Retired Tracy McGrady considering pro baseball career?

mcgrady-baseballDuring the Thunder/Nets game on Jan. 31, ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy mentioned that Tracy McGrady — who played for Van Gundy in Houston — was considering becoming a baseball pitcher.

Van Gundy said McGrady was going to play independent league baseball this summer, and that in workouts McGrady was throwing over 90 miles per hour.

McGrady talked about his love of baseball frequently even when he was playing in the NBA.

Since then, according to another report out of Houston, a professional baseball scout who has been working with McGrady says this isn’t unthinkable.

Arizona Diamondbacks pro scout Scipio Spinks said on Feb. 1 that McGrady is working with him in an attempt to play professional baseball as a pitcher.

According to Spinks McGrady’s initial goal is to sign with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League for the upcoming season. Spinks said he has been working with McGrady three times a week for the past three months.

“When Tracy came out I was already to tell him, ‘Tracy I don’t want you to get embarrassed going out here doing that,'” Spinks said in an interview with FOX 26 Sports.

“Once he got on the mound and started throwing, I looked at Deacon Jones (special assistant to the Skeeters president), Deacon looked at me, and (I said) there’s something there.”

After Spinks began working with McGrady he became convinced the seven-time NBA All-Star could play professional baseball.

Spinks and McGrady have been working at Constellation Field, the home park of the Sugar Land Skeeters – the team that McGrady would want to sign with.

“He’s not throwing as hard as everybody said,” Spinks said. “I don’t know where that came from. He’s between 85 and 86 miles per hour and that’s without adrenalin, that’s without hitters at the plate and the longer he throws, the  looser he’ll get and the harder he’ll throw. I can see him throwing in the 90s, but he’s nowhere in the 90s now, not even close.”

“I showed him how to throw a slider,” Spinks said. “It took him five minutes to learn it. He has good break on it. It’s a true slider. Because he’s such a great scorer in basketball, his focus is so good when he throws the baseball. He hits both sides of the plate with no problem.”

Spinks said McGrady has great passion for the game of baseball.

McGrady told Spinks: “‘Baseball has been my love. I’ve always wanted to play this game.’

“His goal is to go out there and pitch and not just to go out there and pitch, but he wants to pitch competitively, and hopefully he might get picked up on a Major League club,” Spinks said.

“I don’t know if he’ll make it to the Big Leagues, but I feel that he’ll play affiliated baseball,” Spinks said, adding that McGrady is very serious about his attempt to play professional baseball.

“Come out there and stand up to the plate while he’s throwing the ball and see if that’s a carnival act,” Spinks said. “This is not a joke. This is not a show.”

McGrady retired this summer following a 15-year NBA career, which ended with a rather bleak short stay with the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Playoffs the same year. He played in 15 NBA seasons, 4 of them with Orlando Magic.

McGrady was a 7-time NBA All-Star and led the NBA in scoring for 2 straight seasons (2002-2003, 2003-2004) with 32.1 ppg and 28.0 ppg respectively.

McGrady nearly won his first NBA title, but the Spurs lost to the Miami Heat in an epic seven-game finals series in June.

McGrady averaged 19.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game in a career that started in 1997, when he was drafted out of high school.


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