Wilson Ramos and the Case for American Journalism

I am unsure if I am just becoming more ornery and cynical in my old life or if I have found that American Journalism is in fact dead.  Wilson Ramos as most of baseball people know is a bright young backstop in the Nats system, and by now we all know of his kidnapping in Venezuela.  After that complex sentence our facts concerning this situation is null and void.  America cable systems have multiple all sports, all news, and all entertainment outlets that have some how decided that a man’s life isn’t that important to follow this situation more closely.  What is more disturbing is how this is an apparent problem in Venezuela and among athletes and their families, but again American media as somehow ignored this.  Yesterday they could no longer ignore but they have still found no reason to find out more, and this is where its time to speak out about our lack of journalism.

Joe Paterno and the entire Sandusky Penn St situation is a horrific example of the wrong person being in the news.  Is it news that Paterno is being forced out of course it is, but how many truly understand what is going on at Penn St?  How many American’s don’t understand why Paterno is being forced out.  Even more disgusting is how many think it was Joe Pa that was molesting the little boys, but this is what JOURNALISM has become.  It’s no longer about facts its about selling a story and giving as many editorials as you can force in a 30 minute news magazine or sports magazine show.  The success of blogging and talk radio has made it obsolete for someone to report the facts and now its about viewership numbers, and scandals.  Joe Paterno is a scandal that revolves around a huge sports icon; Wilson Ramos is a 24 year old catcher for the Washington Nationals.  Imagine Tom Brady or Alex Rodriguez being kidnapped from their home by 4 armed goons.  ESPN, Fox News, and CNN would not be hesitating with reporting that fact.

In season 5 of The Wire this loss of journalism was approached and the one quote that registers today more than ever is when “Wrong Zip Code”.  Wilson Ramos plays baseball, Wilson Ramos, was kidnapped in a foreign land, and Wilson Ramos is not a celebrity.  Hopefully the only death to report tomorrow morning is the death of Journalism, and not the death of a promising young baseball player, whose kidnapping was not important enough to report on.

follow me on twitter @FtheWheeler




The Batting King, a Prince and a Pujols

Ah yes the logs are being placed on the fire and the hot stove is almost at a rustic rural feel, and folks we got some baseball to talk about.  Every team is vying for one of the big 3 Free Agents and I couldn’t be happier except where I feel these 3 guys will wind up.  Now do not get me wrong there are other quality free agents available and from what I have heard from my sources Boston, and Philly have already signed them.  Of course my source is as reliable as sources ESPN use but nonetheless here are my predictions for Reyes, Prince, and Pujols

Jose Reyes coming of such an exciting polarizing season has to be seen as either the spark plug that makes a line up or the club house cancer that destroys every cells nucleus.  I for one would love for the BATTING KING to bunt his way on first with either Boston, or Philly just so he could get a few singles before tipping his hat and taking the rest of the day off, but that will not happen.  Nope Mr 334 will be plying his trade in the cold dead city of Detroit.  I know that may shock a few people, but Jim Leyland has never met a speedy, over paid, injury prone, player that he hasn’t fell in love with.  Yep Jimmy salivates for Jose like a former Penn State athletic director at a 13 year old boys football game, (OOps too soon) and Leyland knows he has the perfect GM to overpay for a guy at a premium position.  Sadly this makes the most sense of any team in the running for Mr 334 because he offers something the Tigers do not have a lead off hitter that makes contact. (I’m joking Austin)  Jose Reyes welcome to Detroit a blue collar city that will toss Molotov cocktails at you win or lose, just don’t pull yourself after bunting to first then they might go crazy on you.

Prince Fielder like Father like Son, a hefty first baseman with lots of power and not much glove.  Princeyboy has 2 things his dad never had contact skills and a smile, but other than that I can’t tell the difference between the two, and neither can the Toronto Blue Jays.  Alex Anthopoulos, is to us Fantasy GMs that Mark Hamill is to Star Wars Fan Boys.  A new hope but even the young sabermetric savy Ant will need some protection for Joey Bats, and how do you build a winner with BATS AND FIELDERS.  Plus this is AA’s chance to fix history had the Blue Jays not allowed Prince’s dad to walk say some 20+ years ago perhaps Carter, Cecil, Alomar and company would have dominated the 90s and we wouldn’t be choking on Yankees vs Red Sox every other week.  The Blue Jays have some cap space Adam Lind is just good enough at first that a platoon with E5 could allow Prince the full time DH well the rest is just Academic from there.

