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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
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Good, Bad and Ugly
2008-02-04 21:22
by Jon Weisman

In my latest column for, I suggest four things about baseball I'd like to keep as they are and four things I'd like to change.

Meanwhile, there was more sad news on the police blotter today, this time coming out of the Dominican Republic. Troubled ex-Dodger Willy Aybar was arrested on a domestic violence charge and is being held without bail, according to Enrique Rojas of

Comments (65)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-02-04 21:50:25
1.   Xeifrank
Great article at SI Jon. This one should be forwarded to the guy at FireJoeMorganDotCom, so he gets to see what quality stuff Jon puts out. The only one I didn't agree with was the trading of draft picks. Just didn't seem like it would work. I will think of a few things I'd like to see changed.
vr, Xei
2008-02-04 21:51:29
2.   Bob Timmermann
Things Xeifrank would never change:
1) the BCS

End of list.

2008-02-04 21:52:37
3.   Xeifrank
2. Bob, I would never change peaches. Well, maybe I would, they should come in 12 packs.
vr, Xei
2008-02-04 22:07:23
4.   Xeifrank
Rought list. Things I would change.

1. The World Series ends too late in the year. I know this won't happen, but they should have more double-headers (perhaps expand rosters by one player/pitcher for all double-headers) to shorten the regular season and when both LCS end early, don't wait 8 or 9 days to start the W.S.

2. Schedule home games the first 10 days of the season in warm (or dome) weather cities. Perhaps first 14 days for cold city teams with no domes.

3. If umpires aren't going to call strikes according to the strike zone in the rule book, then change the rules. Change the rules or call strikes the way they are suppose to be called (knees to numbers).

4. Get rid of body armour for hitters. It should be illegal. Perhaps knees down, for fouling a pitch off of your leg, that's all.

5. Create a minimum salary floor. ie - Each team must have a team salary of no less than $40Mil (approximate number).

6. Mandatory slotting system for draft picks, similar to the NBA.

That's it for now. I know most are pipe-dreams, but it's nice to dream a little bit.

vr, Xei

2008-02-04 22:07:48
5.   trainwreck
I grew up in the 90's, so I never really got to see that true AL and NL rivalry. That is probably the reason why I am in favor of interleague play, the wild card, and not opposed to having the same rules for both leagues.

I always found it boring how often teams played each other, before interleague play. I want to see the Dodgers play some of the best teams in baseball and some of the bigger franchises in the sport. I will gladly take seeing the Dodgers play the A's, Angels, Indians, Tigers, etc. over having to play the Astros some more.

The Wild Card is great. I love how well the Wild Card teams have performed in recent years and after 162 games it just seems painful to the fans to have only 2 teams in each league make the playoffs.

When it comes to the DH debate, I have always found it crazy that there are two sets of rules in one unified sports league. I believe the NL plays the "pure" form of the game, but I rather see another good batter in the lineup instead of a pitcher. I would not necessarily change the way things are, but I really do just find it odd.

2008-02-04 22:26:29
6.   Eric Enders
I am not opposed to having the same rules in both leagues, either, as long as that uniform set of rules does not involve giving a lineup spot to some broken-down chump who can't play in the field.
2008-02-04 22:30:17
7.   jasonungar07
Great Read Jon..I agree with all 8. I too came around on the wildcard. I do not like inter-league, never did. I admit some of the games and match ups were cool but never was on board with the principal of it, now I am just bored with the games too. A salary floor is the number 1 new idea for me. Good call Xei
2008-02-04 23:14:42
8.   Lexinthedena
I liked the artice Jon, I still don't understand how anyone justifies the Dh, it makes absolutely NO sense...NONE!....

I didn't quite understand your point about Spring Training, as I think many teams don't focus on numbers as much as they do on adjustments the player makes, progress that the player has made in specific aspects of his game, how a pitchers "stuff" looks etc. Maybe I missed the point, or am just wrong and numbers are given too much emphasis.

