Goodbye, Tim Wakefield

by Shaun

Tim Wakefield wasn’t the best pitcher of his era nor is he very likely to make the Hall of Fame.  But Wakefield is one of the most interesting players of the last 20 years.

Start with the fact that he was drafted as a first baseman by the Pirates in 1988.  After posting a lower slugging percentage (.308) than his unimpressive on-base percentage (.328) his first professional season in low-A, and during an even worse second pro season (.216/.255/.330), the Pirates’ organization tried him on the mound.

He posted a 3.40 ERA in 18 games that season, 1989, and gave up hitting for good during in time for the 1990 season and beyond.  That season, his first full season as a pitcher, he posted a 4.73 ERA but struck out 6 batters per 9 innings.  The Pirates liked what they saw and promoted him to Double-A in 1991.  He worked his way up to Triple-A that season and was in the majors on July 31, 1992.

In 13 major league games during the 1992 season, he posted a 2.15 ERA.  He also won two postseason games, throwing complete games in each of those two starts in the NLCS against the Braves.  For fans of the knuckleball, it was the most exciting year since Phil Niekro retired.

In 1993, however, Wakefield’s knuckler lost its flutter.  In the majors that season, he ended up with a 5.61 ERA and the Pirated demoted him to Double-A.  He didn’t fare much better there, posting an ERA of 6.99 in 9 starts.  It seemed the magic was possibly over.  In 1994, he stayed in Triple-A, never getting a call from the big club thanks to a 5.84 ERA.

The Pirates released Wakefield in April of 1995 and the Boston Red Sox signed him six days later.  After just four games in Pawtucket, the Sox called him back to the majors, and he took full advantage of the new lease on his baseball life.  In 27 starts he posted a 2.95 ERA.  In Roger Clemens’s last season with the Sox, Wakefield was the best pitcher on the staff.

From 1995 to 2009 Wakefield never posted an ERA+ under 93.  In 12 of those 15 seasons, he posted an ERA+ over 100.  His ERA+ over that span was 110, averaging 181 innings a season.

Durability is not shocking for a knuckleballer, as the knuckleball obviously puts less strain on an arm than fastballs and sliders.  And while he really only had two or three of noticeably above-average seasons (in 1995 he posted a 165 ERA+, in 2002 he posted a 162 ERA+ and in 2002 he threw 225 1/3 better-than-average innings), he never really had a season much below league average over a span of 15 seasons.

Wakefield would be a poster child for a baseball Hall of Famous or a Hall of Interesting.  Unlike fellow knuckleballer Phil Niekro, who was the best pitcher in his league a couple of times and was one of the top ten pitchers in his league 11 times (according to Baseball-Reference’s wins above replacement), Wakefield seemingly had to grind out a quality big league career.  After failing as a professional hitter, he made it as a pitcher with the most unique pitch in the game, failed, then came back strong to pitch 17 more major league seasons.

Baseball was a more fascinating game over the last 20 years because of Tim Wakefield.

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266 Responses to “Goodbye, Tim Wakefield”

  1. Jim Says:

    Wake had a nice career and is beloved among RS fans. He’s a good and decent man who has contributed to the community, may the next stage of his life be as fulfilling has his last.

  2. Raul Says:

    Mike Cameron retired.

  3. Cameron Says:

    Mike Cameron’s career BA is .249. I thought it was higher than that.

  4. Raul Says:

    (waits for long post about how Mike Cameron was underrated and BA doesn’t mean anything)

    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/02/19/mike-cameron-well-entrenched-in-the-hall-of-very-good/

    ….fuck me.

  5. Cameron Says:

    …Fuckers stole my Hall of Very Good name!

  6. Chuck Says:

    Mike Cameron’s career WAR is higher than Kirby Puckett’s.

  7. Raul Says:

    Hahahahahahahahahahahaha @ Chuck

  8. John Says:

    But his batting average was lower…AND GOSHDARNIT, THAT’S WHAT MATTERS.

  9. Shaun Says:

    Raul, Cameron was underrated mostly because of defense and the fairly solid offense he provided from centerfield.

    Chuck, Cameron’s career WAR is higher because he played 17 seasons to Puckett’s 12. WAR, after all, is a counting stat. A better way to judge players is WAR per season.

    Puckett: 3.73 WAR per season
    Cameron: 2.75 WAR per season

  10. JohnBowen Says:

    Cameron’s a lot like Tim Wakefield.

    Never great, never bad. Year after year hit about .250/.340/.420 with outstanding CF defense, 25 HR, 25 SB. Like clockwork.

    The amazing thing about Mike Cameron is that the Mariners traded Ken Griffey Jr. to the Reds to acquire him…and won the trade.

  11. Chuck Says:

    “Chuck, Cameron’s career WAR is higher because he played 17 seasons to Puckett’s 12. WAR, after all, is a counting stat”

    Well aware, Shaun.

  12. Raul Says:

    “Well aware, Shaun”

    …the condescension is amazing, isn’t it?

    I know WAR’s a counting stat, you jagaloon.

  13. JohnBowen Says:

    Andres Galarraga had more career HR than Ralph Kiner.

    I guess HR is a stupid stat?

  14. Raul Says:

    No.
    But it’s funny.

  15. Shaun Says:

    John, I think Chuck’s point is that because some people don’t realize that WAR is a counting stat, it means that WAR and all other stats, especially any that could be deemed as sabermetric, are meaningless. You see it’s never a dumb person’s fault for misusing stats. It’s always the people who try to learn through metrics who are at fault for not being able to overcome the stupidity of others. Therefore we should just cater to the folks who don’t know how to use statistics and ignore all statistics instead of trying to learn something from what the statistics are actually telling us.

  16. Raul Says:

    I think you people grossly misunderstood Chuck’s point.

    Jesus Christ. I thought computers could be programmed to have a sense of humor.
    Apparently not.

  17. Chuck Says:

    “John, I think Chuck’s point is that because some people don’t realize that WAR is a counting stat..”

    So are stolen bases.

    “You see it’s never a dumb person’s fault for misusing stats.”

    It is when the stats are dumber.

    “It’s always the people who try to learn through metrics who are at fault for not being able to overcome the stupidity of others”

    You got to be pretty stupid to need metrics in the first place, no?

    “trying to learn something from what the statistics are actually telling us.”

    You know you have to go to medical school to be a doctor, right?

    You can’t go from your high school graduation to a residency at Johns Hopkins two days later.

    Same rule applies to baseball, if you don’t understand your subject, stats are meaningless.

  18. John Says:

    Chuck lampoons WAR, but year after year, teams with higher WAR’s have higher win totals, and teams with lower WAR’s have lower win totals.

    It’s a fucking undeniable fact.

  19. Raul Says:

    Same thing is true with runs and ERA though…
    And money…
    And lots of other things…

  20. John Says:

    Many of which have the same predictive value on performance as a player’s middle name.

  21. Raul Says:

    Fundamentally untrue.

  22. John Says:

    Not really. Guy drives in 100 runs for the Yankees. Do you pencil him in for 100 RBI when he signs with the Mariners?

  23. Raul Says:

    Not necessarily.
    But I don’t pencil him in for 4.5 WAR, either.

  24. Chuck Says:

    “Guy drives in 100 runs for the Yankees. Do you pencil him in for 100 RBI when he signs with the Mariners?”

    No, and his WAR won’t be as high, either.

  25. John Says:

    Neither is exact, but one will get you a lot closer than the other.

  26. John Says:

    @24, gonna offer proof, or just gonna make shit up?

  27. Chuck Says:

    “@24, gonna offer proof, or just gonna make shit up?”

    LOL…

  28. Raul Says:

    It’s a funny thing.
    From 2004-2009, Adrian Beltre’s WAR fluctuated wildly. His RBI totals actually were pretty consistent.

    Just saying. Kinda funny.

  29. John Says:

    That’s one way of looking at it.

    On the other hand, he averaged 4.5 WAR/162 from 2008-2010.

    Got signed by Texas, and was worth 5.2 WAR.

    Not so far off in the first year. Based on the deal he got, Daniels is probably expecting 4-5 on average, or so.

    That 2004 season is a pretty ridiculous anomaly either way you look at it.

  30. Cameron Says:

    John, you think Adrian Beltre only produces offensively on teams people care about? He was good for the Dodgers, bad bat for Seattle, killed in Boston, and now he’s raking in Texas. The dude’s like a basketball player, only plays well on good teams.

  31. John Says:

    Looking at his performance from 1999-2003 (not like you can just forget about that 04 season, but it’s clearly an outlier in his career) Beltre averaged a 98 OPS+ with 30 2B, 21 HR, and 82 RBI per 162 games. He averaged a 101 OPS+, 40 2B, 24 HR, and 90 RBI per 162 games for Seattle from 2005-2009.

    Now, not saying you ignore his 2004 season, but I’m not sure if Beltre was that much better a bat in LA if you consider that 5 of his 6 full seasons were basically the same…in 1 year, he raised his career average to 26 HR/year, but he never even touched that average in his previous 5 seasons.

  32. John Says:

    Got a pack of Topps 2012 cards today, just for the hell of it.

    I was a big collector as a kid, generally buy a pack or 2 per year to keep the kid in me happy.

    Frankly, I think it’s lame that topps is the sole distributor of MLB cards. Fleer, Upper Deck, Donruss, and Score all had great designs.

