Sports talk with Dan Steinberg

Jun 02, 2011

Usually Tracee Hamilton goes weekly with her chat about sports, life and everything else. This week Dan Steinberg will be subbing in for her.

Wow, Dan, did you read Gilbert's twitter story last night about going to Best Buy and trying to purchase a "4D" TV? Ending with a discussion of 3D porn and "motion lotion"? It's good to have him back, no?

Hey everyone, been a while since I've typed words in this spot, honored to fill in for Tracee, can never replicate her knowledge of wheat, etc. etc.


Anyhow, yeah, I've been following Gilbert, and I'll disagree with you. As I've written before, the whole act has somehow worn thin with me. And his recent explanation of how he needs a slave (or a girlfriend) to make him breakfast and how every NBA player has multiple women....I mean, not very role modelly to me.  And sure, that's not his job, but it just doesn't work for me any more.

Does Matt Stairs have some kind of incriminating evidence on Boz salted away? In response to "Why is Matt Stairs still on the team?", this was Boz's response: "If it will make you all happy, I will try to trip him as he goes down the "stairs" to the dugout. What's with you people? He's one of the better pinch-hitters ever. He's not blocking anybody in the minors from coming up. Look higher for the problems." Hey, Yogi Berra was one of the great bad-ball hitters ever (in his first year, he got a double off a pitchout). However, he was over as a ballplayer in the early '60's, and I wouldn't expect him to hit too well today. Matt Stairs is ***over***. I'm tempted to go into Monty Python's "Dead Parrot" routine, but will resist. The guy he's blocking is the transient who hits .200 (DOUBLE what Stairs hits). I'm not talking about building blocks for the future; I'm talking about somebody who is not a totally pathetic hitter. I still don't understand why we flushed away Dunn and Willingham. but this roster decision *really* hacks me off. Is this wash-up *really* the best we can get? It was worth signing him, just like it was worth signing Chien-Ming Wang (nice try). But HEY! IT ISN'T WORKING!!! Heck, in '08, the one year Colin Balester spent serious time in the majors., he hit .200. Bring Balester up to pinch hit in place of this washup! I'm sure he's a great guy, etc. etc., but every time he's announced, it's a guaranteed out. Section 405 Section 405

Wow. That is a LONG question about Matt Stairs. I mean, it's possible his name is mentioned more time in this question than the number of hits he'll finish with this season.


I think Boz is taking the same view as Kilgore on this one, which is that while Stairs has been extremely disappointing, he's about 17th on the Nats list of problems right now. I think the response was, well, that doesn't mean he's not a problem, plus he's been a problem in very key situations in which big hits might have changed the course of several games.

As to your question, I can't even imagine what would constitute incriminating evidence against Boz. A long-ago photo of him wearing a Yankees cap?

Is it me or are the Natinals playing well considering the injuries they've had this season (Zimmerman, Laroche, Strasburg)? What are the expectations for them to finish the season? .500? 10 games under?

I think people were hoping for a modest improvement on last year's 69-93 record. I don't think anyone was realistically hoping for .500, but a 5-game improvement (i.e. 74-88, 14 games under .500) seemed to be reasonable.  They're currently on pace to finish with either 91 or 92 losses, which I think would be disappointing.

I don't think you can count Strasburg as a "this season" injury, and I think they're better without LaRoche. Yes, the Zimmerman injury is brutal, but at the same time, their starting pitchers have avoided all those injuries that plagued them last year. I feel like we're forever talking about injuries in this city. It's not like other teams in the world never have that issue.

How do we know it isn't Dave McKenna answering these questions?

I've been advised not to answer this question. I'd refer you to the Post PR department.

Can I ask about hockey? I'm really curious to know if someone knows the answer: what's the deal with Vancouver diving all over the place? I really, really don't want to (temporarily) jump on the local bandwagon, but all the flopping and flailing and waving of sticks (seriously, a stick doesn't "accidentally" make its way up into Chara's face, especially twice, unless directed there) is embarrassing and is turning me from neutral-just-hoping-for-good-hockey to go-Bruins-just-this-month. I'd understand it on a team that is full of players who can't play, let alone skate, but Vancouver made it to the finals so presumably they can skate and play. So why do so many of the Canucks constantly topple over onto the ice like they're playing an odd version of freeze tag? I don't remember as much diving in the entire World Cup last year as by the Canucks during their first game against Boston. I really don't want to cheer for Boston! But I like hockey and don't want to see it so cheapened...