300 million dollars is not out of the question and this point neither is 10 years but the real question is which team will disgust Albert first.  I say Theo and the Cubbies and the New Regime in Boston get quite unnerving which forces Pujols to take his talents to South Beach or back to St. Louis, and that is where everything falls apart.  If Pujols stays put he probably gives a small discount and he probably keeps St Louis from really rebuilding thus negating the Cards having any chance of another title in the rest of this decade.  If Pujols pulls a Lebron well Baseball becomes King in Miami at least during the Lockout and Pujols becomes the Face of a Franchise over night.  Bud Selig prays Pujols turns into a capitalist real soon because Major League Baseball needs Miami a whole lot more than it needs St. Louis.  Plus think of Albert and Hanley on the same team thats like Tom Brady and Giselle getting a reality show and selling ESPN the rights to it.

Well I poked the hot stove a little today will be back some time soon to do it again and don’t worry CJ Wilson No Animals were harmed in the writing of this except the McDouble i just ate but I doubt that was real meat.

Follow me on Twitter @FtheWHEELER and remember BRAVES DON”T TRADE PRADO you might need him come JULY.

The 6 Million Dollar Mistake

As I return to writing a bit about baseball I hate to start on such a negative topic, but ever since Dayton Moore took out his checkbook and gave Jeff Francouer a 2 year extension I had to shake my head in disdain.
Being a Braves fan I know first hand about the Jeff Francouer illusion, much like a Criss Angel Mind Freak Jeffrey finds a way to make you believe he can be a young JD Drew or but in Reality Jeffrey is Ross Gload with a full time gig. That’s not a slight to Ross Gload either I love Ross Gload because Gload is a GAMER the exact opposite of Frenchy. Nope Frenchy is a cheap watered down store brand French Mustard that someones grandma tries to pass off as Grey Poupon. The mustard gets served on a certain dish and then every family member wants the recipe only to find out the mustard was disgusting it was the partnership of the main course.
Jeff swings at every pitch he has less patience than an ADHD 3 year old, and when told to fix his issues he balks at the notion that he is the issue at hand. Jeff is a picture perfect example of the GENERATION ME. He is entitled; he was a high school super jock in a Georgia High School where nothing is your fault. And now here is Jeff Francouer convincing Dayton Moore that he is finally hitting his prime. He is saying look Royals Fans the past 3 years were anomalies I can really play this game, but the numbers say other wise and by examining his BB/K ratio its evident Jeff Francouer has yet to see a pitch in the dirt he doesn’t like.
Deep down I hope I am wrong I would like to see the hometown kid do a little good with his baseball career but much like another GA product that has hit his ceiling Nick Markakis Jeffrey is nothing more than some by product clogging up Royals Outfield from the more promising Will Myers or Lorenzo Cain. Dayton Moore is notorious for giving money and then wishing he hadn’t and sadly this Investment is as shaky as the Foundation at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Nope Jeff Francouer is not Steve Austin the sci fi hero or the wrestler, but pretty soon his bat is sure to go STONE COLD.

