May 2012

Dodger Slugger Looks To Return Home….

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Dodger outfielder Matt Kemp who was placed on the 15 day DL, started his rehab assignment in Albuquerque with the AAA Isotopes. Matt Kemp went 2-3 with a HR and 3 RBI in his first of two rehab games with the Isotopes. Kemp may play about five inning on Monday along with Juan Rivera.

Kemp is scheduled to return to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday, and Kemp explained his plan “Go up there and have good at-bats, see some pitches and get back to L.A. as quick as possible. I’m ready to get back playing again.”

The Dodgers will definitely be looking forward to embracing Kemp, however the Dodgers have been doing significantly well in Kemp’s absence. A batter of his magnitude will only increase the power of the boys in the blue as they continue their quest to remain not only in first place in the NL West, but be one of the top teams in baseball.

Welcome back Matt Kemp, Dodger fans have been waiting for your return to Dodger Stadium.

 

Los Angeles On The Rise…….

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Lilly Dominates Rockies As Kemp Departs

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As the Los Angeles Dodgers went for the sweep on Mother’s Day over the divisional opponent the Colorado Rockies, the Dodgers wouldn’t get out of the series without a some causalities.

Ted Lilly was all set to take the mound and put his perfect record to the test against the Colorado Rockies and Alex White.

In the first inning, Lilly started off very shaky and almost unglued as the Rockies jumped out to an early lead thanks to C Gonzalez singled to right field, that scored Michael Scutaro scored. With Tyler Colvin at second base, Michael Cuddyer singled to center that scored Colvin and advanced Gonzalez to second base. Later on in the inning, Ramon Hernandez grounded out to shortstop, yet Gonzalez scored to extend the Rockies lead 3-0.

Alex White didn’t do any better as the Dodgers began to dig themselves out of a hole as Tony Gwynn Jr doubled to left to get on base, yet Mark Ellis grounded out to third. Then Matt Kemp grounded out, however Gwynn managed to score. Kemp, who leads the Dodgers with 12 homers and a .359 batting average, left the game because of an irritated left hamstring after grounding out in the third inning. Walking back to the dugout Kemp showed his frustration as he threw his glove.

The Dodgers weren’t done in the second inning James Loney hit a huge double, AJ Ellis singled to right that allowed Loney to score. Ellis ran to second base beating a throw by White.
Lilly once again got himself into a jam in the fourth inning as A White grounded into fielder’s choice, Dexter Fowler safe at third on throwing error by catcher AJ Ellis. Then Marco Scutaro singled to left, Fowler scored, which frustrated Lilly.

White continued to pitch rather well, and Mark Ellis walked to load the bases and disrupted the party for the Rockies. Newest Dodger Bobby Abreu doubled to deep center that scored Justin Sellers, Gywnn, and Ellis that regained the lead for the Dodgers. After a wild pitch thrown by reliever M Reynolds, Abreu moved to third base. Andre Either was at the plate and was called for a controversial third strike. Either argued with the Umpire M Carlson along manager Don Mattingly who also argued the call, both were ejected.
The ejection seemed to fire up the Dodgers as James Loney walked, then AJ Ellis smacked a 2 run home run that scored Abreu, and Loney.

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Lilly had a solid afternoon and was relieved in the seventh inning by S Elbert, then Colvin singled to right, and Scutaro moved to third base. Carlos Gonzalez grounded out to second, Scutaro scored which gave the Rockies some momentum. However Elbert got out of the inning as he struck out Cuddyer looking.

With the bases loaded for the Dodgers again in the eight inning, Scott Van Slyke smacked a double deep to center that scored Juan Uribe, Ellis, and moved Abreu to third base. AJ Ellis struck out, but the damage had been done as the Dodgers cleaned house in the inning.

Dodger closer Javy Guerra made his presence known the Rockies bats as he had a solid 1,2,3 inning to retain the victory for the Dodgers as they defeated the Rockies 11-5.

Ted Lilly goes a perfect 5-0 for the first time in his career allowed five runs, one strike out, and six hits over six innings. Alex White pitched four innings on five hits and one strike in the loss.

