North East native Christopher Hill has been the only one reporting to work recently at Constellation Field in Sugar Land, Texas.
The President of the Sugar Land Skeeters professional baseball team, Hill decided to make use of his extra time and ample space.
“We’re closed and I’m the only one in the stadium right now. We were trying to find ways that we can help our sponsors, help our fans,” Hill said Thursday. “We were on a call with Memorial Hermann, which is one of our larger sponsors here at our stadium and one of our founding partners. We were going through different ways to help.
“What else do they need? With equipment, everyone believes they are prepared until they are not. So, for us, we’re on the other end of this curve. Things are happening a lot more in New York and California, but it’s going to get here and it’s going to get here in the next couple of weeks.”
The idea was floated that the Skeeters’ stadium, Constellation Field, could serve as a drop-off site for personal protective equipment.
“The medical field here is one of the largest in the world, so there are a lot of people that have these items at their house or their business because they have some relationship to the medical community because it’s such a huge industry here,” Hill said. “We said, ‘OK, I’m here, so we can take donations.’ They said ‘You’d be winning to do that? And we said ‘Absolutely. What do you need?’ They allowed us to do that and put the rules in place. There’s only certain things that they’ll accept. They have to be unopened.”
What the Skeeters collect will be donated to Memorial Hermann Sugar Land and Southwest.
Hill said there is a sign outside the stadium with his cell phone number and donors call him before leaving their items curbside to be picked up.
“They call me, I come out and they drop it. They set it down on the ground and we wave to each other and I say ‘Thank you very much.’ I’ll pick it up and bring it inside,” he said. “At the end of every week we’ll give them what we have.”
Items like alcohol and bleach wipes, face shields, isolation gowns, medical grade N95 masks, sanitation wipes, sanitizer with CDC requirement of 60% or higher, shoe and boot covers and surgical masks are accepted.
The currently-postponed season was supposed to be Hill’s first full season back with the Skeeters, who play in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. He rejoined the club he helped to begin in 2010 at the start of last season.
MLB stars Roger Clemens and Rafael Palmerio, as well as basketball star Tracy McGrady have suited up for Sugar Land.
Hill’s first full-time job in baseball came in the early 1990s with the Wilmington Blue Rocks. He previously spent more than a year working for the Cecil Whig.