Ever since the Sugar Land Skeeters were born in 2010, this moment was on the mind of sports fans in the area.
Even though the Houston Astros didn’t want any part of a minor-league baseball team in its own market, it has finally come around to the idea 10 years later.
According to reports from KRIV-TV and KTRK-TV, the Astros are poised to make the Skeeters its new Triple-A affiliate in 2021 and have an ownership stake in the 10-year old franchise, which is 22 miles away from Minute Maid Park.
The official announcement has not been made yet, and there is no word on how long the deal will last, but the reports are a big one for the Skeeters, who have played in independent ball for their existence.
The Skeeters played in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball since 2010, winning two league championships in 2016 and 2018.
Sugar Land produced several players who got a second chance to get back into the majors, as well as celebrity athletes like Roger Clemens, Rafael Palmeiro, Scott Kazmir and Tracy McGrady to show that they can still play and produce (or for McGrady’s case, prove that he is a pretty good baseball player as well as being a NBA All-Star).
This season, after the COVID-19 pandemic prevented Sugar Land from playing in the Atlantic League, the Skeeters created its own four-team Constellation Energy League, with former major- and minor-league players participating. The league produced several players picked up by major league teams, like pitchers Chase De Jong (Astros) and Matt Dermody (Chicago Cubs).
The move is part of Major League Baseball’s reorganization of the minor-league system, which would reduce teams, namely in smaller towns and markets.
The Astros had the Round Rock Express as its Triple-A affiliate the last two seasons. The Express is partly owned by former Astros great and Hall-of-Famer Nolan Ryan.