Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Welcome to the Blue, Miguel Olivo!

The game of musical chairs with the current roster continues.

Announced just a moment ago, the Dodgers have called up veteran catcher Miguel Olivo from Albuquerque.  Tim Federowicz  has been sent back down to AAA.  Per a Dodgers press release:
The Los Angeles Dodgers today selected the contract of Miguel Olivo from Triple-A Albuquerque and optioned catcher Tim Federowicz to Triple-A Albuquerque. To make room on the 40-man roster, the club transferred right-handed pitcher Chad Billingsley to the 60-day disabled list.

Olivo, who is a 10-Year Major League veteran catcher and has a .241 batting average with 145 home runs and 488 RBI, will make his Dodger debut after signing a minor league contract with Los Angeles this season. The Dominican Republic native has fared well in 15 games at Albuquerque, posting a .390/.438/.661 slashline with four homers and 18 RBI. As a non-roster invitee with the club in Spring Training, Olivo batted .263 (5-for-19) with two doubles and three RBI.
Federowicz appeared in 13 games for Los Angeles after his recall on April 8.
Considering TFed was batting a lowly .109 this season, I guess we shouldn't be surprised by the news.  Even with Federowicz primarily valued for his defensive, batting at that clip just doesn't cut it.

Olivo has been in the Majors since 2002, and is likely to be just fine behind the plate.  And, with him showing a resurgent bat in Albuquerque, maybe the Dodgers can catch some fire while it's hot. 

In celebration of Olivo officially becoming a Dodger today (we are his 7th Major League club) I made the above fantasy card for him.  I used a photo grabbed from Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014 taken during Spring Training and the always great 1987 Topps Baseball card design.

UPDATE:  I was checking out Olivo's Wikipedia page and came across a strange/funny story about him:
Olivo made headlines in early 2010 for having to leave the Rockies' April 29 game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at the beginning of the eighth inning to pass a kidney stone. Remarkably, he was able to re-enter soon after and finished the game.
Holy Moly!

Below are Olivo's career stats, via Baseball-Reference:

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Check Out Some LeRoy Neiman Painted Baseballs at Heritage Auctions

Along with a group of game-used Baseballs from some Sandy Koufax milestone games available for auction at Heritage, they also have a collection of drawn-on Baseballs done by famed artist LeRoy Neiman.  That's right, the guy who painted those colorful sports-themed collages so popular through the 1970's and '80's also spent some time drawing on Baseballs.

Heritage has a huge collection available, so I pulled out all of the Dodgers I could find, and share them below.  BTW, if you are a Mets fan I would certainly check these all out.  There are a ton of Mets-themed Baseballs available.  A link for the auction is here.

Sandy Koufax
(Auction Link)
(Auction Link)

Pee Wee Reese
(Auction Link)

Duke Snider
(Auction Link)

Don Sutton
(Auction Link)

Tommy Lasorda
(Auction Link)

Jackie Robinson
(signed by Rachel Robinson)
(Auction Link)

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Weekend Autograph Opportunities: Card Show this Weekend and Pedro Guerrero

Here are this weekends autograph opportunities and events throughout the Southland. As always, be sure to check the Blue Heaven Calendar for other events (a link can always be found on the tab at the top of this page, just left of center), and always confirm with the establishment. Everything is subject to change.  Please email me with any tips about upcoming events in Southern California.  As the rest of the week progresses I'll update this post with other events (if there are any) as I become aware of them.  Also, I don't always list every event below, so be sure to check my Calendar.  I always try to favor free signing events over paying events.  Click on any pic to embiggen.


The Southern California Sports Collectors Show returns this Saturday, May 3rd, 2014 from 10am - 5pm.  Admission is free.  This time they move the show to Gardena.  Go here for more information.