The Joba Rules Part 1

I have not had the chance to really write much lately as I have been consumed with getting my tcareer on track.  I have promised to look at the Joba Phenom or more importantly how to micro manage a superior talent into being a mediocre player.  I have been highly critical of pitch counts since I first heard the word uttered sometime in 2004, but what is being done with Joba Chamberlin that defies all logic period. 
Limiting a pitcher to 100 pitches is somewhat understandable although I feel doing so at the major league level keeps a pitcher from truly learning how to pitch properly.  The Yankees don’t just limit Joba to 100 pitches they limit him to 85 in some games.  Joba Chamberlin was one of the hottest pitchers in 2009 until the MANAGEMENT started micro managing.  A 24 year old starter who is holding teams to 4 or less ER’s in almost every start is pretty impressive yet somehow that isn’t good enough for the Yankees.  Comparing Joba’s numbers to AJ Burnett’s numbers from April to July
Joba had 16 less IP, 6 less Earned Runs, and 16 less Strikeouts.  Which means someone who makes 16 million dollars less was probably just as effective if not more so before the JOBA RULES came into play.
No one is for sure what the Joba rules really are but its hinted that Cashman and perhaps even the Steinbrenners do not want Joba exceeding 175 innings.  Once August hit the Joba rules started.  From April to July, Joba had a 3.59 ERA, the rest of the year Joba had a 7.59 ERA.
This is sad and obviously has affected his confidence. He went from averaging almost 6 innings a start to a little over 4 innings.  In 5 second half games he started Joba went less than 4 innings What the Hell is this little leagues.  Well apparently it is the little leagues. Joba was on the verge of being a legit number 2 or number 3 pitcher but his career was stalled not because he wasn’t pitching well but because SUITS AND TIES said he was pitching too much. Joba was named NEXT in 2007 but its now 2010 and he still has yet to crack 175 IP while other pitchers his age are winning not one but 2 Cy Youngs Joba is being forced to start a game and pitch 3 innings.  The young man is being asked to throw 85 pitches or less.  Could you imagine going on a date and being told your curfew is 9:30 but the guy or girl you are going out with doesn’t get off work until 9 well you got 30 minutes to show us what you got kid.  This is not how to manage a player and the sad thing is its a growing trend not just in baseball but in AMERICA and that will be examined in Joba Rules Part 2. 

Calling Reinforcements

Ok so I am a few days behind on this post but its my favorite day in Major League Baseball.  Its SEPT 1.  Forget opening day, screw the all star game, and who needs the play offs when today its 40 man rosters and a chance to scout next years fantasy phenoms.

This year I am looking at a few prospects but my number on guy to watch is

BRETT WALLACE: 3B baseman for the Oakland A’s.  He was the piece that brought Holiday to St Louis, and he is the guy that should give Oakland a hot hitting high OBP 3rd baseman for years to come.  His only draw back is his fielding as well its gold glove caliber which means he can hit. 

 JASON HEYWARD: RF the question is not will the Braves call him up, but how many at bats will he get.  Well with Church, McLouth and Chipper hurting don’t be suprised if the young Ron Gant meets David Justice is batting 5th or 6th by playoff time.  Now will Atlanta fans actually care that he is getting called up is the real question?

MADISON BUMGARNER: SP I can’t wait to see this kid pitch, but with the Giants so close to the Wild Card he may do the David Price, Joba Chamberlin, and Neftali Feliz bullpen duty but either way we know next year him, Timmy, Cain, And Lincecum will be the most feared 4some since Ric Tully Arn and Barry.  Sorry thats the real 4 Horseman.

PEDRO ALVAREZ: 3B Pedro for President, Dictator, Tyrant and the best damn farm hand in a loaded Pirates system.  He can hit, he can barely field, and the only thing standing in his way is a LaRoche brother and Lastings Milledge.  He may not hit .400 on his first tour but think of him as Public Enemy opening up for The Beastie Boys, but its alright to Believe the hype on PEDRO.

SEAN RODRIGUEZ: 2B Just what the Angels need a 2nd baseman with some pop.  If he gets called up look for the 23 year old to split time with Howie DEAL OR NO DEAL Kendrick and add to an already potent Angels offense.  He has 29 homers for the Salt Lake Bees and SeanRod could propel this Angels team to the penant if his power is major league ready.

I could write on this topic all day many of the call ups are veteran major leaguers you already know including Jason Giambi, but I look for the Wild Card teams to push their youngsters into a primo spot and keep an eye on the Yankees Austin Jackson just in case he gets to play of course we all know he won’t be a Yankee on opening day because Cashman will deal him for a known older commodity because thats what he does best.

Also if you’re a Nats person do you want to see Strasberg?  Hit me up on Twitter Thewheeler717 and next blog is in the works


Jeter, Borasshole, and Wild Card




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3 Big topics for the Wheeler to ramble on like
Robert Plant which is funny I am actually jamming out to the new Metalica album
which I think is awesome.  Its been a few
weeks since I broke down the Pirates sell off of 2009 and I have been slowly
getting ready for football and well the Byrd Gang is officially out of the
playoff hunt in fantasy baseball so let me utilize my time constructively,
destructively, and well WILDLY all at one time today.

Derek Jeter perhaps the only Yankee I have liked
since 2000 when it became the Brian Cashman spend-a-thon.  I know hard to believe I liked Mattingly,
Paul O’Neil, Danny Tartabull, Scott Brosius, and many other Yankees throughout
the 90s and even my young days in the 80s. 
You know when the Yankees sucked, and Jeter has been there since late
1995.  Derek Jeter has been a constant
pillar to the Yankees allure and the funny thing is in 1993 I opened a pack of
Topps baseball cards and I pulled out a Future Stars card with a young Jeter
and I looked in my monthly becket mag and saw the card was worth 10 cents.  The card was worth less than a common card of
Jeff Blauser and now Derek Jeter is the all time shortstop hit leader.  I think honestly I am more surprised that so
many good shortstops haven’t hit 3000.  I
guess I always assumed that bigger name shortstops were better than Mr. Captain
and well I was wrong.  Jeter if he plays
4 more years could be the first shortstop to hit 3000; he is a career .316
hitter coming into this season and that will raise with the phenomenal year he
has had.  Now the point of my story  Derek Jeter is the heart and soul of the
Yankees; I knmow it dumbfounds me but look at last year Jeter hit a paltry .300
for him that’s paltry he had 88 runs 69 RBIs and only 25 doubles and guess what
the Yankees didn’t make the playoffs. 
Jeter is just a solid baseball player who delivers when he has to and
people tend to not notice him.  If
baseball was wrestling Jeter would be the Honky Tonk Man, and well Derek thanks
for shake rattling and rolling for so many years. 

Scott Boras is an *******, or as I refer to him as
Borasshole.  Stephen Strasburg is not
worth 30 million dollar bonus.  ARod is
not worth 25 Million. Manny is not worth 24 Million and Matt Holiday better not
get 20 million.  Boras, knows baseball,
but he is forgetting the basics of the game and that is to WIN.  Only 4 teams can truly afford players that
get close to 20mil and no team should risk their entire team payroll on one
college kid not even the Nationals.  The
Nats have been hit with the TJ bug in top prospect Jordan Zimmerman and trust
me they were counting his pitches, unlike the San Diego State pitcher
Strasburg.  The numbers are amazing but
college baseball over uses young arms and many never learn to proper pitch look
at the number of college pitchers that flame out early compared to high
school.  To even propose a kid should
make 20 million bonus is like trying to say Dick Cheney is an honest man it’s
preposterous.  Last year in the draft
Pedro Alvarez went a ******** 2.5 million over slot, and he is more of a can’t
miss prospect than a freaking pitcher. 
Sorry Borasshole you are ruining baseball this is just more of the same
from you perhaps you need an economics class.

The Wild Card race is starting to heat up or well at
least the ESPN people want you to believe that because the beloved Red Sox are
the front runners so that is their angle, but don’t sleep on the Rays just
yet.  They still play the Red Sox and
Yankees 12 more times well we have seen the past few years of wild card races
sometimes they don’t end till the last game of the year.  September is on its way and don’t be
surprised if the Rangers pull this one out with the Rays catching fire and
pulling out the AL East, and don’t worry NL fans your race won’t be near that
interesting it will be the Braves or Marlins sorry Rockies I can’t put my money
on Aaron the Cook and Jason The Marquee Marquis to be enough pitching to put
you in the playoffs.  Nolasco Johnson, and
Volstad are quality but the Braves are getting Tim Hudson back just in time for
a possible 6 man rotation to finish out the season, and trust me Lowe, Vazquez,
Jair, and Hudson is a pretty decent poker hand. 

Well that’s my rambling today be back later this
week with my Keeper picks for next season and the call ups to watch.

The Pirate Ship

Many would think that 17 years of losing would be too much for a team and they would find a way to correct things.  Well this is the Pirates of Pittsburgh, and for some reason since 1992 this is just what they do. 

Oddly enough I am actually going to defend this Fire Sale.  The past 2 seasons the Pirates have dealt 3 all star outfielders, a former Batting Champ Second Baseman, a stellar short stop, their top 2 pitching prospects from 3 years ago, their top closer-set up man, and a productive first baseman that has 30 home run potential. Its an amazing demolish job and when you think of the names Bay, Nady, McClouth, Wilson Sanchez, LaRoche, Snell, Gorzelanny, Grabow, Marte, Hinske, and Nyjer Morgan, you would assume that those names could have somehow pulled out a winning season if they played together, but unfortunately the young pitching forgot how to pitch.  Ian Snell and Tom Gorzelanny in 2006 and 2007 looked on the cusp of greatness, and with Malhom and Zack Duke on the way up that would be 4 quality starters, but that never materialized.  The young outfield of Bay, Nady, and Morgan didn’t happen; instead McClouth became better than Morgan, and then Nady and Bay were dealt.

