We had five openings in Hunter this season. Four were in the American League and two of those were in the AL South. But really, can you blame anyone for not wanting to play in the division responsible for our last 3 World Series Championships? This year, our new owners bring a lot of experience to Hunter (which is good because losing to newbies is getting pretty old) and will likely have their new teams competitive before we know it. I'm telling you, these guys are serious--3 of the 5 new owners have over $100M budgeted to player salaries.
I welcome you all and wish you the very worst of luck with your new teams.
St. Louis Mashers (bobgilbert) Formerly Tampa Bay Nice Rays (andreb)
As strange as it may seem, bobgilbert's name appears to Gary. Who puts "bob" in their user name when their name actually isn't Bob? Just the awesome ones, if you ask me! Anyway, this franchise hasn't had a winning season since they left Mexico City in season 4 and they had their worst record last season losing 100 games in Tampa Bay. St. Louis has the oldest ML team in the NL but seems to have the salary cap situation under control. The Mashers also have one of the better AAA teams in Hunter. St. Louis gets the 3rd draft pick but this newbie still has his work cut out for him.
Hartford The Whale (rebenjamin) Formerly Toledo Mud Hens (the_e_man)
A man called E had this franchise for four years. In season 6 his Mud Hens won a wildcard spot and in season 7 they lost 101 games. With four seasons of experience under his belt in other worlds, rabenjamin77 takes over this up and down team. The Whale inherits one of the better hitting teams in the AL last season and the pitching staff was middle-of-the-pack. They also appear to be pretty healthy as far as age and player salary goes. A couple good moves and this team could have an up season.
Huntington HEAD HUNTERS (vikingdal) Fromerly Wichita Bad Boys (ewchippe)
I'm sure I'm not the only one who thought vikingdal's caps-lock button was stuck but alas, he has gone all uppercase with all four of his other teams, too. And it works for him. Viking comes to Hunter with 2 World Series titles (with the MAD DAWGS in Ripkin) under his belt. He now has the task of reforming these former Bad Boys, who ewchippe has managed since season 1 (although he skipped season 4...I don't remember that), and could never quite get them over the hump. It appears that Huntington wants a winner now as vikingdal has raised player salary budget from $72M last season to $105 and has already hit free-agency hard. With Viking at the helm, I'm guessing this ship will be righted soon.
Anaheim Angels (michaelkoss) Formerly Arizona Rattlers (matrat101)
Last season's owner, Matrat101, was one of our newbies last year who didn't stick, but before him, this was the Arizona Thinderstrikers team that was pretty good in seasons 4-6 but have fallen-off since. Historically, this franchise has always been one of the top two teams as far as player salary goes without much to show for it. This season appears to be no different as michaelkoss has $106M designated to players salaries which is second to only Charlotte's $135M (which is a Hunter record, by the way). But it appears that Micheal plans to shave down some salary by placing Derek O'Keefe on the trading block. This looks like a rebuilding time because moving O'Keefe is going to be rough on a pitching staff who was already one of the worst in the AL.
Boise Posse (dennisdee) Formerly Vancouver Velvet Vultures (eclipse33)
Dennisdee brings a ridiculous 39 season of experience and 2 NL Championships to HUnter to take over for our lovely, lone female owner (as far as I know), eclipse33. OK, I've never met her but it's much more fun to imagine how lovely she was, right? But in her 6 seasons in Hunter, her Velvet Vultures never had a winning record. They did steal a lot of bases last year, though (317 to be exact) and always played great defense. They just couldn't hit. Boise has also hit free agency pretty hard and will try to stay afloat in that very tough AL South.