    Anyway, the highlights:

    Roy Halladay
    Troy Tulowitzki
    Jose Bautista
    Jacoby Ellsbury (gold refractor, or something?)
    Jesus Montero rookie
    Nyjer Morgan (highlight for me, because it features the same picture as the sports illustrated cover with him, Braun, and Fielder).
    Brett Gardner (cool card – it’s a smaller card {for a smaller player?} and has the same design as the 1987 topps set).

  33. Raul Says:

    I’d burn that Nyjer Morgan card.

  34. Cameron Says:

    My favorite ones are those off-brand boxes you can get for 20 bucks where you can get hundreds of old cards. …And the gum. That’s how I found out they’re actually old cards and not reprints. You ever try eating 25 year old chewing gum?

  35. Chuck Says:

    I sold off most of my cards. I kept my 66-72 stuff, but everything afterwards went.

    Haven’t bought cards in 25-30 years.

  36. Cameron Says:

    ‘66-’72, good years. Worse comes to worse, you can scam some pretty stupid collectors.

  37. John Says:

    “You ever try eating 25 year old chewing gum?”

    Your dietary habits freak me the fuck out.

  38. Cameron Says:

    That was not intentional, John. I just thought it was a stick of gum that was fresh and those cards were re-issues. …I learned the hard way that they were not.

  39. John Says:

    Haha, fair enough.

  40. Raul Says:

    According to an espn article…

    American League All-Star Positional Droughts

    Baltimore Orioles – RF – Ken Singleton (1981)
    Boston Red Sox – SS – Nomar Garciaparra (2003)
    New York Yankees – LF – Hideki Matsui (2004)
    Tampa Bay Rays – CF – Randy Winn (2002)
    Toronto Blue Jays – SS – Tony Fernandez (1989)
    Chicago White Sox – SS – Ozzie Guillen (1991)
    Cleveland Indians – 1B – Jim Thome (1999)
    Detroit Tigers – LF – Steve Kemp (1979)
    Kansas City Royals – C – Darrell Porter (1980)
    Minnesota Twins – LF – Gary Ward (1983)
    Los Angeles Angels – 1B – Wally Joyner (1986)
    Oakland Athletics – 2B – Phil Garner (1976)
    Seattle Mariners – LF – Phil Bradley (1985)
    Texas Rangers – C – Ivan Rodriguez (2001)

    National League All-Star Positional Droughts

    Atlanta Braves – LF – Ron Gant (1992)
    Miami Marlins – CF – Never
    New York Mets – LF – Cleon Jones (1969)
    Philadelphia Phillies – C – Mike Lieberthal (2000)
    Washington Nationals – C & CF – Darren Fletcher & Marquis Grissom (1994)
    Chicago Cubs – 2B – Ryne Sandberg (1993)
    Cincinnati Reds – C – Bo Diaz (1987)
    Houston Astros – C – Craig Biggio (1991)
    Milwaukee Brewers – CF – Dave May – (1973)
    Pittsburgh Pirates – RF – Bobby Bonilla (1991)
    St. Louis Cardinals – 2B – Tommy Herr (1985)
    Arizona Diamondbacks – 1B & SS – Never
    Colorado Rockies – C – Never
    Los Angeles Dodgers – 3B – Pedro Guerrero (1983)
    San Diego Padres – C & SS – Benito Santiago & Tony Fernandez (1992)
    San Francisco Giants – RF – Chili Davis (1986)

  41. Cameron Says:

    “Miami Marlins – CF – Never”

    And unless Chris Coghlan becomes Baseball Jesus by resurrecting in the third season or Christian Yelich severely overperforms, this won’t be fixed any time soon.

    As for Arizona, Drew and Goldschmidtt could find themselves as reserves sometime, and if Rosario matches the profile in Colorado, we’ll see.

  42. Raul Says:

    Well, that Angels drought is over.

  43. Raul Says:

    Happy 49th birthday, Bobby Bonilla! The Bronx native was signed by Pittsburgh in 1981, then taken by the Chicago White Sox in the Rule 5 Draft in 1985, then traded back to Pittsburgh the following summer for Jose DeLeon. DeLeon was a reliever for Pittsburgh but he started 13 games in ‘86 for Chicago and was actually quite good. Bonilla would struggle that same year but the next year he’d hit .300/.351/.481. The next four years saw him make the All-Star team and finish 2nd and 3rd in the MVP voting of 1990 and 1991. The following year he signed with the Mets and it was downhill from there. Bobby was actually a decent player in New York, but he wasn’t a star like he was in Pittsburgh and to top it off, wasn’t the most likeable guy to the media and teammates. He’d be traded to Baltimore in 1995 for Alex Ochoa, Damon Buford and Billy Williams. He was also part of a deal between Florida and Los Angeles that would send Mike Piazza to the Marlins (for a day) and Gary Sheffield to the Dodgers. Years later in St. Louis, Bobby Bo’ would be replaced by Albert Pujols.

    Happy 71st birthday, Ron Hunt! Hunt led the league in Hit By Pitches seven years in a row in the late 60s and early 70s. At the time of his retirement, Hunt was the all-time leader in HBPs. He’s since been surpassed by Don Baylor and Craig Biggio.

    Happy 54th birthday, John Shelby! Shelby was a centerfielder for the Orioles and Dodgers in the 1980s and was a part of 2 World Series Championship teams (‘83 Orioles, ‘88 Dodgers). His walk off Dwight Gooden in the 9th inning of NLCS Game 4 preceded Mike Scioscia’s game-tying homer. Later, Kirk Gibson would homer to win it in the 12th. Shelby is an outfielder instructor with the Milwaukee Brewers.

    Happy 40th birthday, Rondell White! White was a pretty good hitter with Montreal in the 1990s and once hit for the cycle. Unfortunately his career was a bit marred when his name appeared in the Mitchell Report. A positive note, during his final four seasons with the Expos, he purchased 200 tickets for each Sunday home game for underprivileged children in the Montreal area.

    Happy 36th birthday, Scott Elarton! Elarton was a pretty bad pitcher who got a long leash because of hopes he’d grow into his large frame and put everything together. At 6′7, maybe Elarton should have gone to the NBA. After all, Brian Scalabrine still has a job.

  44. Raul Says:

    Also born today:

    Elston Howard — who may or may not belong in the Hall of Fame (he isn’t) and may or may not have been robbed of that honor because he came up when Yogi Berra was still an effective catcher. Hell, Berra won the League MVP in Howard’s first year with the team.

  45. Chuck Says:

    Howard had a good career, but he’s not a HOFer.

  46. Raul Says:

    Times have changed.

    From 1950-1956, Yogi Berra averaged 144 games, 27 homers, 93 runs scored, 108 rbi and hit .295/.364/.502. In those 8 seasons, he won 3 MVPs and finished in the top 4 every other year. He also struck out 166 times in those 8 seasons.

    Austin Jackson recorded his 166th strikeout of the 2011 season on September 18th.

  47. Raul Says:

    Sorry, that should say 7 seasons.

  48. Chuck Says:

    C’mon Raul, you should know better..an out is an out.

    It doesn’t matter whether you put the ball in play or not.

  49. Bob Says:

    Oswalt will make a decision today, according to his agent.
    1. The Red Sox have interest, and the Cards have interest in him as a reliever. Not sure if the Phillies are in the mix. Or retirement, I suppose.

  50. Bob Says:

    Ryan Westmoreland got engaged. Congrats to him.

  51. Raul Says:

    lol Chuck

    Bob, I think Mozeliak said this morning that Oswalt isn’t going to be a Cardinal. The Red Sox might be his best chance since Boston could contend for a Wild Card slot and once you get in the playoffs…Beckett, Lester and Oswalt would be a quality front set. That said, I think Boston might finish 3rd this year in the division. And if Toronto’s talent ever takes that next step, You could be looking at Boston in 4th place.

  52. Raul Says:

    It’s worth noting the Red Sox have not finished in 4th place or worse since 1997 — when BALTIMORE won the division with a 98-64 record.

  53. Bob Says:

    Raul, thanks. Did not know Mozelak said that. Lefty mentioned that he could pull a Clemens and sign post-Memorial Day with someone.

  54. Bob Says:

    The East will be a dogfight this year, as it usually is. The Al Central and perhaps the NL central are the only 2 divisions with a clear front-runner.

    1. Detroit
    2. Cardinals

  55. Raul Says:

    That 1997 team didn’t EXACTLY run on a 4-man rotation, but they kinda did.

    Mike Mussina: 15-8, 3.20 ERA, 224 IP, 33 starts
    Scott Erickson: 16-7, 3.69 ERA, 221 IP, 33 starts
    Jimmy Key: 16-10, 3.43 ERA, 212 IP, 34 starts
    Scott Kamieniecki: 10-6, 4.01 ERA, 179 IP, 30 starts

    The rest of the team’s starts were broken out as follows:

    Rick Krivda: 10 starts
    Shawn Boskie: 9 starts
    Mike Johnson: 5 starts
    Rocky Coppinger: 4 starts
    Nerio Rodriguez: 2 starts
    Estaban Yan: 2 starts

    They combined for 32 starts and went 8-9 (as starters).

    I suppose some could argue that a typical 5th starter would do better than 8-9. Maybe, maybe not. But it’s worth noting that their 4 premier starters were going out there 32 times a year — not exactly a crazy high number. One could argue that Mussina, Erickson and Kamieniecki could have made an extra start that year (I excused Key because he pitched 34 times and was 36 years old) — and they likely would have out-performed the starts that were performed by that collection of relievers above.

