Archives for: 2011

06/08/11

Baseball Power Rankings Movers & Shakers

Permalink 12:13:59 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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-Digger's Daily-

Much attention remains focused on Cleveland, New York, Boston and Tampa Bay. Guess which team now has baseball's best record? St. Louis Cardinals. Albert Pujols appears to have shaken off an early season slump. Lance Berkman keeps crushing baseballs. Cards bullpen now getting the job done. Is St. Louis baseball's best? Probably not. However, they're playing great ball at the moment.

All Star Game is one month away. Fans stuffing ballot boxes hoping their favorite players garner enough votes to play in Arizona's mid-summer classic. A few ASG regulars still trying to shake off big time struggles. Hit machine Ichiro Suzuki season long slump continues (.260). Yanks Jorge Posada's (.195) batting average is slowly improving but I fear his days as a starting DH are soon to end. Derek Jeter's closing in on 3,000 career hits. Believe it or not New York has never had any player collect 3,000 hits!

Who is #1 in this week's installment of All World All Sports Power Rankings? Time to find out....
Top 10
1 - Philadelphia Phillies
2 - Boston Red Sox
3 - Cleveland Indians
4 - New York Yankees
5 - St. Louis Cardinals
6 - Detroit Tigers
7 - Milwaukee Brewers
8 - San Francisco Giants
9 - Texas Rangers
10 - Atlanta Braves

Bottom 5
30- Houston Astros
29- Chicago Cubs
28- Minnesota Twins
27- Kansas City Royals
26- Oakland A's

04/03/11

Power Rankings Movers & Shakers: NBA & NHL

Permalink 11:00:00 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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-Digger's Daily-

NBA
1 - San Antonio
2 - Lakers
3 - Chicago
4 - Miami
5 - Boston
6 - Dallas
7 - Oklahoma City
8 - Orlando
9 - Denver
10- Atlanta

NHL
1 - Vancouver
2 - Washington
3 - Detroit
4 - Philadelphia
5 - Pittsburgh
6 - San Jose
7 - Boston
8 - Tampa Bay
9 - Los Angeles
10- Phoenix

(www.allworldallsports.com)

03/30/11

2011 Major League Baseball Predictions

Permalink 03:00:59 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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-Digger's Daily-

It's time. Major League Baseball's 2011 regular season is ready to begin. Buckle up for another thrilling season. 2010 was dubbed "Year of the Pitcher" after hurlers tossed gems including a bunch of no-hitters. What's in store for this season? Our "Spring Training Spotlight" will continue. Right now, it's time to predict how the 2011 season shakes out.

American League
East
New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox*

Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles

Central
Minnesota Twins
Chicago White Sox
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Cleveland Indians

West
Oakland A's
Los Angeles Angels
Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners

National League
East
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves*
Florida Marlins
New York Mets
Washington Nationals

Central
St. Louis Cardinals
Chicago Cubs
Milwaukee Brewers
Cincinnati Reds
Pittsburgh Pirates
Houston Astros

West
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

AL MVP: Carl Crawford (Bos)
AL Cy Young; Gio Gonzales (Oak)
NL MVP: Albert Pujols (StL)
NL Cy Young: Tim Hudson (Atl)
World Series: Dodgers over A's

(www.allworldallsports.com)

02/16/11

2011 Spring Training Spotlight: Baltimore Orioles

Permalink 04:17:54 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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-Digger's Daily-

The year was 1997. Davey Johnson skippered Baltimore to an American League best 98 wins. Orioles seemed destined for long term greatness. Mike Mussina, Jimmy Key and Scott Erickson anchored their starting rotation. Rafael Palmeiro, Cal Ripken Jr, Roberto Alomar, BJ Surhoff, Chris Hoiles and Brady Anderson were the main offensive cogs. Who would have believed it was to be Baltimore's last winning season?

Ownership changes, managerial failures, poor free agent selections, dwindling revenues and division rivals getting stronger all factored into creating the longest losing era in franchise history. Can the 2011 Baltimore Orioles return this once proud organization into winners?

Orioles 2011 roster is very promising. There's reason for optimism heading into spring training. Orioles begin the year with a serious manager, Buck Showalter. Buck's late season arrival woke up a team left for dead. Players auditioning for future considerations rejuvenated this once lifeless club to a 34-23 record to close out '10. Baltimore is ripe to make a move in 2011. At the very least, they'll be challenging opponents for 162 games. How many they win remains to be seen.

What's new for 2011? Big defense and bigger bats. Baltimore's defense has been monumentally transformed. No longer will simple ground balls roam unopposed for base hits. A sputtering offense has been retooled to keep pace with slugging AL East teams. Welcome new additions Derek Lee (1B), Matt Reynolds (3B) & JJ Hardy (SS) join veteran and fan favorite Brian Roberts (2B). All have Gold Glove potential. Pitcher's ERA's will drop significantly. O's offense received another boost recently by signing slugging free agent swinger Vladmir Guerrero to take over DH duties. Behind the plate is a very capable Matt Weiters who stands to benefit by the new veteran chemistry. Nick Markakis has been a doubles machine. '11 could see a big surge in his RBI totals. Baltimore's offense is ready to fly. Defense set to cut down opposing batters.

Pitching staff has been a concern for too many recent years. Team defense will turn past weak hits and errors into outs. Offense will finally generate run support. Now it's up to the staff not handing out free passes. There's no doubt in my mind Showalter will insist O's arms throw pre-season strikes. He's a no nonsense style of manager eagerly attempting to transform Baltimore into winners. Recent history has proven anything can happen. Starting rotation is an up for grabs free for all spring competition. Jeremy Guthrie and Brian Matusz head into camp 1-2.

