Sugar Land Skeeters
The Sugar Land Skeeters are an American professional baseball team located in Sugar Land, Texas. The Skeeters play in the Freedom Division of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB), which is an independent league not affiliated with Major League Baseball. They have played their home games at Constellation Field since the beginning of the 2012 season.
|Sugar Land Skeeters|
|League||Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (Freedom Division)|
|Location||Sugar Land, Texas|
|Ballpark||Constellation Field (2012–present)|
|League championships||2 (2016, 2018)|
|Division championships||5 (2013, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2019)|
|Colors||Blue, black, yellow, white|
|Media||Fort Bend Star, Fort Bend Independent, Fort Bend Herald, Houston Chronicle|
The Skeeters entered the Atlantic League as an expansion team in 2010. They are the first Atlantic League team to play outside of the Northeast; the team is also the first of a planned western division to include four to six other teams. The Skeeters are the first independent league baseball team in the Greater Houston metropolitan area since the Houston Buffaloes' final season in 1961, and they are also the first from the city of Sugar Land.
The team's name, "Skeeters", is a Southern slang word for mosquito, and was the result of a team-sponsored name-the-team contest. Part of the reason for the naming is that mosquitoes are very common in the summer nights in Southeast Texas.
The Sugar Land Skeeters have played in three Atlantic League Championships. In 2014, they were swept 3–0 by the Lancaster Barnstormers in the best-of-five game series. They returned for the second time in 2016, where they won the ALPB title, 3–0, against the Long Island Ducks. Matched up against the Ducks again in 2018, the Skeeters won their second ALPB Championship in franchise history after a 4-1 win in a decisive Game 5.
In 2008, Sugar Land residents voted for the allocation of civic revenues toward the construction of a new baseball park. Initially, the former Omaha Royals were interested in moving to the city, but eventually declined because of the construction of Werner Park in suburban Omaha. City of Sugar Land officials contacted Opening Day Partners to build the ballpark in order to have the company's caliber of professional baseball in their region. The city knew that the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB) would not approve of an affiliated team in the Greater Houston area, so Sugar Land chose the independent circuit. The American Association and the United Baseball League were also considered since both organizations had teams located in Texas. The city decided on the Atlantic League mainly because Opening Day Partners' other teams were already members of that league. Sugar Land's entry in the Atlantic League was officially announced on May 18, 2010.
The Skeeters began using a bullpen car in 2012. On August 20, 2012, the Skeeters announced that they were signing former MLB pitcher Roger Clemens. They also announced that Clemens would be the starting pitcher for the Skeeters on August 25, 2012. The Skeeters sold out the night of Clemens start, where Clemens pitched for 3⅓ innings and Skeeters won 1-0.
The Sugar Land City Council approved an ownership change on October 28, 2014. The Council's action cleared the way for Houston-area residents Bob and Marcie Zlotnik, who have been one-third minority partners since the 2012 season, to assume 100% ownership of SL Baseball, LLC.
Also in the 2014 season, the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball All Star Game was held at Constellation Field, Sugar Land, Texas; home of the Skeeters. Usually, in each annual All Star Game, the best players from the Freedom Division battle it out with the best players from the Liberty Division. However, in the 2014 All Star Game, the best players from all around the league faced the Sugar Land Skeeters team. Surprisingly, the Skeeters won on their home field and in front of their home crowd in a thriller with the score of 5-3. Nick Stavinoha was recognized with the MVP award for the game. The game attendance was 7,555 which was the fourth highest All Star Game attendance.
On September 17, 2015, the Sugar Land Skeeters announced their signing of former MLB All-Star Rafael Palmeiro. He had been in retirement for ten years. His son Patrick Palmeiro was also a member of the team that year. Shortly after signing with the Skeeters, Palmeiro said, "We discussed me playing earlier this year and it's something I've looked forward to since then. The chance to play with my son is an opportunity the Skeeters have offered me and I'm very excited to make it happen this weekend." On September 18, 2015, Rafael Palmeiro debuted for the Skeeters batting third, which was the spot right after his son. The father-son duo combined for five RBIs to lead Sugar Land to a 10-4 victory over the Camden Riversharks.
Shortly after the conclusion of the 2017 season, Skeeters manager Gary Gaetti stepped down from his position with the expiration of his contract. Gaetti, the only manager in franchise history at the time, was hired as the club's inaugural skipper in 2011 and managed the club for six seasons (2012–2017).
- Roger Clemens – former MLB player who signed with the team in 2012
- Rafael Palmeiro – former MLB player who signed with the team in 2015
- Tracy McGrady – former NBA player who became a professional pitcher for the Skeeters in 2014
- Scott Kazmir – MLB pitcher before and after his 2012 stint with the Skeeters
- Delwyn Young – former MLB player who signed with the team in 2014
- Jason Lane – former MLB outfielder who pitched for the Skeeters in 2012–2013 and returned to MLB as a pitcher
- Ryan Langerhans
- Scott Elarton
- Daryle Ward
- Derek Norris
- James Loney
- Willy Taveras
Television and radio
On April 24, 2014, the Sugar Land Skeeters announced a deal with ESPN that allowed for all home games at Constellation Field to be exclusively broadcast on the Internet channel ESPN3 for the 2014 season, an agreement that was renewed for both the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Away games are heard on radio station KBRZ.
In December 2010, StarTex Power bought the rights to name the future ballpark of the Skeeters. The initial name of the field was StarTex Power Field. A year later, StarTex merged with Constellation Energy and the name Constellation Field was born on December 2011.
Constellation Field opened on April 26, 2012, when the Sugar Land Skeeters hosted the York Revolution. The ballpark cost $37 million to build and is owned by the City of Sugar Land. The exact address of the Constellation Field is 1 Stadium Dr, Sugar Land, Texas 77498.
