Majewski dominates as Sugar Land’s closer
By Michael Sudhalter
Just call him Mr. Skeeter.
Sugar Land Skeeters closing pitcher Gary Majewski is one of two players who were on the opening day roster on April 26, 2012 at Constellation Field. The other one is starting pitcher Matt Wright.
And with the exception of playing one week for a team in Campeche, Mexico, the 34-year-old Majewski has been with the franchise continuously since that first game.
Majewski, who grew up 22 miles from Constellation Field in northwest Houston, thoroughly enjoys playing for the Skeeters and their loyal fans.
“I’ve always been a guy that gives as much time as I can to the fans,” Majewski said. “They pay our salaries. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t have a job. Every Sunday, we go up on the front porch and have an autograph session.”
The Skeeters play in the independent Atlantic League, which means that any of Major League Baseball’s 30 franchises could sign any of the Atlantic League players to an MLB or minor league affiliate contract at any time.
Majewski, who played for the Montreal Expos, Washington Nationals, Cincinnati Reds and Houston Astros between 2004-10, still has great stuff.
Through the end of last week, he’s 5-1 with a 2.14 earned run average, 23 strikeouts and just three walks in 40 innings (35 appearances). Majewski usually enters the game in the ninth inning, and he has 18 saves to his credit.
Throughout his professional career, Majewski has been a middle innings reliever, a set-up man and a closer. As a major leaguer, he was 9-13 with a 4.75 ERA and 143 strikeouts.
“Being a closer has its ups and downs, and you have to have the right mentality for it,” Majewski said. “My pitching style is not the closer type style. I want the hitters to put the bat on the ball, and I like to get a guy out on one or two pitches and let the defense work for me. My strength is the sinker ball.”
Two years ago, Majewski helped mentor Scott Kazmir, a fellow northwest Houston native and two-time MLB All-Star who struggled and was released from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2011.
“He came to us and wasn’t quite ready,” Majewski said. “He wanted to get going and hurry up. We told him to show that he can pitch here in Sugar Land and do well.”
Kazmir has been the Skeeters’ biggest success story, and he returned to his top form, earning a spot on the American League All-Star Team last month as an Oakland Athletics pitcher.
Like Kazmir and most Atlantic League players, Majewski’s ultimate dream is to return to the major leagues.
“All it takes is one person to give you a chance,” Majewski said.
Majewski has been a Skeeters teammate of two celebrity pitchers – seven-time Cy Young pitcher Roger Clemens, in August 2012, and seven-time NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady, earlier this season.
Majewski had actually been a teammate of Clemens during the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006.
“I was a rookie, and Clemens was a veteran,” Majewski said. “I picked his brain for a few days. I signed up on a sheet of paper saying I’d play. I didn’t think I’d be one of the guys called – it was a great honor.”
Majewski is part owner of D-Bat, a west Houston batting cage where he offers private lessons to youth baseball players. He’s also considered becoming a coach in the affiliated minor league system after he retires from pitching.
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