Archive for October, 2009

WATERCOOLER CHAT: LIMBAUGH WANTS THE RAMS

FOOTBALL

Rush LimbaughIn the NFL, the St. Louis Rams have been simply abysmal the last few seasons.  And now, as it seems, they are up for sale.  Well, one of their prospective and highly interested buyers is Rush Limbaugh, the conservative talk show host who’s been at the center of many heated debates the last twenty years.  Well, in order for a sale to process in the NFL, you have to be voted into the league.  And Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has publicly stated that he would NOT vote for Limbaugh.

Why?  Because Irsay feels that Limbaugh’s words can be and have been very dangerous.  When there’s a public sentiment, Limbaugh tends to go the other way  because he knows it will get him attention, and thus, money.  He’s also careful to pick the perfect words that he knows will make great headlines (i.e. “I want Obama to fail).  Well, everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion, but, Irsay feels he wouldn’t be good for the league.  In a public statement, Irsay summed it up, “I met Rush only once. He seemed like a nice guy to me and all those kind of things [but] it’s bigger than the NFL. As a nation, and as a world, we’ve got to watch our words and our thoughts. They can do damage.” It will be interesting to see how this story unfolds.

Finally, in some good news, USC running back Stafon Johnson will be released from the hospital tomorrow.  He sustained a serious neck injury when the barbell slipped from his hand crashed down on his neck.  Johnson required several treatments, and has been in the hospital for two-plus weeks.  USC coach Pete Carroll said Johnson could be eligible for an “injury redshirt”, which would enable him to stay at USC for a 6th year.  However, Johnson could also pursue the NFL, if a team takes a chance on him.  The great news is, the doctors expect him to make a full recovery.

SOCCER

Some sad news out of the soccer world.  Last night, U.S. soccer star Charlie Davies was injured in a severe car wreck.  He broke multiple bones, and suffered a severed bladder.  He will be hospitalized for a week, and almost definitely WILL NOT play in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.  This is heartbreaking obviously for Davies and his family, but to add salt to the wound, it’s a huge setback to U.S. soccer.  They will definitely be playing hard for Davies come next summer.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: MONDAY NIGHT MADNESS

FOOTBALL

Whoa, what a Monday Night Football Game between the Miami Dolphins and the NY Jets.  These two teams get prime Monday night spots because they have played some historic matches on Monday Nights.  It’s like the combo of Monday and these two squads = great football.  The Dolphins were looking to win two division games in a row, and the Jets were hoping to rebound after a brutal loss to the New Orleans Saints last Sunday.  It was all on the table.

Chad HenneWell, this game did NOT disappoint.  It was a back-and-forth showdown, and most notably,  the debut of Dolphins new QB Chad Henne. Nobody knew what to expect coming into the game, and for Henne, it was his chance to show the world that Sanchez wasn’t the only new guy on the block.  Henne came out with a brilliant performance, throwing for 241 yards and two touchdowns against a very tough Jets defense.  Meanwhile, their dual-headed running game of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams simply came out to shine.  Williams even looked like the Heisman winner of old, rushing for 68 yards, and hauling in 70 yards in the air.

Ricky Williams.JPGBut, after marching the Dolphins down the field one last time, it all came down to a running play with just 10 seconds left on the clock.  It was a fake hand-off to Ricky Williams, and then Ronnie Brown took it in for a Touchdown.  Simply  an amazing last second win in front of the home crowd.  Now, the Dolphins, who looked average at best to start the season, look like serious contenders in this divison.  On the contrary, the Jets, who looked amazing, starting the season 3-0, are now 3-2, and have some serious work to do. Miami 31, NY Jets 27.

