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Popular minor league baseball team chugs out of Central Texas

Popular minor league baseball team chugs out of Central Texas

Round Rock Express at Dell Stadium
The Astro are shooting out Round Rock after a 12-year partnership. Photo courtesy of Round Rock Express

Baseball fans, it’s official. The Houston Astros have inked a deal with the City of Sugar Land and Major League Baseball to move their Triple A franchise from Round Rock to Sugar Land, the team announced on November 20.

The deal means the Astros will also acquire majority ownership of the Sugar Land Skeeters, the local affiliate, by the end of the year. The club will play in the Pacific Coast League and will continue to play games at Sugar Land’s Constellation Field, according to a press release.

It will also mean that the Round Rock Express will lose its affiliation with the Astros after a 12-year partnership. In 2019, the Express posted a 84-56 record and returned to the Pacific Coast League playoffs for the first time since 2015.

“We are excited to bring Triple A baseball to Sugar Land, which is a great city with great fans,” said Astros owner and chairman Jim Crane, in a release. “We look forward to partnering with the City of Sugar Land’s great leadership to reinvest into the ballpark to make it one of the best Triple A facilities in the country.”

As for the Round Rock Express, team president Chris Almendarez issued a statement on November 20 thanking the Astros organization and promising the same game-day experience fans have come to expect at Dell Diamond, regardless of who is playing. 

"We look forward to the conclusion of negotiations between Major and Minor League Baseball in the coming weeks and are excited to start our next chapter of Triple-A Baseball in Round Rock with a new affiliate,” Almendarez wrote. 

Now, as a result of the Skeeters agreement, the Astros will own their Single A (Fayetteville, Arkansas), Double A (Corpus Christi), and Triple A affiliates. The agreement also means the Astros can conveniently keep their Triple A operations within the Greater Houston area.

Boasting a fervent following themselves, the Skeeters launched in 2010 as an expansion team in the Atlantic League. The club won two Atlantic League championships in 2016 and 2018. The Skeeters were the first independent league baseball team in Sugar Land and the first minor league team in the Greater Houston area since the Houston Buffaloes.