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Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

BASEBALL’S INTER-LEAGUE PLAY

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 2, 2019

BRYCE ON SPORTS

– Enough is enough.

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

In Major League Baseball (MLB), for many years there was just one division within each league, American and National, and winning the pennant flag was a very big deal. Fans were glued to the newspaper or radio to follow the progress of the teams. It was kind of like watching a horse race as each contestant jockeyed for position. However, as the league expanded to the western states, the MLB found they could break each league into multiple divisions and devise a playoff system. At first, each league was broken into two divisions, East and West, but then split into three as we know it today, East-Central-West. As an aside, I always thought it was funny that the Cincinnati Reds were originally placed in the West of the old two-division system, while the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs remained in the East, even though they were much further west than Cincinnati (I never could figure that one out).

MLB was not unique in terms of splitting divisions. All of the major professional sports have done likewise, including the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA), and the National Hockey League (NHL). Let’s face it, divisional playoffs makes a lot of money for the leagues and extends the season, but also know this, Division Crowns pale in comparison to a League pennant or championship.

The latest wrinkle in the MLB is inter-league play, whereby a National League team plays an American League team. Actually it began back in 1997 and frankly, I never got used to it. I realize the NFL has been doing inter-league play for a long time, but I think it waters down the competition. Prior to 1997, the only time MLB teams played others outside of their league was either during Spring Training, the All-Star Game, and, of course, the World Series. Today, inter-league play is quite common and, to my way of thinking, it distracts from the divisional races. Yes, I understand the wins and losses still count, but such games are essentially meaningless and seem more like trivial exhibition games as opposed to highly contested matches between league opponents. Even the players look like they are playing half-hearted in such games.

The only thing controversial in inter-league play is use of the Designated Hitter (DH) as used in the American League, and not the National League. NL purists abhor the DH, while AL fans do not understand why the NL doesn’t adopt it as it livens up the offense as opposed to working around a pitcher who cannot hit.

Let’s talk about rivalries, back when the Reds were in the NL West, they fought tooth and nail against their division rivals, particularly the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros. The competition became so fierce between these teams, attendance soared as the fans understood the impact of a win and a loss. This resulted in fierce rivalries and skyrocketing attendance. It also increased Radio-TV ratings, not to mention more money from advertising. The same was true elsewhere, such as between the New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox, the New York Mets-Philadelphia Phillies, the Chicago Cubs-St. Louis Cardinals, etc.

Today, MLB wants us to watch a meaningless game between the Tampa Bay Rays (AL) versus the Miami Marlins (NL), or the Cleveland Indians (AL) vs. Cincinnati Reds (NL), or the Yankees against the Mets, etc. The intent is to develop interstate rivalries, but all I can say is, “SNORE!” As someone from Tampa Bay, an AL team, I really do not have much of an interest in what goes on in Miami.

If inter-league play is being done just for amusement, then let’s stop kidding ourselves and not add it to the Win-Loss column as it means absolutely nothing.

Let us not forget, competition is what makes sports interesting. The MLB should be more concerned with creating rivalries and less on creating meaningless freak shows like inter-league play.

In other words, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH; GIVE IT A REST!

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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THE LESSONS OF A LITTLE LEAGUE COACH

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 28, 2019

BRYCE ON BASEBALL

– As a new baseball season begins, a perspective on the game itself.

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For ten years I coached Little League baseball and softball, not to mention being an umpire and serving on the local board of directors. I cannot lay claim to being the greatest coach, nor the worse. I certainly didn’t suffer under the illusion this was the big leagues, nor that my kids would go on to play pro ball, even though a handful made it to the college level. Instead, I wanted to teach the mechanics of the game (how it is played), sportsmanship, and the general love of the game. My kids are all grown up now and if I made the slightest impression on them, that I somehow shaped their perspective on the game, than I consider myself lucky. There were only two things I asked of them; that they try their hardest, and maintain their grades in school.

Baseball is a game; something you are supposed to find entertaining and rewarding. I never understood those coaches or parents who believed in winning at all costs. Some would accuse me of not being competitive enough. Sure, I wanted to see our team win, but not “at all costs”; not if it caused us to lose sight of right and wrong and a distorted sense of sportsmanship. There were coaches who would make their kids run laps if they lost a game. I guess this was designed to shame them into playing better and to teach them losing was a disgrace. Had this been some life threatening event, I may have understood their rationale. It wasn’t. It was Little League. It was a game.

Whether I was coaching boys or girls, prior to the game I would have the kids line up on our foul line, take off their caps, and recite the pledge of allegiance to the flag. It became my signature to do so. To my way of thinking, baseball is America’s game and it was my way of making the kids cognizant of not only our country but the need for fair play. When we recited the pledge, we would invite the other team to join us, as well as the parents. Most were happy to do so, but I ran into at least three coaches who steadfastly refused to have their teams participate. I thought this was strange, as did the parents of the other teams.

