Will Smith still buy magic springing from Harbaughs tongue?


Will Smith still buy magic springing from Harbaughs tongue?

And now, the 49ers can pretend they loved Alex Smith all along. Believe as much of that as you like.

Suddenly, Smith has as much leverage as a man who has served as his coachs caddy can have. Which is all a matter-of-fact way of asking, Does Alex still buy the magic springing from Jim Harbaughs tongue?
RELATED: Peyton Manning chooses Broncos

The answer is no, unless Smith is a dunce, which he is not. But the alternatives, Miami and Jacksonville, would only represent spite signings, so the real question is not what Smith believes, but what he can endure.

And Smiths greatest skill as a quarterback is also his greatest skill as an intellect. His clinical thought process.

The Dolphins are hopeless. The Jaguars are worse. The Seahawks are not an option. The Titans have shown no apparent interest.

MAIOCCO: 49ers back to Smith as top option

Which means the marriage of convenience resumes after the 49ers got liquored up and went to Vegas for the weekend to chat up another woman. Now Harbaugh and Smith are joined not by the heart, but by the wallet. Pragmatism, Harbaughs most dynamic quality. Rules the day for both, and the 49ers are no worse off than they were.

No better, either.

The biggest problem with Manning to the 49ers was ultimately the fact that the Broncos had more than twice as much cap room to spend on Manning, and while many folks will hypothesize than it was deference to his brother Eli that drove this decision, they will be wrong. Money talks louder than workouts walk, which should come as no surprise to anyone who pays attention to free agency in any sport.

The 49ers can say they just did their due diligence, and that they were longshots because of the money disparity, and that will be true.

But Smith, who has enough scars to look like the fun house mirror in Chuck Wepners house, gets one more from his third pro head coach. He may become more cynical about his business, but maybe he was already there. He has a way of hiding his true internals.

But he is at his essence a triangulator. He has already figured out that where he came from is the best place for him to be, and if he can squeeze more money out of the 49ers for the time and trouble he went through, all the better for him.

Oh, there is also the minimal possibility that Harbaugh and Smith were in on this from the start, and they may even portray this as such. But the fact is, to the extent that Smith was Harbaughs acolyte in 2011, that is no more. The support he finally found after six years of Mike Nolans neglect and Mike Singletarys non-inspirational speeches is revealed to be just one more song and dance in what will be an ongoing series of them.

It means that Patrick Willis now knows what awaits him when his time comes. He is the best 49er there is today, but today gets to yesterday very quickly, and Harbaugh has shown himself to be your standard bloodless head coachgeneral manager.

Or, to be more precise, he has behaved as any head coachgeneral manager would behave in the National Football League, and this last week was an excellent education for those who still view the NFL as a place where loyalty matters, is celebrated and rewarded.

It isnt. It isnt going to be. If Peyton Manning can be shown the door to save 28 million, what chance would any other player have? Well wait patiently while you arrive at the answer, None.

Oh, and Harbaugh needs a new caddy.

Team USA dominates Puerto Rico to win 2017 World Baseball Classic

Team USA dominates Puerto Rico to win 2017 World Baseball Classic

LOS ANGELES -- Marcus Stroman tossed six hitless innings, Ian Kinsler slugged a two-run homer and the United States routed Puerto Rico 8-0 on Wednesday night to win its first World Baseball Classic in four tries.

Stroman dominated the tournament's highest-scoring team. Puerto Rico lost for the first time in eight games after outscoring the opposition 55-26. The U.S. territory finished runner-up for the second time, having lost to the Dominican Republic in the 2013 final.

Stroman, who was named the tournament's MVP, avenged his shakiness in the Americans' 6-5 loss to Puerto Rico during pool play. The right-hander from the Toronto Blue Jays retired the side on three grounders to open the game. In all, he gave up one hit, struck out three and walked one on 73 pitches.

He allowed just three balls past the infield until Angel Pagan's double in the left-field corner leading off the seventh, when Stroman departed to a standing ovation, having staked the Americans to a 7-0 lead.

