Pitched four years for the Philadelphia Athletics, and then played shortstop for seven years for the Montreal Expos. Taught Rickey Henderson to steal a base. Taught Nolan Ryan to throw a punch. Taught Mickey Mantle to drink a beer. Threw one seven-hitter and seven no-hitters. Wonderboy was my creation, and first Jobu shrine was in my locker. Often called "the next Dustin Pedroia". Always wear high socks and eyeblack. Prefer to slide headfirst.
Today is not a national holiday… but it should be.
A day to get up to watch a ballgame being played halfway around the world, that starts at the ungodly hour of 6 a.m. (5 a.m. for those of us here in the Central timezone.) A day to agonize over batting orders and rotations and scratching due to injury and stats and averages and fastballs that don’t zing fast enough and sliders that don’t kiss the paint close enough and whether to put on the shift and managing the middle relievers in the pen. A day to rejoice over the crack of the bat and the smell of the grass (err… turf) and the freshly chalked lines and the newly broken-in leather gloves and the announcement of the starting lineups and the sparkling clean new uniforms and pitching from the stretch and stealing that extra base and smashing the ball through the gap and careening into the outfield wall for a catch and laying the perfect curveball right over the plate.
It’s time for baseball. And boy have we missed it.
People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and that’s certainly true for baseball fans who have to endure the long and lonely offseason that stretches through the cold, unending months of winter. But those dark days are officially behind us now: it’s P&C day, y’all.
It’s positively poetic that pitchers and catchers report on Valentine’s Day, because quite a few of the Ladies have ongoing torrid affairs with baseball. And let’s be honest- we’d much rather be treated to the boys of summer than yet another lame box of candy. So we’ve put together a few love letters to baseball – little Valentine’s treats for our favorite teams and players, and the game itself… all after the jump.
It’s time to show some love for the backup – the #2 guy, the benchwarmer, the alternate plan, the man who sits at second on the depth chart. While the starters are out there getting all the love and the limelight, the backup rides the pine waiting for his time to shine. But Mr. Alternate deserves love, too.
Take for example the case of one Johan Hedberg – backup goaltender for the Atlanta Thrashers. The sexy Swede (I have always wanted to write that in a post) may play second fiddle to Kari Lehtonen on the ice, but he definitely wins in the looks competition. Johan was named one of the 50 Sexiest People in Atlanta – and where was Mr. Lehtonen on that list? Nowhere, that’s where.
Plus, his nickname is “Moose” (thanks to Pittsburgh- whose fans gently mocked him for wearing his old Manitoba Moose helmet when he got called to the Penguins at the last minute), which is awesome. And he is super sweet to the kid fans, too:
[A fan] asked Hedberg if he had a moment to take a photo with her daughter at a Thrashers practice. She got more than a picture. “He picked her up and talked to her and snuggled her,” said the fan, sporting a No. 1 Hedberg Thrashers jersey before a recent Thrashers home game. “That’s a big deal for a mom.”
That picture now has a permanent home in her purse and Hedberg cemented another lifelong supporter in a fan club that grows with each person he meets.
So you can have first crack at tending the goal, Kari – and Johan will just have to be satisfied with being sweet and handsome. And don’t look now- but Johan’s getting more playing time lately, so maybe he’ll take over #1 on the ice soon, too.
Braylon Edwards has been a victim of what I like to think of as the “Cleveland Effect”: if you play for a Cleveland team, your hotness is camoflaged by wearing a uniform with “CLEVELAND” on it somewhere. Braylon looked hot playing for Michigan, and he still looks hot playing for Cleveland– but a guy has to be extra specially hot to overcome the Cleveland Effect and get his own HDH (see: Sizemore, Grady). Everyone has been busy fawning over the new kid taking his shots for the Browns at QB, but I maintain that Braylon is the best looking guy on the team. He even has his own fan club (of sorts) – the Braylon Bunch… started by eight guys. Such is the hotness of Braylon, even straight men recognize.
But it was this picture in Sports Illustrated that finally convinced me to overlook the Cleveland Effect and make Braylon an HDH – because not only is he beautiful to look at, and talented on the field, but he pledged $1 million in scholarship money for 100 needy eighth-grade students in Cleveland. With that list of qualifications, who cares if he plays for the Browns?
