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Tides down Chiefs 5-3: Relievers Dominate Night as Tides even Series

Chris George started the game and got a no decision allowing 2 runs and 2 hits

The Norfolk Tides continued their northern adventure on Tuesday night and defeated the Syracuse Chiefs by a score of 5-3.  With tempuratures in the low 50s and high 40s under cloudy skies with winds coming in out of center at 7 miles an hour the teams squared off in front of 3844 fans at Alliance Bank Field.  The Tides dominated the night with pitching, particularly relief pitching allowing just three hits during the game. Chris George started the game for the Tides and pitched four innings giving up 2 runs on two hits both runs coming with two outs in the fourth inning when Mike Morse took the first pitch offered to him over the left field wall. George would come out at the end of the inning and was relieved by Armando Gabino.  Gabino gave up a walk, a wild pitch and a single to start the inning and then settled down.  After that it was lights out on the Chiefs who did not muster another hit during the game.  Gabino gave up no more runs or hits in three innings work. Kam Mickolio came on in the 8th and sent the Chiefs down in order in his best outing since his return from Baltimore and Frank Mata got the save despite a throwing error by Robert Andino which put a runner on and a wild pitch which advanced the runner.

Brandon Snyder doubled to lead off the 4th inning and scored a run

The Tides scored two runs in the top of the second when Scott Moore walked and advanced to third on a Robert Andino single.  The Tides were then helped by a Syracuse error as on a force play attempt by Chiefs’ third baseman Eric Burnett which allowed Moore to score and put Brandon Snyder on at first and Robert Andino at second.  Joey Gathright who has been in a slump then came to the plate and delivered an RBI single which scored Andino.

Kam Mickolio had his best outing since returning from Baltimore

The Tides struck again for two runs in the top of the 3rd inning when Justin Turner doubled and scored when Jeff Salazar singled and advanced to third on a throwing error by Chiefs’ center fielder Justin Maxwell.  Josh Bell then drove in Salazar for his 21st RBI on a fly ball to right.

Josh Bell doubled in the 8th

The Tides added an insurance run in the 8th inning when Justin Turner singled and moved to third on Josh Bell’s seventh double of the season.  Turner then scored on a fielder’s choice hit to first base by Scott Moore.

The Tides had 5 runs on 9 hits and 1 error and left 6 men on base.  The Chiefs had 3 runs on 3 hits but committed 2 costly errors in the loss.  Armando Gabino got the win his first of the season and Frank Mata notched his 6th save.  Chuck James got the loss.  On Wednesday the teams will play again with Troy Patton (2-3 5.50) going up against the number on draft pick in baseball Stephen Strasburg (1-0 0.00) who is making his second start for the Chiefs after being called up from AA Harrisburg.

That’s all for now, Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides Fall to Chiefs 4-3 in Syracuse

Jake Arietta pitched 7 innings but got a no decision

The Norfolk Tides travelled north to Syracuse on faced the Chiefs in the opening game of a four game series at Alliance Bank Field.  The Chiefs who are the AAA affiliate of the Washington Nationals lead the North Division of the International League with a record of 18-11 and are playing very good ball.  Even more surprising for the Nationals organization is that the Nationals have an 18-14 record and sit in second place in the NL East trailing the division leading Philadelphia Phillies by two games.

In front of a crowd of 3612 fans who braved temperatures that fell into the 40s as the night wore on and variable winds of 11 miles an hour the teams took the field.  Although it was cold the weather was nowhere near as bad as the weekend where two games between the Chiefs and the Gwinnett Braves were postponed due to winter weather including snow on Sunday. The Tides started Jake Arietta who faced Sharion Martis of the Chiefs. Arietta (3-1 1.67) pitched seven innings allowing 2 earned ruins on 4 hits.  He gave up an unearned run in the bottom of the 4th inning when after walking Josh Whitesell and then on a 1-1 count hit Mike Morris.  This brought up Pete Orr who bunted to Arietta who fielded the ball the throw was late to First Baseman Brandon Snyder but also wild which allowed Whitesell to score on the play.  Orr was given a hit on the play but Arietta the error as the throw enabled Whitesell to score and Orr to advance to second.

