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Edwin Jackson pitched fairly well today, giving up just one earned over six innings. A Junior Lake gaffe in center added two unearned runs (two hands, young man).

The Cubs didn’t do much offensively, and lost out on a scoring opportunity in the 7th thanks to the most egregious of bad calls in my book. With two on and none out, Donnie Murphy struck out swinging on a check swing. At least that was the official tally. In reality, he easily checked his swing – it wasn’t even close – and the home plate umpire called Murphy out on the swing. Why is this the most egregious of bad calls? The home plate umpire is watching the ball to see if it’s in the strike zone … and he’s also watching – from a bad angle – how much/far the batter swung at the pitch? Dude. That’s why the first base ump is there for you. JUST ASK HIM ON CHECK SWINGS. It drives me crazy *any* time a home plate umpire makes that call, and it drives me double crazy when he gets the call very, very wrong.

Based on all of that, you should be unsurprised that Dale Sveum and James Russell were ejected expressing similar sentiments. Colorful language and all that.

At least Lake had a decent game at the plate.

aug 18 box

Full box.

  • TheoHoyer

    Anyone have a video of Lake’s error?

  • MoneyBoy

    I saw it!! He didn’t get a great jump, took what appeared to be a not very good route to the ball, played it off to the side … and dropped the goddamn thing catching it ONE HANDED!!!

    • Cubsleeram

      It’s almost as if he’s only played the outfield for a few months…

  • Patrick G

    Race for the worst record

    • Dylan

      Race for Carlos Rodon.

      • Patrick G

        Him or Beede

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        The Cubs have a better chance of making the playoffs.

        • Mr. B. Patient

          ?????

          Cubs are 16.5 games out of the wild card race.
          Cubs are 12.5 games ‘out’ of the race for #1 draft pick.

          Both unlikely. I think #2 is in play. If we could find a way to average 8 runs a week, we could do it.

          Think positive people.

        • abe

          You can forget about Huston, but the are closing in on the white soxs and the marlins. This is the first time in my life I am rooting for the Soxs to win..

  • Ben

    Anthony Rizzo is no match for MLB pitching.

  • CeeDeeVee

    Wow Russell’s ERA is 2.82, but I would bet everything I own that if there was an ERA for inherited runners, he would be well over 5. Seriously, every time he comes in a game with a runner on, the runner(s) end up scoring.

  • Rich

    Yea about Rizzo
    Why the Cubs felt the need to lock him up now? Nice young man but is he really part of the future ? Or is he where he should be at this point in his career?

    • deej34

      Brett, I really like Rizzo but I have wondered this too. Do you have any comparative stats based on Rizzo’s age/service time compared to other first basemen or hitters? Derrick Lee, Fielder, Votto? Any idea what the ceiling or reasonable expectation could be over the next couple years?

    • Patrick G

      It’s his first full season as a pro. He will struggle and obviously he has but also has had some stretches of good games. He’s still very young don’t understand why people jump all over them when they’re gonna lose this year anyway

      • deej34

        Not to speak for everyone else, but I’m far from jumping on him and being a downer. Just wondering if there is any kind of career trajectory or ceiling based on his experience or if it is just too soon to tell.

      • Big Joe

        You mean, there’s no reason to expect him to get better, “when they’re gonna lose this year anyway”?
        The guy is hitting .230.
        He’s 2-20, in the last week.
        He’s 9-56 in August, or .161.
        He batted .210 for the month of July.
        The guy has taken a few walks this month, that’s about it.

        I remember having this debate with a few people here. Again, I am not a Rizzo hater. I like the guy. I just happen to think he was extended a little too early. At least with Castro, the were a couple good years to point to.
        Rizzo just turned 24, so all is far from lost. I understand that fact. But….I also think that he made SUCH an impression the second half of last season, that folks are almost afraid to criticize him, for fear that “he just might not be the wonder boy that everyone hoped for”.
        Rizzo is locked up for a while. I just hope he ends up worth the length of the contract. I, for one, am not afraid to say, out loud, that I’m starting to have my doubts.

        • Mr. B. Patient

          All we can do at this point, Joe, is hope Rizzo and Castro rebound next year. Quite possible, because neither has entered their prime. However, if they don’t recover, it sets the rebuild back a few years.