How that group of eighth grade girls can look so bored with that pretty sitting so close by, I’ll never know. Oh, right- they live in Cleveland.
For lots more of Braylon, follow me after the jump…
Your designated Big 10 representative for the evening (Lady Andrea) and the only Big XII representative around these parts (me) were both tasked with a difficult job: watch the Alamo Bowl. Doesn’t sound hard- except that every single other person in the country was watching the Patriots take on the Giants. But Lady A’s allegiance to the Big 10 and my hatred of the Aggies is so strong that we persevered.
Since I’m 99% sure no one else watched the Alamo Bowl- here’s our play-by-play of the important action. You will notice we did not make one single “Remember the Alamo!” pun.
Why, hello, Colt McCoy. Aren’t you looking all fine with that Offensive MVP trophy and those awesome Texas guns? I’m so glad to see you show up in San Diego at the Holiday Bowl without bringing along those friends of yours Mr. Int and Mr. Erception — you know, the ones that have been hanging around you all season. (Although I did notice that you couldn’t get rid of the other member of the Suck Trio, Mr. Fumble – but considering the scoreboard, I’ll forgive you.) You’re like our own Matt Saracen, all grown up – wide-eyed and full of small-town boyish charm. I am required by Texan law to lavish schmoopy praise on our QB- especially when his name is Colt McCoy, as clearly he was destined to lead us to victory with a name like that. (See? There I go again!)
Heck, now that I think of it, just about every member of the Longhorns team that stepped on the field last night looked pretty darned hot– winning will do that for you. Why don’t you all take a step forward so we can appreciate your hotness. NOT SO FAST, CHRIS JESSIE.
I’m pretty sure that you should never, ever, EVER step foot on the field of play again, unless you are specifically instructed to do so by a member of the coaching staff who is not your stepfather. I’m also pretty sure we need to outfit you with one of those child leash things, so that the coaches can yank you backwards like Phillip the Hyper Hypo if you try to run up and grab a live ball again.
Now that we’ve covered that unpleasantness, we can move on to all the pictures of hotties, after the jump…
Picking the hottest Heisman finalist from the field of official photos this year was an easy task- the hottie favorite Colt Brennan disqualifies himself by sporting a wicked bad haircut (and looking like that doofy receptionist guy from Private Practice), Chase Daniel manages to look like an unemployed hobo and/or psycho shop teacher, and Tim Tebow could be a member of the Geek Squad from your local Best Buy. Darren McFadden reigns supreme and wins the official photo battle in a walk.
But Tim Tebow emerged victorious from the Downtown Athletic Club on Saturday, claiming the actual Heisman hardware – which, oddly enough, was not awarded based on how hot he looked in his official press photo. So I’m calling uncle, Mr. Tebow. You won the Heisman fair and square (and were the first underclassman to ever win the award), and so I’m finally giving you your very own HDH post. Even though you play for the hated Florida Gators, I must grudgingly acknowledge that you’ve got gorgeous baby blues and a body that just won’t quit. And when you add in the Heisman hardware (whether I thought you deserved it or not), that’s one mighty appealing package. I might even be able to overlook the Florida colors- as long as you promise not to do that stupid Gator chomp thing with your arms.
Just please, please quit taking hair styling tips from Urban Meyer, OK? Less gel and spikes, more natural tousle.
Normally, Frenchys don’t rate very high on the hot scale– they’re just so… French. But I can make an exception for French-Canadians — especially hot, 6’4″ French-Canadian hockey players like Vincent Lecavalier.
Vinny (yep, his nickname is “Vinny”) was born and raised in a suburb outside Montreal, and then went on to attend high school way out in Saskatchewan- where he must have picked up a wicked French-Saskatchewan accent. He was drafted #1 overall out of high school at the age of 18 by the Tampa Bay Lightning, and was labeled as the “Michael Jordan of hockey” by TB’s owner (eat your heart out, LeBron). He was named captain of the team at the ripe age of 19, helped the Bolts score a Stanley Cup at the age of 24, and won the very prestigious Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard Trophy as the NHL’s top goal scorer last year.