2008-02-04 23:27:25
9.   Eric Enders
8 I think that's generally true; however, you do have the occasional instance where a Jason Repko or a Wilson Valdez makes the team by having a hot spring training, despite clearly not being one of the 25 best available players.
2008-02-04 23:34:10
10.   Bob Timmermann
The Black Mike Ramsey made the Dodgers with a hot spring training.
2008-02-04 23:45:55
11.   Lexinthedena
9 and 10- So there are cases of it happeing, but is it a general practice?
2008-02-04 23:47:18
12.   ibleedbloo
I was with you all the way until the suggestion of moving up start times. Its really the only thing us west coasters have over those east coast biaseders.
Then you mentioned it was for the children, how am I supposed to argue with that.
2008-02-04 23:49:24
13.   Lexinthedena
2008-02-05 00:26:55
14.   screwballin
4 If umpires aren't going to call strikes according to the strike zone in the rule book, then change the rules. Change the rules or call strikes the way they are suppose to be called (knees to numbers).

Amen. They should make the words "my strike zone" punishable by, at minimum, a good flogging. It's not your strike zone, blue, it's the game's strike zone. Please give it back.

2008-02-05 00:52:57
15.   Eric Enders
Anybody watch the Gonzaga-St. Mary's game tonight? That was a classic, especially if you like superb point guard play.
2008-02-05 06:10:21
16.   Bumsrap
I don't like watching pitchers who can't hit a lick try to make contact. And I don't like the 8 hitter approaching the at bat differently because the pitcher is up next. So, I like the DH but mybe a DH should have to qualify for the role by playing so many innings in the field during each month.

Managers should not be allowed to cross the foul lines to argue with an umpire. Nobody should be able to approach an umpire within 5 feet. There is no reason to get heated up over a close call.

Pitchers have to skip a start after they hit so many hitters each month but mpires can identify hitters that this rule doesn't apply to if the hitter always leans over the plate or steps into the pitch. A pitcher should be able to come inside the plate 6 inches regardless of the outcome. Hard to enforce but something has to be done with head hunters.

2008-02-05 06:30:40
17.   old dodger fan
The things you want to leave as is, I agree with although I would consider allowing limited re-substitution in the All-Star game. I am really OK with almost anything in the All-Star Game except quitting with the score tied because they ran out of players.

I was not too big a fan of Inter-league play until the Dodgers came to Baltimore. Now that they come regularly to DC I'm ambivelent. The post-season start times suggestion is the best one on the list. My daughter has yet to see a WS game to the finish. Don't move all the start times up but give us East Coasters (we aren't biased-we just want to see a game end before 11) at least 2 WS games.

Another suggestion-Eliminate the 4 pitch IW. If they want to walk a guy just tell the umpire and send the guy to 1st. Any other suggestions to speed up the game should be considered. I don't know how you could restrict hitters stepping out of the box for 20 seconds after each pitch but I would like to try. I think the game would appeal to young people more if the pace picked up without any dramatic changes in the rules. Less time between pitches might be a start.

2008-02-05 06:38:49
18.   bhsportsguy
17 And give up the chance for more Kelly Leaks?
2008-02-05 07:08:40
19.   Penarol1916
5. The problem with interleague play has nothing to do with the rivalry between the leagues. The problem has everything to do with the unbalanced schedule, especially with regard to the wild card.
2008-02-05 07:18:07
20.   old dodger fan
18 I don't know whether I am showing my age or my ignorance (maybe both) but I am clueless as to what you mean.

BTW-Great article over at Catfish Stew.

2008-02-05 07:29:23
21.   ToyCannon
Nice column Jon. As you know I totally disagree with the expanded roster in Sept. And I disagree with the elimination of inter-league play. I've already made my point on the expanded roster many times so I won't bore everyone again. As for inter-league play I think it is easy to sit here in LA where we have both leagues represented and ask for inter-league play to be abolished, but if I lived in Seattle it would be a drag if I never got to see any NL teams just because of my geographic location. I actually love inter-league play.

I thought it was strange to add the pre-season thing. That is not rule based while all the others were.

The World Series is ridiculous in Nov when played in cold cities. The season extends much to long. They should fall back to the old 154 game season since they have added two tiers of playoffs since they went to the 162 game season.

Abolish the DH completely.
Games should be decided by total bases not by runs scored.
Every time you make a pitching change while playing defense it costs you a total base. A two for one would cost you 2 total bases. A baserunning change, a total base. Managers would need 3 bench coaches since they find the current game so troublesome that they already need one to tell them when to warm up a pitcher.