I plan on being there; unless a hockey game gets in the way.  From a email I received:
Three long-time collectors have partnered to bring together a good, old-fashioned local card show in the Los Angeles area.  The collectors, Jason Miller, Anthony Nex, and Adam Warshaw, are lifelong hobbyists and veterans of the card clubs that used to dominate the collecting world before the Internet. They want to revive the card shows they loved and enjoyed as young collectors and share them with the rest of the collecting public, especially those who may not have ever experienced a real local card show.  The show features cards from all sports and nonsports subjects too, as well as memorabilia, and some of the top dealers from around the country.  Confirmed vendors include Mark Macrae,  Ryan Christoff,  Paul Markoe, Wax Czar,  Andy Madec, Dan Studebaker, Sean Bassik,  and many others.  The show atmosphere will be family-friendly and collegial.
Junipero Serra High School
14830 South Van Ness Avenue
Gardena, CA  90249


Pedro Guerrero will be at Harry's Dugout on Saturday.  Go here for more information.
Harry's Dugout
10715 Beverly Boulevard
Whittier, CA

David Freese will be in Anaheim on Saturday.  Go here for more information.  Signing takes place Saturday, May 3rd, 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at:
The OC Dugout
1238 S. Beach Blvd.
Anaheim, CA 92804
(log cabin building inside Adventure City)

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Blog Kiosk: 4/30/2014 - Dodger Links - The Mayor, Paco is Back and Kemp Speaks Loudly

Nom Nom Nom.  Look at that chocolate cake.  So, that's what the boys do for a rain out.  They pig out!  Mmmm... Pic via Yasiel Puig on instagram.
  • Via ESPN, "LA mayor rebukes Time Warner Cable."
Garcetti used a keynote speech at the Cable Show industry conference to press for a deal.

"I hope that we can resolve the fact that our home town baseball team, the Dodgers, is not currently seen on all of our boxes around the city," he said.

  • Geez Louise!  Talk about musical chairs, eh?  Paco Rodriguez is back up with the Dodgers.  Carlos Triufel, who was called up just a couple of days ago, has been sent back to AAA.  Per a Dodger press release:
The Los Angeles Dodgers today recalled left-handed pitcher Paco Rodriguez from Triple-A Albuquerque and optioned infielder Carlos Triunfel to Triple-A Albuquerque.

Rodriguez opened the season with Los Angeles and allowed two runs in 5.2 innings in eight games before being optioned to Albuquerque on April 15. With the Isotopes, he allowed just two hits and struck out two in 3.0 scoreless innings in three appearances, picking up the save in his last appearance on April 26 at Fresno (1.0 IP, 10 pitches).

Triunfel was recalled before Sunday's game, but did not appear in the contest.
There simply is no diminishing what amounts to the complete transformation of a player right before our eyes. Where there was recently a skittish, frustratingly error-prone shortstop, now stands a solid, confident second baseman. What's especially impressive about Dee Gordon's development is that he has found a way to improve in so many key skill sets all at the same time.
I tend to agree with Howard on this one.  I think that he has finally figured it out.  Unfortunately, we may have a logjam on the infield, as Alex Guerrero comes steaming in from Albuquerque.  I guess that's a good problem to have.
  • GCRL wonders if he found Brett Wallach's true rookie card from 1994.  It could also be one of his other sons, Matt or Chad.  What do you think?

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Adding a Couple 2013 Supreme Matt Magill Cards

I've had the 2013 Topps Supreme Baseball card set on the mind lately, and have found myself collecting them at a furious pace.  A couple of weeks ago, I shared a couple of Johnny Podres cards that I recently added to my collection.  Now, I show you some Matt Magill's.

Featured here are the two different Supreme Stylings Magill cards - one of which is a "1 of 1" parallel card.

He is only 24 years old and is pitching in his second season at AAA.  Magill had a couple of very good starts for the Dodgers last season, but was unable to show any consistency.  During his last two starts wit the Dodgers he gave up a total of 14 runs - 5 of the unearned.  I still have high hopes that Magill will develop into a viable bottom-of-the-rotation starter.  Unfortunately, his 2014 season has been rocky in Albuquerque.  He has a 4.94 ERA in 5 starts so far, a WHIP of 1.479 and has seen his strike out numbers dwindle.