Well, a few of the cases were obvious (Sedin), but it didn't rub me as wrongly as it evidently rubbed you. Bad rubbing. Wrong rubbing. Illicit rubbing. Whatever.

I'm not in favor of flailing and flopping and diving, but it isn't like our own hockey stars (ahem, No. 8) have never embellished a bit. I don't think last night's Canucks deserve to be lumped in with some int'l soccer teams, where this is endemic.

Anyhow, I'm not sure I have an answer for if or why Vancouver does this more than anyone else.

No analysis or even the slightest mention of the absolutely ridiculous new podcasting at WTEM? Considering how unique the WTEM alleged business model is (very in my opinion, no other station that I know of doesn't immediately release programing for podcasting) and who owns the station at the end of the day, this seems ripe for some coverage.

Will do it today. Thanks for reminding me again.

Not that more of the full story is known to the public about Ohio State, I find it difficult to believe that there is not a fundamental flaw in the institutions oversite process. Is the athletic director now at risk? Is the NCAA likely to change their mind about their first finding on institutional oversite at Ohio State. Apparently, Ohio State officials are the only ones who didn't know.

Oh, you do, huh? Really?

I mean, duh.

But listening to the wise and longtime observers, they say things like:

1) Stuff like this is likely happening everywhere.

2) It's just about impossible to monitor all the interactions of 100 college kids at all times

3) Had Ohio State gotten ahead of the story and stopped lying, it wouldn't have been nearly as big a deal to the NCAA

The way Ohio State has spun everything so far, I wouldn't be surprised if the AD survives. I'm more interested in whether this can finally help lead to a system in which the athletic superpowers chuck away "amateurism" and just go full-on minor leagues. I think Feinstein was exactly right: fans aren't watching college football to revel in student-athleticism, they're watching it to see their teams win. Just get over it already.

And Steinz still isn't here. Somebody subpoena him.

Was just checking some stuff with legal before I got started. Sorry.

Dan, Great work, love reading your stuff. Did you see this article ( about Ted Leonsis personally responding to a critical fan on Twitter? Any chance you'd do a profile of this guy? He seems to have overly harsh and highly critical views of everyone and anyone, which makes him quite an amusing read.

I did indeed see that. I didn't think Ted's response was overly harsh.

I do get a lot of stories from fans who claim to have had overly negative reactions from Ted, mostly in personal e-mail correspondences. Were I a successful multi-millionaire, I think I'd try not to get in unpleasant back and forths with customers. On the other hand, I sometimes get in unpleasant back and forths with readers, and I'm sure some college kid somewhere is thinking "if I had a plum gig at the Washington Post, I'd try not to get in unpleasant back and forths with readers."

I mean, Ted is absolutely sensitive to criticism, but we all are. It's just probably best to stifle it when possible.

Dan, it's June. There is no local NBA or NHL team still playing. The college teams have all gone home. The NFL has a lockout and it no longer interests me when the major newspaper in town interviews the third string quarterback for the Skins. However, the national pastime of baseball is playing right on South Capitol Street. The Post does a good job with a beat reporter covering each game. And Boswell should be mentioned in the same breath with Shirley Povich and the great baseball writers I read as a kid in NYC. But what's missing, is your kind of personality, quirky, colorful coverage of the Nats. Other than focusing on the number of Philly fans that go to the ball park, is there a reason that you don't regularly write about DC's own baseball team?

I've answered this question a bunch over the years, but I'll do it again.

1) Unlike the Redskins and Caps and Wizards, the Nats never have "practices," where guys are less stressed and rushed and have time to chat about stupid stuff. The every-day-is-a-game-day thing hurts in this regard, I think.

2) The access to the team almost always comes in the late afternoon, when our web traffic is gone and when I have to go pick up my daughter from preschool. For the Skins/Wiz/Caps/United, access is in the late morning or early afternoon.

3) The Nats are, again, a losing team, and thus the yuks are harder to come by. I can have fun with the Redskins in September and October, before all hope is lost. But when the Nats start in April, I'm distracted by the Caps, and then by the time June comes around, they're sad already.

