There’s no crying in baseball, but there might be some happy tears over this news: The Astros, which put together a remarkable comeback during this last postseason, announced Friday that it was taking on a new triple-A affiliate: Gone is Round Rock, and here is the much-closer-to-home Sugar Land. The Skeeters will be the 'Stros' new high-level minor league club.
"We are excited to bring triple-A baseball to Sugar Land, which is a great city with great fans," said Astros Owner and Chairman Jim Crane in statement. "We look forward to partnering with the City of Sugar Land’s great leadership to reinvest into the ballpark to make it one of the best triple-A facilities in the country.”
The Skeeters have won two Atlantic League championships since its 2010 founding as an independent baseball club, meaning it wasn't affiliated with a major league team and, instead, offered a space for ballplayers to audition to get back into organized baseball.
“This is a monumental day for our organization and the city of Sugar Land,” Skeeters Owner Kevin Zlotnik said a statement. “We are thrilled to partner with the Houston Astros and are proud to be affiliated with their organization. Becoming the first independent league team to make this transition is a testament to our fans, the city of Sugar Land, and to the experience the Skeeters organization has created.”
With this purchase, the Astros will now own three of its MLB-affiliated minor league teams: the Fayetteville Woodpeckers in North Carolina (single-A), the Corpus Christi Hooks (double-A), and the Sugar Land Skeeters (triple-A). For those not in the know, triple-A is the highest level a player can reach before the majors.
The Skeeters will continue to be based at Constellation Field in Sugar Land, where the team has been playing since 2012. The field is only a 40-minute drive from Minute Maid Park and has always been a hit with the fans.
“It is an honor to be the new triple-A home of the Houston Astros," said Sugar Land Mayor Joe R. Zimmerman. “We look forward to welcoming new visitors to our city who have yet to discover what makes Constellation Field and Sugar Land special.”