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Official Review by Michael Davis, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Dell Diamond is the current home for the Round Rock Express, a triple-A minor league affiliate of the Texas Rangers which participates in the Pacific Coast League. The ballpark is located in Round Rock, Texas just north of the state’s capital city of Austin. Dell Diamond opened on April 16, 2000 as a venue in the Double-A Texas League. In the first 4 years of existence, Dell Diamond set and broke Texas League attendance records. The Round Rock Express franchise began when the Ryan group, consisting of Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan and his son Reid, purchased the Edmonton Trappers of the Pacific Coast League.
Dell Diamond has a capacity of 11,631. The actual seating is 8,631 but an additional 3,000 fans are allowed on an outfield grass berm area. The ballpark includes 30 private suites, a large swimming pool, 10’ x 10’ hot tub, and basketball court. The ballpark dimensions are 330 feet down the left field line, 325 down the right field line, and 407 to the deepest part in center field. The wall surrounding the outfield is 8 feet tall and the ballpark has one of the best drainage systems in professional baseball which helps in preventing rainouts.
Dell Diamond hosted the 2001 Double-A All Star Game and is home to the Texas UIL State baseball Championships games.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Dell Diamond offers a wide variety of food and beverage items sold in 18 different concession stands, in 8 different buildings, along the ballpark's concourse between the first base gate and the left field foul pole. The outstanding variety you'll find inside Dell Diamond is more like a major league ballpark. The staple ballpark foods of hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts, pretzels, nachos, candy, and Cracker Jacks are readily available. A Nolan Ryan's beef jumbo dog cost 7 dollars, nachos, pizza, and popcorn will cost a dollar less, while peanuts, pretzels, and Cracker Jacks will be $5 dollars each item.
Some of the unique food offerings inside the ballpark can be found at Coop & Kennel Pub Favorites. This concession stand serves an English fish and chips basket or a grilled cheese wrapped hot dog basket which costs $9.00 and is served with seasonal fries. A wide variety of French fries are available including the San Francisco garlic fries, blue cheese fries, red hot and bleu fries. Another excellent concession stand is Fair lanes, a specialty hot dog stand. All hot dogs served here will cost $9. The hot dogs are 1/4 lb with various names with each name having different toppings. One example is The Marilyn Monroe hot dog which has neon nuclear relish, cheese, and red jalapenos. This one gets its name because, according to the signage, some like it hot.
Being in the state of Texas, you can count on two more types of food being served: Mexican and BBQ. The Mexican food choices consist of items such as nacho carnitas, tacos, or chicken quesadillas costing around $10 per plate. The Southside Market BBQ offers a platter or sandwich basket for $12 or a jalapeno sausage basket for $10. All baskets serve sea salt & cracked black pepper house made chips. With the prices being closer to major league ballpark prices than minor league parks, going to Salt Lick BBQ located next to the stadium is a wise choice for your pregame meal.
The soft drink products are made by Pepsi and range from $4.50 to $6.00 with the bargain being the refillable souvenir soda mug at the cost of $7.50.
Like the food selections, the alcohol selections are numerous; beer, wine, margaritas are served throughout the ballpark. The basic beer choices of Bud Light, Bud, and Texas Ziegenbock range from $8.50 for a 24 oz cup to a 32 oz cup at $9.50. Bottle craft beers will cost $7 while margaritas range between $8-$9.50, and the wine begins at $9 a glass. The ballpark does offer wine by the bottle, and depending on the type of wine, the cost is $28 to $42 dollars a bottle.
The most unique spot for food and beverage inside the ballpark is located down the third baseline close to left field, the Thirty Four Chop/Beer Garden. The two story beer garden with the Budweiser sign above the roof, provides a major league feel similar to the Ballpark Village in St Louis.
The amazing atmosphere begins with the large attendance of fans that support the Express. Round Rock is just north of Austin, which is the largest city without a professional sports team. Located a few hours' drive from the two closest Major League Baseball cities of Arlington and Houston gives the Express a large area of baseball fans to visit Dell Diamond. The atmosphere is welcoming as you approach Dell Diamond from the parking lot surrounding the ballpark. Once in the stadium, there are plenty of giveaways to collect throughout the season.