That hockey skills stuff is all well and good, but the coolest thing about Mr. Lecavalier is that he appeared in “Happy Gilmore” at the age of 15 (as a hockey player, of course). Maybe even cooler than that? Just a month ago he donated $3 million to a new children’s hospital in St. Pete, Florida, to help build a cancer pediatrics unit.
So, to recap: he’s hot, tall, talented, speaks French, most likely has a sexy accent, has a championship ring and donates large sums of money to help kids with cancer. I really need to watch more hockey.
I give. Uncle. I’m finally caving in and doing an HDH on Dreamboat, ok? I still haven’t forgotten how our nice happy Tony Romo post turned into some kind of battle royale, with legions of Dreamboatettes turning out to hate on my QB1. But I also recognize this ode to Mr. McScores-a-lot is long overdue, what with him and the Patriots wiping the floor with the rest of the NFL like they’re a dirty old mop.
So Tom Brady gets his HDH. Just don’t expect me to like it. Even if he is awfully dashing. Yeah, I said it – dashing. Debonair, even. It’s that chiseled jaw and perfect scruff, a lethal combination… even on a guy in a Patriots uniform. Even on a Michigan Wolverine.
The baseball offseason is a long, lonely and chilly period. Baseball fans are forced to obsess over the minutiae of Hot Stove baseball: whether the third-best middle reliever on your team will file for free agency, the theoretical pros and cons of a six-man rotation, how many different teams will diss A-Rod before he goes crawling back to the Yankees.
So when the folks over at The Sporting News approached us with the opportunity to participate in a Strat-O-Matic recreation of the 1986 baseball season (1986: Take Two), we naturally grabbed ahold of that opportunity like a drowning man to a liferaft. We didn’t even really care what team we got (there is enough baseball love amongst the Ladies… to go around for just about every team)- so when we were given the Toronto Blue Jays, we were quite tickled. They’re so plucky! And so Canadian! And they have RANCE MULLINIKS- with a guy named that on our roster, we were bound to win.
Now we don’t have to obsess over that Hot Stove stuff, we can obsess over what Dave Stieb’s WHIP was against left-handed batters in June of 1986, or whether we should carry an extra DH or outfielder, or just how many ridiculous trades we can propose to Curt Schilling (who is managing the Red Sox against us in the AL East) before he blocks our email address. And we have a baseball project that will require daily management right up until May- when real-life baseball will be in full swing again (hallelujah). I would disclose how many hours and hours and hours we’ve spent researching stats and tweaking lineups and reviewing recordbooks… but it’s just too frightening. J-Money and I are co-piloting this crazy ship- but never fear, we’re dragging the other baseball-fanatic Ladies… along with us for the ride.
Our season officially kicked off last Tuesday, and we’re off to a rousing 5-3 start (damn you, Kansas City Royals!) — and to celebrate, we’re doing a run-down of the hotties on the 1986 Blue Jays. So get ready- put on your retro ’86 Jays cap (I have one) or jersey (J-Money has that)- because after the jump you’re about to behold Rance Mulliniks and the rest of the mustachioed Blue Jays in all their glory…
I held off as long as I could, but it’s high time I sing the praises of one Brett Lorenzo Favre, giving him his proper due as the feature of an HDH. He’s a Mississippi boy, born and bred, with the lovely Southern drawl to match. In addition to being a tall drink of water to look at, with outrageous skills on the field and that fabled gunslinger attitude, he’s also got a wicked funny sense of humor. With boyish, All-American good looks, a rough-and-tumble demeanor and that determination that’s as tough-as-nails, how can you not love Brett Favre?
But don’t take my word for it- in addition to the normal smorgasbord of lovely Brett photos, I’ve also added a bonus video clip from the NFL Network’s “In Their Own Words” feature on Brett…. all after the jump.
Reggie Bush, running back extraordinaire for the New Orleans Saints, is downright beautiful. And it’s a good thing he’s so outrageously good looking, because he has three huge hurdles to overcome, right from the get-go: (1) he is only 5’10″, and we tend to require 6’0″ minimum around here, except in very special cases (Dustin Pedroia and Adam Vinatieri, I’m looking at the two of you- those listed heights aren’t fooling anyone); (2) he went to USC and stole the Heisman Trophy that belonged to my darling Vince Young, (3) he used to paint numbers on his eyeblack. That number 3 may be the worst of all- if you’d like to shout out your hometown area code, why not just wear a t-shirt?
