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Thread: Your rooting interest

  1. #31
    Moderator RedlegJake's Avatar
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    Re: Your rooting interest

    During this maddening frustrating week, I just want to thank you for this thread Lonnie. Reading it has been a bright spot.

    Redszone has so many talented writers when they begin to talk about the Reds and their passion for baseball. I love reading threads like this one.

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    Re: Your rooting interest

    I apologize for not responding to all of these as promptly and thoroughly as I should. The sum of them is kind of overwhelming. The quality of thought on this board, and of writing--speaking of which, yes, vatican, I'd be interested in that essay--is really remarkable.

    Later this afternoon I'll get to some of the PMs. Hopefully. In the meantime, thanks to those who have poured out their hearts. Some of these posts might well make their way into the book, with the accompanying username. If anyone objects to that, or prefers his or her real name used, please let me know.

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  6. #33
    My clutch is broken RichRed's Avatar
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    Re: Your rooting interest

    I'm not even 100% sure how I became a Reds fan, only that there's no cure for my affliction. No one else in my family was a Reds fan; my dad was kind of a Red Sox fan but that was because Ted Williams was his favorite player. He didn't live or die with any team like I do. His dad, who he didn't even meet until he was 37 years old, worked in the Twins' front office once upon a time, so the generational baseball pass-down scenario that's so prevalent in many families didn't take hold for us.

    Growing up in Virginia Beach, VA with the Chesapeake Bay in my back yard, I guess I should've been an Orioles fan (they were pretty good in the '70s too), but the Reds became my team. My earliest memories of being a Reds fan go back to about '77-'78, so I don't really even remember the BRM's glory days. I can only assume that I grew attached to them by watching them play on the Saturday Game of the Week, but I have no recollection of consciously deciding: "I am a Cincinnati Reds fan."

    I guess I want to believe that my team consists of only good guys and that's why I like them so much, but the fact is, the Reds are my team no matter what, even though I've never lived anywhere near Cincinnati. If my fandom could survive the early '80s, the Lost Decade, and Jim Edmonds (did that really happen?), it must be indestructible. I've often said that if MLB expanded and decided to award a team to Virginia Beach and the team played its home games in my back yard, they'd be my second favorite team behind that team from Ohio.

    My attraction to the team waned for a few years but I'd have to say that finding RedsZone contributed more to my renewed interest than anything else. It's been said before, but this is the best fan forum there is, for so many reasons that I won't go into here.

    I was sad that Dunn and Griffey were traded because I liked both of them, and because that was the final realization that any winning that may occur would have to happen without those two. I think they caught more grief than they deserved, grief that should've been directed toward the front office, but it was time for the team to go in a different direction.

    I think Jocketty bringing in the high character guys played a role in the Reds' resurgence; I'm just not sure how big a role. Mostly, the Reds just have more talented players than they did a few years ago, especially on the pitching staff.

    Anytime I think about how and why I became a Reds fan, I wish I could pinpoint it a little better. But I also smile when I remember my mom buying me that first pack of '78 Topps baseball cards and I flipped through them, hoping against hope that I would find a Reds player aaaand...RAY KNIGHT! Now I can't stand the guy. I mean, once you change teams and then punch Eric Davis? That's it, pal, you and I are through.

    Great thread, Lonnie - I'm glad you started it. I love reading everyone's stories.
    "I can make all the stadiums rock."
    -Air Supply

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    Re: Your rooting interest

    * whether your rooting interest in the Reds is at all related to the character, effort, and personalities of the individuals who make up the roster;

    Not in any conscious way. I grew up in Kettering and then moved to Cincinnati. As my username might suggest, grew up on the Big Red Machine. They were tremendous players of course, the team was very successful, and they were the 'home' team. Who else would I be a fan of? I loved playing baseball and the Big Red Machine peaked when I was 12 and 13 years old. I was doomed to be a Reds fan forever. On top of that, all the big names, were HUGE personalities. I have no idea how to disentangle Rose, Bench, Morgan, Perez, and Sparky's personalities from their skills. That no doubt contributes to my deep memories/nostalgia for those teams (that and being 12 and 13 at the time). Having said that, Concepcion and Foster were actually my favorite players. Concepcion perhaps because I was a SS as a kid. In fact, if it weren't for that other kid in town, Barry something or other, I'd have played SS for the Reds when I grew up!

