The first year of the Sugar Land Skeeters (independent; Atlantic League) has been mostly a success, but players are learning one new way of baseball life: some grueling road trips.
Of course, spending hours on an airplane is infinitely better than spending many, many more on a bus. And this year may be the worst of all for the Skeeters, the only Texas team in the predominantly East Coast/Pennsylvania circuit. For manager Gary Gaetti, who certainly logged enough hours on the road as a MLB veteran and MiLB coach, there have been a few new challenges in dealing with the airlines. As he told the Houston Chronicle:
"We didn't have the right shipping status for our first trip, so we had a lot of our stuff in a big trunk that was two inches longer than the size limit," Gaetti said. "We had to unload our trunk, buy two bags from the airline, stuff things in my bag and suitcases and those bags, and leave our trunk at the curb and ask another ballclub to pick it up."
Of course, the Skeeters aren't the first independent team to spend so much time in planes -- airline travel has been a part of the American Association, Golden Baseball League and North American League circuits for years now -- ane the game plan from the beginning has been to place another team or two or three in Texas to make travel more manageable. Right now, says Peter Kirk, the goal is to possibly add another team in the Houston suburbs (the league has met with Montgomery County officials about a ballpark there) or maybe Fort Worth, where the North American League is slated to field a team this year at LaGrave Field.
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