The Tides scored one run in the top of the 4th inning when Corey Patterson continued his ferocious hitting by launching a triple to right field and scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Josh Bell his 20th RBI of the season.  The Tides would score again and tie the game in the 6th inning.  Corey Patterson walked to lead off the inning and was followed by Josh Bell who popped up to third baseman Pete Orr in foul territory.  Scott Moore then singled and Patterson was held at second base.  To the plate came Brandon Snyder who had a key role in the Tides win against the Mud Hens on Sunday. Brandon took a called strike from Martis and then fouled tow pitches off before taking ball one.  With a 2-1 count Snyder tripled to right to bring both Patterson and Moore home to tie the score.  Justin Turner struck out swinging and when the ball got away from catcher Carlos Maldonado Snyder attempted top come home. Maldonado threw to relief pitcher Drew Storen who tagged Snyder out at the plate to end the inning.

Brandon Snider had 2 2 RBI Triple in the top of the 6th inning

The game remained knotted at 3 until the bottom of the 8th inning. Arietta left at the end of the 7th and was relieved by Ross Wolf who has been very effective in relief this year.  Wolf faced Kevin Mensch who after working the count to 2-2 by fouling off four pitches took the seventh pitch and doubled to center.  Josh Whitesell singled to right fielder Michael Aubrey scoring Mensch.  Wolf would work his way out of the inning but the damage was done and the Tides were unable to score in the 9th inning despite a single by Corey Patterson and the Chiefs took game one by a score of 4-2.

Arietta went seven innings and got a no decision giving up 2 earned runs on 4 hits. His problem came due to control; he gave up five walks and hit one batter as well as the throwing error that cost the run in the 4th inning.  Ross Wolf (0-2 2.89)  got the loss in relief giving up one run on two hits.  Chiefs reliever Ron Villone (1-1 9.53) got the win and Joel Peralta (0-0 S8) got his eighth save of the season.  The teams meet again on Tuesday with Chris George (1-1 4.50) getting the start for the Tides and Chuck James (2-0 4.85) taking the hill at home for the Chiefs.

The Tides made a number of personnel moves over the weekend sending pitcher Jim Miller and catcher Steve Lerud to Baltimore’s short season “A” team the Aberdeen Ironbirds, and activating pitcher Denis Sarfate and catcher Michel Hernandez from the disabled list.  Pitcher Jim Johnson who had been sent down from the Orioles last week was placed on the 7 day disabled list for elbow pain.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Tides Lose Saturday 10-3 but Tillman Dominates Toledo on Sunday Tides Win 4-1

Corey Patterson Smacked 3 doubles in Saturday’s loss

The Norfolk Tides won their first series of the season taking three of four at Harbor Park from the Toledo Mud Hens.  After taking the first game of the series in a slugfest 12-7 on Thursday night, the Tides and Toledo battled into the 12th inning on Friday with the Tides getting a 3-2 win on Josh Bell’s walk off home run with no outs in the bottom of the 12th.

Brandon Erbe took his 6th loss on Saturday

On Saturday in front of 6795 fans in warm and windy weather it would turn out to be a different sort of ball game as the Mud Hens got to Tides starting pitcher Brandon Erbe (0-6 7.20) early and often hitting the young pitcher hard for 6 runs on 9 hits in 5.2 innings. After driving Erbe from the game they continued on getting Pedro Viola for 2 runs on 3 hits in 1.1 innings.  They scored another unearned run in the 8th and another earned run off of Kam Mickolio in the 9th.  The Mud Hens pounded out 13 hits and were helped by 6 walks and a hit batsman from Tides pitchers and two errors one of which contributed to the run in the 8th inning. Erbe was pasted with the Mud Hens hitting him for 3 home runs, two by Clete Thomas and two doubles. Although Viola only gave up three hits all went for extra bases two doubles and a triple.

