What’s the Buzz?
What’s the Buzz?
Did you know Sugar Land is getting a minor league baseball team? It’s true. In April of 2012 (one year from now) you can enjoy some summertime baseball without breaking the bank or braving downtown.
The Sugar Land franchise pays homage to their swampy home by naming the team the Skeeters and having a tough little bug spearing a baseball as their mascot. Voters chose between the Skeeters, the King Canes and Lizard Kings. “Skeeters” was the leading vote-getter among three finalist names during a three-month-long name-the-team contest. The vote followed an unprecedented response to the original “Name Sugar Land’s Team” contest. With nearly 8,000 entries, it is believed to have been the most popular team naming contest in Minor League Baseball history. Tony Johnson from Sugar Land was chosen at random from all those who submitted “Skeeters,” and was awarded Lifetime Season Tickets. Johnson’s original submission suggested Skeeters for its “relevance to Fort Bend County, youth appeal, and represents the kind of fun minor league baseball is known for.” Rawhide Yellow, Imperial Blue, Refinery Red and Nighttime Black make up the club’s new official colors. The Skeeters are the only professional sports team to have these team colors.
According to the Chronicle “The Skeeters will play in the nine-team Atlantic League, which isn’t affiliated with Major League Baseball. It’s composed of players trying to catch on with a big league team — players on the way up or the way down. There will be 22-year-old players, and there probably will be 42-year-olds. In recent years, Jose Lima, Rickey Henderson and Ruben Sierra played in the Atlantic League. Former Astros first baseman Mike Lamb is with the Camden (N.J.) Riversharks this season. The top players make $3,000 a month. “It’s good baseball,” Jones said. “It’s not a stretch to say the position players are Triple-A caliber. The pitching probably is Double-A. People who appreciate baseball will enjoy it…At times, we’ll feel like dinner theater,” President Matt O’Brien said. “It’s a place to eat, have fun and socialize with your neighbors.” If the Skeeters are a success, there likely will be more teams added within two or three years. Baytown has been mentioned for a franchise. So have The Woodlands, Conroe and Waco. Minor league baseball has grown so rapidly and developed such a loyal following at the grass-roots level that anything is possible.”
Unfortunately not everyone is excited about this new development as O’Brien. “Houston hasn’t had a minor league baseball team in 50 years, and the gamble for the Skeeters is trying to survive in the shadow of a major league franchise. . When the good citizens of Sugar Land decided to build a minor league stadium, their hope was it would be an Astros minor league affiliate. Astros owner Drayton McLane rejected the idea, saying a team so close to Minute Maid Park would hurt his attendance. McLane was firm in his opposition even though the Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves and Baltimore Orioles have farm teams a short drive from their ballparks. Since McLane has veto power over any team affiliated with the 30 major league clubs, Sugar Land was forced to go for an independent league franchise.”
I for one am excited about these prospect of a different more intimate baseball experience. Minute Maid is an amazing park but it will be nice to be able to have another. “Tickets will go for $8, and $1.75 will get you a hot dog. Depending on your taste in beer, a cold one will cost between $4 and $6.” These prices can’t be beat and I think everyone has their fingers crossed that with the edition of the Skeeters, Houstonians might actually see their home team win a few games. If you are interested in learning more The Sugar Land Skeeters have a website and Facebook page. There will also be a carnival type event called Skeeters Fanfest held May 14 where you can participate in all sorts of games and activities including live entertainment and presentations by baseball players.
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