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Maxwell Gets Another Chance

The first time Justin Maxwell was promoted to the big leagues this year, he lasted eight days. The second time, he lasted nine days. All told, he played in 13 games and batted 24 times. After three hits and 11 strikeouts, he was returned to Class AAA Syracuse, and implored to improve the former by cutting down on the latter.

"He had way too many strikeouts," General Manager Mike Rizzo said. "That was a point of emphasis for us."

When the Nationals traded infielder Ronnie Belliard to Los Angeles on Sunday, a roster spot -- and another critical opportunity -- opened for Maxwell, who returned to the big leagues before Monday's game in San Diego. Though Maxwell will come primarily off the bench, sometimes starting against lefties, the center fielder faces a critical test. In November, he'll turn 26. He has already proven, beyond any doubt, his skill as a fielder. There's one thing left to demonstrate.

"If we can get him going with the bat," interim manager Jim Riggleman said, "we've got a special guy there."

Maxwell's season totals with Class AAA Syracuse are underwhelming: a .242 average and 13 homers in 384 at bats. But in July, Maxwell shortened his swing and closed his stance. Those changes were designed to help him cut down on his strikeouts. In August, he hit .273.

"For me, [coaches] just told me to put the ball in play and let my speed do what I can," Maxwell said. "That's what I've been trying to do."

*

Cristian Guzman, dealing with a nagging foot injury, could miss this entire three-game series, Riggleman said, though the shortstop will be available to pinch-hit. Guzman has been troubled on and off this year by bunions. "I think we just need to let it calm down for a couple days," Riggleman said.

*

Class A catcher Derek Norris was named on Monday as the South Atlantic League's Most Outstanding Major League Prospect. Norris, who is batting .288 (423 at bats) with 23 home runs and 83 RBI, was also named to the league's annual all-star team along with Hagerstown teammate Stephen Lombardozzi.

*

Though rosters expand on Tuesday, the Nationals will delay most of their call-ups until Class AAA Syracuse's season ends on Sept. 7, Rizzo said. The Chiefs entered Monday 2-1/2 games behind Scranton for first place in the International League's North Division. Rizzo was unwilling to disclose which players the Nationals will bring to the big leagues, but said that "the main crux of the call-ups will be pitching."

By Chico Harlan  |  August 31, 2009; 9:06 PM ET
 
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Next: Padres 3, Nats 1

Comments

I assume this has already been covered by others since you guys are always on top of such things, but it appears Riggleman is virtually assured to be the Nat's manager next year as Heyman has declared that he will not be.

(When will they learn?)

Posted by: natbiscuits | August 31, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

SYR is now 3.5 games behind SW-B. :(

Posted by: periculum | August 31, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Oh look, a nats game broke out. Good morning, Natstown

Posted by: nattaboy | August 31, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Early prediction: Livan gets the win after throwing 207 pitches

Posted by: nattaboy | August 31, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Livo's getting lit up already. I don't think I'll torture myself by staying up late for this one...

Posted by: BGinVA | August 31, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

@nats_lady:

i've noticed your schedule, and then up quite late with your posts, so i'm glad you get to see the west coast games in their entirety!

Posted by: nova_g_man | August 31, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

2 zippy starting out just like the Chiefs game ... will it end 6-4 SD?

Posted by: periculum | August 31, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Dukes. GREAT to see the hustle down the line. Out of all the Nats you'd wanna see go on a tear, he's at the top of the list

Posted by: nattaboy | August 31, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Who's number 88--that knucklehead who blocked Dukes from the Eckstein hit in the RF bullpen?

Posted by: sbiel2 | August 31, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Rob Dibble is reminding me of Tommy Callahan with all the weight room references

Posted by: nattaboy | August 31, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Livo won't last long tonight ... get the bullpen up.

Posted by: periculum | August 31, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

I said this earlier in the year(back in June) Zimm stands too far from the plate he cant reach corner strikes he'd be one of the toughest out's in baseball if he just moved an inch or two closer to the plate.

