The Baseball Experience

Round Rock, Texas is just a hint north of Austin, as in, you can hop into official Austin territory in less than five minutes from several locations in Round Rock. At last count (and it's changing so fast) I heard that Austin is the fastest growing large city in the nation, and that Round Rock is the fastest growing small city in the nation. Translation: there are a LOT of people here. But I digress. You're welcome.

And while Austin boasts all kinds of unique attractions (music festivals, Barton Springs, SXSW, F1 Racing, for example) it doesn't have a pro baseball team. That's why the Round Rock Express, a AAA team that calls the Dell Diamond home, is central Texas' crown jewel when it comes to baseball. 

For those who don't know, AAA feeds into the majors, in this case, the Texas Rangers. And for those who aren't enthused about baseball, don't write off the experience just yet. I'm not a fan, per se, and I love going to the Dell Diamond.

Of course the major draw is the game itself. But for me, going to a Round Rock Express game gives me an excuse to sit, drink a cold beverage, snack on peanuts and popcorn, and have nothing else to do but let the flow of the game carry me where it will.  It's kind of like fishing. Or knitting. It's a way to keep my butt in the same place for awhile. 

There are non-stop giveaways, contests and musical interludes between batters and innings. The last time we were there, it was "Win a Used Car" night. Every once in awhile a bunch of guys who looked like they belonged in Duck Dynasty would appear on the field with a car (several of the vehicles were a step or two up from clunkers) and they'd announce the winner. Mascot Spike (below), is always looking for opportunities to ham it up. 

Walk around to the back of the park and you'll see just how family friendly the Dell Diamond is. There's a swimming pool (which is only open for groups who rent it out) a climbing wall, a bungee jump, a playscape and a good old fashioned basketball court. I asked an employee if people just turn their older kids loose in the play areas while they watch the game, and he said, "Pretty much, except that kids must be accompanied by an adult for the bungee and climbing activities. 

Many folks opt for lawn seating, which is general admission -- $7 advance/$8 door. I think parents with toddlers love this option because all of the play areas are right behind them, and the kids can stretch out on the grass.