Baltimore's disabled list has been a revolving door. A few question marks regarding Lee, Hardy & Roberts ability to remain healthy. If these guys can average 150 games each then returning to winning ways is not a crazy thought or pipe dream. Boston, New York, Tampa Bay & Toronto all have issues of their own. Orioles offense can keep pace. Defense is 2nd only to New York. Attention Baltimore Orioles players... the time is ripe to make a move. Colorado, San Diego, Minnesota, Cincinnati and Tampa Bay all overcame skepticism to shock the baseball world. Will Baltimore be next...? Their first winning season since 1997 probable. 90 wins possible if cosmic tumblers fall into place.

Baltimore Orioles baseball will be fun to watch in 2011.

(www.allworldallsports.com)

02/14/11

Power Rankings Movers & Shakers

Permalink 07:01:47 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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-Digger's Daily-

Happy Valentine's Day! Power rankings may not be happy for all as teams keep moving in, out, up and down lists. Let's get right to it...

MLB (pre-season)
1 - Philadelphia Phillies
2 - Boston Red Sox
3 - Oakland A's
4 - Tampa Bay Rays
5 - San Francisco Giants
6 - Minnesota Twins
7 - Chicago White Sox
8 - New York Yankees
9 - Los Angeles Angels
10- Atlanta Braves

NFL
1 - Green Bay Packers
2 - Pittsburgh Steelers
3 - New York Jets
4 - Baltimore Ravens
5 - New England Patriots
6 - Chicago Bears
7 - New Orleans Saints
8 - Philadelphia Eagles
9 - New York Giants
10- Kansas City Chiefs

NBA
1 - San Antonio Spurs
2 - Boston Celtics
3 - Dallas Mavericks
4 - Miami Heat
5 - Los Angeles Lakers
6 - Chicago Bulls
7 - Orlando Magic
8 - Oklahoma City Thunder
9 - Atlanta Hawks
10- New Orleans Hornets

NHL
1 - Vancouver Canucks
2 - Philadelphia Flyers
3 - Detroit Red Wings
4 - Pittsburgh Penguins
5 - Boston Bruins
6 - Dallas Stars
7 - Tampa Bay Lightning
8 - Washington Capitals
9 - Anaheim Ducks
10- Phoenix Coyotes

NCAA Men's Basketball
1 - Kansas
2 - Ohio State
3 - Texas
4 - Pittsburgh
5 - Duke
6 - San Diego State
7 - Brigham Young
8 - Notre Dame
9 - Georgetown
10- Purdue

NCAA Women's Basketball
1 - Connecticut
2 - Duke
3 - Tennessee
4 - Baylor
5 - Texas A&M
6 - Stanford
7 - UCLA
8 - Xavier
9 - Notre Dame
10- Michigan State

(www.allworldallsports.com)

02/09/11

Mets Ownership in Trouble? Seeking New Partners?

Permalink 07:30:01 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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-Digger's Daily-

New York Mets principle owners have been targeted by the trustee representing victims of the Madoff ponzi scandal. Mets owner Fred Wilpon adamantly denies allegations of any wrong doing (partner Saul Katz also named). Nonetheless, partial ownership of the Mets is open to the highest bidder.

Mets miseries know no bounds. Late season collapses plagued Mets teams in early part of this decade. General Manager roster decisions backfired. CitiField was an immediate bust in eyes of long time Mets fans. And now, financial ruin could be forming quickly on the horizon. Mets brass tightened their belts for the 2011 season. New York is taking a new approach after squandering tens of millions on players who failed to produce. It's a direction that's keeping fans wincing. Now, we're subjected to rumors, innuendos, denials and a very public search for new limited partners.

Accounts and details of trustee's allegations have been played out to extremes in New York media circles. Quoting from New York Times, January 28, 2011 (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/29/sports/baseball/29mets.html?_r=1)....
"The trustee’s lawsuit against the Mets takes aim at roughly 100 financial entities owned or controlled in part by the Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, and could imperil the assets held by the two men, an array of holdings that includes the baseball team, the regional cable sports network that televises its games, as well as commercial real estate holdings and investment funds.
The lawsuit seeks to recover not only $300 million in what the trustee, Irving H. Picard, calls “fictitious profits” — the difference between what the Wilpon and Katz entities put into Madoff’s investment firm and what they took out over their many years of investing — but also additional millions, according to the two lawyers, who would not be identified because of the secrecy surrounding the case."

Should the Wilpon's and his various businesses be worried? You betcha. Irving Picard, trustee for the Madoff victim's, has successfully won nearly $10 billion in settlements from other Madoff investors. Wilpon, Katz and their various financial entities should have been aware of what Madoff was up to. They were close personal friends for many years with various business relationships too. One doesn't need be a lawyer, accountant, judge or jury to realize something stinks here.

Did any employees of Sterling Equities recognize reason for concern? Especially after similar experience with an investment in Bayou Hedge Fund Group (another ponzi). Did the Madoff's, Katz or Sterling Equity partners cash out of the Madoff ponzi with knowledge of imminent demise? There's much left to be answered. Picard seem intent on proving all parties involved knew and cashed in to recoup or profit from the scheme. When the Madoff scandal first went public, Mets brass was quick to defend the team as solvent and unaffected. Soon thereafter, Mets claimed to have lost a ton but remain in good standing.

Mets management has to be smarting from weakening attendance figures in new CitiField. Poor play on the field doesn't help either. The Mets also quietly refinanced $450 million debt on SNY (regional sports network). This deal paid out over $240 million in "dividends" to various owners with Wilpon's being largest recipient. Good to know banks are making loans when 1/2 is to be paid out to ownership interests. What's wrong with this picture? The borrowers refinance to avoid being squeezed. Bank agrees and then watches large portion of new loan go directly into partner's pockets instead of the corporation refinanced loans were intended?

So what does all this mean for Mets fans. Wilpon's will be holding onto every dime for various reasons from personal to legal. Attendance will continue dropping as team struggles to remain out of NL East cellar. No top tier free agents will be signed. Mets pitching staff is in desperate trouble of paper. Farm season has been depleted. Ownership has been getting blasted daily in the new year. It won't let up if the Mets begin slowly in April. Wilpon's have no desire to sell majority ownership of the Mets. The Wilpon family has made clear their intention to keep the team as kind of a family legacy passed on from generation to generation. That's quite a respectable desire. However, changing times and potential pitfalls may just doom these plans. Who's willing to become a minority partner with men accused of financial trickery saddled with growing debt, uncertainty and weakening brand?

