Results tagged ‘ Ryan Braun ’

Tim’s Tip: Moment of Truth #2-The First Domino to Fall in the Swing Sequence

The “Brewers Baseball Academy presented by Kwik Trip,” 10 separate weeklong baseball/softball camps that will be held in various cities across Wisconsin this summer for kids ages 6-14, will be back for its second season and so is Tim Rappe. In addition to putting on the camps, last summer executive director Tim Rappe provided some baseball tips here on John and Cait…Plus 9 as well. Read on for more from Coach Tim!

Enjoy!
Cait

JohnandCait@Brewers.com

“MOMENT OF TRUTH #2”:The First Domino to Fall in the Swing Sequence

In my last post I discussed the importance of starting in the optimum stance to generate bat accuracy and power at the point of contact. I labeled that MOMENT OF TRUTH #1. Today’s topic is a bit more controversial. I say “controversial” not because hitting experts don’t recognize that it happens; but rather because some may not give it the same emphasis as we do at the Brewers Baseball Academy. This single move can set up the hitter’s lower half for success or it can betray the entire swing…and it doesn’t come naturally for hitters so we need to teach it. That’s why I think it’s critical.

So, exactly what is MOMENT OF TRUTH #2? So many times I’ve heard baseball people debate regarding the first thing that moves when we launch the bat. Invariably, there is a group that believes that the hitter “just throws his hands” at the ball. Yes, the hitter does do that…but it is by no means the FIRST thing. In fact, it’s the last thing the hitter does prior to contact.

So what’s first? Drum roll please…The inside of the back knee pinches forward and down toward the inside ankle of the front foot. It’s the Knee Pinch that keeps the hitter from spinning on his back foot. It’s the Knee Pinch that launches the back hip, which is the power center. It is the Knee Pinch that prevents the hitter from rising up on his back leg. Yes, it’s the Knee Pinch that launches the hitter’s momentum into the baseball. Important? You betcha.

Take a look at former Brewers sluggers Robin Yount, Ben Oglivie  and Geoff Jenkins. Check out the knee pinch.

Yount Oglivie Jenkins

This next shot is a great overhead of Ryan Braun. If Ryan hadn’t pinched his knee in the way I described, he will spin on his back foot (we used to call this “squishing the bug”) and the back heel will retreat toward the catcher. Clearly, that’s not what’s happening here. Why? Because this is the way it supposed to be done!

Braun Overhead

The Knee Pinch is difficult to teach in the context of this blog. But go ahead and use your DVR the next time Gomez, Braun or Lucroy launches a moon shot. Focus on the back knee and I think you will see exactly what I mean and exactly why I respectfully submit the Knee Pinch as MOMENT OF TRUTH #2.

In my next post I’ll focus on MOMENT OF TRUTH #3…”Bend Your Wrists and Wave Bye-Bye to a Good Swing.” Until then, if you’re gonna swing might as well swing hard.

-Tim Rappé

Tim.Rappe@Brewers.com

 

 

 

Garza Brewers Player Tees Now Available

This just in: Majestic player name and number tees featuring the Brewers newest acquisition, pitcher Matt Garza.

Garza Tee

These t-shirts are currently available at the Brewers Team Store by Majestic at Miller Park.

If you’ll notice, the Majestic player name and number tees have been updated for 2014. Look closely and you’ll see that the lettering/numbering on the front and back has a real “jersey” look and feel to it:

2014 Player Tee Closeup

This new style of the tees was available beginning at Brewers On Deck; the Team Store currently has players such as Ryan Braun, Khris Davis, Carlos Gomez, Jonathan Lucroy and Jean Segura in stock with new additions (such as Garza, which came today) arriving over the next few weeks leading up to Opening Day.

You can also shop online at brewers.com and/or create a t-shirt in the custom shop.

-Cait

JohnandCait@brewers.com

Ryan Braun, Michael Blazek and Marcus Hanel at Today’s Hunger Task Force Food Drive

Mb-13 BCF-HTF Thanksgiving Social Graphic-Food Drive

It was a very busy and cold morning at Helfaer Field today.  As the Thanksgiving week continued, Brewers Community Foundation teamed up with Hunger Task Force and CBS 58 for a drive-thru food drive in the parking lot.  Since I am finally thawing out from three hours in the sub-20 degree temperatures this morning, I thought I would post some photos from the activities this morning.