During practice we would spend a lot of time teaching defensive moves both in the infield and outfield. There was also a lot of batting practice. The league would also sponsor clinics in batting, pitching, catching, and umpiring. During batting practice, I would spend considerable time on bunting. Girls had no problem with it, but boys tended to resist it. Nonetheless, they learned the virtue of a good bunt and how it can win a game. There is perhaps nothing more exciting to see a bunt win a game or a stolen base. Speed was important to me. If we got on base, we made it clear we were going to challenge the arms of the other team, if for no other reason than to unnerve them.

Aside from the physical nuances of the game, we also taught the psychological aspects, such as the importance of momentum, dominance at the plate or on the mound, and how to “sell” a play to an umpire. As to the latter, we obviously didn’t want our players to cheat, but we told them an umpire has only one set of eyes and cannot possibly see everything. Therefore, it is important to do such things as showing the ball in your hand after a close play, thereby helping the umpire make up his mind for him.

One time, when we were playing defense, a player from the other team advanced to first base in a close game and we were concerned he would steal second base. From the dugout I would yell a football call, “Red 21″…”Red 21.” This confused the runner and coach who believed a secret play was in the works to throw him out. Consequently, the runner held at first and never advanced. As the inning ended, my players returned to the dugout where they asked me what “Red 21” meant. “Nothing,” I replied. It was just a smokescreen to confuse the other team. The kids thought it was a riot.

We also spent a lot of time explaining the strategy of the game, such as when to throw a pitch-out to a dangerous hitter, how a third baseman should challenge a bunt, picking-off a runner, how to keep a runner on second base, and much more. A lot of my kids, particularly the girls, learned how to keep score and came to realize the value of a well maintained scorecard.

It was also important to teach the kids to have fun. During practice we would play certain rock and roll songs with a certain beat and rhythm to teach them timing, particularly Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, and The Who. Parents who would normally drop the kids off and leave would stay and listen to the music. It became somewhat of a social scene for the parents who would gel and become strong supporters of the team.

Now and then, when our hitting was off, we would say “Time to wake up the bats,” and drop three or four bats loudly in the dugout to get the kids to snap out of their slump. If the kids were groggy at an early Saturday morning game, which seemed to be common, we would give them sugar-sweet pixie sticks which would give them a jolt of energy to wake them up.

Little League games typically last just six innings. One time, during a night game, we were playing a team coached by a friend of mine. We concocted a little scheme with the umpire and at the end of the fifth inning, the umpire called “time,” and both teams came out of their dugouts and over to the sidelines where the parents were sitting. They looked perplexed as to what we were doing. We had the kids assemble in multiple lines in front of the parents and, on queue, we began to sing “Happy Birthday” to one of the mothers who was a local school teacher. Both the parents and the kids enjoyed the experience, and I’m sure the mom won’t forget it anytime soon.

As we live in Florida, we have a Fall league to provide additional coaching to players. Inevitably, we would play during the day on Halloween in October. For this, the coaches wore masks which looked ridiculous but broke the tension for the kids.

There were of course many other things to liven up the season, such as ice cream, pizza, and an occasional barbecue. It was important that we taught the kids to play hard both on and off the field.

I learned a lot from this experience. I met a lot of good, caring parents over the years, but more importantly I got to meet a lot of great kids and it was fun watching them grow into adulthood. It’s not important they remember me, although I will bump into one of my players now and then, but it’s more important they remember something they learned along the way, such as how to lay down a bunt, how to keep score, appreciating the difficulty of throwing a runner out at second, the importance of teamwork, or standing for the national anthem with their hand or cap over their heart. If I contributed in any way to such things, then I consider myself a successful coach. It’s not the runs scored that makes baseball a fascinating game, it’s the kids.

First published: October 12, 2012. Updated 2019.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Life, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

SOME OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THE SUPER BOWL

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 19, 2019

BRYCE ON SPORTS

– A lot has changed since 1970.

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I haven’t been a fan of the NFL for the last few years. I think they have simply lost their way and become a dangerous masculine role model for youth to emulate. I have written about my displeasure on more than one occasion. Nonetheless, the latest Super Bowl was held just a couple of weeks ago, and I really wasn’t interested. Instead, I watched Super Bowl IV from 1970 pitting the Kansas City Chiefs against the Minnesota Vikings. This was the last game before the merger of the American Football League (AFL) and the NFL, and held at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. I was in High School at the time.

This was an important game as KC beat the Vikings 23-7 and evened the series between the two leagues 2-2. This was an impressive game featuring some great players from both teams, but this is not what this article is all about. Instead, I want to discuss the differences between the Super Bowls in the early days versus those of today. A lot has changed.

There was no controversy over the playing of the national anthem at the beginning of the game, as performed by actor Pat O’Brien and trumpeter Doc Severinsen of NBC’s “The Tonight Show.” Nixon was president at the time, but there was no mention of not visiting the White House back then. In other words, the Super Bowl was not a place for political intrigue. Everyone was rather patriotic, but I digress.

On the field, there was only one significant rule change, no two-point conversion following a touchdown. I presume this was done due to some conflicting rules between the two leagues. Today, the two-point conversion is, of course, acceptable. I also noticed there were far less penalties than today. Either there were less mistakes back then or the refs didn’t inhibit the play of the game as they do today (or both).

