For those of you who may not know, the Round Rock Express are the Minor League affiliate of the Texas Rangers, located in Round Rock, Texas. Round Rock is about 20 minutes north of Austin, but more importantly, it’s five minutes south of Georgetown. I know you might be skeptical and asking, “Intern Craig, how can a minor league baseball team be important or exciting? Does Georgetown really suck bad enough to make you want to attend Minor League baseball games?” These are fantastic questions, and they will all be answered. So buckle up because I’m about to hit you with some hard-hitting, SPORTS knowledge.
Let me tell you about my first Round Rock Express experience. It was eight months ago, and the entire Southwestern University football team was given free tickets to a game against the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Comparable to a Yankees-Red Sox game). As I walked into Dell Diamond, home of the Round Rock Express and modern marvel of architecture, I had a feeling of comfort wash over me. I knew I was home. Don’t get me wrong, I hate baseball. It’s a dying, boring game, but something about Minor League baseball is less yawn inducing than every other level of baseball. Maybe it’s the 27 fans in the stands, maybe it’s the ridiculous team names — The Akron RubberDucks, Binghamton Rumble Ponies, Charlotte Stone Crabs, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, and the Montgomery Biscuits, just to name a few. These teams have something MLB teams just don’t have: less talented players, and no regard for their team’s reputation or dignity. Do you think that the Richmond Flying Squirrels stadium staff care when they catch fans slinging crystal under the stands? It just contributes to the atmosphere. But this article isn’t about all those scrub ass teams. This article is about the pinnacle franchise in the entire world, so let’s get back to it.
In the third inning, I heard the unmistakable sound of a freight train rumbling by. Is it the brilliant work of the sound technician? No, you idiot, it’s an actual freight train going right by the stadium because Dell Diamond was built next to rail road tracks. Round Rock EXPRESS, like a train. Get it? You should because it’s the greatest team name west of the Mississippi and south of the Mason-Dixon line. At this very moment, I knew I had found my new favorite team.
In the fourth inning I ventured to the team store to try to purchase as much Express memorabilia as I could max out on my parent’s credit card. I walked into the shop and saw the glorious sight of red and blue as far as my eyes could see. This place had it all: shirts, jerseys, hats, beer funnels, magnets. Yeah, bitch. Magnets. Just as I was going to check out, I heard a deafening train horn blast through the stadium. You guessed it. Number 21 in your programs, but number one in your hearts, Cesar Puello jacked a three-run dinger. I dropped everything and ran out into the stands to watch Puello triumphantly stroll around the bases. Confetti rained from the heavens, the 350 pound man next to me literally just consumed a whole, full beer can. This man just swallowed the damn thing, and a small blind boy a few rows down was suddenly able to see. Dell Diamond is a place of miracles, and I knew I needed to be there to experience them all.
Fast forward to the bottom of the ninth inning. It’s all tied up. We have a runner on second and two outs. Ronald Guzman steps to the plate. I see the concentration in his eyes, but I can’t help but notice how dilated his pupils are. There’s a 75 percent chance that every player on the field is on some type of psychedelic drug. Guzman watches the first pitch, and takes a huge cut at the next. He rips one between the left and center fielders, and the crowd erupts. The runner from second scores easily and I watch — with tears in my eyes — as the 7 on the scoreboard changes to an 8. This moment surpassed the joy I felt watching Vince Young catch the corner in ’05, and I assume it’s greater than the birth of your first child. This game was one that I’ll never forget.
I am lucky enough to be attending another Round Rock Express game this upcoming Saturday as they take on the Iowa Cubs, and I could not be more jazzed up. If you’re ever in the North Austin area and you want to see an dominant athletic performance (other than Southwestern football), head on over to Dell Diamond, the most magical place on earth. You’ll find me there every game, in the stands directly behind home plate (locked those tickets up for the whole season for $5.75 and a Subway coupon) because unfortunately, it’s the only thing there is to do in Georgetown. .
Image via Youtube