Summer Fun: Baseball? You Bet!
True confession: I've never called myself a baseball fan. Basketball is a lot more my speed.
First, half of the appeal of a baseball game has little or nothing to do with the actual game. There's the mascot, Spike, the lovable canine who headbanged to Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" with surprising dedication. Kudos to Spike.
There's also a whole host of other gimmicky stuff, such as Flex Cam, where unsuspecting baseball fans (or, let's face it, attention hogs) show off their either pathetic biceps or Popeye-esque guns to the entire giggling stadium. The babies were probably the cutest.
The Round Rock Express work extremely hard to keep kids and adults entertained for the duration of this admittedly, sort of boring sport. And good news for the perpetually disinterested: Friday nights after the game there's a fireworks show at the stadium. Austin musician Bob Schneider plays after games on some Saturdays, too.
The second reason a baseball newbie had a blast at the Round Rock Express game is because it's an activity you do with friends. It's not a film where you sit side-by-side and never look at each other for two hours. You end up talking, laughing, reaching for a foul ball that's never going to come your way. When my buddy and I arrived, the sky was a clear blue, but gradually shifted until we were looking at thin strips of clouds with a pink hue. As the night progressed and it became clear that the Express wasn't going to prevail against the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, the cool night and cold beer soothed the sting.
"Excuse me, could you tell me what just happened?" Okay, I may have outed myself as an imposter as I said that repeatedly to the nice guys sitting beside me. As a Spurs fan, I know all about bad calls and the subsequent griping associate with them. As a result, I found myself getting into the game like I hadn't with baseball on TV. There's an instant response if the crowd doesn't agree with something happening on the field. As if I were a regular fan, I found myself cheering and jeering with the best of 'em by the middle of the game. Sports have a way of creating an us-versus-them mentality, but I felt like the entire thing was incredibly nice. It's minor league, so the focus seemed to be mostly on the game rather than on a rabid need to win.
From the Budweiser Clydesdales at the entrance of the stadium to the little boy in his batter's helmet crying because he wanted to play, this was an evening I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend. Don't think of it as a sporting event necessarily because it's more than that. It's an outing. It's a good draft beer. It's a good time with friends. It's food you know is bad for you but you don't care.
That's what summer is all about. Round Rock Express is worth a second look when planning a summer schedule. I'm not even a baseball fan, and I'd go back. Truth: To have one of those extraordinary margaritas.
Check out 7:05pm game on Friday, May 17, for a fireworks show, or Saturday's 6pm game for a Bob Schneider concert after.