In terms of television commercials, General Motors bought all of the ads shown in the first half featuring their 1970 automobiles. This must have cost them a pretty penny, even back then. Today, it would be cost-prohibitive to so. In 1970 though, all of GM’s brands were featured, including Cadillac, Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, etc. I remember all of these cars quite well, but found the ads rather amusing in terms of their story-line. Car buffs would certainly love watching these ads. The second half featured commercials for beer and razor blades.

As far as I was concerned, the most interesting part of the program was the half-time show. I had forgotten how the early Super Bowls handled this, and I found it most enjoyable. It wasn’t a lame rocker singing lip-synced songs, but rather a big event put on by the City of New Orleans. Proudly leading the way was the Southern University marching band who put on an exciting display. This was followed by famed trumpeter Al Hirt, a favorite son of New Orleans.

This was followed by a re-enactment of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans, pitting British Red Coats against the Americans commanded by General Andrew Jackson. Here, in the Super Bowl, canons with blank rounds were used by both sides creating considerable smoke. An actor portraying General Jackson on a white steed commanded the Americans who turned the British back; making it a great little history lesson.

Next, was a simulated Jazz funeral as commonly found in New Orleans, and famous for this genre of music. Jazz legend Lionel Hampton played xylophone and was accompanied by Al Hirt and Doc Severenson, all of whom picked up the tempo and ushered in a simulated Mardi Gras parade, complete with balloons and a replica of a steam boat.

You could tell all of the participants were enjoying themselves as they proudly showcased their city. And that’s really the point I’m trying to make; in addition to be a great show, it was an invaluable public relations tool for their city. It was so good, I would have paid money to see it as opposed to the half-time shows of today. It also speaks volumes of how our sense of entertainment has changed over the years. Most likely, critics today would argue it was “racist” or “sexist” which, of course, couldn’t be further from the truth.

Frankly, I would love to see the Super Bowl return to this format, but it is highly unlikely this will ever happen as half-times now represent mega-bucks to sponsors, such as Pepsi. As much as I would like to see the entertainment performed by the host city, thereby creating a “win-win” situation, it will undoubtedly remain in the clutches of NFL owners.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Entertainment, Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF TAMPA’S YBOR STADIUM

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 20, 2018

BRYCE ON SPORTS

– Another taxpayer ripoff.

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I have always found it interesting the amount of money the public invests in sports venues. Most of us are unwitting pawns in financing the various arenas and stadiums around the country, often paying substantial increases in taxes to support them, even when we have absolutely no interest in them.

Let me give you an example, coming from Cincinnati, I remember when they finally closed and razed Crosley Field, the iconic home of Reds baseball, which stood for 58 years and was originally constructed for $225,000 ($5.71 million in 2017 dollars). In 1970, it was replaced by Riverfront Stadium, a multi-purpose stadium for the Reds, the NFL’s Bengals, and a variety of concerts. It cost less than $50 million to construct and the public was assured the stadium would last well into the 21st century. This was simply not so. In 2000, the Bengals moved into Paul Brown Stadium at a cost of $455 million. In 2003, the Reds moved into the Great American Ball Park at a cost of $290 million. In other words, a stadium constructed at a cost of $50 million lasted only 33 years and was replaced at a cost of $745 million, all paid for by Cincinnati tax payers.

A similar phenomenon is occurring in Tampa Bay. In 1967, we opened Tampa Stadium (aka “The Big Sombrero”), costing $4.4 million for construction ($32.3 million in 2017 dollars). This, of course, became the home of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers until 1998 (31 years later) when it was replaced by Raymond James Stadium for $168.5 million ($253 million in 2017 dollars). In 1996, Tampa opened Amalie Arena for the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning for $139 million ($217 million in 2016 dollars). Finally, St. Petersburg opened Tropicana Field in 1990 for the MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays at a cost of $130 million ($244 million in 2017 dollars). Now, just 28 years later the Rays are abandoning “The Trop” in favor of a new stadium, Ybor, to be ready by the 2023 season. As an aside, this will be the smallest MLB stadium in terms of capacity, yet costing $892 million.

In other words, a larger stadium constructed in 1990 for $130 million, and still in sound condition, will be replaced by a new one for $892 million, almost seven times the cost of Tropicana. Since 1967, Tampa Bay will have paid over $1.3 billion for professional sports venues.

I find this “disposable” way of thinking regarding sports venues to be disturbing as there appears to be little consideration for upgrading existing facilities at far less cost. By comparison, Tampa Bay’s investment in such facilities, makes Cincinnati’s costs look like a bargain. The reality is both cities are practicing obnoxious economics, with the tax payers picking up the lion’s share of the costs. The teams themselves pay a mere pittance by comparison. The reality though is the consumer pays twice for the stadium, once for inflated ticket prices (and accompanying high priced beverages and food), and a second for increased taxes, particularly sales. Some claim this is the price of progress. I call it wasteful inflation.

