Kansas City Royals
|Kansas City Royals|
|2015 Kansas City Royals season|
|Major league affiliations|
|Retired numbers||5 · 10 · 20 · 42|
|Major league titles|
|World Series titles (1)||1985|
|AL Pennants (3)||2014 · 1985 · 1980|
|Central Division titles (0)|
|West Division titles (6) ||1985 · 1984 · 1980 · 1978 · 1977 · 1976|
|Wild card berths (1)||2014|
 The Royals also qualified for the 1981 American League Division Series by winning the AL West in the second half of the 1981 season, which was split by a players' strike. Kansas City lost in the ALDS to the Oakland Athletics.
|General Manager||Dayton Moore|
|President of Baseball Operations||Dan Glass|
The Kansas City Royals are an American professional baseball team based in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals are a member of the Central Division of Major League Baseball's American League. Since 1973, the Royals have played in Kauffman Stadium, formerly known as Royals Stadium. The Royals have participated in three World Series, winning the 1985 World Series and losing in 1980 and 2014.
The name Royals originates from the American Royal, a livestock show, horse show, rodeo, and championship barbeque competition held annually in Kansas City since 1899. The name also fits into something of a theme for other professional sports franchises in the city, including the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL, the former Kansas City Kings of the NBA, and the former Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro National League.
Entering the American League as an expansion franchise in 1969, along with the Seattle Pilots, the club was founded by Kansas City businessman Ewing Kauffman. The franchise was established following the actions of Stuart Symington, then-United States Senator from Missouri, who demanded a new franchise for the city after the Athletics (Kansas City's previous major league team that played from 1955 to 1967) moved to Oakland, California in 1968.
The new team quickly became a powerhouse, appearing in the playoffs seven times from 1976 to 1985, winning one Frank White, Willie Wilson, and Bret Saberhagen. The team remained competitive throughout the mid-1990s, but then had only one winning season from 1995 to 2012. For 28 consecutive seasons, between the 1985 World Series championship and the 2013 season, the Royals did not qualify to play in the Major League Baseball postseason, one of the longest postseason droughts during baseball's current expanded wild-card era. The team broke this streak in 2014 by securing the franchise's first wild card berth and advancing to the World Series.
1 Franchise history
- 1.1 1969–1979: Taking off
- 1.2 1980–1984: From pennant to pine tar incident
- 1.3 1985: "The I-70 Series"
- 1.4 1986–1994: Staying in the picture
- 1.5 1995–2002: Decline in the post-Kauffman era
- 1.6 2003: A winning season
- 1.7 2004–2012: Rock bottom
- 1.8 2013: Return to respectability
- 1.9 2014: Return to the World Series
- 2 Rivalries
- 3 Baseball Hall of Famers
- 4 Other players of note
- 5 Current roster
- 6 Managers
- 7 Minor league affiliations
- 8 Season records
- 9 Radio and television
- 10 Mascot
- 11 See also
- 12 Notes
- 13 External links
1969–1979: Taking off
In 1971, the Royals had their first winning season, with manager Bob Lemon leading them to a second-place finish. In 1973, under manager Jack McKeon, the Royals adopted their iconic "powder blue" road uniforms and moved from Municipal Stadium to the brand-new Royals Stadium (now known as Kauffman Stadium).
Manager Whitey Herzog replaced McKeon in 1975, and the Royals quickly became the dominant franchise in the American League's Western Division, winning three straight division championships from 1976 to 1978. However, the Royals lost to the New York Yankees in three straight American League Championship Series encounters.
1980–1984: From pennant to pine tar incident
After the Goose Gossage. After reaching their first World Series, the Royals fell to the Philadelphia Phillies in six games. Game 6 was also significant because it remains "the most-watched game in World Series history" with a television audience of 54.9 million viewers.
The Royals returned to the post-season in 1981, losing to the Oakland Athletics in a unique divisional series resulting from the split-season caused by the 1981 Major League Baseball strike. The 1981 Royals as of 2014 are the only major league baseball team to ever qualify for the postseason despite having an overall losing record.
