Liftoff: Space Cowboys take flight in Sugar Land
Sugar Land’s baseball team is now home on the range and among the stars. The Astros' Triple-A club will enter its second year in affiliated ball with a new identity -- Sugar Land Space Cowboys -- which team officials unveiled Saturday afternoon at their home of Constellation Field, located some
Sugar Land’s baseball team is now home on the range and among the stars.
The Astros' Triple-A club will enter its second year in affiliated ball with a new identity -- Sugar Land Space Cowboys -- which team officials unveiled Saturday afternoon at their home of Constellation Field, located some 20 miles from Houston's Minute Maid Park.
The Space Cowboys blast onto the Minor League scene with a name that pays homage to the rough-and-tumble cowboy legacy of Texas as well as Houston’s longstanding contributions to exploration of the cosmos as the home of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, America’s nerve center for human spaceflight.
"We really wanted an identity that reflected a connection to the Astros but stood out as unique and was aligned with the values of Sugar Land: vibrant, thriving, aggressive and a very family-oriented community that's clearly focused on investing in the future," said Anita Sehgal, SVP, marketing and communications at the Astros.
Set against a field of stars, Sugar Land’s new primary logo -- designed in-house by the Astros' marketing team -- features a sleek, futuristic astronaut with a constellation reflected in his visor. Perched atop the helmet is a stylized cowboy hat; below it, a bandana tied around the figure’s neck. The club’s new wordmark circles the figure to complete the roundel logo with all elements rendered in light and dark blue, gray and -- with a nod to Astros -- white, black and orange.
Among the club’s secondary marks are star-inlaid wordmarks with the “Space Cowboys” version featuring each word angled upward, outlined in light blue and filled by dark blue, bespeckled with the cosmos. A vertically arched “Sugar Land” version sports a central orange star between the locale’s two words and the same treatment for its lettering along with the addition of a central stripe through the characters that connects to the horizontal points of the star.
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A secondary “SL” logo showcases the same style letters from the “Sugar Land” script with the focal point star centered over the “L”. The club’s alternate logos include the isolated space cowboy character and a retro-inspired rocket ship silhouette displayed before a diamond inlaid with a Texas state flag-inspired backdrop. The star included is not that of the Lone Star State but rather the same four-pointed icon in the Space Cowboys’ new mark, and the colors of the flag aren’t directly those from the state flag but instead white along with Sugar Land’s new dark blue and orange.
The Sugar Land franchise was established as the Skeeters in the independent Atlantic League in 2012, playing in that circuit through 2019. With the realignment of the Minor Leagues for 2021, the Skeeters came into the affiliated fold and were formally acquired by their new parent club, the Astros, on April 20, 2021.
"When [Astros owner] Jim Crane purchased Sugar Land we fulfilled a dream of bringing Triple-A baseball to the greater Houston area, and specifically to Sugar Land," Sehgal said. "We believe it's a competitive advantage and phenomenal opportunity to have a Triple-A franchise just 23 miles away from the Major League club.
"We've used this last year to reimagine how we talk about baseball in the city of Sugar Land and to connect Sugar Land into our Astros family and part of our Astros community."
During their first season as members of Triple-A, the then-Skeeters went 75-55 to capture Triple-A West’s East Division title. Sugar Land served as a launching pad in 2021 for the Astros’ top four prospects: catcher Korey Lee, versatile shortstop/outfielder Pedro Leon, righty pitcher Hunter Brown and infielder Jeremy Pena.
The name change is the latest since Sugar Land and Houston began their partnership. Ahead of the 2021 season, the Astros implemented renovations to Sugar Land’s Constellation Field, including the installation of full-stadium protective netting, new batting cages and wholly renovated and upgraded weight rooms and clubhouses complete with a full-service kitchen.
The Space Cowboys take flight in 2022. Just don’t call them Maurice.
Tyler Maun is a reporter for MiLB.com and co-host of “The Show Before The Show” podcast. You can find him on Twitter @tylermaun.