Posted by: dargregmag | August 31, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Yep. Heard part of the pre-game in my car and actually SAW the first pitch on TV. :)
Hope it's worth it.

============================================================
@nats_lady:

i've noticed your schedule, and then up quite late with your posts, so i'm glad you get to see the west coast games in their entirety!

Posted by: nova_g_man | August 31, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 31, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Belliard homers in first at bat for Dodgers.

Posted by: cokedispatch | August 31, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

attaway Belly. I dig the Dodgers and hope they trounce the competition this October - especially NL easters

Posted by: nattaboy | August 31, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

"Belliard homers in first at bat for Dodgers."

Our favorite gargoyle will be back for a visit on September 22nd.

Posted by: periculum | August 31, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

YES. We need a nickname for Pete Orr. Badly

Posted by: nattaboy | August 31, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Aw. So nice for Ronnie. And Livan gets one back for himself.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 31, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Pete Orr? How about Yuuuuukon Jack?

Posted by: periculum | August 31, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Tough strikeouts...

...Genuine Orrticle?

Posted by: nattaboy | August 31, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Heart-of-the-order cooling way off now ... all under .300.

Posted by: periculum | August 31, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

We need Nyjer for this. Is he still in Ballmer or did he travel to the West Coast?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 31, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Oh right he's a Canuck

Orrsicle?

Posted by: nattaboy | August 31, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Howz about Gigant-Orr?

Posted by: periculum | August 31, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Orr-gate.

Posted by: periculum | August 31, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Or mebbe Orr-Ca-nuck

Posted by: periculum | August 31, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Keep those nicknames coming...

Posted by: nattaboy | August 31, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Yeah he's doing well isn't he?

Posted by: periculum | August 31, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Seriously for every 2 nicknames he does something amazing.

Tony Plush might call him Fast Frenchie.

NOrrth Star

Posted by: nattaboy | August 31, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Judge Wapner is my favorite Plush nickname but every time I use it he strikes out

Posted by: nattaboy | August 31, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Ouch!

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 31, 2009 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Elijah might hurt someone someday the way the ball comes off his bat.

Posted by: nova_g_man | August 31, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

I love how Charlie and Dave now play Nieves' intro music even on the road

Posted by: nattaboy | August 31, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

WendigOrr ...

Posted by: periculum | August 31, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

BOOYA. Way to start jogging to first right away, Wil. I betcha that influences the blue guys

Posted by: nattaboy | August 31, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Crouching TigOrr, Hidden Dragon.

Posted by: periculum | August 31, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

ThOrr and his Hammuh.

Posted by: periculum | August 31, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

OK, somewhere, Manny is saying, "I told you bunting is over-rated."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 31, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

What is the difference between a "safety" squeeze and a suicide squeeze? Carp just said if Riggs had called a suicide squeeze the run would have scored.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 31, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

'OK, somewhere, Manny is saying, "I told you bunting is over-rated.'

Last time I looked Manny wasn't anywhere near the Hall of Fame. Ty Cobb practically built the place. Small ball, its what's for dinner.

Posted by: periculum | August 31, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

So, that stunk. But I like the call. And you gotta love Riggs grinning/shrugging in the dugout afterwards. Sigh.

Posted by: nattaboy | August 31, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Bat control (bunting included) is learned it doesn't come naturally. Kind of like fielding practice before batting practice before every game.

Posted by: periculum | August 31, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Clearly Livan needs to work on his bunting skills.

Posted by: periculum | August 31, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

OK, got it:

safety squeeze - the runner on third base waits to start home until the batter has bunted successfully

Well, I don't see the point of that.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 31, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse

perc: that was an excellent bunt, IMO. Deadened it just fine. The runner should have been going.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 31, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

I think he called it that way based on the 2 suicides that didn't work, with Gonzo bailing and Nieves missing the ball. But I agree you should trust Livo and go all out. Especially with Dukes' speed

Posted by: nattaboy | August 31, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

The mighty ThOrr.

