“ALL THE FANS ARE TRUE TO THE ORANGE AND BLUE”

Tomorrow at Citi Field there will be a press conference to announce plans for the New York Mets 50th Anniversary celebration. There will be special days to commemorate past Mets players and moments in Mets history. The big news however is the 2012 Mets will look like Mets, dressed predominantly in blue and orange.

Of course this is a blue and orange letter day for The Mets Police who has fought the good fight for a years to bring back the traditional Mets home and road unis , even going as far to concede the use of the dreaded black tops on a limited basis to get the organization to stay strictly blue and orange.  

The Mets have gotten the message as the black tops and hopefully the black and the garish black and blue caps will be relics of the past.

More about this tomorrow as I’ve been invited along with other Mets bloggers to attend the presser to get a firsthand look at the new/old uni’s.    

I have been called a “Sandy Alderson apologist” by some but I have to hang my Mets cap on to something positive and Alderson’ track record says he can be successful with limited funding and his way of doing business, building the farm system and implementing a regiment throughout the Mets minor league system is exactly what I believe in. Ed “Rusty Jr.” Marcus writes about the Alderson honeymoon today at The Real Dirty Mets and how some Mets fans want a miracle but what is needed is patience.

If the balmy temperature’s here in NYC don’t have you thinking baseball, how about the release of the Mets 2012 spring training schedule then.  There is a bit of a twist for next spring as the Mets and Bronx Bastards will meet at the end of the exhibition season. The Mets and Highlanders used to meet regularly during spring but once Dave Kingman blasted two home runs off Catfish Hunter in a televised game back to NYC in March of 1975 (big build up for this one as it was Tom Seaver vs. Hunter who had signed the biggest free agent contract in baseball over the winter, New Years Day to be exact) Big Baby George said he had enough of the Mets. See the Mets used to rule the NYC baseball world.

Oh, and mark Wednesday March 7th on your calendar as that’s the day the Mets face ex-teammate Jose Reyes and his Flamboyant Fish for the first time in Jupiter.

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NY METS ANNOUNCE EXPANSION OF CITI FIELD FANWALK FOR 2012

The Mets have announced today that they are expanding the Fanwalk where you can purchase a brick with this years 50th Anniversary patch on it. I have a brick from when the Mets first offered them for the Fanwalk, in fact when you purchase a Fanwalk brick you get one on either the first or third base side outside of Citi Field and you get one for your home, mine is on the mantle of the fireplace in my dining room so when family and friends who are Highlander fans they must stare at it while having dinner.

Here is the release put out by the Mets on how who can purchase your Fanwalk Brick:

METS EXPAND CITI FIELD FANWALK FOR 2012 SEASON

 

“Citi Field Fanwalk: Mets 50th Anniversary” Bricks Are On Sale Now

 

Purchase Includes Brick Replica, Net Proceeds to Benefit Mets Foundation;

Mets 2011 Season Ticket and Plan Holders to Receive 15% Discount

 

FLUSHING, N.Y., November 2 – The New York Mets today announced the expansion of the Citi Field Fanwalk to include a new offering of bricks in honor of the franchise’s 50th anniversary to be installed for the 2012 season along the first and third base sides of the ballpark outside the Hodges VIP and Seaver VIP entrances. Citi Field Fanwalk: Mets 50th Anniversary commemorative bricks will provide fans the opportunity to recognize their families, friends, and favorite Mets memories since the franchise first began play in 1962.

 

Bricks are on sale now at Mets.com/Fanwalk or by phone at 877-NYM-WALK (696-9255).

 

The first two editions of Citi Field Fanwalk bricks sold out with fans purchasing more than 24,000 bricks.  The first offering of bricks directly outside the Jackie Robinson Rotunda was installed prior to the inaugural season at the new Mets home in 2009.  The Fanwalk was extended down the first base and third base lines the following year with Citi Field Fanwalk: Amazin’ Moments bricks commemorating great moments in Mets history.