We’re all aware stadiums have been used by sports teams to blackmail cities, whereby the teams demand new lavish facilities or threaten to move to another city. Consequently, cities feel compelled to pay the ransom. In the NFL, we saw this in Baltimore, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, St. Louis, and Oakland. In Baseball, we’ve seen it in Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Montreal, and Washington, DC. And we’ve seen it in Spring Training facilities here in the Tampa Bay area.

To sell the concept of a new sports venue to the public, proponents boast how it will invigorate the local economy. How? By local restaurants, hotels, and air travel? Souvenirs? Parking? No, let’s quit kidding ourselves, the only one prospering is the team. To prove this, a 2015 study was performed by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, finding there is little evidence professional sports franchise venues lead to significant economic benefits.

One of the principals of the study, Dennis Coates, Professor of Economics at the University of Maryland wrote: “If the local government is looking for a policy to foster economic growth, far better candidate policies exist than those subsidizing a professional sports franchise.”

In a separate report, “Do Economists Reach a Conclusion on Subsidies for Sports Franchises, Stadiums, and Mega-Events?”, Coates wrote: “We have seen that economists in general, as represented by Whaples’s survey (2006), oppose sports subsidies. Economists reach the nearly unanimous conclusion that “tangible” economic benefits generated by professional sports facilities and franchises are very small; clearly far smaller than stadium advocates suggest and smaller than the size of the subsidies. The fact that sports subsidies continue to be granted, despite the overwhelming preponderance of evidence that no tangible economic benefits are generated by these heavily subsidized professional sports facilities, remains a puzzle.”

It seems rather reckless that sports venues are given carte blanche by cities to support their teams. Let us remember, all of the major leagues are well financed and deal with millions of dollars, be it Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Football League (NFL), the National Hockey League (NHL), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Arena Football League (AFL), Major League Soccer (MLS), and more. I have a problem asking John Q. Public, who makes an average salary of $56K, to sponsor teams and players making millions of dollars.

Evidently I am not alone, as there is the “Americans for Prosperity,” a political advocacy group in the United States funded by the Koch brothers (David and Charles). According to their web site, “We protect the American Dream by fighting each day for lower taxes, less government regulation, and economic prosperity for all.” Their local contact in Tampa Bay is Demetrius Minor, (727) 270-1407 – dminor@afphq.org@dminor85

Since they are concerned with fiduciary responsibility in government and the lowering of taxes, the group is well aware of the zealous over-spending on sports venues and wants to protect tax payers. To find out more, look them up on the web at: https://americansforprosperity.org/.

One last thing to consider:

* In 2026, just three years after the scheduled opening of the new Ybor field, Amalie Arena will be thirty years old and past its prime.

* In 2028, just five years after Ybor, Raymond James Stadium will also be thirty years old.

Who is then going to foot the bill for new stadiums? The teams? Hardly. Like it or not, we are trapped in a vicious cycle. We can either sit back and take it or fight back. It’s your choice.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2018 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LOSERS

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 21, 2018

BRYCE ON SPORTS

– No, I will not be watching this year either.

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This will be my third consecutive year in which I haven’t watched the National Football League (NFL). I originally quit because of the thug players who should have been behind bars and not on the gridiron, but when the players started the rukus over the flag, that did it for me. At first, this was hard for me as I had been a fan since the 1960’s, but as each year passes, the NFL was slowly divested from my system and, frankly, I do not miss it anymore. This should be cause for concern to the League as there are many people who feel the same way, as indicated by declining viewership. In my eyes, the institution is corrupt and lacks class. All of the athleticism and heroics of the past are gone, and we are left with nothing but overpaid deadbeats on the field, certainly nothing of interest to me. They simply need to clean house, something they are obviously afraid to do.

I do not want to dwell on the past, such as watching a Dick Butkus tackle, a Ray Guy punt, a Barry Sanders sprint, an Anthony Munoz block, a Joe Namath pass, or the heroics of a George Blanda. I’ll always relish their memory, but it is time to move on to something else more meaningful.

Fortunately, I have Little League, the only true remaining spirit of baseball. Their World Series concludes this Sunday and it is always a pleasure watching all the kids from teams around the world compete at this level, playing their hearts out. If it’s a choice between Little League and the Majors, the kids win hands down. The MLB is a lot like the NFL in one sense, it is no longer a game; now it’s a business, which is why I prefer watching the youth programs and farm clubs.

Over the last couple of years, I have found myself gravitating to college and high school football as opposed to the pros. It’s always a pleasure to watch such games, particularly my high school alma mater, Wyoming HS in Cincinnati. Whereas the pros take a knee during the national anthem, my old team proudly carries and waves the flag as they take the field. As an aside, we have high expectations for my high school team this year. They were good in 2017, but could very well win the state this year.

As to college football, I enjoy the SEC down here in the South, but there are many other fine schools with football programs in Florida, including USF, UCF, Miami, FSU, and UF. I also keep an eye on Ohio State and the Big 10. My college alma mater, Ohio University, is part of the Mid American Conference (MAC) and I relish any victory they can muster.

