Former Rocket and NBA star Tracy McGrady continued his attempts to pitch for the independent Sugar Land Skeeters Tuesday morning, when he joined 33 other players at the club’s first official spring workout. T-Mac is one of six non-roster invitees vying to make a squad heavy on returning players after a 95-45 campaign in 2013.
“It doesn’t feel like spring today,” McGrady said prior to a windy and cold morning workout at Constellation Field. “But I am excited about this journey we are about to go on.”
T-Mac has been working out for several months hoping to refine his pitching skills that he last used in high school. How far has he advanced in that time frame?
“Tremendously,” he offered. “I am still raw but I was pretty raw when I came out here. I picked up a lot of stuff learning from the guys I have been training with, Roger (Clemens), Scipio (Spinks) and also learning from the guys that are going to be a part of this club.”
Roger’s son Koby, a catcher on the team, hinted at a wicked knuckleball that T-Mac has been showcasing but McGrady offered that he might just stick with the more traditional fastball, curve, slider, change and split.
T-Mac also joked that he needs to get his baseball “swag” down. Even though he admits he will follow the NBA playoffs he is trying to remove himself from basketball and get in the mindset of how the baseball players act on a day to day basis.
McGrady reiterated that playing baseball has long been a dream and he is serious about wanting to compete. He knows he could be doing a number of other things in retirement.
“I could,” he emphasized, “but I enjoy doing this. This is something I always wanted to do. I have the opportunity to do that. The Skeeters gave me that chance. This is fun to me. I love waking up and coming to the ballpark.”
What McGrady lacks in a professional baseball background, he hopes to make up for with the experience that comes from playing a sport at the highest echelon for 16 years.
“I have been competing at the professional level for such a long time and I look forward to bringing that out here,” he said. “I know this is a different territory but I think it will be cool.”
McGrady won’t have to wait long to find out if he makes the Opening Day roster. The Skeeters kick off the 2014 Atlantic League season April 24th when they host Lancaster.
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