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And Barry Bonds Can't Play for Everyone

mlbBarry Bonds sent a 2-1 pitch from rookie Rick Vanden Hurk over the wall in left-center in the first inning last night for a solo shot in the San Francisco Giants 12-10 win over the Florida Marlins. It was the 754th home run of his career.

I'm stunned by how muted the hype is surrounding this pursuit of Hank Aaron's home run record, but I'm not shocked. In addition to the clear (and cream) signs of steroid use, Bonds is one major league son of a bitch. He's nearly impossible to like as a human being, even when acknowledging he might be the best hitter to ever play the game.

Over the past five years, I've written quite a bit about Bonds. It's the Bonds conundrum: he's statistically awesome but he's an arrogant SOB who artificially enhanced his power.

Personally, I'm not happy that this imminent moment will replace the one you're about to hear. Listen to this, enjoy the goosebumps and understand why Barry Bonds hitting 755 and 756 isn't nearly as significant as it ought to be.

Sorry, Barry... but karma can be an awful bitch at times.

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Barry Bonds

Barry BondsAs a kid, I was enamoured by baseball trivia. At one time in the mid-80s I had memorized every member of the 500 club. The 500 club was an elite club of home run hitters who had hit at least 500 in their major league career.

The 600 club was so exclusive, there were only three members. Hank Aaron was the king, Babe Ruth was the only other to hit 700 career dingers and Willie Mays was a comfy third with his 660. Such a nice round number for The Say Hey Kid who many considered to be the best all around ball player ever.

Last night, Barry Bonds hit his 661st career homer off right-hander Ben Ford over the right-field arcade and into McCovey Cove. Bonds now sits alone in third place on the career home runs list bumping his godfather to fourth.

Many dislike Barry Bonds. He's short with reporters and fans and not the easiest guy to root for. As for pure baseball talent, there may be none better. Pitchers fear Bonds' power so much, they rarely pitch to him. He was once intentionally walked with the bases loaded in an 8-6 game. In fact, he was walked a whopping 198 times in 2002. He's also the only man to hit 73 home runs in a single season and slug .863 in a season, as Bonds did in 2001. The man is certainly the best player of his generation and you've got to respect that.

Babe Ruth and his 714 career homers should be Bonds' next target, and the way he hits that number could be passed about one year from now.

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Is A-Rod The Next Home Run King?

mlbBarry Bonds hasn't even caught Hank Aaron yet but baseball fans are already wondering if Alex Rodriquez will be the next home run king. A-Rod just hit his 500th earlier today and he just turned 32. That means he needs 255 to reach Aaron's mark and who knows how many to reach Bonds, assuming Bonds eventually sets a new mark.

Thanks to the bestest baseball stat blog on the planet I can tell you that only seven guys have ever hit 255 or more homers from age 32 onward. Even though A-Rod has come this far in record time, he still needs to accomplish a feat only accomplished 7 times in order to become the new career leader in dingers. Here are the 7 who have hit 255 or more homers after the age of 32.

  1. Barry Bonds - 420
  2. Babe Ruth - 358
  3. Hank Aaron - 357
  4. Rafael Palmeiro - 336
  5. Mark McGwire - 306
  6. Willie Mays - 292
  7. Andres Galarraga - 283

A-Rod is still pretty young, and in his prime. If he stays healthy, Bonds' reign will be very, very short.

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Barry Bonds @ 744

baseballBarry Bonds hit his 744th career home run today, moving within 11 of Hank Aaron's record of 755.

Just for fun, let's take a look at Barry Bonds circa 1986.

Barry Bonds in 1986

Now, as an interesting comparative study, let's look at Barry Bonds circa 2001.

Barry Bonds in 2001

Discuss amongst yourselves...

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Ken Griffey Jr. Gets Screwed by Bonds and Sosa

MLBKen Griffey Jr. should sue Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa. Griffey just joined the 600 club and it's barely registered as buzz-worthy. Griffey is the sixth player in baseball history to join the exclusive club, but he's the third in recent years. There's one big difference between Griffey, Bonds and Sosa, however. Griffey did it clean.

No, I don't know for a fact that Griffey did it clean, but I believe he did. His body type didn't change over the past twenty years and he's never mentioned in allegations or reports on the matter. I'm comfortable saying Griffey is the first clean member of the 600 club since Hank Aaron became the third player to hit the mark. That deserves more attention than this.

When I was a kid, I knew every player in the 500 club. The 600 club, however, was something special, as only one man belonged to it. Willie Mays at 660 stood alone, third overall.

I'm just sorry Griffey was slowed so by injuries these past several seasons. It would be sweet to see him supplant Bonds at #1.

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Is It Barry Time in Toronto?

Blue JaysThe Toronto Blue Jays have released Frank Thomas. The future Hall of Famer was hitless in his last 13 at-bats and only 4-for-34 since homering in three straight games April 5-8.

Buffalo Boy thinks we should sign Barry Bonds to replace The Big Hurt. Last month I wrote that Bonds was done, "blacklisted as a steroid user and perjurer". Even though I'm glad he's out of the game, signing Bonds might be our only chance to make some hay in the AL East.

Bonds can't field or run, but he can still hit and draw walks. It would be a mighty gamble, but if we don't gamble at this point we're looking at another third place finish and being out of the playoffs for the fifteenth consecutive year. The lack of demand for Bonds' services suggest we'll get him fairly cheap, and he'd make a great tandem with Canadian Matt Stairs as our designated hitter. At the very least, it would be good fuel for the Toronto blogging fires.

It might be Barry time, but he doesn't get to bring that special chair of his. No sir, he can park his caboose on the same seat fit for Saint John, New Brunswick's Matthew Wade Stairs.

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Guest Blog Entry

Guest Blog SubmissionAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

On Monday, Barry Bonds won his unprecedented seventh MVP award. That is four more than his nearest competitor. Anyone who thinks that Barry Bonds isn't the most valuable player in all of baseball, doesn't understand the meaning of the word valuable. There is no debate against anyone who reaches base safely over 60% of the time! The numbers are astronomical! You don't have to respect the man to respect his talent.

     Steve

Stevie Boy, you're preaching to the choir. Go here and you'll read what I once wrote about Barry Bonds. "Many dislike Barry Bonds. He's short with reporters and fans and not the easiest guy to root for. As for pure baseball talent, there may be none better. Pitchers fear Bonds' power so much, they rarely pitch to him. He was once intentionally walked with the bases loaded in an 8-6 game. In fact, he was walked a whopping 198 times in 2002. He's also the only man to hit 73 home runs in a single season and slug .863 in a season, as Bonds did in 2001. The man is certainly the best player of his generation and you've got to respect that."

He's certainly the best I've ever seen. He deserves every one of those seven MVP awards.

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The Mighty Fall of A-Rod

mlbPrecisely six years ago today, I wrote this entry about Alex Rodriquez.

Barry Bonds hasn't even caught Hank Aaron yet but baseball fans are already wondering if Alex Rodriquez will be the next home run king. A-Rod just hit his 500th earlier today and he just turned 32. That means he needs 255 to reach Aaron's mark and who knows how many to reach Bonds, assuming Bonds eventually sets a new mark.

Thanks to the bestest baseball stat blog on the planet I can tell you that only seven guys have ever hit 255 or more homers from age 32 onward. Even though A-Rod has come this far in record time, he still needs to accomplish a feat only accomplished 7 times in order to become the new career leader in dingers. Here are the 7 who have hit 255 or more homers after the age of 32.

  1. Barry Bonds - 420
  2. Babe Ruth - 358
  3. Hank Aaron - 357
  4. Rafael Palmeiro - 336
  5. Mark McGwire - 306
  6. Willie Mays - 292
  7. Andres Galarraga - 283

A-Rod is still pretty young, and in his prime. If he stays healthy, Bonds' reign will be very, very short.

My how the mighty have fallen. Tomorrow, A-Rod is expected to be one of 13 major leaguers suspended for performance-enhancing drugs with Rodriquez's suspension likely through the end of the 2014 season.

So no, A-Rod won't catch Bonds, whose own career HR record is heavily tainted. It's time we restore Hank Aaron's integrity-drenched 755.

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756 for Barry Bonds

mlbBarry Bonds sent a 3-and-2 pitch from Washington Nationals left-hander Mike Bacsik last night 435 feet for homerun #756 passing Hank Aaron and becoming the new Major League Baseball home run king.

Hank Aaron's video congratulations was drenched in class.

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Guest Blog Entry

Guest Blog SubmissionAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

I have never seen a better ball player in my lifetime. That much I agree with. But Bonds may get a run for his money as for career numbers. Barring injuries I believe that youngsters like Albert Pujols and Carlos Beltran will at least give Bonds a run for his money. Barry Bonds got better as his career went on, does this not say a lot for the argument that ball players are just getting bigger and stronger "Somehow"? We'll see more careers similar to his in the following 20 years!!!