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Some Significant Koufax Baseballs at Heritage Auctions

Heritage's current sports auction has some fantastic memorabilia available; including a collection of game-used Baseballs from several key Sandy Koufax milestone games.  These group of balls come directly from the estate of former UPI photographer Ernie Schworck.  Per a biography from Heritage:
With a camera around his neck and a spirit of adventure in his heart, renowned photographer Ernie Schworck spent three decades in the employment of United Press International (UPI), aiming his lens at the most famous figures of twentieth century sport and politics. The collection that follows focuses primarily on the former, Schworck's Los Angeles residency making him a familiar face at Dodger Stadium and Anaheim Stadium. He's best remembered for his creation of some of the most famous photographs of legendary southpaw Sandy Koufax ever captured, images that he populated with hand-notated game used balls that served as living captions for no-hitters, World Series victories and other historic achievements. Schworck wisely retained many of these baseballs for his personal collection, and they make their hobby debut in the lots that follow.
There are 5 different Baseball available.  Below are two of my favorite.

Below is a August 31, 1959 Baseball from the night Sandy struck out 18 Giants at Dodger Stadium.  I love the accompanying photo taken by Schworck of Koufax holding this very ball.
(Auction Link)
(Auction Link)

This next Baseball is from Koufax's 2nd career no-hitter on May 11, 1963 against the Giants. 
(Auction Link)
(Auction Link)

BTW, you can check out the other Koufax Baseballs through the list below:
  • 1963 World Series Game Four Used Baseball (Link)
  • 1963 Sandy Koufax Twentieth Win of Season Game Used Baseball (Link)
  • 1966 World Series Game Two Used Baseball--Sandy Koufax' Last Game (Link)

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Blog Kiosk: 4/29/2014 - Dodger Links - A Kershaw Rehab Start on Wednesday and Urias Shoulder Issues

Hanley Ramirez and Carl Crawford are taking selfies on a plane, pic via @Dodgers on twitter - by way of Hanley's Instagram.
The Dodgers group is serious about owning an NBA team, and the league knows it. Together, they arranged for Johnson and the Guggenheim Partners to purchase the WNBA's cash-strapped Los Angeles Sparks in February. The league office needed someone to spare it the embarrassment of the WNBA's flagship franchise folding, and Magic and Guggenheim bailed it out. This hadn't been born out of a sense of benevolence, but rather a pragmatic move to deeper ingratiate themselves with the NBA.
“ ‘Just go do it,’ “ Gordon remembers telling himself. “We’ve got Hanley Ramirez as our shortstop. The team just needs me to get in there some type of way. I was down for whatever they want me to do, because I just want to be in there and help as much as I can. I don’t think people thought it was going to go over as well as it has, to be totally honest.” 
It is impressive that Lee has enough maturity and mound presence to be able to use any pitch in his arsenal with confidence. He knows how to sequence pitches very well and won't let a hitter find a comfort zone in the batter's box. He isn't afraid to use any of his pitches at any point in the count, changing the eye level of the hitter and keeping the hitter guessing, In short, Lee is continuing to master the art and nuances of pitching rather than just throwing.
Clayton Kershaw will make his second rehab start on Wednesday, for Double-A Chattanooga, the club announced Monday.
Of all the types shoulder injuries he could have sustained, this one seems like the least serious. There isn’t any structural damage (as far as we know), and it was the result of a bicep injury. His arm is fine.

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    Monday, April 28, 2014

    Alexander Guerrero Gets his 1st Baseball Card - More Urias Cards are Coming

    As you probably know, 2014 Bowman Baseball cards officially go live this coming Wednesday, but that hasn't stopped local retail establishments from stocking their shelves a little early.  It has been reported through numerous circles that packs are being found, purchased and sold (with cards in-hand) as we speak.

    With that in mind, I thought I would let everyone know that this years Bowman set, which is principally geared towards prospect/minor league collectors, will include the very first licensed Baseball card of Alexander Guerrero.  BTW, I'll have pics of all the Dodger cards in a few days, so stay tuned.  UPDATE:  I thought I would add for clarification that he does have an unlicensed card - a 2013 Leaf Memories card that you can see here.