2008-02-05 07:33:46
22.   Brent Knapp
20 I know Kelly Leak was a character in the original Bad News Bears, and after googling Kelly Leaks it appears she is a hip hop artist.
Great column Jon, however I am a fan of interleague. Maybe I'm not enough of a 'purist,' but I can get sick of the 19th Dodgers v. Rockies Game, or the 19th Brewers v. Reds.
2008-02-05 07:36:36
23.   Disabled List
I'd actually like to see fewer intradivision games. Maybe I'm alone on this one, but it gets incredibly boring seeing the Dodgers play the same four teams for a month at a time. The Dodgers played almost half of their schedule last year (72 games) against the NL West! How many times do we really need to see the Diamondbacks? I'd love to see more games against some of our old rivals like the Reds, Phillies, Braves, etc. Teams should play no more than a third of their schedule in the division, then let them get a crack against the rest of the league. And yeah, get rid of interleague play too. The novelty on that one has long since come and gone.

I also heartily endorse Xeifrank's suggestion in 4 about requiring teams to schedule a few doubleheaders during the year, so that the playoffs can start a week or so earlier. And no more of these interminable off days in the middle of October, either.

2008-02-05 07:43:35
24.   JoeyP
I really think defense is beginning to get very overrated by some in the statistical community---Dewan especially.

How can anyone truely quantify defense with regards to preventing runs? We know that good defense cannot prevent home runs, or walks. It can prevent allowing extra outs per inning, and at most generally 1 base at a time (A single being turned into a double... an infield play not being made, that turns into a single/error, etc.)

Those seem well and good, and I think it is possible to differentiate between a good defensive player and a bad one---However, when there are so many components that the pitcher controls (outside of defense) with regards to preventing runs, I find it hard to put so much value into defense (especially when were talking 1 base at a time).

To me, it seems like "defense" for the Stat community is becoming overrated like batting average still is for the mainstream baseball media. In both instances, one player is making a couple more plays (whether getting a couple more hits, or preventing a couple hits) per month.

But, just as OBP and SLG are much more highly correlated to creating runs than BA, I think the same can be said that a pitcher's peripherals are much more highly correlated to preventing runs than say "defense".

2008-02-05 07:46:42
25.   Penarol1916
23. Getting rid of interleague play and having fewer intradivision games are actually intertwined as the only way to get rid of the unbalanced schedules and make the wild card more fair is to get rid of interleague play.
2008-02-05 07:47:33
26.   D4P
I think the same can be said that a pitcher's peripherals are much more highly correlated to preventing runs than say "defense"

Unless you have access to the "proprietary" defensive stats that people like DePo supposedly have, you aren't going to know how strongly their stats correlate to preventing runs. Maybe they've developed some defensive stats (that we don't know about) that they have found to be very strong predictors of run prevention.

Who's to say?

2008-02-05 07:52:43
27.   ToyCannon
If so then running out Giles, Hairston, Kouz, Iguchi, and a declining Edmunds is not the way to go about it.
2008-02-05 07:55:49
28.   D4P
But again: unless you have access to the defensive stats that DePo uses to evaluate those players, how do you know whether they rank highly in his system or not?

That's not to say that his system is "correct", but without getting to look at it, we can't really say for sure one way or the other.

2008-02-05 07:58:52
29.   JoeyP
26---Just thinking intuitively---even if you put the perfect defensive team out on the field---they are still not going to be able to prevent home runs, walks, or most other extra base hits. They may be able to prevent singles or 1 base at a time situations.

I'm not sure what stat anyone could come up with that could highly correlate preventing singles to preventing runs.