The 1983 season was also notable for some transitional changes in the Royals organization. First, owner Ewing Kauffman sold 49% of his interest to Memphis developer Avron Fogelman. Second, John Schuerholz was named general manager. Schuerholz soon bolstered the farm system with pitchers Bud Black, Danny Jackson, Mark Gubicza, David Cone, and Bret Saberhagen, as well as hitters such as Kevin Seitzer.
Thanks to the sudden and surprising maturation (specifically, in pitching) of most of the aforementioned players, the Royals won their fifth division championship in 1984, relying on Brett's bat and the young pitching staff of Saberhagen, Gubicza, Charlie Leibrandt, Black and Jackson. The Royals were then swept by the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series. The Tigers went on to win the World Series.
1985: "The I-70 Series"
In the 1985 regular season the Royals topped the Western Division for the sixth time in ten years, led by Bret Saberhagen's Cy Young Award-winning performance. Throughout the ensuing playoffs, the Royals repeatedly put themselves into difficult positions, but managed to escape each time. With the Royals down three-games-to-one in the American League Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Royals eventually rallied to win the series 4–3.
1985 World Series
In the 1985 World Series against the cross-state . Following the tension of Game Six, the Cardinals pitching and defense came undone in Game 7 and their offense was shut down by Saberhagen leading to the lowest batting average to date (.188 by the Cardinals, later broken by 2001 Yankees) and fewest runs (13 for the Cardinals, still stands) of any team in a seven-game series, and the Royals won 11–0 to clinch the franchise's only World Series title. Saberhagen won the World Series MVP with a 2–0 record. The Royals are the only team to win a seven-game League Championship Series and a seven-game World Series in the same year.
"The Curse of the Baseball Abstract"
The baseball statistical analyst Bill James wrote a chapter in the 1986 edition of his Baseball Abstract titled "A History of being a Kansas City Royals Baseball Fan." In the style of an opinion piece as a longtime Royals fan, rather than in his usual analytical tone, James commented that "The truth is, the Royals kicked the holy crap out of the Cardinals" in the 1985 Series. The chapter asserts that it was the Cardinals' overconfidence and the Royals' ability to engage the Cardinals in "a conservative game of baseball chess," not simply Denkinger's controversial call, that led to the Cardinals' collapse, "leaving any other arguments...cutting little or no ice."
Following James's comments in the book, the Royals failed to make a single post-season appearance until earning a spot in the 2014 American League Wild Card Game. Many reasons besides one fan's hubris and a Cubs-style billy-goat curse exist for the Royals' 29-year long playoff drought, including their status as a "small-market team" without the budget or broadcast revenue to attract and keep playing talent. The timing of James's comments in the 1986 Abstract, juxtaposed with the beginning of the Royals' postseason drought, however, remains clear.
1986–1994: Staying in the picture
Kansas City maintained a reputation as one of the American League West's top teams throughout the late 1980s. The club posted a winning record in three of the four seasons following its World Series championship season, while developing young stars such as Bo Jackson, Tom Gordon, and Kevin Seitzer. The Royals finished the 1989 season with a 92–70 record (third best in the major leagues) but did not qualify for the playoffs.
At the close of the 1989 season the team boasted a powerhouse pitching rotation, including the AL  Several days earlier, the Royals bulked up their bullpen by inking starting pitcher Storm Davis, who was enjoying a career-high 19 game win record (third best in the AL) with the Athletics in 1989, on a three-year $6 million contract. With a solid pitching rotation, which was now ranked among the best in the league, the team traded for 1988 All-Star first baseman Gerald Perry and signed yet another free agent with veteran right-hander Richard Dotson. Kansas City concluded a milestone off-season in 1989–1990 as its biggest commitment to free agents in the club's entire history. Despite the promising off-season moves, the team suffered critical bullpen injuries while the newly signed Davis hurlers both experienced lackluster performances throughout the 1990 campaign. The Royals concluded the season with a 75–86 finish and second-to-last place standing in the AL West (worst franchise record since 1970). To make matters worse Bo Jackson, the team's future franchise player, suffered a devastating hip injury while playing football in the off-season. Believing Jackson would be out of commission for the upcoming 1991 season and possibly longer, the team waived the home run king during spring training.
