Picking Splinters: July’s Mailbag & a Farewell

Am I the only one in the world that thinks the President’s first pitch was a little weak? I’ve seen falling leaves with better velocity and had Pujols not scooched up to catch it, it would have bounced.

Mr. Hume,

Have to ask: What were your impressions of President Obama’s first pitch at the All-Star game?

A concerned citizen
Crawford, TX

Am I the only one in the world that thinks the President’s first pitch was a little weak? I’ve seen falling leaves with better velocity and had Pujols not scooched up to catch it, it would have bounced.

The next morning all the headlines said the President “passed the test” by not bouncing it. Is that the low bar to which this country has fallen? Are we really prepared to reward a passable effort as exceptional? No wonder our school systems falter and we keep losing jobs overseas!

This is America. Next time President Obama toes the rubber I expect the Secret Service to place a cardboard cutout of Iranian President (and I use that term loosely) Mahmoud Ahmadinenjad in one batter’s box and Kim Jong Il in the other. Then the Prez should reach back – with both hands – for some double barreled chin music. Just to let them know we’re watching.

And yes, in case you couldn’t tell by the not-so-subtle sarcasm, I do think we’re paying far too much attention to the meaningless portions of Mr. Obama’s presidency. How’s that recession coming, anyway?


Better offseason move: Caps signing of Brendan Morrison or Wizards trading for Mike Miller and Randy Foye?

6th and F Sts.

Hands down it was the signing of Brendan Morrison. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. The Wizards are not contenders. They weren’t when Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison were healthy a few years ago, and they won’t be contenders now. The Cavs added Shaq. The Magic added Brandon Bass and Vince Carter. The Celtics added Rasheed Wallace. Those are the three best teams in the East, three teams the Wizards haven’t been able to touch in the playoffs. And they all got better than the Wizards did this offseason. So what gap has Washington closed on the league’s elite?

Meanwhile, they dealt the No. 5 overall pick for Miller and Foye … a pick we now know could have netted them Ricky Rubio, a perfect chip to begin the rebuilding process. And they could have even let him stay in Spain for an extra year if they wanted. I just feel the Wizards pushed all-in on a losing hand.

The Caps bought low on Morrison, a one-time dynamo with the Vancouver Canucks, where his linemates Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi weren’t all that different stylistically from new teammates Alexander Semin and Brooks Laich. Morrison was slowed by injuries the past few years, but he’s not old, entering his age 34 season. Paying $1.5M for an accomplished center could be a steal, with the upside to improve on Sergei Fedorov’s production. Feds scored 33 points last season, not a ton for a second line center. As he regained his health, Morrison put up 9 points in March. Extrapolate that over a full season and factor that he’ll have better players around him in D.C. than in Dallas and 50 points is not unreasonable.

A fond farewell: It was with great sadness that I read of the passing of Bob Morrison this Monday. As many of you know, Bob frequently contributed his exceptional photographs to the pages of the News-Press. During my time as Sports Editor, I was frequently the beneficiary of his talent and kindness, as he would offer me tips and even loan me some of his superior equipment on occasion.

Readers don’t always notice the photo credits in the paper, but those with children in the local athletics programs probably saw him working along the courts and fields of George Mason High School. He would always search tirelessly for the proper angle to capture the action in images that would adorn front pages, refrigerators, magazines and mantles.

Now, he’ll have the best angle of all. You’ll be deeply missed, Bob.

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