It had to happen sometime

added 4/9/2007 by Mike Capps

The day, April 7, 2007, goes down in all-time Round Rock Express history. No, we didn't have a record crowd courtesy of a Roger Clemens or Andy Pettitte rehabilitation start at the Dell Diamond. We didn't set a new all-time attendance record, nor did the Express set a record for most Blue Angel jets conducting a fly-over at our ballpark.

For the first time in history, on April 7, 2007, the Round Rock Express had a game rained out.

"It was the right thing to do," said Express President Jay Miller, overseer of the longest known streak of games without a rainout in all of professional baseball, 524 straight. "There were issues of fan comfort and player safety," he said.

Extremely unusual early April cold weather patterns served as the culprit. Fans on Friday night showed up at the Dell Diamond in sweaters and heavy jackets, something rarely seen in Round Rock. Saturday's wet, icy chill and relentless steady rain and sleet made playing baseball impossible.

"We have had the baseball gods on our side for eight seasons," said Miller. "And we always knew that this(a rainout) would finally happen."

"They made the right call," said Express skipper Jackie Moore. "Jay, Reid and Reese Ryan decided early that they didn't want to play on Saturday and that was good."

Now, you might be thinking, "Wait a minute, Capps, we've had rain at that ballpark before."

You're right.

We have had games started, suspended before five innings and official game status, and finished the next night, or the next time a particular team was in town. We've also had games delayed by rain, one in 2003 started just before ten p.m., and finished at a little after one a.m.

That one brings back a particularly silly, funny memory. My former color partner, former UT and Phillies lefty Bruce Ruffin actually dozed off briefly, late in the game, at about one a.m.. Express President Jay Miller still laughs remembering me, on the air, trying to wake up my broadcast partner. To this day, Bruce says he never dozed off. Whether he did or didn't, the incident provided one of the most fun moments of any game I have ever done. And by the way, Ruffin is one of the best ever at providing color commentary.

Then there was the time, during our first season while we were on the road in Little Rock, and Central Texas was deluged with twelve inches of rain during the final three days we were in Arkansas. We played at the Dell Diamond the day after the three-day flood.

Express management obviously takes great pride in playing scheduled games.

"We want our fans to be comfortable, and if we would have had only a thousand or so show up on Saturday night, they would have been miserable." said Miller. "I had been tracking the weather since the early morning and there was no way with the rain and cold and ice that we should have started the game."

And Round Rock's grounds crews, first led by Dennis Klein, now chief groundskeeper with the Texas Rangers, and now Brad Detmore, operate expertly on a field that was designed with a space age drainage system.

Copyright (c) 2007, Mike Capps "You just come to expect it, that if the Round Rock Express have a game scheduled, they are going to play it," said a scout from an American League team. But the bottom line was, last Saturday, the Round Rock Express did the right thing. Makes a man quietly proud to work for people like that. And a new streak of games without a cancellation has begun.