  56. Shaun Says:

    “You got to be pretty stupid to need metrics in the first place, no?”

    You need metrics because human beings suck at observing. I don’t know if “stupid” is the correct word. But because of our flaws in what we think we perceive, we need metrics and data and evidence. Without data, metrics and evidence, humanity might still think the earth is flat or that the sun revolved around the earth.

    “From 2004-2009, Adrian Beltre’s WAR fluctuated wildly. His RBI totals actually were pretty consistent.”

    Actually in 2004 Beltre had 121 RBI. In 2005 and 2006 his RBI totals were similar, 87 and 89 respectively. In 2007 he had 99 RBI. In 2008 he had only 77. And in 2009 he had only 44.

    So his RBI totals weren’t very consistent. But neither was his WAR. However his WAR didn’t always correlate with his RBI totals, which is probably more the point you were trying to make. This points to the fact that RBI is a horrible measure of a player’s value, even his offensive value.

  57. Raul Says:

    “You need metrics because human beings suck at observing.”

    We actually don’t. Baseball managed to survive and flourish for well over 100 years before WAR and UZR. And for all your pontificating about advanced metrics, the fact remains that none of it has been responsible for improving quality of talent or the game.

    You are sitting here acting like you could be a General Manager of a baseball team when you don’t have the first damn clue about how to align your knuckles on a baseball bat or which finger exerts pressure to throw a slider.

    Please. Simmer down a little bit.

  58. Shaun Says:

    “C’mon Raul, you should know better..an out is an out.

    “It doesn’t matter whether you put the ball in play or not.”

    In many, perhaps most, situations it is actually true that an out is an out, purely in terms of what a hitter is doing to increase the chances of his team creating runs as opposed to trying to evaluate skills.

    There are a number of situations where it doesn’t matter whether a hitter makes a contact our or strikes out. There are some situations where it does matter and will make a difference but maybe not as many as some think.

    Clearly Matt Kemp and Curtis Granderson striking out in over 23 percent of their plate appearances last season didn’t make them any worse than Juan Pierre and Placido Polanco, both of whom struck out in fewer than 8.5 percent of their plate appearances.

  59. Raul Says:

    I love how you guys always compare a Curtis Granderson to a Juan Pierre when talking about strikeouts as if they never matter.

    But when it comes to comparing Curtis Granderson to Albert Pujols, you dismiss it as “well, Pujols is just a great player…not all guys can be Pujols…”

    How convenient…

  60. Shaun Says:

    Raul, how does the fact that baseball survived and flourished without more telling metrics than we have now mean that human beings do not suck at observing?

    Isn’t it quite possible that the game would have been more entertaining had someone in the past had access to the metrics that are now readily available?

    Does baseball’s survival and baseball flourishing have anything to do with whether human beings suck at observing or WAR or UZR?

    Baseball’s survival as an industry or as a national pastime doesn’t necessarily depend on front offices understanding or having access to more useful data.

    So, no, baseball doesn’t need metrics to survive. But that’s not really what I mean. I’m not talking about baseball’s survival or flourishing.

    We need metrics to have a better understanding of the game because our eyes fool us. A front office that uses the useful metrics in addition to scouting and other ways to gather information are going to be at an advantage over one that only uses scouting.

  61. brautigan Says:

    Shaun:

    You live in a fantasy world if you believe there are franchises who “only uses scouting”.

  62. Cameron Says:

    “You are sitting here acting like you could be a General Manager of a baseball team when you don’t have the first damn clue about how to align your knuckles on a baseball bat or which finger exerts pressure to throw a slider.”

    Billy Beane knows how to, Andrew Friedman doesn’t. Which of these GMs is the GOOD one?

  63. Raul Says:

    Shaun,

    Nothing you’ve ever contributed actually serves to better understand the game because nothing you ever mention explains WHY.

  64. Chuck Says:

    “You need metrics because human beings suck at observing”

    Not if you know what it is you’re observing in the first place.

    I don’t know anything about soccer, therefore my observations (and subsequent opinions) would be meaningless.

  65. Raul Says:

    @ 62

    Beane.

  66. Shaun Says:

    Raul, Curtis Granderson had a better 2011 season than Pujols. Kemp clearly had a better offensive season than Pujols. There are quite a few guys who had higher strikeout rates than Pujols in 2011 and had better offensive seasons.

    Yes, if you have two guys who perform equally, you probably want the guy who strikes out less. Strikeouts do matter. No one said strikeouts don’t matter. They are just way down on the list of things that matter.

  67. Shaun Says:

    Chuck, you can know what it is your observing but your eyes can deceive you and, in baseball especially, it’s possible to observe a player doing things that he doesn’t normally do, just while you’re observing him.

  68. Cameron Says:

    Did Raul just call Billy Beane a good GM? Dude, look at the standings. Billy Beane may know how to play baseball, but he doesn’t know how to put on a good fucking team.

  69. Shaun Says:

    brautigan, yep. A vast majority of franchises are out of the dark ages and they use a lot of the metrics that you might find on sites like FanGraphs.

    “Billy Beane knows how to, Andrew Friedman doesn’t. Which of these GMs is the GOOD one?”

    I don’t think the Rays’ front office is the one you want to point to as “old school” and one that isn’t relying on the most up-to-date metrics.

  70. Cameron Says:

    I wasn’t arguing that Shaun. Just saying you don’t need to be a good ballplayer to be a good GM. Might help, but there’s exceptions to the rule. Plenty of exceptions.

  71. Chuck Says:

    #62…Beane.

  72. Bob Says:

    Roy Oswalt hopes to sign mid-season.

  73. Cameron Says:

    And Chuck too? …I know John keeps saying it, but let me come from it from actually meaning it. Does winning really mean nothing to you guys?

    In the last five years, Friedman’s gone 434-376.
    In the last five years, Beane’s gone 381-428.

    Not that hard to answer.

  74. Raul Says:

    Matt Kemp is aiming for 50-50.

  75. Cameron Says:

    Not faulting the guy for setting a high bar. Long as he tries for it and isn’t just being hype.

  76. Raul Says:

    Beane’s got a better trade history and longer track record than Friedman.

    Frankly, I think it’s ridiculous to consider Friedman an amazing GM when he’s got 5 years (six?) on the job and benefitted from having insanely high draft picks.

    My criticism of Beane has always been that he isn’t the god you people portray him to be. Not that he’s an idiot.

  77. Shaun Says:

    Cameron, hard to judge a GM or front office purely on wins and losses. Of course it’s a factor. But there are lots of others.

    For example, it would be hard for even a great GM or front office to thrive and post a good win-loss record in a place like Baltimore, for a variety of reasons: Ownership is too involved, baseball’s toughest division over the last decade or so.

  78. Chuck Says:

    If being a good GM is defined by having the first overall pick in the draft for ten years, then Friedman wins.

    If you’re talking about a guy who fields a somewhat competitive team with a budget less than what Cameron claimed on his tax return, then it’s Beane.

  79. Chuck Says:

    #73

    I think the question was better GM, not whose team won more games.

    Because, last time I checked, neither Beane nor Friedman has won an MVP or Cy Young the last ten years.

  80. Cameron Says:

    I can understand where you can complain against Friedman. However, to call Billy Beane a good GM, with his track record of falling flat on his face as soon as the guys his old boss signed left for real money is a bit far-fetched.

  81. Chuck Says:

    “Matt Kemp is aiming for 50-50.”

    He won’t do 30/30

  82. Cameron Says:

    Actually, I brought up a better example of a GM right there. The guy Beane got the job from, Sandy Alderson. Three pennants, a World Series ring, and made the A’s a force for a good decade or so.

    …His background was being in Vietnam and law school.

  83. Bob Says:

    “He won’t do 30/30.”
    Perhaps, although he will finish higher than Braun in the MVP voting this year.

  84. Raul Says:

    I’m curious to see if the Athletics get the OK to move to San Jose.

  85. Raul Says:

    LOL @ Bob #83

    As they said in Goodfellas…Drinks are on the house.

    Nice one.

  86. Cameron Says:

    Raul, if they do, it’ll likely end up like Washington’s situation. They technically have a team there, but I think Baltimore makes more money from the Nationals than the Nationals do.

  87. Bob Says:

    @ 84 I think they will move to San Jose.
    @ 85 Thank you

  88. Raul Says:

    Cameron,

    Sandy Alderson was with the Athletics organization in 1981. Mark Mulder and Barry Zito were still in diapers at the time.

  89. Chuck Says:

    What do Theo Epstein, Brian Cashman, Billy Beane, Andrew Friedman all have in common?

    None of them have a snowball’s chance in hell of ever seeing the HOF without a ticket.

    Sandy Alderson is a lock.

  90. Bob Says:

    Chuck, if Theo wins in Chicago he is in.

  91. Shaun Says:

    Raul, I don’t think anyone portrays Beane as some sort of god. People bring up what he did that was different and somewhat innovative, and because those things threaten a certain type of baseball person, they resent Beane and others for it.

    For example, people criticize Moneyball, both the book and the movie, for not discussing Hudson, Mulder and Zito. Well, just because they weren’t discussed doesn’t mean Michael Lewis didn’t realize Hudson, Mulder and Zito were part of Oakland’s success. The book was simply about what Oakland did that was against the grain in order to hang with the Yankees and win 100 games a couple of times. It wasn’t about every single aspect of what made Oakland a 100-win team.