 

Fans will be able to purchase bricks in three sizes:

  • 8” x 8” brick engraved with the Mets 50th anniversary logo or Mets script logo and four lines of text for $395
  • 8” x 8” brick with six lines of text for $340
  • 4” x 8” brick with three lines of text for $195

 

Each Citi Field Fanwalk: Mets 50th Anniversary brick includes a complimentary replica, with additional copies and display cases available for purchase.  All brick engravings will be text only, and each proposed message is subject to the approval of the Mets.  Corporate logos and slogans are not permitted.

 

Mets 2011 Season Ticket and Plan Holders will receive a 15% discount on Fanwalk bricks.

 

A portion of each brick purchase is tax deductible and net proceeds will be donated to the Mets Foundation, which will distribute the funds to area charities.  A registered 501(c) 3 charity, the Mets Foundation takes no portion of the funds raised to offset internal costs. The Mets pay 100% of the Foundation’s overhead to ensure that the entirety of a donation is directed toward helping others.

 

The Mets will reveal the design for their 50th anniversary logo and plans for the season-long celebration in the coming weeks.

 

 

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SANDY ALDERSON WILL BE WHEELING AND DEALING THIS OFF SEASON

I don’t understand how some members of our Flushing congregation have a hard time comprehending that due to the financial problems of our beloved Skill Sets, it is not business as usual when it comes to restructuring this Mets team.  There will be no more careless bidding on free agents (I’ll see your 4th year and raise you a 6th year) as has been done in the past. Let’s put the cards on the table right now, the Mets will not sign Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, CC Sabathia or Ted Williams severed head.

Now that does not mean it will be a quiet off season, in fact I’m looking at what will be the busiest off season in Mets history. When you look around and the needs of this team (again as opposed to years past when the Mets focused on wants instead ) there are so many, it could take two off seasons to fill the gaps.

There is still a need at 2nd base, Justin Turner and Daniel Murphy are not every day 2nd basemen. Turner, while a hustler, leaves much to be desired in the field and as for Murph, he may get killed trying to turn a double play. So a bonafide 2nd baseman is on the want list. Ben Zobrist would look nice in a Mets throwback uni.

Shortstop will be manned by Ruben Tejeda. Get used to reading that.

In a perfect world, the Mets would have a whole new outfield in 2012. But we Mets fans live in the most imperfect world on baseball earth.  I’m sure Sandy Alderson will try very hard to move Bay and his cement shoes contract. Unless he is willing to eat a lot of dead presidents or take back another unseemly contract, this will be near impossible to do. Angel Pagan should be an ex-Met soon and Lucas Duda looks to be attractive trade chum. Of course the name Grady Sizemore comes up as a choice for center field but his injury history is a huge caveat. There will be suitors for Sizemore among teams that have outfield depth, something the Mets lack. Coco Crisp and David DeJesus are nice fall backs or how about BJ Upton (get him with Zobrist in a mega deal with the Rays?  Would the Rays take a package of Murphy, Duda, Parnell and another minor league pitcher for both?) or how about a deal with the Orioles for Adam Jones (is Mike Pelfrey a viable trade chip? Would you trade Jon Niese for Jones? Hummmmm?)

The bullpen and starting pitching will be the toughest to fill as we have seen in this past post season, pitching is at a real premium these days.  There is a glut of closers on the market and one, Joe Nathan has declared the Mets a destination of choice, if a two year deal with incentives could be worked out with Nathan that would be a great signing by Alderson.

Josh Thole is not an everyday catcher, in fact he may be better off in Buffalo learning the tools of the trade but that won’t happen, I don’t think.  I’d love the Mets to get their hands on Chris Iannetta or Nick Hundley but I think I’d settle for Kelly Shoppach as a tag team partner for Thole. A top flight catcher is hard to find.

I can see the Mets making a lot of deals this winter, when you are strapped for cash, the barter system is the way to go. As the late Bob Murphy said “Fasten your seatbelt” and be careful of getting whiplash.

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WHERE THE BIG BOYS ARE

So far this postseason each series has been a thrill to watch. Great story lines, terrific pitching and big stars coming through in big spots. Another plus of the postseason is getting to see and hear Jim Leyland. Leyland in the dugout is on top of every pitch and his pre and post-game pressers are fun to watch. After last night’s Tigers win, Leyland was asked about Miguel Cabrera’s hit that gave the Tigers the lead early in the game and the answer Leyland gave had me thinking, on the Mets who are our big boys? Answer is we don’t have one.

David Wright was a big boy at one time, but since getting beaned by Matt Cain, he’s lost his bigness. Jose Reyes was a big boy for most of this season but not the same kind of big boy that Leyland is talking about, one who puts a team on his back and carries it. We used to have a big boy in Carlos Beltran but he was sent away for a prize pitching prospect Zack Wheeler who could be a pitching big boy soon. Jason Bay at one time was a big boy but now he’s just a sorry middle aged boy. Lucas Duda may blossom into a big boy as he has the size for the moniker but does he have the big talent to go with it? The closest Met right now to big boy status is Ike Davis, who before his fluke injury knocked him out for the season was reaching big boy status; will his injury and inactivity stunt his growth? Tune in, in March.

Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Albert Puljois, and Miguel Cabrera all big boys ,all putting their teams on their backs, Sandy Alderson needs to find us a big boy.

I apologize for not posting this sooner. Metstrdamus is running his 2011 Hall of Hate, where you pick the most hated person in Mets history. As you can see from the match ups, which are done in a similar style to the NCAA Basketball Brackets, it doesn’t have to a Mets player or someone in the Mets front office or management to be hated.

Sometimes what gets Mets fans riled up, makes me laugh. Reports yesterday were rampant that Wally Backman was going to jump the Mets ship and head to Washington D.C to join Davey Johnson’s Nats staff. Why Mets fans would care that Backman would bolt to join Johnson astonishes me. I’m a Backman fan and have been since he played for the club back in the day, but whether Wally stays in the Mets organization or not isn’t a real pressing issue as far as I’m concerned.  Now today I see where Backman is staying with the Mets and most likely he will manage the Buffalo Bisons in 2012. I hope Backman gets a shot at a big league managerial job, but with pitching concerns,  re-signing Jose Reyes, whether Jason Bay is done, can Lucas Duda become a serviceable right fielder and middle of the order power hitter and can Ike Davis come back 100 %, is paramount to the Mets concern not where in the world is Wally Backman going to wind up.

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WHAT A GAME THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN

I couldn’t find a picture of THE home run but who could forget the home run off the clock in St. Louis by Straw on October 1, 1995. I thought about that home run after watching last night’s come from behind win. Ahhh what we once had……  

 

Most of the Mets news this morning is of the off the field variety, with some mention of yesterday’s big 9th inning rally. After last night’s game all I could think of if the Mets were in a chase for a post season berth this game would have been labeled one of the all-time great game in Mets history, instead all it gets is an “atta boy”. Sad.

All the Madoff-Skill Sets-Piccard bullshit baffles me as Freddy and Uncle Saul keep going with the “Hey, we were duped too” defense. I find it very hard to believe the story that Freddy and Saul were these two neophyte investors who were blindside by Bernie Madoff. The point that Freddy and Saul say the never even asked what Madoff what he was investing their money in is the “are you fucking kidding me”? moment for me. Am I to believe that at no point in this whole scheme and big returns on their investment, Freddy and Uncle Saul didn’t ask, “Uhmmm Bernie, just where are you investing our money”? Pharmaceuticals? Precious metals? Trafficking of children for sex slaves? I know I hold the Skill Sets in low esteem but even I don’t think they were that stupid not know where their money was going.

The Daily Snooze says today the Mets will look at exercising Terry Collins 2013 contract option at the end of the season, as I believe they should. There will also be a discussion on the status of coaching staff and it seems that even with Collins coming out saying he would love to have the whole staff back, Chip Hale may migrate to Oakland to join Bob Melvin and Old School Dan Warthen could be done as pitching coach. It would be a loss to lose Hale, as he’s a very good 3rd base coach and a hard worker but losing Warthen seems like no great shakes, in fact it’s time for Warthen to go and get a new voice for the pitching staff that ranks last in just about every statistical pitching category.

How about the last minute desperation from the Red Sox as they tried to get Chris Capuano in a deal? Seems the Sox didn’t make enough of a tribute to Sandy Alderson to make this deal or it could be Alderson has plans to bring Cap back as either a spot starter/long man role in the Darren Oliver mold for the Mets next season. It could also be that the deal breaker was Alderson’ insistence that Theo Epstein had to take Ryota Igarashi on the deal

Last home stand of the season starts today, I’m going to Wednesday’s game, the season finale because it’s the last game of the year and as bad as the season is ending, comes November and December when it’s cold, snowy and downright miserable, you’ll be wishing you were at the ball park instead of the business end of a snow shovel.

 

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WHO’S #1 IN THE TOP METS METS OF ALL TIME? WHO ELSE BUT…..

The Greatest!!!!!!!

This off season Ed Marcus (a/k/a RustyJr) of Real Dirty Mets took on the project of asking his readers to send in their list of the Top 50 NY Mets of All-Time. What’s great about the list that Ed tabulated as we enter the 50th season of Mets baseball, there are three generation Mets fans, the oldtimers (my crowd) who have lived through the best and worst of this franchise, the early to mid 40’s Mets fan who aligns very close with the old timer but didn’t witness the ’69 Championship but reveled in ’86. Then there is the young guns of the Mets fandom, the 20-30 something’s who are sick and tired of the previous generations (especially the old-timers) talking about the halcyon days of the franchise.

When I look at the list (Ed has the list of the top 50 posted today but you should look in the archive of that site to read the essay he put together on each player which are well researched and well written especially for you neophyte Mets fans who need a history lesson) there were some pleasant surprises and a few head shakers as well.

At the last game at Shea Stadium, Felix Millian(#50) was introduced and fans my age were clapping and imitating Millian batting stance complete with choking up half way up on our makeshift Mets magazine/bat. More surprising to me was Little Al Jackson coming in at  #35 who has been in the organization as a player/coach/instructor from day 1. Robin Ventura was a shocker at #9 as he played only three seasons with the Mets with 1999 his best, the other two were so-so although like I told Ed I still have my “Mojo Risin’” t-shirt from the 1999 post season.

Of course I feel Ed Kranepool should have placed higher but that’s my personal bias. I can see Mike Piazza at #2 even though I’m not a big Piazza fan (Jerry Grote is still the best catcher in Mets history with Gary Carter close second) and of course the #1 choice will always be the #1 choice as he is then, now and forever THE FRANCHISE, George Thomas Seaver

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A PUBLIC DISPLAY OF OWNERSHIP?

So neither Mayor Moneybags or Jerry Seinfled are interested in buying the Mets. That’s fine by me because I am very much interested in buying the Mets

 (first thing I’d do is redesign Citi Field and make it like Cameron Indoor Stadium where all the seats in the field level of the stadium would be for Mets fans only and by fans I mean in order to sit there you would have to take a 10 question quiz on Mets history. For every question you get right I deduct a dollar off the already low 20 bucks I’d charge for the seat. Then I’d move all the club seats holders to the Promenade and make up the difference in my new ticket price plan on them. Oh and I enclose the whole promenade as so not to disturb the high rollers with our screaming and yelling of LET’S GO METS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)   

Except I lack the one thing that would make that happen. MONEY, but both Bloomy and Seinfeld are filthy rich so if they front me the cash, I would be happy to take ownership over from the Skill Sets.

Alex Remington on FanGraphs puts out the theory of the Mets going with a public sale of stock in the team as a way to raise capital and keep control of the franchise. If this happened I would definitely buy in. Remington mentions the Boston Celtics in his piece as a team that stock was available in back in the mid late 90’s. Being a Celtics fan, I bought 100 shares of Celtics stock for 8 buck a share. When the current management took over control of the team they wanted make them private, so they offered the shareholders $35 a share so my $800 investment brought me back $3500 and the right to say I once was a part owner of the Boston Celtics.  

