Tracy McGrady wants to play baseball, and he’s working with Roger Clemens to make that dream a reality.
CBS Eyeon Basketball originally reported that the recently retired NBA All-Star and the independent Sugar Land Skeeters had been in talks, specifically with McGrady trying out for the team in 2014.
The Skeeters are not new to taking risks and making headlines. They gave Scott Kazmir his first chance at a comeback and he leveraged that into a Spring Training invitation with the Cleveland Indians. They also had Roger Clemens toe the rubber for a few starts in 2012. The media ate it up and the Skeeters drew more interest than any independent baseball team in recent memory.
As for Clemens, he is mentoring McGrady and told the Houston Chronicle he’s been hitting 90 on the gun.
“He’s not there yet,” Clemens told the Houston Chronicle via text last weekend when asked if McGrady had a chance to pitch for the Skeeters. “(He) needs more time and needs to react to live hitters and balls coming back (toward) him.”
Seriously, the Skeeters take chances, but those chances work. They can draw attention to themselves and back it up at the gate and in the standings. In 2013, they won an Atlantic League record 95 games, and led the league in attendance for the second consecutive season.
If McGrady can crack the rotation or any role in the pen, the Skeeters could really cash in, but McGrady should understand that an opportunity like this is taking a roster spot away from a potential player. The Skeeters are monitoring his progress, as addressed in a statement on their website.
“Tracy McGrady is one of the most elite athletes of this era and we appreciate his interest in pursuing a life-long dream with the Sugar Land Skeeters and the Atlantic League. While the Atlantic League is considered the highest level of baseball outside of Major League Baseball, McGrady has demonstrated skill, determination and diligence during his training program at Constellation Field. We look forward to monitoring his progress.”
While a career in baseball is pretty unlikely, if T-Mac can get guys out it will make for some interesting discussions. And what the heck, let the guy fulfill a dream. What’s wrong with that?