    Also, if you watched the interview on the MLB Network with Lewis, Beane, Pitt and Hill, Lewis addressed Hudson, Mulder and Zito. Basically he said at least two of them were undervalued amateurs, i.e., Moneyball type players. Hudson was a small college pitcher. Zito was a soft-throwing college lefty.

    Hudson, in particular, was undervalued. He was drafted in the 6th round in 1997. Find another player in that round that even made any sort of an impact in the majors.

  92. Raul Says:

    Jesus Christ, if one more person talks to me about what Moneyball was about, as if I never read it…I’m just going to f*cking snap.

    Sorry Shaun…

  93. Bob Says:

    Shaun,Can I use the 8th round? Heck, are you just looking at the 1997 draft? Cause there was a catcher who was drafter in round 62 once.

  94. Cameron Says:

    Yes they were, but drafting Mudler and Zito wasn’t his first great draft choice. Do the names McGwire and Canseco ring bells?

    …Okay, BESIDES the Mitchell Report?

  95. Shaun Says:

    Epstein and Cashman have a decent shot. I think eventually Beane will have a shot, if the world as we know it still exists, because it will be decades. Beane and all of us will probably be long gone before he has a shot (and I’m only 33). Just too much resentment among the old boys club. It will take decades, maybe generations, to undo that and to make that “club” a more inclusive, enlightened one.

  96. Cameron Says:

    “Inclusive” does not mean “good” for the Hall of Fame. The old Veteran’s Committee was pretty fucking inclusive, but I wouldn’t say they made some good picks.

  97. Shaun Says:

    Bob, so because Mike Piazza was drafted in the 62nd round that means Tim Hudson wasn’t undervalued?

    Sandy Alderson was a very progressive GM, for all those who think he was some sort of anti-Beane or anti-sabermetric GM.

  98. Chuck Says:

    No, he’s not, Bob.

    For the simple reason he’s not the Cubs’ GM>

  99. Shaun Says:

    Cameron, I mean inclusive insofar as letting people in who are not part of their old boys network. Either letting smart people actually have a say or the veteran’s committee actually becoming smart themselves. Perhaps in 2050 or so the Veteran’s Committee will actually understand how reliable or unreliable things like walks, OBP, RBI and Wins are to judging a player’s career.

  100. Bob Says:

    He will still get the credit over Hoyer.

  101. Shaun Says:

    Chuck, I think Theo will have a very good shot if the Cubs win a Series or two. He may be a lock if they win two. Doesn’t matter if he’s their GM or not.

  102. Chuck Says:

    “Sandy Alderson was a very progressive GM..”

    He was..in the field of scouting.

  103. Bob Says:

    A few players are talking about signing extensions.
    1. Cole Hamels-Phillies
    2. Cameron Maybin-Padres
    3. Ryan Zimmerman-Nationals
    4. Russell Nartin-Yankees
    5. Did I miss anyone?

  104. Bob Says:

    Yadier Molina- Cards

  105. Shaun Says:

    Chuck, unlike you and some others I realize a smart baseball exec is one who is wise across the board and is not anti any particular aspect of player evaluation and information gathering.

  106. Cameron Says:

    Alderson also did do a little tinkering with using sabermetrics to analyze what to pick up off the scrap heap. But the owners told him to slash payroll around 96 or so and Alderson fucked out of town the next year, so he really just planted the seed. Beane made the tree grow.

  107. Raul Says:

    @105

    So tell us, what makes Billy Beane or Andrew Friedman a good talent evaluator?

  108. Chuck Says:

    No shit, Shaun.

    And what makes them wise is understanding what it takes to build a good team and to make sure the people he hires around him buy into that philosophy.

    You do realize Red Sox personnel decisions were made by Terry Francona, right?

    Epstein signed/traded for players Francona told him to.

    It was only after Epstein decided he was smarter than him that the friction between them started and why Terry told him to bleep off.

  109. Chuck Says:

    Shaun wakes up one morning and sees the headline in USA Today, “US kills Bin Laden” and the first thing he thinks of is Bill James must have developed a formula for the Navy Seals which they used to find him.

  110. Chuck Says:

    #106

    Bullshit

  111. Shaun Says:

    Now comment #108 is hilarious.

  112. Chuck Says:

    “Now comment #108 is hilarious”

    To someone who wouldn’t know the situation, and who would fellate Epstein or James if they asked, sure, I can see how it would be.

  113. Chuck Says:

    Interesting lunch choice today for Elijah Dukes.

    http://network.yardbarker.com/mlb/article_external/former_mlber_elijah_dukes_allegedly_tried_to_eat_bag_of_weed_during_traffic_stop/10074541

  114. Bob Says:

    Funny thing is he was hungrier after eating his meal.

  115. Shaun Says:

    Chuck, show me some sort of proof that Francona was the mastermind of all Red Sox acquisitions.

  116. Raul Says:

    Bob’s 2-for-2.

    Like Costanza (and unlike Romney), I think Bob’s leaving.

  117. Chuck Says:

    One more day.

    Raul, sorry I have to leave for awhile and leave you to fight alone with these two knuckleheads, but it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

  118. Shaun Says:

    Still waiting on proof than Francona basically ran the Red Sox, at least in terms of trades and free agent signings. Somehow I’m not shocked that I’m still waiting.

  119. Shaun Says:

    Chuck has lost all credibility with his comment #108. Time to pretty much discard any claim he makes, even more so than ever before.

  120. Bob Says:

    Raul, you are correct. See you guys tomorrow.

  121. Bob Says:

    And Chuck, good luck.

  122. Chuck Says:

    Shaun, I would not expect you to know because you don’t.

    The fact you need to ask for proof instead of finding it proves that.

    If I said Hank Aaron hit 48 homers in 1971, you’d go to Baseball Reference so fast and come back with “47″ because it’s so important for you to be right.

    The fact you’re unwilling now to do any research proves one thing..that you’ll find it, and then have to eat crow.

    Again.

    It isn’t my credibility you should be worried about.

    Because, unlike you, I actually have some.

    Your word, not mine.

    Don’t let the fact go unnoticed I’ve known Francona since 1994 play into the decision, and have talked to him several times about “things”.

  123. Chuck Says:

    So, Shaun apparently thinks General Managers walk around with a crown on their heads and don’t talk to employees or seek the advice of those around him.

    Because, you know, that’s how businesses get better. The CEO of whatever company can’t run the company by himself..he hires marketing guys to do promotions, he hires accountants to do bookkeeping, he hires HR people to hire the best employees.

    But what seperates them from the rest is they listen to them.

    So, when Francona walks into Theo’s office and says he wants Keith Foulke or Kevin Millar, Theo, realizing Francona is smarter than him in this regard, listened.

    They didn’t teach you that at McDonald’s U, Shaun?

  124. Raul Says:

    I think a number of guys will be tending to other things, Chuck.
    One more day, and then best of luck in Spring Training. If I make it out to Phoenix for a few games, I’ll let you know.

  125. Raul Says:

    Conflicting reports out there. Apparently some are saying Ryan Braun won his appeal. Others saying he lost it.

  126. Raul Says:

    Looks like he won.

    Bull.

  127. Chuck Says:

    Definitely, Raul..email me and I can leave you tickets, or if I’m not working we can go somewhere else.

    I’m supposed to be on Silva’s radio show Sunday night, I’ll let you guys know the details.

    Delgrippo was on last night talking Mets/Yankees spring training, he did a nice job.

  128. Cameron Says:

    As much as I put importance on GMs, as they hire the personnel, they still have to talk to them. To think managers don’t have an impact on who they want on or off the team (or even thinking players don’t have an impact) or that scouts basically are just good for labeling as obsolete is to really overvalue the guys. They’re important, but they aren’t the damn team.

    I call Andrew Friedman a good GM. Does he evaluate talent well? I don’t know, that’s not his job. He’s a good GM because he knows who can scout talent well and hires them to be his scouts. Part of being a good GM is knowing what you don’t know and finding someone to help you on that part of the team.

  129. Raul Says:

    Rob Manfred, MLB’s vice president for labor relations, was incensed at the ruling, saying in a statement:

    “Major League Baseball considers the obligations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program essential to the integrity of our game, our Clubs and all of the players who take the field. It has always been Major League Baseball’s position that no matter who tests positive, we will exhaust all avenues in pursuit of the appropriate discipline. We have been true to that position in every instance, because baseball fans deserve nothing less.

    “As a part of our drug testing program, the Commissioner’s Office and the Players Association agreed to a neutral third party review for instances that are under dispute. While we have always respected that process, Major League Baseball vehemently disagrees with the decision rendered today by arbitrator Shyam Das.”

  130. Chuck Says:

    That’s bullshit.

  131. Cameron Says:

    So… What kinda precedent does this set for future tests then? I’m curious.

  132. Cameron Says:

    Also, am I the only one experiencing a slight nostalgia trip? I just saw pics of Toronto’s spring training and the throwback logo and uniforms made me think it was the 90s again.

  133. Chuck Says:

    “Looks like he won”

    John just called Walgreens and cancelled his Viagra refills.

  134. Raul Says:

    No reason was given for the decision.

    FANTASTIC.

  135. Raul Says:

    LOL @ 133

  136. Shaun Says:

    “So, Shaun apparently thinks General Managers walk around with a crown on their heads and don’t talk to employees or seek the advice of those around him.”

    Huh? Strawman alert!

    When did I ever say that this is what I think.

    Let’s set the record straight. You claimed that Francona was responsible for every Red Sox player personnel move, at least in terms of trades and free agents. That Francona was actually the mastermind of these moves and that Epstein was under Francona. That Epstein did whatever Francona told him to do, in the way of trades and free agent signings. That is what I was doubting.

