Let’s talk sports. As a huge sports fan from Boston, I’ve had a rough go as of late. I mean, this is a tough time of year for sports in general, being that all we have right now is baseball and golf (no offense, tennis). It doesn’t help that my Red Sox are sitting pretty much in last place and every time I say “Boston,” someone throws a hissy fit about deflated footballs. That’s another story and I’m not allowed to swear here, so let’s move on.
Anyway, the bottom line is I’ve needed some sort of competitive sporting event to get me by during these hard times. Luckily, Austin is home to the Round Rock Express, a minor league baseball affiliate of the Texas Rangers. I caught a game this past weekend and, beyond the game itself, the entire experience was incredibly enjoyable and just what I needed.
I can be a little picky with my baseball stadiums, having grown up attending games at Fenway Park. I have to say, Dell Diamond does a wonderful job of accommodating all types of fans.
I happened to go on “Elvis Night,” and it was impressive to see how much effort the park put into maintaining the theme throughout the entire game. From the appropriately dressed mascot to the photo-shopped Elvis wig on each player’s headshot, it felt like I was part of a special night, as opposed to a cheap gimmick.
The seats were spectacular as well, considering I only paid $16 for my ticket. I had an uninterrupted view from the first-base line, and was close enough to hear all of those authentic baseball sounds you look forward to as a fan. Additionally, I never felt trapped in my seat. Getting up and walking around every once in a while felt encouraged, as visitors can still watch the game from the vendor-filled walking track.
Food and Drinks
Let’s be real. Beer and baseball go together like Tom Brady and Super Bowl rings (hey, I would’ve used Romo if he had any). Dell Diamond does its due diligence in this department, offering plenty of reasonably-priced local brews in addition to the domestics that always seem to taste better under stadium lights.
The real highlight here is the Budweiser Party Porch over in left field. This bar/patio offers its own diverse beer selection, a comprehensive view of the field and a block party type of atmosphere. I may or may not have spent at least 75% of the game in this section.
Dell offers your standard ballpark food items, and this is not a bad thing. I had a hot dog (obviously), and it tasted like a hot dog. Listen, I could sit here and try to conjure up some sort of adjective-heavy description of the food vendors and how they all pair perfectly with the experience, etc. Just get a hot dog.
I suppose I should talk about the actual baseball game that took place. Round Rock Express is an AAA team, meaning they are one step down from the Texas Rangers. Players get called up from the Express to the Rangers all the time, and the talent on this team was immediately evident to me.
This particular game was a loss in extra innings, but stood as an intense hitter’s dual with multiple lead changes and an exciting finish. There are only a handful of games left until the playoffs, and you could feel the added sense of urgency to win between both teams.
The Express are currently at the top of their respective division, but have been slipping a bit as of late. It’ll be interesting to see how they close out the season. The importance of momentum is crucial in playoff baseball, so hopefully they can finish strong and make a respectable push for the pennant.
Summing It All Up
I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to watch a live, genuinely competitive sporting event amidst such a slow time of year in the world of sports. The Round Rock Express is a talented team and a formidable threat in AAA baseball. With playoffs right around the corner and only a dozen or so games left, there is no better time to check out a game than now.
Beyond the baseball game itself, Dell Diamond offers a rewarding experience and really goes all-in when it comes to theme nights and the various events they host throughout the year. It’s a diverse mix of fun, making it easy to have a good time no matter who you are.
If you’re a real sports fan and need something to hold you over until your inevitably disappointing football season, take yourself out to the ball game over at Dell Diamond. And get a hot dog.
@andychuckchase wants to know:
How do you get your sports fix in Austin?
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