Kemp spoke about his injury, “I’m definitely not going on the DL. That’s not going to happen. The team needs me. I don’t think this is a 15-day thing. I think it’s maybe two or three days. I know how my body is. I’m a pretty fast healer.”

Kershaw Keeps Arizona Beneth Them Without Kemp

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On a night where it seems that the Los Angeles Dodgers were facing the biggest rival health with their players that included Juan Rivera and now Matt Kemp.
Kemp was placed on the 15 day DL, Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers would have to continue to fight without their premier warrior.

On the other side of the ball, Arizona D-backs pitcher and 2011 Cy Young runner up Ian Kennedy had something to prove against Kershaw, and to remind him how he never forgot how he should’ve won that prestigious award.

Kershaw got out of the first inning rather quickly making way for the Dodger bats to light up hard and fast, as the speedy Dee Gordon singled to left, and thanks to a throwing error by Kennedy, Gordon made it safe to third base. Mark Ellis grounded out to second, but it allowed Gordon to score as the Dodgers took the lead 1-0.
 

For the next several innings Kershaw was masterful, showing Kennedy and others why he was the Cy Young winner and still a force to be reckoned with on the mound. Frustrating Arizona batters, Kershaw was virtually untouchable, and so was the Dodger offense in the bottom of the sixth inning, Andre Either smacked a solo home run to right center, as Kennedy watched and pounded his glove in disgust. Catcher AJ Ellis singled to center, then James Loney singled that advanced Ellis to third base.
Adam Kennedy stepped up and hit a key sacrifice fly to center that scored Ellis.

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Kennedy threw a pitch behind Kershaw and to the backstop before he walked. Kershaw returned the favor in the fifth inning, making Kennedy bail out of the batter’s box on a first-pitch fastball before he walked him.

After pitching seven strong innings, Josh Lindblom relieved Clayton Kershaw who left the field amongst cheers and applause from the Dodger Stadium crowd.
Lindblom was pretty solid, until he gave up a solo home run to Arizona’s Aaron Hill deep to left field that would prove to be the D-backs only run of the game. Lindblom settled down and go out of the inning with any further damage.

Kenley Jensen came in for Lindblom to close out the game, and did an exceptional job, especially getting R Roberts to pop out at first base to end the game, as the Dodgers defeated the D-backs 3-1. Jensen picked up his fourth save in five attempts on the season.

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Matt Kemp talked about how he felt about not playing “I’m disappointed. This is my second time being on the DL, and the first time was a long time ago [April 2007]. I like playing every game, but I’ve got to be healthy and playing at 100 percent for me to be effective. So I’ve got to let it heal.”
Kemp is still on course for his goal of 50/50, and should win the NL MVP award this season, as he’ll continue to play at a high level once he returns from injury.

Kershaw talked about the warning by Umpire after the incident between him and Kennedy, “Old-school baseball’s one thing, and I understand what the manager’s trying to instill over there, but there’s no place for that here. It’s obvious what they were trying to do, but I don’t agree with what they did. It just felt wrong. He’s a good pitcher, he had an awesome year last year and I have a lot of respect for what he does on the hill. But if that’s how they want to do it, that’s fine. He missed anyway, so no big deal.”

 

Billingsley And Dodgers Get Snake Bitten By D-backs

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Tuesday night did not prove well for the Dodgers as they placed both their potential NL MVP Matt Kemp on the 15 day DL and Juan Uribe for a wrist injury. Chad Billingsley had the tall task of continuing the home streak at Dodgers Stadium against Wade Miley and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Billingsley looked pretty well on the mound until the second inning with the bases loaded and two outs, Gerardo Parra walked that scored Jason Kubel and advanced A Hill to third base. Billingsley got Willie Bloomquist to fly out to center to end the inning.

