Astros and Skeeters Joining Forces in Unique Minor League Partnership

Constellation Field, home to the Astros new Triple A affiliate, the Sugar Land Skeeters.
Constellation Field, home to the Astros new Triple A affiliate, the Sugar Land Skeeters. Photo by Marco Torres
Since the team's inception in 2012, the Sugar Land Skeeters minor league baseball franchise has been part inspired creativity and part pray for luck on the part of the community on the southwest side of Houston. In many ways, it really was a "if you build it, they will come" labor of love for Sugar Land. This past week, all that hard work and hoping came through as the Astros formally announced the Skeeters would be the team's Triple A affiliate beginning in 2021, replacing the Round Rock Express.

What's most impressive about the effort is the people behind the building of the stadium knew it would be difficult to field a team given the proximity to the Astros. Originally, they had hoped to lure the then Omaha Royals (now the Storm Chasers), but when that fell through, they built Constellation Field anyway and the independent-league Skeeters were born.

Since then, the Skeeters have won three league titles and delivered some very creative promotions including having Roger Clemens pitch a game and Raphael Palmeiro play in a game with his son, who was on the squad at the time. They even formed their own league in 2020 to circumvent the effects of the pandemic.

They also built and maintained a beautiful stadium that hosts crowds from the upper middle class surrounds. Frankly, it's a damn nice place to take in a ballgame. Now, with the official affiliation with the Astros, they and their fans get to experience everything that major league baseball has to offer.

For the Astros, it moves their top affiliate within about 30 minutes of Minute Maid Park giving them more control and a means of keeping track of their best prospects. It should certainly aid in rehab stints for players as well when returning from injury. And it will give Astros fans a chance to get a glimpse of the future in their own city (or a suburb thereof, anyway).

For eight years, the baseball-loving fans of Sugar Land supported their little independent league ball club. Finally, in 2020, it has paid off big time.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke