In what is apparently a tough time to fill worlds in Hardball Dynasty, we found our most experienced class of new owners ever. Hopefully, this group has staying power so we can, for the first time, reach our goal of returning all 32 teams.
Speaking of returning teams, I counted which season's new recruits has the most active returns since Hunter started. Needless to say, season 1 has the best retention rate (11 teams) but I was rather surprised to see which season ranked second...We still have 4 owners from season 7's class (beerman324, randyrossrac, carmandjr, firedock). Third place goes to season 2's class from which we have 3 owners. We have nobody left from seasons 6 and 8. I don't know what any of this means but that has never stopped me from posting on the blog before.
What was I talking about? Oh, yes. The new folk. All of these new owners are taking over not so good teams so it's not going to be a cakewalk for any of them. Who will turn their team into a winner first? Let's meet them:
Syracuse Coureurs Des Bois (beesore) formerly Helena Hashies (tbook)
Sheesh, never before did one of these silly write-ups turn into a history lesson. If, like me, you did not take French in highschool, A coureur des bois (runner of the woods) was an individual who engaged in the fur trade without permission from the French authorities in North America in the 17th century (or so says wikipedia). Phew. Thinking is hard. Anyway, this is the franchise that one of our originators, tbook, dropped last season. As successful as tbook has been in HD, he could never quite get his Hunter team rolling. He never won a division title and never proceeded far in the playoffs. Beesore looks to be rebuilding from inside his organization starting with an 80M budget and making just a few modest FA signings. But not to worry, he brings 28 seasons of experience and a bunch of division titles to Hunter.
St. Louis Brew Masters (vlpratt62) formerly Tacoma Needles (heelsfan0123)
Vlpratt62 comes to Hunter withh 22 seasons under his belt but with no championships or playoff appearances to show for it. But we won't hold that against him. We all know rebuilding bad teams can take a while. And this team probably isn't going to be a winner all that quickly. This franchise only made the playoffs once back in season 4 when 13black had them in Tucson. Last season, the Needles had the worst pitching and hitting team in the NL, hands down. The Brew Masters have been active in free agency with a focus on defense. But they have a higher salary than you might think for a team who finished last in the league. At least they get the first draft pick this season.
Montgomery Mastodons (hooner65) formerly Memphis Redemption (tropicana)
Ever since echwippe's Bad Boys skipped town a couple of years ago, this franchise hasn't had a stable owner. But with hooner's 54 seasons and 5 WS tiltles, Montery is hopeful he is what this team needs. This franchise hasn't had a playoff appearance since season 2 and playing in that AL South won't make it any easier to turn this thing around. The Mastodons (prehistoric Elephant) enter season 11 with the worst hitting team in the AL. But hooner appears to have a plan. He has his player salary budget up to 105M but, so far, he hasn't spent much of that. It will be interesting to see what he has up his sleeve.
Tacoma Twilight (hbdgirl) formerly Portland Pines (gforman)
First off, I'm going to assume that hbdgirl is actually female. I know making assumptions from someone's user name is dangerous. For example, if someone didn't know better, they might think carmandjr was actually a cool gear head (Car-Man) with an awesome muscle car. But in reality, he drives a Hyundai. Anyway, as far as I know, we have had just two female owners and they have both owned the same franchise. Yes, this is the former Velvet Vultures squad which was run by eclipse33. Eclipse is another owner who has had success in other worlds but could not get anything going in Hunter. She never had a winning season here and this franchise has never made a playoff appearance. Hbdgirl is relatively new to HBD (10 seasons) but she already has a WS trophy and 4 division titles. Already this season, the Twilight was able to attract a couple good young free agent hitters to their city (J.R. Kennedy and Gaylord Anderson). Of all the new teams , this is my pick to win the most ML games.
Iowa City Hawkeyes (soxrule65 aka kevbo65) formerly Hartford The Wale (rabenjamin77)
I'm concerned about this team. How is Iowa City going to attract any big-name free agents with those ugly hats? Soxrule65 comes to Hunter with 17 years of experience and a gaudy .560 winning percentage. Iowa's obvious need is pitching as they finished nearly last in the AL in almost every pitching category. And that's exactly what Sox attacked in free agency. He signed several pitchers and two catchers with very high pitch calls. He also traded for a couple hitters. It looks like Iowa City is trying to win at the ML level now. Maybe I was wrong about the hats.
Burlington Federalists (jdbkaput) formerly Kansas City Knights (jag884)
Thankfully for me, jdbkaput left the NL North after season 7. His St. Louis Clydesdales won our division every season he was there (7). Jdbkaput quit HBD because he took a new job and was moving across country. Stupid real life. But now that he's settled, he makes his return to HBD in Hunter's AL North. Jbd took over the AL's worst team last season and a franchise that has never made the playoffs. Even though he signed a bunch of older guys in free agency, he didn't spend a whole lot of money on them. He even signed his former ace (and mine), Shawn Owen to what has got to be his final contract. The Federalists also traded a few ML guys for prospects. Don't expect big things from jbd's big league team this year but give him time and his divisions-mates will be hoping he moves to Alaska.
Bkdries moved his franchise from Burlington to Philadelphia. They are still nicknamed the Black Sox, though, despite their colors being burgundy and mustard.
Baldric changed his nickname from one thing I didn't understand (TCB) to another thing I don't understand (Ring to Rule Them All). The team still plays in San Juan, though. The fans believed the old nickname was cursed.