Stroman walked Carlos Beltran leading off the second, but the defense helped him out. Yadier Molina hit the ball to shortstop Brandon Crawford, who started a double play before Stroman struck out Javier Baez to end the inning.

The U.S. pounded out 13 hits and finished with a 6-2 record while making the final for the first time in front of 51,565 at Dodger Stadium.

Kinsler homered off an 0-1 pitch from Seth Lugo into left-center field in the third, scoring Jonathan Lucroy, who singled leading off.

Lugo of the New York Mets allowed four runs and five hits, struck out seven and walked four in four innings. The right-hander won his first two starts of the tournament, including in the second round against Stroman and the U.S.

In that game, Stroman gave up six consecutive singles in a four-run first inning and took the loss against Puerto Rico last Friday in San Diego.

The Americans made it 4-0 in the fifth on RBI singles by Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen.

Fans wore flags of both countries as capes and decorated their faces in team colors. Puerto Rico boosters pounded cowbells, tooted horns and blew whistles early on before their team fell behind 4-0.

Fans were on their feet chanting "U-S-A" when the Americans loaded the bases in the seventh with two outs. They were rewarded with Crawford's two-run single that chased J.C. Romero, extending the lead to 6-0.

The U.S. tacked on another run on Giancarlo Stanton's RBI single off Hiram Burgos past diving shortstop Francisco Lindor.

Burgos' wild pitch moved runners to second and third before he walked Lucroy to load the bases a second time. Kinsler flied out to end the inning.

The Americans led 8-0 in the eighth on McCutchen's RBI single with two outs.

The U.S. defeated two-time champion Japan, while Puerto Rico beat the Netherlands to reach the final.

The three games at Dodger Stadium drew 109,892.

Instant Replay: Kings blown out by Bucks, Antetokounmpo at home

Instant Replay: Kings blown out by Bucks, Antetokounmpo at home


SACRAMENTO -- The Milwaukee Bucks are where the Sacramento Kings hope to be in two seasons - young, athletic and on their way to the playoffs. Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center, the visiting team jumped all of the Kings early on their way to a 116-98 win. 

The Greek Freak didn’t let up on his fellow countryman, Georgios Papagiannis. Giannis Antetokounmpo went at the Kings from the opening tip, finishing the night with 32 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block.  

Former Kings Jason Terry and Spencer Hawes heard boos every time they touched the ball. Unfortunately for Sacramento, they hit almost every shot they took, combining for 19 points on 6-for-9 shooting.

Greg Monroe added 15 points and five rebounds. Mirza Teletovic finished with 13 points off the bench and Khris Middleton hit 3-for-6 from long range to score 13. 

Rookie Buddy Hield put on a shooting clinic. The 22-year-old shooting guard dropped in 8-of-16 from the field on his way to 21 points and four rebounds

Darren Collison set up his teammates from the opening tip. The veteran point guard dropped in 10 points and a team-high seven assists, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

Garrett Temple stepped up his scoring, chipping in 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting and chipped in three rebounds in the loss. 

Willie Cauley-Stein stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists and four blocks. 

Arron Afflalo started at the small forward position and added 12 on 5-of-9 shooting. Tyreke Evans came off the bench, posting 18 points in 20 minutes of action behind Afflalo.

Skal Labissiere managed to shake off a rough first half to drop in eight points and grab eight rebounds, and fellow rookie Georgios Papagiannis picked up four points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 23 minutes off Dave Joerger’s bench.  


Antetokounmpo was as advertised and more. The 6-foot-11 forward gave the Kings fits from start to finish on his way to another huge performance.


The Bucks blew up in the first half, scoring 69 points on 61.4 percent shooting from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range. This game was over before the teams headed in for the break.


Kosta Koufos and Ty Lawson both missed the game for scheduled rest. Rookie Malachi Richardson is out with a right hamstring thickness tear, but is expected back soon. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles. 


The Kings hit the road again following the game against Milwaukee. They will face the Golden State Warriors on Friday evening at Oracle Arena, followed by a stop in Los Angeles on Sunday to visit the Clippers.