With the possible move of a Triple-A team to The Woodlands and several other cities in the area seeking independent Atlantic League franchises, Houston could be a baseball mecca in coming years.
Houston is now the largest city in Texas and the fourth-largest city in the United States. Baseball options in the city are limited: the Houston Astros and the Sugar Land Skeeters (independent; Atlantic League). The Astros are on a long-term rebuilding plan; attendance is down this year, but if the moves by owner Jim Crane and GM Jeff Luhnow work out, Minute Maid Park will again be rocking in coming years. The Skeeters, of course, were a resounding success during the team’s inaugural year, pacing the indy circuit in attendance.
Peter Kirk, the man who brought the Skeeters to life, says there’s room for more baseball teams in the metropolitan area as well as Dallas. A market the size of Houston (2.1 million) certainly could support more pro baseball. Crane and the Astros front office certainly recognized this by exploring a purchase of a Triple-A team for The Woodlands, and Kirk says another team in the Atlantic League could be on tap:
“When you look at cities in Texas, you find out that there are plenty of opportunities not being served,” said Peter Kirk, president of the Atlantic League and part owner of the Skeeters. “We’re planning a four-team western division with Sugar Land being the first of the four.”
He said he has already spoken with potential owners in Houston and to communities around Texas that are interested.
“We’ve had delegations from folks in the Dallas area and at least half dozen communities who have sent representatives to us and to Sugar Land to see how we did it,” Kirk said.
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