BASEBALL

And in baseball, it was the Philadelphia Phillies v. the Colorado Rockies to see who would take on the Dodgers.  The Rockies trailed 2-1 coming into the game, after losing late last night, but thought they could at least force a game 5.  Well, it was a pitchers duel for awhile, until the Phils got up 2-1.  Then, the Rockies couldn’t do anything.  But, in the bottom of the ninth, pinch hitter and former all-star Jason Giambi knocked a single to drive in the tying run.  The Rockies would even take a 4-2 lead.  However, in the top of the ninth, with the Rockies up 4-2, it all came down to the Rockies Huston Street vs. the Phillies slugger, Ryan Howard.  The hardest out to get is the last one, and Street… just couldn’t do it.  Howard blasted a shot that would drive in two runs.  And then, Jayson Werth would put the nail in the coffin with a single, that scored the winning run.  Colorado is out, and the Phillies will take on the Dodgers in the National league Championship

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: BASEBALL SWEEPS, BRONCOS ARE SERIOUS

It was a crazy weekend, hosting a few outcomes nobody expected.

BASEBALL

Manny RamirezIn baseball, the National League heavy favorites heading into the post season… the St. Louis Cardinals.  They had been dominant since the all-star break, and were poised for a World Series birth.  But in baseball, more than most sports, predictions aren’t worth much.  The Cardinals were pitted against a red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers team that won the first 2 games at home, and brought that confidence with them to St. Louis.  In Game 3, the Dodgers Manny Ramirez had another terrific game, and the Dodgers cruised past the Cardinals to win the series.  Just like that, the mighty Cardinals season is over.  They have to do it all again next year to get back to this point.  Then again, this is the same thing that typically happens to the Dodgers.   Baseball’s just crazy.  LA Dodgers 5, St. Louis 1.

Elsewhere, another team went by the wayside in the American League.  FOX desperately wanted a Yankees/Red Sox Championship series.  They need it for ratings.  Well, they can kiss that goodbye, as the Los Angeles Angels took care of business at Fenway.  The Red Sox simply choked down the stretch.  They had a safe 6-4 lead, heading into the 9th inning, but as we’ve seen in other series, there is no such thing as “safe” in the baseball playoffs.  Bobby Abreu doubled to bring in a run, making it 6-5.  And then, Vlad Gurerro singled, knocking in two RBIs to give the Angles a 7-6 lead.  It was a total meltdown from Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon.  LA Angels 7, Boston 6.

85133109CM032_Boston_Red_SoAnd, finally, the Yankees swept the Minnesota Twins and are headed to a showdown against the Angels. Thanks to the stellar pitching of Andy Petitte and some exciting home runs from Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez. Unlike Jessica Simpson’s influence last year on the Cowboys’ Tony Romo, looks like A-Rod’s girlsfriend Kate Hudson is a good influence on the Yanks. Yankees 4, Twins 1

FOOTBALL

In college football, the much anticipated contest between #1 Florida and #4 LSU was finally here.  It was the most difficult opponent Florida has faced this season.  Well, it was a defensive stand for both teams, as neither squad could really get anything going.  Then, in the second quarter, Florida’s Tim Tebow hit Riley Cooper for a 24-yard touchdown.  In the second half, LSU just couldn’t get it done.  They didn’t even score a touchdown on the day.  And Florida would hold on for the win. Florida 13, LSU 3.

Finally, the marquee game in the NFL was the New England Patriots v. the Denver Broncos.  Basically, it was a test to see which team was for real, and which team is only so-so.  Denver was undefeated coming into the game, but most said it was because of their lax schedule.  The Pats would be the true exam.  Well, it was a heated contest, and Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton showed he was for real, tossing for 330 yards and 2 touchdowns.  The game even required an overtime.  And it all came down to a field goal for Denver’s Matt Prater, as he nailed a 41 yarder to win the game.  Ladies and gentleman, the Broncos are serious.  Denver 20, New England 17.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: GREAT BASEBALL ALL AROUND

BASEBALL

Unbelievable!  There’s no other word to describe yesterday’s result of the St. Louis Cardinals / Los Angeles Dodgers playoff game.  The regular baseball season is 162 long games.  You can make whatever predictions you want about who’s the best, but, the fact remains, in a five-game series, it’s anybody’s game.   This seems to be the case in the Cardinals / Dodgers series.