2008-02-05 07:58:57
30.   D4P
I should note that it's entirely possible that Ned makes decisions using information that we don't have access to as well. However, I am much more inclined to give someone like DePo the benefit of the doubt than someone like Ned.
2008-02-05 08:02:16
31.   D4P
Well, it's not always the absolute impact of a particular stat or player characteristic that matters: it can also be the relative impact in comparison with the cost. Maybe defense doesn't matter as much as pitching, but if some aspect of defense is undervalued (e.g. because other teams aren't as aware of it as you are), you might be able to afford a lot of it and either have the same overall impact for less money, or spend the same amount of money with greater impact.
2008-02-05 08:05:08
32.   Penarol1916
24. To find out how overrated defense is wouldn't you just want to see the correlation co-efficient between park adjusted runs allowed and the peripherals that a pitcher controls?
2008-02-05 08:07:24
33.   Ken Noe
Jon, I agree with all your suggestions. I never thought I'd come around on the wild card, but as a Dodger fan, I can now see its utility. I'd like to add two suggestions, though. Move the Brewers back to the AL so that we can have six five-team divisions again (slide KC into the west). And while we're reversing the major innovations of the Selig Era, dump Bud too. He's an embarrassment.
2008-02-05 08:09:23
34.   D4P
I'm with Ken. There's no way it's "fair" for the two leagues to have a different number of teams, and for some to divisions to have more teams than others.
2008-02-05 08:11:57
35.   MC Safety
nice read jon. i think trainwreck summed up my feelings. also since i was lat' like to give another shout to eric stephan for his sentimental pick, hank gathers. i couldnt agree more bro, what a awesome dude that was. i remember him razzin me for ordering a peanut butter and jelly, askin how i expected to grow big and dunk eating that. still remember that like yesterday. or the time i asked what that colorful art was and he told me it was for this guy id never heard of named jim morrison who played in a rock band and died too early .miss u man.
2008-02-05 08:12:29
36.   RZG
I wouldn't mind allowing the trading of picks but with these rules:

1. Picks from a particular round can't be traded in consecutive years - The NBA rule you noted.

2. NO money can be exchanged in a trade involving picks. This way a team can improve itself by getting either prospects or established players in the deal but aren't dealing the pick only to enrich their coffers.

2008-02-05 08:21:47
37.   ToyCannon
I became a Clipper season ticket holder because they drafted Bo Kimble. He never lived up to the promise but Bo and Hank were a formidable duo in college before the tragedy.
2008-02-05 08:40:39
38.   John Hale

Dodger Fan/Mariner Season ticket Holder

Interleague games add a lot to the season up here. We just assigned games in our package and even the Marlins coming to town for the first time ever spices up the selection process. With only 3 other AL west teams to divide the in division games it gets a little repetitive.

Can someone explain the rhyme and reason to how they rotate around the league for interleague. The Dodgers never make it to the AL city I am living in.Just missed them in 2000 up here. When are they coming back?

2008-02-05 08:40:50
39.   MC Safety
seein bo at the line sinking that shot for hank gets me everytime. what an awesome duo. thx for the comment toy
2008-02-05 08:45:39
40.   East Coast Dodger
[33, 34] I agree that it's odd to have a different number of teams in the leagues, but it's also largely unavoidable. With 15 teams in each league, a team will have an off day every day. There are not enough days in the schedule to accomodate that, unless they start tweaking other rules, like MOER interleague play, a LONGER regular season, etc. I suppose more double-headers could accomodate that, too. But the scheduling nightmare would be too much. And I don't think expansion is a good option - there is already too little pitching available.
2008-02-05 08:46:48
41.   regfairfield
24 You say one or two plays a month like it's a bad thing. In baseball, almost every advantage someone has is based on one or two more somethings a month.

You can pretty easily quantify a middle infielders defense in terms of runs. Since I can't imagine how a second basemen's missed play would get turned into an extra base hit, using linear weights you can assume that each missed by is worth about .66 runs (the difference between a single, +.41, and an out, -.25, it's a little bigger of a number when you consider missed double play opportunities which cost your team over a run). Two extra plays a month mean an additional nine runs saved for your team, almost a whole win, or about the difference between Kelly Johnson (.286 EQA) and Mark Ellis (.269) offensively.

When you get to actual defensive spreads, it gets much higher. The difference between the best and worst second basemen in baseball this year was 41 plays, or about 27 runs. Swapping Dan Uggla for Aaron Hill would give your team just as much run prevention as swapping Aaron Cook for Ervin Santana. When a mid tier starter runs you 4/40 these days swapping in a good glove man for a fraction of the cost for potentially just as much benifit is the cost effective thing to do.

