By Betsy Dolan
Back in December, Lisa Diehl of Richmond, was stumped. She had no idea what to get her husband and son for Christmas. They were a big baseball family, her sons having played Little League and high school ball while her daughter played softball in college. Remembering all of the good times spent outside at the ballpark, seeing neighbors and friends was all the inspiration Diehl needed for those last couple of gifts. She ended up buying an 8-pack of tickets for the inaugural Sugar Land Skeeters season and putting them under the tree.
“It’s just so exciting”, Diehl said. “It’s been a long four months to wait but now it is finally here!”
Diehl and her family will be among the sell-out crowd at tomorrow night’s history making game when the Skeeters take the field for the very first time against the York Revolution at 7:05. The Skeeters are members of the independent Atlantic League which has no alliance with any major league organization. The Atlantic League plays at a level similar to AA or AAA in major league farm clubs. Many of the players in the Atlantic League have some big league experience, including right-handed pitcher, Gary Majewski, 32, who grew up in Houston and attended St. Pius.
“It’s always exciting to be a part of a new organization”, Majewski said. “But this is a little different because it’s a new team, a new ballpark and we’re just excited to get out there and play.”
There are five sellouts so far on the season including Opening Day on April 26, April 27, April 28, July 5 and Closing Day on Sept. 23. The team has also announced their promotional schedule for the season which includes Swatson and Moe bobblehead giveaways, Boy Scout Sleepovers, concerts, fireworks shows and other special guests like the Zooperstars. The City of Sugar Land and the Skeeters will host a free public open house on May 19 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
“The beauty of Minor League Baseball is you get be creative,” said Tom Gorman, Executive Producer of the Sugar Land Skeeters. “We try to have acts that are not only entertaining but also what you wouldn’t traditionally see at other sport venues. We will not only have a great local artist in Roger Creager, but also Cowboy Monkeys, a Man who lights himself on fire and more.”
Finishing touches on the Skeeters new home, Constellation Field, were still being done late Monday. The $37 million dollar facility was, according to the City of Sugar Land, “completed on time and on budget”. The stadium boasts seating for 6,000 people during baseball games and 10,000 for other entertainment events. Conventions, Sports & Leisure International estimates the project will generate approximately $7.7 million every year for the City of Sugar Land.
“We are excited at the tremendous level of enthusiasm and interest that professional minor league baseball continues to receive in Sugar Land,” said Mayor James Thompson. “We’ve done something that will impact future generations and make Sugar Land an even better destination for fun and entertainment.”
Meanwhile, Lisa Diehl can’t wait to be a part of history tomorrow night. She has only one regret. “I went to Town Center to get a Skeeters t-shirt to wear to the game but they had already moved them over to the ballpark. Hopefully I can get one on Thursday”!