You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Express rev up plan to install new field at Dell Diamond

A mutated strain of grass has forced Round Rock Express officials to replace the field at Dell Diamond for the second time in three years — but not before they turned some ground-shaking monster trucks loose in the outfield.

Nearly 20,000 people took in the two-day spectacle at the start of October, seeing the typically pristine baseball field transformed into a makeshift racecourse and a rodeo ring for the TRAXXAS Monster Truck Destruction Tour.

It’s not every day at Dell Diamond that you see cowboys riding bulls in the infield while monster trucks crash down on rusty coupes and sedans in the background. It’s even rarer to see an event like this inside of a baseball stadium because of the physical toll these five-ton trucks can exert on the playing surface.

But with a new field on the way, Express officials wanted to welcome Bigfoot, Skully and their 1,500-horsepower friends for one of the most unique events seen at Dell Diamond.

“It was the only reason we could look at doing an event like this,” said J.J. Gottsch, chief operating officer for Ryan Sanders Baseball. “Knowing we were going to replace it, the potential damage to the field wasn’t a concern.”

Dell Diamond’s no stranger to non-baseball events — concerts and Liga MX soccer matches come to mind — but seeing more than 10,000 cubic yards of dirt cover nearly every inch of the field required a special set of circumstances that developed over the past three years.

In February of 2014, Tri-Tex Grass, a sod company from Tioga, replaced the field at Dell Diamond for the first time since the ballpark opened in 2000. Express officials were impressed by work the company previously had completed, including at Globe Life Park in Arlington and FC Dallas’ Toyota Stadium in Frisco.

However, the Bermuda Tifway 419 sod installed at Dell Diamond was found to have a mutation that caused parts of the field to grow more quickly than others and led the grass to spread into dirt areas such as the basepaths and warning track. The Express grounds crew didn’t realize there was a problem until the growing season arrived in June of 2014.

“This thing was just so aggressive,” said Nick Rozdilski, head groundskeeper for the Express. “It probably took over 15 percent of the field the first year and then the second year 50 (percent) and then this year 75-80 (percent).”

Because there was no way to quell the mutation, Rozdilski said, the grounds crew had to work harder every passing day to keep the field immaculate and game-ready. As the problem worsened, team officials decided to replace the field.

Work on the project began Oct. 11, with crews from Ryan Sanders Sports Turf Surfaces, a division of Ryan Sanders Baseball, tearing out the old grass. Installation of roughly 96,000 square feet of new sod will begin Tuesday, said Jill Cacic, vice president of public relations and communications for the Triple-A Express.

When the project is completed by mid-November, Dell Diamond will be one of the first sports fields in Texas to use TIFTUF Bermuda grass, which Tri-Tex Grass provided free of charge. The new grass is expected to withstand more foot traffic.

“We’ve got a tremendous ballpark and great support from the community and the city of Round Rock,” Gottsch said. “We want to show it off, not just for our 72 home baseball games a year, but for other events for our fans as well.”

Though Gottsch said monster trucks aren’t likely to return any time soon, other non-baseball events already have been scheduled at Dell Diamond. USA Rugby will face Brazil as part of the Americas Rugby Championship on Feb. 11, and Gottsch also expects to schedule a Liga MX    match next summer after the success of two previous matches. Liga MX is the premier soccer league in Mexico.

And then there’s the 2017 home opener for the Express on April 6 against the Nashville Sounds.

“So much has changed in the past five years that you’re really not running a baseball field anymore,” Rozdilski said. “You’re running an event field where they happen to play baseball.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

Golden’s Nuggets: Spieth’s clutch gene is back, but is it back for good?
Golden’s Nuggets: Spieth’s clutch gene is back, but is it back for good?

Basketball players can relate to what Jordan Spieth was going through in his final round Sunday. He just needed to see the ball go in the hoop to get back on track. Throughout the back nine of the Travelers Championship it was evident that he’s still working to rediscover the mojo on his putter, but is still money from the bunker. Before he holed...
Texas still searching for 2018 options along the defensive line
Texas still searching for 2018 options along the defensive line

Five of Texas’ 11 commitments for the 2018 class play defense. Byron Hobbs and Ayodele Adeoye are linebackers while B.J. Foster, Caden Sterns and DeMarvion Overshown highlight the safety position. The Longhorns are expected to sign around 20 to 22 players, depending on continued attrition. That means Texas is halfway done. The five defensive...
Philadelphia Phillies’ rebuild is a slow process
Philadelphia Phillies’ rebuild is a slow process

On Thursday, for the second year in a row, the Philadelphia 76ers chose first overall in the NBA draft. Their fans have endured years of failure but seem convinced that the team’s highly promoted Process — capital P — will work. The 76ers have set a franchise record for season-ticket sales, and they expect to sell out all their games...
Red Auerbach told Bill Russell, ‘I’m the coach, and you’ll fit’
Red Auerbach told Bill Russell, ‘I’m the coach, and you’ll fit’

There are decorated athletes, and then there is Bill Russell. As the dominant man in the middle for the Boston Celtics from 1956 to 1969, Russell was a 12-time All-Star selection. He won 11 NBA championships, the last two as the team’s player-coach. He was the first player to win an Olympic gold medal and an NBA championship and a college title...
Ex-FSU star Myron Rolle ready to begin med school residency
Ex-FSU star Myron Rolle ready to begin med school residency

Myron Rolle has accomplished many things on and off the field. His biggest ones, though, might still be coming up.  Rolle's dream of becoming a doctor came to fruition on May 20 when he graduated from Florida State's College of Medicine. The former All-American safety and Rhodes Scholar has not had much time to reflect on the accomplishment. He...
More Stories