up their key players, and show confidence in their personnel and try to sell the team so we can stop hearing about the money Madoff cost them. How about Mark Cuban? Now he would be a breath of fresh air and we would have a championship flag flying above Citi Field.

Vegas Rich is officially back!

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For New York Mets, Change of Seasons Means Change in Front Office

Every spring, it is the same scenario. As the leaves bud into a beautiful, green bloom and thoughts of spring renew hopes of glory, there comes a revitalization of interest from each fan.

If hope springs eternal, then for the New York Mets, autumn is where those hopes die.

Throughout the scorching summer months that follow the resurgence of life in spring, the team keeps their chances alive and their fans’ interest piqued. However, as the leaves wither away into a cold, shriveled shell of their former selves, they begin to gracefully fall to the ground.

So with the change of the season, the visions of grandeur change into delusions as the team also withers away into irrelevancy.

As players begin to fall one by one, some in not-so-elegant fashion and others float into another team’s backyard, one thing is clear: The chances grow more dim by the hour. As the seasons begin to change, so the baseball season has already done so; both have changed into an icy, cold and still demise. The eerie quiet of winter will be upon us much sooner than we anticipate.

Just as the change in seasons is inevitable, it is equally so for the Mets.

There will be change. This current management cannot withstand the awesome weight of multiple collapses and multimillion dollar busts much longer before it buckles under the enormous pressure. The one carrying the brunt of the weight is GM Omar Minaya.

How much longer can he sustain the scrutiny and weight of the future on his shoulders?

To read the rest of this article, click here.

For more from this author or on the New York Mets, please visit Mets Gazette



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MLB Rumors: Joe Torre To The Mets? Close Sources Expect So

A new question arises in New York. “How hot is the seat, Mr. Manuel?”

The season is starting to take a turn and head toward that final stretch, but some teams are already out of contention and could be looking into the future of their ball club.

The Mets could be one of these teams as things looked bright a bit early in the Summer, but have since taken a turn for the worse. The pitching has become weak and the bats are frozen. Players like Johan Santana and Carlos Beltran do not have the same look of dominance every time that they take the field.

When the blame game begins, the finger can be pointed at Jerry Manuel. Manuel has been given a bad reception at Citi Field several times lately. His head is definitely on the chopping block if the Mets fail to do anything in September.

Omar Minaya should not be too confident as he could be on his way out of town too. But before he goes, he might be hired to make an important move concerning Jerry Manuel. 

The hiring of Joe Torre for the New York Mets could be the swan song for Omar Minaya.

Jayson Stark of ESPN has been tracking the possible future destinations for Joe Torre and a friend believes he will either retire or stay in California. But a few Major League Baseball executives have been led to believe that the current Dodgers skipper might make a return to Flushing, New York.

Joe Torre was a lot younger when he was last in a Mets uniform. He was the skipper for five years and was never able to compile a winning season. Things were definitely a lot better in the Bronx for him.

Joe Torre has been welcomed warmly the last few times he was in New York against the Mets. That could also just be a ton of Yankee fans going to the game to see their former skipper make a special appearance in the Big Apple.

Torre will announce his plans for next year after the season ends for the Dodgers. If it ends with a World Series win, he could choose to ride off into the sunset a winner one last time. The other option is pull a Phil Jackson and try and win another one.

He would inherit a team that could use a few young faces. They have Ike Davis, a legitimate contender for the Rookie of the Year Award. In the starting rotation stands a man that the Yankees let get away for Torre in Johan Santana. People like David Wright and Jose Reyes are all too familiar due to the many Subway Series that Torre was a part of.

A New York Mets hiring of Joe Torre would definitely not be the worst thing that could possibly happen to the team. The worst could actually be giving the power over in an Isiah Thomas manner where Omar Minaya would be manager and a big shot in the front office. They should try and avoid that disaster.

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The New York Mets’ ‘He’s Great, but No Bat’ Debate

We have all heard the old adage “defense wins championships”. This may or may not be true. That depends on who you ask. I could run the numbers of any sport and present an argument that would hold water against anyone to back that up. But the truth is, offense puts people in the seats.

It really doesn’t matter what sport you mention. People want to see scoring. They also want to see defense, but not at the risk of neglecting offense. The New York Mets have pondered this very question for several years. I recall in the mid to late 90’s and early this decade, the Mets had a player that sparked the debate, Rey Ordonez.

He was a three-time gold glove winner at shortstop for the Mets. During his time in Queens, he never hit for a higher batting average than the .257 in his rookie season. His most explosive home run season was in 2001 when he hit three. He never was a base stealer either. His highest total there was 11 in ’97.