Posted by: periculum | August 31, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Wow. It has taken all season, but finally tonight the Gnats are playing a meaningful baseball game. They, like the Padres, are 14-14 in the month of August. Tonight's winner can boast of a winning month.

If it's our Gnats, it'll be the first such success in two years!

So, with the bases loaded and one out and trailing 2-1, how did the Wiggleman-led small irritating bugs grab for the brass ring? They bunted...into a double play. Brilliant.

Your Gnats quiz of the day: How are they like an old person's genitals?

Because they're down there. And everyone knows they're down there. But, no one cares.

Last one up turn out the lights.

Posted by: MartinZook | August 31, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

The bases were loaded. Riggs was ASKING for a double-play by not sending the runner.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 31, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

30 doubles just turned the lights up.

Posted by: periculum | August 31, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

somebody missed a sign....no such thing as a safety squeeze with a force at home. Based on Riggs reaction he did not call anything. If he put on a "safety squeeze" with the bases loaded and Livo running and then laughed at the inning ending DB....Rizzo just decided who will not be his manager next year....I know I did.

Posted by: JayBeee | August 31, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Missed sign makes more sense. How could you call a "safety squeeze" with the bases loaded? Dukes probably not expecting the call (though he should have been.)

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 31, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

I agree and the "laugh" likely was more a defense mechanism knowing who missed the sign and how he would react to the news he f'ed up yet again. That play can not happen in in MLB baseball.

Chico, please find out what's up with the call and the reaction from Riggs.

Posted by: JayBeee | August 31, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Awww I see somebody did not take their medication and decided to use the computer they just learned today ...It is nice when the troubled have a hobby.....It keeps the voices in their heads to such a low roar

Posted by: CBinDC | August 31, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Way to go Belli-YARD! getting it done on the left coast . . . HR for Ronnie, miss the guy already.

Posted by: oneleggedNatsFan | August 31, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Livo is normally a competent bunter, and it wasn't a tough pitch to bunt, so I'm thinking Livan thought it was a suicide and Dukes didn't.
Still don't like the call.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 31, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

CBinDC....what was that? You like that poor excuse for baseball at this level?

Posted by: JayBeee | August 31, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

All I know is this game seems awfully familiar to the one SYR lost tonight.

Posted by: periculum | August 31, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Does that mean Syracuse is out of it?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 31, 2009 11:29 PM | Report abuse

After a rough start ... 66 pitches ... Livan sure is making a good case for himself next year ...

Posted by: periculum | August 31, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't always love Chico's gamers, but he usually does a good job recognizing and digging deeper on interesting moments/calls like that bunt.

Livan with 68 pitches according to gameday. Not bad at all

Posted by: nattaboy | August 31, 2009 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Oh. And here I was wondering how he knew I got a computer today...
**********
CBinDC....what was that? You like that poor excuse for baseball at this level?
Posted by: JayBeee | August 31, 2009 11:26 PM |

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 31, 2009 11:32 PM | Report abuse

This game is moving right along. Livan not wasting any time.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 31, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Oakland came back and is leading Kansas City in the 5th. I for one will never cheer for the 1st draft pick. Reasons:
-Always root for your team. Always.
-We can still avoid 100 losses and be less of a joke. This could make free agents more apt to sign with us.
-It's a long offseason of no game to watch and root for my Nats. I'll miss it when it's gone.

Posted by: nattaboy | August 31, 2009 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I am already making plans to cope with withdrawal. Absolutely REFUSE to watch the potatoes. Maybe watch the Bears (my father's team) or the Giants.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 31, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Hands-first slide and we have a leadoff double.

Just sayin

Posted by: nattaboy | August 31, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

nattaboy: yeah, but you really don't want the catcher breaking his hand.

My bro-in-law likes the Packers. My sis likes the Vikings. Decisions, decisions.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 31, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Sorry little misunderstanding.

I was just pointing out the condition of our little interloper Zook was it?

Posted by: CBinDC | August 31, 2009 11:42 PM | Report abuse

CBinDC: OK. All is forgiven.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 31, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

hail to the redskins baby.