Adam WainrightThe Dodgers eeked out Game 1 on Wednesday, and looked to grab game two on Thursday.  However, the Cardinals were dominant throughout, with a brilliant pitching performance from Adam Wainright. He pitched 8 full innings, and then was pulled for closer Ryan Franklin.  All Franklin had to do was maintain the Cardinals 2-1 lead, and the Cardinals would even the series heading back to St. Louis.    Franklin got the first two outs, and just needed one more.  And that last out proved extremely tough.  They would have had the game won, but Matt Halladay bobbled the ball in the outfield for an error, putting a runner on second.  Then, Ronnie Belliard batted him in.  2-2.  Now, Franklin was hoping just to get out of the inning.  Couldn’t do it, and Mark Loretta hit a beautiful shot up the middle to drive in a run and win the game.  9 long innings with a lead, reduced to one bad inning, and suddenly the Dodgers are up 3-2 on the National League favorites.  That… is the the baseball post-season.  Los Angeles Dodgers 3, St. Louis Cardinals 2.

Elsewhere in baseball playoffs, the Los Angeles Angels would host the mighty Boston Red Sox.  Baseball, and FOX Broadcasting are hoping for a second round match-up between Boston and New York (always good for ratings), but the Angels are a hot team this year and couldn’t care less about what people want.  Plus, they’ve been united this season due to losing a young pitcher, Nick Adenheart, in a horrible car accident.  Well, their momentum would continue into the post-season, as they absolutely destroyed the Red Sox in Game 1.  Torii Hunter crushed a beautiful homer in the 5th to give them a confident 3-0 lead.  Then, later in the 7th, Kendry Morales hit a shot to drive in two more runs.  And the Angels take the lead in the series.  LA Angels 5, Boston 0.

Huston StreetFinally, the Colorado Rockies hoped to even the series with the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies.  Colorado got up early, with a pleasant 4-0 lead, but some Philly homers would get them back in the game.  And in the 8th inning, the Phillies Jason Werth blasted a one-run homer to bring the Phillies to within one.  Obviously, the crowd buzzed.  But, in the end, the Rockies closer, Huston Street (possibly the coolest name in sports, and eventually destined to play in Houston 🙂 shut down the Phillies to nab the save and even the series headed back to Colorado.  Colorado 5, Philadelphia 4.

Enjoy the weekend!

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: DAY ONE IN BASEBALL PLAYOFFS

BASEBALL

Cliff LeeIt was Day 1 in the baseball playoffs.  In Game 1,  it was the Colorado Rockies v. the Philadelphia Phillies.  For the defending champion Phillies, this is what they’ve been preparing for all season, bringing in both Pedro Martinez (aging), and Cliff Lee (awesome).  This game would feature Lee to kick things off.  He allowed only 6 hits, and just one run.  To further prove his dominance, he pitched a complete game.  It was pure shut down mode.  Meanwhile, the Philly bats were there to help him out.  No home run, but they had a scoring surge in the 5th and 6th inning.  With this win, Philly proved they’re ready for anything.  Philadelphia 5, Colorado 1.

Next up, it was Tuesday’s heroes, the Minnesota Twins, against this year’s favorite, the New York Yankees.  This series has been poised as one of the biggest upset possibilities in baseball history, but many think there is no way Minny can win.  And, by the looks of it, they’re right.  Unfortunately for the Twins, the magic of Tuesday night wouldn’t bleed into Wednesday.  Minnesota got on top early, but then the Yankees got their act together.  All of their big guns drove in runs, (A-Rod, Matsui, Swisher), and Yankees cruised to a victory.  It was a nice comeback game for the Yanks after a year absence from the playoffs.  NY Yankees 7, Minnesota 2.

