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Smokey Bear is supposed to communicate an important message about wildfire safety. But viewers were talking about his balloon at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for a totally different reason this year: his looming, brawny, unsettling hotness.

As the giant floating bear floated over the streets of New York City Thursday, spectators took to social media to ask why the iconic shirtless character had been made to look unusually swole this year with particularly bulging pec muscles.

As one Twitter user write: “Since when is Smokey Bear Zaddy bait?” Another asked simply: “Why is Smokey Bear trying to look sexy?”

Created in 1944, Smokey Bear has served as a stalwart public service announcement about the dangers of unplanned wildfires ever since. With his slogan—“only YOU can prevent forest fires”—Smokey has raised awareness about a problem which continues to destroy wildlife and infrastructure on a mind-boggling scale. Over 62,000 fires have burned more than seven million acres in the U.S. this year alone, according to National Interagency Fire Center stats.

But as the necessity of wildfire safety has increased, so too has Smokey Bear’s hotness. Despite being originally designed to have a body similar to that of an actual bear, the character’s appearance inadvertently dropped ursine realism in favor of a leaner, voluptuous look in a 2007 redesign, according to Slate.

Even so, it seems some people are still unnerved by the sight of a ripped Smokey Bear a full decade-and-a-half later:

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Tags: fever dreams pets macy’s thanksgiving day parade macy’s thanksgiving day macy’s thanksgiving wildfire safety according

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San Francisco Giants | Winter meetings: Former SF Giants manager Bruce Bochy talks returning with Rangers, Barry Bonds

SAN DIEGO — If you’ve heard the joke, with one former San Francisco skipper in Houston and another now in Arlington, that all the Giants’ exes live in Texas, well, how about a reprise.

Because, for a moment Monday afternoon at MLB’s winter meetings, those exes met in the confined space of the ballroom of the Manchester Grand Hyatt. What would be a worst nightmare for any human relationship was actually a meeting of two of the most successful baseball men alive, with a combined 4,000 wins and four World Series between them.

“Hey, Bruce!” shouted a voice from the back of the room, after reporters had lobbed questions at the newest Rangers manager, Bruce Bochy, for about 20 minutes.

It was Dusty Baker, who was next up to speak.

At the front of the room, Baker, the Giants’ manager from 1993-2002, embraced Bochy, who won three World Series with the Giants from 2007-19. The two shared a quick conversation and posed for photos, before Baker situated himself behind the microphone.

Just a couple of old pals with 4,000 combined wins

— Evan Webeck (@EvanWebeck) December 5, 2022

The last time the winter meetings were held in person, in 2019, Baker had been out of the game for two seasons; Bochy had just finished his last season in San Francisco and announced his retirement.

Back in person after a two-year hiatus, both are central figures again at this year’s meetings.

Baker’s Astros won the World Series — his first title after more than 2,000 regular-season wins — but lost Justin Verlander to the Mets on a reported two-year, $86.5 million deal. That move, however, was only one domino set off by Bochy’s Rangers luring Jacob deGrom away from New York, for a reported $185 million over five years.

“Euphoria hits at that point,” Bochy said of the call he got from Rangers general manager Chris Young with the news that deGrom had accepted their offer. “I couldn’t have been more thrilled or more excited.”

It’s moves like that — and committing half a billion dollars to two shortstops last offseason — that helped convince Bochy to come out of semi-retirement and sign on with the Rangers. Bochy, who had been serving as an adviser with the Giants since stepping down from their managerial post, said he hadn’t sought out other opportunities.

Only now, back in the action, did he realize how much he missed it.

“The first year, I was fine. It was all right. Then it started getting a little worse,” Bochy said. “Now that I’m doing it again, you do realize how much you miss it and how much fun so many different parts of the game are. … It’s good to be back.”

Texas general manager Chris Young, who also happened to pitch for Bochy back in their San Diego days, came to visit the longtime skipper in-person. When Young departed seven hours later, Bochy said, he had been convinced to give it one more go in the dugout.

“When he called and wanted to get my appetite on doing this, sure, it piqued my interest,” Bochy said. “He came out and we talked for, what, seven hours. When he left, I knew this is what I wanted to do and what I probably should be doing. There’s a time and place for certain things. This certainly felt that way for me, coming to Texas. For me to do this, it had to be the right fit, and it certainly felt like that.”

Bonds ‘gonna get in’ Hall of Fame

Bochy and Baker have direct tickets to Cooperstown once they call it quits for good.

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After Sunday’s Contemporary Era committee vote, however, it is looking increasingly unlikely that the best player to play for either of them will one day join them in the Hall of Fame. Barry Bonds was denied entry to the Hall for the 11th straight year, this time receiving less than 25% support from the 16-person committee, which instead unanimously elected another former player of Bochy’s, Fred McGriff.

Bochy, however, is confident Bonds will find his way into the hallowed halls.

“I try not to get caught up, like, well he’s definitely got to be in, or this or that,” said Bochy, who managed Bonds for one season, in 2007, after having to face him for most of his career. “Barry is gonna get in at some point, I really believe that.

“I happened to have Barry for a year. I saw him across the field. He’s the best player I’ve ever seen. … I’m thankful for the time I had with him. I actually pull for him, to be honest. I think the world of Barry. I understand those guys, that group, they’re having a difficult time. I think it’s going to happen for him at some point.”

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