Miley continued to pitch solid, and the Diamondback offense made sure they gave him plenty of run support, unfortunately at the expense of Billingsley where Arizona exploded in the fifth inning. Bloomquist singled to left, that moved Wade Miley to third base. Justin Upton reached on infield single to shortstop that scored pitcher Wade Miley, Bloomquist and Parra moved to third and second base respectfully. Then Miguel Montero singled to center, which scored Parra, and Dodger manager Don Mattingly had obviously seen enough. He retired Billingsley for the evening and sent in Javy Guerra, which didn’t cool off the D-back bats, as Kubel  hit an RBI single to right field, that scored Bloomquist.

D-backs Wade Miley

It wasn’t until the sixth inning that the Dodgers finally got on the board, as Mark Ellis hit a solo home run deep to center scoring what would end up being their only run scored. The Dodgers defense did make a showing as outfielder Andre Either made a spectacular diving catch to rob Upton of a hit.
However in the top of the seventh the D-backs weren’t done scoring either Lyle Overbay hit a big sacrifice fly to left field, that scored Montero to increase the lead 5-1. Arizona came into the game 6-for-30 in bases-loaded situations.

Arizona closer JJ Putz came in for reliever David Hernandez after he allowed Adam Kennedy to double to right field, setting up Dee Gordon. With two outs, Putz got Gorden to foul out to the catcher for the final out and captured the victory over the Dodgers.

Arizona manager Kirk Gibson spoke about his solid pitcher Wade Miley “He just did a great job for us, and that’s what we needed tonight. He had 72 strikes out of 102 pitches. He maybe started laboring a little bit later in the game, but it was big for him to get as far as he did for us. That’s how he’s been pitching all year.”

Chad Billingsley went four innings, eight hits and three strike out and hasn’t picked up a win since that Astros 12-0 blowout in Houston. Wade Miley pitched six and two-third strong innings allowed eight hits, five strikeouts, and one home run.

The Dodgers are currently 24-12 and still lead the rival San Francisco Giants by six game in the NL West division.

*1988 Dodgers Cy Young Award winner and World Series MVP Orel Hershiser threw out a ceremonial first pitch at Dodger Stadium, as it was also Hershiser bobble head night.

*Scott Van Slyke son of former MLB slugger Andy Van Slyke, made his debut in the starting line up for the first time on Tuesday night.

Orel Hershiser, Tommy Lasorda, Clayton Kershaw

Dodgers Avenge Loss Against Giants

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After disappointing 2-1 loss yesterday at Dodger Stadium against their hated rivals the San Francisco Giants, the Dodgers looked to regroup and get aboard their first place winning ways.

On Wednesday Giants Tim Lincecum looked to do battle not against his nemesis Clayton Kershaw, but against Chad Billingsley. Billingsley looked sharp early, until he faced rival pitcher Tim Lincecum who hit a single to help his own cause that scored Joaquin Arias.
Buster Posey RBI single in the third inning extended the Giants’ lead to 2-0.

It wasn’t long until the Dodgers got on board thanks to Bobby Abreu who singled to advance Andre Either to third base. Later Juan Uribe reached out on an infield single that scored Either. In that same inning Tony Gywnn Jr pinched hit for Billingsley, who tripled to right, Abreu, Uribe, and AJ Ellis all score to help the Dodgers take the lead 4-2.

The Dodgers offense didn’t quit in the sixth inning, catcher AJ Ellis tripled to deep center to get on base in scoring position. Scott Van Slyke (son of Pirate great Andy Van Slyke) came in to pinch hit for pitcher Jamey Wright. Van Slyke hit a huge single that scored Ellis.

In the eight inning Uribe showed up again as he doubled to deep center, and with a man on base, James Loney hit an RBI single to left that scored Uribe. With the bases loaded Giants manager Bruce Bouchy decided a change was necessary and Steve Edlefsen relieved Clay Hensley. A very smart move because with Matt Kemp at the plate, Kemp grounded out to shortstop which caused Adam Kennedy to be called out to end the inning.

Kensley Jansen came in to close out the ninth inning, and after walking Gregor Blanco, settled down and for the final out to strike out catcher Buster Posey swinging.

Chad Billingsley lasted just four innings, allowing two runs and seven hits while striking out five and walking four.
Tim Lincecum gave up four runs, eight hits in five innings with eight strike outs.
Dodger reliever Jamey Wright pitched two superb innings and with two strike outs to pick up the victory.