2008-02-05 08:49:21
42.   ToyCannon
If I know what I know now, I wonder if I would have still been excited about John Hale back in 75? According to baseball cube he only played two minor league season and hit 39 home runs with an 888 OPS by the time he was 21. But that K rate, yikes. Over 200 K's in 600 minor league at bats. Why did they promote him so quickly given his young age and problems making contact? Nice walk rate.
2008-02-05 08:54:49
43.   old dodger fan
41 I still can't figure out how you can create an accurate defensive metric. There are different field conditions, some teams have more fly ball pitchers vs ground ball pitchers, how to account for a ball hit 3 feet to the SS's left vs 4 feet to his left, how sharply the ball is hit varies. There are so many things to account for and some of them are difficult to measure.

Is there a metric that tries to account for all this, and is there somewhere it is all explained?

2008-02-05 08:55:07
44.   ToyCannon
At what point does Kent's offensive contributions become breakeven related to someone with a history like Ellis? I'd like to use Abreu but we have no idea yet what his offensive and defensive value will be.
2008-02-05 08:58:14
45.   ToyCannon
I'd love someone to do a column explaining the plus and minuses of each defensive metric currently in use. It is hard to keep up as everyone seems to have one. The only thing we seem able to agree on is that if all the metrics show your a bad defensive player then you probably are.
2008-02-05 09:02:25
46.   regfairfield
43 Read about +/- at

44 If Kent repeats 2007 offensively and defensively (31.72 net runs), and Abreu makes his PECOTA projection prorated over 569 PA (13.64 runs) would have to be at +27 to match his production. Not completely impossible but Abreu would have to be one of the best glove men in the league to do it.

2008-02-05 09:09:56
47.   John Hale

All I knew about John Hale besides being from the same humble (i.e. godforsaken) hometown was that my Baseball Encylcopedia said he had a batting average of 1.000 (4 for 4) in 1974.

As a seven year old those stats meant he was going to be good. I guess I was wrong.

I think he went on to be a bad local sportsanchor for awhile which maybe was predicted by his minor league stats

2008-02-05 09:14:05
48.   wronghanded
I think defensive ability is especially hard to quantify because a great deal of it's success hinges on reaction time and instinct. Several good defensive players often start reacting to a play before contact is even made because they can interpret the type of swing a hitter is putting on a given pitch. Certainly this skill can be improved on by most but certain players are naturally much better at it than others.
2008-02-05 09:17:11
49.   regfairfield
But the only thing that matters in the end is whether they caught the ball or not. If a guy has great positioning, he can have much worse reaction time but still get to the same number of balls. Because we have that one event that measures success or failure, we can build a defensive metric around that.
2008-02-05 09:19:57
50.   MC Safety
very useful info reg. is there anyone on earth who thinks andy could hack it at second base?
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-02-05 09:24:23
51.   regfairfield
50 There are several here, but I think if he could play second, he'd be doing it already.
2008-02-05 09:24:39
52.   wronghanded
49 We can definitely measure defensive prowess by fielding % alone and in a given season a player with less range/reactions/instincts can have more opportunities and successes than a player with superior intangible traits. But opprotunities and successes alone don't make the player with inferior intangibles a better defender it just makes the "better defender" a victim of circumstance.
2008-02-05 09:31:37
53.   regfairfield
52 I'm not arguing for fielding percentage, the system I'm arguing for is one where you can say there was a line drive hit 10 feet to the right of second base. It doesn't matter how a guy catches the ball, as long as he does. Now if you take an entire season of the various situations and measure how many times a player catches the ball in those situations versus his peers, you have a good metric.
2008-02-05 09:39:28
54.   old dodger fan
46 Thanks for the link. Very interesting reading. Clearly some shortcomings but way better than fielding percentage. The article on Derek Jeter is enlightening.
2008-02-05 09:44:13
55.   wronghanded
53 Would this metric also factor in height? It seems to me that a player fielding the line drive 10 feet to the right of 2nd base should get additional credit if the liner is 9 ft. high vs. 4 ft. Often times defenders with inferior range will cheat positions where balls are more likely to be hit so would they somehow lose ability if a ball on the non-cheat side squeaks through. I would think that the velocity of the batted ball would also have to be factored in as a dribbler 5 feet to a defenders right and a smashed ball 5 feet to his right are 2 entirely different plays. I'm not trying to be facetious, I'm honestly just curious because I'll be the first to admit that I'm not well schooled in obscure baseball statistics. Overall, I think defense is highly underrated and any metric that looks at fielding in more detail could be of great benefit in measuring a player's overall ability.
2008-02-05 09:44:39
56.   MC Safety
reg, thats probably true. but it sure would nice to see andy give utley a run for his money. man the bob knight clips on sportscenter were great. my fave is the mickey mouse operation one where he said but that would be an insult to mickey mouse. close second is the gameface one where he starts makin all the faces. i wasnt aware he coached us to gold in 84 either. ill miss u bob knight.
2008-02-05 09:49:19
57.   Xeifrank
I am in the camp that an adequate defensive metric does not exist. I leave the research, bickering and quantitative analysis to those who are experts in the field, but when all the so-called experts can't even agree upon which method is the "least/most" flawed then I come to the conclusion that we are making progress but are years away from a solid defensive metric. I do believe that some are better than others and that the days of fielding percentage and errors are in the past as the final say in how good of a fielder you are, just like batting average is to a hitter. Zone ratings(Plus/Minus)/range factors etc... are a step in the right direction but they all have their flaws. I just think the data needed to properly rate defense isn't available yet and some of the methodology could be better. This is one area, where I think scouting (seeing with your eyes) is more important than the current defensive metrics (though it doesn't hurt to have both).