    * whether, and why, your attraction to the team has fluctuated over the seasons;

    As luck would have it, I went off to college to be distracted by other things at the same time the Reds became historically bad in the early 1980s. they were easy to ignore then. i casually followed them in those pre-internet days, and built a few excellent memories. I actually lived within walking distance of Wrigley Field when Rose was about to catch Ty Cobb in 1985. I didn't think he would try to catch Cobb on the road, so I watched on TV in horror as he tied the record and actually came to bat again! I kept trying to figure out if I could get inside Wrigley before he batted again or would I miss it altogether in transit. I watched that last at bat on TV in mild agony *fearing* he would get a hit, knowing I would always regret not being at a game I could have walked to if I'd thought he'd actually try to break Cobb's record away from home...In grad school I recall seeing on the late news one night that due to a long rain delay the reds were still playing in Cincinnati and that Tom Browning was throwing a perfect game. I was able to get WLW on the radio and through the static caught the last inning or so on the radio...The Ray Knight/Eric Davis brawl in 1986 (I've written about that night in another thread)...Eric Davis' home run off Dave Stewart in the 1990 World Series...I moved back to Cincinnati in 1999 and saw lots of great games in that almost pennant drive....

    * whether your affinity for the club declined or picked up (if either) after Griffey and Dunn were traded;

    Declined for a while. Especially when Dunn left. They were both disappointing figures and to me have always represented unrealistic expectations and misunderstanding by the fans. They were generally the best, second best or third best players on their teams. Yet THEY got the blame for management's incompetence. They played on mediocre teams, but that was NOT because of them. Those teams were bad because most of their 25 man rosters were bad.

    Griffey's injuries and time made it so he had to retire/be traded. Sad but inevitable. Dunn didn't really fit a national league team very well, but I always liked watching him. I still do; he is one of the few guys I have followed closely after he left. I understand why you don't want 8 of him (or even 4!) because that would be a softball team. But come on, he was fun to watch because he might do something utterly amazing. One of my all-time favorite memories was taking my son (about 7 or 8 at the time) to the game where Dunn hit a ball pretty much into the Ohio River. I have no idea if they won that game and I don't really care. That was fun. You need some characters, Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, Dave Concepcion, George Foster, Pedro Borbon, Dave Parker, Eric Davis, Rob Dibble, Adam Dunn, and Aroldis Chapman are some of the more notable Reds that have made the game more entertaining to me in stylistic ways.

    I've watched, attended, and listened to literally thousands of Reds games in my life. I love stats, learned basic math figuring out batting averages etc when I was a little kid. Learned about advanced stats when I played some fantasy baseball in the late 90s. It was truly enlightening. (I learned so much I dominated a league where the grand prize was throwing out the first pitch at a Reds game! No lie, I've got pictures. I threw a strike, too ...Talk about learning to love advanced stats!) I completely understand what they are doing (it isn't that different from the training for my 'real' job) and had I known about it when I was younger, I'd have probably tried to make a career out of it. BUT, when you watch so much baseball, some of it has to appeal to you in the way it did when you were a kid playing or watching it. It is still kind of amazing to me to see Dunn hit a ball 500+ feet, Chapman throw one 103 MPH or see the kind of double play Brandon Phillips and Cozart pulled off against the D'Backs the other night. Its a game, its fun. I'm not sure how you measure that.

    * whether you believe that Jocketty’s penchant for bringing in players with evident character/leadership assets—Rolen, Cabrera, Ludwick, perhaps Gomes—has played a substantial role in the organization’s competitive upturn over the past few years.

    I really wish I knew. I understand why the sabermetrics guys think intangibles don't matter. Baseball is largely a series of independent match ups between hitters and pitchers, so you wonder how much leadership or other outside influences can affect things. OTOH, the Reds got noticeably better when Rolen showed up. Maybe coincidence, but it was NOT mostly due to his skill on the field (although he was pretty good in stretches); so it was either good timing or something less measurable. I will confess that I was surprised by the value he seemed to have added to the team.

    If you will forgive me a lapse into a kind of economics-style argument, I suspect there is a kind of 'equilibrium' in which every team selects guys for their ability to be 'clutch,' be good leaders, etc. This happens because all their lives, they've seen in little league, high school etc that some guys fall short on those dimensions and fail. The guys who keep moving up seem to be good at those things. By the time you get to the top in MLB, most everyone passes the 'intangibles' test. When you do the kinds of test sabermetricians use, there is very little cross-sectional variation along these dimensions, so you can't relate them to on field success. That doesn't mean they don't matter, just that no one is foolish enough to try to field players without those attributes, so you can't see what happens when they aren't present. I have less than no evidence for this specific proposition; however, my point is that it is definitely possible for something to 'matter' but not be detectable by the kinds of statistical tests sabermetricians favor.


    If anyone would prefer to discuss this through private messaging, that’s fine. The more personal your remarks, the better. Thanks.

    PM anytime if you wish.
    Last edited by BRM13; 08-28-2013 at 03:31 PM.

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    Re: Your rooting interest

    Quote Originally Posted by BRM13 View Post
    If you will forgive me a lapse into a kind of economics-style argument, I suspect there is a kind of 'equilibrium' in which every team selects guys for their ability to be 'clutch,' be good leaders, etc. This happens because all their lives, they've seen in little league, high school etc that some guys fall short on those dimensions and fail. The guys who keep moving up seem to be good at those things. By the time you get to the top in MLB, most everyone passes the 'intangibles' test. When you do the kinds of test sabermetricians use, there is very little cross-sectional variation along these dimensions, so you can't relate them to on field success. That doesn't mean they don't matter, just that no one is foolish enough to try to field players without those attributes, so you can't see what happens when they aren't present.
    I'm enjoying how some of the points you guys are making overlap with discussions that became fundamental to the book. This observation about most major-leaguers being strong in the intangibles--collectively representing what I call "teamship"--is a very relevant one. While a player's makeup, etc., may be constructive, that doesn't necessarily make it a separator. For those qualities to actually enhance his value, he has to manifest them beyond the norm. To that end, I played around with the informal term WART: Wins Above Replacement-Level Teamship. Of course, there's no way to calculate it. It's totally subjective. But none the less real.

  11. #36
    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Your rooting interest

    I'm actually realizing that I think I get more attached to individual players when the team is bad. Hmmmmm. I guess there's a logic to that?
    There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.

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  13. #37
    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Your rooting interest

    Quote Originally Posted by RichRed View Post
    Jim Edmonds (did that really happen?)
    Dear god, I completely forgot about that. Maybe it *didn't* happen?
    There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.

  14. #38
    Member Strikes Out Looking's Avatar
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    Re: Your rooting interest

    Re-reading the answers in this thread, I do see one common denominator for those of us lucky enough to be alive during the Big Reds Machine era and who lived in the Cincy area. As we were probably going to be drawn to baseball for one reason or another, it was pretty much impossible for the team not to be in your DNA if you were around then.

    Another point -- I am always optimistic about the Reds prospects. I thought Eric Milton could easily win 15 games every year, that Gary Redus was a future HOF'er and that Greene, Encarnacion (and Frazier) are the real answer at 3b. Heck, at one time I even thought Jim Bowden knew what he was doing...
    Win the Division

  15. #39
    Ripsnort wheels's Avatar
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    Re: Your rooting interest

    It's possible to cotton to both the numbers angle, and the personal angle. I like numbers and stuff, but I also care about how a player wears his pants.
    "We know we're better than this, but we can't prove it." - Tony Gwynn

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  17. #40
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    Re: Your rooting interest

    My rooting interest for the Reds??...well it drove me here to Redszone today despite wanting to curl up in the fetal position for tonight's finale in St Louis...it is the drug that simultaneously sustains and often-times crushes my annual summer soul...

    For me, the marvel of the internet is in its ability to rekindle my (quite frankly) over zealous passion for this team...I fell in love with the Reds from afar living in Florida since 1971 as a young child...but the sports fan in my home (my mom) loved the Reds, so they became my team...my literal 1st Reds memory is Game 5 1972 playoffs...the 70's and 80's gave me a chance to travel to Tampa 1 time each spring with family to see a spring training game, then pray to see an occasional NBC game of the week while also reading my weekly subscription to Reds Alert and Sporting News (god, it was fun pouring over boxscores each week)...

    As I got older life got in the way until the joy of internet radio broadcasting sports really came of age in my world in 1999...oh my goodness, you mean I can listen to Reds games now...why is it that I always remember Pookie Reese's walkoff homer from that year???...then Direct TV (and eventually MLBtv) allowed me to see Reds games literally for the 1st time in my life on a regular basis...and it's been one of the most fun things ever to pass along my silly obsession with my 2 (now) teenage daughters who either a: love them too with a passion or b: they simply placate the ole dadster!