The ball field walkways are narrow around the home plate area but they will open up as you reach the outfield where the amount of extra activities of the ballpark are located. There is a 20' x 50' pool in center field, a 16' rock wall and basketball courts in the fun zone. The Round Rock Hall of Fame is located in left field and showcases banners of the past Round Rock players, awards, and championship seasons. The home bullpen is located in left field below the video board next to the grass berm and home run porch. The team's store is called 'The Railyard' and has plenty of souvenir items available. The fans stay engaged throughout the ballgame keeping the atmosphere fun-filled and lively during a visit to Round Rock's Dell Diamond.
The ballpark was built on farmland about four miles east of the city of Round Rock on E. Palm Valley Blvd (Route 79) between Interstate 35 and the 130 tollway. The ballpark is next to Round Rock's premier recreational park, Old Settlers Park, which is a nice stop if you are looking for recreational activities before the game. The Salt Lick BBQ restaurant is well worth a visit either before the game or if you are in the Round Rock area. The restaurant is in walking distance to Dell Diamond. However, if you are looking for anything else there will be a commute. The commute can be either a few miles to Round Rock or 20 miles south to Austin.
The Round Rock Express have averaged over 8,000 fans over the last five years. This ranks the Express fans in the top tier of all minor league baseball programs in attendance. The history of the Round Rock Express being affiliated to the Houston Astros and now the Texas Rangers has allowed Central Texas baseball fans to witness the development of Texas Major League Baseball talent over the years, creating a great relationship between the fans and the Express players.
Dell Diamond is situated off Route 79 between Interstate 35 and the 130 tollway. This location doesn't offer many areas to park other than the parking lot around the ballpark. The cost of parking will be $8 unless you are a driving a Lexus (all Lexus cars park for free). This is similar to the Express' parent club in Arlington.
There are three entrance locations to access Dell Diamond, the Home Plate Gate, First Base Gate, and the Right Field Gate. There are ticket booths at all entrances. Eight mini-buildings which house concession stands are situated perpendicular to the concourse. The location of the stands and the long lines makes foot traffic slow as you try to cross the crowded in-field concourse to get to your seat, the bathroom, or to just navigate the ballpark in general. However, the outfield area is a lot less confined with the spacious grass berms being the general admission area. The ballpark has five public stairways for access to the suite level (the Intel Club area). All four men's and women's restrooms inside the ballpark are handicapped accessible.
Dell Diamond has been and continues to be one of the nicest minor league ballparks in the United States, receiving a multitude of awards over the last 15 years. The ticket prices range from the general admission prices of $7/$8 to the Infield Reserved pricing of $16/$18. If you want premium suite level seating such the Intel Club or Dell Premium (top of section 119) the cost will be $30. With some type of promotion being offered almost every night and with good sight lines from any seat, making the trip to Dell Diamond while visiting central Texas is well worth the experience.
Several 'extra' components make the experience memorable:
- The box office offering of half-price tickets for military personnel.
- The abundance of promotion nights that the Express have throughout the season.
- The unique Kid's Fun Zone which includes a basketball court and a rock climbing rock located in Right Field along with a swimming pool.
- The availability of ballpark tours in the morning on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
- The $15 rocking chair section in left field is a unique way to watch a ballgame and is definitely worth an extra point.
Dell Diamond is a wonderful place to spend a summer day or evening watching baseball; the ballpark design allows fans a close view to the field as the first row behind home plate is 50 feet from the plate and continues around the baselines. Although being a minor league ballpark, Round Rock's Dell Diamond has the atmosphere, fans, prices, and talent which rivals a Major League Baseball game. Dell Diamond is not only Round Rock's diamond of a jewel but a jewel to any baseball fan that is passing through central Texas.
Member Review by pderrick
The Texas Rangers Triple-A affiliate Round Rock Express can be found just 15 miles northeast of Austin on I-35, in the growing community of Round Rock. Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan and his son Reid, are part owners of the Express and the lead dogs behind this franchise. The Dell Diamond seats almost 8,700 people with room for 3,000 additional fans on an outfield grass berm area. The ballpark has about 30 private suites, a swimming pool, hot tub, basketball court and playscape among a plethora of other amenities.
Beginning the 2011 season, the Round Rock Express did, indeed, switch affiliations and are now the Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers.
Member Review by Michael23Georgetown on Apr 05, 2013
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521 South IH-35
Round Rock, TX 78664