*Dodgers OF/1B Juan Rivera was placed on the 15-day DL due to a significant strained left hamstring, Dodger manager Don Mattingly said earlier he expected Rivera to be out more than two weeks.

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Dodgers Dominate As Lilly Outpitches Zito

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Under a new regime and fresh off a not so good road trip, home is always where the heart is and for the Los Angeles Dodgers it was a much needed change of pace. It’s official, the Dodgers have new ownership that consist of Mark Walter, Stan Kasten and Earvin “Magic” Johnson” to guide the Dodgers back to their winning tradition.

On hand to throw out the first pitch was Dodger great Don Newcombe, who was hugged by outfielder and current  Dodger Matt Kemp, and greeted by Rachel Robinson widow of Dodger great Jackie Robinson and new owner Magic Johnson. Johnson also made the first call “its time for Dodger baseball” to all of the fans who cheered.

Another great thing for fans to enjoy officially was the new lower parking prices at Dodger Stadium, and their Dodgers certainly put on a clinic against the hated rival San Francisco Giants.

Ted Lilly and Barry Zitto were determined not to give either team an opportunity to score, however that changed in the third inning as Mark Ellis doubled to left, and Matt Kemp was intentionally walked. The Andre Either walked which moved Ellis to third base and Kemp to second. Juan Rivera grounded out yet Ellis still scored.

Top of the sixth inning Miguel Cabrera moved to third base on a wild pitch by Lilly, then Joaquin Arias singled to right center which scored Cabrera.
In the bottom of the sixth inning Bobby Abreu hit an infield single to third, then catcher AJ Ellis doubled to deep right that scored Abreu and moved Juan Uribe to the third. Tony Gywnn Jr pinched hit for Ted Lilly who reached on a bunt single to third, and Uribe scored because of throwing error by Giants third baseman Conor Gillaspie.

Giants reliever Steve Edlefsen came into for Barry Zito, which didn’t stop Kemp who doubled to right. Rivera grounded into a fielder’s choice to the pitcher that scored Kemp, however Rivera ran to second thanks to a throwing error by Edlefsen, where the crowd cheered loudly.

Travis Blackley relieved Edlefsen that provided no help as the Dodger owned the eight inning when Dee Gordon reached on bunt single to third, AJ Ellis moved to third and Gwynn moved to second base. With the bases loaded Blackley walked Ellis, AJ Ellis scored, and Gywnn moved to third while Gordon advanced to second. Adam Kennedy pinched hit for Josh Lindblom and connected on a single to right that scored Gywnn, advanced Ellis and Gordon to second and third base. Either then singled to left that scored Gordon and Ellis, which moved Kennedy to second base. Later Rivera grounded out to shortstop but not before Kennedy scored to increase the 9-1 lead over the Giants.

Dodgers reliever Scott Elbert  came in to close out the ninth inning getting Ryan Theriot grounded out to shortstop to end the inning.

Matt Kemp spoke about what it meant to see Newcombe and seeing Magic as the new owner “It felt great. I think the fans were pretty excited to see Magic and all those guys sit in the owners’ seats. It was definitely a different atmosphere, Magic’s right by the on-deck circle, so I could probably give him a high-five whenever I want to.”

Ted Lilly (4-0) gave up a run and four hits, walked two, and struck out six, while Barry Zito gave up three runs and eight hits in six innings.

Dodgers Get Rocked by Giambi

The Dodgers would understand that Coors Field is not only a hitters park, but a placed where the Rockies are very familiar and love to hit. The Dodgers sent their ace Clayton Kershaw to do battle against the Rockies young pitcher Drew Pomeranz.

Pomeranz and Kershaw battle, each pitcher refusing to allow the first run against the rival teams, until the third inning where the Dodgers woke up and decided to make some noise offensively. After walking AJ Ellis, Pomeranz faced rival pitcher Kershaw who made a sacrifice hit that advanced Ellis to second base. Mark Ellis connected on a single to left that scored AJ Ellis, with momentum in his favor decided to run to second base and it paid off. However Pomeranz was able to exit the inning thanks to a pop up by Juan Rivera.

