Seeing the Astros at Minute Maid Park is always fun, but they’re not the only game in town. Just 25 miles southwest of downtown—in Sugar Land, a world away from the Majors—more baseball awaits, along with … lots of other stuff. “We’re a circus,” explains Chris Hill, president of the Sugar Land Skeeters, “and a baseball game breaks out.”
The team, which was founded in 2012, plays 70 games each summer at Constellation Field, known for its Texas-sized, Texas-shaped scoreboard. They play as part of the independent Atlantic League, which means they aren’t affiliated with a Major League franchise, yet more than 300,000 people visit the park each year. Here are five reasons you might want to join them:
Themes and Giveaways
The Skeeters host theme nights, from Dollar Dog Wednesday, to Friday fireworks, to celebrations of The Office (Aug. 2) and Star Wars (Aug. 17), when the first 2,000 fans will get a bobblehead—of the Skeeters’ mosquito mascot Swatson (great name, right?), dressed as Darth Vader—and the team will join the festivities, donning X-Wing pilot jerseys.
The Trash Monster
Starting in the fourth inning, a six-foot-tall, furry brown creature clad in a tattered brown bag comes tramping down the concourse. Approach him and he’ll bend down, letting you throw a soda cup right into his mouth. This is the Republic Services Trash Monster. He’s ridiculous, and he’s here to take your garbage.
Bring friends, including a designated driver, to Margarita Monday, when the cocktails are just $2, and Thirsty Thursday, when draft beers—including local brews from Saint Arnold, 8th Wonder, Karbach, and No Label—are on offer for the same price. Head to the Bud Light Ice House, which offers Adirondack chairs and a view from center field. Just remember to keep an eye out for, you know, flying baseballs.
Not many ballparks have a swimming pool, but Constellation Field does, and you can use it if you buy a ticket to the all-you-can-eat picnic area. At its deepest, the pool is three-and-a-half feet, so don’t expect to do any laps, but it’s perfect for a dip on a sweltering afternoon. Bonus: All kids get access to the park’s splash pad behind center field.
Oh Yeah, the Team!
The Skeeters won the 2018 Atlantic League championship, and both roster and staff include multiple former Major Leaguers. Already in 2019 the team has hired two erstwhile Astros: player Willy Taveras and manager Pete Incaviglia, known for his wild arguments with the umps. Past Skeeters include All-Star pitcher Scott Kazmir, all-time great Roger Clemens, and former Houston Rocket Tracy McGrady, who tried—and failed—in a bid to be a pitcher in 2014. You never know who’s going to show up at a Skeeters game. Maybe you’re next.