The Class AAA Pacific Coast League’s Round Rock Express and San Antonio Missions are renewing an old rivalry, as the clubs have announced their I-35 Rivalry Series.
Round Rock and San Antonio competed in a knock-down, drag-out rivalry while both clubs were members of the Double-A Texas League from 2000-2004, up until the Express joined the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in 2005. With the Missions joining the ranks of Triple-A in 2019, the two teams are bringing back their original rivalry series.
“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome our friends in San Antonio to the Triple-A level, and we’re looking forward to renewing our rivalry with the Missions in 2019,” Express President Chris Almendarez said. “Central Texas is home to the best baseball fans around and with a pair of very competitive clubs in our backyard, we can’t wait for a fun and exciting I-35 Rivalry Series for years to come.”
Round Rock and San Antonio will be battling for a custom, four-foot tall trophy featuring a construction-grade orange traffic cone. The Brandiose-designed logo for the I-35 Rivalry Series features Round Rock’s “Spike” and San Antonio’s “Ballapeno” mascots facing off for the coveted traffic cone.
“The San Antonio Missions and Round Rock Express had a great rivalry at the beginning of the century that included many intense Texas League battles and we are thrilled to be able to renew this rivalry,” Missions President Burl Yarbrough said. “The short distance between the two teams is unlike any other two teams in the Pacific Coast League. I know our two passionate fan bases will really enjoy watching their favorite teams compete in the I-35 Rivalry Series.”
Only 115 miles separate Dell Diamond in Round Rock and Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium in San Antonio, by far the shortest distance between any two teams in the Pacific Coast League.
The Express and Missions faced off 120 total times in the regular season while the clubs were in the Texas League, with Round Rock holding a slight 63-57 edge in the overall series. The Express defeated the Missions 3-2 in the best-of-five Texas League West Division Championship Series in 2001 before the Missions returned the favor with a 3-2 series victory in the 2002 Texas League West Division Championship Series.
Round Rock was victorious in the first two I-35 Rivalry Series in 2000 and 2001 before the Missions responded with two straight series victories in 2002 and 2003. The Express took the final Texas League series between the two teams in 2004. Round Rock is 34-27 in games played at Dell Diamond while San Antonio is 30-29 in games played at Wolff Stadium.
Round Rock and San Antonio kick off their 16-game season series in the Alamo City with a four-game set from Friday, May 3 – Monday, May 6. The Missions make their first trip to Round Rock as a Triple-A club for another four-game series from Tuesday, May 21 – Friday, May 24. The final two meetings between the rivals are set for Tuesday, June 25 – Friday, June 28 in San Antonio and Monday, August 26 – Thursday, August 29 in Round Rock.
As part of Minor League Baseball’s Copa de la Diversión campaign, the Round Rock Chupacabras and San Antonio Flying Chanclas will meet three times during the 2019 I-35 Rivalry Series. The first Chupacabras vs. Flying Chanclas matchup is set for Cinco de Mayo in San Antonio. Dell Diamond will host the two club’s alternate identities on May 24 before the final Chupacabras vs. Flying Chanclas meeting on June 27 in the Alamo City.