6-time NBA All-Star Tracey McGrady has hit a new high in his illustrious athletic career. The Sugar Land Skeeters have decided to sign him to their baseball team as a pitcher. This may come as a shock to some, but McGrady has prior baseball experience. He has been training for this moment since the age of 5.
Skeeters manager Gary Gaetti reported this exciting news to Fox 26 in Huston on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. Gaetti assures fans that this is not just a walk on role for McGrady. He stated the former All-Star showed enough progress and ability to make the team. Now he just wishes to see where this all goes.
McGrady was thrilled to hear the news he made the team. He summed up his excitement in a brief statement. McGrady feels this is a dream come true; he also looks forward to coming to the ballpark and building team camaraderie. With this incredible opportunity, he has a chance to relive his heydays. However, the big league is just not like playing baseball back in Auburndale High School.
The talented forward had to step up to the plate and shake off those cobwebs against Alvin Community College. The former NBA star is no stranger to the pressures of competing. When given a chance, he threw 15 pitches, for nine strikes. Plus, he only allowed three hits and a run in a single inning.
The retired 34-year-old is stepping away from his 18,000 points, and 5,000 rebounds into uncharted territory. In baseball, he has a clean slate, and is able to start anew. His first official game as a Sugar Land Skeeter was April 24 at 8pm against the Lancaster Barnstormers. At the conclusion of that game fans had the opportunity to review his overall performance.
What McGrady did in the game and the entire season will determine if Gaetti made the right decision. He dragged along when it came down to signing T-Mack, because he felt no need to rush it. Gaetti already had a feeling he would sign the NBA vet. He is sure McGrady has potential, but does not want him to concentrate on throwing the ball hard, or concern himself with MPH.
There is an understanding that some things change with age. Nevertheless, the possibility that his pitch will not be as hard as the younger guys means nothing to Gaetti. The baseball All-Star feels that as long as a pitcher has deception, velocity, and location he’s “got the stuff.” However, outside of baseball, Gaetti is enthusiastic about the extra attention the Skeeters will receive just by having Tracey McGrady on the roster.
McGrady has found the opportunity to do what older athletes do not often get a chance to do, compete. As a 34-year-old in the NBA a players games are numbered, and so are their minutes. When he concluded his career with the San Antonio Spurs last season that was the final chapter in his NBA story. However, thanks to Gary Gaetti, McGrady has the chance to write a new story with The Sugar Land Skeeters as a professional baseball player.
Commentary By: Schelett Rickenbacker