Ed Marcus’ Top 50 Mets of all time checks today with #27 Jesse Orosco. Of course we can never forget Orosco on the mound for the NLCS and World Series clinchers and of course coming to the Mets from the Twins for Jerry Koosman but the game that stands out to me is July 22, 1986 in a 6-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds. Davey Johnson had both Orosco and his tag team partner Roger McDowell stay in the game by rotating them from the outfield to the pitcher’s mound.

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WALKIN’ IN A WINTER WONDERLAND

I hope you are all enjoying this St Stephen’s (my namesake) Day nice and warm as we here in NYC are looking at a foot-foot and half of snow with blizzards conditions tonight which should make the morning commute just a joy.

Of course there is no Mets news but I did read an interesting post today by my buddy Mike Silva, where he ranks his top ten Mets teams of all time. As I commented on Mike’s site, it’s hard not to just award the top two spots on this kind of list to the 1969 and 1986 Mets, as they are the only teams to bring home a championship trophy to Queens.

Silva mentions the 1997 team in his honorable emotions and when you look at that team, there are some much underrated players in Mets history on the roster. Todd Hundley doesn’t get the mentions he should as his spilt with the club was not amicable, as he lost his job for the fact that Mike Piazza was a catcher and when he was asked to move to the outfield he was offended and really didn’t help himself with his playing left like a kid given a plate of Brussels sprouts.   It wasn’t all Hundley’s fault as the front office didn’t handle the situation as they should, such as dealing Hundley.

That team could get on base led by John Olerud with a .400 OBA followed by Hundley at .394 (and a team leading OPS of .943 on the strength of 30 homers) Edgardo Alfonzo at  .391 and Lance Johnson at .385

The pitching was good too led by Bobby Jones and his 15 wins and Rick Reed who won 13 games was the ace of the staff. The bullpen led by John Franco closing out games and Greg McMichale taking care of the 8th inning moved this club to a +17 over the  ’96 team in the win column in Bobby Valentine’ first full season as Mets manager.

Besides the World Series winners, who do you think were the best teams in Mets history?

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R.A. DICKEY, IS READY TO JOIN THE “WHERE ARE THEY NOW” CLUB

Every casual Mets fan can rattle off the names of great pitchers in Mets history, Seaver, Koosman, Matlack, Gooden, Darling, but the die hard Mets fan has guys that when they  here the nam,e one of those cartoon clouds form over their head with reminisces of terrific performance of the past. The mention of their name is usually followed with the refrain “What ever happened to that guy”?

Don Cardwell was one of them, a journeyman who pitched for three full and part of a fourth season for the Mets back in the late 60’s and was on the ’69 World Champion team as a spot/starter long reliever. Cardwell was better than his record and was one of those guys who when called upon either won a game for you or at worse kept the team in a game.

Ron Taylor was another ‘69er who was key in the pen and today is a physician in his naïve Toronto and works for the Blue Jays.  His problem was he was overshadowed by a young, brash fellow reliever, Frank (Tug) McGraw

George Stone came to the Mets with Felix Milan in one of the most underrated deals in Mets history (Danny Frisella and Gary Gentry were shipped to Atlanta) and went 12-3 in 1973 and his misuse by Yogi Berra in the 1973 World Series still bothers me to this day. 

Rick Reed, Skip Lockwood, Craig Swan, Bruce Berenyi, Bill Pulshiper, Izzy and Neil Allen are guys who I think about now and then, about the contribution to the Mets teams they played or how some like Reed came out of nowhere or Stone who had the year of his life in 1973 or Lockwood an very underrated reliever or poor Puls’ one of the Titanic Trio along with Izzy and Paul Wilson, the ill fated Generation K. Craig Swan the Ace of some bad pitching staff of the late 70’s. Berenyi, a June 15th pick up in 1984 when the Mets were starting to turn things around and became pennant contenders. All these guys forever etched in my Mets fan memory of players. Now we have one more pitcher who I can add to that list, R.A. Dickey.

