2009 STORIES...

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Editor Jim Lockwood

ICQ # 1850917
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Monday, April 6, 2009
Story by Jim Lockwood

SAN JOSE (AP) - It's time to start another season of Weaverball action... so of course it's also time for the annual Weaver League Power Rankings!

1 RIO They win 128 games, they win the Weaver Cup... did they really need a new all-timer? It doesn't matter, Dutch Leonard is in town and the Capys are ready to roll again!
2 BELFAST Gehrig, Mantle, and Co. continue to roll. Hong Kong and Sicily are much improved and the Bombers could have some competition this season, but for now they're still the kings of the Barnes division.
3 COZUMEL They finished 100 games over .500 last season. Their team is rapidly aging, and they took a hit in the offseason when Roberto Clemente retired, but at least for this season they will remain a major force in the league.
4 AMITY Despite their early season struggles they finished incredibly strong and still ended up with 113 wins. Argentina is starting to knock on the door, but the White Sharks are still the big dogs in the Polanski Division.
5 NEW YORK Lost some depth in the offseason, but their heavy hitting lineup remained intact. Pitching is deep despite concerns over their age. If they stay healthy they'll be in the hunt as usual.
6 LONG BEACH Their offensive prowess has been well chronicled. They have an ace in Ismael Valdes. Their chasing the class of the league, but it's only a matter of time before they give Rio a run for their money... Is this the year?
7 HONG KONG If they're going to make a move on the Bombers, this is the year to do it. Sandy Koufax decided against retirement and the Dragons will have him for a full season, and it could be enough to push the Dragons to the next level.
8 LA Their lineup is as potent as it has ever been, and their pitching is solid, but the lack the anchor in the starting staff that they've had in the past. Nonetheless, they will be a force in the Lockwood Division as usual.
9 ARGENTINA Carlos Guillen is back after his season ending injury derailed the Archers promising season. The team has another year of experience under their belts, and there is no reason to believe they won't challenge Amity this season.
10 SICILY Young studs Wayne Hu and Ericson Reduta look primed to join their potent lineup. Along with a solid pitching staff anchored by Christy Matthewson they could join the Dragons and make a move in the Barnes this year.
11 HAVANA The Cigars will continue to be in the mix in the Roehm Division, but with Long Beach on the rise and Rio not going anywhere they'll have a tougher go at it than in past years.
12 BOMBAY Talented young team jumped out of the gate quickly last season but finished with a losing record. There's real hope among Elephants fans that the team can finish above .500 this year.
13 HONOLULU Jake Neel is becoming a force in their lineup, but the rest of the team around him is aging fast.
14 ST. PETERSBERG Psychos have collected five all-timers on their roster, aparently to put together a farewell tour for them before the aging stars retire.
15 JOHANNESBURG They had a rough year in 2008, but they beat arch rival Cape Town in 15 of 18 games so their fans are happy. 11 selections from 2008 draft class, the team will have to be patient while they develop.

Despite loss of Albert Belle their lineup still has some pop. Team is beginning to show it's age though, and the loss of career saves leader Jose Mesa could hurt big time.

17 BERLIN Addition of all-timer Yogi Berra and continued development of Frank Callahan pushes them straight to the top... of the bottom third of the league.
18 CAIRO Weaverball returns to Egypt! Troubles in the Taiwan Strait forces team to flee to the stability of the Middle East.
19 CHERNOBYL After the early promise of the 2007 season the bottom dropped out, and the retirement of Koji Nihonji sends the team's fortunes further south.
20 SYDNEY Franchise is starting year number three in Australia. Novelty is wearing off and fans want a winner... but they're gonna have to wait.
21 MOTOWN The Tony Robles era ends after ten seasons, new owner Mark Harris has his work cut out for him.
22 CAPE TOWN Convicts have some pretty good looking prospects in their low minors, times are tough now but if they play their cards right they could be on track to turn the corner soon.
23 TOKYO Has anyone seen their owner? If I don't hear back from him in the next week the franchise may be back on the market again.

Team has a TON of young talent, probably has a brighter future than a lot of teams above... but we at the Weaver Times just could not ignore 144 losses... YOU are the weakest link! Goodbye!

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