Did you ever get a comment from the Nats front office about why/how there were thousands of seats on StubHub for Opening Day? Mind you, I'm not complaining, I bought $60 seats for $22.

No, it was kind of hard to figure out exactly how many seats were out there, since you can list seats on multiple secondary sites. I wasn't going to compare sections or seat numbers. I don't sense it's more an issue with the Nats than other teams. But people tell me the Nats (and all teams) likely market tickets to brokers by offering high-value games in exchange for the brokers buying up lesser-value games. If the brokers ended up getting crushed by the market on opening day, I can't really see how anyone could complain. (Besides a broker, I guess.)

Is he as fun in real life as he seems to be?

I would not claim to know Dan Snyder at all in real life. I think we've had maybe three one-on-one interactions, plus maybe two more in group settings. Of course, that's five more times than I've met Ted Lerner, though I've talked to Mark a few times.

Whether it matters or not, I get e-mails and interviews with Ted Leonsis all the time. I mean, ALL the time. As much as you shouldn't let personal interactions cover professional observations, it's pretty hard not to. I know some people have started to turn on Ted a bit, but I absolutely think he helps his cause by having such a great relationship with so many media folks.

I need your advice. As yet another set of professional sports championships get underway, what should a DC sports fan do? Do I even watch the NHL finals, and root for Boston because they beat Tampa Bay, who beat the Caps? Do I even watch the NBA finals, and root for Dallas because they employ Caron Butler? (Note that given the choice between supporting ex Wizard Brendan Haywood versus ex-Wizard Mike Bibby, I'll take the latter.)

I guess it's up to you. If you have more valuable life or entertainment opportunities, I'd recommend going for it. I've watched both Game 1s, rooting hard for Dallas in the NBA, and completely apathetic in the NHL. The which team beat which team thing doesn't work for me when it's more than one team removed. (i.e. I could see rooting for Tampa in the finals, but not Boston.)

It's also probably healthy to get away from sports once in a while, but you'll have plenty of time for that in late June and July.

Did you happen to see the United/Portland match from a few nights ago? The one in which the home team was awarded three consecutive penalty kicks after the United keeper stopped the first TWO shots but was ruled off his line on both attempts? I've never seen such game altering calls (it was 1-0 at the time) and have to give DC players credit for not going nuts on the linesman.

I saw the highlights. That was something, for sure. I think you can make a case that Hamid actually did come off his line both times, but still, even if you call it once, to call it twice in a row is pretty harsh. And I'd agree that composure was mostly kept, not just by not going nuts but also by staying right in that game.

How much are you hoping that Gary Williams gets some sort of radio/TV show (a little bird told me this very well might be in the works)? It would be Bog gold.

You know, I think it would be interesting, and I think he'd actually be very good at it, but I'm not sure it'd actually be Bog gold. He isn't always the most quotable person unless he gets defensive or angry, and I can't see why either of those things would happen on TV/radio.

Unless his guests were all U-Conn fans, Duke students and AAU coaches.

How long is this going to last? It's been one day and he already has over 120 tweets.

I can't predict, but I'm pretty sure he will do multiple inappropriate things on there.

Is teddy ever going to win? LOL

I believe he will, yes.


I've also changed from being indifferent on the matter to actually wanting him to win, because the gimmick is tired, and because I'm convinced that having your franchise's singular gimmick revolving around a lovable loser is bad karma. Not that I think it makes them lose, but it's just a weird thing to associate your franchise with.

Plus Stan Kasten is gone.

The Nats for America's team was well-done, not too cheesy, not too serious. I can't help but think their efforts would be better directed at being DC's team. Winning of course will take care of that, but they need to work harder and smarter in the meantime.

Well sure, that was just an MLB thing they asked Drew to do when he was in New York. (This was a funny Drew Storen video I posted yesterday, if you didn't see it.)

Drew is actually pretty good in the video; he's a smart, media savvy kid who's completely comfortable in front of a mic. I have no idea whether Storen and Harper will be successes on the field, long-term, but if so, I think both could be huge successes off the field in D.C.