Following the high school and college football seasons, my interests turn to hockey and we are fortunate to have the Tampa Bay Lightning in our area, a true contender. By the way, they do not seem to have a problem with the American flag or national anthem at their venue.

So you see, I’m not going to be at a loss for football or sports this Fall. The NFL certainly hasn’t got a monopoly on it. If anything, they are going out of their way to deter people from watching it. So, how do I spend my Sundays now? That’s simple, I would rather mow the lawn than watch the National Football Losers.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2018 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , , | 12 Comments »

UNDERSTANDING THE NFL’s PROBLEMS

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 5, 2017

BRYCE ON SPORTS

– It goes well beyond disrespect for patriotism.

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The brouhaha surrounding the NFL player protests during the playing of the national anthem is slowly fading from view, just as the NFL had counted on, knowing the fans addicted to professional football couldn’t stay away forever. Unless the Main Stream Media keeps it in the public’s eye, the fans have the attention span of a gnat and are slowly beginning to tune back into the league. So, after hitting a few speed bumps, the NFL money machine continues on its way. The commissioner and owners refuse to discipline their players, in fact they appear to be downright intimidated by them, but is everything truly back to normal yet?

Not so fast. During the recent Thanksgiving holiday, the Detroit game saw its ratings fall 12.3% since last year, and the Dallas game was down nearly 20%. The NFL may try to put a positive spin on this, but the fact remains the protests turned a lot of patriotic Americans off. Even though the fans believe the players to be wrong, they are not so insulted anymore and the NFL will continue on its merry way.

The reality though is if you attended a game or tuned in, you are siding with the players, plain and simple. You are overlooking their disrespect for the country and believe we are suffering from racial injustice. Either that or you have no scruples whatsoever. Personally, I find it rather ironic that the American system the players are protesting, is the same system that has made them incredibly rich.

My problem with the NFL goes way beyond disrespect for the flag and anthem. For a long time, the NFL has been willing to overlook the indiscretions of the players, be it for battery, domestic violence, assault, guns, drugs or whatever, and give them nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

Whereas NFL players in the past were held in high esteem as role models of sportsmanship, now it is fraught with thugs and criminals, people we should not respect. Yet, the NFL allows them to keep playing, making millions, and allowing the NFL money machine to continue unabated. They may have to pay a nominal fine now and then, but it would be better for the character of the sport if they were banned from the league instead, thereby giving a clear sign such behavior is not acceptable. By not properly disciplining the players, the NFL is condoning their behavior.

Banishment will likely never happen as the players now set the terms for the NFL, not the owners. Whereas the players represent employees who should follow the policies as prescribed by management, they now know they are untouchable as their athletic skills are sorely in demand and the owners want to win. As Houston Texan owner Bob McNair correctly observed recently, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.” However, in fact, they are, as evidenced by McNair being forced to issue an apology for making the comment.

The NFL is now the model for corrupt athletic competition; they may know how to make money, but they also know how to sabotage the morality of the country. It is not that the owners or commissioner know what should be done, they are just scared to change the goose who lays the golden egg.

In addition, the media is hesitant to criticize the league as they have also hitched their wagon to the NFL money machine. Without them reminding the public of the indiscretions of the players, the topic slowly disappears. Instead of just producing an injury report prior to a game, I would like to see a crime report. Since the television media refuses to mention this, we are left to discover it ourselves. Fortunately, some outlets, such as USA Today, maintain an NFL Arrest Data Base which clearly lists player indiscretions, both current and in the past (click HERE).

In a way, we should thank former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick for starting the protest last year. From it, we have discovered the true character of the players, their new role in setting team policy, and the greed motivating the league.

“Alas, poor football! I knew it well.”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  WHAT IS THE AMERICAN DREAM? – Is it still “the land of freedom and opportunity”?

LAST TIME:  SHAPETH UP AND GETITH THINE ACT TOGETHER  – Some tricks of the trade for being productive.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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AN ODE FOR A HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALLER

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 21, 2017

BRYCE ON SPORTS

– What I learned from the game.

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I played High School football from 1968-1971 in a little town in the northern suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio. Our team, the Wyoming Cowboys, had a winning tradition for as long as I can remember. We won numerous championships over the years and were always considered a contender even against much larger schools. In 1962, we had a team who not only went undefeated, but didn’t allow a single point to be scored by their opponents, racking up a record of 446-0 points. Baseball, basketball, and track were all well represented, but football was king, not just then but now as well. This year, the team went 10-0 to win the league championship and play in the Ohio state playoffs.

Wyoming is the type of small closeknit community where everyone attends the Friday night game. Beyond that, they have a loyal set of alumni who follows the games over the Internet. In preparation for the league championship this year, alumni sent best wishes from around the USA, two from Africa, and one from Europe. Yes, they take it rather seriously.

As the team prepared to enter the state tournament, I drew upon my past and penned the following piece. I sent it to the Wyoming coach who read it to the team before the tournament game. I tried to capture the feeling we had back in 1971 when we won our championship. Hopefully, some of you who played high school football will appreciate what I’m describing. Hope you enjoy it.

