SUGAR LAND, Texas – The season-opener for the Sugar Land Skeeters is right around the corner, and this year’s talent includes a 6 foot 8 inch pitcher, who is no stranger to big crowds.
There’s definitely a new “buzz” from Skeeters on Constellation Field .
“I don’t know much about some of the guys defense, but I know they can swing the bat,” Skeeters Manager Gary Gaetti said.
Their roster, fresh off a 95-win season, boasts former Major Leaguers, veterans, rookies and even a Clemens.
“I think we’re going to be very exciting,” Koby Clemens said.
But nothing seems to overshadow that 6 foot 8 inch pitcher trying catch on.
“I’m trying to get my baseball swag down,” Tracy McGrady, Skeeters player and former Houston Rocket, said. “I’m trying to remove myself from basketball.”
McGrady, once among pro basketball’s brightest stars, now fields grounders with minor leaguers – 34 competing for 27 spots.
“What’s not to like. The guy is tall. He can throw the ball downhill,” Gary Majewski, another Skeeters pitcher, said.
“He’s such an athlete. He’s got so many advantages that you can’t teach like the height,” Clemens said.
“This is fun to me. I love waking up coming to the ballpark. So, that being said I look forward to pitching in a game in front of these fans that will be out here,” McGrady said.
But if you ask Gaetti, McGrady’s transition is no slam dunk.
“Tracy is the mystery, OK,” the manager said. “It’s probably never been done before – certainly, not a pitcher. Michael Jordan tried to come and play. It was a big adjustment for him.”
The question is can he make it this spring.
“Right now, it’s just a good story. Like I said, we don’t know. Nobody knows right now,” Gaetti said.
The team will be down to 27 by next Thursday, opening day.