But none of that other nonsense really matters, because… abs! And also this:
Looking like that? I can forgive him just about anything… even the fact that he’s a Trojan. And that’s really saying something.
As you might have heard, our darling Red Sox won the World Championship, and the city of Boston threw a raucous victory parade for the team yesterday afternoon. All of which gives me the perfect opportunity to make the men of the Red Sox our Hump Day Hottie of the week this week- closing out the baseball season in style.
J-Money already covered the hotness of the Sox; instead I’m going to take you on a tour of the parade of hotties (a.k.a. the “Rolling Rally”) that rolled down through the Back Bay and on to City Hall Plaza. A parade full of ballplayers? Yes, please. A parade of duckboats (!) full of WORLD CHAMPION ballplayers? Sweet lord in heaven, YES. Papelbon dancing an irish jig in a kilt is just icing on the cake.
All the trials and tribulations and journeys through the wilds of Ohio? Down 3-1 in enemy territory, and facing elimination with just one loss standing between us and the end of our season? The rally towels snapping against our ears and the constant pounding of the drum in the Jake outfield and the rest of the horrors of the three-game stand in Cleveland? It was all worth it. Because this happened.
And then this happened.
I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a better utilization of Bud Light, because hot damn, that’s beautiful.
BOSTON RED SOX
AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONS 2007
Speaking of hot damn- HOT DAMN, that’s awfully sweet sounding.
And as for the hotties? Just kick back, put on the appropriate soundtrack (which I have helpfully provided for you), and peruse through some lovely photos of our boys celebrating amid the champagne and Bud Light and cigars and all the love Fenway could provide.
He may, on occasion, have butterfingers. He may, on occasion, throw five interceptions in a game. He may, on occasion, tag along behind American Idol contestants. He may, in fact, be the second coming of Sexy Rexy. But he is also downright beautiful. So in the wake of the shocking- SHOCKING, I tell you- victory by the Cowboys over the Bills on Monday night, and the upcoming Cowboys-Patriots clash, it seemed like the perfect time to give Tony Romo the Hump Day Hottie treatment.
Tony’s a San Diego boy by birth, but was raised in Wisconsin- so, naturally, Brett Favre was a huge influence on his playing style. This makes him exponentially hotter. He played college ball for the mighty Eastern Illinois University (Go Panthers!), where he won the Walter Payton Award… but he was undrafted coming out of school in 2003. He hung on, though, and signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the ‘Boys. He has some Texas blood- his grandparents live in San Antonio- and he golfs up a storm, so he’s a perfect fit for Dallas. His boyish good looks and mischievously devasting smile (not to mention that gorgeous bod) are also a perfect fit for the uni of my beloved Cowboys.
Take a gander at the man who leads America’s Team, after the jump…
Today ain’t any normal Monday, and this ain’t gonna be your normal Hit & Run- because we have some serious celebratin’ to do. Perhaps you haven’t heard- but the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies all clinched their division titles over the weekend… and as you might expect, GordonShumway, Clare and I are a tad bit excited about that.
OK, we’re freakin’ ecstatic. We’re bouncing off the walls, rally towel waving, champagne swigging, hugging random strangers, put an empty Bud Light case on our head and dance around in our underwear ECSTATIC. And we’re triple tag-teaming this H&R to share a little bit of our excitement with you.
And, of course, I’ve gathered together plenty of pictures of celebratory ballplayers covered in champagne after the jump…
Lovable Losers. Curse of the Billy Goat. 99 years and counting. Cubs fans have had to endure it all.
But this year is a little different. Not only did the Cubbies field a talented team this season that produced on the diamond (exactly how well they produced won’t be known until Sunday)… they also managed to put together a roster full of cuties (and that’s even without uber-hottie Todd Walker).
You’re not going to find any pretty boys on this team, guys who overindulge on hair products (cough*PatBurrell*cough) or spend hours in front of the mirror (cough*ARod*cough). But you are going to find a handsome group of guys who are so hardworking and scrappy and cute you just want to take them home and bake them a nice batch of oatmeal cookies.