Ryan Braun, Michael Blazek and Marcus Hanel were on hand along with a number of Brewers employees collecting food and handing out bobbleheads to donors.

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The food drive itself lasts until 6 p.m. tonight, so you can still donate throughout the day.  It was a wonderful event and I was happy to be a part of it.  The generosity I saw throughout the activities this week was awesome.  This community should be proud of the way it gives back.

Don’t forget, you can also help the Hunger Task Force through the online “turkey hands” auction.  The framed, original designs from Brandon Kintzler, Tyler Thornburg, Jonathan Lucroy and Jim Henderson are up for auction now on Brewers.com thru Sunday, December 1 at 11:59 p.m. CT.

20131122-095707.jpg

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

Tim’s Tips: Reflecting on the Summer

If you’ll recall, this past season, we launched the Brewers Baseball Academy presented by Kwik Trip, eight separate week-long baseball/softball camps open to youth (ages 6-14) which were held in various cities across Wisconsin this summer.

All season, in addition to putting on the camps, executive director Tim Rappe provided some baseball tips here on John and Cait…Plus 9 as well. Read on for the latest installment from Coach Tim.

Enjoy!
-Cait

JohnandCait@brewers.com

TOP SIX THINGS I HEARD THIS SUMMER THAT MADE ME CRINGE

Right out of the box I will admit that just because we wear a Major League uniform doesn’t mean we have all the answers. I am not afraid to question what I believe and have made adjustments in my teaching approach over the years as a result. That being said, I’m also not afraid to go toe-to-toe with things I hear that are fundamentally wrong; especially those that pose a threat to the health of the athlete.

Here are some of my “favorites” from this past summer…

#1. “Are You Teaching the NEW Way of Hitting?”

Oh boy. Part of my role with the Brewers is to attend seminars, study video, observe Spring Training, and generally keep up with new approaches to teaching our game. 99% of the time, that question is traced to a private instructor or Internet Guru who is trying to make a name for himself by “discovering” something new or renaming something old for marketing purposes. Doesn’t mean they’re wrong…but they do add to the noise that tends to confuse people. We teach hitting the way that Carlos Gomez, Ryan Braun, Jonathan Lucroy and for that matter, Miguel Cabrera, swing the bat.

#2. “My Son Plays Travel Ball so He’s Probably Too Good for Your Camp.”

Ugh. Them’s fightin’ words. When you take a look at the resume of our coaching staff and the depth of our curriculum, it’s pretty much impossible to conclude that we can’t help an athlete of any level…unless he comes to camp with the mindset that he doesn’t want to learn.

#3. “Girls Need to Learn a Different Way to Hit Because…Well, They’re Girls.”

I know that statement is not meant to be insulting to softball players…but it is. The male and female bodies get the bat to the ball in exactly the same way. Granted, there are some nuances but girls generate force at the point of contact just like guys. Just ask Jennie Finch, Crystl Bustos, Stacey Nuveman and Jessica Mendoza…probably the best U.S Olympic hitters of all time. Better yet, grab some video as I have and see for yourself. Of course, I’m not referring to slap hitting here.

“You Hit Like a Girl” could be the nicest thing someone could say to you.

“You Hit Like a Girl” could be the nicest thing someone could say to you.

#4. “I Heard You Should Never Use a Batting Tee Again.”

Yikes. There’s that Internet Guru again proclaiming that if you don’t do it his way, at best you are a terrible coach and at worst, a moron. Don’t use tees? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Every professional, collegiate and high school team relies on the tee to isolate swing mechanics before introducing a pitched ball. Statements like that may be a good way to sell a video but it also adds more confusing noise in the market. By the way, I bought video…and I got my money back.

Don’t be so fast to dump the batting tee

Don’t be so fast to dump the batting tee

#5. “I’m Going to Have My Son Throw Every Day Over the Winter to Add MPH’s to His Fastball.”