Kershaw continued to display his Cy Young dominance until the fourth inning where Carlos Gonzalez homered deep to center that tied the game 1-1. The Rockies were done in the sixth inning another solo home run was given up by Kershaw to Wilin Rosario who went deep to take the lead. The Dodger offense remain asleep as Pomeranz mowed down batters as they come across the plate.

It seemed the alarm clock went off for the Dodgers when Matt Kemp singled off of reliever Matt Belisle to begin a rally. Then Andre Either singled deep to left center that advanced Kemp to the third base. Either moved to second on a wild pitch by reliever Rex Brothers, and with two on board, Jerry Hairston Jr connected on a timely RBI double that scored the new bash brothers Either and Kemp.

Kershaw was still on the mound as Dexter Fowler singled to center, Marco Scutaro scored once to tie the game. Gonzalez who homered earlier, did it again this time to right center that caused Fowler to score. Kershaw was replaced by Jamey Wright  per Don Mattingly to somehow change the momentum of the Rockies offense.

In the top of the ninth inning, closer Rafael Betancourt  came into only to intentionally walk Kemp which advanced Adam Kennedy to second base. The speedy Dee Gordon hit a clutch double that scored both Kemp and Kennedy to once again tied the game 5-5. Now the Dodgers had to play defense, hoped Wright didn’t give up any runs, and forced into extra innings.

The Dodgers didn’t expect to have two on, with Jason Giambi aboard, and Giambi made them pay, as he crushed a 3 run walk off homer deep to center to capture the victory over the Dodgers 8-5. The Rockies took two out of three from the Dodgers which gained them necessary ground on towards the first place Dodgers in the NL West.

Jamey Wright received the loss, as Rafael Betancourt picked up the victory. Clayton Kershaw only lasted seven innings and gave up a season-high five runs, while Pomeranz gave up one run and four hits over six and two-thirds innings with no decision.

The Guggenheim Group & Magic Johnson Unveil New LA Tradition

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On a cool, crisp, party cloudy Wednesday at historic Dodger Stadium, Wednesday was the day that the city of Los Angeles and Dodger fans across the globe could breathe alot easier, thanks to new ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The three main faces of the new ownership group, Guggenheim CEO and Chairman Mark Walter, new Dodgers President & CEO Stan Kasten, and part owner & CEO Earvin “Magic” Johnson sat before reporters, city officials, and fans watching on the internet to unveil their plans to revive the Dodger spirit.

The press conference was held in center field. Lots of classic Dodger superstars and ex-teammates were in attendance such as the great Maury Wills, Don Newcombe, Steve Garvey, Tommy Lasorda, and others. It was only fitting that the golden voice of baseball and the Dodgers Vin Scully was the master of ceremonies. The crowd heard from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and councilman Ed Reyes both were excited about the new ownership group taking over the Dodgers.

The sale of the team, Dodger stadium and land surrounding Chavez Revine became official on Tuesday as the group closed its $2 billion purchase, finally ending the McCourts’ terrible eight-year ownership run.

Vin Scully introduced the three main owners in a fashion only he could express “it’s time to meet the group that will bring the Dodgers higher than the Sistine Chapel.”

Left to right, Peter Guber, Stan Kasten, Mark Walter and Earvin “Magic” Johnson, of the Guggenheim Baseball Management group, walk at Dodger Stadium

Magic Johnson graced the podium as only he could with the larger than life personality and bright billion dollar smile, opening with “God is so good, and I know that because, I’m standing here a Dodger owner, wow.” An excited Johnson continued to say that he spoke to the employees, and informed them that it starts with you, excellence travels all the way to the players on the field. He also stressed to the media and the public that this will be a very safe and family friendly environment, and he reminded us all that that this group is totally committed to winning. Johnson was so eager he expressed that he would start working today, but his office won’t be ready until Monday. “Mr. O’Malley, you put pride in the Dodgers,” Johnson said, as he asked the former owner to stand. “What we want to do is bring the pride back to the city and organization. We want to win on the field and make sure the fans have the best experience they’ve ever had.

