There are so many reasons why we love the Round Rock Express and Dell Diamond in the Sports Capital of Texas, and the amazing turf is just one of them! Dell Diamond has been named the 2018 Baseball Field of the Year by the Texas Turfgrass Association.
Dell Diamond’s year began with a complete rebuild of the stadium’s playing surface following production of AMC’s hit television show Fear the Walking Dead in early March. After the Express partnered with AMC to bring the program to Central Texas with the venue serving as a primary set location, the stadium was converted into a post-apocalyptic compound. Part of the conversion included chemically killing the grass both on the playing surface and the outfield berms. Round Rock Express Head Groundskeeper Nick Rozdilski and his crew had just 34 days to rebuild the field and berms in time for Express Opening Day on April 5.
Dell Diamond was awarded after the venue survived the apocalypse to host over 100 events ranging from baseball to soccer, concerts, and everything else in-between. In addition to 70 Express home games, Dell Diamond also hosted the 2018 UIL State Baseball Tournament that featured 15 games played in the span of four days. Combined with regularly scheduled Express games, the field hosted 29 games in 21 days without skipping a beat.
“With the nature of our industry, we are always looking for exciting and unique events to bring to Dell Diamond. Nick and his team consistently rise to face monumental tasks all while maintaining an elite-level playing surface,” Round Rock Express General Manager Tim Jackson said.
Following the 21-day stretch, RS3 Turf team spent the Triple-A All-Star break removing the pitcher’s mound and installing sod over the infield for international soccer when Dell Diamond hosted a Liga MX friendly on July 8. The conversion included the removal of not only the mound, but an inch of infield dirt, before installing and cultivating the sod. After the game on July 8, the field was converted back to baseball in time for the team’s return home on July 12. In total, the field was converted from baseball to soccer and back in just seven days.
As if that wasn’t enough, Rozdilski and his crew converted the playing surface back into a soccer pitch to host a second Liga MX match on October 13 before the venue welcomed Camp Gladiator’s 2018 Finals on November 10, an event that utilized every square foot of the field’s playing surface.
“One of our goals is to showcase the versatility of Dell Diamond year-round,” Jackson said. “This would not be possible without a groundskeeper like Nick and his ability to consistently meet the challenges presented when hosting a variety of events.”
Post-baseball season, Dell Diamond also played host to three separate music events – Reckless Kelly’s Celebrity Softball Jam, a celebrity softball game followed by an all-day concert on two outfield stages on September 23, Spirit of Austin Fest, an all-day music festival that also took place on two outfield stages with over 2,500 chairs on the field on November 18, and Snoop Dogg’s Texas Ballpark Tour, complete with a mobile staged located on the stadium’s infield on December 2.
RS3 Turf will carry the momentum into 2019 as Dell Diamond is set to play host to six Austin Elite Rugby matches as well as an Americas Rugby Championship contest between the United States and Brazil prior to Round Rock Express Opening Day on Tuesday, April 9, 2019.
Each year, the Texas Turfgrass Association honors outstanding sports fields across the state. Their mission is to recognize those who go above and beyond to make sure their complex is one of the best in Texas.