No. No. No. Sometimes more is not better and when it comes to the “care and feeding” of the arm, it definitely isn’t. The shoulder and elbow need rest in order to repair the strain of the long grind of the spring/summer season. Big Leaguers shut it down after the season and not just to play golf. Since 2000, there has been a 500% increase in elbow and shoulder injuries among young baseball and softball players. Almost all of that is attributed to overuse. Now when I say to shut it down I’m referring to all overhead activity like volleyball, football passing, dodgeball in gym class, badminton, etc. I know that’s not realistic but not throwing a baseball IS realistic. Work on core strength and hammer those difficult-to-work decelerators in the back. You will love the result come spring.

#6. “Coach, Am I Throwing the Curveball Correctly?”

You’re asking the wrong question. Yes, it’s true that a correctly thrown curveball is less stressful on your arm than one thrown incorrectly. And yes, there are some pro’s who started throwing junk very early in their young lives. There are also miles of scar tissue and shattered careers because of the unnecessary harm caused by curves and sliders. As a teacher of baseball and the Director of the Brewers Baseball Academy I will not teach the curve because it plays Russian Roulette with the pre-pubescent athlete. I know that’s controversial but winning isn’t worth the risk. Spot your fastball. Throw a change-up and study hitters’ weaknesses. The “W’s” will pile up.

OK, got all that off my chest. Until next time, “If you’re gonna swing, might as well swing hard.”

-Tim Rappé

Tim.Rappe@Brewers.com

Statement From Ryan Braun

The following statement was just issued by Brewers LF Ryan Braun:

“Now that the initial MLB investigation is over, I want to apologize for my actions and provide a more specific account of what I did and why I deserved to be suspended.  I have no one to blame but myself. I know that over the last year and a half I made some serious mistakes, both in the information I failed to share during my arbitration hearing and the comments I made to the press afterwards.

I have disappointed the people closest to me – the ones who fought for me because they truly believed me all along. I kept the truth from everyone.  For a long time, I was in denial and convinced myself that I had not done anything wrong.

It is important that people understand that I did not share details of what happened with anyone until recently. My family, my teammates, the Brewers organization, my friends, agents, and advisors had no knowledge of these facts, and no one should be blamed but me. Those who put their necks out for me have been embarrassed by my behavior. I don’t have the words to express how sorry I am for that.

Here is what happened.  During the latter part of the 2011 season, I was dealing with a nagging injury and I turned to products for a short period of time that I shouldn’t have used. The products were a cream and a lozenge which I was told could help expedite my rehabilitation.  It was a huge mistake for which I am deeply ashamed and I compounded the situation by not admitting my mistakes immediately.

I deeply regret many of the things I said at the press conference after the arbitrator’s decision in February 2012. At that time, I still didn’t want to believe that I had used a banned substance. I think a combination of feeling self righteous and having a lot of unjustified anger led me to react the way I did. I felt wronged and attacked, but looking back now, I was the one who was wrong.  I am beyond embarrassed that I said what I thought I needed to say to defend my clouded vision of reality.  I am just starting the process of trying to understand why I responded the way I did, which I continue to regret. There is no excuse for any of this.

For too long during this process, I convinced myself that I had not done anything wrong. After my interview with MLB in late June of this year, I came to the realization that it was time to come to grips with the truth. I was never presented with baseball’s evidence against me, but I didn’t need to be, because I knew what I had done.  I realized the magnitude of my poor decisions and finally focused on dealing with the realities of-and the punishment for-my actions.

I requested a second meeting with Baseball to acknowledge my violation of the drug policy and to engage in discussions about appropriate punishment for my actions. By coming forward when I did and waiving my right to appeal any sanctions that were going to be imposed, I knew I was making the correct decision and taking the first step in the right direction. It was important to me to begin my suspension immediately to minimize the burden on everyone I had so negatively affected- my teammates, the entire Brewers organization, the fans and all of MLB. There has been plenty of rumor and speculation about my situation, and I am aware that my admission may result in additional attacks and accusations from others.

I love the great game of baseball and I am very sorry for any damage done to the game. I have privately expressed my apologies to Commissioner Selig and Rob Manfred of MLB and to Michael Weiner and his staff at the Players’ Association. I’m very grateful for the support I’ve received from them. I sincerely apologize to everybody involved in the arbitration process, including the collector, Dino Laurenzi, Jr. I feel terrible that I put my teammates in a position where they were asked some very difficult and uncomfortable questions. One of my primary goals is to make amends with them.