    I root for the fabric...always have, always will...has it helped me that my formative relationship with the Reds gave me 2 favorite players (Bench, then Larkin) that played their entire careers in Cincy...but as much as I loved Hamilton, Dunn and Griffey, I never lost a bit of interest and love for the Reds while really never following the individuals when they left (though I was happy for any success they had)...would I comfortably root for a Ryan Braun or Alex Rodriguez if they were Reds??...probably not, but my love of the fabric, the team I love would not diminish...(now if they became the Portland Jailblazers of the '90s...hmmm)

    Finally, do the "intangibles" matter??...well not more than having an 8th inning reliever that can miss bats or a lineup that puts together great AB's especially with RISP...BUT I strongly believe in the value of synergy and its effect on the final result...having spent 21 years as a head HS basketball coach in Florida, I know well of the dynamic of the lockerroom...internal leadership does have value...dynamic personalities (if not in opposition with others in the room) can have a wonderful uplifting ability to those less experienced, less confident...it does play a role IMHO even with professional athletics...why do teams overachieve??...underachieve??...sometimes there's no accounting for results that defy the simple mathematics...I believe that often is related to that synergistic effect brought on by ALL teams...but I'd still rather have Choo than Freel, Votto than Casey, and a thriving Frazier over the hurt, slumping Rolen...

    As a basketball coach, I have to remind myself constantly of the marathon of a baseball season and its unique psychological stressors on players...nothing else quite like it except maybe the majors in golf...

    Thanks for reminding me of how deeply I love this team even while I prepare to scream at them again tonight!


    You cannot defeat an ignorant man in an argument!
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  19. #41
    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: Your rooting interest

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    I'm actually realizing that I think I get more attached to individual players when the team is bad. Hmmmmm. I guess there's a logic to that?
    I've never heard of a franchise called the loveable winners.

  20. #42
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    Re: Your rooting interest

    One thing most serious baseball fans would agree on, even if they may not realize it, is that baseball is a part of your life. It's a part of your family. It's a part of who you are. It's a connection to so many good things in your life, whether it's a friendship with other fans or a connection to a loved one who's passed on.

    Each year in the fall when the baseball season comes to a close and the Reds are finished playing, I feel lost for a little bit. My daily life is one in which I'm mostly a creature of habit. I like my routines, I like my days relatively planned out and I like to usually unwind with a Reds game in the evening. And for six months out of the year, that's the precise fabric of my daily life. Of course, I don't watch every second of every game - west coast games are tough - and there are times when I have other social obligations. But no matter where I am, or what I'm doing, there's a familiarity of knowing that the Reds are playing and that I can take a peek at the game action or the score at any moment. When the season is over, however, the games are gone and the familiar moments are gone. It's almost like there's an emptiness in my daily life, and it takes a bit of time to adjust.

    If you're a serious baseball fan, and a serious Reds fan, ask yourself if you feel the same way. Ask yourself if you feel like there's a sudden void in your life when the season is over. I think most serious baseball fans would understand that feeling.

    The length of the season is one reason why the game intertwines with so many daily lives. It's constant, day after week after month. Other than the All-Star break or the occasional weather delay, there's no more than a one day break between games. No other sport has the familiarity and consistency that pulls your heart in night after night.

    I would also venture to guess that most baseball fans and Reds fans have a connection that goes back to their youth. For me, it was watching games with my grandfather and dad. My grandfather was a big time Reds fan from his youth in the 1920s all the way up until he passed away in 2003. He regaled me with stories of the Reds from yesteryear, guys like Walters, Derringer, Lombardi, McCormick, Blackwell, Klu, Frank, Pete, Joe, Tony and Johnny, among others. His stories piqued my interest in the game's history, and I soon began to realize how special it was to watch some of the great players of today. Watching baseball is like watching history unfold right in front of you, each and every night. Some day I hope I can entertain my own kids and grandkids in much the same way by lighting up their faces with stories of Larkin being Mr. Everything, Phillips dazzling with the glove and Votto taking control of the batter's box.

    There are certain years where I have memories of emotions so strong that I can still feel them pulling at my heart. I was a 17-year-old high school kid in 1999, and more often than not I chose to watch the Reds with my dad and grandfather over doing anything else. Those are some of my fondest memories growing up, and I wouldn't trade those moments for anything. I can remember having to work an evening part time job the night of the one game playoff and missing the beginning of the game. There were no cellphones with data packages at the time; I had no idea what the score was for the first 90 minutes of the game. After my shift was complete, I raced out to the car and turned on the radio, only to feel dejected and down when I heard the score and the tone of Marty and Joe's voice. The game wasn't over, but everything coming through my speakers suggested it was over before it was over.

    Other years like 2010 were simply special, and it's amazing to think how special it was even for a simple division championship. My grandfather used to wear an old Reds Starter jacket back in the 90s, and I have that jacket today as a sentimental keepsake. During the waning weeks of the 2010 season before the Reds clinched, I took his jacket out of the closet and set it on a chair facing the television. Even though he had been passed away for several years, it was my way of riding through the joys of a Reds pennant chase with him. It didn't matter that every guy on the 25 man roster was different in 2010 than when my grandfather last saw them on the field. The Reds were still his family, and they were also my family.