So to finalize my thoughts, I do believe he has put up the greatest career numbers I have ever seen. I just don't know how much credit to give him, or how much to give the needle/pills!!!

     Ryan

I don't think Albert Pujols or Carlos Beltran will put up career numbers that are even close to those of Barry Bonds, but I hear what you're saying with regards to credit. The BALCO statements suggest Bonds is on the juice, and that's the only factor that could tarnish his position as the best hitter of all time. If we choose to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he's clean, ya can't touch him. If he's on steriods, that's a damn shame.

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762

mlb762 will be the answer to a common trivia question. That question, of course, is "what's the most home runs hit in a major league career?"

No team will touch Barry Bonds. He's been blacklisted as a steroid user and perjurer. Quite frankly, it looks good on him. He finished last season with 762 career dingers and that's where he'll stay.

I'll have no problem memorizing this number for future editions of Trivial Pursuit as it's the start of my childhood telephone number back in the days before we had to dial the area code for local calls.

Not that he deserves the exposure, but here's more Toronto Mike ramblings about Barry Bonds.

I miss the days when my heroes were disgraced for accepting money from boosters while in college. Those were far more innocent times.

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Now What?

Now What?Yesterday we learned that Jason Giambi used steroids for at least three seasons and this morning we're learning that Barry Bonds has admitted to using steriods, although unknowingly. Bonds told a federal grand jury that he used a clear substance and a cream given to him by a trainer who was indicted in a steroid-distribution ring but claims he thought they were flaxseed oil and a rubbing balm for arthritis. Now what?

When Ben Johnson was caught with steriods in his body, he was stripped of his Gold medal and world record. What now becomes of these killer numbers Bonds has been producing over the past five years? I've written frequently about his assault on the record books, his entry into the 700 club and his standing as the best ball player I've ever seen.

Are those numbers sticken from the record? Is he and Giambi stripped of their MVP awards? What happens to his 75 home run season? Does an asterisk go beside that figure?

Bonds has a lot to lose here, as do baseball fans. We now know he took "the clear" and "the cream" and this inevitably bulked him up, made his stronger and allowed him to hit more homers. Now what?

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The 700 Club

The 700 ClubThe 700 Club in baseball is the penthouse for the home run hitting elite. Prior to last night, only two legends were members: Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron. As a kid I had a book about the 500 Club that listed every member while paying respects to the sole member of the 600 Club, Willie Mays, and the aforementioned members of the 700 Club.

Last night, Barry Bonds stepped to the plate in the third inning and hit a 392-foot solo shot to left-centre, his 42nd homer of the season and the 700th homer of his awesome career. Never in my wildest dreams as a kid obsessed with baseball trivia did I envision I'd be alive to see a third player join the 700 Club. At the time, players who reached 500 were few and far between. Bonds' feat here cannot be understated. Bonds had only three 40 home run seasons under his belt before 2001. At the age of 36 he hadn't yet cracked the top 15 in career homers. What he's done over the past four seasons, considering he rarely sees a decent pitch, boggles the mind.

Despite the fact he's an abrasive asshole, I root for him. He's that good.

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740 and Counting

mlbWhen I was a kid, enamoured by baseball statistics, I thought Hank Aaron's 755 career homer record was untouchable. This was a time when 27 dingers could lead the Jays and nobody seemed to be touching 50 in a single season. Reggie Jackson was the man, and he retired with 563 home runs. How would anyone approach 755?

Barry Bonds hit his 740th homer today. He has fifteen to go, and at this pace, it won't be long until he passes Aaron. Barring a catastrophic injury, it's inevitible. That untouchable 755 will be surpassed this summer.

For more on Barry Bonds and his tainted assault on Aaron's record, check out:

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715*

mlbBarry Bonds hit his seventh home run of the season yesterday. It was also the 715th of his career, bumping him ahead of the Babe into second place all-time.

Majoring in history at the University of Toronto, one of my favourite classes was American Pop Culture. This class was amazing. I actually got a credit for studying the origin of jazz music, the influence of the Beatles and hippy culture. I had to write two major essays for that class, and as a big sports fan, I chose to write about the two most influential American atheletes of the century. I wrote about Muhammad Ali and George Herman "Babe" Ruth.

In 1920, Babe Ruth hit 54 home runs, smashing his own single season record of 29. How much better was Babe Ruth than every other player in the league at that time? He out-homered all but one team in baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies who managed to hit 64. How did he follow up that historic 1920 season? In 1921 he had what remains the greatest statistical season in the history of the game. Borrowing from his Wikipedia page, in 152 games, Ruth batted .378, had 204 hits, 44 doubles, 16 triples, 59 home runs (8th all-time), scored 177 runs (2nd all-time), had 171 RBIs (7th all-time), 144 bases on balls, with 119 extra base hits (1st all-time), an .846 slugging average (3rd all-time), and amassed 457 total bases (1st all-time).