Finally, the game of the night featured St. Louis and the LA Dodgers.  St. Louis is the favorite in the National League, but the Dodgers are finally looking to make some serious noise this year.  Plus, there’s potential for an all Los Angeles world series.  In fact, there is a lot of potential for big markets to meet up in the post season.  The worst case scenario, of course, would be Colorado v. Minnesota, but, right now, it doesn’t look like we’re headed there.  In the debut game in this series, LA made quite the statement.  They held the lead the entire way, and got a scare in the ninth inning when the Cards Mark DeRosa drove in a run.  Was a comeback brewing?  Nope, not last night, and the Dodgers nabbed game 1 of the series.  LA Dodgers 5, St. Louis 3.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: DRAMATIC NIGHT IN BASEBALL

BASEBALL

It was a dramatic night in the baseball world, as the final playoff spot was up for grabs.  The Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins dueled it out in a one game playoff that would hand the winner the New York Yankees.  Minnesota played host, and this would potentially be the last game for the Twins at the Metrodome.  And get this, their new stadium will be outdoors… in Minnesota!!!!   Anyway…

The game was deadlocked until the 3rd inning, when the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera blasted a homer to put the Tigers up 3-0.  The air came out of the stadium for the Twins.  However, the Twins would battle back in the 6th and 7th innings with home run shots from Orlando Cabrera and Jason Kubel.  Electricity was in the place as the Twins took the lead 4-3.  But, just when things looked bleak for the Tigers in the 8th, their lead off hitter, Magglio Ordonez smacked a homer to tie the game at 4.  Yep, the game would require extra innings.

Alexi CasillaIn the 10th, Brad Inge stepped up to the plate for Detroit, and nobody expected much.  He was only hitting .229 for the season.  Then… he cranked a beautifully placed double to deep left that would score a run.  5-4 Tigers. But, in the bottom in the tenth, Matt Tolbert hit a simple single that would tie the game.  5-5.  Finally, it came to the 12th inning, and the hero was the Twins Alexi Casilla. He hit a single to right, and drove in the winning run.  Congratulations to the Minnesota Twins.  They are now in the playoffs, and have all the heat behind them.  Sure, many predict that the Yankees will wipe the floor with them, but with this extra ‘umph’, you just can’t be sure.  Minnesota 6, Detroit 5.

Elsewhere, in pre-season NBA, there was some excitement in Cleveland.  We got our first peek at the LeBron James / Shaq connection for the coming season.  Sure, Shaq only played for about 16 minutes, but the duo looked good out there. Finally, the Cavs have a reliable big man down low who can take some pressure off LeBron.  Unfortunately, Shaq is getting up there in age, and will probably miss time during the season to an injury here and there.  But, come playoff time, this team could be deadly. Cleveland 92, Charlotte 87.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: MNF, DRAMA IN CLEVELAND

FOOTBALL

Brett Favre.jpgIt was revenge night on Monday Night Football.  All the hoopla, all the media craze, and all the Brett Favre drama of the past 2 years would finally come to a cathartic moment.  After, this whole thing started with the Packers dissing Favre a year ago by releasing him.  Tonight, Favre was out to prove that the Packers should have held on to him, that he was the true winner, and that they would regret it.  It was the Minnesota Vikings hosting the Green Bay Packers.

And Favre came out throwing.  On his first drive, he hit tight end Vinsanthe Shiancoe for a touchdown.  The crowd erupted.  Then, the new boy Aaron Rodgers, answered for the Packers with a long touchdown to their tight end Jermichael Finley.  But the night would belong to Favre.  He aired it out for 3 touchdowns and 271 yards, and Vikings took the game.  In the post-game interview, Favre said this wasn’t about revenge, and that he wasn’t out to prove he was better than Aaron Rodgers.  He concluded by saying that they still have to play the Packers one more time.  And that game… is in Green Bay.  That should be insanely dramatic.  Minnesota 30, Green Bay 23.

Braylon EdwardsElsewhere in the NFL, it looks like there is some major drama in Cleveland.  Browns Wide-Receiver Braylon Edwards was fighting with a Bengals defender in Sunday’s game, and then later took a swing at someone else.  That someone:  One of LeBron James’ friends.  And you do not mess with the King of Cleveland.  LeBron said he has no idea why Braylon did that, and remarked, “I’ve never crossed paths with Braylon before, but it seems like there’s a little jealousy going on with Braylon and me and my friends. I have no idea why.  I’ve never said anything to Braylon at all. But for him to do that is very childish. My friend is 130 pounds. Seriously. It’s like hitting one of my kids. It doesn’t make sense.”  We’ll see if this feud has legs.

