Sugar Land Skeeters

The Sugar Land Skeeters are a Minor League Baseball team of the Triple-A West and the Triple-A affiliate of the Houston AstrosMajor League Baseball club. They are located in Sugar Land, Texas, part of the Greater Houston metropolitan area, and play their home games at Constellation Field. Their name is a Southern slang word for mosquitos, which are common on summer nights in Southeast Texas.[1]

Minor League Baseball team
Sugar Land Skeeters
Founded in 2012
Sugar Land, Texas
Team logo Cap insignia
Minor league affiliations
Class Triple-A (2021–present)
Previous classes Independent (2012–2020)
League Triple-A West (2021–present)
Division East Division
Previous leagues
Major league affiliations
Team Houston Astros (2021–present)
Previous teams
  • Unaffiliated (2012–2020)
Minor league titles
League titles

(3)

  • 2016
  • 2018
  • 2020
Division titles (4)
  • 2016
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2021
First half titles (4)
  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2018
  • 2019
Second half titles (3)
  • 2013
  • 2016
  • 2018
Team data
Name Sugar Land Skeeters (2012–present)
Colors Blue, black, yellow, white

    

Mascot Swatson
Ballpark Constellation Field (2012–present)
Owner(s)/
Operator(s)
Houston Astros
General Manager Tyler Stamm
Manager Mickey Storey

The Skeeters began play as an expansion team of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB), an independent baseball league, in 2012. Over eight seasons, they won two league championships (2016 and 2018). In 2020, the Skeeters competed in the Constellation Energy League, a makeshift league they hosted in light of the Atlantic League’s cancelled season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In conjunction with Major League Baseball’s reorganization of the minors after the 2020 season, the Houston Astros purchased an ownership stake in the team and made them their Triple-A affiliate in the Triple-A West.

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In 2008, Sugar Land, Texas, residents voted for the allocation of civic revenues toward the construction of a new baseball park.[2] Initially, the Omaha Royals were interested in moving to the city, but eventually declined because of the construction of Werner Park in suburban Omaha, Nebraska.[3] City of Sugar Land officials contracted Opening Day Partners to build the ballpark to bring professional baseball to the 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 United Baseball League were considered since both organizations had teams located in Texas. The city decided on the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball mainly because Opening Day Partners’ other teams were already members of that league. Sugar Land’s entry was officially announced on May 18, 2010.[4]

In 2012, the Skeeters signed former MLB pitcherRoger Clemens.[5] The Skeeters sold out tickets on August 25, the night of Clemens’ start, where he pitched

3+13 innings in a 1–0 win.[6]

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 had been one-third minority partners since the 2012 season, to assume full ownership of SL Baseball, LLC.[7]

Also in the 2014 season, the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball All-Star Game was held at Constellation Field, 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 event, the best players from all around the league faced the Skeeters. Sugar Land won on their home field by a score of 5–3. Nick Stavinoha was recognized as the game’s Most Valuable Player. The game attendance was 7,555, which was the fourth highest All-Star Game attendance at the time. The Skeeters reached the Atlantic League championship finals that season but were swept by the Lancaster Barnstormers in the best-of-five game series, 3–0.

On September 17, 2015, the Skeeters announced the signing of former MLB All-Star Rafael Palmeiro, who 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, the elder 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.”[8] On September 18, 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.[9]

They returned to the Atlantic League championships in 2016, where they won the ALPB title against the Long Island Ducks, 3–0. Shortly after the conclusion of the 2017 season, Skeeters managerGary Gaetti stepped down from his position with the expiration of his contract. Gaetti had been the club’s inaugural skipper in 2012 and managed the club for their first six seasons (2012–2017).[10]

The Skeeters reached the championship series in 2018 against Long Island, winning three games to two, to win their second championship overall and second in three years. They returned to the championship series again the following year, but lost to the Ducks, 3–2.

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