          Entering 2013, we thought we had to fill 5 lineup spots in the coming years, with maybe 5 premium assets in the minors. If Rizzo/Castro don’t pan out, we now need to fill 7 lineup spots. That means we will be relying on guys further away, like guys we’ll draft in 2015.

          If Rizzo/Castro don’t make it, we don’t see the consistent playoff team til ?

          • Wilbur

            Pretty much summed up where my thinking is on this topic …

      • cubmig

        My Big-Picture take, that this is a season where how good or how bad performance is, it will bear heavily in deciding the future of any one player with the Cubs. It’s accountability time. At least, that is what I believe the rebuilding should be all about. Under that scenario, Rizzo should not be exempt.

  • Eternal Pessimist

    We scored a run. Hooray!!!

  • EB

    I was in the bleachers today. After The controversial pitch to Murphy, I looked down cause the ball was in the dirt and Murphy clearly checked. It was when everyone started booing that I realized he called strike three on the swing. Ridiculous.

    • http://www.draftday.com udbrky

      Unless you were down the right field line (almost on the foul pole), you have no way to determine whether he went around or not. This is why the 1B umpire is the only one asked on a righty, and 3B ump on a lefty.

      • EB

        It was pretty clear on this one.

        • http://Jplgxk AlwaysNextYear

          Yeah in the bleachers and you could tell he checked. Ok

      • Kirbs414

        I understand your point, but that I could tell that he didn’t go around from the front view on TV. There was not even a question. You didn’t have to be down the first base line to see that.

  • Die hard

    My spring training prediction of 100 losses is attainable given this train wreck starting with Sveum who is over matched and under qualified 🐷🐷🐷🐷

    • Ben

      Die hard. There are just so many people who want to deflate youngsters dreams. Keep on dreaming and never say never. Your Cubs can reach goals.

    • N8theGr8

      Sometimes it makes me happy to wonder if Die hard is actually Brett, tanked to the gills on Appletinis, having reached his breaking point due to the Cubs latest disappointment, out in the yard wearing a bathrobe and a batting helmet, swinging a croquet mallet at the bushes and administrating his website from a cracked trac fone. No offense to either party, just a notion that helps me pass the day…

      • spearman

        Well, if I was the owner. I’d have to have an alter, just to keep my sanity.

      • Jimmy James

        Awesome…..lets picture him Ina onesie ala scrubs….(I know what you’re thinking ladies, yes, it’s a onsie)

  • Jason P

    Scott Baker finally had a good rehab outing… 3 innings of 1-run ball on a solo home run. I’d be interested to hear where his velocity was at.

    Pierce Johnson is piggy-backing that start, and so far through 2 innings: 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 5 K’s. He’s looking like a lock to start in AA next year and perhaps get a September call-up if all goes well.

    • willis

      Better, yes. Good? It’s August 18th and dude is only throwing 3 innings. That’s not so good for a guy the organization paid 5.5 millie. Hitting up 3 IP in High A isn’t exactly getting your money’s worth.

      Now Johnson on the other hand, yes please.

      • Jason P

        Quality’s gotta come before quantity. And this start was the first one you could really say was quality. I’m not happy either with the way his season has progressed, but this start was a step in the right direction. Next start his pitch limit should be expanded.

        Either way, I kind of hope they don’t bring him back even if he comes up and pitches well in September. Unless we go out and add a few big-name free agents — inadvisable and unlikely — there’s no way we’re going to win next year with this offense. So, since we’re going to be losing anyway, giving starts that could be going to Arrieta, Rusin, Hendricks, or Cabrera instead to a 32-year-old stop-gap doesn’t sound particularly appealing.

        • http://www.hookersorcake.com hookersorcake

          Why not bring him back? If he is decent and we suck he’ll be a damn good flippable candidate with a good track record. Shark, Wood, Jackson are the only 3 SPs guaranteed. If Baker returns to form he’s good and could help us win games.

          • Kyle

            Because we have a lot of other potentially interesting SPs who may need the work.

            I mean, if he wants to come back on an NRI or something, more power to him. But otherwise, he’s nowhere near the front of the list on guys who we want to give shots at the rotation to.

            Literally *anybody* could fit into the sentence “We should give X a chance, because if he plays well, we could trade him for some prospects.” That’s not a meaningful argument in his favor.