    I said nothing about GMs seeking and taking advice of other employees of the organization, namely the field manager. But go ahead and twist it so that you can backtrack and so that you don’t sound completely insane on this topic.

    Cameron, go back and read the comments. Nowhere did I argue that GM’s don’t speak with field managers and seek their input. Chuck’s claim clearly was that Francona was basically served the GM role for the Red Sox, at least when it came to trades and free agent signings, and that Epstein was just a figurehead in this regard. Chuck created a strawman and a lie about me suggesting GM’s are all alone making all the decisions without input from the field manager so that he could backtrack on his initial claim and make me out to be the one who is incorrect. Sorry. Won’t work if people actually read post 108:

    “You do realize Red Sox personnel decisions were made by Terry Francona, right?

    “Epstein signed/traded for players Francona told him to.”

    There’s the claim that Chuck made.

    My view is that there is no way that Francona made all those decisions. I’m sure Francona had input but there is no way he played GM and Epstein was his puppet, as Chuck suggested.

    And the fact that Chuck knows Francona (if that is true) makes me even more skeptical of how things went down because he clearly wouldn’t be objective and we wouldn’t be getting an unbiased view of things.

  137. Cameron Says:

    No, Shaun. He said Francona made personnel decisions. He never said he made EVERY personnel decision.

  138. Raul Says:

    So if Chuck knows Francona, you’re skeptical.
    If Keith Law knows Francona, it’s cool.

    I just wanna be clear.

  139. Chuck Says:

    Wow..this is going to get ugly.

  140. Chuck Says:

    “My view is that there is no way that Francona made all those decisions. I’m sure Francona had input but there is no way he played GM and Epstein was his puppet, as Chuck suggested.”

    Huh! Strawman alert!

    I know how to play the game too, Shaun.

  141. Chuck Says:

    And the comment I made the other day stands.

    You have the reading comprehension skills of a hamster.

  142. Raul Says:

    Turns out Bobby Jenks nearly died over the winter because of a botched operation.
    He was leaking spinal fluid.

  143. Cameron Says:

    Holy… Leaking? The fuck does that happen?

  144. Raul Says:

    He touches himself at night.
    Just like you.

    Sinner.

  145. Cameron Says:

    And damn proud of it, Raul.

  146. Raul Says:

    In case you didn’t read it on Yahoo.com, Evan Longoria is dating Playboy’s Miss January 2010, Jaime Edmondson.

    Typically I don’t think personal affairs should be within the realm of journalism, but who are we kidding? This is “Yahoo”, and frankly, she’s pretty hot.

    Nice job, Longoria. Unlike a certain superstar third baseman in the AL East who shall remain nameless, you’re dating hot models and not has-been celebrities.

  147. Cameron Says:

    If Tiki Barber is on the payroll, you can pretty much bet they don’t give a shit about good writing.

  148. John Says:

    Hey Chuck, are you going to get anything right this season?

    Vindicated.

  149. Raul Says:

    LOL

    What vindicated? Braun was contesting the fucking chain of control. He didn’t dispute the science at all.

    Some schmuck took home the sample because he thought FedEx was closed because it was Saturday.

    He might as well come right out and say that he thinks someone tainted that shit on purpose.

    You’ve gotta be kidding me.
    Vindicated?
    LOL

  150. John Says:

    No one in history has ever overturned a steroid suspension.

    Except Braun.

    He said from Day 1 that he was innocent, and today proves it.

    This season, he’s gonna hit .320/.400/.550 yet again, while passing another three or so drug tests.

  151. brautigan Says:

    John: It wasn’t that his innocence was proven. The arbitrater ruled this way due to the chain of custody screw up. Because the sample went outside of the chain of custody, then it was easy for the arbitrater to rule the way he did. In fact, he truly had no other choice.

    No wonder MLB is angry. I’m not exactly pleased as punch. But it is what it is.

  152. Raul Says:

    Innocent my ass. It was a fucking technicality and you damn well know it.
    Fuck outta here…

  153. Cameron Says:

    I’m out on this one. Far as I know, he failed that one drug test, and at a level so high that even BALCO would wonder what made it trip that. If he fails another one, I’ll see what happens.

    I’m more interested to see what kind of precedent this sets for future hearings. Once that first domino falls…

  154. John Says:

    You have no knowledge of what happened.

    None.

    Zero

    Zippo.

    You’re positive that he did steroids, why? Because of a test that was overturned (again, for the first fucking time in the history of the program).

  155. Raul Says:

    Miami is putting hard pressure on Jeremy Lin and making him look terrible.

  156. Raul Says:

    Please.

    You’re just such a homer that you’re incapable of being objective and acknowledging the fact that he got off on a technicality.

  157. John Says:

    @153,

    Exactly.

    It would be like blowing a 0.9 on a breathalizer.

  158. John Says:

    @156, so what happens when he has another dominant year and passes another 3 tests?

    Oh yeah, he’s cheating. Somehow.

    Another thing…this never should’ve gotten out. Braun should sue the shit out of the guy who leaked this.

  159. Raul Says:

    You really think a player passing a drug test means he’s innocent?

    REALLY??????

    How gullible are you?

  160. Raul Says:

    The source told ESPN the seals were totally intact and testing never reflected any degradation of the sample. Based on the World Anti-Doping Agency code, this is exactly what would have been expected to happen, and the collector took the proper action, the source said.

    The source also noted that synthetic testosterone doesn’t just show up because a sample sits in one place or another.

    Travis Tygart, chief executive officer of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, called the decision “a real gut-kick to clean athletes.”

    “To have this sort of technicality of all technicalities let a player off … it’s just a sad day for all the clean players and those that abide by the rules within professional baseball,” he said.

  161. Raul Says:

    Somehow John knows more than the chief executive officer of the fucking U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

  162. John Says:

    Hey, another guy who has no clue about the process.

    So what was going on when Braun passed all those other tests?

    We’re just gonna ignore that he’s been one of the best players in the game for 5 years now while consistently passing these tests year-in and year-out?

    Sure, because of one test…that was overturned.

  163. Raul Says:

    …I’m just going to cough this up to you being your usual douchy self, only with an excessive amount of homer-ism.

  164. Cameron Says:

    “Miami is putting hard pressure on Jeremy Lin and making him look terrible.”

    Which I find hilarious, considering his man-to-man tonight is Mario Chalmers, who’s pretty much the weak link on that team.

  165. Raul Says:

    Sir Charles actually held off on criticizing Jeremy Lin, saying that the kid has had his life turned upside down and has to be exhausted physically and mentally, and that he’s facing a great team that is targeting him exclusively.

    It’s fair of Charles to say. Though it’s also fair to say that Lin isn’t as great as he seemed.

  166. Cameron Says:

    Lemme guess, Miami isn’t exactly playing a strict man-to-man and Lin is seeing A LOT of Dwayne Wade tonight? That’s what I’d do. Landry Fields isn’t a big threat lately, so just switch the numbers on your defense for the night.

  167. brautigan Says:

    John:

    That is one myopic world you reside in.

  168. brautigan Says:

    2 points, 2 assists and 6 turnovers. Where the hell is Baron Davis?

  169. John Says:

    Why do you people think there are chain of custody rules in the first place?

    This isn’t like the pine tar rule. There’s a damn good reason these rules exist.

    Think if you left a 100$ bill out on a park bench, it’d be there when you came back to get it in 2 days, just as you left it?

    Braun wouldn’t have contested the test if he hadn’t been innocent – in large part because it’s not like he could’ve been positive about the chain of custody issue to begin with, and also because he knows that if he becomes a .275 singles hitter next season, it’ll be pretty damn obvious what’s up.

  170. Raul Says:

    It’s fucking staggering how ignorant you are about this.

    And frankly says an awful lot about you that you can’t even acknowledge that he got off on the most technical of technicalities, especially when there was no sign of degradation of the sample nor any broken seals.

  171. John Says:

    Yeah, it sounds like these guys are the pinnacle of drug-testing integrity. I bet it’s standard protocol to just leave people’s piss out of control.

    So they’re definitely not lying about this, and they’re definitely not lying about it to cover their own ass.

  172. Cameron Says:

    I think he’s hurt again, braut. It IS Baron Davis.

  173. Raul Says:

    You’re accusing MLB of lying??

    Right, because surely what’s good for MLB is for their fucking MVP to be guilty of PED use.

    Just when I thought you couldn’t possibly say anything dumber, you come out with that juicy nugget.

    Fucking A…

  174. Raul Says:

    Joe Torre and his team pulled out of the bidding for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

  175. Cameron Says:

    Damn. That still leaves the Hershiser-Garvey Group and the Johnson group as the fan favorites. I know there’s also the old Dodgers owner and the old Buffalo Sabres owner from the business side.

  176. brautigan Says:

    Raul:

    Consider the source and then your ulcer will magically disappear.

  177. Raul Says:

    Either Braun was juicing his ass off or he took some a banned substance for a legit reason but failed to get a waiver.

    Either way, his ass should be riding the bench for 50 games.

    Period.

  178. John Says:

    Or, thirdly, the sample was tampered.

    Which is the reason the rules say you can’t just leave piss lying around for 2 days.

    It’s gonna be hilarious when he dominates YET AGAIN next year.