“LOVE THE GAME” – by Tim Bryce

It’s not the championship that matters or the record, it’s how you play the game.

It’s not the school that matters or the coaches and spectators, it’s about your band of brothers.

You play football for the love of the game.

It’s a game where people of all sizes, shapes, and talents each play an important role, not as a group of individuals, but as a cohesive unit, a team.

It’s not the accolades or criticisms afterwards that matter either.

You play to watch a teammate dash to daylight, to perhaps punch a hole in the line allowing him to slip through.

You play to watch a ball spiral through the air to find its target.

You play to demonstrate some sleight of hand in a trick play, or to watch a punt returned for a touchdown.

You play to watch the steamy breaths of the linemen in the trenches on a cold wet night, to listen to their growl and pain as they try to move heaven and earth for a teammate.

You play to watch a defense-man penetrate the line and sack an opposing player behind the line of scrimmage, or to cause and recover a fumble when it was desperately needed, or to intercept and return a pass.

You play to make a goal line stand and stop the opposing team cold, or if you are on offense, to find a way to punch the ball through.

You appreciate the simple things of the game, such as a solid block, a straight kick, the crisp snap of the ball, a perfect throw, the smell of the field, a good tackle, and speed afoot.

You play to watch it all come together in unison, like a fine jeweled watch.

You find joy in picking up a teammate, both physically and spiritually; to stand at the end of a game mired in sweat and mud, proud of your team and the small role you played.

After all, this is a game of teamwork, not one for those seeking individual glory, an important lesson that will follow you through life.

So play the game hard, without regrets, so you can hold your head up at the end of the game knowing you gave it your best.

Play it with reckless abandon, for the day will come when it will be over, and you will miss it dearly.

Love it and it will teach you some important lessons of life, such as pride, self-esteem, the power of tradition in winning, empathy for others, and to put aside differences and find ways to cooperate.

Play it in such as way that when you finally hang up your cleats for the last time, you know you accomplished something meaningful.

And when it is over, you do not need accolades or a trophy or ring to remind you of the job you’ve done, just a pat on the back simply saying, “Well done.”

Football is a great game. Love it.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  WELCOME TO BIZARRO WORLD – Where everything is the opposite of what you are used to.

LAST TIME:  I’M JUST NORMAL…REALLY  – You can save a lot of paper if you just take my word for it.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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POLITICIZING SPORTS

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 24, 2017

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– The media will not leave us alone.

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Super Bowl 51 is now in the record books as one of the most exciting games since the inception of the series. The New England Patriots’ stunning come from behind victory of 34-28 over the Atlanta Falcons surprised a lot of people, including yours truly. Quarterback Tom Brady set many records, Julian Edelman made a miraculous catch, and the Falcons grasped defeat from the jaws of victory. There was also the moment afterwards where NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell awkwardly presented the MVP award to Tom Brady, thereby finally concluding the “Deflategate” incident.

All of this though pales in comparison to how the news media tried to politicize the event. In the week prior to the game, Brady was asked about his relationship with President Donald Trump, who is reported to be a friend. When he balked at answering questions about it, claiming his attention needs to be focused on the game, the press seethed at his lack of response. Then there was the half time show featuring singer Lady Gaga where the media desperately tried to decode some anti-Trump message from her performance. The press also scrutinized all of the new ads debuting during the Super Bowl, trying to determine if they had any hidden anti-Trump messages. Finally, Patriots Tight End Martellus Bennett reportedly said he would not attend if invited to the White House to honor his team’s Super Bowl win, claiming differences with President Trump. As to the latter, had this been tried during the Obama administration, the person would have been labeled a racist.

Instead of allowing viewers to enjoy the event, the news media politicized it thereby ruining what would have been a very entertaining show. Look for such shenanigans to continue, such as at the Daytona 500 on February 26th, Major League Baseball Opening Day (April 2nd), The Masters Golf Tournament (April 3rd – 5th), and the NCAA College Basketball Tournament (March 14th – April 3rd). Mixing politics with sports has become the norm and I believe it will ultimately alienate viewers.

There is also the problem of celebrity sports figures sharing their political perspectives, most notably the NBA’s LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton. As with entertainers, I am really not interested in the political opinion of athletes, whether they are pro-Trump or anti-Trump. It shouldn’t have a place in our culture. If I wanted to listen to such mumbo-jumbo, I would tune in Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Madonna, et al, but I do not respect their opinions either. I would much rather let them entertain us, then listen to their political pablum.

Frankly, wouldn’t it be nice if the athletes, entertainers, and the press would drop the political spin and just leave us alone so we can enjoy the show? Unfortunately, that doesn’t look like it will happen as they are determined to push the liberal agenda. I cannot help believe they are hurting their viewership and ticket sales as a result of all this.

It used to be sporting events were a haven from the nasty world of politics, but that seems to have radically changed with the 2016 presidential election. We better get used to it as it appears the politicization of sports is here to stay.