These guys have an interesting model.

Justin Jinaz, who runs one of my favorite blogs even though it is a Reds blog has a great article comparing the more popular defensive metrics starting at the most basic and ending with the more complex ones. I rated his blog as my 10th favorite sports blog at Dodger Sims. (SFW)


vr, Xei

2008-02-05 09:50:06
58.   regfairfield
55 From

Video Scouts at BIS review video of every play of every major league game and record detailed information on each play, such as the location of each batted ball, the speed, the type of hit, etc.

Height might go into location or etc. It might not, since a line drive way over a guys head would count as an outfielders play.

2008-02-05 09:54:28
59.   Jon Weisman
Two new posts up top.
2008-02-05 09:54:47
60.   Linkmeister
I like your suggestions, Jon. I'd go further on the post-season games' start times, though, and require that weekend games be played in the daylight.
2008-02-05 09:55:20
61.   Xeifrank
59. Just when things were getting good. :)
vr, Xei
2008-02-05 09:57:05
62.   JoeyP
Two extra plays a month mean an additional nine runs saved for your team, almost a whole win, or about the difference between Kelly Johnson (.286 EQA) and Mark Ellis (.269) offensively.

That makes sense.
I guess the bigger question I have is that are defensive runs prevented exactly equilvalent to offensive runs created? I would believe that offensive runs created would be a more meaningful statistic because its encompassing everything a batter does (OBP and SLG).

For instance, the difference between a .900 OPS and a .700 OPS is more than just a few plays a month. However, the difference between the best defensive player and worst defensive player, is in fact just a few plays a month.

2008-02-05 10:02:09
63.   wronghanded
57 58 Thanks for the info, like I said earlier I am still in kindergarten in terms of obscure/untraditional baseball stats. I have played the game for the majority of my life (at a high level) and know that "traditional" stats do a poor job of painting the overall picture of a player's ability. This blog is awesome in the sense that I'm a die-hard Dodger fan, I love to learn as much about the game as possible and I enjoy a good debate. This site seems to satisfy all of my baseball needs (other than playing of course).
2008-02-05 10:07:59
64.   ToyCannon
Using LW I caclulated Jeff Kent with an offensive value of 33.12 which would appear to be off if his defensive score is (-13*.66).
(33.12) + (-13 *.66) = 24.54 but you show him with a total value of 31.72.
Singles = (.47*92) =43.24
Doubles = (.78*36)=28.08
Triples = (1.09*1)=1.09
Home Runs = (1.40*20)=28
Walks+HBP (.33*(55+8))=20.46
SB (.30*1) =0.3
CS (.60*3) = -1.8
AB-Hits (.25*(494-149)=-86.25
Total 33.12

What am I doing wrong?

Abreu (13.64) + (27 * .66) = 31.46

Is that correct?

2008-02-05 10:09:15
65.   ToyCannon

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