    Now what about stats and intangibles? I'm sure most anyone who's been on this board for any length of time can tell I enjoy the statistical side of baseball. But it's not because I like math (I don't), it's mostly out of curiousity and trying to make a connection to the game's rich past. Stats can tell you a bunch of information, they can tell you who helped their team win (or lose) and they can foreshadow a bit how much a player might be able to help their team win (or lose) in the future. They allow you to measure a whole bunch of sequences that you'll watch at the ballpark.

    But stats can't create that feeling that being immersed in the game can create when you find yourself on the edge of your seat, your eyes fixed on the diamond.

    Stats can't create that hope that this year might be the year. They might help inflate hope or dash hope, but we all know there is always hope, even if it's improbable.

    Stats can't create the anxiety of October looming around the corner.

    Stats can't create the excitement of being lost in a crowd of 40,000+ at Great American on a wild fall Friday night.

    And stats certainly can't create that emotion every Reds fan felt when Jay Bruce went deep off Tim Byrdak late one September night, or when Benzinger was backing and calling, or when Little Joe shot one back up the middle into center field at Fenway.

    The names on the back of the Reds jerseys are forever changing. Griffey came and went, same with Dunn, same with every other player ever to wear the Reds uniform. Some players will live on in our memories forever, others will fade away to become a long lost trivia answer.

    But the name on the front of the jersey will always be family, and it will always be a part of who we all are.
    Last edited by Cyclone792; 08-28-2013 at 08:33 PM.
    Barry Larkin - HOF, 2012

    Put an end to the Lost Decade.

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  22. #43
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Your rooting interest

    Lonnie, Really enjoyed 60 Feet 6 Inches.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lonnie Wheeler View Post
    * whether your rooting interest in the Reds is at all related to the character, effort, and personalities of the individuals who make up the roster;
    I don't think so. Obviously you would like a team to have strong character, give maximum effort and have great personalities but in the end, as long as they are wearing Reds jerseys, I'm going to root for them.

    * whether, and why, your attraction to the team has fluctuated over the seasons;
    I suppose like most fans, my interest will flag somewhat if the team is not doing well in a particular season. The early 80s were tough but come February, I always looked forward (and still do) to another year of baseball. Even back then, I craved information about the Reds. It wasn't easy to do being 500 miles from Cincinnati. WLW and The Sporting News were basically my only conduits to the Reds. Since my parents and the dorm I lived in didn't have cable, I either had to go to my grandparents or to a bar to watch WGN and TBS when the Reds were on. So no matter how bad they were, I still had a great deal of interest in the team.

    * whether your affinity for the club declined or picked up (if either) after Griffey and Dunn were traded;
    It didn't really matter either way. Seinfeld was right: We root for laundry. It may be a somewhat simplistic statement but in essence, he's right. That's not to say you don't form an attachment to the great - and not so great - players but I'm not going to ditch the Reds because they traded away a favorite player.

    * whether you believe that Jocketty’s penchant for bringing in players with evident character/leadership assets—Rolen, Cabrera, Ludwick, perhaps Gomes—has played a substantial role in the organization’s competitive upturn over the past few years.
    I think having better players - especially pitching - played the biggest role. It helps when the good character/leadership guys are good players. I really don't think fans have much of an idea how these guys contribute besides their play on the field. The media can try to tell us how they do that but they aren't there all the time.

    I believe the media uses the leadership thing as a crutch much of the time. You have some veteran who isn't contributing much on the field and the media will say that you can't get rid of him because of his leadership to the young players. However when said player has been around these younger players for several years, the younger players should have an idea how to be leaders. I think players can be like that too. They don't want to lose their buddies. They will rationalize that player's existence on the roster by playing the leadership/character card.
    The Rally Onion wants 150 fans before Opening Day.

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  24. #44
    It's showtime! RedEye's Avatar
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    Re: Your rooting interest

    You are free to PM me if you like. I may have a chance to fill out the prompts here later.

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Your rooting interest

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    I'm actually realizing that I think I get more attached to individual players when the team is bad. Hmmmmm. I guess there's a logic to that?
    I actually think that's a really keen insight. In some ways, it seems that we have a certain amount of positive fandom just looking for an outlet. When the team is good, we can all revel in the team's success and leave it there. No need to obsess over which of the productive players has been the best.

    But when times are tough, we look for silver linings. And those silver linings are the players we get attached to as people instead of as just players.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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