    There is a Base Prospect card (#BP106) and a Base Chrome Prospect card (#BCP106) available to chase - along with the numerous parallels that are so popular these days.  For those who do not know, the Base Prospect and Base Chrome Prospect cards are identical looking and only differ in the kind of cardboard stock that is used.   Below is a look at Guerrero's Base Chrome Prospect card.

    Here is the reverse of the card.


    Also, this years Bowman set also includes several new Julio Urias Baseball cards.  This isn't his first licensed card, but will likely constitute his first affordable offerings.  His rookie cards, a 2013 Bowman Sterling Prospect Autographed Card (#BSAP-JU), have been regularly selling for $20 to $30 a piece (Check out a past story about an initial run-up in values during Spring Training this year, here).  So, fans unwilling to spend much money before he has proven himself have been shut out on his cards.  Fortunately for those fans, this years Bowman set includes several different non-autographed Urias cards that all Dodger collectors will find affordable.

    Like Alexander Guerrero above, Julio Urias has a Base Prospect (#BP6) and a Base Chrome Prospect cards (#BCP6) available to chase.  Below is a look at his Base Chrome Prospect card.

    Here is a look at the reverse of that card.

    There are also several other Urias cards available.  Below is a complete checklist.
    • Base Prospect Set - #BP6
    • Chrome Prospect - #BCP6
    • Top 100 Prospects Inserts - #BTP-44
    • Bowman Chrome Mini - #BM-LAD2
    • Bowman Chrome Mini Autograph - #CMA-JU
    • Bowman Black Autograph - #BBC-JU
    • Oversized 1989 Bowman Autograph - #89-JU
    • Oversized Ice Boxloaders - #OI-JU
    • Oversized Ice Autograph Boxloader - #OAI-JU
    • Ultimate Prospect Autograph Book Card - #Julio Urias
     The last 6 cards in the checklist above are likely to be very scarce and pricey.

    Take a Look at some Jackie Robinson High School Yearbooks

    Memory Lane is currently running an auction that features some Jackie Robinson memorabilia that are rarely seen.  In fact, this is the first time I've for me.  They have high school yearbooks covering all 4 years of Jackie Robinson's stay at John Muir Technical High School in Pasadena.  See the auction here.

    As you may recall, I had featured several college yearbooks in my collection featuring Jackie Robinson in the past, so these items strike a chord with me.  Check out my past post on those yearbooks here:  1938 Pasadena Junior College, 1939 Pasadena Junior College, 1940 UCLA and a 1941 USC yearbook that happens to also have Jackie in it.

    Below are some photos of Jackie in these high school yearbooks.

    1935 Yearbook - Freshman year - Lightweight Track, the only sport he participated in that year. You can see Jackie on the 3rd row on the bottom - far left.

    This is from 1936 as a member of the football team - 2nd row, far left.

    Here's an early Jackie Robinson signature and a photo of him playing basketball.

    Below, he is on the Baseball team.  I believe he is in the top photo, on the back row, second person on the left.

    Jackie Robinson is shown below in the 1937 yearbook.  He is on the top row, far left.

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    Blog Kiosk: 4/28/2014 - Dodger Links - Withrow, Kershaw and Perez

    I can only imagine that Juan Uribe is ordering some new clothes to wow his Dodger teammates in the photo above.  Pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014.
    "Obviously we like his stuff. It's funny, you kind of match up every day with the sheet. You match up caution areas and good areas. With With, his stuff is pretty much always good. You can match him up with anybody," Mattingly recalled. "Right there, at CarGo and Tulo, it just felt like if you were going to get through those two guys, you want a guy with that kind of stuff."
    "I feel normal," he said. "That's the hard part, going to pitch another [Minor League] game when I feel healthy."
    “I’m throwing a lot better than I did last year, that’s for sure,” Perez said during a recent interview. “I’m just going out there whenever they call my name for as long as they need me and be ready the next day.”

