The Memphis Kings

GM Barak Blackburn and The Kings are looking to Take Care of Business in a Flash as one of the newest owners to join the USSP!

Barak has been an owner of several teams in other baseball leagues, winning World Series titles in the 1975, 1989 and 1994 seasons. One of his first orders of business after taking over the Kings (previously the Omaha Marauders) was to name his coaching staff:

George Brett will be the manager, Mike Lum the hitting coach, Tim Teufel is the first base coach opposite Bill Pecota who will coach third and the infield, Steve Rogers is the pitching coach, Roger McDowell will be the bench coach and Cesar Cedeno will coach the outfielders and baserunning.

Inheriting a mediocre roster, Barak immediately set about making several trades:

JT Snow and Ray Durham were sent to Arizona in exchange for Garret Anderson and Eric Young and Arizona's 3rd round pick.

Garret Anderson didn't have time to get outfitted for his Kings uniform before he was sent to Boston along with Ricky Bottallico, Aaron Sele, Bobby Witt and the Kings 3rd round pick in exchange for Jeff King, Jeff Conine, Mark Grudzielanek and Shane Reynolds along with the Gladiators 3rd round pick.

Disgruntled Juan Gonzalez was sent to Virginia along with the King's 7th and 8th round draft picks in exchange for scrappy outfielder Brady Anderson and Geronimo Berroa and the Viper's 5th round pick.

Grudzielanek barely had time to take some throws in the Presley Stadium's infield before being sent to Socrates Sluggers along with one of the three lefty starters in camp, Mike Hampton in exchange for superstar Larry Walker.

In the first round of the draft, The Kings selected Garrett Stephenson a starter/ reliever who is expected to be a spot starter and the teams main long reliever setting up for Jeff Shaw.

"These last two trades have been huge," Blackburn said to interviewers from his offices overlooking Graceland. "Sure we're looking at Ozzie Guillen at shortstop, but to give up a chance for a star like Walker was too much. Losing Juan was tough, sure, but a player like Brady comes every day to play. Plus, playing in Presley Stadium's spacious outfield Juan's questionable fielding skills weren't going to be helping our pitchers any. Berroa gives us a solid bat versus lefthanders and bat off the bench versus righties."

In the second round of the draft, The Kings selected 22 year old slick fielding shortstop Deivi Cruz. Hopefully wiley veteren Ozzie Guillen will be able to instill some of his experience to this youngster. "We think Cruz will be playing short for some time, his glove should keep him in the lineup, and he can only get better as a hitter." Blackburn stated while smiling after learning Cruz was still available.

In round three the Kings drafted wiley veteren Mike Morgan and infielder Tony Graffanino. With two picks in teh fourth round, Blackburn finally pulled the trigger on a deal that had been a long time in the making with the Motor City Madmen: The kings sent their second 4th round pick to the Madmen in exchange for starter Robert Person. With two picks in the 5th round, the Kins selected backup catcher Todd Pratt and after confusing all teh Anderson's who pitch, selected the "young, big one" Matt Anderson. With his last pick in the draft Blackburn chose hard-throwing reliever Clint Sodowsky.

Other places to go.

Spring Training Report:
To return to the USSP.:
Barak Blackburn
209 River Drive
Hadley, MA 01035