Round Rock Express

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Round Rock Express
Founded in 2000
Round Rock, Texas
RoundRockExpress.PNGRoundRockExpressCap.png
Team logoCap insignia
Class-level
CurrentTriple-A (2005–present)
PreviousDouble-A (2000–2004)
Minor league affiliations
LeaguePacific Coast League (2005–present)
ConferenceAmerican Conference
DivisionSouthern Division
Previous leagues
Texas League (2000–2004)
Major league affiliations
CurrentHouston Astros (from 2019)
Previous
Minor league titles
League titles (1)
  • 2000
Conference titles (2)
  • 2006
  • 2015
Division titles (6)
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2004
  • 2006
  • 2011
  • 2015
Team data
NicknameRound Rock Express (2000–present)
ColorsNavy blue, red, silver, white
                   
MascotSpike
BallparkDell Diamond (2000–present)
Owner(s)/
Operator(s)
Ryan Sanders Baseball
ManagerRodney Linares
General ManagerChris Almendarez

The Round Rock Express are a Minor League Baseball team of Pacific Coast League (PCL) and the Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros major league club. They are located in Round Rock, Texas, and play their home games at the Dell Diamond.[1] The team is named for Baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, who was nicknamed "The Ryan Express."[2] Ryan, along with son Reid Ryan and Don Sanders make up the team's ownership group, Ryan Sanders Baseball.[3]

The Express was established as a Double-A team of the Texas League in 2000, the team was replaced by a Triple-A PCL team in 2005. The Triple-A Express carried on the history of the Double-A team that preceded it. The team won the Texas League championship in 2000.

History[edit]

The ownership group led by Nolan Ryan and Don Sanders began its operations in Round Rock in 2000 as the Dell Diamond opened, moving the Double-A Texas League's Jackson Generals to the new park, affiliating with the Houston Astros and setting attendance records for the Double-A level. By 2003, Corpus Christi had offered the Ryan-Sanders group $20 million to build a stadium and move a professional franchise there, and the ownership group was convinced Round Rock could support Triple-A baseball.[4]

An Express game at the Dell Diamond at night

Meanwhile, the Pacific Coast League's Edmonton Trappers franchise, left isolated by the departure of the Calgary Cannons after the 2002 season for Albuquerque, was under pressure from the rest of the league to relocate to the United States. After the 2003 season, the Ryan group purchased the Trappers franchise with plans to relocate that franchise to Round Rock for 2005, once the Corpus Christi stadium would be ready for the Double-A franchise.[5] The Triple-A club would carry on the Round Rock Express identity; the Double-A club would become the Corpus Christi Hooks, and the Ryan group was able to negotiate an affiliation swap with the New Orleans Zephyrs to obtain the Astros' Triple-A affiliation for the newly-arriving PCL club.

In 2006, the Round Rock Express clinched the Southern Division of the league's American Conference with a win–loss record of 85–59. After defeating the Nashville Sounds in five games to take the American Conference championship, they advanced to the PCL championship series, but lost to the Tucson Sidewinders in three straight games.

In 2011, after 6 seasons of serving as the Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros, and 11 seasons of being affiliated with the Astros overall, the Express became the Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. Through the end of the 2018 season, attendance figures have dropped 8% since changing affiliations from Houston to Texas (see table below). Each of the top 9 season attendances all occurred in the 11 seasons the team was affiliated with Houston.

In 2016, Forbes listed the Express as the sixth-most valuable Minor League Baseball team with a value of $40 million.[6]

On September 20, 2018, the Express announced a 4-year Player Development Contract with the Houston Astros.[7]

Season-by-season records[edit]

Dell Diamond attendance[edit]