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    Matt Kemp Responds to Sterling Brouhaha with Words and Song

    As you likely know, Clippers owner Donald Sterling found himself facing a firestorm of criticism centered around leaked audio detailing his views on race.  Needless to say, what was found on that recording is indefensible.  If you haven't heard it (are you living under a rock?) check out TMZ's original report hereDeadspin also has more audio that you can listen to here.

    I cannot imagine a scenario where this audio is not an indictment of this man's ethics - a view into the man's heart.  Even if it was spliced it still doesn't change the basic gist of his words.  And, given Sterling's past dalliance's with race issues, I think it's fair to say that he has some growing up to do.  At the very least, he needs to acknowledge his transgressions and accept that he is a flawed man. 

    That being said, Sterling's words were not only pointed towards Dodger owner Magic Johnson.  He also had similar words for Matt Kemp.  Check out this TMZ report for the Magic and Kemp photos that had Sterling steaming. 

    Well, before yesterday's game, Kemp spoke with reporters about being thrust into this nightmare.  Via Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times:
    Asked if he would consider attending their games if Sterling is suspended by the NBA, Kemp replied, “Honestly, what is a suspension going to do for an owner? He still owns the team. He’s still making money. You fine him? He’s a billionaire. What’s fining him going to do? That’s not really going to do anything.

    “This is bigger than the game. I’m shocked people still feel that way towards Latins, blacks, white people. We’re all the same. We all bleed the same. We’re all the same people. It really doesn’t make any sense.”

    Kemp recalled taking a picture with Sterling’s female friend.

    “I remember taking a picture but I didn’t think it would ever come to y’all talking about this. It’s crazy, man,” Kemp said. “One picture and I get linked to it. It’s crazy. I guess you have to be careful who you take pictures with now -– or just don’t take pictures. Tell everybody. If I don’t take a picture, don’t take it personal. I’ll give you an autograph, no more pictures.”
    Please, Matt.  Don't do that.  Don't let that curmudgeon ruin it for all of us!

    Following up on Matt's discussion with the press, he chose to change his at-bat walk-up music to express his views on the whole thing.  On Sunday afternoon, they played Michael Jackson's "Black or White."  Larry Brown Sports notes that he decided to use the song when a teammate played it in the clubhouse before the game.  Check out the video below.

    Video Link:

    I must say that this was a classy move by Matt.  Using MJ's song was a subtle way to let his true feelings known.

    Photo at the very top featuring Kemp and Van Slyke was taken yesterday, via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014.  I wonder if that embrace is a modern day version of the Pee Wee and Jackie embrace of over 60 years ago.

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    Sunday, April 27, 2014

    Sunday Dodger Videos: Kershaw, Kemp and Friday Night Fireworks

    Here are this Sunday's Dodger videos.

    PEHS Game Time shares a report on Clayton Kershaw's rehab start in Rancho Cucamonga on Friday; including the Kersahw press conference after the game.

    Video Link:

    Here's a different perspective of this past Friday's Dodger Fireworks - from behind the pavilions.

    Video Link:

    Here's a classic.  Rick Monday mimics his Tommy Lasorda in the dugout.

    Video Link:

    Matt Kemp and Paul Maholm discuss their performances in the Dodgers' 6-3 win over the Rockies, last night.

    Video Link:

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    Welcome to the Blue, Carlos Triunfel!

    It has been announced this morning that AAA infielder Carlos Triunfel has been recalled, and Dodger reliever Jose Dominguez has been optioned back to Albuquerque.  Per a Dodger press release:
    The 24-year-old Triunfel was claimed by the Dodgers on outright waivers from Seattle on April 2. Triunfel, who made his Major League debut with the Mariners on Sept. 2, 2012 vs. Oakland, has shown the versatility to play shortstop (17 G), second base (6 G) and third base (1 G) in his 27 career Major League games with Seattle from 2012-13. At Triple-A Albuquerque this season, the Dominican Republic native is batting .291 (16-for-55) with four doubles and four RBI.
    At one time, Triunfel was a highly regarded prospect within the Mariner farm system, but that was 6 years ago.  He was a Mid-Season All-Star in 2007 in the Midwest League and named a Rising Star in 2008 while playing as an 18-year old in the Arizona Fall League.  So, he certainly was on the right trajectory towards stardom. 

