From All-Star to tryout

T-Mac attempting to come back as a baseball player

Sometimes you just have to know when to swtich sports

Sometimes you just have to know when to swtich sports

Move over MJ, you’re no longer the only basketball star who tried another sport.

Recently retired 7-time NBA All-star and 2-time scoring champion Tracy McGrady surprised the entire world of sports by announcing that he would attempt to return to professional sports by trying out for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic  League of Professional Baseball as a pitcher, with help from former major leaguer Roger Clemens.

McGrady had initially announced his retirement from basketball on August 26th of last year, so it’s not like he’s been totally out of recent news.

When asked why he would try such a thing, McGrady responded that he had always been a baseball player at heart.

“For 16 years, I’ve told people I’m a baseball player and how much I love baseball,” McGrady said to “We have an independent league team right here in my backyard. I’m five minutes away from the stadium. So I had to give it a shot. This is a story of someone who is truly, genuinely playing for the love of the game. I made a lot of money during my NBA career. This is for the sheer love of playing baseball.”

The scouting report on McGrady is that his fastball only tops out at a Bronson Arroyo-like 85 MPH, but he’s got a curveball, changeup, slider, and splitter on his resume, and he could potentially reach the 90 MPH mark, according to pro baseball scout Scipio Spinks.

This wouldn’t be the first time the Skeeters helped resurrect someone’s career. Last year they signed the 50-year old Clemens who wound up making two starts for the team, and is now training McGrady to pick up where he left off.

Clemens has warned that while McGrady is showing signs of promise, he’s still nowhere ready to take the mound.

“He’s not anywhere close (to ready) to pitch for the Sugar Land Skeeters,” Clemens said. “The bullpen I watched him throw he was throwing 83 maybe 85 mph. He’s still trying to locate it.”

I think that this “comeback attempt” is nothing more than McGrady trying to make himself relevant again, after spending the last few years on the decline and not having a relevant season since ’06-’07. He realized that instead of going out on top he just sort of snuck out the back door, and he sees baseball as his chance to go out on top, something he wasn’t able to do in basketball.  That being said, I still think that if he can get a career going with the Skeeters and possibly advance to a higher league, then hats off to him for working hard and earning his way back into the pros.

Junior sports guru Jimmy Dowd drew good comparisons between McGrady’s comeback attempt, Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson’s recent foray into baseball, and Michael Jordan’s famous attempt at pro baseball.

“It’s an attempt for McGrady to save his career as a relevant athlete. His basketball career has been fading over the past couple years and this gives him the opportunity to still be one of the more relevant athletes, instead of just fading away and becoming irrelevant,” Dowd told me.

“I don’t think he could make it in baseball because although the rumor is that he can throw 90 in the MLB, the truth is that is only about average. You need more than one pitch to be successful. As of right now baseball is being viewed as an easy sport because of the comments that Russell Wilson and now Tracy McGrady have made saying that they could have done it but they choose to play football and basketball instead. This gives baseball the view of being a secondary sport instead of America’s national past time, and what is probably the hardest sport to play professionally”, Dowd went on to say.

“It is by far the hardest pro sport because of the intense competition and level of skill being brought in not only from America but also from foreign countries such as the Dominican Republic, China, and Korea. Baseball is a very competitive sport in many countries unlike football and basketball which are primarily strictly for Americans, and in basketball’s case, the Europeans. Also there are many more levels involved in baseball (the minors) that McGrady and Wilson obviously haven’t accounted for because I don’t think either one would make it past AA. MJ played at least a few games in the minors, and although he was terrible he still played there, and I don’t think McGrady will even make an appearance on a major league club past spring training” said Dowd

Best of luck to McGrady on his comeback efforts, and hopefully, if he puts the time and effort in, he will reach his goal of getting to play baseball professionally and ultimately will get to do what he always loved doing.

But bottom line T-Mac: if MJ couldn’t pull it off, then good luck, because you’re going to need it.