Please come back to the rotation. How long should someone hold a grudge? By someone, I mean our very own TK? Putting it all out there in a book that's going to be read by everyone is kind of, Like, He Who Shan't Be Named But Likes To Sue DC Columnists wow. It's so petty to rehash an episode that never reflected well on him to begin with- and for him to bring it up is even worse. I guess Shales interviewed him before the Food Section did that nice little write-up on Daughter TK- but that probably wouldn't have mollified him much. As bad as Olbermann comes off in the book, he's still employable- even if he napalmed every bridge that Bob Ley was standing on. I don't think the same could be said for TK; I guess he can still do local stuff if ESPN ever cuts ties. Mark.

You people write long questions.

1) I will not come back to the rotation, but thanks for asking.

2) That's just Tony's personality

3) Yes, I agree, it does have a certain similarity to HWSBNBLTSDCC, and in both cases it just makes people remember/discover something they otherwise might not have. That's really the most remarkable thing about the Snyder suing McKenna case -- how many tens or hundreds of thousands of people read the story who otherwise wouldn't have.

4) The book is great. Just great.

You spent Memorial Day sweltering in the sun to watch an 0 for 286 foam head try to win a race. And he came in 4th. Shame on the Nats for leading you on, or shame on you for having faith in the rough rider himself? Feel free to use this space to blast Nats PR and start a media war. I'm sure no one is reading.

No one did anything to try to lead me on. I wasn't mad at the Nats. We had a source who happened to be wrong, and there was enough circumstantial evidence that I was convinced. It was absolutely not an organizational move to lead me on, though.

But yeah, I was pretty disappointed. So much so that I almost immediately spent $8 for a Miller Lite to salve the wound. Is that a verb? Salve? Not sure.

How often a week do you have to consult with the WaPo lawyers due to a certain person?

Ha. Not as often as you might guess. It's only been twice this year, I think.

You didn't walk in front of them during an at-bat, did you? Because I'd have been rolling my eyes, too, if so.

Wow, my eye roll comment really got the responses coming.

As I recall, I tried to enter their row during a Livan mound conference but mistimed it and did indeed walk in front of them during "action," if that's what you call it. But I left (and got the eye roll) between innings. The eye roll was clearly in reference to me coming and going in such close proximity. And probably had nothing to do with her being from Philly.

Are you legally prohibited from talking about Daniel Snyder?

No, not that I know of.

Are still a blogger/reporter for the WP? Actually ecept for Boz the print and bloggers for the Sports section are a disgrace. I remember the glory days with Povich and later Wilbon and Mr Tony. Now the local free weekly paper I get that cover has better sports coverage. Maybe Whole paycheck will take you back!

Hey,  you submitted a question to my video chat this week, too! For someone who hates me so much you're sure clicking on my promotional devices!

You left out a few words and letters in your item.

Also, the Whole Paycheck thing used to really burn me when I worked at Whole Foods. Are their prices for some things more expensive than at Safeway? Sure. But they crush Safeway in other items. It depends what you want to get. If you want nice Gruyere, Couscous, Tofu, soy milk and a six-pack of an American IPA, I can almost guarantee you're better off financially shopping at Whole Foods than Giant.

Now, would you do even better at Trader Joe's? Sure. But no one gets furious at Macy's for being more expensive than Target, do they? If you don't like their prices, just shop somewhere else. No need to be so bitter.

Which do you prefer: A game in which the 4th quarter reflects the game action in the prior 3 quarters, or a 4th quarter that is markedly different from the rest of the game. I prefer that the 4th quarter is consistent with the rest of the game. Otherwise, it seems like I wasted time watching the rest of the game, and the players just kicked in the effort at the end. Of course, that means I have to take blowouts in the 4th without comebacks, but it's better when the game is tight the whole way through. What about you?

Completely, completely agree.

And yet I don't feel the same way about the NFL, for some reason. I've never felt like I wasted my time watching an NFL first quarter. No idea why.

Get rid of the NCAA. Pay them all -- I don't care if ballers go to class. Get rid of the anti-doping labs, too. Let the cyclists and sprinters take all the PEDs they want. But those fancy, body-compressing swimsuits? No way they should be allowed! I say: make them swim naked!

I'd be inclined to agree with you on points 1 and 2, and I'm indifferent on point 3 since I don't watch swimming.

The argument against making PEDs acceptable in sports seems to center around questions of the kids,  but let's face it, the damn kids are gonna wind up doing PEDs if they're good enough eventually, and if they're not, they'll just drink beer, no? I mean, if it's the kids we're concerned about, make dip illegal in baseball first. Seems like dip is more closely connected to bad things happening to your body than HGH. (Note: I don't know if this is true,  just kind of guessing.)

Or hell, make it so athletes can't smoke cigarettes, if all you care about is the example they're setting.

I read a column yesterday on Fox Sports about sports villains. I was amazed she didn't mention Haynesworth. I also was very angry that #4 on her list was the Duke Blue Devils. Why? They are true scholar athletes, and some have even gone on to Law School. The graduation rate is excellent. My daughter was in love (from afar, of course) with Christian Laettner, and I've heard Grant Hill has always been a gentleman. Again, I ask why?

I think "villain" is a strong word, but maybe it should have been "easy to root against." And by the way, I don't know that a lot of people think of Laettner as a gentleman at this point.

But even if you disregard the flopping and the pounding of the floor on defense, Duke is easy to root against because they win all the time. Same reason the Yankees are easy to root against, same reason the Patriots are easy to root against. I'm not sure a national audience knows or cares enough about Haynesworth to root against him.

Hey can I get a shoutout? - Kelso Carpenter

New chat concept: every blogger who wants their blog mentioned on this chat write in! It'll be fascinating reading!

It's becoming more and more apparent that 980 will ultimately lose the radio war with WJFK unless they at least attempt to go after a younger market. This is actually two questions, is this something that is being talked about in the sports broadcasting world and who do you think is someone that 980 could bring in to get the younger demo. I think the obvious choice is Bram Weinstein. He has been noticably alot more active recently on twitter weighing in on local DC issues and think he is bucking to get back to DC. Am I off base here? I'll hang up and let you talk.

Well that's  a novel idea, but I don't think him being on Twitter more means he'd want to leave ESPN necessarily. Haven't talked to Bram in months. Can't imagine ESPN 980 is as lucrative a career as hosting SportsCenter.

How about they try to lure LaVar away from 106.7? The obvious first show to change would be the John Thompson Show, I'd think. He is not the right age to compete with Lavar and Dukes.

Dan, Do you know if the Skins have notified ticket holders whose seats have been switched due to the construction? I sit in what appears to be in the middle of concrete (depending on which end zone the picture is taken) and was curious if I am in danger of being moved. Seems to me, if i was moved, I wold have been told before payment for my seats was requested. But then again, this is the Washington Kenny Chesneys, I mean Redskins

I would also think you'd have been notified, but since the team isn't answering questions, I have no idea.

Can any other city rival Snyder, the Lerners and Ted for having pro team owners that rewrite definition of incompetence? TEd needs to realize fielding a pro hockey team that is better suited for the ICe Capaces then the playoffs is no way to keep the fans coming. Time to fire Bruce and Georgia dn trade Ovie. Also he needs to talk with Big E before his auntie passes so she can remove the curse of LEs Boulez!

See, maybe I'm a sucker, but I just don't think having a team that makes the playoffs every year and gets home ice advantage every year makes you a bad owner. Should he (or you) settle for that? No, of course not. Is his goal to lose in the playoffs? I mean, do you know how much more revenue he'd bring in with 16 home playoff games instead of 3? How much he could jack ticket prices if he won a Stanley Cup? What would his motive possibly be for trying to lose playoff games, or for trying to construct a team that is destined to lose in the postseason?

He honestly believes that loyalty and stability are huge virtues in sports teams, and I think that has a lot to do with this. It's a very very different approach than at least one other local owner has taken, and while it hasn't brought a championship, it's brought a lot more smiles than certain other local teams.

I'm not saying don't criticize, or don't ask for Bruce and George to be fired. I'm just saying that losing in the playoffs is not the definition of incompetence. Not making the playoffs is.

If Tracee were here I'd ask a beverage question. Instead I will ask you a food question. My wife likes fresh mozzarella for the summer, finding it refreshing and delightful, but as much as I like it I find that soft cheeses don't work for me when it's hot & humid. What kinds of cheese are appropriate for our mid-Atlantic summer?

Interesting. I'd certainly have suggested things like fresh mozz and fresh goat cheese; wish I knew why they don't work for you? I mean, for picnics, sure, they can suffer pretty quickly, but otherwise "refreshing and delightful" is right.