  179. Cameron Says:

    John, the reason Braun was found innocent was because of a procedural violation. Had nothing to do with the actual test itself. I doubt it was tampered with. Steroids don’t magically phase through a sealed cup of piss.

  180. Raul Says:

    That shit wasn’t tampered with and you know it.

    And if he does continue to do well, it could mean he’s clean.

    Or it could mean he’s found another way to cheat.
    Or it could mean he had a legit reason in the first place for a substance that triggered a positive result. But that would just mean he’s an ignorant fuck for not requesting a waiver and therefore DESERVES a 50-game ban.

    What is absolutely clear is what a total fucking douchebag you are that you can’t even acknowledge the most basic fact that THE ONLY reason he got off was because of a technicality.

  181. John Says:

    You know literally nothing about what happened. Exactly nothing.

    At least wait until tomorrow, when Braun gives his side.

    Lastly, this NEVER should have gotten out in the first place.

  182. Raul Says:

    I know nothing?

    YOU’RE THE ONE ACCUSING MLB AND THE FUCKING TESTERS OF LYING!!

  183. Raul Says:

    Twitter just lost its fucking mind. It recommended I follow Harvey Levin. This is what I get for adding Mike Tyson.

    Bullshit…

  184. Raul Says:

    Speaking of steroids (maybe)…holy crap @ Laron Landry.

  185. John Says:

    MLB contracted the testing out, Raul.

    But no, I’m sure Ryan Braun actually ingested enough testosterone to slay an elephant.

  186. Cameron Says:

    “Or it could mean he had a legit reason in the first place for a substance that triggered a positive result.”

    That’s what my money’s on right now.

  187. Raul Says:

    MLB is vehemently against the ruling. Did you miss that part?

  188. Cameron Says:

    Against the ruling, but they have to uphold it because of their own regulations. While I may not agree with it in principle, I have to agree with it because the procedure set up was violated. Make your bed, you gotta lie in it.

    …Plus, the inner jackass in me is loving the fact that the first time they actually get a case overturned, they flip their shit despite the fact that Bran got off on bylaws the MLB wrote.

  189. John Says:

    “MLB is vehemently against the ruling. Did you miss that part?”

    What?! Against a ruling that showed that their own process was flawed?! UNTHINKABLE

  190. Raul Says:

    Wow.

    You are such an asshole.

  191. Chuck Says:

    #148

    You are such an asshole.

    You “guessed” right.

    The only reason you thought he was innocent is because of your avatar.

  192. Chuck Says:

    “It’s gonna be hilarious when he dominates YET AGAIN next year.”

    With Mat Gamel protecting him?

    Guess again, Sparky.

  193. Chuck Says:

    “John, the reason Braun was found innocent was because of a procedural violation. Had nothing to do with the actual test itself..”

    Winner.

  194. Chuck Says:

    I can’t wait to get to the ballpark on Saturday, what a fucking circus that’s going to be.

    MLBNetwork already had a crew there today.

    Supposedly Braun is already “unoffcially” in camp and has a presser scheduled for tomorrow.

  195. Chuck Says:

    There are quite a few clubhouse attendants who made some nice side money taking piss tests for players.

    Here’s what happened.

    For every piss test Braun passed, he followed up his vitamin supplements with a masking agent.

    This time, he forgot it.

    Then went and told the arbitrator the dog ate his homework.

    All things considered, if Braun isn’t the defending MVP, does the test still get tossed?

  196. Cameron Says:

    Probably, Chuck. The arbitration was third-party, MLB reasonably has no influence over the outcome.

  197. Cameron Says:

    ““It’s gonna be hilarious when he dominates YET AGAIN next year.”

    With Mat Gamel protecting him?

    Guess again, Sparky.”

    More like Aramis Ramirez protecting him.

  198. Chuck Says:

    Aramis Ramirez, Mat Gamel, PeeWee Herman, whatever.

    Three of them added together doesn’t equal one Prince.

  199. Cameron Says:

    Aramis ain’t Prince, that’s for sure. He doesn’t wear nearly enough purple.

  200. Cameron Says:

    Aw shit, I just realized the worst part about moving out of Kansas City.

    No more KC barbecue…

  201. Mike Felber Says:

    Many of Raul’s suppositions could have occurred. Also though, the level was so high that it could have been an error of some sort. Also seems unlikely the sample was tampered with, but of course you gotta follow your own rules. Anybody could have gotten off if an investigation revealed how they screwed up.

    There are some interesting comments below. We have no reason whatsoever to be confident about whether Braun used or not. Which means we should not presume he used. Another thing to consier is whether that super-high level would likely have left his body by the time he requested & received another test.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/23/ryan-braun-suspension-overturned-brewers-star-mlb_n_1297699.html?ref=sports&ncid=webmail6

  202. John Says:

    Greatness is greatness. Braun’s numbers may slip, he might see less meaty pitches, but he’s gonna throw down another tremendous season.

    Masking agents are also tested for (Manny) and I love how Chuck thinks that Braun forgot it this one time.

    Newsflash ace: this was the only test he’s taken that wasn’t random. He knew it was coming. Somehow, I don’t think he had a daily routine that he just ignored on the first test that he knew he was gonna have to take (for the playoffs).

  203. Chuck Says:

    Fact: The Brewers claim on the appeal was apparent mis-handling of the sample and/or the break in the chain. They DID NOT at any time attempt to dispute the validity of the sample or the test itself.

    Fact: The MLB Drug policy allows for “extenuating circumstances”, under which MLB’s claim the chain was not broken falls.

    It is likely MLB will file a lawsuit in federal court appealing the decision.

    Braun’s test was overturned on a technicality, and not a very strong one.

    His suspsension was NOT overturned because he was found innocent.

    OJ Braun.

  204. Bob Says:

    If Mlb appeals the decision, it will just make them look more petty, not upstanding. Selig and his staff have known about Peds for a sizable % of his tenure and only acted because Bonds overtook Ruth and Aaron, not some deep-rooted concern for the athletes well-being.
    Both sides may have been guilty, but a tie goes to the runner (player)

  205. Chuck Says:

    Sorry, Bob, but no.

    If Braun was legitimately vindicated due to a compromised sample or a faulty test, then you would have a point.

    MLB is appealing beause some arbitrator is looking for his fifteen minutes of fame and made an erroneous ruling because he/she doesn’t understand the drug policy.

  206. Bob Says:

    Is not the first step of the policy to keep the players name private until a suspension is warrented? If so, someone violated that tenant. Do not care if it was Julian Assange, the owner of the St. Louis Cardinals or Pope Benedict, the public should not have known about the test results until after his appeal.
    Clearly that did not happen. This is not a defense of him, but an acknowledgement that there were bigger assholes in this story than Ryan Braun. Go after those fucks with vim and vigor.

  207. Lefty33 Says:

    (No I’m not back but Bob’s comment is so wrong on many levels)
    (Also Chuck you were way too close in your one post in the other thread about me)

    “If Mlb appeals the decision, it will just make them look more petty, not upstanding”

    No it won’t and they have to appeal it to at least put on the front of sticking by their own testing policy. If they know for certain that Braun is guilty and they don’t appeal it why even have a testing policy?

    They can’t risk the image of looking like they are soft towards a possible violation. If the courts don’t allow it then Bud can at least say that “he tried” and that it was out of his control between the courts and the arbiter.

    “Selig and his staff have known about Peds for a sizable % of his tenure”

    And the prior four commissioners did the same thing towards drugs.

    Steve Howe got how many chances?

    It took Bud forever and it took a Congressional threat but at least he did something.

    “and only acted because Bonds overtook Ruth and Aaron, not some deep-rooted concern for the athletes well-being.”

    Sorry Bob but Selig acted because Congress was threatening Baseball’s ATE.

    Short of that there still might be as much juice in the game now as there was in 2001.

    Bonds breaking Ruth and Aaron was shitty because of how it was done, on illegal PED’s, but Bud getting hauled in front of such “astute baseball minds” like Congressman Elijah Cummings is what changed things.

    Ever been afraid of the Boogey Man as a kid Bob?

    That’s the equivalent of any move that Bud makes in this matter.

    The Boogey Man is being sat in front of a Congressional Committee and being grilled by a bunch of dunderheaded wind bags that neither understand Baseball or PED’s but know that they have the power to make your sport start playing by the rules instead of having an ATE that let’s you operate above the law in a lot of areas.

    Bud has no choice but to appeal or risk being put back in the crosshairs again.

  208. Chuck Says:

    “(Also Chuck you were way too close in your one post in the other thread about me)”

    Haven’t had a chance to sit down and look at rosters and stuff, but I’ll figure it out.

  209. Chuck Says:

    And you know I won’t post it..the secret’s safe.

  210. Bob Says:

    Lefty, fine it was Congress that coerced Bud to act. But that is not a defense of him. I am sick and tired of his office saying they are acting in the best interests of the game.
    That is bullshit. If they were, they would abolish the dh today. Shit, they would have abolished when Sparky Anderson derided it over 2 decades ago. And the Steve Howe is not a fair analogy in my mind, as coke is not a PEd, and he was no threat to any records.
    And using an employee of the Red Sox to write a report of players on other teams is in the best interests of baseball? No way regardless of its accuracy.

  211. Bob Says:

    ” And the prior four commissioners did the same thing towards drugs.”
    Lefty, that is not remotely close to a defense, but a concept of monkey see, monkey do.”

  212. Lefty33 Says:

    “Lefty, that is not remotely close to a defense, but a concept of monkey see, monkey do.”