Everyone loves the Cubs- even Andie!- so just give in and sing along with me:
They got the power, they got the speed
To be the best in the National League
Well this is the year and Cubs are real
So come on down to Wrigley Field
Go, Cubs, go!
Go, Cubs, go!
Hey, Chicago, what do you say?
The Cubs are gonna win today!
Check out all the lovely Cubby goodness after the jump…
There’s a chill in the air, the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer- and that can mean only one thing: it’s almost time for the MLB playoffs. Unfortunately for most fans, the postseason just ain’t in the Cards (hee!) for you this year.
The thrill of victory is matched only in sheer emotion by the agony of defeat. And with less than a week to go in the regular baseball season, there are an awful lot of fans tasting the bitterness of defeat. The majority of AL and NL teams have already been officially eliminated from the possibility of the playoffs… and that’s never a fun place to be. Until now.
Just for those of you out there who have already seen your hopes for the postseason cruelly dashed, I’ve put together a whole smorgasbord of hotties from all the eliminated teams. It’s like a parade of consolation hottness.
This may not make up for how bad your team sucked this season, but hopefully it’ll make the thought of a baseball-less October a lot less painful.
The Oakland Athletics have long held the crown of the hottest team in baseball- the team that’s as much fun to watch stretch during BP as actually play baseball during a game. This year, with the downturn in the team’s on-field fortunes and the unfortunate string of guys sent to the DL, the A’s have also turned into a pipeline of hotness that keeps all the other teams in baseball fully stocked on hotties. Thank goodness for the gold and green.
But even without dearly departed hotties Todd Walker, Barry Zito, Ryan Langerhans and Bobby Kielty, the Athletics are still smokin’ hot. Take a gander at what Oakland has to offer after the jump…
That’s right, in his spare time off the diamond, Chase and his wife Jen campaign for the PSPCA and raise awareness about abused animals. Not content with that, Chutley has now taken on responsibility for a severely abused puppy found beaten and burned in August, and pays for all of its medical care. There is nothing this man can’t do.
What’s this? A Hump Day Hottie that’s NOT a baseball player? I know- even I’m shocked! I was feeling a bit guilty about overloading the Wednesday posts with baseball lookers. OK, I wasn’t feeling the slightest bit guilty at all- but I did want to celebrate the start of the NFL season tomorrow with a little somethin’-somethin’ for the football fans around here.
And what a somethin’-somethin’, indeed. Hello, David Carr.
You may have been unceremoniously dumped by the Texans, but the Carolina Panthers have clearly proven they appreciate hotness (Jake Delhomme, anyone?) so you’ll be better off with them — and what the hell do the Texans know about football anyway? (answer: not a damn thing) I think we’ll all be just as happy to see him in Panther blue (aqua? turquoise? teal?) this fall…
It’s finally time. This one’s been a long way in the offing- and, in my opinion, criminally overdue. Why hasn’t Aaron “Bacon Pants” Rowand been featured as a Hump Day Hottie before now? We’ve had him jumping out of a cupcake, but we haven’t given him the full HDH treatment. I can only say that I was saving him for a special occasion- and the last HDH before football season kicks off seems like the perfect time (not to mention that TODAY IS HIS 30th BIRTHDAY). I have only myself to blame for keeping his hottness away from y’all for so long. I hope this makes up for it.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings so early in the day, but Ladies… it looks like David Wrightis going to be a confirmed bachelor for the near future. That’s right- return the wedding dress, cancel the caterer and see if you can get a refund on that church deposit– because the #1 thing in DWright’s life is white, spherical and has big ol’ red stitches across its face… and I’m not talking about Mr. Met.
And while Davey’s Mets were getting pounded by Boomer Wells and the Dodgers (sorry, Metsy), fellow New Yorkers of the pinstriped variety ran into problems of their own with the Tigers– and Curtis Granderson‘s inside the park homerun helped lead Detroit to the W. Wonder if those wheels Curtis has can take them all the way to the playoffs?
Our previous foray into athletes in suits seemed to suggest that… we love seeing athletes in suits. I mean, we love seeing non-athlete men in suits, too — but there’s something extra exciting about seeing athletes out of their everyday gear and into some spiffy duds.
After the jump, feast your eyes on a whole bunch of be-suited athletes. And give us your thoughts on the most difficult of questions: do they look better in uniform or in a suit?