Though the team dropped out of contention from 1990 to 1992, the Royals still could generally be counted on to post winning records through the 3,000th hit.
1995–2002: Decline in the post-Kauffman era
At the start of the 1990s, the Royals had been hit with a double-whammy when General Manager John Schuerholz departed in 1990 and team owner Ewing Kauffman died in 1993. Shortly before Kauffman's death, he set up an unprecedented complex succession plan to keep the team in Kansas City. The team was donated at his death to the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation and Affiliated Trusts with operating decisions of the team decided by a five member group chaired by Wal-Mart executive David Glass. According to the plan the Royals had six years to find a local owner for the team before opening ownership to an outside bidder. The new owners would be required to say they would keep the team in Kansas City. Kauffman had feared that new owners would move it noting, "No one would want to buy a baseball team that consistently loses millions of dollars and had little prospect of making money because it was in a small city." If no owner could be found the Kauffman restrictions were to end on January 1, 2002 and the team was to be sold to the highest bidder. In 1999, New York City lawyer and minor league baseball owner Miles Prentice, vowing not to move the team, bid $75 million for the team. This was the minimum amount Kauffman had stipulated the team could be sold for. MLB rejected Prentice's first bid without specifying any reason. In a final round of bids on March 13, 2000, the Foundation voted to accept Glass' bid of $96 million, rejecting Prentice's revised bid of $115 million.
During the interregnum under Foundation ownership, the team declined. In 1994 season, the Royals reduced payroll by trading pitcher David Cone and outfielder Brian McRae, then continued their salary dump in the 1995 season. The team payroll, which had previously remained among the league's highest, was sliced in half from $40.5 million in 1994 (fourth-highest in the major leagues) to $18.5 million in 1996 (second-lowest in the major leagues).
As attendance slid and the average MLB salary continued to rise, rather than pay higher salaries or lose their players to free agency, the Royals traded their remaining stars such as Kevin Appier, Johnny Damon and Jermaine Dye. By 1999, the team's payroll had fallen again to $16.5 million. Making matters worse, most of the younger players that the Royals received in exchange for these All-Stars proved of little value, setting the stage for an extended downward spiral. Indeed, the Royals set a franchise low with a .398 winning percentage (64–97 record) in 1999, and lost 97 games again in 2001.
In the middle of this era, in 1997, the Royals declined the opportunity to switch to the National League as part of a realignment plan to introduce the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Devil Rays as expansion teams. The Milwaukee Brewers made the switch instead.
2003: A winning season
The 2003 season saw a temporary end to the losing, when manager Tony Peña, in his first full season with the club, guided the team to its first winning record (83–79) since 1994 and finished in third place in the AL Central. He was named the American League Manager of the Year for his efforts and shortstop Ángel Berroa was named AL Rookie of the Year.
From the 2004 season through the 2012 season, the Royals posted nine consecutive losing records – the longest streak in team history. In six of those seasons the team finished in last place in the American League Central, and in eight of those nine seasons the team also lost at least 90 games. The worst seasons came in 2004–2006, when the Royals lost at least 100 games each year and set the franchise's all-time record for losses (56–106 in 2005).
Picked by many to win their division in 2004 after faring well in the free agent market, the Royals got off to a disappointing start and by late June were back in a rebuilding mode, releasing veteran reliever Curtis Leskanic and trading veteran reliever Jason Grimsley and superstar center fielder Carlos Beltrán for prospects, all within a week of each other. The team subsequently fell apart completely, losing 104 games and breaking the franchise record set just two years earlier. The Royals did, however, see promising seasons from two rookies, center fielder David DeJesus and starting pitcher Zack Greinke. The team continued a youth movement in 2005, but finished with a 56–106 record (.346), a full 43 games out of first place, marking the third time in four seasons that the team reestablished the mark for worst record in franchise history. The season also saw the Royals lose a franchise record 19 games in a row. During the season manager Tony Peña quit and was replaced by interim manager Bob Schaefer until the Indians' bench coach Buddy Bell was chosen as the next manager. Looking for a quick turnaround, general manager Allard Baird signed several veteran players prior to the 2006 season, including Doug Mientkiewicz, Mark Grudzielanek, Joe Mays and Scott Elarton. Nevertheless, the Royals struggled through another 100-loss season in 2006, becoming just the eleventh team in major league history to lose 100 games in three straight seasons. During the season Baird was fired as GM and replaced by Dayton Moore.