    I’m sick and tired and people like yourself and others on this site jumping on Selig for all issues related to drugs and PED’s but suddenly getting amnesia when it comes to Ueberroth, Giamatti, and Vincent.

    That’s bullshit.

    The last commissioner to be serious about drugs was Kuhn and the owners forced him out of office because of his views on drugs. They knew what the players were doing and didn’t want the talent, aka their meal tickets, and the sport to be publicly humiliated and embarrassed.

    Since about ’82-‘83 until Bud got grilled in front of Congress all four of them took a see no evil, hear no evil approach. If you’re going to make weak attempts to grill Bud at least be historically accurate in depicting things properly with what actually happened.

    I never said that Bud was prefect and it may have taken Congressional threats to strip away the sports ATE to make him do something but at least he did something.

    Other commissioners had the chance and they did zero.

    “If they were, they would abolish the dh today.”

    Can’t do that Bob. It’s called collective bargaining.

    If the DH were to go what would be given in return to the MLBPA?

    The commissioner can’t just take that away without risking a lockout/lawsuit etc.

    ‘And the Steve Howe is not a fair analogy in my mind, as coke is not a PEd, and he was no threat to any records’

    Absolutely is a fair analogy.

    Howe got suspended seven times. How is that a realistic drug policy?

    Letterman would make jokes about Howe and Baseball for bringing him back over and over. Hell, he was made fun of in the third Naked Gun movie.

    None of that changed under Ueberroth, or Giamatti, or Vincent.

    They are all equally guilty of playing the same game of musical chairs.
    Bud simply got caught when the music stopped. But it could have been any one of them.

    “No way regardless of its accuracy”

    Why not?

    No one has questioned the Mitchell’s accuracy.

    It’s what is not in there that’s more troubling than what is because of the lack of cooperation given to him.

  213. Bob Says:

    Bud never should have asked an employee of any team to write a damning report. Never. Furthermore Giamatti never had a chance to do anything about drugs. I think he would have hasd he survived Rose, but he passed away aftet only 6 monthsd. He should get a mulligan from everybody.
    And the new CBA had a chance to either abolish the DH or devise a plan that would see its demise. Nary a peep about that except on various websites including ours. Had a chance to do something courageous then. But he refrained. Gutless in my view.
    And criticism of Vincent also seems pff-base as a number of owners, including Selig derailed his every move. Go after Ueberroth all you want. Fine by me.
    But I have doubts about this (Braun’s) test. And this never should have been made public. His rights were violated big time.

  214. Raul Says:

    Happy 56th birthday, Eddie Murray! The 1977 AL Rookie of the Year and 2-time MVP runner up spent 21 years in the big leagues. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2003, largely (some say) because he stuck around long enough to get 504 career homers and 3,255 hits. Though he was an offensive force for much of the 1980s. I’m not saying Murray wasn’t great. I’m not saying Murray doesn’t belong. But the DH certainly helped him and he wasn’t exactly a defensive wizard. Oddly enough, he won 3 gold gloves.

    Happy 38th birthday, Mike Lowell! Lowell was supposed to be the Yankees 3B of the future back in the late 1990s but was traded in February, 1999 to the Marlins for Ed Yarnall, Todd Noel and Mark Johnson. I don’t recall the circumstances behind this deal so maybe someone can fill me in. The Yankees were coming off a historic season in 1998 and Scott Brosius had a career year. But he was 31 and surely the Yankees had to know Lowell was the wiser choice. After all, Lowell had just come off an impressive season at AAA hitting .304/.355/.535 with 26 homers in 126 games. Later on, injuries would ultimately end Lowell’s career but not before establishing himself as one of the best defenders in the game and helping the Florida Marlins win the 2003 World Series, and the Boston Red Sox win the 2007 World Series — taking the Series MVP award with him.

    Happy 35th birthday, Bronson Arroyo! Nicknamed Saturn Nuts, Arroyo is an innings-eating machine. Never truly awful, Arroyo might be one of the more underrated pitchers of the past few years. To my knowledge, Arroyo might be the only active player to admit to using androstenedione and amphetamines, so I respect him for having the guts to come out and say it.

  215. Chuck Says:

    Prospect Handbook AND the Top 100 issue in the mail today, going to be a long weekend of baseball..at Maryvale tomorrow, Alumni event in Surprise on Sunday, going to Rangers camp on Monday to watch Darvish throw..maybe swing by Royals camp (walk across the parking lot) and see if Bubba Starling has reported yet.

    How’s the weather in CT today Bob?

    (Rhetorical question..I already know…LOl)

  216. Bob Says:

    Yup, it is shity today. Perhaps I will fly to Phoenix to see you and Raul. Kidding. Enjoy your baseball-filled weekend.

  217. Bob Says:

    1. Justin Morneau’s career could be over due to concussions.
    2. The Red Sox have alot of interest in Jorge Soler.

  218. Chuck Says:

    “Justin Morneau’s career could be over due to concussions.”

    I remember someone saying that here about a year or so ago, “Morneau’s concussion symptoms could be chronic and career threatening”.

    Wonder who that was?

    Give you a hint, wasn’t Shaun or John.

  219. Cameron Says:

    First Corey Coskie and now Justin Morneau. Joe Mauer has to be sweating his balls off now.

  220. Chuck Says:

    Has Joe Mauer ever had a concussion?

    The only reason why he should be sweating his balls off now is he doesn’t have Morneau or Cuddyer hitting behind him any more.

  221. Bob Says:

    It’s Corey Koskie.

  222. Cameron Says:

    Not yet, but it seems concussions are contagious over there.

  223. Shaun Says:

    “Justin Morneau’s career could be over due to concussions.”

    I remember someone saying that here about a year or so ago, “Morneau’s concussion symptoms could be chronic and career threatening”.

    Wow. It really took someone going out on a limb to offer the opinion that Morneau’s career could be over because of concussions.

    It was wise of you to put it that way.

    If Morneau’s career ends, you can bring up that comment.

    If Morneau’s career doesn’t end, you can say, “well, I said ‘could.’”

    Thanks, Nostradamus. It’s pretty easy to predict the past. You tell me which players who haven’t had a concussion yet will be out of the game within a few years because of concussions, and I’ll be impressed.

  224. Bob Says:

    Wonder if the Twins regret trading Wilson Ramos.

  225. Raul Says:

    …it’s easy to analyze the past, too. Then again, perhaps not.

  226. Bob Says:

    About a week ago we considered what type of offers the Marlins would get for Hanley.
    On the same wavelength, what sort of offers will Josh Hamilton get? See you in 2 hours.

  227. Raul Says:

    July 8, 2009

    Yankees @ Twins

    Mauer goes 3-5 with a homer and 2 RBI in a losing effort as the Yankees win 4-3.

    It was one of the few times in recent years that I saw the Yankees fear a player so much.

    Bottom of the 7th with 1 out, 3-1 count and Mauer crushed a home run the opposite field to left. I literally said “Wow”.

    Then again, Mauer was the MVP that year…

  228. Chuck Says:

    “See you in 2 hours”

    Where ya goin’, shovel the driveway?

  229. Chuck Says:

    Morneau must have been hurt before, because the actual incident itself didn’t appear to be that big a deal.

  230. Cameron Says:

    My guess is post-concussion syndrome, Chuck. Some guys can bounce back from concussions, some guys get PCS and can’t.

  231. Raul Says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/24/sports/baseball/yankees-romine-boosted-by-pep-talk-and-homemade-hitting-cage.html?ref=sports

  232. Chuck Says:

    I think at this point the ship has sailed on both Romine brothers.

  233. Raul Says:

    That NY is discussing an extension for Russell Martin says something, for sure.

  234. Raul Says:

    Reasonable take on Ryan Braun…

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/24/sports/baseball/ryan-brauns-name-is-cleared-but-questions-linger.html?ref=baseball

  235. John Says:

    Last thing on Braun…

    If he unknowingly took a banned substance (through herpes medication, or something), you’re right, contractually, he is obligated to serve a 50-game suspension.

    But that’s the key word: contractually.

    MLB violated the terms of their contract with Braun – both by mishandling the substance and by leaking what was supposed to be a confidential process.

    Contracts go both ways.

    There’s a reason these rules are in place. There’s 44 hours of undocumented, unaccounted time with the sample. That’s inexcusable, especially since there’s no conceivable reason that the sample wasn’t sent in there and then on the day of the test.

    Can you imagine if there was 44 hours of missing security footage on a bank vault?

    Presidents have been forced out of office for 18 minutes of missing tape.

    In the “real world,” accountability and documentation are everything. The drug-testers certainly cannot prove that the sample wasn’t tainted, especially when you consider that the sample contained testosterone levels that are basically impossible to attain, even unnaturally.

    Maybe Braun used PED’s. If he did, however, I fully expect him to hit about .266/.324/.400 next season, as he’d be an idiot to risk voiding 120 million dollars that he has coming to him over the next decade.

    I don’t think this is the case, both as a Brewer fan, and as someone who believes in clear logic. It’s highly unlikely that Braun remembered what to do to mask PED’s (again, masking agents are tested for) every day for 6+ years as a professional, only to all-of-a-sudden forget come playoff time, when he actually knew it was coming.

  236. Chuck Says:

    They didn’t mishandle the substance, John.

    “someone who believes in clear logic”

    Believing in, and showing, aren’t the same thing I take it.

  237. John Says:

    Newflash, Chuck: you have to account for things like drug-test urine. You can’t just leave it unaccounted for for 44 hours.

