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MSR’s Random Sports Thoughts: Vol. 10

So, the parade in SF has come and gone (how about Tony Bennett singing “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” huh?), and now the World Series Champion San Francisco Giants must look to the offseason.

Seriously, though. Tony Bennett.

With their pitching staff squared away for 2013 (only Tim Lincecum’s deal is not guaranteed beyond next year), the question is what to do with their lineup.

Speculation is swirling that they are aiming to bring back Marco Scutaro, Angel Pagan and Jeremy Affeldt – all key cogs in their latest playoff run. As for suspended former star OF Melky Cabrera, they can do one of two things: 1) Let him walk, or 2) bring him in for a bare-minimum deal based on their need for offensive talent.

They could easily opt for the former, and try a move that may send shockwaves through the organization and the league: Sign free agent OF Josh Hamilton.

Speaking of the Giants’ second World Series run in three years – if you were watching ESPN’s First Take the day after their unlikely sweep of the Tigers, you never would have known baseball was even being played.

In fact, other than a five-minute segment talking about Kung Fu Panda’s 3-HR Game 1, I challenge you to find any time the heated debate show even acknowledged the World Series was even being played.

“World Series”? What is that? Does that have something to do with LeBron James?

I know I’ve talked about this before, so I’m not ignorant to the show’s, as well as the network’s, repeated East Coast Bias. When First Take devotes hours upon hours of airtime to the Jets, (New York) Giants, Patriots, Eagles, Yankees, Heat, Celtics and Knicks, for multiple – and sometimes completely innane – topics, I can at least sort of understand: it’s an East Coast show, sticking to what they know.

But this is the World Series, and this is the San Francisco Giants’ second World Series title in three years.

You can’t spend five minutes talking about the World Series champs? You can’t make up ONE debate topic surrounding the Fall Classic? If you’re supposed to be a national show appealing to a national audience, it’s a strange way to show it.

I once joked that, after they spent no air time talking about Giants ace Matt Cain’s perfect game, they probably wouldn’t talk about the Giants even if they won the World Series.

Turns out, in my utter disgust, I was absolutely right. (But don’t take it from me – my friend Brett has a good take on this, too.)

Even a week after the deal went down, I’m still mulling over the James Harden trade to Houston.

After all, I’ve always considered him a vital cog in the Thunder’s offense, and he might have even been a better option if they put him at the point guard spot.

I suppose it had the deal had to be struck, though – if they couldn’t get a deal done for him to stay in OKC, then the prospect of letting him go for some talent is better than the possibility of a Dwight Howard situation, speculating every day whether or not he was going to get signed next offseason.

“Huh? Someone’s trying to be like me?”

And getting back SG Kevin Martin, G Jeremy Lamb and draft picks isn’t too bad – despite the fact that Kevin Martin has a reputation as a shoot-first guard.

Speaking as a Kings fan, I can attest to that, which is why Sacramento traded him to Houston in the first place. Whether the Thunder can make a Westbrook-Martin backcourt work is their prerogative. (Go to John Hollinger’s analysis, if you haven’t already, for further info.)

Upon further inspection, the Thunder gave away a talent, but also avoided a situational, and financial, headache.

So, 49ers LB Aldon Smith just can’t catch a break – or, at least, Smith and trouble can’t seem to get away from each other.

As San Francisco enters their bye week with a 6-2 record, Smith, apparently, had another late-night “incident” early Thursday morning in Columbia, MO, near his alma mater at the University of Missouri. So far, the news has been quiet, and details on the incident have not been released – though Smith, himself, has said on his Twitter account that he did not get jumped.

In any case, it is unclear whether the embattled defensive star brings these problems onto himself, or it follows him like an unshakable disease.

So what is he supposed to do? Stay away from Missouri? Hire bodyguards? Change his personal life completely?

All viable questions that the 49ers organization may need to address in the near future, if not to protect their investment, but to help a troubled young man – regardless of his troubles’ origins.

Interesting story coming from one of my (and many young men’s) favorite winter Olympic athletes – skier Lindsey Vonn.

Apparently, the four-time Skiing World Cup Champion has been making headlines, following in the footsteps of racer Danica Patrick and golfers Annika Sorenstam and Michelle Wie. The International Ski Federation, however, has rejected Vonn’s request to compete against the men in a World Cup downhill race.

Vonn saw it as good publicity for a sport that really only gets attention once every four years.

And if anyone can get a sport the attention it so desperately needs…

And, I say, why not?

What would be the big deal about a woman competing against the men? After all, I whole-heartedly agree with Vonn in that it would attract some much-needed pub. Who would have known that the World Cup of Skiing was even going on without this story?

The times when governing bodies do not allow genders to mix because of semantics, or an archaic sense of “fairness” should be over. In any case, I’m sure this will not dissuade a personality like Vonn from continuing her quest to compete with the men.

Good on ya, Lindsey.

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