Yet, everyone wanted him in the lineup for his glove. When his defensive skills started failing him, he was chased out of New York. While here, the debate raged on, anemic offense and solid defense or potentially solid offense and mediocre at very best defense. I bring Ordonez up because, these days the same debate is brewing at second base.

Just about everyone hates Luis Castillo. In fact, Carlos Mencia could make that into a WB show to rival Everybody Hates Chris. It is certainly a hot topic these days. What to do with Luis? Trade him? Cut him? Play him? Bench him? His range and defensive skills have been under question for quite a while now.

The intense scrutiny of which has caused even Jerry Manuel to play rookie Ruben Tejada in his place. Tejada is the quintessential example of poor offensive skills that wields a great glove. He is batting .191 as of the time of this article. By the time it is published, that may plummet even further.

In comparison, Castillo was obtained for offense and experience. Now, his glove has become such a detriment, that he is riding the bench with his massive contract. However, his current .245 batting average does not make it worth keeping him in the lineup when his glove is so suspect. But when looking at his career, he does have greater offensive potential than Tejada.

They released Alex Cora, who was just the same mold as Tejada, in that he can’t hit but has a good glove. So it is down to two players as options. It is sad that this is the state of the team. They are forced to decide between an old player that is hitting .245, or a young player that is hitting .191 and it is disheartening as a fan.

The only reason Castillo is still in the discussion is due to his contract. He is currently making $6.25M this season. That’s too much money to have on the bench or in the minors. If he was making $1M or $2M, then there would not be a debate. He would have been cut long ago. That would have made financial room for the team to sign or trade for a better option at the position.

So once again, it comes down to the front office. The team is in this bind because they failed to have the foresight to not trade for Castillo in ’07. He was getting older then and he is decrepit and ancient now. They traded for him when he was declining. That lack of vision has crippled them this season and for the next few to come.

In other words, the team is in this position to have to choose bad or worse because they put themselves in that position. The immediate future is not so bright with these options. Though Tejada is young, he really does not seem to have figured out how to hit at the major league level.

Finances being what they are, however, these are the options for the next year or more. So the debate will rage on, but with these players struggling more and more at the plate, the lack of offense will have to force the Mets‘ hand to make some type of move for someone in the off season.

Though the experts all say they will not be able to spend, empty seats will make them at some point. After all, if defense wins championships and offense fills the stands, then the fans will eventually dictate the direction of this team.

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Out With the Old, In With the New: 10 Likely Offseason MLB Managerial Changes

The 2010 MLB offseason definitely will be known as one of the busiest in terms of managerial moves and firings. Some the of the games best might call it quits and it will certainly be the end of an era in baseball. 

We’ve already had a pair of managers who seem very much safe in the Royals’ Ned Yost and Orioles’ Buck Showalter.

Come Opening Day 2011, we will have seen a 60 percent of the managers from the 2010 Opening Day, an amazing and shocking drop from 40 percent. 

The offseason will feature many moves and hirings that will be the start of new eras in ball clubs around baseball and here are those managers on the fringe:

Begin Slideshow

Errors End New York Mets’ Season

The Mets have an uncanny ability to not rise to the occasion.

Good teams find ways to win and bad teams, like the Mets, find ways to lose. Although, Mets fans can’t pretend they didn’t know this was coming. 

In probably the most important game so far this year (in terms of attempting to make the rest of August relevant) the Mets never showed up. They did not field (four errors including three infield errors in one inning), they did not hit (per usual), and of course they did not pitch (Mike Pelfrey was on the mound).

Pelf has been awful since his stellar start.

I mean he has been beyond awful. At no point in his last few starts has he given the Mets anything to work with. It seems like every time he steps onto the rubber the Mets have already spotted the other team at least three runs. The Amazins will have to score runs to stay in the game, something they can’t really do.

Jerry Manuel deserves his share of blame. Let’s jump to the fifth inning…two outs, men on the corners with Brian McCann at the plate, who at that point was lifetime 14-33 against Pelfrey, and Manuel decides to leave his struggling starter on the mound. McCann of course doubled and effectively ended the Mets’ season.

This team was flat out not ready to play. Even golden boy David Wright flopped. He has this new thing about sidearm throwing to second which cost the Mets an all important double play. Jose Reyes look unfocused committing two errors himself.

In fact, the only Mets player who looked ready to play was Luis Castillo and that is not a good thing.

Now, as a Mets fan, you learn to never give up because, well life as a Mets fan is spent with the odds stacked against you. We have Phillies next, then Colorado, and the Phillies again after that. That is no easy schedule, but of course there is always hope.

We have to win each series and hope the Braves lose. There is no more room for games like last night. If the Mets want to play games that matter in August and September (forget October), then they have to win now. 

With another disappointing winter staring the Mets in the face, they have to turn it around today.

Will they? Of course not, it’s the Mets.