    Not in the real world, anyway.

  238. Chuck Says:

    It’s not like he left it in his car, it was locked in “a cool, dry place” inside his house, which is allowable under the Drug Policy.

    It never changed hands.

    If that guy provides an affadavit, and MLB files an appeal, Braun won’t play.

    It may not be the full fifty, he might get a pass like Manny did.

  239. John Says:

    You have a warped view of what constitutes proof in a judicial system.

    Some guy covering his ass by saying he totally locked it up in his fridge (I promise!) will not get the job done.

    There are 5 Fed Ex’s withing 10 miles of Miller Park that were open for 4 hours after the drug test, and another one nearby that was open for 24 hours.

    Absolutely, positively, no excuse for this. Proper documentation was not maintained on that sample.

  240. Chuck Says:

    Well, if that’s true, then there isn’t much room for debate.

    Why the kid said they were all closed is interesting.

  241. Raul Says:

    It was said that none of the tamper-proof seals were messed with.
    I believe they said there are 3 of them with each test.

    That Braun and his team did not contest the science behind the test is a big flag. Everyone has to admit that much. You can’t hide behind 20:1 being unattainable. If that was truly the case, even the damn scientists would have dismissed it.

    The Times article was fair and I think it was right. If Braun has nothing to hide, why doesn’t he reveal what caused the spike? And if he doesn’t know, why not just say so?

  242. Chuck Says:

    I agree..the fact the Brewers never contested the test itself says more than what some kid did with a sample

  243. John Says:

    ” And if he doesn’t know, why not just say so?”

    He did say that he did not know in his press conference today.

    He actually specifically said it wasn’t an STD, which is what some rumors had been.

    Look, if I blow a .75 on a breathalizer, and I’m not, ya know, dead, I’m going to question it. Braun’s sample was the equivalent of blowing a .75. That should be the red flag here.

  244. John Says:

    “the fact the Brewers never contested the test itself says more than what some kid did with a sample”

    Disagree. 44 hours of unaccounted time between when the sample left Braun’s penis and when it came out means that, regardless of what was in the piss, it was an unreliable sample to begin with.

  245. Raul Says:

    One thing I don’t know…and maybe someone here can clear this up…

    Are the tests confidential? What I mean is, did the tester know this was Ryan Braun’s sample? I mean even if he did, it doesn’t make much of a difference. There’s no apparent motive here for spiking the results (even if that did happen).

    But if he didn’t, and Braun isn’t contesting the science behind it, I mean what other conclusion can you reach other than he did test accurately?

    Whether he took something intentional or not, that’s a different discussion.

  246. Chuck Says:

    John just used penis in a sentence…what are you, 12?

    So, using your theory, then questioning the sample is a no-brainer..easier win, wouldn’t you say?

  247. Raul Says:

    It was a day and a half, John. Over the weekend.

    Stop using 44 hours to make it seem like it was FOREVER.
    Jesus Christ. In 20 comments you’ll start saying the sample was in the fridge for 2600 minutes. OMG!!!!

  248. John Says:

    Yes – once Fedex acquires the sample, it becomes a number. However, while the tester was (supposedly) in possession of the sample, he knew which one was Braun’s.

  249. Chuck Says:

    http://sportsmediawatchdog.com/

  250. Raul Says:

    At work and can’t listen to that @ Chuck.

    I’ll check it out when I get home.

  251. Bob Says:

    1. TGIF!

  252. John Says:

    Raul,

    In no other institution is something that valuable allowed to be totally unaccounted for for that length of time.

    “So, using your theory, then questioning the sample is a no-brainer..easier win, wouldn’t you say?”

    I don’t understand the question. They did exactly what they were supposed to – question the reliability of the sample. You’re saying that they should have disputed whether or not the test was positive. What would that accomplish?

  253. Chuck Says:

    Drugs remain a lot longer in your system than does alcohol, especially after you’ve pissed a sample.

    44 hours wouldn’t have made that much difference on reading as high as Braun’s was.

    Two days later he still would have failed the test.

  254. John Says:

    I too, turn to the MadDog when I want reliable sports information.

  255. Raul Says:

    I just can’t get over this.
    Why not question the test? Why not question the science?

    Has anyone asked him that question? It’s literally the biggest question about this entire case. Seriously. How do you dance around that?

  256. John Says:

    The point, Chuck, is that 44 hours is a lot of time for the sample to be tampered with – which is THE EXACT REASON why the rules are on the books to begin with.

    Would you let your piss go undocumented and unaccounted for 44 hours if your livelihood depended on its results?

    As someone who has taken something like 25 piss tests in the last 5 years, I know I wouldn’t.

  257. John Says:

    “Why not question the test?”

    For all we know, they did. This process was supposed to be confidential, after all.

  258. Raul Says:

    All reports are that he DIDN’T, though.

  259. Chuck Says:

    #254…LOL

  260. Raul Says:

    Grady Sizemore is hurt…again…and will miss Opening Day.

    This guy makes Jacoby Ellsbury look like Lou Gehrig.

  261. JohnBowen Says:

    Dugout Central is filtering people weirdly, again.

    Hossrex wrote:

    ““Selig and his staff have known about Peds for a sizable % of his tenure and only acted because Bonds overtook Ruth and Aaron, not some deep-rooted concern for the athletes well-being.”

    Sorry Bob but Selig acted because Congress was threatening the sports ATE.

    Short of that there still might be as much juice in the game now as there was in 2001.

    Bonds breaking Ruth and Aaron was shitty because of how it was done, on illegeal PED’s, but Bud getting hauled in front of such “astute baseball minds” like Congressman Elijah Cummings is what changed things.”

  262. JohnBowen Says:

    Wait a minute…

  263. brautigan Says:

    John: You continue to exhibit absent knowledge of the real world. All you show is opinion of your view, and again, it is absent of reality.

    There was no rule regarding the “chain of command”. Braun’s assertion had nothing to do with whether he had a dirty sample or not, but rather the chain of command and introduced a challenge the arbiter felt he had no other choice but to rule in Braun’s favor.

    If you have submitted just one urine test, and did not watch that sample go all the way to the lab and were there when the lab results were submitted, then you have put yourself in a position of having no control whatsoever the results of that test. If you’ve done it 25 times, then you are gullible.

  264. Chuck Says:

    If Braun played for any of the other 29 teams, John would give less of a shit about this whole situation than any of us and wouldn’t have posted one comment on the subject.

  265. Mike Felber Says:

    Raul you raise some good questions, as does the NY Times article. At this point all I am sure of is…Anything is possible. There are so many vagaries about how all sides handled this story.

    From the comments on the Kepner article, I copy 2 below. The 1st one is the kind of caution that an expert in a field like Kerry would offer re: the very strange blood level rations. The 2nd-I am not sure that he is correct, but again, I just do not know.

    This is the kind of issue we should back off “knowing” what Braun did or not.

    As I sit her and get distracted from a large dataset of human metabolomics from our research lab, I have a very hard time trying to convict this player on the basis of the data shown. He had an elevated epitestosterone to testosterone ratio. This is a ratio, and not an measure of absolute quantity. It makes me very uneasy to convict on the basis of a ratio of substances, particularly when small changes in measurement with amplify the differences. People state that his ratio was 20:1 and the cutoff value for positive was 4:1. For ratio data of rare substances the difference between 20:1 and 4:1 is really not as great as the numbers would indicate as these ratios need to be log transformed to be meaningful. I have real scientific problems with the use of isotope data to infer whether a mass:spec species is “synthetic” or “natural”. What does one do with a data point which is an outlier? If it were my lab, I would look at the other 24 specimens obtained that year. If all are negative, that would support the claim that this is not a true positive. The science would benefit from the presence of some positive controls. I’m not sure how to do that in a meaningful way. So I’m not saying this guy is clean, but rather the data are not strong enough to say that he is dirty.

    Next comment:

    Right on. Tyler Kepner is making an idiotic argument here. He’s fundamentally saying that since Braun initially tested positive, despite not taking a steroid, “some sort of banned substance caused him to fail the test.” Did it? Not necessarily. Sure, something ultimately caused the initial test to fail. But whether that was the result of another banned substance is pure speculation. It may have been the result of a substance that isn’t banned. It may not have even been the result of any substance at all, but other physiological factors that cause transient increases in testosterone. It may have been a combination of many things.

    Mr. Kepner is basically making the argument of “I know there’s no proof, but I’m sure he did something wrong.” Fortunately, in our country, we generally leave the burden of proof on the accuser. It is not Braun’s responsibility to speculate on what he may or may not have taken, eaten or otherwise done that caused the initial result. Braun is a baseball player, not a pharmacologist nor a doctor nor a physiologist. Mr. Kepner’s supposition that Braun ultimately knows why he failed the test initially is nothing more than a weak hunch, at best.

  266. JohnBowen Says:

    “It is not Braun’s responsibility to speculate on what he may or may not have taken, eaten or otherwise done that caused the initial result. Braun is a baseball player, not a pharmacologist nor a doctor nor a physiologist.”

    I disagree, Braun is absolutely responsible for everything he puts in his body.

    Now, some bits of information that I wasn’t aware of:

    Braun offered MLB a sample of his DNA to confirm that the sample in question was indeed his. For some reason, MLB declined.

    http://espn.go.com/espn/commentary/story/_/page/munson-120224/ryan-braun-ruling-raises-embarrassing-questions-mlb-drug-testing

    Seems like a bold move if Braun really was guilty, doesn’t it?

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