Kansas City entered the 2007 season looking to rebound from four out of five seasons ending with at least 100 losses. The Royals outbid the Cubs and Blue Jays for free agent righty Gil Meche, signing him to five-year, $55 million contract. Reliever Octavio Dotel also inked a one-year, $5 million contract. The team also added several new prospects, including Alex Gordon and Billy Butler. Among Dayton Moore's first acts as General Manager was instating a new motto for the team: "True. Blue. Tradition." In June 2007, the Royals had their first winning month since July 2003, and followed it up with a winning July. The Royals finished the season 69–93, but 2007 marked the club's first season with fewer than 100 losses since 2003. Manager Buddy Bell resigned following the 2007 season.
The Royals hired Trey Hillman, formerly the manager of the Nippon Ham Fighters and a minor league manager with the New York Yankees, to be the 15th manager in franchise history. The 2008 season began with the release of fan favorite Mike Sweeney and the trade of Ángel Berroa to the Dodgers. Through 13 games in 2008, the Royals were 8–5 and in first place in the AL Central, a vast improvement over their start from the previous season. However, by the All-Star break, the Royals were again in losing territory, with their record buoyed only by a 13–5 record in interleague play, the best in the American League. The team finished the season in fourth place with a 75–87 record.
Prior to the 2009 season, the Royals renovated Kauffman Stadium. After the season began, the Royals ended April at the top of the AL Central, all of which raised excitement levels among fans. However, the team faded as the season progressed and finished the year with a final record of 65–97, in a fourth place tie in its division. The season was highlighted by starter Zack Greinke, who did not allow an earned run in the first 24 innings of the season, went on to finish the year with a Major League-leading 2.16 earned run average, and won the American League Cy Young award. Greinke joined Bret Saberhagen (in 1985 and 1989) and David Cone (in 1994) as the only three players in Royals history to receive the award.
The Royals began the 2010 season with a rocky start, and after the team's record fell to 12–23, manager Trey Hillman was fired. Former Milwaukee Brewers skipper Ned Yost took over as manager. At the end of the 2010 season, the Royals finished with a 67–95 record, in last place in the division for the sixth time in seven years. The Royals also set a dubious franchise record during the season, allowing 42 runs in a three-day span from July 25 to 27. The Royals began 2011 with a hot start with a 10–4 record after 14 games, but success faded as the season progressed. The Royals last had a .500 record at 22–22, and by the All-Star break, the Royals had a record of 37–54, the worst in the American League. Almost all of the Royals' bullpen was called up in 2011 and the call up of the infielders Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Manny Piña, Johnny Giavotella, and Salvador Pérez. Hosmer won the AL Rookie of the Month award in July and September and Moustakas collected a fifteen game hitting streak, which tied the largest such streak by a Royal rookie. The Royals finished the 2011 season with a 71–91 record. The 2012 team saw more of the same, as they improved by one game to 72–90.
The 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was hosted by the Royals at Kauffman Stadium on July 10, 2012 (in addition to the 2012 Home Run Derby, All-Star Futures Game and Taco Bell All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game during the All-Star break), which the National League won 8–0. The 2012 season marked the third time the "Midsummer Classic" was held in Kansas City.
2013: Return to respectability
On December 10, 2012, in an attempt to strengthen the pitching staff (which was among the worst in baseball in 2012), the Royals traded for Rays pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis giving Tampa top prospects Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery, and Patrick Leonard. This trade helped catalyze a return to winning records.
In the 2013 season, the Royals remained over .500 nearly most of April during regular season play. The team also did not commit an error in its first seven games (for 64 2⁄3 innings) for the first time in team history. On September 22, the Royals won their 82nd game of the season to clinch their first winning season since 2003. The Royals finished the season 86–76, securing the team's best winning percentage since 1994.