New York Mets franchise has been tagged in the neighborhood of $858 million by Forbes Magazine ranking them as one of sports most valued commodities. Various names have been thrown around as possible investors. Nothing finalized. Rumors floating claiming 25% of the team is up for grabs. Declining US dollar values, a team entrenched on decline, poor attendance, massive inflation awaiting and vicious political and financial instability creates a very bleak picture for anyone seriously considering a run at becoming a sports owner. Throw in a nasty billion dollar lawsuit against majority owners complicates everything.

Economic and present day realities should be carefully examined by current Mets ownership. A wise decision would be to sell majority ownership in the best interests of New York Mets baseball and their loyal fans. Current owners are exacerbating a situation doomed to get worse by the day.

There's one card left to play....... the players.

Team captain David Wright created a buzz by demanding "Put up or Shut up!" It's time to play. Borrowing a partial quotation from one of my favorite sports sayings of all time (Field of Dreams)... "The one constant through all the years... has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past... It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again."

All can be good once again. Just win. Baseball history has proven time and time the game will always go on. It's also shown us money doesn't guarantee victories. Playing the game does. The best team isn't always the one winning. Teams that win consistently play with heart. Winners never quit, give up or become intimidated. They hustle 100% every single play no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time. They play hard, with pride, poise and determination. They don't swing for the fences when a single will do. It's all about heart and committing to stick within the fundamentals of baseball placing team success well above personal glory. Role models: 2003 Florida Marlins, Minnesota Twins, 2007 Colorado Rockies, 2010 San Francisco Giants, 2010 Texas Rangers and reflecting back within team history... 1969 New York Mets.

(www.allworldallsports.com)

02/06/11

Super Bowl Sunday: Green Bay Packers vs Pittsburgh Steelers

Permalink 04:27:42 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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-Digger's Daily-

Super Bowl Sunday...

Super Bowl XLV: Green Bay Packers vs Pittsburgh Steelers

Are you ready? Super Bowl Sunday has arrived. Green Bay vs Pittsburgh is a tremendous match-up. Two of the most successful NFL franchises in a winner take all battle. Pittsburgh is the all time NFL leader with 6 Super Bowl titles. There's a reason why champions are handed the Vince Lombardi Trophy. He was Green Bay's legendary head coach who guided the Packers to the first two Super Bowl titles in NFL history. 2010's two best teams about to lay it all on the line in the final game of the year. (Quite possibly the last NFL game in a long time to come unless owners and players can hammer out a new agreement before next season).

The nation seems evenly split on who will win. Almost all predicting a very close contest. Many of us hoping for another dramatic finish. Time to examine key elements of today's game...

Pittsburgh's starting center has been shelved. Maukice Pouncey is out with a high ankle sprain. Anchoring Pittsburgh's offensive line and making is first ever NFL start is rookie Doug Legursky. Everyone has to be ready for Green Bay's defense to pound the daylights out of Legursky. He will see plenty of blitz packages and defensive pressure. His impact will be highlighted all game long. Question remains... how will he perform? It's anyone's guess. If I was calling the plays, very first one would be a run right up the middle behind Legursky. Get him involved right away, shake out his butterflies.

Quarterback's calmness under pressure. Green Bay and Pittsburgh love to blitz. Steelers blitz packages brings players from all angles all game long. Green Bay provides more of a power rush. Both teams put serious pops on opposing QB's. Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers styles are very different. Big Ben leads a ball control offense. An expert at crisp short passes, cool head facing blitzes, thrives on big game pressure and 2-time Super Bowl Champ. Rodgers is a bit more of a gunslinger. He'll have to be razor sharp as Packers running game faces their stiffest challenge vs Steelers league best run defense (62.8 yards/game).

Running game dramatically favors Pittsburgh. Or does it? At least it did leading into this game. Center Legursky is the game's variable. The great unknown. If he's successful pancaking Packer defenders allowing Pittsburgh's ground game to chew up the clock (and protecting Roethlisberger) then dreams of title number seven come closer to reality. Another unknown... playoff leading rusher... Green Bay's James Starks. Packers ground game doesn't put fear into defensive coordinators. However, Starks has banged out several key playoff runs. Pack's back's are key contributors in passing attack and must be accounted for out of the backfield.

Game within a game. One of my favorite things to watch during most games is trench battles. Offensive and defensive lines are vital keys to success. One tenth of a second or an inch can make the all the difference in the world. Packers pass rushers racked up 47 sacks. However, porous offensive line surrendered 38. Steelers QB's taken down 43 times while defense recorded 48. Make no mistake, winning the line battles is key number one. Whoever controls the line, barring turnovers, will win. Packers pass rush might be licking their chops heading into the game. Big Ben was sacked 32 times in 12 games. Obviously, Steelers compensated but this is the Super Bowl and playing without their starting center provides a big challenge. Not many second chances will be given, if any. Rodgers will be scrambling around too. How well Green Bay's offensive line give Rodgers time to find passing lanes without being forced into errant throws looms large.

Much talking leading up to today has focused on defense. No defensive line stingier than Steelers. 62.8 rush yards/game was head and shoulders NFL best. 4429 total yards allowed ranked as NFL's 2nd best. Packers D unit finished up NFC 2nd best (4945 yards). That said, don't be surprised if Super Bowl XLV turns into a shootout. I'd venture to say both defenses will blitz no less than 75% setting up key one on one situations and golden opportunities begging for screen plays. Offenses might have a field day exposing blitz vulnerabilities. An oddity but distinct possibility.