I like the packers and the bears and the lionsand have always disliked the vikes, but you gotta love Favre and Peterson.

Football games are great. LOVE watching the Redskins. But they play less than 10% as much as the Nats. And "so and so didn't practice today" just doesn't cut it for news value.

Side note: another Nats race to keep an eye on is the elimination #, the Os have a slight edge on beiong the first team to be officially eliminated from winning the division. Suck it, Charm City

Posted by: nattaboy | August 31, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

(Zim intro music)

Attaway, Orrvil Redhotbatter

Posted by: nattaboy | August 31, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I love football. Used to coach Mighty Mights, and was TOTALLY addicted when I lived in NY and NJ. Broke the addiction when I came down here, because can't watch the potatoes (team name offensive to me).

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 31, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

"I was just pointing out the condition of our little interloper Zook was it?

Posted by: CBinDC | August 31, 2009 11:42 PP"

I knew that was what you were referring to. Nah, he's just a Redskins fan waiting for the other shoe to fall with the beginning of the regular season. No offensive line, no feature back or at least the same guy who rushed for a 3.2 yds/carry and 2 TD's the last 8 games of the season. And then there's the defensive backfield now minus Shawn Springs their leader.

Posted by: periculum | August 31, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Nats Lady, I hear you. The only thing worse than biting into an apple and finding a worm is biting into an apple and finding half a worm. I just ain't going to eat around it.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 31, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Another scoring opportunity wasted.

Posted by: periculum | August 31, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

They are going to wear out Livo on the bases. C'mon guys!

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 31, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

"Attaway, Orrvil Redhotbatter"

nattaboy gets my vote for Orr's new nickname (unless it was already posted earlier by someone else, apologies).

Brilliant, nevertheless!

Posted by: HotNats | August 31, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

And never wait until Tuesday to get the payoff "hamburger" when you can have one today. Might as well be Wimpy when you pick Bryce Harper because it will be 3-5 years before he is ready.

Posted by: periculum | August 31, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Iron Orr.
I'm tired.

Posted by: tk001 | August 31, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I like it. Hope it sticks.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

"Attaway, Orrvil Redhotbatter"

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 31, 2009 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Livan is smiling. Cute.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 31, 2009 11:56 PM | Report abuse

OK, Adam, how about one of those solo homers RIGHT NOW.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 31, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Midnight, and the Other trade deadline is past.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 1, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

I know I'm swimming upstream against this bunch, but Livan has been our best pitcher since he came on board. I am totally for offering him a 2010 contract. He's a pro, he doesn't beat himself, he can bunt and field (take note, please, Mr. Mock) and he's got a rubber arm (take note, please, Mr. Zimmermann). All of our pitchers don't have to be 23.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | September 1, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

On Livo: Yes. I don't know what was wrong with him in NY, but he is doing just fine with the Nats. Maybe he really meant it when he said DC was his first choice.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 1, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Count me among the upstream swimmers, jd, I fully agree

Posted by: HotNats | September 1, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Sunshine Bobby just announced Maxwell will start and bat leadoff tomorrow. Over/under on his strikeouts: 3.5

Posted by: jdschulz50 | September 1, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

At the plate, Chase Headey...

It's HEADLEY.

(Sorry, just couldn't resist an obscure Blazing Saddles pull)

Posted by: HotNats | September 1, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Okay, someone just shut me up whenever I mention an opposing player before they've had their full at-bat. Period.

Posted by: HotNats | September 1, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Livo is about done ... typical Nats pitcher begins to give up the gopher ball ... the pitches rise.

Posted by: periculum | September 1, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Two quality starts in a row for Livan Hernandez.

Posted by: periculum | September 1, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse

It was totally in garbage time, of course, but that was a pretty nifty 4-6-3 DP.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | September 1, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Where are the 15 runs when we need 'em?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 1, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse

When are they going to use Mike Morse? His bat is better than Orr's.

