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MSR’s Random Sports Thoughts, Vol. 2

Soo … that just happened.

And when I say “that,” I mean that the Giants got swept, rather handily, by the hated Dodgers in a three-game series yesterday.

I’m not sure what’s worse – Cain, Zito and Vogelsong allowing 19 runs in the three-game series, or the Giants offense only scoring three, with two shutouts. Goes to show you what having Matt Kemp AND Hanley Ramirez will do for a struggling Dodgers offense.

Now, the Giants are in a virtual tie with Los Angeles heading into tonight’s game vs. the slumping Mets, who are an astonishingly-bad 3-13 since the All-Star Break. Perhaps a fix on offense may be their remedy, which might be why rumors on Twitter sparked up that the Giants have closed the deal on Phillies OF Hunter Pence – rumors that have only recently been quashed.

Whatever happens, Giants fans better hope that this weekend was not a sign of things to come.

Some would call it shooting her mouth off, just like she did in 2007 after the Women’s World Cup.

Personally, I think it’s par for the course – and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

In any case, Hope Solo is at it again – this time, she has continued her brazen outspokenness regarding former Women’s World Cup champion Brandi Chastain. While Chastain, now an Olympic commentator for NBC Sports, criticized Team USA for their defensive play, was only doing her job by being objective about the women’s squad, one could say Solo is only now defending her teammates – though, not in the most graceful fashion.

Just Solo being Solo?

As this “war of words” is sure to drag on, it may be become one of three things: an attention-seeking story for a sport still seeking a mainstream fanbase; a destructive distraction from an inspiring story of women’s soccer; or both.

I’m still stunned – along with millions of others that are either closely, or peripherally, following Olympic gymnastics – that reigning World Champion gymnast Jordyn Wieber will not be competing in the Olympic Women’s All-Around final.

While some could say that, if she deserved it, she should have been able to beat out one of her two teammates, that did advance – Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman – Wieber still finished fourth overall in the standings. However, Olympic rules state that the All-Around Final only accepts the two best from every country.

Seems a bit arbitrary, wouldn’t you say?

If not for arbitrary caps on the number of gymnasts allowed in the All-Around Final, we could have avoided this.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I understand why the rule is there (allowing every qualifying country to participate). But, just like former US Olympic Gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi, and Wieber’s personal coach John Geddert, I think the rule spits in the face of the spirit of Olympic competition:

“Yeah, Jordyn, you were good enough – but, sorry, your team is so good, we’re just not going to let you in. Tough luck, kid. Better luck in four years.”

I’m sorry – but how is THAT fair?

Finally, I just want to make a confession: I have always been a fan of ESPN’s First Take.

As much as he infuriated me about a lot of things, I would always want to hear what Skip Bayless had to say about the hottest topics in sports. When they included Stephen A. Smith to debate Bayless daily, I was doubly excited, simply because their contentiousness could rarely be missed.

That’s why I don’t like what I’m about to say next: I hate what First Take has become.

I hate that it’s become the Tim Tebow, LeBron James and “latest irrelevant sports-related story” show.

They hurt me when, the day after Matt Cain’s Perfect Game – what was being called one of the greatest regular-season games ever pitched – not one word about it was uttered on the broadcast, in lieu of LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant stories, debated MULTIPLE TIMES.

And, now, with the NFL Season just weeks away, First Take has relegated themselves to debating about a shirtless Tim Tebow, for a good 20 minutes.

Per hour.

I wouldn’t be so annoyed if there was nothing else going on in the world of sports, save for a little something happening across the pond – perhaps they’ve heard of it.

THIS takes precedence over the Olympics? Are you guys even trying anymore?!

I know I’m not alone on this, either – I have read the 140-character-or-less rants on Twitter regarding the same problem.

And I know Stephen A. could easily tell me to go “kick rocks”, or the other talent could easily say, “Who’s this guy to say what we should do?” I’m just a humble sports blogger, who just hates to see what has happened to one of his favorite shows.

In any case, if this keeps up, the show that I used to love as First Take will be lost in an endless sea of Tebow and LeBron stories, essentially becoming a laughable parody of itself.

(I only say this because I care, First Take. I say this because I care.)

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