Wide Receivers vs Cornerbacks. Most over looked in Super talk has been Steelers wide receivers. They combined to create 62 plays of 20 or more yards in 2010. Wallace led all teammates with 1257 yards (21/catch) and 10 td's. Roethlisberger favors nobody by effectively spreading the ball around to slow down opposing defenders. Charles Woodson is Packers shut down cover man. Pack ball hawking secondary has devastated playoff opponents snagging pick after pick. Greg Jennings and James Jones can expect big hits if they dare going over the middle against Pittsburgh. Rodgers does a fine job spreading the ball around as 5 different players hauled in 40 or more receptions. Key for Pack attack will be WR's ability to recognize blitzes and break off routes quickly enough for Rodgers to keep drives alive.

Coaches. Coaching to win or coaching not to lose? Far too often I've felt too many coaches shied away from what made them playoff contenders. Buffalo seemed clueless vs Dallas teams. San Diego unnerved vs 49ers. Eagles poor clock management in closing minutes. Defining success for Pittsburgh resides with setting up and converting on short yardage first down situations. They're masters at this style of play and I suspect they'll stick with what works and challenge Green Bay's defenders to stop them. On the other hand, I think Green Bay's offense is more worried with combating Steelers defenders. If the running game is shut down early then Packers will become one dimensional. Pack must force the issue if confident Starks won't turn it over. No way Packers wins this game if forced into 3rd and long time after time.

Tangibles. 1) Current Pittsburgh roster is familiar with Super Bowl bonanza and big game pressure. Green Bay has been riding a big wave without too many big time games under their belt. Will it make a difference? 2) Turnovers. Whichever team does the best job with protecting the football should win the game. We might witness 5 or more turnovers coming from heaving hitting ball hawking D's. Possibly more if Legursky/Roethlisberger snaps are muffed. 3) Special Teams. Kicking indoors benefits both place kickers. Indoor games also provide returners with sure footing. Super Bowls have produced plenty of touchdown returns. Will we see another today? Yes! 4) 3rd and short. 3rd and long doesn't bode well for either offense vs either defense. Effective drives need rely on short conversion attempts. 5) Ball control. Can either offense dominate time of possession? If Mendenhall's pounding offensive line can get the job done then Steelers will own the clock.

Key's to success. All of the above. Pittsburgh strikes me as the best disciplined NFL team. They stick to game plans. Compensate/adjust well in all game situations. Able to keep cool in pressure cookers. Multi-dimensional offense is effective and often overlooked. Green Bay must find a way to run effectively. Blocking schemes must be executed to perfection. Rodgers ability for quick strikes against single coverage, or lack thereof, determines Packers fate.

Unspoken fact: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones $2 Billion stadium will host two of the cities most hated playoff rivals... Pittsburgh and Green Bay. Jones built this stadium dreaming of his Cowboys playing at home for all the marbles today. Dreams turned into dark nightmare as Dallas stumbled to a pitiful 1-7 beginning. Now he's playing host to Pittsburgh and Green Bay. Fighting wicked winter weather conditions to boot. That's gotta hurt.

Prediction: It all rests on the shoulders and blocking ability of first time starting center Legursky. Clean crisp center to QB exchanges and effectively playing unnoticed will earn Pittsburgh their seventh Super Bowl ring. I'm betting on Pittsburgh to stick to their guns. Pounding time consuming running attack and effective passing from a calm and cool Roethlisberger. Green Bay will bring their A game, they're ready. Super Bowl XLV will be decided late in the fourth quarter. Steelers 30 Packers 24.

(www.allworldallsports.com)

02/03/11

In Case You Missed It....

Permalink 05:24:27 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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-Digger's Daily-

The biggest news of the week was supposed to be Pittsburgh and Green Bay prepping for Super Bowl XLV. Instead, headline grabbers surround treacherous weather across the USA and Egyptian unrest. It's high time Digger's Daily expanded into the world of politics. For now, let's dive into sports top stories of the week.

In Case You Missed It...

Only a few days remain before the NFL has a new champion. Talk about a great match-up (at least on paper). Green Bay's high powered offense against Pittsburgh's heralded tenacious defense. Protecting the pigskin is essential for victory. Stay tuned for in depth analysis and predictions before game day.

Speaking of game day, Texas weather has severely crimped Super Bowl style. A recent ice storm wrecked havoc on Texans. Rolling blackouts forced Texas to borrow power from Mexico. That's right. Texas power grid was overwhelmed resulting in state officials seeking emergency backup systems. When will USA residents stop falling for wasteful green energy baloney? Stop relying on foreign sponsors of terror for our energy supplies? And put our country back to work by developing and harvesting our natural energy resources? The bad southern weather has canceled many planned events or kept visitors from safely attending.

Lou Piniella is back in baseball. He's recently signed on as a special assistant for the San Francisco Giants. So much for a long lasting retirement. Nobody should assume Lou is triangulating on assuming Giants managing duties. However, Piniella's role is far from clear.

It's official... Andy Pettitte has officially retired from baseball. New Yorkers will certainly miss one of their most famous and successful left handers in team history. Pettitte's retirement complicates an already complicated starting pitching scenario in the Bronx. Yanks lost out on top free agent pitching talent. Yanks hoped Pettitte would return even if it was only for one more season. Pettitte's arm is sound. Looks like his head wasn't into it anymore. Andy Pettitte, a true Yankee hero and solid citizen, to wear spikes no more. Enjoy your retirement Andy. He leaves with a 240-138 career record. New York thanks you!

New York Mets management routinely dismissed rumors of any involvement in the Madoff scandal from losing hundreds of millions to being insiders in the well celebrated ponzi scam. As I mentioned many times... hogwash. Now the Mets are looking to sell a minority stake in the team to the highest bidder. Mets baseball is in trouble. Lengthy big time contracts, poor attendance, poor minor league talent, a puzzled public wonders why management chose Collins as new manager, divisions weakest starting rotation and lack of winter free agent acquisitions has fans put off in a big way.