If the Mets go on to win a seat at the post season table, R.A. Dickey will have played a major role. Dickey is the kind of pitcher I’ve always wanted the Mets to have. He looks like a guy right out of Bull Durham. The long hair, three day stubble, the southern drawl, a real dirtbag and I say that with the utmost affection. Sometimes a guy starts to realize he has nothing to lose anymore and stops listening to others and just goes out and does things the way he wants, and it works, you just have to root like hell for him. I even like the fact that he knows Jerry Manuel wanted no part of him on the team and Dickey saying, He could care less what Manuel thinks as he doesn’t pitch for Manuel he pitches for himself and the team.

Who knows maybe in the year 2020 at Old Timers Day, R.A. Dickey will be welcomed with a huge ovation as he’s introduced or maybe he will be a guy that pops in my head when I see a homeless guy with a cap pulled down to his eyes and stubble on his face bringing cans and bottles in for nickel deposit and say “I wonder what ever happened to R.A. Dickey.”

Whatever happens, it’s a joy to watch this Mets team play. As we head toward the end of June, that Mets are a mere ½ game out of first place. Let the summer fun begin!

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IS IT A HELP OR A HINDRANCE TO GET CARLOS BELTRAN BACK IN THE METS LINEUP ?

Do we really hope that Carlos Beltran comes back this season? This is not an anti-Beltran post, I like Beltran and I am in no means joining the Beltran contract worst in Mets history club just the contrary, he was the player the Mets needed to have at the time he signed his deal and he has produced offensively and defensibly to be the best center fielder in baseball. The reason I’m in no hurry to see him back is, I don’t see where he fits in with this Mets team.

The Mets have gone from a collection of talent to a cohesive team. Whereas the organization went out and brought in big names who made those names elsewhere (Glavine, Delgado, Martinez, Beltran to name four biggies) that Mets fans never warmed up to, now the fan base is giddy over the homegrown infield of Wright, Reyes, Tejada and Ike. Mets fans are also rooting harder for Jon Niese to make his mark and are glowing over once removed Met farmhand, Angel Pagan who has played not only productive baseball but smart baseball as well.

Even when it comes to who is the Ace of the Mets pitching staff, as much as we respect and hold Johan Santana in high regard to where he is his almost near home grown adulation, lots of Mets fans have anointed Mike Pelfrey as THE MAN for the Mets. We have watched Pelfrey go from a gawky pitcher who likes to lick his hands and sometimes space out on the mound to a stud pitcher who’s starts are now a reason to either make it to the TV or drop all plans and head to $iti Field.   

Jason Bay and Jeff Francouer have been big in this hot streak the Mets have been on this month but when you ask Mets fans about Bay they nod like “he’s ok” and Frenchy before this hot streak of his, Mets fans had him top of the non-tender list for this off season. As for Frankie Rodriguez, just check out Twitter when he comes in to close a game, it’s like someone in the car farted and the windows are all locked.    

Then we have Jenry Mejia who has been abused by the Mets to the point that Mets fan have been calling Child Services to have him removed from Jerry Manuel Torture Chamber (a/k/a The bullpen) That Mejia has not been allowed to grow in his craft in the Mets minor league system is a serious crime to all Mets fans, as we want Mejia to grow strong and add that 97 mph fastball to the rotation of Pelfrey and Niese. The handling of Mejia this season is the baseball equivalent of the 2 year old kid smoking two packs of cigarettes a day in Indonesia STOP THE ABUSE!!!!    

Back to Beltran for a moment, the Mets have a nice little run going here and if or when Beltran comes back where does he play? If he goes back to his home in centerfield then does that move Pagan to the bench? Or does the mean a platoon of Frenchy and Pagan in RF? Can Beltran cover the ground he used to now that he will wear a knee brace to play? If he can’t then does he move to right field knocking Frenchy to the bench? Loads of questions here and that’s why maybe for the good of the team, it’s better that Beltran is taking his time coming back and if you’re the Mets front office do you secretly hope he doesn’t come back?

don’t forget to check out my THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN Shop at Cafe Press

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Tickets

The Mets are looking great this year and The Eddie Kranepool Society keeps you up to date on the good bad and the ugly. If you are looking for Mets Tickets, you must visit Coast To Coast Tickets for all your ticket needs. CTC carries MLB Tickets as well as some of the best priced Concert Tickets on the web and don't forget they also carry Yankees Tickets.

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