I understand it’s a blessing and a tremendous honor to play this game at the Major League level. I also understand the intensity of the disappointment from teammates, fans, and other players.  When it comes to both my actions and my words, I made some very serious mistakes and I can only ask for the forgiveness of everyone I let down.  I will never make the same errors again and  I intend to share the lessons I learned with others so they don’t repeat my mistakes. Moving forward, I want to be part of the solution and no longer part of the problem.

I support baseball’s Joint Drug Treatment and Prevention Program and the importance of cleaning up the game.  What I did goes against everything I have always valued- achieving through hard work and dedication, and being honest both on and off the field.  I also understand that I will now have to work very, very hard to begin to earn back people’s trust and support. I am dedicated to making amends and to earning back the trust of my teammates, the fans, the entire Brewers’ organization, my sponsors, advisors and from MLB. I am hopeful that I can earn back the trust from those who I have disappointed and those who are willing to give me the opportunity.  I am deeply sorry for my actions, and I apologize to everyone who has been adversely affected by them.”

 

Get Your Brewers Specialty Player Tees!

Expand your collection of Brewers player tees by purchasing any of our new 2013 specialty designs, exclusive to Miller Park!

Choose from styles featuring Ryan Braun:

Braun Player Tee

Aramis Ramirez:

Ramirez Player Tee

 Jonathan Lucroy:

Lucroy Player Tee

Plus, two Nori Aoki designs:

Aoki Player Tee

The Braun, Ramirez, Lucroy tees and the Aoki Japanese Koi Fish design (white) are available in adult sizes while the Aoki retro tee (yellow) is available in both adult and youth sizes.

Both regular and specialty player tees retail for $30 each at the Brewers Team Stores at Miller Park, but on Wednesdays (that’s today!), fans can receive $5 as part of our Majestic Athletic Walk-Off Wednesdays promotion.

If you’re not familiar with this promotion, it’s something fun that we’ve been doing for several years now: Every Wednesday home game throughout the season, when you stop in any retail location at Miller Park before the 5th inning and purchase a player name and number tee, you’ll save $5 and if your player has a walk-off hit in that game, you’ll get a FREE replica jersey of that same player, plus tickets! If the Brewers don’t hit a walk off that Wednesday one lucky fan will still win a jersey.

So, if you’re headed to the Brewers vs. Reds game this afternoon, it’s a great excuse to pop into the store and pick up one of our new designs.

Plus, you can double-dip on another promotion we have going on for a limited time: With our Players Autograph Promotion, you will score a free autographed baseball when you purchase $150 worth of official Players Choice product in the Brewers Team Stores. Choose from 8x10s, t-shirts, jerseys and more and when you spend $150, we’ll throw in a free autographed baseball (randomly selected) while supplies last.

Can’t make it out to Miller Park anytime soon? Never fear–there’s also a large selection of player tees available on brewers.com. (Note: Product purchased online does not qualify for Walk-Off Wednesdays or the Players Autograph Promo.)

Happy shopping!

-Cait

JohnandCait@brewers.com

Vote Brewers Campaign Hits the Homestretch

MB-2013 Vote Brewers-FB Cover Photos-GENERIC

There are just about two weeks left in the VOTE Brewers campaign.  While the last day to vote at Miller Park is Friday, you still have until July 4 to vote online.

The most recent voting returns announced on Sunday had four Brewers among the leaders.  Ryan Braun, Jean Segura, Carlos Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy are all within striking distance and all in need of Brewers fans help.

Baseball is a game of numbers, so lets talk numbers why these guys should be All-Stars.  All four players have some pretty incredible numbers.

- Gomez (12 hr/13 sb) and Segura (10 hr/20sb)  are two of seven players in MLB that have double figures in both home runs and stolen bases this season.

- Gomez also is one of six players in MLB that have double figures in home runs, stolen bases and doubles (17).

- Gomez and Segura are on pace to possibly record 20 doubles, 20 triples, 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in the same season.  This is something that has only been accomplished seven times in MLB history! Willie Mays in 1957, Jim Bottomley in 1928, Jimmy Rollins in 2007, Jeff Heath in 1941, George Brett in 1979, Curtis Granderson in 2007 and good ole’ Wildfire Schulte in 1911 all have accomplished that feat.  This will be exciting to watch in the second half of 2013.