Time for the New York Knicks to pony up $200,000.00 for illegal draft workouts. The league has been investigating the Knicks since a Yahoo! Sports report in October that team scout Rodney Heard, in a three-year span, conducted workouts of draft prospects in violation of league's rules. Knicks have no official comment and are said to have paid the fine. No surprise. A host of major league sports teams have been circumventing rules for years. It's about time they're held responsible.

30 seconds of Super Bowl air time at a cost of $3,000,000. Get set for a Super Bowl ad blitz and new venue. Viewers will be encouraged get online and interact with various commercials. Advertisers are looking for effective ways to get the public involved beyond watching a $3M 30-second ad. Super Bowl ads are often innovative and quite memorable. I can't wait to see which ad's quickly become water cooler fodder.

Stay tuned ... Super Bowl XLV preview coming soon...

(www.allworldallsports.com)

01/31/11

Power Rankings Movers & Shakers

Permalink 05:54:18 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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-Digger's Daily-

MLB
Big league teams are soon to open spring training camps. Get ready for another thrilling season. Teams fine tuning, trade rumoring and negotiating with remaining free agents.

1 - Philadelphia Phillies
2 - Boston Red Sox
3 - Oakland A's
4 - Tampa Bay Rays
5 - San Francisco Giants
6 - Minnesota Twins
7 - Chicago White Sox
8 - New York Yankees
9 - Los Angeles Angels
10- Atlanta Braves

NFL
Super Bowl XLV. Pittsburgh Steelers vs Green Bay Packers. Green Bay 2.5 point favorites. In a few days NFL will crown a new champion. A terrific contest on paper. We'll soon witness how it all unfolds on the playing field.

1 - Pittsburgh Steelers
2 - Green Bay Packers
3 - New York Jets
4 - Baltimore Ravens
5 - New England Patriots
6 - Chicago Bears
7 - New Orleans Saints
8 - Philadelphia Eagles
9 - Kansas City Chiefs
10- New York Giants

NBA
Pro hoops is steaming right along. One can already tell this seasons' playoff series will be hotly contested contests.

1 - San Antonio Spurs
2 - Boston Celtics
3 - Dallas Mavericks
4 - Chicago Bulls
5 - Miami Heat
6 - Los Angeles Lakers
7 - Orlando Magic
8 - New Orleans Hornets
9 - Atlanta Hawks
10-Oklahoma City Thunder

NHL
Back to action after All Star weekend. NHL All Star format was anything but enjoyable. At least it's over. Now it's time to regain focus on the season's second half.

1 - Philadelphia Flyers
2 - Vancouver Canucks
3 - Detroit Red Wings
4 - Pittsburgh Penguins
5 - Tampa Bay Lightning
6 - Boston Bruins
7 - Dallas Stars
8 - Washington Capitals
9 - New York Rangers
10- Montreal Canadiens

NCAA Men's Basketball
One major university remains undefeated. Ohio State (22-0) keeps rolling. All others keep jockeying up and down the rankings ladder.

1 - Ohio State
2 - Kansas
3 - Pittsburgh
4 - Texas
5 - Duke
6 - San Diego State
7 - Bringham Young
8 - Connecticut
9 - Notre Dame
10- Kentucky

NCAA Women's Basketball

1 - Duke
2 - Connecticut
3 - Tennessee
4 - Baylor
5 - Texas A&M
6 - Stanford
7 - UCLA
8 - Xavier
9 - Notre Dame
10- DePaul

(www.allworldallsports.com)

01/25/11

2011 Pre-Season MLB Predictions

Permalink 03:57:03 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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-Digger's Daily-

Spring Training begins in less than one month. Baseball general managers are busy fine tuning their teams via trades, gobbling up remaining free agents and soon to be held arbitration hearings. It's time to take a quick peak at how the standing will look after 162 games. Note, many roster moves will take place before opening day rosters become final. The following predictions will be revamped upon team breaking camp for regular season action including in depth analysis for all squads.

2011 Pre-Season Predictions

American League
East
Boston Red Sox
Tampa Bay Rays
New York Yankees
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles

Central
Chicago White Sox
*Minnesota Twins
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Cleveland Indians

West
Oakland A's
Los Angeles Angels
Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners

National League
East
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves
Florida Marlins
Washington Nationals
New York Mets

Central
St. Louis Cardinals
Cincinnati Reds
Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago Cubs
Houston Astros
Pittsburgh Pirates

West
San Francisco Giants
*Colorado Rockies
San Diego Padres
Los Angeles Dodgers
Arizona Diamondbacks

Stay tuned for team by team coverage when spring training ends...

(www.allworldallsports.com)

01/23/11

All World All Sports 2010 NFL Awards

Permalink 11:19:35 am, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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-Digger's Daily-

The regular season is done and results are in. All World All Sports NFL Awards. NFL 2010 was a wild ride filled with early season upsets, unlikely winners & losers, turmoil and plenty of fines. Here's our list of the best of the best from 2010 regular season action.

Team of the Year: (tie) Atlanta Falcons (13-3), New England Patriots (14-2).
Coach of the Year: Mike Smith (Atlanta Falcons)
Offensive Player of the Year: Tom Brady (New England)
Defensive Player of the Year: Clay Matthews (Green Bay)
Special Teams Player of the Year: (tie) Leon Washington (Seattle Seahawks), Devin Hester (Chicago Bears).
Comeback Player of the Year: Michael Vick )Philadelphia Eagles).
Rookie of the Year: Ndamukong Suh (Detroit Lions).
Most Improved Team: (tie) Kansas City Chiefs (10-6), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-6).
Most Disappointing Team: Dallas Cowboys (6-10).

(www.allworldallsports.com)

01/22/11

Power Rankings Movers & Shakers

Permalink 01:15:27 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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-Digger's Daily-

It's time for our first power rankings of 2011. There's been quite a rankings shake-up since our year end post. Baseball general managers heating up headlines with trades, free agent signings and salary extensions. Hockey teams streaking from hot to cold. NBA stars battling injuries, Melo trade negotiations and the battle for league supremacy. College basketball is as thrilling as ever. Only a few teams remain undefeated as the collegiate season counts down to March Madness.
Time for rankings....