          • Jason P

            At some point the development of young pitchers like the ones I named above has to take precedence over playing veterans to try and flip them at the deadline. Unlike previous years, it looks like we’ll go into next year with a bevy of young starting pitching options.

  • Ivy Walls

    Dog days of summer baseball here and well. The only positives this season:

    Travis Wood established himself as a bona fide starter, still much to learn.
    Junior Lake will be an offensive force, like to see him take some games at 3B and 2B.
    After a slow start Castillo has shown he is a bona fide backstop and has an offensive game.

    Cubs need more pitching, let us see Arietta more. Rusin could be a Sean Marshall like pitcher.

    Rizzo can slug and catch, but can he be more? Middle infield need an overhaul.

    Wonder if the Cubs can land Abreu, park him in LF? Cubs could have three young Latins is so, Lake and Soler sometime maybe next year?

    Down on the farm, three are working up Baez, Alcantara and Bryant, but the pitching still needs to come. Bet trades happen.

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Vogelbomb and Bryant go back to back.

    • willis

      Saw that. How awesome? That middle of Daytona’s lineup is too fun.

  • gridge

    Hey brett, do you think the cubs will put a good offer out for abreu despite rizzo blocking him? I personally would love the cubs to jump on this oppurtunity. Abreus upside is so large he could be the next cabrera in this league. Just wondering if you think the FO would be willing to sign him even though it would most likely require moving rizzo to LF.

    • Jason P

      Patrick Mooney had an article the other day basically saying he’s hearing the Cubs are financially restricted from offering the type of deal it would take to land him. Which is very, very, very sad. I can understand not signing him if they’re not as high on him as others or if they don’t think Rizzo can even passably play left field, but passing on him because they can’t pay for a 10-15 million dollar a year contract is extremely disappointing after the way the payroll has dropped the past few years.

      • gridge

        That makesno sense, didnt they offer sanchez th15mil per year and then signed jackson for 15mil per year, and were planning on getting both. Theres no way with garza and soriano gone that we cant afford to sign a Abreu. Almost noone on the Cubs is making a large contract.

        • Eternal Pessimist

          Jackson is getting 13 Mil/year. Soriano is gone, but didn’t save you much money.

          Just because we traded away the player doesn’t mean you can spend the money again…unless the Yankees decided to pay his salary over the next 1.5 years.

          Would love to have Abreu, but he needs to be bought at the proper value. Would love to know how much the Cubs project to be able to spend in each of the coming years, but they don’t seem interested in sharing that with the general public.

          • Mr. B. Patient

            Not saying it should be Abreu, but at some point we are going to have to overpay for talent. There would be no other factor that would motivate anyone to play for this team.

            • willis

              They are overpaying for Rizzo and Castro already…

              You/me/us aren’t going to see them spend like we’ve seen in the past. Those days are over. Cubs=middle to small market team now. Different time different plan. Let’s see how it goes.

              • spearman

                Not according MLB, Remember, St. Louis gets an extra draft pick.

              • Mr. B. Patient

                Rizzo and Castro are young enough to earn their contracts. They just need Sveum and Rowson to go to get their mojo back.

                I’m guessing we’ll have money to spend, for ex;
                5.5 Baker
                2.5 Stewart
                5.0 Conception

                What can 12.5 mil get you?

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                They are paying Rizzo $498,000 for a 1.7 fWAR season (to date). That doesn’t really look like much of an overpayment. If he only produces at that exact same level in 2014, 2015, and 2016 I think he would meet the value of his contract. It isn’t until 2017 when he is due for $7 million that a we might start to see some value concerns (again, assuming identical value from season to season). But even then Rizzo’s contract doesn’t really get expensive until 2019 ($11 million) and beyond. However, both seasons after 2019 have $2 million dollar buyouts.

                I have a hard time arguing with Rizzo’s contract. And I definitely have a hard time understanding the argument that he is being overpaid this season.

                Contract info is at the bottom of this page:
                http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/r/rizzoan01.shtml

                fWAR can be found here:
                http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=3473&position=1B

                • willis

                  I was just being an ass because he and Castro were recently inked and huge topic of conversations this weekend. I don’t think he’s being overpaid and actually really like the contract. I’ll love it if he can get his shit together offensively.