- Segura is the only player in MLB to have 10 hr and 20 stolen bases this season.

- Lucroy has been on a tear over the last few weeks, as he is tied for third in MLB in RBI since 5/31 with 17 and hitting .389 over those previous 15 games with 3 hr.  Since the beginning of 2012, only Posey (.919) and Yadier Molina (.885) have a higher OPS than Lucroy (.822) among N.L. catchers.

- While Braun is on the Disabled List, he too has been one of the best hitters in baseball, posting the highest OPS among all MLB outfielders at .963 since the beginning of last season.

- WAR.  What is it good for, you ask?  It is a pretty popular stat these days that stands for “Wins Above Replacement.”  It is used to measure the overall value of a player’s contribution to their team.  FanGraphs’ WAR has Gomez leading the National League and second in MLB and Segura ranked ninth in the N.L.

Braun trails the third and final outfield spot by just over 300,000 votes.  Gomez is 11th among N.L. outfielders, just over 900,000 votes shy of jumping into the top three.  Segura is just over 1.2 million votes behind Troy Tulowitzki and Lucroy is nearly 2 million votes shy of Buster Posey at catcher.  Now you might think I’m nuts because of those numbers and the amount of time.

But hang with me and take a look at some simple math here.  This blog post will be sent via social media to Brewers Facebook fans and Twitter followers which we can estimate is just over 750,000 possible people. Now, for argument sake, say our Twitter followers also are Facebook fans, so let’s bring that estimate to 500,000 Brewers social media gurus who follow the team.  If each of you votes the maximum of 35 times on Brewers.com, that will total 17.5 million votes.  Certainly enough to get those four voted in (and the rest of the Brewers!).

Don’t forget to campaign for your favorite Brewers players on social media:

  • #VOTEBREWERS
  • #LOCKINLUC
  • #IHARTNY
  • #PICKRICKIE
  • #VOTEARAMIS
  • #SENDSEGURA
  • #VOTEBRAUN
  • #GOFORGOMEZ
  • #ADDAOKI

The 2013 MLB All-Star Game will take place at CitiField in New York on Tuesday, July 16.  Tune in to the game on FOX.

Brewers fans, show why we are among the best and proudest fans in baseball.  Let’s pass the word around and finish strong in the 2013 MLB All-Star voting campaign! Vote Brewers!

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

Braun Steps Up To Support “Brewers Win, You Win”

It’s been a tough month for the Brewers on the field, there is no getting around that.  In the face of that, Ryan Braun has committed to supporting the “Brewers Win, You Win!” promotion by funding a significant savings on tickets for an upcoming series.

The original promotion called for every Brewers victory between May 1 and May 30 to earn $1 off a Terrace Box ticket for the June 3 – 5 series vs. the Oakland Athletics. With just five victories this month, though, the Brewers outfielder has made a move to make sure that Brewers fans are rewarded despite the team’s struggles.

Regardless of how many wins the team records through the end of the month, fans will be able to buy a limited number of Terrace Box (regularly $24) and Loge Bleacher ($23) seats for just $8 (matching Braun’s uniform number). Braun is stepping up and subsidizing the savings through a financial contribution, which will cover up to 4,000 tickets for each of the three games against the A’s.

Ryan Braun

Ryan Braun

“We recognize that this has been a tough month for all of us; not just the players but also the fans,” Braun said. “The one constant has been the support of the community, and every one of us on the field has tremendous respect for the support we receive from the fans. On behalf of all of us on the field, we want to thank the fans and let them know that we really appreciate everyone being behind us during this rough stretch.”

Tickets for this promotion will go on sale this Friday at 9 a.m. at the Brewers Box Office, by phone at 414-902-4000 or by visiting Brewers.com/winwin.  Fans can buy a maximum of eight tickets at the reduced price, and service charges will apply to phone and online orders.

“Ryan has always been a significant contributor to our Foundation and Community Relations initiatives, both financially and with his time,” said Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger. “We appreciate his contribution to ensure that this remains one of our most popular initiatives, offering a great value for fans.”