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MLB Sets Bad Example By Suspending Jerry Manuel

Jerry Manuel’s one game suspension is over and done with, and the Mets won the game in which he was not on the bench. Yet, I still have a major problem with the fact that Manuel was suspended and fined by the MLB in the first place. 

Manuel was ejected from a game versus the Dodgers in Los Angeles on July 20, and was handed the suspension a week later from the MLB. Apparently, the brim of his cap brushed the cap of the umpire Doug Eddings. 

I completely understand the MLB’s point of view that they need to exert their authority, and prevent run-ins between managers and umpires. Yet, in this instance the MLB is wrong for suspending Manuel.

During that game, Manuel was arguing a blown call. It was a critical call too. A run would have scored and extended the inning, with the next batter coming to the plate with runners on first and third. Yet, Eddings missed the call, and Manuel justifiably came out to argue.

Sure, the brim of his cap may have accidentally touched the brim of Eddings cap, but Manuel would not have even been out there in the first place had Eddings not blown the call.

With all that has gone on this summer, we’re learning more and more that umpires and referees are far from perfect. But you just can’t suspend a manager for arguing a call that an umpire got wrong. You just can’t.

To me, suspending Manuel is sending an awfully wrong message. In essence, the MLB is saying to the umps, “Don’t worry if you blow a call, we got your back”. It’s telling managers to think twice about going out and arguing a call, even if they are right and the umpire is wrong.

Just the week before, the Mets had another run in with an ump Phil Cuzzi, who let his temper show after missing a strike call and the Mets’ bench and closer Francisco Rodriguez reacted (Cuzzi also missed another critical play at the plate, but that’s beside the point.) Cuzzi was wrong, the Mets reacted, and then Cuzzi overreacted. Yet, there was no discipline for Cuzzi’s actions. 

The point is, there cannot be a double standard. Umpiring errors are proving to be a part of the game now more than ever. But if umps screw up, managers are justified to argue with them. If the MLB decides to discipline managers for arguing with umps, especially when they are right, they are defending the umps and sending a drastically wrong message.

I would hope that by now, the MLB would learn, but I guess not. Hopefully, this was just an isolated incident. But if managers continue to get disciplined for arguing blown calls, it’s going to be a slippery slope. 

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Mets End West Coast Trip Like It Started: Scoreless Innings Streak

LOS ANGELES—For the fourth time on the 11-game West Coast trip—that the Mets ended 2-9 today—the Mets got shut out. For the third time on the trip, the Mets enter a prolonged scoreless innings streak.

After starting the trip scoreless over 24 innings, the Mets end the trip going 16 innings without scoring a run.

They had R.A. Dickey on the mound, and he did all he could do to keep the Mets in the game. Just like in his previous two starts, and like with any other Mets pitcher, no run support was given.

Dickey was in the middle of pitching perhaps the greatest game of his career into the sixth inning. He had thrown just about 70 pitches, with 55 thrown for strikes, two outs into the sixth inning, having given up only two hits.

He began the inning tripping awkwardly on the mound after throwing a pitch, and that resulted in a trip to the mound by Jerry Manuel and trainer Mike Herbst.

After he threw some warmup pitches and stayed in the game, he retired the first two batters of the inning.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel noticed that he was trying to “protect” his leg while making a throw to first on a comebacker, and therefore went out to the mound once again.

After a rather heated exchange between Dickey and both Manuel and Herbst, and even the home plate umpire, Dickey was pulled from the game, with the game still scoreless. He walked back towards the dugout mumbling to himself and anyone around him, as he couldn’t qualify for the win.

His frustration was probably also due in part to the lack of run support. The Mets couldn’t do anything offensively yet again, although they did record seven hits against Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw.

The Mets’ biggest threat came in the seventh, when they had two men on for Josh Thole. Just like Luis Castillo on Saturday, Thole hit into a double play on the first pitch of the at-bat to end the inning.

Dickey was relieved in the sixth by Raul Valdes, who gave the Mets another clean inning of work.

Manny Acosta retired the final batter in the seventh before handing it off to Pedro Feliciano in the eighth.

After retiring the lefty leadoff hitter, he allowed a single to the righty Casey Blake. Two batters later, he allowed an extra-base hit to righty Russell Martin.

Carlos Beltran couldn’t cleanly field the ball in left-center, allowing Blake to score from first, giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.

In the ninth, Dodgers’ manager Joe Torre brought in rookie Kenley Jansen to close. Jansen had looked extremely impressive in his Major League debut on Saturday, and he looked even better today, flying by the Mets’ Nos. 4-6 hitters to earn his first career save.

The Mets finished their second-worst road trip in franchise history, 2-9, and got shut out for a fourth time on a single road trip for the first time in team history.