MLB
Baltimore has been very active prepping for 2011. Vlad Guerrero is rumored to become the birds newest acquisition. They've already brought in the likes of JJ Hardy, Mark Reynolds & Kevin Gregg. More on the way? Angels made a big trade sending Napoli & Rivera to Toronto for Vernon Wells. Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon are AL East teammates once again soon to lace up for Tampa Bay. 2011 promises another action packed season. Pre-season rankings.

1 - Philadelphia Phillies
2 - Boston Red Sox
3 - Oakland A's
4 - Tampa Bay Rays
5 - San Francisco Giants
6 - Minnesota Twins
7 - Chicago White Sox
8 - New York Yankees
9 - Los Angeles Angels
10- Atlanta Braves

NFL
Playoff results shuffling teams a few notches. Jets mastery over Patriots left New England fans bewildered. Seattle pulled off the upset of the year over champion Saints. League Championship Games on deck. It's beginning to feel like a Green Bay vs Pittsburgh Super Bowl.
1 - Pittsburgh Steelers
2 - New York Jets
3 - Baltimore Ravens
4 - New England Patriots
5 - Green Bay Packers
6 - Chicago Bears
7 - New Orleans Saints
8 - Philadelphia Eagles
9 - Kansas City Chiefs
10- New York Giants

NBA
Headlines shifting from Miami's big trio to Knicks early season success to Melo trade fiasco to league wide injuries. Playoff action will be intense. Right now, it's all about teams returning to full strength and taking care of business.
1 - San Antonio Spurs
2 - Boston Celtics
3 - Los Angeles Lakers
4 - Miami Heat
5 - Orlando Magic
6 - Chicago Bulls
7 - Dallas Mavericks
8 - Oklahoma City Thunder
9 - Utah Jazz
10- Atlanta Hawks

NHL
One week to go before NHL All Star experiment (not a fan of new format). Only 5 NHL teams with sub .500 records translates into one heck of a late season playoff battle. How many would have predicted New Jersey was one of the 5 losing teams?
1 - Philadelphia Flyers
2 - Detroit Red Wings
3 - Vancouver Canucks
4 - Pittsburgh Penguins
5 - Washington Capitals
6 - Boston Bruins
7 - Dallas Stars
8 - Nashville Predators
9 - New York Rangers
10- Montreal Canadiens

NCAA Men's
Ohio State, one of four remaining undefeated teams, is ranked #1 in all major polls. Do they have the right stuff to all the way? No clear cut "best" team in the nation right now. OSU, Syracuse, Duke, Kansas and Pittsburgh all itching for #1 slot. Time will tell.
1 - Ohio State
2 - Syracuse
3 - Kansas
4 - Duke
5 - Pittsburgh
6 - San Diego State
7 - Villanova
8 - Connecticut
9 - Brigham Young
10- Texas

NCAA Women's
Duke holding strong. Connecticut suffered first loss. Tourney time will be here before you know it. Big games soon to determine how final rankings shake out.
1 - Duke
2 - Connecticut
3 - Tennessee
4 - Texas A&M
5 - Stamford
6 - West Virginia
7 - Baylor
8 - UCLA
9 - Xavier
10- DePaul

NASCAR
Get ready for a new NASCAR points system. Nothing finalized yet. Both drivers and officials seriously considering transforming current format.
1 - Jimmie Johnson
2 - Denny Hamlin
3 - Ken Harvick
4 - Carl Edwards
5 - Kyle Busch
6 - Tony Stewart
7 - Kurt Busch
8 - Jamie McMurray
9 - Jeff Gordon
10- Clint Bowyer

(www.allworldallsports.com)

01/20/11

NFL Conference Championship Weekend Predictions

Permalink 09:57:30 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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-Digger's Daily-

Is it possible Super Bowl XLV will feature two number six seeds playing for all the marbles? It very well may shift from possibility to reality if the New York Jets and Green Bay Packers win on Sunday. Strange but true. AFC & NFC Championship Games will be hard fought tooth and nail games. Time to break down the games.

NFC
Green Bay Packers (6) @ Chicago Bears (2)
(3 pm)
Chicago Bears defensive back Charles Tillman claims Green Bay has the best receiving crew in football. The Bears main focus is taking away Packers QB Rodgers targets and shut down their powerful passing attack. Will they do it? The home team won both times during regular season action. Chicago taking the first game 20-17. Packers won their season finale in Chicago 10-3 to secure NFC sixth seed.

What will it take to win on Sunday? Controlling the line of scrimmage. Packers must protect Rodgers and give him enough time to find passing lanes. Rodgers needs to remain cool in the pocket and play callers refrain from looking for 50 yard bombs all game long. Crisp over the middle crossing routes could provide tremendous gains vs an aggressive pass rush. No one really fears Packers rushing attack setting up a perfect opportunity for solid misdirection gains. Packers defensive front four and linebackers must shut down Chicago's running attack. Another defensive key for Green Bay is to limit Bears QB Cutler's ability to dance out of the pocket. Cutler is dangerous on the move.

In order for Chicago to be the NFC Champ they'll need a very strong ball controlled performance to chew up the game clock and keep Green Bay's celebrated offense on the sidelines. Ball control will also set up great field position for da Bears offense, defense and special teams. Cutler must be efficient by not taking drive killing sacks or forcing passes against a ball hawking Packers defense. On defense, Bears fans never know which unit will show up bringing us right back to ball control & field position issues. Do whatever it takes to chew up the clock and keep defense rested. A shootout is not in Chicago's best interest.

Prediction: All indicators tell me to say Green Bay. My gut says otherwise. Chicago Bears 26 Green Bay Packers 24 in a thriller!

