I Went to My First Round Rock Express Game on Saturday, and Loved It
I decided to suck it up and deal with the Central Texas summer heat on Saturday and take the family to Round Rock to see a baseball game. It reminded me of how much I love baseball, and the heat wasn't that bad.
I've been a fan of baseball since 1984. I spent that summer moving to Colorado from Florida in late July. Just as school ended that year I started to watch Cubs baseball on WGN. Any and all Cubs fans will tell you about those mid 80's teams with Ryne Sandberg, Larry Bowa, Ron Cey, Jody Davis, Bobby Denier, Leon Durham and Gary Mathews just to name a few were some of the best to put on a Cubs jersey.
That was a summer of non-stop baseball for me, as were the following summers. I loved the Cubs, I loved the broadcasters (the legendary Harry Carry and Steve Stone), and I loved the game itself.
In 1993, the Colorado Rockies began their first season and I was an instant fan. Finally I had a home team to pull for. I went to a lot of games while living in Colorado and Coors Field quickly became one of my favorite places on Earth.
Everything from parking in Lodo to walking up on the stadium was magical for me. Once through the gates, I would instantly walk the concourse straight to see the field. It was always so green and so beautiful. I couldn't wait to grab a beer and some peanuts and find my seat. I've sat all over Coors Field and never had a bad seat, ever. There was just something about being at a game at Coors Field that really made the stress of the week disappear. I wouldn't even think about work. I'd simply enjoy the game itself.
I saw a lot of great moments at Coors Field too. Some incredible walk-offs, homers, and really some of the best moments happened in the stands, just watching people enjoy themselves.
There really is nothing like a Sunday at Coors Field.
Moving to Texas in the Summer of 2017, I knew my days of going to Coors Field would be limited to vacations in Colorado, but we did manage to hit a Rockies & Rangers game on Fathers day in 2019. The final year of Globe Life Park in Arlington. It was hot, I mean HOT! There was almost nobody at the ballpark on that Sunday partly because the Rangers and Rockies were both terrible that year, but the heat surely played a factor in the low attendance. That's probably why I was able to find three tickets for less than $20. A real bargain for sure. The Rangers would win it in walk off style in the bottom of the 9th, much to my dismay.
Since then, we've had a pandemic which almost cost us the 2020 season altogether, and since both the Rockies and Rangers are still terrible teams, I haven't had much of a reason to get excited about baseball.
Going to a game in Arlington is a long drive and an expensive outing, so although I do plan on hitting a game this year, Rockies/Rangers in late August, I've been wanting to check out the field in Round Rock.
I finally did last Saturday. It was kind of a last minute idea, as both my wife and I were off and looking for something to do. I saw a news flash that David Dahl (former Rockies player) was rehabbing so we decided to hit the road and go see a game.
Much to my surprise, we got there in less than an hour. I had no idea it was that close. As we pulled into Dell Diamond, I was shocked at how big the stadium was. I wasn't expecting a Triple A ballfield to be so big. I walked in and instantly walked the concourse straight to get a view of the field. It was as thrilling as it always is. Players getting ready for first pitch, the field was bright green and a pretty decent crowd on hand as well.
We sat in the outfield bleachers known as "Home Run Porch." It was covered from the sun, which really did keep us from melting in the summer heat. The view was good and the ballpark was really great. It felt like we were sitting right on the edge of the action.
Here's my view looking into Center and Right field,
Here's the First Base Line,
And Left Field, mostly the stands but you get the idea.
I had a beer and eventually some ice cream. The Express lost 4-2, but the experience was really fun. Plus, the drive home was less than an hour.
I realized while sitting there watching the game that the team I pull for doesn't have to be a great team. It's the experience of the game itself that I love. The team winning helps, but overall it's the game I cherish the most.
It seems so simple at times, like anybody can do it. I know it takes a great athlete to play at that level, but the game itself just seems so simple. Pitching hitting and fielding. Do it better than the other team and you win.
Baseball is like therapy if you let it be. Grab your favorite people to hang with - for me it's my family - and head to the ballpark. Grab a beer, some peanuts, kickback and let the game relax you.
As we approach the end of June, I know we have a lot of summer left. Expect to find me at the ballpark on Sunday afternoons.