The Round Rock Express play home games at the Dell Diamond.
Season average attendance[8][9]
Season Average Games Total attendance Affiliation
2000 9,430 70 660,110 Houston Astros (Double-A)
2001 9,554 70 668,792 Houston Astros (Double-A)
2002 9,573 70 670,176 Houston Astros (Double-A)
2003 9,799 70 685,973 Houston Astros (Double-A)
2004 9,847 70 689,286 Houston Astros (Double-A)
2005 9,726 72 700,277 Houston Astros (Triple-A)
2006 9,413 72 677,706 Houston Astros (Triple-A)
2007 9,466 70 662,595 Houston Astros (Triple-A)
2008 9,286 72 668,623 Houston Astros (Triple-A)
2009 8,707 72 626,899 Houston Astros (Triple-A)
2010 8,408 71 596,985 Houston Astros (Triple-A)
2011 8,587 72 618,261 Texas Rangers (Triple-A)
2012 8,389 71 595,584 Texas Rangers (Triple-A)
2013 8,181 72 589,042 Texas Rangers (Triple-A)
2014 8,390 71 595,700 Texas Rangers (Triple-A)
2015 8,623 69 595,012 Texas Rangers (Triple-A)
2016 8,627 71 613,226 Texas Rangers (Triple-A)
2017 8,724 70 610,681 Texas Rangers (Triple-A)
2018 8,809 70 616,636 Texas Rangers (Triple-A)
2019 Houston Astros (Triple-A)
Attendance ranking by affiliation (through 2018)
Rank Average Affiliation Seasons Games Total attendance
1 9,381 Houston Astros 11 779 7,307,422
2 8,540 Texas Rangers 8 566 4,834,142

Roster[edit]

Round Rock Express roster
Players Coaches/Other

Pitchers

Catchers

  • 16 Jamie Ritchie

Infielders

  •  1 Alex De Goti
  • 31 Taylor Jones
  •  6 Jack Mayfield
  •  2 Antonio Nunez
  • 34 Nick Tanielu

Outfielders


Manager

  • -- Vacant (manager)

Coaches

  •  7 Ray Hernandez (development)
  • 37 Dyar Miller (pitching)
  • 44 Darryl Robinson (hitting)


Injury icon 2.svg 7-day disabled list
* On Houston Astros 40-man roster
# Rehab assignment
∞ Reserve list
‡ Restricted list
§ Suspended list
† Temporary inactive list
Roster updated November 21, 2018
Transactions
→ More rosters: MiLB • Pacific Coast League
Houston Astros minor league players

Notable alumni[edit]

Popular culture[edit]

The "Play Ball" episode of The Simple Life, a reality television series starring young wealthy socialites Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, took place during an Express game. The show aired on July 21, 2004, as the fifteenth episode of the show's second season.[10]

The team made headlines in 2010 when it "signed" Billy Ray "Rojo" Johnson, described in a press release as an East Texan who grew up in Venezuela and had run-ins with the law. In reality, Johnson was actor Will Ferrell, who briefly took the mound at Dell Diamond to promote his nearby charity golf tournament.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ballpark Profile | Round Rock Express Dell Diamond". Round Rock Express. MiLB. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
  2. ^ "NOLAN RYAN, THE MAN: Profile, History, Facts and Figures". C&D Publishers. 1998. Archived from the original on 17 August 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  3. ^ Jacobs, Janet (14 January 2011). "Dell Roots, Roots, Roots for the Home Team". Austin American-Statesman.
  4. ^ Greer, Jim (30 June 2003). "Partners aim for a hit with baseball shuffle". Houston Business Journal. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  5. ^ Maki, Allan; Naylor, David (24 October 2003). "Eskimos cash in selling their Triple-A team". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  6. ^ Klebnikov, Sergei (July 8, 2016). "Minor League Baseball's Most Valuable Teams – 6. Round Rock Express". Forbes. Retrieved September 23, 2016.
  7. ^ Rome, Chandler (September 20, 2018). "Astros officially announce re-affiliation with Round Rock Express". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  8. ^ [1] thebaseballcube.com, Round Rock Express Team Pages, 2000-2004.
  9. ^ [2] milb.com, PCL Attendance Tables, 2005-Present.
  10. ^ List provided by the Texas Film Commission: Katie Kelley, Office Manager - Texas Film Commission, Email, July 23, 2009
  11. ^ [3] MLB.com, "Will Ferrell pitches, entertains in Round Rock", May 7, 2010.

External links[edit]