(is that a carefully worded statement from Vulcan Inc. in your pocket or aren’t you happy to meet Luke Babbitt?)

After a wind-twisting that made the Wilpons’ treatment of Willie Randolph seem downright respectful, the Blazers fired G.M. Kevin Pritchard last night, hours before the start of the scene witnessed by Ben from Blazers Edge in Tualatin, OR with Portland scouts Chad Buchanan and Mike Born left to address the media.

The scouts, dressed in what appeared to be matching black shirts, looked like mourners. Their excitement over what they had accomplished, which no doubt will be very real sometime in the near future, was entirely manufactured tonight.

Buchanan, who carried on as stoically as he could, addressing questions in detail, admitted that the situation “was obviously difficult.” In between discussing player tendency breakdowns, Buchanan kept returning to the same themes. “Kevin was a tremendous leader,” he said. “He did an unbelievable job like he always does.” Respect and regret.

Mike Born sought out the eyes of those in the audience, many of whom edged forward in their seats with anxiety as the questioning continued. It wasn’t clear what Born was seeking in the eye contact. Comfort? A connection? Someone who would understand what he had been through and what had just happened? He looked exhausted, finding his legs again after completing a marathon. No, the team hadn’t decided yet what to do with the newly-acquired Ryan Gomes and his partially guaranteed contract. Yes, it was extremely difficult to trade longtime Blazer Martell Webster.

No matter how much Buchanan and Born liked their three draft picks, and surely no one likes these players more, you couldn’t help but get the feeling that they would trade them all back for Kevin Pritchard.