Did you know?: During a game that carried into the dusk hours, Clarkson once pitched a lemon to the plate to persuade the umpire, Jack Kerins to call the game due to darkness. Kerins called the lemon a strike, and when shown by Boston’s catcher that he had called a lemon a strike, Kerins finally called the game.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hard Times in the Big Easy

New Orleans: On August 25th 2005, The Big Easy was hit with one of the most devastating hurricanes in U.S. history. Hurricane Katrina killed thousands of people along the Gulf Coast, and caused billions of dollars in damage. Since then, the area has been struggling to rebuild and has leaned heavily on local sports team to provide hope and a welcome break from the day to day grind of rebuilding.

Just in the past year, the New Orleans Saints won their first Super Bowl in thrilling fashion and the Hornets appear to be on their way up with a healthy Chris Paul back in the mix. However, excitement went through the roof when Louisiana businessman James Yoi, who made his millions by dominating local fishing and shrimping industries, purchased Atlanta’s NL South division winning baseball team and moved it to the Crescent City.

With a baseball team on the cusp of a World Series run moving to their town, the New Orleans Mob quickly became the new passion of the great Gulf Coast city. Season tickets quickly began to sell out, and Mob Jersey’s were frequently seen during the off-season’s early days.

However, after spending a good deal of money in arbitration to sign players such as 3B John Buckley, 2B Rich Borowski and Albert Butcher, among others, tragedy has struck at the worst possible time. In recent months, the tragic BP Oil Spills have devastated Yoi’s once lucrative fishing and shrimping businesses, leaving the Mob owner and staff scrambling to adjust their budgets.

“This oil spill was something that could not have been predicted, and it is causing havoc up and down the Gulf Coast. While cleanup efforts are under way, it has put a huge dent on what we can do financially for the New Orleans Mob, obviously.” Yoi had to say in a press release, “However we remain dedicated to putting a competitive team out there and bringing a World Series title to this great city.”

With the recent events, Mob officials have begun trying to find partners to trade away some of their larger contracts for younger and/or less expensive players. It remains to be seen if they can capture the NL South title with all the off the field events and the resulting damage to their payroll. With perennial contenders Jackson and Louisville, it will be difficult, but they still have a good core of talent and fans are hopeful their first season with the Mob will be a successful one.

*Parts of this story were gathered from New Orleans Mob websites, reprinted in this story with permission from Mob officials.

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