Part one in WCM's series on the new teams in the league features the Memphis Shores, formerly the Atlanta enfuegos.
Shore owner, spokaneman, volunteered to take on the 'fuego after reading of the incredibly dramatic ouster of former owner, sonenlaw on the WIS message boards. The franchise has set many records for futility in Second City, winning just 13 games last year in the culmination of a free-fall from the franchise's high-water mark of 76-86 in Season 3. In fairness to the former ownership, they were happered by some bad long-term contract doled out by the previous administration. Still, a total lack of appreciation for defense, resting pitchers, and fiedling a complete 25-man roster doomed what was never a promising season 8.
The franchise has never drafted lower than 13th, with 7 picks in the top ten. Only 2 of their 1st round picks have left the organization, Daniel Pierce (traded to Mexico City) and Terry Pressley (traded to LA, since traded to Pittsburgh). The other top picks all figure in the Shores' plans, with Wascar Lee (#2 overall, season 5) and Jose Cordero (#5, season 3) likely to play key roles. Last year's #1 pick, Bud Hooper, appears destined to open the season in the minors, but looks to be a future MVP candidate. Keith Martin and Domon Mohr are the top returning bats.
The pitching staff posted a shocking 14.37 ERA last year. Carlos Maradona went an amzaing 0-27 in 21 starts and 29 relief apparances. His family blames him for driving his uncle Diego to use drugs. Maradona is not likely to contribute this season. Rule V pick Kirk Thurman figures to play a key role in Season 9.
The team will hit, but they can't catch anything at any position, and the pitching staff will once again face an uphill climb to respectability.
The Shores were actually named by famous Tennessean, Al Gore. Memphis, landlocked in mid-south, stands 331 feet above sea level. Gore has predicted that Memphis will be prime coastal property, sometime next month as global warming causes the oceans to rise. (editor's note, Memphis is on the banks of the Mississippi river)