I found it quite unsettling to see two of the Mirror's premier outdoor writers, Shirley Grenoble and Walt Young, use their recent columns as platforms for tips of the cap for Sarah Palin.
Their political views are not helpful at a time when we need lots of facts regarding our upcoming November voting decisions. I do not believe personal political opinions belong in outdoor columns, although Young did have ''commentary'' in his title.
More of a fisherman than a hunter myself, I find Palin appalling as an outdoorsman on many counts. She has quite forcefully promoted the shooting of wolves and bears from helicopters and planes. (Google any number of conservation groups such as the National Wildlife Federation for fuller details of these shameful hunts).
Twice the citizens of Alaska voted statewide against hunting wildlife from aircraft. Palin found a way to get around their votes. True, sportsmen do not shoot wolves or bears, or any animal from aircraft. Sometimes in these hunts the wolves are run down to total exhaustion at which point the planes land and the animals are shot point blank on the ground.
Palin also initiated a bounty program in Alaska where $150 is paid for the left front leg of every freshly killed wolf. She passed legislation in the amount of $400,000 that is being spent to promote public awareness on the merits of gunning wildlife from planes.
The above are just some of the many instances where the Republican vice-presidential nominee has shown, as the governor of Alaska, a blatant disregard for the rational balance of nature in her state.
Her irresponsible and reckless actions fly in the face of facts set forth by many competent, qualified wildlife biologists.
Grenoble and Young may feel good about having an avid hunter and outdoor enthusiast as a viable candidate, but there is much more than that to be weighed when selecting a person for such an important office.
Many, many factors go into the making of a truly outstanding elected official, and I feel bad that our two knowledgeable outdoor writers have glossed over Sarah Palin's fuller background. I, for one, like to look deeper into such matters. Such shameful hunting practices go far toward showing me that Palin is not a candidate I can support for any elected office.
I will certainly continue enjoying Grenoble's columns about turkeys and timberdoodles, and likewise for Young's columns that cover the whole gamut of nature. I will also be hoping for fair, balanced reporting at all times on all fronts in our paper.
John Hunter Orr
Like Hartsock's Pirate wrap
As always, I really enjoy reading John Hartsock's work. His year-end Pirate pieces were excellent. He is very thorough.
I'm sure writing on the Bucs is a labor of love, as is being a fan.
Baseball needs a tuck rule
I hated it when I saw it in professional basketball, and I hate it even more when I see it today in baseball.
I'm talking about the tactic of ripping out the shirttails the instant the game is over.
I've seen it three or four times now in baseball where a player, after catching the ball for the last out would make a show of ripping out his shirttails before going through the team's postgame handshake.
But in a recent Pirate game against the Brewers, I saw it happen before the game was officially over. Prince Fielder hit a walkoff homer in the ninth and only made it to first base before (knowing all cameras would be on him) making a point of ripping his shirttails out and parading around the bases looking like a sloppy delinquent.
When he was met at the plate, several others were doing the same thing as they awaited their ''Prince'' to arrive.
Isn't there something in the rules about making a travesty of the game? I guess that would be a judgment call on the part of the umpires unless the powers that be in MLB would issue a statement to that effect. At the point where Fielder ripped his shirttails out, the preceding runner was only at second. I would like to see the umpire call ''dead ball,'' and rule the batter out and all runners return to base. In postgame celebrations, once the game is officially over, there isn't much that could be done, but in Fielder's case, the game wasn't over until the runner ahead of him touched home.
I would like to see a rule where if it's done before a game is officially over, then there's some form of penalty applied. If it's done at the end of a game and before getting off the field and out of sight of the fans, then there should be a fine involved and/or some sort of team penalty.
I know I'm old school, but if these guys are professionals (at least by definition), shouldn't they have to act like professionals?