For additional information, please visit Brewers.com/winwin.  We are lucky to have Braun wearing a Brewers jersey on the field and he has proved to be a great person off the field as well.  Through promotions like this and his commitment to the Milwaukee community, he is one-of-a-kind.  Here’s to a better June and we will see you all at Miller Park during the series against the A’s!

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

Ryan Braun Teams Up with SURG Restaurant Group and the Froedtert Hospital Foundation

We showcased Ryan Braun’s efforts with Habitat for Humanity on the blog last week and again next week, Braun will take part in an event to help the Milwaukee community.  Along with the SURG Restaurant Group and The Froedtert Hospital Foundation, Braun will help launch a new fund created to help children in the Milwaukee community in time of crisis.

The inaugural benefit will be held Wednesday, May 22, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 8-Twelve MVP Bar and Grill, 17800 W. Bluemound Rd. in Brookfield. Braun will be on hand to offer his support for the fund and to meet attendees of the event after the Brewers-Dodgers game that day at Miller Park.

Ryan Braun

The SURG Restaurant Group Fund for Children, established in April 2013, is a partnership between SURG Restaurant Group and The Froedtert Hospital Foundation.  Grants from the fund will be used for the purchase of toys, videos, games and other needs for children in emergency rooms or waiting rooms at Froedtert. The fund also may be used to support the education of staff working with children at the hospital.

The SURG Restaurant Group Fund is for all children touched by crisis – those who receive services including pediatric radiation oncology, or those waiting for news about loved ones in the hospital’s family center.

“To be a part of such a great cause with the goal to help try and change the lives of our youth in a positive light are an honor and a privilege,” Braun said. “I encourage everyone to try and help us embrace this important issue so we can make a difference in our community.”

Event Details: Tickets are $100 per person, and include food stations and beverages. SURG will also be awarding prizes throughout the evening including items donated by Braun, SURG Restaurant Group and a Grand Prize weekend get away in a penthouse donated by Delton Grand Resort and Spa in the Wisconsin Dells. Braun will be in attendance to offer his support. SURG requests no autographs be solicited.

A portion of the evening’s sales will go to the “SURG Restaurant Group Fund for Children” and The Froedtert Hospital Foundation. Tickets will be available through at http://surgbenefitsfroedtert.eventbrite.com/. Space is limited, 250 tickets are available on a first come first serve basis.

This sounds like a fun event that will allow fans to meet Braun and enjoy some delicious food while giving back to a great community cause.

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

Ryan Braun, Brewers Community Foundation Team Up for Habitat for Humanity Blitz Build

The Brewers today kicked off their “Beyond the Diamond” initiative with a Habitat for Humanity Build-A-Thon.

Players, Brewers Wives and staff will help organizers from Habitat for Humanity and residents of the local community to build a home in a week’s time.  Members of the Brewers organization will also be making special guest appearances throughout the week.

They will join Habitat’s dedicated volunteers and sponsors on a variety of projects in Washington Park which include the following: Building new affordable homes, helping homeowners make needed repairs on existing homes, and increasing community safety.  For the second year in a row, Brewers Community Foundation is the presenting sponsor of Milwaukee Habitat’s Blitz Build and has teamed up with Ryan Braun and Brewers Wives to lend support through a joint $50,000 donation.

Today, a press conference was held to kick off the week-long project.  The sun was shining and attendees of the press conference included Braun, Ron Roenicke, Michael Gonzalez and Brewers Wives Karen Roenicke, Kristina Hart, Larisa Fraser and Susan Cutajar.

Tomorrow, the Brewers Wives will work on the site along with Habitat volunteers, sponsors and partner families.  Thursday morning, Brewers Community Foundation 50/50 Raffle sellers will join Habitat volunteers working together to build one of the three new affordable homes being constructed in the Washington Park neighborhood during the “Blitz Build.”  On Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, Brewers front office staff will get in the act and join volunteers from Habitat on the three houses.

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Michael Goelzer snapped some great photos from today’s events in the Washington Park neighborhood.  This is really a great way for the Brewers to kick off “Beyond the Diamond.”  It truly a team effort that includes Brewers players, staff and their families.

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

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