On the offensive side the Tides got 11 hits but only put them together to produce runs in the 1st and the 7th innings.  In the first Robert Andino led off with a double, Corey Patterson walked and Josh Bell singled to load the bases. Scott Moore sacrificed Andino home for the Tides first run.  In the 2nd inning they put the first two men on base but could not get them to the plate. In the 3rd inning Corey Patterson doubled to lead off the inning but was left on base. In the 4th inning Blake Davis tripled with one out and was left on base.  In the 7th things started to turn around Robert Andino singled and with one out Corey Patterson nailed his second double of the night to drive him home. Patterson advanced to second on a ground out by Josh Bell and scored on a single by Scott Moore before Michael Aubrey grounded out to end the inning.  The Tides went down in order in the 8th and with two outs in the 9th Corey Patterson hit his third double of the night but was left on base.

In all the Tides only brought home 2 of 14 runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base. Erbe got the loss his sixth loss of the year.  Alfedo Figaro (4-1 2.55) got the win for Toledo.

Chris Tillman got his third win with a 4 hit 10 strikeout performance on Sunday

On Sunday Chris Tillman got the start for the Tides and while not quite as sharp as his no hitter he was still very much in control of this game pitching seven innings giving up only 1 run on 4 hits while striking out 10. The run came on a 7th inning home run by Jeff Larish.  Alberto Castillo came on in the 8th and allowed a single and two walks before being pulled for Frank Mata.  Mata stuck out Danny Worth and got Larish to ground out to end the inning stranding all three Toledo runners.  Mata came back out in the 9th and though walking Clete Thomas with two outs then stuck out Caspar Wells to end the game and get his 5th save.

Brandon Snyder blasting his 2nd home run of the season in the 5th inning

The Tides got their first run in the 1st inning when Robert Andino walked to lead off the inning and advanced to second on an excellent sacrifice bunt by Joey Gathright. Corey Patterson singled Andino to third and Josh Bell grounded out to score Andino.  The score would remain 1-0 until the 5th inning when Brandon Snyder ended his drought by launching a home run way over the deep left center field wall to extend the Tides lead to 2-0.  In the 6th the Tides added another run. Joey Gathright singled to lead off the inning and went to second on a missed forced attempt when Will Rhymes and Brent Dlugach could not complete the play Rhymes first bobbling the ball and then Dlugach missing the toss from Rhymes.  Josh Bell hit a sacrifice fly to move Gathright to third.  Gathright scored when Scott Moore hit a sacrifice fly to center.  Toledo then got its only run on Larish’s home run in the top of the 7th.  In the bottom of the 7th the Tides added their final run as Brandon Snyder singled and went to second on a ground out by Blake Davis.  Snyder scored on a single by Robert Andino.

Frank Mata got his 5th save

The game ended with the Tides on top with a final score of 4-1.  The Tides have had 4 runs on 6 hits and no errors leaving 5 men on base while the Mud Hens had 1 run on 5 hits and 2 errors with 7 left on base. Chris Tillman (3-3 3.49) got the win and Frank Mata (0-0 S5 1.23) got the save.  Toledo starter Ryan Ketchner (0-1 2.77) got the loss.

The Tides are now 14 and 17 and in third place in the International League South 5 games behind the Durham Bulls. The Tides departed today on an eight game road trip to Syracuse and Buffalo.  Syracuse could be interesting as the Chiefs and the visiting Gwinnett Braves were snowed out today. The Tides return to Harbor Park on the 18th to face the Pawtucket Red Sox.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Flooding! Flooding! Flooding! When Water pours from the Ceiling and Padre Steve Gets to Write a Sports Blog

steve on top of the rockPadre Steve: Soon to Be Sports Blogger…Could it lead to the Big Leagues?

This has been an interesting few days.  I got a chance to get some rest over the weekend, saw some baseball games, spent time talking to Chicago Cubs and a Philadelphia Phillies scouts on different nights, spent some time talking with Tides Pitchers David Pauley and Radhames Liz in between innings.  Both are interesting folks, Pauley and his wife just had a baby and Liz is one of the few pitchers in the Major League 100 mph club.  Both are nice guys and I hope that both do well.  I think that Radhames has a good chance; he seems to have his control back and can throw a ball of fire.  Last night I went to the game and had almost my full cast of characters in place.  Elliott the Usher and I had our usual running commentary during the game, Barry the Scorekeeper was back after visiting his family and going to a wedding over the weekend out of town.  Chip the Usher was in his appointed place, Marty the Card Dealer, Mandy the Tides Store Manager who by the way is leaving us for another job, congrats but you’ll be missed kid.  Ray and John my Vietnam Veteran of America friends who pour the beer behind home place had just returned from the organization’s national conference.  The only person missing was Kenny the Pretzel Guy.  Heck I even had my buddy Elmer the Shrink as a guest.  It was a great night even though the Tides lost.  Today I was able to see the score in between patients and the Tides won 8-7 to split the series with the Chiefs.