    A scouting report from 2008 stated: 
    A young, exciting, high-ceiling player, he's very instinctual on field with the ability to hit for average and power in the future. He has one of the best arms in baseball, Minors or Majors, with the ability to fill three positions -- shortstop, third, second -- in the infield. He'll have to watch his conditioning and may end up being too big to stay at short, though some think he'll be just fine there.
    It remains to be seen if he'll stick around as a Dodger defensive replacement, but one would think that if the infield doesn't work out then maybe the mound might work.  With his reputation for having a strong arm, I suspect that could very well be a potential fallback position.  For now, he is a Dodger infielder, and is likely to get plenty of playing time if Hanley's thumb injury is worse than expected.

    I made a Dodger fantasy Baseball card for Triunfel using a 1959 Topps card design and a photo taken from  Check it out above.  Below are his career stats, via Baseball-Reference.

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    Saturday, April 26, 2014

    Blog Kiosk: 4/26/2014 - Dodger Links - A Puig Movie, Kershaw Pitched Well and Beckett of Old

    Yasiel Puig visited with some kids at Children's Hostipal Los Angeles yesterday, pic above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014
    • I'm not surprised this has happened at all.  Via Dave McNary at Variety, "Dodgers Star Yasiel Puig Biopic Picked Up By Brett Ratner."  
    Brett Ratner has acquired movie rights to the story of Los Angeles Dodger Yasiel Puig’s escape from Cuba. He will produce the project with Beau Flynn.

    Ratner acquired the feature rights through his RatPac Entertainment to Jesse Katz’ article, published in this month’s Los Angeles Magazine.
    "I was happy to pitch five innings because it meant I got up and down five times," said Kershaw, a two-time Cy Young Award winner.
    "This was a step in the right direction for me, personally. Just to show myself I can do some things I haven't done in a while," he said. "Pitching innings. I haven't been up and down six times in [a long time]." 
    As most fans are well aware, food prices at MLB ballparks can be a little on the high side (okay, a lot on the high side) and Dodger Stadium is no exception. But to be fair, the food prices at both plaza locations aren’t all that unreasonable for the quality and quantity of food that you get.

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      Friday, April 25, 2014

      Take a Look at some Vintage Dodger Photos from Hyee Auctions - Campy, Sandy and the Duke

      Some of my favorite sport memorabilia items to check out on eBay are vintage press photos, and one of the top sellers of them currently has some great Dodger pics to peruse through.  Check out some of my favorites from hyee_auctions below. 

      Below is Roy Campanella chatting with Yogi Berra during a pre-1953 World Series workout.  According to the caption glued to the reverse, they are wondering out-loud why they both stick a finger out of their glove when catching.  Notice how Campy has a grip of Yogi's index finger.  It was taken by Herb Scharfman of International News. 
      (Auction Link)

      As a collector I found this below photograph totally fascinating.  Here is a July 30, 1958 photograph of a concession stand for a Dodger game at the Coliseum.  You can see a Dodgers yearbook, some Jay's photo packs, postcards and scorecards.
      (auction link)

      Below is a 1965 St. Paul Pioneer Press Photo of Sandy Koufax on the mound during Game 2 of the 1965 World Series after giving up a few runs.
      (Auction Link)

      Here is a 1954 AP photograph of an 18-year old hurler straight out of the University of Cincinnati - Sandy Koufax.
      (Auction Link)

      Below is a great photo of Babe Herman with his young son Bobby, dated 8/18/1930.  It was by Herman Adnson of Wide World Photos.
      (auction link)

      Here is a 1949 ACME News photo of Campy, Preacher Roe and the Duke in those shiny satin Dodger uniforms.
      (auction link)

      I thought I would finish this post up with a fantastic photo of Duke Snider doing celebrating after the Dodgers 1955 World Series victory.
      (auction link)

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