Also published with The Huffington Post.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  HANDLING FAILURE – Failure is something we don’t handle very well as a species.

LAST TIME:  IT IS TIME FOR THE REPUBLICANS TO FLEX THEIR MUSCLES  – No more excuses; let’s roll!

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Politics, Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

BASEBALL CARDS

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 3, 2017

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Are they a commodity or a memento of our youth?

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Something near and dear to a young man’s heart is his collection of baseball cards. Although cards today are bought and sold as a commodity, years ago we collected them simply because of the love of the game. My friends and I would trade them, discuss the stats of each player, and chew the lousy gum accompanying each pack of five cards. We would also attach them to our bicycles using clothespins so they would flicker between the spokes of the wheel thereby making a rather impressive sound as you were riding, something like a motorcycle, at least so we thought. In my day, you weren’t cool unless you had a Stan “The Man” Musial baseball card powering your bicycle. In hindsight I wish I had kept that card as opposed to ruining it on my bicycle, but such is life.

The nirvana of baseball cards in my day was to get Mickey Mantle’s (see accompanying photo). As a kid growing up in the New York area in the early 1960’s, Mantle was a god to us. Sure, we watched other teams and other players, but there was something special about the Mick. So much so, obtaining his baseball card meant a step up in your social stature. Fortunately, I got mine in a regular pack of cards and I was the envy of my friends. I was offered stacks of cards for the Mantle card but I stubbornly held on to it, and I’m glad I did. I was even offered a Willie Mays, Roger Marris, and Whitey Ford. If he had thrown in a Yogi Berra I would have been tempted, but such was not to be. Besides, I had a couple of Willie Mays cards already.

Most of my card collection ended up in a shoe box where I kept them neatly organized. For my really good cards I’ve got a special binder with plastic sleeves which keeps them neat and clean. As the cards were important to me, I kept them hidden in my bedroom. As I grew up and moved away to college, the card collection remained hidden in my room. It’s a good thing I hid them too as my room was purged and cleaned by my mother after I moved out. As is common for moms to do, she disposed of my old comic book collection and “Mad” magazine collection, both of which dated back to the early 1960’s. I’m not sure why mothers do this, perhaps as a form of revenge for leaving the nest, but I know a lot of guys who lost such collections, not to mention coin and stamp collections. Moms view such things as nothing more than dust-catchers, guys cherish them as mementos of their past.

Today, baseball cards are bought and sold at hefty prices, a lot more than the nickel we used to pay for a pack and probably without the bubble gum. In my day, “Topps” was the only manufacturer of baseball cards. Today, there are many others, but I can’t say the quality is any better. Some now have special stamps emblazoned on them, some come packaged in air tight plastic containers, and some are real works of art. Whereas baseball originally had a monopoly on such cards, today there are cards for football, hockey, basketball, soccer, even wrestling, entertainment and politics. I still don’t think I would trade my Mickey Mantle for a Barack Obama, no way, no how. I would be much more interested in a Jackie Robinson or Satchel Page, but I think I would still hold on to the Mick.

I still appreciate the simplicity of the cards from years ago. In preparing for this article, I brought out my baseball card binder so I could scan the Mickey Mantle card. Afterwards I stopped by a friend’s house and showed him the binder. He enjoyed it immensely and as he flipped through it we would discuss the various players, what teams they played on over the years, their statistics, memorable moments in their playing careers, and argue over who were the better players. A lot of baseball ears should have been burning that day. Then again, that’s what we did as kids, we talked baseball, and this is what I think baseball cards were originally designed to do.

I just wish I still had that Stan “The Man” Musial card instead of ruining it on my bicycle.

Also published with The Huffington Post.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  TOO MANY TALKING HEADS – We should thank Howard Cosell for this.

LAST TIME:  WHAT HAPPENED TO THE TRAVEL EXPENSE REPORT?  – Are your employees abusing travel expenses?

Listen to Tim on News Talk Florida (WWBA 820 AM), WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Life, Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

TAKING THE SPORT OUT OF ATHLETICS

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 13, 2017

BRYCE ON ATHLETICS

– Is the scientific approach dehumanizing sports?

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As charges of doping were brought against members of the US Bicycle Team, the investigation discovered the problem was much larger in scope than originally thought, not just here in America, but internationally as well. Americans should be familiar with the drug problem by now as just about every professional sport has had more than its share of incidents and scandal. Actually, we shouldn’t be surprised by the rise of doping today as athletics are less about sports and more about business, big business.

Gone are the days when athletes would play just for the love of the game, who would endure bus rides and uncomfortable hotel rooms. Gone are the days of the amateur status, even the Olympics is no longer a haven. Athletes now take a professional and highly scientific approach to sports. We measure every shot, stroke, basket, and swing, in terms of speed, distance, height and trajectory. The athletes themselves are carefully monitored in terms of age, calories consumed, pounds, inches, breath, heartbeats, and grams of fat. Nothing is overlooked. Everything is precisely scrutinized by packs of high-priced sports consultants. Got a hangnail? Stop the game and have it fixed by people specializing in sports medicine. Need a better bat, ball, or iron for your game? An army of vendors are at your disposal representing billions of dollars in merchandise. It’s not about the sport of the game anymore, it’s about business, and the precision by which we develop and market it is overwhelming. It’s no small wonder doping is the next inevitable stage in the evolution of athletics. Frankly, I’m surprised by all the hubbub surrounding drugs. Since we have radically altered what the athlete wears and the tools of his/her game, tampering with human physiology seems only natural.