Entering the 2000 season, Bonds was already a hall of fame player who ranked amongst the greatest all-time. I've always admired the man's talents and considered he and Roger Clemens as the two greatest players of this generation. If you believe the two reporters from the San Francisco Chronicle who wrote "Game of Shadows", Bonds began using steroids in 1998 after becoming jealous of the attention given to Mark McGwire. This got Bonds to approach Greg Anderson who developed a steroid regimen which in turn helped Bonds hit 73 homers in 2001.

Although he denies ever knowingly taking steroids, Bonds has admitted to taking "the clear" and "the cream". We know "the clear" and "the cream" helped transform Bonds from an amazing hall of famer to the second all-time home run king behind Hank Aaron. That ain't right. Babe Ruth is now #3, but Barry Bonds will be stuck with a hugh * for all of eternity.

Let's hope Aaron stays at #1.

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The 500 Club

The 500 ClubBarry Bonds is working his way towards the very exclusive 700 Club and now stands at 676. Bonds is also one of four active players currently in the 500 Club now that Ken Griffey Jr. has joined. Griffey hit a 2-2 fastball from Matt Morris into the right-field stands to lead off the sixth inning Sunday, securing a spot in the record books as the 20th player with 500 homers.

The other active players with at least 500 homers are Sammy Sosa with 549 and Rafael Palmeiro with 538. Former Jay Fred McGriff only needs seven homers to become the 21st player to hit 500.

Until his past three injury plagued seasons, Griffey Jr. looked like a threat to join the 700 Club. It's still quite possible, but he'll have to stay healthy and carry a big stick.

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Guest Blog Entry

Ink StainAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following entry earlier today.

Barry Bonds equalled Babe Ruth's record for home runs today - but who really cares. His accomplishment is shrouded

Barry is also an AHOLE towards fans & the media which is why a lot of BBall folk don't take this tying Babe's record with respect.

Babe will always be #2 & Hammerin Hank # 1 in home runs. Until Ken Griffey Jr.

      dwr

I was going to address the whole Bond thing as soon as he hit 715. When he hit #661 to pass Mays, I acknowledged two facts few would disagree with. He's an asshole and he might just be the best damn player to play the game. Unfortunately, he's not only an asshole, but he's a cheater too. I'm okay with him being an asshole, I'm not okay with him taking the clear or the cream.

The fact of the matter is that the Babe will soon be #3, just like the number he wore throughout his career. Bonds will soon be #2 and Hank Aaron will remain the top dog with his 755. Here's hoping Bonds doesn't hit another 41.

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Innocence Indicted

baseballWhat I loved about baseball was how timeless and romantic it was. Baseball might be America's sport, but I developed a love for the game as a young boy and cheering the boys of summer quickly became a cherished summer ritual.

When they cancelled the World Series, we fans were screwed by the business of sport. It wasn't all about the crack of the bat, the hustle from first to second and the play at the plate. It was about big business and elite athletes demanding their fair share. I was hopeful 1994 was the low point. The cancellation of the World Series was my generations Black Sox scandal, and things could only get better, or so I thought.

Barry Bonds has been indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice. "During the criminal investigation, evidence was obtained including positive tests for the presence of anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing substances for Bonds and other athletes," the indictment reads. This is a sad day for baseball.

In December 2004, when we learnt that Bonds admitted using steroids, I wondered what was next. How would we treat his records? How does it effect his accolades and imminent hall of fame entry?

Those seemingly innocent days of my youth are long gone. Everything is stained. I find myself longing for the days it was all about money.

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Baseball's Lost Generation

baseballAs reported by the Los Angeles Times, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Miguel Tejada were among the players that a former major league pitcher accused of using performance-enhancing drugs. It's just an allegation, but it's yet another one regarding the Rocket. I believe Rocket Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds to be the greatest pitcher and positional player of their generation. I wonder if history will look upon this generation of elite ballplayers as the lost generation.

My respect for the enormous talent of each has resulted in numerous entries. Regarding Bonds, there's this one, this one, this one and this one. Regarding Clemens, there's this one and this one both of which start with "Roger Clemens is an arrogant SOB but he's the best damn pitcher I've ever seen" by total coincidence.