I came in to work this and got my usual large 24 ounce coup of Southern Pecan coffee with 4 French Vanilla creamers and four packs of Splenda from Pat down at the Dancing Goat.  I got changed, did my duty turnover and got busy, but not nearly as busy as last week.  It has been a good day, some good ministry, a lot of hard work doing some writing for our residency program and some nice times on the wards with some great people, staff and patients alike.  However, in between rounds of my ICU a coworker ask to talk to me about helping with a project that she is working on.  I went to my office and when I opened the door I saw water spreading out across my lowest bidder carpet.   I look up and the words “oh crap” or something synonymous passed through my lips.   My ceiling tile near the sprinkler system was sagging down, water coming at a steady drip from it as the tile itself was cracking under the weight of the water that it had soaked up.  Now this is not the first time this has happened, last time it happened after hours and was a soggy mess, the rotten tile looked like really bad oatmeal gone really bad.   I was not impressed so immediately I put in a call to facilities saying “I need you guy’s STAT, my ceiling is leaking and looks like it about to crash.”  It took a while for the guys to get here and when they did they looked up and said, “Sir move all your stuff, this could get ugly.”  I already had moved almost everything to the high ground and rapidly moved the last box.  He brought down the tile and oh what a mess.  Fortunately after they looked they knew where to go to fix the problem, now I only have some residual drips from the insulation around some ductwork.  Thankfully that is done and hopefully by tomorrow my ceiling is fixed and I can arrange to have my carpet cleaned by our housekeeping folks.  Praise God for Grace the lady who cleans my office and waters the plants that would die if not for her great work.   She found a second garbage can to put in the middle of the room to contain the residual drips from the ceiling and vacuumed the crap from my floor.  It appears that the Deity Herself ensured that things broke my way in what could have been a nasty mess.

The past week was also interesting as I have two opportunities to do some blogging as a Sports blogger.  Maybe it will be a step to being on ESPN’s Around the Horn, sitting next to Woody Page. Who can tell right? Evidently my stuff is getting seen and at least some folks like it.  I have been invited by the Virginia Pilot, our local Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Chesapeake newspaper to have a blog dealing with Baseball, general sports and life.  I was approached last week by the Most Valuable Network an independent sports network located at www.MVN.com to do something similar for them.   I received approval from my boss and legal to go ahead.  These blogs will be up by the end of the week or maybe the weekend.  I will post the links to the stories on these sites to this site.   The blogs will primarily focus on baseball and life and will likely on MVN be entitled The View from 102, The Church of Baseball. The Virginia Pilot will likely be Padre Steve’s View From 102Baseball Life and Faith. Once they are set up I will post the links here.  The articles will all be sports and life related and will occasionally delve into the heretical sports of football and basketball and will not be located on this site which will remain fully up and running as it does now.

Peace, Steve+

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The Most Exciting Play in the Game- The Electricity of the Inside the Park Home Run

three run homer by fiorentinoJeff Fiorentino Connects in July against Charlotte

There is nothing in the world like a home run.  From the crack of the bat there is a sudden silence and then, if you are the home team a deafening roar as the crowd reacts to the ball sailing over the fence.  Now home runs like this happen every day in baseball, but the “in the Park” home run is something special.  You don’t see many of them. Thus when they occur, the effect on the team and the crowd is electrifying.   I saw my first inside the park home run tonight as Jeff Fiorentino of the Norfolk Tides hit a tailing line drive to left field which eluded Syracuse Sky Chief’s Left Fielder Jorge Padilla. The ball then went to the wall where it was picked up by Padilla .  Fiorentino raced around the bases nearly overtaking Tides Second Baseman Justin Turner and easily beating the relay in to catcher Jhonatan Solano.  Fiorentino also scored a run in the first and singled in a run and later scored what turned out to be the winning run in the 8th giving him 2 hits, 4 RBIs and 3 runs scored and took his average up to .330 on the year moving into third in the International League.  The Tides won the game against the Chiefs 8-6.  The highlights of the game including Fiorentino’s home run are here:

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/media/player/mp_tpl.jsp?w=http%3A//mfile.akamai.com/14668/wmv/mlb.download.akamai.com/14668/2009/aaa/nor/video/080109_syrnor_august1.wmv&type=v_free&_mp=1

In the park homers are rare and most of the ones hit in baseball history came during the 19th Century Era or the “Dead Ball Era” between 1901 and 1919 during which ballpark outfields were much deeper and more spacious than today’s parks meaning that if a ball got by an outfielder there was a good chance that a batter could get around the base paths and score.  In the modern era Hank Aaron had only one.  A few players have hit them, but they are so rare as to be called “the most exciting play in baseball.” Just to give an example of players in the “500 Club” who have hit inside the park homers, Babe Ruth has ten, Willie Mays six, Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey Junior three each, Sammy Sosa two while Harmon Killebrew and Hank Aaron each have one.  Other players to have hit them in recent years include Emilio Bonafacio who hit one on opening day,  Howie Kendrick of the Angels who hit one on May 9th and Carl Crawford hit one in Tampa Bay on July 20th.  Only one has been hit in an All-Star game and that by Ichiro Suzuki in 2007 at AT&T Park in San Francisco.  Roberto Clemente has the only “walk off” inside the park grand slam.  The last by a Norfolk player was in 2005 by Anderson Hernandez.

Here is a video link to Tigers Curtis Granderson’s 2005 inside the park homer against the Yankees:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcRaYNtbANA

As I said this was the first inside the park home run that I have ever seen and it was simply an amazing thing of beauty to watch. Patently the Deity Herself ensured I got to see one of these just as I had seen a no-hitter back in 1975.  I had been up talking with Elliott the Usher about strategy, players and baseball trivia when Jeff Fiorentino came up to the plate in the bottom of the 6th.  I told Elliott that I had to go down to get a picture so I went down by my seat and crouched down in a good catchers stance to stay low and balance myself behind the screen at home plate as I always do when talking my shots.  The first pitch was a ball so I readied myself for the next. When Fiorentino hit the ball I knew it would drop for a hit, when it got by Padilla I knew that it was extra bases and when I looked up and saw how fast Jeff was running I knew this was something special.  I went back up to Elliott the Usher and we did our high five.  We had a scare in the 7th when the Sky Chiefs score two that were charged to starter David Pauley, but somehow, despite losing the lead I knew that the Tides would come back.  In the 8th they did. Blake Davis had an infield single and advanced to second on a throwing error by shortstop Ian Desmond.  He advanced to third on a passed ball.  Fiorentino came up again and singled to drive in Davis to tie the score.  With Brandon Snyder at the plate Chiefs pitcher Jack Spradlin attempted to pick off Fiorentino but threw wide of the base, Fiorentino alertly advanced all the way to third.  Snyder then doubled to score Fiorentino to give the Tides the lead.  Melvin Dorta hit a sacrifice fly to right field scoring Snyder.  Alberto Castillo came in to close the game sealing the Norfolk win.  Sunday evening Radhames Liz (0-2, 6.00) will make his first start for Norfolk since being promoted from Double-A Bowie where he had been sent down to work on control issues in June.  Liz has the distinction of being the only current Minor Leaguer to be in the Major League Baseball 100 mph club having done so when called up by the Orioles in 2008. It should be an interesting game.

Peace, Steve+

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Going to War: Interlude July 4th 2007

This is the second installment of my account of my account of mine and RP2 Nelson Lebron’s deployment to Iraq in 2007.