So I go away for a few days, and the next I thing I know, the other Ladies… have conquered the world. Fantastic work, y’all!
I’m airport blogging it again this week, this time from scenic LaGuardia Airport in New York (thanks to a cancellation of my flight back to Chicago from Boston yesterday) — so let’s all get caught up on the latest hottie news together, shall we?
The scenery in Pawtucket is lovely this time of year.
* While the big boy Sox didn’t fare so well against the Angels on Sunday (maybe they were hungover from Saturday’s night’s 10-run tear?), the AAA-PawSox were looking mighty fine against the Syracuse Chiefs on Sunday in Pawtucket. Ladies’ mascot Jacoby Ellsbury, freshly back from his appearance in Boston on Friday, scored the game-winning run.
Today’s H&R is gonna be quick and dirty, coming at ya all GordonShumway style from the Philadelphia airport. I have precisely 20 minutes to put together some hottie tidbits- so my selections today are coming straight off the top of my head. After six days of baseball games, my attention span is running short anyway- so play along while I randomly skip around the sporting world.
* First off, have to give some love to dirty sexy hottie Aaron “Bacon Pants” Rowand for putting on a show against the Braves over the weekend- including a spectacular home run and an even more spectacularly crazy catch in the outfield that saved our bacon (ahem) and helped clear the way (along with a giant 3-run homer by cutie Ryan Howard) for the Phillies’ 5-3 victory over Atlanta. All despite some horrific baserunning by Pat “Slowcamotive” Burrell.
2nd place in the NL East means we’re coming for you, Mets!
* And then there’s golf hottie Sergio “Make It Rain… With Spit” Garcia, who found yet another new and exciting way to lose a major when he signed an incorrect scorecard on Saturday, DQing him from the PGA Championship. Never trust a guy named “Boo”, Sergio- it’s doubtful he’s functionally literate, much less able to keep up with scoring a tourney properly.
Fortunately, hottie Tiger “Make It Rain… With Birdies” Woods stepped right in to claim the victory.
So you’re on deck. You’ve swung the bat a few times with the donut, you’ve tightened (and re-tightened) your batting gloves, you’ve tarred your bat and helmet up nice and good, and your kick-ass music is playing out across the ballpark as you step in to the batter’s box. You’re ready to do battle with that good-for-nothin’ pitcher… and then you see this:
Oh my sweet lord.
How the hell is a batter supposed to concentrate with that stare drilling down from the mound? Never mind the intimidation factor, a pitcher’s glare is flat out HOT. It is part predatory, part arrogance, part master craftsman; all testosterone, all serious – and it is undeniably sexy. And the piercing stare from a closer? Well, you might as well turn out the lights and go home, because it is GAME OVER. The intensity, the attitude, the single-minded focus… that glare says, “I am a man. I am here to do business. And I am about to rock your world.” Please, sir- may I have some more?
Try to resist the lineup of pitchers’ stares after the jump…
What did the fans of the Texas Rangers do to get so lucky? Not only did they land my darling Kason Gabbard, they also picked up the hottest guy on the market, Jarrod Saltalamacchia. And they’ve already assimilated him!
Let’s travel back to The Day, you know- two days ago. Back when all was right with the world, and Salty was in the red and blue of the Braves, instead of the red and blue of the Rangers. This will be the only time you ever hear me say something good about the Braves- but their roster is chock full of hotties, and it’s sad to see Jarrod relegated to Dallas. At least he’ll have Kason to keep him kompany– they can share their letter-related woes as well: since Kason was stuck with a typo maybe Jarrod can lend him a spare letter.
See a full lineup of Salty-in-Braves goodness after the jump…
Newly off the DL, uber-hottie Huston Street ran into some trouble against the Mariners on Sunday and picked up the loss. I’m pretty sure I know a girl or two who’d be happy to comfort him. (and love that retro uni)
Not only did Astros pitcher cutie Jason Jennings get the L on Sunday, he gave up 11 runs… in one inning. I have nothing clever to say about that, just… YOWCH.
click the thumbnails for full-size photos
And special love to HOF’er Hotties Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tony Gwynn, who were inducted into Cooperstown yesterday. Congrats to both men- each played the game right (and each played for just one team their entire career, to boot).