All of this has changed the face and character of athletics. Today’s World Series champion would surely whip the “Murderer’s Row” of the 1920’s, the “Gas House Gang” of the 1930’s, and the “Big Red Machine” of the 1970’s, but they were certainly more interesting to watch as they had more character than science. The antics of people like Babe Ruth, Dizzy Dean, Mickey Mantle and many others were legendary. Fortunately, they were natural athletes who could overcome their hijinks with some rather brilliant play. “It ain’t braggin’ if ya can back it up,” said Dean to answer his critics and reflected the philosophy of such players.

Throughout the 20th century fans relished the colorful characters who became icons for the teams they played on. In baseball, you had players like Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Johnny Bench, Brooks Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, Sandy Koufax, Stan Musial, Ted Williams, and Cal Ripken; inspirational “Iron Men” who played with quiet dignity and grace. Then there were the fierce competitors like Ty Cobb, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, and Pete Rose who played with seemingly reckless abandon. There were others who butchered the English language, causing sports writers to scratch their heads in bewilderment, like Yogi Berra, Satchel Page, Bob Uecker, Sparky Anderson, and Casey Stengle who said such things as, “Most ball games are lost, not won.” Their logic may have seemed convoluted, but they told you only what they wanted you to know, which quite often was a smokescreen to conceal what they were really thinking.

Players were often given friendly nicknames like “Pee Wee,” “Slick,” and “Charlie Hustle,” and were considered intricate parts of our community. They were our neighbors, our friends, our heroes, and possessed the same human frailties we all shared thereby making it easy to identify with them. At one point, baseball was 50% character and 50% skill. Today, it’s all about skill, and in the process the charm of the game is diminishing. Instead of being viewed as an average Joe with an uncanny ability to play their game, today our athletes are viewed as Supermen and Superwomen with Godlike abilities.

Baseball was not alone in terms of colorful characters. Football had players like Daryle “The Mad Bomber” Lamonica, “Slingin” Sammy Baugh, Norm Van Brocklin, Bart Starr, Kenny “The Snake” Stabler, Len Dawson, George “The Grand Old Man” Blanda, and of course, “Broadway” Joe Willie Namath. Aside from quarterbacks, there was Dick Butkus (whose last name alone would strike fear into his opponents), Alex Karras, Jim Brown, Bob Lilly, Merlin Olson, Chuck Howley, Ben Davidson, Ray Nitschke, Forrest Greg, Lou “The Toe” Groza, Anthony Munoz, Paul “The Golden Boy” Hornung, and Ted “The Mad Stork” Hendricks, players who made a name for themselves on and off the field.

Basketball had Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Larry Bird, Jerry West, Oscar “The Big O” Robertson, Willis Reed, “Pistol Pete” Maravich, Magic Johnson, Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain, Walt “Clyde” Frazier, Bill Bradley, and Dave DeBusschere (who also pitched for the Chicago White Sox). Hockey had such luminaries as Wayne “The Great One” Gretzky, Bobby “The Golden Jet” Hull, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, Mario Lemieux, Stan Makita, as well as Phil and Tony Esposito who were affectionately referred to as “Mr. Go” and “Mr. No.”

All of these men were not only talented, but possessed a character that people naturally gravitated towards. To them, it was about the love of the game which they played fiercely and competitively, and the fans loved them for it. Regardless of their achievements though, all of these heroes of yesteryear would probably be defeated by today’s scientific approach to sports which is sad by my estimation.

Has the scientific approach taken the fun and excitement out of the game? Maybe, but you cannot argue with such things as attendance and revenues, which is what it is all about today.

As much as we might like to see doping disappear from sports, it will undoubtedly continue. Beyond this, the next stage will be the genetic engineering of athletes of the future. As long as we remain obsessed with the economics of the game, athletics will lose its heart and soul. Frankly, I don’t think we will be satisfied until we’ve driven the human element completely from the game and create Robo-players. Then it will be nothing more than a race for the best technology which, in essence, it is already.

I for one, will miss the human character of players like Bob Uecker who said, “When I came up to bat with three men on and two outs in the ninth, I looked in the other team’s dugout and they were already in street clothes.”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  PERFECTION REQUIRES PATIENCE – Sometimes it is simply not possible to achieve.

LAST TIME:  A FRESH PERSPECTIVE OF DONALD J. “TR”UMP  – Daniel Ruddy’s recent book on Teddy Roosevelt provides tremendous insight into Mr. Trump.

Listen to Tim on News Talk Florida (WWBA 820 AM), WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

 

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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