Posted by: periculum | September 1, 2009 12:16 AM | Report abuse

good job, JB.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 1, 2009 12:17 AM | Report abuse

I guess Sunshine can quite whining about putting a pinch-runner in for Bard now.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | September 1, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Who? Wil Nieves. They need someone to pick things up when the big bats go silent.

Posted by: periculum | September 1, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

46-and-86. We can suck on it and like it.

40 games left.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | September 1, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

oof.

Posted by: nattaboy | September 1, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Maybe we'll have a better month in September. Nyjer, we hardly knew ye.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 1, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Four in a row ... 1 game under .500 for August. Doesn't look like they will be able to manage the same in September without drastic improvement post Nyjer.

Bryce Harper gets closer and closer.

Posted by: periculum | September 1, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Wouldn't count on it, Nats Lady. No Nyjer, no Belli, bunch of new guys nobody else much wanted... Magic Number = 14

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 1, 2009 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Bullpen gets a respite.

Posted by: periculum | September 1, 2009 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Am definitely not counting on it. Wishful thinking... My 100 is Sept. 16th but there are too many off-days to lose 14 more by then, right, right?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 1, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Maxwell and Dukes had better be looking over their shoulders ... Mike Daniel has been looking pretty good so far.

Posted by: periculum | September 1, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

So Livo should be going Sat. night against Fla.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 1, 2009 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Dukie was good today, except the missed sign. His bat's been hot, you can't blame him for the chairs getting in his way.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 1, 2009 12:27 AM | Report abuse

The Dodgers just got Jim Tomey (sp?). They are trading like there's no tomorrow.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 1, 2009 12:29 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't say that at all, Nats_Lady. I think you're right in the hunt. The one thing this team has remarkably not had this season is a double-digit losing streak. We're fully captable of ripping off a 12- or 13-gamer. That would put you right there on Sept. 16. If they don't, they're right there on my date, Sept. 22.
I picked 57 wins for the season. They''ve got to go 11-and-19 to hit my magic number.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | September 1, 2009 12:29 AM | Report abuse

Nats_Lady,

With the exception of the Padres and Mets ... the teams the Nats will face are all in contention. They are all really good.

And the Padre's seemed to have managed this team fairly well. Even with a sterling pitching performance by their ace Livan Hernandez. Even with Lannan back to his old form ...

With two utility backups/AAAA players at the top of the lineup along with nothing following Dukes the offense is slumping again. The big bats aren't seeing good pitches because no one is on to distract the pitchers.

Posted by: periculum | September 1, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

jd: Just what we need, a REAL losing streak. Didn't realize all year we've just been losing around the corners, time to just pitch it right in there.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 1, 2009 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, he's right. With contending teams hot in the playoff hunt coming in September. With the wind taken out of our sails with the loss of Nyjer and now Belliard?

And Riggleman is still playing guys like AG. Heck I'd try Orr at short and Morse at second. What have you got to lose?

Posted by: periculum | September 1, 2009 12:35 AM | Report abuse

I know what the problem is: Johnny Holliday's ties! XOMG did that come from the Md. DPW highway workers??

Belliard never dressed like THAT!

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 1, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Dodgers also got Jon Garland.

Posted by: cokedispatch | September 1, 2009 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Saw that (Garland). Guess he'll just walk across and pitch for the other team in the same series?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 1, 2009 12:39 AM | Report abuse

Belliard got 2 double-plays in the Dodgers game (so far) in addition to the HR.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 1, 2009 12:44 AM | Report abuse

marlins dfa luis ayala...mwhahaha

Posted by: formerlylove1 | September 1, 2009 1:05 AM | Report abuse

Riggs sez after the game that Livo bunted on his own with the bases loaded. Not Riggs' idea. Make a note of that, Mr. Rizzo, when the final arbiter rings up Riggs for the season. Bonehead play, safety squeeze with bases loaded and a slow runner. 1-2-3. G'night all.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | September 1, 2009 1:15 AM | Report abuse

Is Heyman the Yahoo yahoo?

Posted by: paulkp | September 1, 2009 2:07 AM | Report abuse

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