By Elsa Maxey
Sugar Land’s mayor or members of the city council could have asked to be at the receiving end of new Skeeters pitcher Roger Clemens’ first throw this Saturday. But, instead, if Michael Berry gets his way, unconfirmed reports indicate that Clemens may be casting his first ball at Berry.
At a press conference yesterday at Constellation Field at the Insperity Club following what has made national news, 11-time All Star, and seven time Cy Young Award winner, Clemens announced signing up with the Atlantic League Skeeters’ team. He also said he will make his first start for the minor league ball team this Saturday, Aug. 25.
Why is he back in the game? Clemens said that he’s ”just going to have fun with it,” and “If I get through Saturday, we’ll see where we go from there.” So, there it is. It’s what so many want to know about whether joining the team is about bringing him back to the major leagues.
About two months ago, Clemens was acquitted of charges of lying to Congress under oath about using performance enhancing drugs during his baseball career. Clemens pitched for the Astros from 2004 to 2006.
Back here, the 50-year old said that he and Gary Gaetti, Skeeters Manager and former Major League All-Star, stayed in touch, which is probably what led to his joining the Skeeters team.
“Roger came to work out for us today (Monday), and we were very impressed,” said Tal Smith, special advisor for the Sugar Land Skeeters in a press release from the organization. “He had great command of all his pitches and we couldn’t be more excited about this signing.”
Clemens’ former major league status has him joining Sugar Land Skeeters pitching rotation that includes Scott Kazmir, Tim Redding, and Jason Lane, other former major leaguers.
Skeeters President Matt O’Brien said, “Any time you can add a player of Roger’s caliber is extremely exciting.” Clemens’ addition will make the team’s inaugural season more memorable, added O’Brien.
The Skeeters are on the road and will head back for Saturday’s game featuring Clemens with the Skeeters against the Bridgeport Bluefish. Although this Monday limited tickets were still available, with the announcement about Clements joining the team, the game is sold out. Tickets are probably available for the remaining games of the 2012 season and can be purchased online at sugarlandskeetets.com, by phone at 281-240-4487, or in person at the Sugar Land Skeeters Box Office.
For Sugar Land, it was overheard that Clemens’ announcement to join the local team of a $37 million stadium that became operational in April as an amenity with tax approved bond funds, the news coverage this week is already a great return on the investment.