The ship has had no direction, but now it seems they have an idea; they have a plan.  Pedro Alvarez, started that plan and now they have to make room for the young kids the next Bonillas, Van Slykes, Drabeks, Smileys, and dare we say Bonds.  The cupboard is now full: 18 prospects so far this trade season including Lastings Milledge,  Jeff Clement,  Gorkys Hernandez, Kevin Hart, and Tim Alderson.  Those are top prospects from others system, and last season they added Andy LaRoche, Jose Tabata, Ross Ohlendorf, and Craig Hansen.

I am not a Pirates fan, and I know they have done this before; from Jay Bell and Jeff King, to Denny Nagle and Jason Kendall, to Jason Schmidt and Aramis Ramirez; for 17 seasons since I was in elementary school the Pirates have groomed talent and traded talent.   So why is this different?   I promise you it feels different and it looks different.  Not since the Marlins of 1997 have I witnessed a team trade so many starters during the season in an effort to rebuild so quickly.  Pirates Fans be patient you won’t go 20 years without a winning season.

I am Back

I know I wrote a blog hyped another on and been busy doing other things.  So here I am trying to flip between wrestling and baseball tonight and well I am going to cut a promo on 2 people I don’t really care too much for right now.  Manny Ramirez and Matthew Berry.

First Matthew Berry.  Berry is the Dustin Pedroia of fantasy baseball.  So what if the guy won Tout Wars.  Hell give me a bit of free time and constant computer access and no love life and I too could win Tout Wars.  My Matthew Berry disdain started last year when he suggested in an AL only league Ross Gload would be a nice option.  When I already had Ross Gload on my roster for 2 weeks it was then I realized the real MR ROTO was a blow hard with an ESPN job.  Not one time has the Real MR ROTO said anything of any value that I had not already consider or make a comment about to a friend.  Berry is like the guy who hears Buster Olney say something in the car pool and then he uses it as his idea.  You want real fantasy info check out the guys at RAZZBALL or  BaseballHQ these are baseball guys.  Oh and I am a huge mark for FanGraphs.  So Matthew leave your LA LAKER loving tweets to your self I am not buying what your selling because most likely I bought it 2 weeks ago.

Now to Man Ram the CONVICTED CHEATER yes people CONVICTED CHEATER.  Its funny to me how AROD gets outed as a cheater and everyone hates ARoid but Manny actually serves a 50 game suspension and he is cheered more.  This proves my theory that baseball fans especially the casual ones are a bunch of hypocrites.  Manny has hit a career average of .315 how many singles doubles and homeruns were aided by PEDs.  538 career home runs by Man Ram but how many did he hit while cheating the game of baseball.  See if Manny changed his name to Barry and spent most of his career being the best player of my lifetime the judgemental media would be quick to say well Barry may have used steroids.  Manny did use a substance banned by baseball.  Manny Did Cheat.  There is no may have in that sentence, but he’s a fun loving kid just playing a kids game like a kid was.  Please the guy is the 2nd highest paid player in baseball history and for all we know he has been cheating his entire career, but the MEDIA loves him.  The fans love him.  And Bud Selig sees his 2nd largest market selling out every game because of him.  Yes Canseco may have been telling the truth about Baseballs real issue, but as We have learned putting ***** in the seats means cheating is A OK. 

The Wheeler’s Love and Hate List

Today I discuss my favorite players, and well my least favorite players.  Just a note this players may not be the BEST players, but I still like them.

My favorite player is Ross Gload.  It started as a fantasy baseball joke that has turned into a number one Fan type thing.  I truly feel Ross could hit .300 if he played every day unfortunately he is now with the Marlins and becoming their super utility guy, but no matter where the Gload man is playing better believe The Wheeler is throwing them 7s up.

I also have this fascination with my trio of pitchers who early this year are struggling but they still my favs, and I am still keeping them on my list.  Francisco Liriano, Edinson Volquez, and Fausto Carmona.
Liriano has the greatest potential of the 3 Aces, but for some reason and this will be a later blog in a few weeks when I have more time to research it he as struggled with command and speed. 

Volquez just reminds me of what made Pedro Martinez so fun to watch in the 90s.  He just comes across as this dominating flame thrower and giving his age he could go down as one of the best for years, but much like Liriano his command has been ungodly bad.  Right before he went on the DL he was walking just as many as he was striking out.

And Fausto, I gave him the nickname the Warlord because well it just sounded good.  The Warlord has also been suffering from command problems but it will work itself out and he will return to 2007 Guranteed.  It just may not be as an Indian.

Last on my list is the player who reminds me of a young Barry Bonds.  The potential to hit 30 30 every season once he gets down the science of base stealing the one and only Elijah Dukes.  Every baseball fan has heard about Dukes off the field issues and unfortunately things like this tend to over shadow the true talents of a player.  Dukes was off to a tremendous start before going on the DL and with Adam Dunn in that line up and Zimmerman hitting like he was the 3 of them were looking like they were about to be an amazing heart of the order.  Dukes should be off the DL soon and I am looking forward to him finishing off the season strong as long as he stays healthy.

Now the following players I loathe can’t stand and really wouldn’t mind if they all were kicked out of Baseball forever.

Arod is my 2nd least favorite player.  I can’t stand him he makes my stomach feel like a lactose intolerant stomach after downing a gallon of milk and 5 shots of Kahlua.  This is all the press I will give Mr Rodriguez, and I am glad he has been ousted as a steroid user.

Dustin Pedroia, never in my life have I been so disappointed in the sports writers of America than last year when MVPedroia won the AL mvp.  To me being a life long baseball fan I just couldn’t believe that someone who didn’t have a 100 RBIS and wasn’t even the best offensive player on his team get an award like the MVP.  It again showed the corporate media bias of baseball and their love for all things Red Sox.  Pedrioa did not take a last place team and make them champs.  Pedrioa did not dominate all season long.  Pedrio didn’t even have the best numbers among AL 2nd Baseman its sad but its true.  Men like Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, and Carlos Quentin meant more to their team getting to the play offs than Pedrioa.  If you took Dustin out of that line up the Red Sox still put up offensive numbers.  MVPs are meant to be special and Dustin Pedrioa is not special.

The Last Player on todays List is Chipper “Larry” Jones.  Chipper and I have had a feud since his rookie year in 1995.  I thought he was all hype and then once he shows his baseball prowess his Hooters Addiction comes out.  And from that point on Larry was public enemy number one.  Sad thing is Chipper knew it.  Every time for almost 10years Larry heard me chant his name at Turner Field and Chipper would crush home run after home run.  One game he even hit 3 while I sat right there at the visitors dug out.  Chipper would shut me up but only till the next game.  It was a feud that will only die when the old man hangs up the cleats and goes off into the sunset or to the nearest Hooters to enjoy a cold beer and some busty blonde that looks like his wife use too.  Oh well thanks for the memories Larry.

And that is the Wheeler’s Love Hate List.  Next Blog we talk a little fantasy and why Matthew Berry is an overpaid Blow Hard.

My First Blog

So this being my first blog I want to state 3 things that get on my nerves about Baseball.

This one will be a major topic of mine. I have done statistical research on pitch counts, as well as learning about the actual mechanics of physical make up of what makes pitchers work. This is my biggest pet peeve in baseball and well it will be discussed on this blog.

Perhaps I am just hating on the best teams in baseball or perhaps I am just sick of corporate America shoving these 2 teams down our throats every chance they get. I am sure if the only foods served in a restaurant were chicken fingers or cheeseburgers well your going to like one or the other or just choose not to eat.

Who cares who did them or who didn’t and no they should not be punished. Do we punish the farmer that puts hormones in his cattle? NOPE!! Do we punish the senator who solicits another man in a bathroom stall? NOPE!!! Do we say anything to the former Vice President who shot another man in the face? NOPE!!!! So why punish some baseball players who took an illegal drug to make more money hell that is the Corporate Way just ask the surviving CEOS of FORTUNE 500 companies.

War The Purple City Byrd Gang on their quest to win my fantasy league.