AFC
New York Jets (6) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (2)
(6:30 pm)
In the second #6 vs #2 seed game....
Get ready for a hard hitting bone jarring game. These two defenses come ready to play hard. No mercy. Jets and Steelers defenders are some of the best football has to offer. Both coaches do an excellent job game planning and prepping players for game day. Jets every changing and diligently disguised blitz packages will try to keep blockers and QB Roethlisberger out of sync all game long. Steelers defenders will put a hurting on whoever touches the ball. Success for both clubs lies squarely on offensive lines. Can they effectively hold up blitzers and talented linemen from disrupting QB timing and clogging running lanes?

Jets offense rests on offensive line opening gaps for New York's two back attack. Staying away from often called play action passes will give Sanchez a few extra seconds to find receivers. Steelers will bust apart play action calls. Pittsburgh's defense represents Jets greatest challenge in the season's most important game. New York did pound out a hard fought 22-17 win earlier in Steelers country. It will take fighting for every inch on every play to be successful a second time. Special teams for either side could be the big unspoken difference maker in this contest.

QB Roethlisberger is no stranger to big game competition. I'm expecting him to be on his game Sunday night. Steelers front line and blocking backs should offer Big Ben time in the pocket. Steelers key is finding a way to get wide receivers open. Jets CB Revis rarely falters. If Big Ben beats blitz packages then this game may not be as close as everyone suspects. Many prognosticators expressing how running game is key for the passing game. Not Sunday. Pittsburgh will come out throwing going right after the heart of New York's defense (as good champions always do). Once the Jets fall back, then Pittsburgh's running game will take over right up the middle. On defense, hard hits are nothing new to these players or their wallets. No Jets player will escape heavy hits.

Prediction: Jets are pumped up for this one but will hit a Steel Curtain. Pittsburgh prevails 27-13.

(www.allworldallsports.com)

01/18/11

Hey Patriots.. Win Like Champs.. Lose Like Champs

Permalink 10:51:56 am, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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-Digger's Daily-

Congratulations New York Jets! One of football's most heated rivalries was on display in Sunday's AFC Division Playoffs. New York prevailed 28-21 and now advances to play Pittsburgh for the AFC Championship.

There was plenty of trash talking between Jets (11-5) and Patriots (14-2) players leading up to the big showdown in Foxboro. Things were getting so heated in the papers NFL commissioners office felt compelled to urge both sides turn down the rhetoric. The two had split their season series with New York 28-14 in week 2 and New England sealing the AFC East after a 45-3 demolition job on Monday Night Football in week 12.

Animosity between these rival clubs has been well publicized for years. Bill Belichick's post game antics, trash talking players, SpyGate (Patriots illegally filming Jets), finger pointing, cheap hits and on field taunts have become the norm when Patriots & Jets go head to head. When the Patriots win they imitate Jets soaring celebrations, finger point at players and coaches after scores followed by post-game insults. Patriots celebrations have bordered on nonsensical for years. Make no mistake, Patriots have been a dynasty type franchise since Belichick's second season, winning their first Super Bowl in 2001. After finishing 14-2, Pats players set their sights on their 4th Super Championship. The Jets put an end to those dreams on Sunday.

Jets players celebrated victory emphatically. Patriots players were quick to moan and groan of the Jets exuberance. Many Patriots players didn't have the decency to shake hands with their rivals. Instead, they turned an ran off the field as the game clock ticked towards :00. New England, one of football's most successful teams in recent history, looked like spoiled children denied candy. Even post game press interviews recorded Pats players dissing the Jets as classless individuals. The Patriots aren't known for their sportsmanship. A team accustomed to winning needs to learn how to lose gracefully from their owner to coaching staff to players to fans.

The Jets celebrated and gave the Patriots a taste of their own medicine. A classless celebration? Perhaps. But, when New England teams are used to taunting, insulting, mimicking and disrespecting everything New York for nearly a decade then they have no solid ground to stand on after the Jets finally win a big playoff game.

Win like men. Lose like men. Something tells me this rivalry just got turned up a notch.

(www.allworldallsports.com)

01/13/11

In Case You Missed It...

Permalink 07:34:06 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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-Digger's Daily-

NFL: The road to Super Bowl XLV has already been great after one weekend of playoff football action. Defending champion Saints were stunned by a well prepared 7-9 Seattle Seahawks team nobody thought could compete. The Saints Super Bowl challenger from one year ago was also eliminated during Wild Card weekend. The Jets and coach Rex Ryan finally figured out how to beat the Colts on a late field goal, 17-16.

On to the divisional round which promises to be every bit as good. The trash talking New York Jets head to Foxboro to face arch enemy New England Patriots. Jets players have been bad mouthing New England all week. Pretty lame considering New York was completely annihilated by Brady & Co earlier this season 45-3. The game of the week could be Baltimore @ Pittsburgh. All four of these teams has what it takes to win it all which only adds to the drama of action to come.

NFC features Seattle taking on Chicago. Bears fans already believe this game is in the bag. Wake up Chicago, New Orleans fans thought the same thing. In playoff football often times the best teams fall to hotter ones. Will this be the case on Sunday? NFC power match-up features Green Bay @ Atlanta with the winner holding an inside path leading directly to Super Sunday.

Predictions: Steelers 24 Ravens 23, Patriots 36 Jets 14, Bears 21 Seahawks 17, Falcons 28 Packers 24.

MLB: After recent weeks of heavy player movement most teams seem stuck in holding patterns. Yankees still awaiting on Andy Pettitte to make up his mind on retiring or coming back for one last hurrah.

Big names from our just ended decade still waiting on contract offers. Manny Ramirez, Andruw Jones & Johnny Damon keep hoping to receive a decent offer before spring training begins.

Baseball's all time saves leader officially retired this week. Trevor Hoffman enjoyed an illustrious major league career. His bullpen heroics will soon earn him a place in Cooperstown.

Speaking of Cooperstown, congratulations to Bert Blyleven who waited 14 years to be voted in. Joining Blyleven is 2B sensation Roberto Alomar who hails from a baseball rich family.