Our mobilization proceeded the next couple of days as we received our immunizations, were issued DCUs and other clothing needed for the deployment.  Nelson and I of course were already well outfitted by our unit, EOD Group Two.  In spite of this we drew additional uniforms, brown t-shirts, socks and a host of miscellaneous gear.  Thankfully as I have mentioned, EOD had outfitted us well including boots of our choosing, not the standard issue boot being provided to the rest of the sailors.  I had a pair of Blackhawks and a pair of Magnum 5.11’s, both much more comfortable than those issued.  Wills and powers of attorneys were drawn up by JAG officers, our “page 2s” the record of who we wanted notified in the event of our demise were verified and updated, new dog tags ordered and a myriad of forms filled out, sometimes for the second or third time.  In the weeks prior we had completed a fair number of online courses on Navy Knowledge Online to orient us to operations, health and safety issues and for Nelson classes on the M-16A2 and M9 Pistol.  The 4th was a day off, probably more for the staff then for 120 or so of us getting ready to go overseas.

After completing everything we needed on the 3rd I went home and Judy and I took in the Norfolk Tides game against the Syracuse Sky Chiefs at Harbor Park.  Before the game I chatted with Tides General Manager Dave Rosenfield and let him know that I would be missing the rest of the season as I was going to Iraq.  Dave is a good guy and since at the time things were not going well, we were experiencing heavy casualties which were being displayed on every broadcast news outlet available to humanity, I could see the distress in his face as he told me to “please take care of yourself and be safe.”   My usher buddy Skip, a retired Navy Chief and a number of vendors, Kenny the Pretzel guy and others wished me well.  As the National Anthem Played that night I stood at attention, my Tides cap over my heart as the anthem was played.  It was one of the most emotional anthems I have ever experienced.  It was not that it was sung by a star or even played that well, but it was that I was going to Iraq to serve in an unpopular war, ordered by a once post 9-11 popular President whose star had fallen because of how Iraq was turning out.  The war was presented as lost and a disaster and here I was getting ready to go after volunteering to go to Al Anbar Province, the most contested and violent part of Iraq.  The surge was just beginning and the Anbar Awakening was yet to be noticed by anyone. Al Qaida Iraq and other insurgents were taking a severe toll in Al Anbar.  I had been told by Chaplain Maragaret Kibben that the mission was to get out bewyond the wire when no one was getting to take care of the advisers.  I imagined being convoys and my vehiilce being hit, and at the same time still knew that I had to go.  Tears were in my eyes as I mouthed the words to the Star Spangled Banner looking at the flag flying above the scoreboard above right center field.  Judy stood next to me.  It was then that some 26 years of service came down to the real world.  Even though I had been to the Middle East numerous times and even served on a boarding team in the Northern Arabian Gulf, this was different.  I was preparing to go “into the shit” as my Vietnam era brothers would say.  In fact I was going out not with a unit, but as the first Navy Chaplain to serve directly with advisers since that war accompanied by the most prepared assistant in the world.  I was pretty sure that I was the most prepared Chaplain for this assignment, I was as ready as one could be for deployment.  I was physically ready, in some of the best shape of my life, I had graduated done everything that I could thing to do to be ready.   I had even  made sure that I read Chapter 5 of the History of Army Chaplains in Vietnam as part of the massive amount of  reading that I did  for the deployment.  Part of this chapter dealt with those men who served in this capacity then.  We watched the fireworks show that followed the game and

The Tides would go on to win the game 4-3 and I would go home with Judy.  The 4th was spent continuing to get ready even though I was theoretically off for the holiday.  There are always checks and double checks to ensure that everything is just right when you deploy.  This was really hard on Judy as she watched me getting ready.  When you deploy, especially to a combat zone there is a certain amount of emotional detachment that most couples go through.  It is a form of self preservation, you tend not to want to ask or deal with the hard questions of what happens if….

Of course Judy had in the previous months insisted that I take on additional life insurance which I did, just in case I would get schwacked in Iraq. I’m rather superstitious and felt that while this was a good move to protect Judy that it might be inviting trouble for me.  We had of course talked a bit about the deployment; I was much more excited than she could ever be.  The lot of the military wife in wartime is to endure her husband’s choice to serve their country in time of war.  As deployments draw closer the emotional distance widens even as emotions deepen.  It is the inverse of what happens when emotions deepen as people come together.  That last 4th of July was one of being alone together even as we went to of friend Pat and Jim’s house for a cook out.  Following that we went home and spent a quiet evening before going to bed.  My DCUs from EOD hung on my closet door as we turned off the light and spent a fitful night sleep.

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