Richard Justice checked in with the Sugar Land Skeeters, and if people are tired of the Astros and go check out what's happening in Sugar Land, then Indpendent League baseball may be all over Harris County:
If the Skeeters are a success, there likely will be more teams added within two or three years. Baytown has been mentioned for a franchise. So have The Woodlands, Conroe and Waco.
And if you were hoping that Sugar Land would be a minor-league stop for the Astros, you can thank Drayton for not allowing that to happen:
Astros owner Drayton McLane rejected the idea, saying a team so close to Minute Maid Park would hurt his attendance.
McLane was firm in his opposition even though the Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves and Baltimore Orioles have farm teams a short drive from their ballparks.
Since McLane has veto power over any team affiliated with the 30 major league clubs, Sugar Land was forced to go for an independent league franchise.
This is tremendously short-sighted. It takes 48 minutes to drive from the Ballpark in Arlington to Frisco, TX. It's 46 minutes from Turner Field to Gwinnett, GA - home of the Braves' Triple-A affiliate. It's 39 minutes from Camden Yards to Bowie, MD - home of the Orioles' Double-A affiliate - and 44 minutes to Aberdeen, MD, where the Orioles have their NYPL short-season team.
Hurt attendance? If your favorite prospect was playing 45 minutes down the road, and climbed the ladder to Minute Maid, wouldn't you check out the guys you're invested in? Chalk it up, Drayton. Another fantastic idea.