BASEBALL

Finally, if you want high stakes sports action, then tonight is the night for you.  In a rare occurance, there will be a one game playoff for the final spot in baseball’s post season.  It’s the Detroit Tigers v. the Minnesota Twins in a do-or-die match with a post-season birth on the line.  Everybody thought the Tigers had things locked up, but they fell apart down the stretch, and the Twins got RED HOT.  Now, the Twins will play host to the Tigers, and definitely hope they can utilize that momentum.  The winner… gets the dominant New York Yankees.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: HURRICANES OVER SOONERS, PATS OVER RAVENS, JETS COULDN’T GET IT DONE, BEN COMES THROUGH

Wow, what a weekend in the sports world.

FOOTBALL

Landry JonesIn college football, the Miami Hurricanes are having a comeback season.  While they lost last week to Virginia Tech, they were looking to rebound against the mighty #8 Oklahoma Sooners.  Oklahoma has struggled early this season, losing their Heisman Trophy quarterback, Sam Bradford, to an injury.  However, back up Landry Jones has looked good in his place.  Well, the game was tight, but in the end, the Hurricanes prevailed over the Sooners.  Landry Jones threw for only 1 touchdown, while Miami’s Jacory Harris tossed for 202 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Miami may have a loss, but they are still gunning for the National Championship… or at least a BCS bowl.  Miami 21, Oklahoma 20.

In the NFL, the marquee match-up of the day was the Baltimore Ravens v. the New England Patriots.  The Ravens came into the game undefeated, and they seem to have an impenetrable defense.  Would New England have the key?  Well, the Pats didn’t look to have the explosive offense of years past, but they were still able to move the ball on the Ravens, albeit Tom Brady looked average at best.  Definitely not his old self.  And in the end, while the Ravens did have some offensive spurts during the game, they just weren’t able to get the job done.  New England 27, Baltimore 21.

Drew BreesElsewhere in the NFL, another marquee contest between two exciting undefeated teams:  The New Orleans Saints and New York Jets.  The Jets are rolling behind a tough defense and a competent young quarterback in Matt Sanchez.  The Saints on the other hand are getting by behind their high-powered offense.  Well, this game would see a role reversal… at least for one team.  Sanchez didn’t look as good, and the Saints defense took advantage of it.  New Orleans scored 2 defensive touchdowns, and, ironically, their offense couldn’t even put up a touchdown.  Drew Brees didn’t have his magic.  Finally, in the 4th quarter, the Saints Pierre Thomas ran it in for a TD, but they just didn’t look like the offense everyone knows.  New Orleans 24, NY Jets 10.

58286052Finally, the Sunday Night Game on NBC looked like a blowout at first, with the Pittsburgh Steelers marching all over the San Diego Chargers.  The Chargers just couldn’t get anything going in the first half, and Pittsburgh went into the break up 21-0.  They remained dominant in the third quarter, but then, in the fourth, San Diego came powering back.  All of a sudden, the game was 35-28 with a little over 4 minutes to play.  The Pittsburgh defense, in which the Steelers usually rely on to win their games, just completely fell apart.  So, needing to keep the Chargers off the field, they turned to their 100 million dollar quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger. And he came through in a big way, guiding the Steelers down the field for the game winning field goal.  Now, the defending Super Bowl champs are 2-2, but they should continue to be a force to be reckoned with over the duration of the season.  Pittsburgh 38, San Diego 28.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: MONDAY NIGHT SHOWDOWN, IVERSON SAYS “IT’S PERSONAL”

FOOTBALL

Brett Favre.jpgIn the NFL, the most anticipated game of this coming week is easily Green Bay v. Minnesota.  It will be Brett Favre’s first showdown against his own team.  The game will be in Minnesota and is completely sold out.  Remember, it’s not just a homecoming, for the Packers and the Vikings, it’s a huge rivalry.  Now you’ve got, essentially, the mayor of one city playing for the other.  Favre is a God in Green Bay, but now Minnesota has adopted him as their own, especially after Favre’s miracle throw to win the game last week against San Francisco.

What does this game mean to Favre, however?  What’s his take?  Well, to take a term from the 2004 presidential election, he’s ‘flip-floping’.  One moment, Favre said this isn’t about revenge at all.  This is just another game that he will try his hardest.  Then, all of a sudden, Favre says something to the extent of ‘It’s human nature to want to prove that he can still play’.  Favre said he didn’t want to use the word revenge, but there is definitely a sense of determination to show the team that traded him away, Green Bay, that they made a mistake.  This game will be one for the ages.  And just wait until Favre makes his debut against Green Bay IN GREEN BAY later this season.  That’s where it’s going to get really interesting.

BASKETBALL

In the NBA, Allen Iverson is speaking to the media about his experience last season with the Detroit Pistons.  Last year, Iverson was brought from Denver to Detroit to try and give the Pistons a competitive edge in the now complicated Eastern Conference.  Iverson said he was brought to town, and told he would start.  They said that they would never disrespect his career by making him come off the bench.  Well, now Iverson said that just a short time after arriving in Detroit, they told him they wanted him to come off the bench.  In so many words, they made it clear that if he didn’t play the role of a sub, they wouldn’t play with him at all.  It was then that Iverson realized that this was the worst move of his career.

Now Iverson finds himself in a new situation in Memphis, where he definitely won’t be coming off the bench.  If anything, the Grizzlies are looking to him as a savior of sorts, hoping he can play a leadership role and bring a cohesiveness to a bunch of up-and-coming stars (i.e. Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo, Hasheem Thabeet).  Iverson said he definitely wants to get to the playoffs, but that’s not enough for HIM.  He intends to win the whole thing. This time, Iverson said, “It’s personal”.  In the twilight of his career, he wants to rejuvenate his love for the game.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: VICK REDEMPTION WITH NIKE, JOHNSON TWEETING, PHILLIES CLAIM 3RD NL EAST TITLE

FOOTBALL

Michael VickWhen news broke of Michael Vick’s dogfighting ways 2 years ago, he lost his sponsorship contracts almost immediately.  Most notably with Nike, a company that dishes out millions and millions of dollars to star athletes with marketing potential.  Kobe Bryant also lost a significant amount of sponsors when he was accused of rape and went through a long trial.  Controversy is simply something that large corporations don’t like.  Well, after two years, it appears that Nike is ready to get back in bed with Michael Vick.  Details of the arrangement were uncdisclosed, but you can probably assume they will run some kind of “redemption” campaign with Vick.
An update on the status of USC running back, Stefon Johnson.  As many know, Johnson was injured in a freak weightlifting accident in which a heavy barbell slipped and fell on his neck.  Well, things only seem to be going in a good direction from there.  Two days ago, he motioned to his mom that he was alright and smiled.  Yesterday… he was tweeting.  He sent a tweet to his followers thanking them for all their love and support.

While this may seem like just a charming anecdote, it’s actually something far more indicitave.  According to the doctors, they were pleased that his arm motion was in tact.  This was the best they’ve seen him in motion, and the fact that he can tweet indicates that his injury didn’t cause irreversable harm to some key motor skills.  This is good news, and let’s hope there’s more tomorrow for Stefon Johnson.

BASEBALL

Raul IbanezThe former World Series Champions, the Philadelphia Phillies, didn’t lose a step this year.  With a win over the Astros, they would claim their 3rd straight NL East title.  Well, they did just that, as they absolutely crushed the Astros. They were up 8-3 heading into the bottom of the 7th, when Raul Ibanez stepped up to the plate and crushed a homer.  Remember, this is not just any home-run, this is a home-run that symbolizes that Philly is at their best heading into the playoffs, and fully intend to win another World Series.  As you can probably guess, the Philly crowd was absolutely electric last night.  Philadelphia 10, Houston 3.

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