Monday, January 26, 2009

New Kids on the Block, Part One: Tacoma Truckers

The History: tmfran is the 8th owner is this troubled franchise's 11 years. That's the bad news. The good news is that he comes in on the heels of the relative stability of cincyredlegs ownership. redlegs had the team for three years, moving it back to Cincinnatti for the 3rd time and Ohio for the 4th time. The Truckers are now in Tacoma which should shorten what was a frightening travel schedule in a division that also contains Vancouver, Ottawa, and Kansas City.

The Outlook: While in the Cininnatti the team was briefly beloved after consecutive playoff trips in seasons 8 and 9. However, last year's team struggled badly, producing the worst record in franchise history (55-107).

Season 10 saw the team score nearly 200 fewer runs than the previous year after Gerald Pong left for Texas. The pitching staff crumbled even worse with the ERA balooning from 4.90 to 8.33. Young, athletic stars like Manny Corey, Roosevelt Gilkey, Mateo Figureoa, and href="" target="_blank">Jim Hughes will be counted on to provide offense, speed, and defense. But, can pitching coach Tim Fischer turn around a staff that struggled so mightily last season?

The Name: In steps tmfran, raised in Japan by a secret samuri society, the wonderkund left the secret, ancient arts for business. He became an acclaimed engineer and designed the Toyota Tacoma, Motor Trend's 2005 Truck of the Year. After an ugly departure from Toyota following a obscenity laced argument with Toyota CEO Katsuaki Watanabe in 2007 at a kereoke bar (they couldn't agree on the lyrics to Men At Work's, Man Down Under), tmfran headed for the Great Northwest. He settled in Washington State and became an avid fly fisherman. Two years of fishing found him itching to get back to work and he decided a baseball team is just what the Pacific Northwest needed. Naming the team the Tacoma Truckers is one last jab his bitter rival, Wantanbe.

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