                  • http://www.hookersorcake.com hookersorcake

                    Rizzo is no where near as bad as Castro has been this season. Rizzo, though slumping is still .755OPS with 18 Hrs and 32 dbls. 106 OPS+
                    Sure we all want Rizzo to turn into Votto or Goldschmidt but he’s earning his money and its his first full season. You put Baez and Bryant on either side of him and he’ll flourish.

        • Rcleven

          From what I heard it was either or on Sanchez and Ejax. Sanchez was the preferred target. When the Cubs were rebuffed by Sanchez they immediately jumped on Ejax. The Cubs had no plan to sign both.

      • Sandberg

        If that’s true, I will sour on Ricketts very quickly.

        • Jason P

          From the article:
          “The Cubs already locked up Anthony Rizzo. They only have so much financial flexibility and will prioritize pitching and left-handed bats this winter. They will ultimately walk away from the Abreu sweepstakes.”

          From Epstein himself:
          β€œA million here, a million there, that’s what we can afford,” Epstein said Tuesday. β€œWe’re not in position to throw around hundreds of millions of dollars in free agency. But if we can do it in that market, we might as well try to monopolize it as best we can.”

          • willis

            Better get to souring…sounds like they are strapped. My have times changed.

          • Jp3

            Insert Scarface reference by Theo. “a mill here a mill there, you got it. I make a couple of moves for you”. Theo has a pic of scarface on his wall I’m sure

          • Sandberg

            I’ll wait to see how it plays out, but I’m not buying it that the Cubs can’t afford (potentially) one of the top 3 hitters in the world. At this point, they can’t afford *not* to get him. He’d make up for his contract in ticket/concessions alone.

            • ssckelley

              If it truly is going to take 100 million to sign him then it all comes down to how many years you are getting. For one of the top 3 hitter anything over 5 years is good value.

  • auggie55

    Lake has looked bad in CF a couple of times since he has been called up. I like him in LF. I wish they would just leave him there.
    Also have the Cubs messed with the stances of Castro and Rizzo? Rizzo’s looks different – the way he holds the bat. I’m not sure about Castro’s.

    • jt

      Rizzo’s 2013 swing is modeled after T. Williams. It is a big change and he has been making adjustments throughout the year.
      I don’t think Castro has been changed that much. We all have our ideas what is happening there but I think JD and Len covered it pretty well during his 1st or 2nd AB.

    • Eternal Pessimist

      I like keeping Lake in center. If he doesn’t develop the ability to play their he may be just a AAAA or 5th outfielder (assuming his bat cools down too much…which is still pretty likely based on his minor-league numbers). This is the year to find out what he can do.

  • Jp3

    Anyone know why Baez was pulled at the end of the game?

  • Bill

    he was ejected for arguing a call

    • Jp3

      Ha, bet that won’t happen again

  • Blublud

    Dempster just hit A-roid on purpose. Girardi ejected. I love it.

    • MNeuman

      That was bush league by Dempster and I have 0 respect for Boston fans for cheering that….four times. You get one pitch and if you aren’t able to hit the guy then thus your problem. Dempster should have been ejected and fined and CC should e given a free pass when he retaliates. The game doesn’t need this especially in the state it is in. I am no longer a Dempster fan and definitely dislike Boston fans more than any others.

      • Blublud

        Well, the only I didn’t like about it is that he didn’t hit him in the eye. ARod is a b*tch and he shouldn’t be playing baseball right now. I wish dempster had ended his career.

        • MNeuman

          Well everyone is entitled to their own opinion even when it’s wrong and just asinine.

          • Blublud

            How is my opinion wrong and asinine. Its my opinion. Arod is a disgrace and I was hoping for a lifetime ban. The only reason I didn’t want a lifetime ban is because I don’t think the Yankees should be able to get out of his contract. I think he should be banned and Yankees still have to pay. The league should donate the money to charity.

            • MNeuman

              And I can appreciate all that you just said, but throwing at a guy in four pitches is wrong. I am all for an intentional HBP but again, you get one chance. If you miss you still made your point now move on. I believe the umpires should be more strict on following attempts and in that at bat Dempster should be tossed.