Logos and uniforms
The official colors of the Sugar Land Skeeters are imperial blue, nighttime black, rawhide yellow, white, and refinery red. Aside from nighttime black, each color is a regional allusion: "imperial blue" for the Sugar Land–based Imperial Sugar company, "rawhide yellow" for the cattle industry, and "refinery red" for the area's oil refineries. The team's primary logo consists of a mosquito flying over a Texas contour with its proboscis marking Fort Bend County which is located in the Southeast Texas area. The "Skeeters" wordmark centered below is made up of sugarcane-inspired lettering – a reference to the industry's importance to the region. Centered to the right above the contour is "Sugar Land" in black letters with a "lone star."
|Sugar Land Skeeters|
|Season||W – L Record||Winning Percentage||Finish||Playoffs|
|2012||64-76||.457||4th in Freedom Division||Did not qualify for the playoffs|
|2013||95-45||.679||1st in Freedom Division||0-3 (lost first round to Somerset)|
|2014||80-60||.571||2nd in Freedom Division||3-5 (lost championship to Lancaster)|
|2015||68-71||.489||3rd in Freedom Division||Did not qualify for the playoffs|
|2016||74-66||.529||2nd in Freedom Division||6-0 (won championship against Long Island)|
|2017||67-73||.479||3rd in Freedom Division||Did not qualify for the playoffs|
|2018||81-43||.653||1st in Freedom Division||6-4 (won championship against Long Island)|
|2019||72-66||.522||2nd in Freedom Division||5-4 (lost championship to Long Island)|
|Atlantic League of Professional Baseball Team Records Held by Sugar Land Skeeters|
|Most Wins in a single season||95 wins||2013|
|Highest Winning Percentage in a single season||.679 winning percentage||2013|
|Highest Attendance Total in a single season||456,511 people||2012|
|Highest Attendance Average per game||6,650 people||2012|
|Highest Attendance in a single game||8,606 people||July 4, 2016|
|Individual Awards Earned by Sugar Land Skeeters Player|
|Atlantic League First Team (Outfield)||Adam Godwin||2013|
|Atlantic League First Team (First Base)||Aaron Bates||2013|
|Atlantic League First Team (Catcher)||Travis Scott||2013|
|Atlantic League Second Team (Catcher)||Koby Clemens||2013|
|Atlantic League Second Team (Closer)||Gary Majewski||2013|
|Atlantic League Manager of the Year||Gary Gaetti||2013|
|All Star Game MVP||Nick Stavinoha||2014|
|All Star Game MVP||Travis Scott||2015|
|End-of-Season All Star Team (Catcher)||Chris Wallace||2015|
|End-of-Season All Star Team (Second Base)||Delwyn Young||2015|
|Red, White, and Blue All Defensive Team (Third Base)||Patrick Palmeiro||2015|
|Red, White, and Blue All Defensive Team (Pitcher)||Roy Merritt||2015|
|Atlantic League Player of the Year||Jeremy Barfield||2016|
|End-of-Season All Star Team (Outfield)||Jeremy Barfield||2016|
|End-of-Season All Star Team (Relief Pitcher)||Andrew Johnston||2016|
|Atlantic League Championship Series MVP||Juan Martinez||2016|
|End-of-Season All Star Team (Second Base)||Josh Prince||2017|
|Red, White, and Blue All Defensive Team (Third Base)||Bryan Pounds||2017|
|Red, White, and Blue All Defensive Team (Pitcher)||Jake Hale||2017|
|Atlantic League Championship Series MVP||James Russell||2018|
|Red, White, and Blue All Defensive Team (Outfield)||Anthony Giansanti||2018|
|Red, White, and Blue All Defensive Team (First Base)||Matt Chavez||2018|
|Red, White, and Blue All Defensive Team (Catcher)||Derek Norris||2018|
|End-of-Season All Star Team (Outfield)||Anthony Giansanti||2018|
|End-of-Season All Star Team (First Base)||Matt Chavez||2018|
|End-of-Season All Star Team (Relief Pitcher)||Felipe Paulino||2018|
|Atlantic League Manager of the Year||Pete Incaviglia||2018|
Sugar Land Skeeters roster
|Active (25-man) roster||Coaches/Other|
- "Three finalists named in Sugar Land name-the-team contest". Namesugarlandsteam.com. Archived from the original on September 12, 2010. Retrieved 2011-04-24.
- "Sugar Land seeks proposals for ballpark". Ballparkdigest.com. 2009-12-08. Retrieved 2011-04-24.
- "Today's big ballot issue: new ballpark in Sugar Land". Ballparkdigest.com. 2008-11-04. Retrieved 2011-04-24.
- "Atlantic League to expand to Sugar Land". Ballparkdigest.com. 2010-05-17. Retrieved 2011-04-24.
- Caldwell, Dave (October 11, 2012). "A Baseball Veteran Returns to the Mound: The Bullpen Car". The New York Times. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
- Berman, Mark. Roger Clemens to sign with the Sugar Land Skeeters, FOX-TV Houston, August 20, 2012.
- Baldwin, Chris. Roger Clemens takes advantage of meek minor leaguers: AARP Rocket not Majors ready, but oh the joy, HoustonCultureMap, August 26, 2012.
- Barron, David (April 24, 2014). "Skeeters to stream home games via ESPN3.com, team website". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved April 28, 2014.
- "It's the 'Sugar Land Skeeters'". Ballparkbiz.wordpress.com. 2010-12-01. Retrieved 2011-04-24.
- Sugar Land Skeeters (official website)