The crack of the bat returns to Round Rock tonight as the Round Rock Express take to the field for Opening Day of the 2018 season.
This season features several popular theme nights as well as series where the team will transform from the Express into the Chupacabras as part of Minor League Baseball’s “Copa de la Diversión,” a series celebrating Latino heritage in baseball.
Fans will notice a few changes to kick off the new season. There are new safety features, including expanded netting to protect fans from foul balls. “Every year, exit velocity, (the ball coming off the bat) increases as players get bigger, stronger, faster, and our main concern is those folks who are sitting down close,” explains Gene Kropff, director of stadium operations.
Also new this year are metal detectors at the gates into the ballpark. You will have to take out your cell phones, keys, cameras, and any metal tins before walking through the metal detector. You do not have to take off belts, (with the exception of large belt buckles) shoes, watches, jewelry, or wallets.
“With the bombings that have gone off in Austin, Pflugerville, Dallas, Houston, I would feel much safer knowing that they have metal detectors,” said Susan Rogers, who attends Express games once in a while.
Fans will also notice a new traffic pattern on Highway 79 around the ballpark. Drivers will no longer enter through Telander Drive, but rather the newly-named Express Way — the long entrance leading up to the Home Plate Gates. All other entrances will operate as normal. They recommend you take Harrell Parkway if you’re heading east toward the stadium.
The 2018 season comes after the ballpark was transformed into a set for filming the new season of “Fear of the Walking Dead.”
The Express take on the Memphis Redbirds tonight at 7:05 at the Dell Diamond.
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