From the court to the mound, McGrady makes Skeeters starting roster

04/24/2014 4:21 AM - Devo

Tracy McGrady 4.jpgTracy McGrady did it.

The former NBA player has made the opening day roster of the independent Sugar Land Skeeters, according to ESPN.

Skeeters manager, Gary Gaetti, spoke with KRIV-TV on Wednesday.

"Tracy is on the team," Gaetti told KRIV. "He's just done what needed to be done since the idea came about. He showed enough progress. He showed enough ability and we're going to see where this goes."

The marketing team is obviously working at full steam with this.  A former NBA All-Star is now on the starting roster. It's a heck of a story, one that many may think is nonsense. I for one am all for this.

Independent baseball doesn't get the recognition it deserves. It's unaffiliated, and has no ties to Major League Baseball. However, every once in while, someone bridges that gap and makes a big league roster. In this instance, a high-quality athlete had a plan and put it into motion. The cross-promotion ideas are limitless.

Take Daniel Nava for example. Undrafted out of college, but could hit the heck out of the ball when he played. He took his talent from independent baseball to a World Series championship with the Boston Red Sox. McGrady won't make and MLB rosters, but he's an accomplished athlete that obviously has the talent to play a second sport.

McGrady can bring a different perspectvie to the Skeeters, and his comments reaffirm his passion and what it means to make the team.

“It’s an honor to be a part of this club for the 2014 season,” said McGrady. “To be a part of the team means everything to me and it’s a dream come true. I look forward to coming to the ballpark not only to play the game but to be in the clubhouse building camaraderie with these guys. I am excited to start the journey we’re going to take this season.”

I will go out on a limb and say that, yes this a marketing departments dream, but you couldn't put just anyone on the mound to face professional hitters. If he throws strikes and strengthen his arm, 90-plus on the radar gun isn't out of the question. If he can stay focused through the year, it could make for a very entertaining summer.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and facebook. His full bio can be seen here.

Indy Ball Weekly Perspective: Indy X's sign Canadian Rene Tosoni

04/21/2014 4:29 AM - Devo

Rene Tosoni.jpgWelcome to the latest edition of the Indy Ball Weekly Perspective

The Sioux City Explorers have signed Canadian and former Minnesota Twin, Rene Tosoni, according to the Sioux City Journal.

Tosoni, a native of Toronto, Ontario was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 36th round of the 2005 MLB June Amateur Draft out of Chipola College. He is entering his seventh professional season, his first in independent baseball.

In 2011, Tosoni appeared in 60 Major League games. In limited action, he hit five homers and collected 22 RBI.

The 27-year-old outfielder has spent the majority of his career in the Twins organization until being released in 2012 to make additional roster space for Matt Carson. He spent 2013 with the Huntsville Stars, the Double-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. With the Stars, Tosoni batted .238 in 131 games. He went deep 11 times and drove in 46.

The glory years of Tosoni's career were spent with the Twins. Statistically, his best minor league season came in 2009. As a member in the New Britain Rock Cats, the Twins Double-A squad, he hit a career high 15 home runs to go along with 70 RBI (also a career high).

Signing with the Explorers was a direct relation to the Brewers granting Tosoni free agency last November. Explorers' field manager, Steve Montgomery, knows that the addition of Tosoni will add leadership on the field and in the clubhouse.

There is still plenty of time left for Tosoni, who batted .341 with Chipola, to make an impact and sign a deal with a Major League club. He has the tools, the experience and has proven that he can contribute at any professional level, including internationally, where he batted .400 for Canada during the 2012 World Baseball Classic qualifiers.

The Explorers take the field in a few short weeks, and it will be only a matter of time before Tosoni gets back on the big stage.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and facebook. His full bio can be seen here.

 

Tracy McGrady takes the bump against Alvin Community College

04/18/2014 11:27 AM - Devo

Tracy McGrady Baseball.jpgOn Wednesday night, Alvin Community College got the first glimpse of Tracy McGrady, the baseball player.

In his lone inning, McGrady gave up three hits on one run, according to The Sporting News. Of his 15 pitches, nine were for strikes.

Whether or not you like the idea of McGrady getting this opportunity to participate, he's followed through on everything up to this point. Some people may say that he is using his celebrity to take a roster spot away from another worthy player, and they might be right. But this is independent baseball and the Sugar Land Skeeters have a knack of bringing the best out of their players, and bringing in huge crowds.

There wasn't a legitimate reason Scott Kazmir was on the roster in 2012, unless you count the fact that Sugar Land is located near his hometown of Houston. That move, probably done in large part to draw fans to the game, was the beginning of his return to a major league contract.

McGrady, in all estimations, is a long shot to make the Skeeters' roster. The odds on him advancing beyond independent baseball is astronomical. If McGrady, a seven-time NBA All-Star, makes the team, you better believe the fans will flock to the games.

The Atlantic League must cut their rosters from 34 to 27 by April 24. McGrady might get two more shots to make the grade between now and then.

I really want to see what he can do against professional hitters. And why not? He has a dream and wants to play baseball. Some other basketball player did this before, and it didn't work out to bad!

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and facebook. His full bio can be seen here.

Indy Ball Weekly Perspective: Skeeters sign MLB veteran Ryan Langerhans

04/14/2014 4:55 AM - Devo

Ryan Langerhans.jpgWelcome to the latest edition of the Indy Ball Weekly Perspective

Ryan Langerhans is returning to the Sugar Land Skeeters for the second time, according to a press release by the Sugar Land Skeeters.

Prior to spending part of 2013 with the Toronto Blue Jays' minor league affiliate, Buffalo Bisons, he appeared in 47 games for the Skeeters batting .287. In 150 at-bats Langerhans hit five home runs driving in 28. His .920 OPS was good for fourth on the team.

The Sugar Land Skeeters are undeniably one of the crown jewels of independent baseball. For the second consecutive season, the Skeeters have led all of indy ball in attendance, per Ballpark Digest. Their line-up has consistently featured major league calibre players like Roger Clemens, Scott Kazmir Jason Lane, and Koby Clemens to name a few. His return is nothing out of the ordinary.

Drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 3rd round of the 1998 MLB June Amateur Draft, Langerhans is no stranger to the ins and outs of the game. He's played in over 1800 games, nearly 600 at the MLB level. During that time, the left-handed swinging outfielder has hit .226 with 33 home runs and 125 RBI.

Langerhans's been a starter, a utility guy and a player to be named later, but just when you think he's out of options, he pops up on another MLB roster with the ability to fill a need.

Without a shadow of a doubt, 2005 was his best season. He appeared in 128 games for the Braves, went deep eight times and drove in 42. Spitting time in the outfield with Andruw Jones, Jeff Francoeur, and Kelly Johnson, Langerhans was a main cog in the Braves run to their 14th consecutive division title.

Over the next eight years, Langerhans played sporadically for a multitude of organizations, which include the Oakland Athletics, Washington Nationals, Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Blue Jays.

He's never likely to start again, but is a fourth or fifth outfielder in an emergency situation or if you need that veteran presence on the bench. If history is any indication, his time with the Skeeters will be productive, but short lived.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and facebook. His full bio can be seen here.