What about a young Manchego or Pecorino Toscano? or maybe some of the semisoft cow's milk cheeses from Northern Italy? Feta, certainly.

So Dan, imagine the pain that we non non-partisan, non-journalist, fans of the Nats feel when the Visigoths from the Delaware Valley descend in their kegs on wheels (some people call them buses) to lay waste to the peaceful villagers of Near Southeast. To be honest with you I went to Tuesday night's game and the Phils fans I ran into were relatively well behaved. In fact, alot of them seemed to be wannabe teenagers from the suburbs, the DC suburbs. But loved your Bog item anyway.

I've actually gotten a lot of emails from fans who said otherwise, but my problem is less the butchery of the invaders and more the shame of hearing the home team booed off the home field.

Who you got?

Well, they're pretty different concepts. I'm sure I'll read and enjoy both.

But the Deadspin item on Tommy Craggs declining to go to's Grantland site yesterday was amazing.

Will Kilgore be suspended by The Post for prematurely tweeting yesterday that Teddy won? I mean, that's gotta be as bad as what Wise did.

I don't think what he wrote was incorrect. How was he to know that Teddy would be disqualified? It's like writing the Cowboys won that Monday Night Football debut last  year on a touchdown pass; they sure seemed to have done so, if you didn't notice the flag for holding. So I think Kilgore's safe.

I dunno, man. Safeway and Giant have really raised their games, thanks in no small part to the WF/TJ competition. Beer, cheese, produce, and "ethnic" selection are far better now at the old school places than they were just five years ago -- and of course, Safeway and Giant have the advantage of broader selection on most staples and dry goods. That said, WF still maintains a decisive advantage at the fish and butcher counters. But with Wegmans continuing to expand in the area (WNY represent!), WF is in danger of being one-upped itself.

Ah, but I wasn't just talking quality, I was talking price. A lot of the things you mention are overpriced at Safeway and Giant, imo.

Better quality, better service and a biiger range of items!

But sure not an option for D.C. folks, at least those who don't regularly go to Redskins Park.

Forget Wise for a sec...has anyone ever confused you with Scott Van Pelt?

No. I get Mike Wise, Deputy NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, and Moby more than anything else.

But, when in Rome... Finally, the topics that are in a bog-heads wheel-house: Radio transcripts and local ratings. While WTEM may be "losing the war" as some say, could their strategy just be to wait out WJFK's eventual demise? It doesn't seem the Junkies are too enthused about their upcoming station move, and it seems that one afternoon drive host may be none-too happy with his current job. Could the WTEM of 5 years ago be the only one standing as JFK flames out? And can these conversations be any more inside radio?

That's not what I would guess. With or without one afternoon drive host. But I'm no industry expert.

Can we stop pretending this area is a "hockey town" now? Scarcely a peep since the Capitals went down 2-0 to Tampa Bay. Nothing on the local news, hardly any writing, no further playoff/finals coverage and I don't even see the bandwagoners wearing their t-shirts or hats anymore. . Everyone jumped off even quicker than ticket prices on Stub Hub went down for game 7 last year. Save for a few vocal ppl in the very small minority, this area does not actually care about hockey.

It depends how you define hockey town, but yes, you're mostly right.

The Junkies (more radio talk!!!!!!) were talking NBA Finals this morning, and one of them said "what about Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals," and someone else said "ah, nobody cares."

I don't think that's exactly right -- many more D.C. sports fans care now than would have 5 years ago, I think -- but in this area I don't think the SCF can touch the NBA finals, no matter how badly the Caps trounce the Wiz in the ratings. I might be wrong, and this is all feel and anecdotes, but I just don't think the Caps interest has transferred over much to the sport as a whole.

Here's a purely anecdotal anecdote: I was briefly in Solly's last night on U Street, and there were two baseball games on the two TVs. I asked to watch the hockey game, and the bartender didn't know the station. That, I'm guessing, would not happen with the NBA finals.

As part of the subpoena, will all chat transcripts be turned over to Danny Boy's mouthpiece?

Guess we'll find out.

I gotta run. Too many distractions. This was fun. I'll stop by again sometime if Tracee asks.


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Dan Steinberg
Washington Post staff writer and D.C. Sports Bogger.

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