Johnson also announced that the parking will be cut from $15 to $10 starting with the next home stand on Monday against the San Francisco Giants.

Former Dodger owner Peter O’Malley who took over the team for his late father Walter owned the team until he sold it in 1998.

A very elated Stan Kasten former president of the Atlanta Braves, Hawks, Thrashers, and Washington Nationals reassured the crowd, “we’re in a market where fans expect to contend now. There’s this real thing called Dodger pride. As someone who has competed 3,000 miles away, it’s a feeling that doesn’t exist with other franchises. Players feel it the first time they put on their uniforms.” He also stressed that they weren’t going to wait two years, if they have the opportunity to win now, that’s what is going to happen.
“We commented the other day when we spoke to the team that we would build a winning way, a culture of winning from top to bottom. For me, it begins with player development. It was pioneered by the Dodgers in Brooklyn. That’s the tradition we’re going to continue.”

Kasten will be working along side of current GM Ned Colletti with player personnel and other moves to restore the Dodgers to greatness.

A very tall and smiling CEO Mark Walter approached the podium and said he grew up not far from the “Field of Dreams” an Iowa based baseball movie starting Kevin Costner, and called this an incredible happy day. Along with that he thanked his parents for teaching him the value of hard work and love.

Announced March 27 the purchase, was the key element in the Dodgers’ emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Frank McCourt was force to file for bankruptcy last June when he couldn’t meet player payroll, after MLB Commissioner Bud Selig declined to approve a $3 billion agreement between FOX Sports and the Dodgers to extend their television rights. One of the best things Selig did to aid in the process of turning the franchise around.

Scully recognized Dodgers greats Steve Garvey, Ron Cey and Tommy Davis, all wearing Dodgers jerseys. Bill Russell, Maury Wills and a collection of stars from the past appeared also.

Jim Hill questioned Magic about how much it meant for his involvement in such a ground breaking franchise like Dodgers, when they brought in Jackie Robinson, and now to break that cycle in ownership. Johnson fixed his Dodger hat, fighting to hold back tears responded “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Jackie Robinson and also all the other unbelievable players we have here.” As he continued maintaining his composer “it’s very emotional. I can’t even put into words how it is. … It’s a great time — loving this community, loving the Dodgers, loving baseball — to be part of this. My wife Cookie is here, my son Andre. My staff is here. We’re going to get it done.”

Mark Walter added “As much as this is a big day for us, we’re very, very happy to be here, this is not about us. This is about the Dodgers, one of the most honored and storied franchises in history. We are passionate about making this organization the best that it can be from every respect, from winning, from its relationship with the community, from all the philanthropic and other things that it can be a platform to help with.

And as always there were a few dumb questions by a couple of reporters, and a very stern Magic Johnson spoke after the questions had already been answered by Kasten and Walter in regards to the involvement of McCourt. “We own it 100 percent, he won’t get a dime for the parking. Now we don’t need to even mention Frank McCourt, we’re here, we should be clapping about that!”

Walter continued to stress that McCourt can profit only from future development, “We don’t have any current plans for development. Nothing can be developed unless we think it’s good for us.”

Following that, a message from Dodger superstars Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp played on the jumbotron expressed how elated they were about the new ownership taking over the Dodgers. Kemp, also reminded Magic he could take him one-on-one in a scoreboard video message, received a response from the great point guard.

“Matt Kemp challenged me, Matt we’ve got to win the World Series first. Ad after that then you’ll get the chance to play me.”

Vin Scully concluded the press conference by saying that this would be the last ownership exchange that would have his involvement.

On that note this was a great day for baseball, Dodger fans, and sports enthusiast alike as we witnessed history, and I trust we will experience more history and ground breaking moves withing the coming days, weeks and years.

*The Guggenheim Baseball Management is the third owner of the team since 1998.

Dodger Stadium

 

Matt Kemp Readying For 50/50 Season (courtesy of MLB)

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