Tracy McGrady’s baseball debut vs his NBA debut
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SKEETERS WIN: The Skeeters kicked off their Spring Training tonight with a 10-1 victory over the Alvin Dolphins! pic.twitter.com/y7Riny4IHa
— Sugar Land Skeeters (@SL_Skeeters) April 17, 2014
In February, the great, retired and almost NBA champion Tracy McGrady generated some big news when he said he was going to pursue a baseball career. In March, we found out that the Sugarland Skeeters invited him to training camp and he was working out with baseball legend Roger Clemens. The follow-up news didn’t create as much buzz although local Houston/Sugarland residents (like me) were pretty excited about seeing one of our favorite Rockets again.
On Wednesday, T-Mac made his baseball debut in a 10-1 victory over the Alvin (community college) Dolphins and the news was less talked about than T-Mac’s NBA debut with the Raptors back in 1997.
T-Mac threw for one inning and gave up one run on three hits with the Skeeters. Those aren’t exactly newsworthy stats but you could argue that McGrady’s baseball debut was more impressive than his pro basketball debut.
Back on October 31st of 1997, an 18 year old McGrady went scoreless and grabbed 1 rebound and turned the ball over 1 time during 6 minutes in a 13 point loss to the Miami Heat. Even Zan Tabak was able to score (3 points) in his limited 6 minutes for the Raptors.
So what’s the purpose of bringing up his not so impressive NBA debut in a not so impressive rookie season for a not so popular team that made coach Darrel Walker say McGrady would be out of the league in a couple of years? Well, he did play for a couple more years and became one of the best scorers in NBA history. If somebody told you in the 90s that they knew McGrady would turn out to be the superstar that he became they would be lying.
There’s a similar story about McGrady’s high school career. Going into his senior year, T-Mac wasn’t even a top 500 prospect and there wasn’t a Division 1 coach that knew his name. If somebody would have said, besides McGrady, that he would be a NBA player they would be lying. 16 months later, he’s the 9th pick in the 97 NBA draft.
So here we are 16 years later, back at the diamond for the not so popular Atlantic league baseball team. Nobody really thinks the 34 year old can have a “successful” baseball career but history tells us he’s probably going to prove us wrong and McGrady will tell you that he’s already proven you wrong since success for him on the baseball field isn’t defined by money or fame from the sport.
“I’ve been dreaming of this since I was a kid. The dream has come true, and it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, even when I was playing basketball for 16 years,” said McGrady.
“Baseball is always in the back of my mind. I’m fortunate enough to be healthy and come out here to give it a shot. This is something I’ve always wanted to do. This is fun to me. I love waking up and coming to the ballpark.”