On Saturday, June 9, 2012, our Larry Dierker SABR Chapter headed for Constellation Field in SUgar Land for a meeting prior to the 7:05 PM game between the home town Skeeters and the Somerset Patriots from some town back east. About 5:00 PM, the rare threat of rain threatened to make a wash of things.

By the time the 5:30 PM started, we were all safely inside our own suite as SABR Chapter leader Bob Dorrill extended our appreciation to the Skeeters and got the meeting underway. About 34 members were in attendance. Another 16 came late, but got there in time to join us for the game.

Former President of the Houston Astros and current special advisor to the Sugar Land Skeeters Tal Smith spoke first on the attractions and opportunities of baseball at the independent league baseball level and he also talked frankly of the challenges of putting together a winning team when a club’s best players can be taken by any of the major league clubs at any time. Tal also expressed his respect and appreciation for the role that SABR plays in both the analysis and historical preservation of the game.

Deacon Jones of the Skeeters also spoke of the ball club’s aims and offered his own appreciation to SABR for the help members have given him on the history of baseball in the Sugar Land area. As per usual, “The Deac” was his gracious and kind self in his praise for for the work of others. The whole truth is, nobody works harder than Deacon Jones and makes it look easier.

Sugar Land Skeeters President Matt O’Brien took us on an in-depth ride down the history of the Atlantic League baseball program and explained in great detail the “ins-and-outs” of matters like player acquisition and the organization’s goals as a member of the local baseball community in helping spread and cultivate a love of the game among families and young people. In so many words, O’Brien made it clear that the Skeeters were not here to compete with the Astros, but to augment interest in baseball through their own cultivation of new fans in the suburban hinterlands. “There is room for more than one full house of baseball fans in the Greater Houston Area” was his basic contention. He also expressed a willingness to work with the Astros in any way that benefitted their shared aims, but he recognizes that the Astros have to make their own decision on the desirability of that kind of collective effort.

SABR members lapped up the opportunity for information and questions about baseball at the independent league level. – Who else was there? – “Round up the usual suspects.”

Mike McCroskey and Harold Jones were there. …

… and Tom Kleinworth …

… and Bob Stevens …

… and Betty Holland, Phil Holland, and Marsha Hamby ….

… and Stan “The Man Curtis and Joe “The Historian” Thompson ….

…. and Jo Russell was there in time to ask Skeeters Prexy O’Brien if his club had any interest in pursuing an exonerated Roger Clemens for a spot in the team’s starting rotation. Jo got a tempered affirmative answer that felt more like “and if Babe Ruth ever comes back from the dead, we’d love to sign him too” as it flowed  hard and clear from the longing soul of Matt O’Brien. ….

… and Bill “Your Humble Scribe/photographer” McCurdy and so many more I could not capture in digital-land today. In the end, a good time was had by all who allowed the joy of baseball to happen – and in spite of the fact that the Sugar Land Skeeters lost tonight to the Somerset Patriots by a score of 4-1.

Constellation Field, Sugar Land, Texas, June 9, 2012.

On a starry, starry night,

On a field not far away,

The Sugar Land Skeeters

Are our new Game of the Day.


Roll back the baseball clock, my friend,

To a field on Highway 6,

Joy finds the forever sweet spot,

Way out in the Sugar Land mix.



  1. Dick "Lefty" O'Neal Says:

    SABR is wonderful and I am meeting SABR members all over the country at my speeches. They are all interested in my story in the Negro Leagues as a white man. Cuddos to SABR.
    Dick “Lefty ” O’Neal

  2. Shirley Virdon Says:

    Thanks for capturing SABR’S night at the Skeeter’s game for all of us to enjoy! It was most interesting.

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