NHL: It's getting time for All Star Hockey. I'm not a fan of the new format instituted for 2011. It resembles a school yard pickup game. No more East vs West. Predetermined team captains will pick one by one until rosters are deemed complete.... "A coin toss will decide first pick with the team captains, joined by their two alternate captains, alternately drafting the 36 remaining All-Stars through 18 rounds. Each team will consist of three goalies, six defensemen and 12 forwards total. For sake of fairness in the draft, the captain and alternate captains for each team will consist of two forwards and one defenseman. Also, to ensure that the final draft picks are true selections and not simply predetermined due to position requirements, each team’s three goalies must be picked by the end of Round 10 and each team’s six defensemen must be picked by the conclusion of Round 15." Is this the NHL? Really? Can someone please explain the point of this worthless exercise?

Stay tuned... more to follow...

(www.allworldallsports.com)

01/07/11

The Road to Super Bowl XLV

Permalink 06:13:07 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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-Digger's Daily-

Wipe the slate clean. It's time for NFL football playoff style. Four games on this weekends schedule. Three might go down on NFL Films as games to remember. Then there's New Orleans (11-5) playing a potential laugh-er in Seattle (7-9).

Time to break down the games.

New York Jets (11-5) @ Indianapolis Colts (10-6)
Has Jets coach Rex Ryan finally figured out a game plan to beat the Colts? Manning has his number. Only this time, Indy is banged up on both sides of the football. Colts running game is non-existent. Passing game relies 100% on Manning's decision making. Timing with an ever changing receiving corps had its' share of snafu's during regular season action. Jets opportunistic defense feasts on mistakes. If there was ever a golden opportunity for the Jets to take out Manning, this is it.
Jets will try playing ball control chew up the clock style offense. Indy beware of the big play action pass. Jets would be wise to turn Saturday's game into the LaDanian Tomlinson show.

Prediction: Jets 31 Colts 23

New Orleans Saints (11-5) @ Seattle Seahawks (7-9)
Seattle isn't your every day playoff football team. They won the West by default in NFL's worst division. As a reward, they'll face Super Bowl XLIV Champion Saints in Saturday's late game. Saints shouldn't have any problems knocking the stuffing out of Seattle. Only one thing can unhinge New Orleans... turnovers. Over confidence can lead to careless mistakes. Brees is a savvy vet ready for action.
Saints hold the advantage in every phase of this match-up on paper.

Prediction: Saints 44 Seahawks 3

Baltimore Ravens (12-4) @ Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)
Intriguing game in Sunday's opener. Baltimore's defense has been well documented for years. Kansas City is a heavy run oriented team with the two headed attack of Charles and Jones. Does KC have blocking schemes to thwart Ravens aggressive defense? If not, it will be a long afternoon in Missouri.
Ravens offense is efficient. QB Flacco had 25 td's vs 10 int's in a ball control style system. Matt Cassel finished with impressive numbers (27 td, 7 int) but wasn't consistent week to week. Ravens promise to feature plenty of disguised blitz packages.
Ravens defense must win the field position battle or this one might come right down to the wire. Most expecting a Baltimore victory. KC defense shouldn't be taken likely. Their bend but don't break style often stops drives dead in their tracks. Don't be surprised to see an upset, however unlikely.

Prediction: Ravens 24 Chiefs 16

Green Bay Packers (10-6) @ Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)
Wild Card rounds final contest is the game of the week. Packers and Eagles both advanced by stunning the suddenly hapless Giants to earn playoff seeds. Packers passing attack is dynamic. Running game struggles. Eagles blitz from every direction causing havoc for opposing QB's. Aaron Rodgers will have a target on his back all game long. Eagles #1 defensive strategy is disrupt the passing game.
How will Green Bay's defense contain Michael Vick? Only one team scored more than 30 against Packers (New England 31). Pack defenders intercepted 24 passes and jarred 14 footballs loose.
Eagles had deep threat receivers and a QB in Vick who can buy time for them to get open. Vick is the obvious wild card in this game of aggressive defenses. His elusiveness is unparalleled in NFL history. Love him or hate him, Vick is a gamer.
This will game will be decided by big plays. I'm expecting to see at least 3 scoring plays over 50 yards.

Prediction: Eagles 38 Packers 30

(www.allworldallsports.com)

01/06/11

14 & Done, Blyleven Voted into Hall of Fame!

Permalink 04:56:41 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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-Digger's Daily-

Baseball's great debate is over. At least one of them. Bert Blyleven has been voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Blyleven waited 14 years for enough voters to finally realize this guy was a Hall of Famer. Nominee's must receive 75% of votes to be elected. Bert made it as one of 2011's representatives with 79.7% Blyleven pitched 22 big league seasons compiling a 287-250 record, 60 shutouts, 3,701 strikeouts in 692 games. He had the misfortune of pitching for teams rarely advancing to post-season play. Was this one of the reasons Blyleven was denied entry for so long? Say it isn't so. Bly was magnificent in 3 playoff years (5-1, 2.47) and was a member of the 1987 Twins championship club.

Better late than never...

"Fourteen years of praying and waiting and I want to thank the baseball writers for, I think, finally getting it right," said Blyleven. "I've got goosebumps."

Way to go Bert Blyleven! A well deserved Hall of Famer.

(www.allworldallsports.com)

01/04/11

2011: New Year, New Champions

Permalink 01:35:52 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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-Digger's Daily-

Happy New Year! 2011 has arrived. Another new year will soon crown new champions. Time to play prognosticator once again. Here's quick rundown of future 2011 champions.

NFL - Pittsburgh Steelers
NHL - Pittsburgh Penguins
NBA - Dallas Mavericks
MLB - Philadelphia Phillies
NCAA Basketball - Duke (Men's), Connecticut (Women's)
NCAA Football - Ohio State
NASCAR - Jimmie Johnson
PGA Money Leader - Ernie Els
LPGA Money Leader - Cristie Kerr
MLS - New York Red Bulls
ATP - Roger Federer
WTA - Serena Williams

(www.allworldallsports.com)

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