              • Blublud

                Well, I could careless about it being Dempster. I don’t care if they ejected him or not, I think he should have hit him in the head.

                • Drew7

                  1) nobody deserves a fastball to the face.

                  2) Dempster, while pitching with a lead and his team in the middle of a playoff hunt, puts a runner on for no reason (who scored later in the inning).

                  Looks like he thinks it’s more important to act like a meat-headed badass than to win an important game.

                  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

                    No player deserves to be hit in the head on purpose. I am honestly surprised it took this long. Drew, would you rather him hit a player, and put a useless runner on when playing from behind? Dempster is very old school in that respect. Not surprised in the least he did it. For MNeuman he truly threw 2 pitches at him. The first and last. The other two were inside, but not close. They weren’t even close to being considered brushback pitches.

                    • Drew7

                      I actually believe it’s pretty meatball-y for him to do it at all.

                    • MNeuman

                      Yea I didn’t see it that way, all those pitches were inside and if you bookend two inside pitches with intentional attempts then in my book it’s four. Either way it’s disgraceful, one pitch to get your point across not two or four. Dempster should be fined..

                    • Blublud

                      Dempster does nit deserve to get fined. He hit a dude who is disgracing the game. The guy got what he deserved. If he did head hunt, he should have tried to hit him in the surgically repaired hip.

                    • RyanWEit

                      I hate Arod…but you gotta love Joe Girardi at least defending his player and calling Dempster out

                • Patrick W.

                  You don’t like the game of baseball if you advocate a player, any player, being hit in the head.

            • DarthHater

              That A-Rod is a disgrace who should be banned for life is a legitimately arguable opinion. That the Yankees should not benefit financially, if he is banned, is a legitimately arguable opinion. That A-Rod should have his career ended with a pitch to the eye is not a legitimately arguable opinion and is beyond wrong and asinine.

              • Blublud

                Well, maybe it is wrong and asinine, and maybe I know it is, but I still can’t help but want it to happen. I cant think of a bigger disgrace in sports in my lifetime.

                • jkppkj

                  O.J. Simpson, Aaron Hernandez, Rae Carruth, Michael Vick???

            • Pat

              It is asinine because you wished an intentional career ending injury on someone because they cheated. Your parents must be proud.

              • Blublud

                Well, if she’s not, I’m sorry. If ARod was to shred his knee running out a grounder, I csnt say I would upset. In fact, it would honestly tickle me. I haven’t hated a lot of athletes (Barry Bonds, Mark Mcguire, Emmitt Smith, Kobe Bryant, Ben Rothlisburger, Eli and Peyton Manning, Derek Rose, but never had the hate for any of them (maybe Kobe or DRose is close) that I have for ARod.

                • Blublud

                  If he didn’t headhunt I meant

            • http://bleachernation Ferris

              I agree w you, it was a message dempster is or was a player rep he did exactly what he wanted an needed…arod is bad for baseball….probally the same guys mad he didnt except a trade to atl. Last now wana jump on him…depster is one of the good guys of the game……he was standing up for baseball as well as those arod sold out.

      • http://www.hookersorcake.com hookersorcake

        You get one pitch?! The clown tank is 3 for a dollar!
        And A-rod is a clown. I’m surprised it took this long for someone to hit him. I hope Arod hits 9 more homeruns and the Yankees have to pay him and extra 6 million for tying Willie Mays. Of course the Yanks would probably bench him if he gets close.

      • JM

        So you have zero tolerance…

        … except when it comes to CC retaliating.

        Zero plus one just doesn’t add up to zero.

  • papabear

    I am not for hitting people in the head – but hitting players is a part of the game – Not sure the reason for this instants – but if Dempster did it my guess is it needed done.

    • MNeuman

      Why? Because Dempster personifies right and wrong? Again, I think hitting players is all well and good but you get one shot…after that you should be ejected.

  • Corey

    Jesus, now I understand why a lot of fans don’t like cubs fans. You guys wanna dump rizzo and Castro because they are having a bad season?

    LOL, okay. Let’s let you armchair GM’s manage the cubs and make theo hit the road.

    Idiots.