They hit .196 as a team in the 11 games, and suffered six one-run losses. They now fall to only one game over .500 at 50-49 on the season, and they will begin a six-game home stand against the Cardinals and Diamondbacks on Tuesday.

During the 11-game trip, the Mets used 11 different lineups. They will try to find some way to use Citi Field to their advantage, in front of what is expected to be a small crowd on this homestand. Jon Niese will face rookie Jaime Garcia to open things up against the St. Louis Cardinals.

NL East standings (top 3 teams)

Atlanta 57-41
Philadelphia 52-46 (5 games back)
NY Mets 50-49 (7 1/2 games back)

Next series probable pitchers:

July 27
New York: Jon Niese (2010: 6-4, 3.54 ERA) vs. St. Louis: Jaime Garcia (2010: 9-4, 2.21 ERA)

July 28
New York: Hisanori Takahashi (2010: 7-5, 4.52 ERA) vs. St. Louis: Adam Wainwright (2010: 14-5, 1.94 ERA)

July 29
New York: Johan Santana (2010: 8-5, 2.79 ERA) vs. St. Louis: Jeff Suppan (2010: 0-6, 6.18 ERA)

Upcoming schedule:

New York Mets:
July 27-29 vs. St. Louis Cardinals
July 30-August 1 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

St. Louis Cardinals:
July 27-29 @ New York Mets
July 30-August 1 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

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Ho! Ho! Ho! Jerry Manuel’s Gotta Go…and Omar Minaya Too

Generally, I am not one to blame managers for a team’s performance.  Mets fans have wanted Jerry Manuel’s head since he was hired in 2008.  

His even-keeled, sometimes humorous attitude about the ebbs and flows of a Major League season is, quite frankly, the way a manager ought to perceive the marathon that is a baseball season, but it has often rubbed Mets’ fans, who live and die with every pitch, the wrong way.

Mets’ fans are a strange breed.  They have “seen some stuff,” to paraphrase a colloquialism.  Epic collapses and playoff berths lost by a single game have caused this team’s fanbase to look at every single game and every single managerial decision and at-bat within that game as Game Seven of the World Series.

Manuel can’t afford to look at it that way.  He needs to look at the season as a marathon and keep his cool under pressure.

Manuel has achieved that, so what is my problem with him?  My problem is that Manuel needs to feel that way internally but not let that feeling rub off on his players.

Up until the week before the All-Star break, Manuel had achieved that.  His players hustled, played hard, were team-first guys, and took the game seriously.  

Since the All-Star break, it has been the opposite.  Stories are starting to come out that demonstrate that Manuel is losing control of this team, and that is when a manager has to go.

Over the course of 162 games, any manager will make mistakes.  He will make bad decisions that cost the team games and bad decisions that inexplicably work out. Those are never the reasons to fire a manager.  

A manager, like a school teacher who is in charge of the behavior of his or her students, is in charge of the behavior of his players, and that is the area where Manuel is falling short.

As his team has entered an epic downswing, there are three things that have occurred that should cause Manuel’s prompt dismissal:

First, when Manuel was asked about this road trip, Manuel said, 

“We felt coming on this trip that the one good thing about this trip is that it’s early enough in the second-half schedule that if it’s what it is, we still feel we have a good enough team and enough time to overcome that.”   

So the team should feel like it is defeated before the trip even started?  Mission accomplished Jerry, good job. 

Second, after the team’s second game in Arizona, there was laughter in the clubhouse. Alex Cora, one of the team’s leaders, exploded that the Diamondbacks had just “stuck it up their [ expletive].”

But here is the problem: Can you really blame the laughter Alex?  Jerry Manuel laughs after every loss in his postgame interview.  The team is simply taking on the persona of its manager, laughing and shrugging off losses.  

Finally, take a look at Jeff Francoeur. He was praised all year as a team-first guy by Jerry Manuel, and just look at what has happened this week.  When Frenchy was asked about his role, was he team-first?  Here are his comments:

“If there was an opportunity to play more somewhere else, that would be great…I love it here, but if they decide to go in a different direction, I would be happy to play somewhere else.”

Well, I am sure glad Francoeur is comfortable enough to go to the media say he would be happy to play somewhere else.  Do you think one of Lou Piniella’s, Joe Girardi’s, or Joe Torre’s players would say that? 

I am not so sure, and that is the problem: profound comfort as a losing New York Met. Jerry’s relaxed atmosphere has rubbed off, just like in a classroom where a teacher let’s everything go and the kids run wild.  Francouer should have had that conversation with Manuel privately.  

The Mets need a manager who will make things a little more uncomfortable right now and who will try to re-light the fire.

As for Omar Minaya, he needs to be fired as well.  It simply isn’t reasonable to allow a general manager who has never won anything but a division title to hire his third manager.  


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