2014: Return to the World Series
On July 21, 2014, the Royals had a losing record (48–50) and were 8 games behind the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central standings. But spurred by a 22–5 record from July 22 to August 19, the team surged into first place in the AL Central. The Royals reached the top of the division standings on August 11, after winning their eighth game in a row. This marked the latest date the Royals had led their division since August 29, 2003. The team retained its division lead for a month, before falling out of first place permanently on September 12. They finished the 2014 regular season with a record of 89–73, still the most wins for the Royals since 1989. Though the team finished one game behind Detroit in the AL Central, the Royals secured their first-ever wild card berth.
After qualifying for the postseason, the Royals embarked on a record-setting eight-game winning streak. Kansas City hosted the Oakland Athletics in the 2014 American League Wild Card Game, and won 9–8 on a Salvador Perez walk-off single in the 12th inning, having earlier rallied back from a 7–3 deficit in the eighth. The Royals then swept the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 2014 American League Division Series. In Game 1 of the ALDS, the score was 2–2 going into the 11th when Mike Moustakas hit a game-winning solo home run. The next day, Kansas City beat the Angels 4–1 in another extra-innings affair, in the process setting an MLB postseason record of three straight extra-inning wins. The Royals then completed the sweep at home, winning 8–3 in Game 3 and advancing to the 2014 American League Championship Series against the Baltimore Orioles.
In the opening game of the ALCS on October 11, 2014, the Royals defeated the Orioles 8–6, with two home runs in the 10th inning. Thus, in eight extra innings over five postseason games in 2014, KC succeeded in hitting four homers in extra innings, more than any team in the history of Major League Baseball. In the second ALCS game, the Royals again beat the Orioles, 6–4, behind Lorenzo Cain's four hits, including an RBI single. After game three the ALCS was delayed one day due to rainy weather, the Royals hosted the Orioles in Kauffman Stadium on October 14, 2014. Pitcher Jeremy Guthrie allowed only one run as KC beat the Orioles, 2–1, taking a 3–0 lead in the series. In Game 4, the Royals completed the sweep of the Orioles, with another 2–1 win, to advance to the World Series for the first time since 1985. The win marked the team's eighth consecutive postseason win in one year, breaking a major league record previously held by the 2007 Colorado Rockies and 1976 Cincinnati Reds. It also marked the Royals' eleventh win in a row overall in postseason play, dating back to the franchise's final three wins of the 1985 World Series, the third-longest multi-year postseason streak in baseball history.
2014 World Series
After winning eight straight games to reach the World Series, the Royals opened the series by losing 7–1 in the first game. The Royals bounced back with a 7–2 win in game two to tie the series at 1–1. The Royals won game 3 in San Francisco 3-2 to take the series lead for the first time. In game four, the Royals lost 11-4, which tied the series with San Francisco. In game five they lost 5-0 to the Giants. In game six the Royals beat the Giants 10-0. In game seven, the Royals started RHP Jeremy Guthrie against Giants pitcher Tim Hudson. Guthrie lasted 3 1⁄3 innings before he was replaced by Kelvin Herrera, who himself lasted 2 2⁄3 innings. He was then replaced by Wade Davis, who pitched 2 innings. Closer Greg Holland ended the game. On the Giants side, Hudson lasted only 1 2⁄3 innings before he was replaced by Jeremy Affeldt, who was later replaced by Series MVP Madison Bumgarner in the fifth inning. The Royals lost game seven, 3–2, with the tying run (Alex Gordon) on third base when Salvador Perez popped out to end the game and the series.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Royals' most prominent rivalry is with the intrastate Jorge Orta was called safe on a play that replays later showed him out. A Royals rally let them tie and later win the game and then later the series.
Interleague play in 1997 allowed the I-70 Series to be revived in non-exhibition games. The first few seasons of the series were rather even, with the Cardinals holding a slight advantage with a 14–13 record through the 2003 season. Through the 2014 season, the Cardinals hold the series advantage 46–34. The Royals took two out of three from the Cardinals in 2010 behind victories from starting pitchers Zack Greinke and Bruce Chen, but followed with only two wins in six games in 2011 and in 2012. The team lost three out of four in 2013, but won three out of four in 2014.