If the career statistics of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are tainted by allegations and/or proof they used performance-enhancing drugs, what becomes of the Major League Baseball record book? How do we look back at the best of this generation? How do we recall the excellence we witnessed when telling tales to our children and grandchildren? What do we do?

There's no answer. Only time will tell. It's a damn shame.

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Erasing an Era

thumbsdownA life long baseball fan, I've never seen a pitcher as good as Rocket Roger Clemens. When it comes to offensive prowess, I've never seen a hitter as good as Barry Bonds. As far as I'm concerned, you can take a big ol' eraser and scrub the marvellous careers of both men from the record book.

In a sense, an entire era has now been erased. I'm sure both Clemens and Bonds were stellar before they took performance enhancing drugs, but a little juice spill ruins the entire meal. The steroids era, as it will be called by future generations, has claimed the greatest the game has to offer.

Many will shrug their shoulders and look forward. I can't help but look back, at what was and what wasn't, and wonder how the hell I'll ever know the difference. Does it matter? Yes, and if you're asking that question, you're not a fan of baseball.

The Chop Stops Here

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Tony Fernandez Never Took Steroids

needleAlex Rodriguez has admitted to taking steroids. A-Rod was supposed to be the clean saviour who would wash the bad taste out of our mouths left by Barry Bonds. A-Rod is a jerk, but we hoped he was a jerk who didn't use performance enhancing drugs.

It turns out he's a jerk who did use performance enhancing drugs. Throw him in the pile with Bonds, Mark McGwire and Roger Clemens. Here's what I wrote last year in Erasing an Era.

A life long baseball fan, I've never seen a pitcher as good as Rocket Roger Clemens. When it comes to offensive prowess, I've never seen a hitter as good as Barry Bonds. As far as I'm concerned, you can take a big ol' eraser and scrub the marvellous careers of both men from the record book.

In a sense, an entire era has now been erased. I'm sure both Clemens and Bonds were stellar before they took performance enhancing drugs, but a little juice spill ruins the entire meal. The steroids era, as it will be called by future generations, has claimed the greatest the game has to offer.

Many will shrug their shoulders and look forward. I can't help but look back, at what was and what wasn't, and wonder how the hell I'll ever know the difference. Does it matter? Yes, and if you're asking that question, you're not a fan of baseball.

The Chop Stops Here

I have more questions than answers. Where does it end? When did it begin? Now what?

I never worried that George Bell might be on the juice. It never crossed my mind that Tony Fernandez could be drugging. Dave Stieb had a nasty slider, but he didn't cheat.

Life used to be simpler. Today, every player is a suspect, and nothing is as it seems. It's innocence indicted.

Thanks, A-Rod.

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Home Run Derby

Home Run DerbyI've always been a big fan of the Home Run Derby. I try and watch every year and I even saw it live at Skydome back in 1992 when Cal Ripken Jr. took the crown.

When there wasn't a Blue Jay competing I always looked to the big sluggers to put on a clinic. Mark McGwire rarely disappointed and Sammy Sosa and Ken Griffey Jr. were and are always good for a show. With the 2004 Home Run Derby taking place tonight, my money is on Barry Bonds. He's the strongest, and if he tries even a little bit, he'll hit the most homers.

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Best Player Never To Win It All

baseballNow that Peyton Manning has won the Super Bowl and Phil Mickelson has won a major, who's the best active professional athlete who has yet to win it all?

I think it's Barry Bonds. If we put aside the fact he's a jerk and likely juiced up at some point, he's without a doubt the best ball player of his generation. Some would argue he's the best ball player of all time. He hasn't won a World Series, which makes him the best active professional athlete who has yet to win it all.

Ain't karma a bitch?

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October 2007 Search Engine Refferals

Search StringsThese are the top searches that referred people to this site in October of 2007. Were there a lot of weddings in September? The hockey hits, I understand.

  1. wedding playlists
  2. wedding playlist
  3. toronto maple leafs
  4. bill barilko
  5. top new rock songs of 2007
  6. wedding song playlist
  7. barry bonds
  8. celebrity death watch
  9. marge simpson nude
  10. saint ralph soundtrack

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November 2007 Search Engine Refferals

Search StringsThese are the top searches that referred people to this site in November of 2007. What's with the surge in people looking for Ralph Wiggums' Valentine's Day card? Did they move Valentine's Day up this year?

  1. wedding playlists
  2. wedding playlist
  3. barry bonds
  4. bill barilko
  5. big shiny tunes 2
  6. tie domi
  7. i choo choo choose you
  8. big shiny tunes 4
  9. jiri tlusty
  10. big shiny tunes 3

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