Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports
Professional athletes are often passionate about the sports they make their livings playing. Following his retirement from the NBA, Tracy McGrady has opted to pursue another passion and is looking to begin a career playing baseball. The 6’8” right-hander wants to be a pitcher and has been working out in the Houston area for the past few months.
That work is getting closer to paying off, as McGrady has received an invitation to Spring Training by the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League, according to a release by the team. He’ll be given every opportunity to earn a spot on the team, but the Skeeters’ manager – former Minnesota Twin Gary Gaetti – sounds impressed:
"We’re intrigued by the progress Tracy has made thus far and really commend him for putting in the work."
McGrady, now 34, played baseball throughout his childhood but had to give it up towards the end of his high school career after transferring to a school without a program. He’d focus on basketball instead, his admitted second love, and would end up being a 1st Round selection (#9 overall) in the 1997 NBA Draft. McGrady would spend 15 seasons in the NBA, making seven All Star Games, before injuries forced him to retire.
The Skeeters have become a well-known name among independent league teams in recent years, most notably because Roger Clemens pitched for them a few years ago. His son, Koby Clemens, is on the team’s current roster along with a handful of former Major Leaguers including Rusty Ryal, Clint Everts, and David Pauley.