Historically, one of the Royals' major rivalries was with the New York Yankees. The rivalry stems largely from the period between 1976 and 1980, when both teams were in top form and met four times in five years for the American League Championship Series. An older factor in Kansas City-New York relations is the "special relationship" between the Yankees and the Kansas City A's during the 1950s, in which Kansas City's best players (such as Roger Maris and Ralph Terry) were repeatedly sent to New York with little compensation. The Royals' recent lack of success, however, as well as the Yankees' more popular and historic rivalry with the Red Sox has caused this rivalry to lose its prominence. Also of note are division rivalries with the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, and Minnesota Twins. The Detroit Tigers swept the Royals in the 1984 playoff season, and in the early 2000s, Detroit and Kansas City had a number of bench clearing brawls. In recent years the rivalry with Minnesota has become more prominent, with the Twins' consistent standings atop the division, as well as the relatively short drive between the two clubs in which many fans from Minnesota make the trip and heavily populate Royals home games versus the Twins. Previously, the Twins had narrowly beat out the Royals for the 1987 American League West pennant, in which the Twins later took the World Series versus the St. Louis Cardinals.
Baseball Hall of Famers
Ford C. Frick Award recipients
Other players of note
Missouri Sports Hall of Fame
|Kansas City Royals in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame|
|5||George Brett||Third baseman||1973—1993|
|11||Hal McRae||Outfielder/Designated hitter/Manager||
|20||Frank White||Second baseman||1973—1990|
|22||Dennis Leonard||Starting pitcher||1974—1986|
|29||Dan Quisenberry||Relief pitcher||1979—1988|
|34||Paul Splittorff||Starting pitcher||1970—1984|
|36||Gaylord Perry||Starting pitcher||1983|
The Royals have retired the numbers of former players Frank White (#20). Former manager Dick Howser's number (#10) was retired following his death in 1987. Former Brooklyn Dodgers player Jackie Robinson's number (#42) is retired throughout Major League Baseball.
Royals Hall of FameListed by year of induction:
ManagersStatistics current through October 15, 2014
Minor league affiliations
- Highest Batting Average: .390, George Brett (1980)
- Most Games: 162, Al Cowens (1977), Hal McRae (1977), Carlos Beltrán (2002), Billy Butler (2013), Alcides Escobar (2014)
- Most Runs: 136, Johnny Damon (2000)
- Most Hits: 230, Willie Wilson (1980)
- Highest Slugging %: .664, George Brett (1980)
- Most Doubles: 54, Hal McRae (1977)
- Most Triples: 21, Willie Wilson (1985)
- Most Home Runs: 36, Steve Balboni (1985)
- Most Grand Slams: 3, Danny Tartabull (1988)
- Most RBIs: 144, Mike Sweeney (2000)
- Most Stolen Bases: 83, Willie Wilson (1979)
- Most Wins: 23, Bret Saberhagen (1989)
- Lowest ERA: 2.08, Roger Nelson (1972)
- Strikeouts: 244, Dennis Leonard (1977)
- Most Strikeouts, Single Game: 15, Zack Greinke (2009)
- Most Strikeouts, Reliever: 109, Wade Davis (2014)
- Complete Games: 21, Dennis Leonard (1977)
- Saves: 47, Greg Holland (2013)
Radio and television
As of 2012, the Royals affiliate radio station is KCSP 610AM, the station having entered into a four-year deal starting from the 2012 season. The radio announcers are Denny Matthews and Bob Davis, with Steve Stewart and Steve Physioc.
Televised games are aired on Fox Sports Kansas City, a branch of Fox Sports Midwest. For the 2012 season, Ryan Lefebvre will be joined by Jeff Montgomery for about 20 games while the rest of the broadcasts will be covered by former Angels announcer duo of Rex Hudler and Steve Physioc.
Sluggerrr is the mascot of the Royals. Sluggerrr is a lion and made his first appearance on April 5, 1996. On game day, Sluggerrr can be found giving aggressive encouragement to players and fans, pitching in the "Little K", and firing hot dogs from an air cannon into the stands between innings.
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- Kansas City Royals official website
- Around the Horn in KC – Official MLBlog of the Kansas City Royals front office.
- CBS SportsLine.com
- Sports E-Cyclopedia
World Series Champions
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American League Champions
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