  • Rich

    One other fans don’t like Cubs fans because of our opinions of our players
    Two I’m not giving up on Castro but he will be gone when the team is relevant
    Last Rizzos contract is odd based on his lack of success at the MLB level when he did not need to be signed at this time

  • Werner

    While I am glad about Baker having three innings of decent work, he is, like, pitcher no. 8 or 9 on the 2014 depth chart (which is probably actually important). The Cubs, as they now stand in 2013, need to figure/find/discover with a pick ax or flashlight about 4 or 5 solid hitters and/or repair the ones who seem to be utterly lost (Rizzo!). It would be some kind of wild if among the Rizzo/Castro/Lake trio that Lake ended up being the one with the largest contribution to the MLB Cubs.

    • MichiganGoat

      Baker is a FA next year so the Cubs need to decide what it’s worth to try him next year- that price has got to be no larger than a 1-2M contract if even that.

  • Werner

    And I bet they will because why the hell not? It seems that they have pitchers coming out of their ears — Arrieta, Hendricks, etc. But we have placed a really big rebuilding chip on Rizzo, who is a great guy, cancer beater, etc., and damn if he doesn’t seem absolutely toothless at the plate. Somebody above mentioned stretches where Rizzo is going well. That’s the thing, they aren’t stretches but games — single games — where he looks OK. I need some smart saber-ninja to tell me that he’s young, he’s coming into his own, his BAPIP WAR whatever indicates great things are on the way.

    • DarthHater

      Saber-Ninja. Heh.

      [img]http://i2.cpcache.com/product_zoom/380840781/nerd_ninja_baseball_jersey.jpg?color=BlackWhite&height=350&width=350[/img]

    • Mr. B. Patient

      Rizzo is young. he’s 24 years old. Indisputable fact.

      That’s all I got.

      • Werner

        That’s better than nothing!

  • college_of_coaches

    Has anyone seen this story? Further confirmation of what an ass Braun is.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/ryan-braun-tried-to-discredit-urine-collector-in-calls-to-mlb-stars-021053235.html

  • Ben

    Braun supposedbly tried to discredit the urine collector guy as anti-semetic and a Chicago Cub fan. Espn story today. Matt Kemp encouraged by him to out this guy. Wait and see .

  • Kyle

    I’m sold enough on Lake to consider him a viable cheap option in the outfield next year. Would probably want to trade DeJesus in that scenario.

    • http://www.draftday.com udbrky

      As long as we keep Kim. (heart)

    • ssckelley

      Or the Cubs could just buyout the option year for 1.5 million.

      • Kyle

        That’d surprise me. He’s got value at $6.5m, so presumably someone would give you something for him.

  • Standard Oil

    The Cubs are that kid who’s afraid to pee in front of other kids.

    So when they get excited at recess they accidentally pee themselves. And everyone laughs.

    It’s the passing period, gentleman, put on your raincoats.

  • Die hard

    Dempster to be suspended for 5 games– what a tool for allowing people to feel sorry for AholRod— and now hurts BoSox— if he wanted to send message then strike him out 5 times instead of letting him be a hero by throwing a gopher ballπŸ‘»πŸ‘»πŸ‘»πŸ‘»πŸ‘»

    • cubchymyst

      5 game suspensions for starting pitchers are stupid since they play once every five games to begin with. They really need to increase suspensions handed down to starting pitchers to actually punish them some. Even 8 games would cause a team to start a few starters on short rest or force the team to bring up someone to fill in. All a 5 game suspension does is force Dempster to start 1 day later than normal.

  • Chad

    Everyone says that the cubs shouldn’t go after the big Cuban hitter because we have Rizzo locked up. Well can Rizzo play the OF? If not surely he has some trade value, you would think. I don’t think that is a reason not to go after this guy if the cubs truly believe he is as good as advertised. Of course maybe they don’t and this is a moot point.

  • Jon

    This is why I’m not a big fan of the DH in the AL. Dempster hitting ARod, whatever. I really don’t care for ARod that said, Dempster knows there is no way ARod would charge the mound and bring more scrutity on him, so it was kind of cowardly. He never would have done that if he was in the NL and had to bat.

    • arta

      from some of the replays i seen, Dempster started walking toward Arod as soon as he hit him. sure looked like he wasn’t going for the ball. JMO

    • Jon

      Not to mention the Red Sox won two word series on the backs of PED’s, it all seems a bit hypocritical to me.

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