Where Would You Go?
Ever since I started watching The Walking Dead in 2012 (my first episode was the Season 2 Finale), I daydreamed about where I would go during the future zombie apocalypse. Certainly not to the local grocery stores, they would be quickly overrun with looters. Certainly not a public government building, they would be crowded with hungry and unprepared survivors. My neighborhood is actually rather well defended. It is surrounded by water on three sides. It has rows of homes with fences on the fourth side. Maybe I should just hunker down inside the comfort of my own house to wait for the chaos to blow over.
Iconic Dell Diamond Becomes a Post-Apocalyptic Farm
Now I know what the experts on AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead (spin-off from The Walking Dead) would do. They would take over the Dell Diamond, about a mile from my house!! The Dell Diamond is usually home to the Round Rock Express, Triple A affiliates of the Texas Rangers. I had never considered seeking refuge there but the open field, 15,000 seats, and luxury sky boxes surrounded by high walls and heavy gates is certainly very appealing.
It was on November 14, 2017, when Round Rock Studios, a local photography business, started the rush of Fear the Walking Dead rumors by posting this aerial drone photo on their Facebook page. The Austin Statesman ran the news story the following day, and local fans rushed to see if it were true. I went myself and spotted the muddy vehicles in the parking.
No one at the Dell Diamond would confirm the story. The filming was very confidential. The stadium was completely covered up so no one could see inside without an airplane or drone. After nearly a month of secret filming, the director of the Austin Film Commission, Brian Gannon finally confirmed Fear the Walking Dead was filming in the Austin and Round Rock area following weeks of fan speculation and photos showing a secret film set at Dell Diamond in Round Rock.
Fear the Walking Dead Reveals the Mystery
Lennie James, who plays “Morgan” on both TV shows was hidden in a local hotel room. The producers wanted to keep his appearance secret.
According to the Austin Statesman, “One good thing about the secret being out and all of you knowing about the crossover or some sense of what the crossover is going to be is that I’m allowed to leave my hotel room. I can finally get out and see Austin and eat some of its fantastic food.”
“We are proud to further showcase the versatility of Dell Diamond alongside a great partner in AMC,” Express President Chris Almendarez said. “To have the entire ballpark transform into a television set for several months, then be ready to go for Opening Day is a testament to the great staff we have here with the Round Rock Express.”
On April 22, 2018, our long wait was over when Fear the Walking Dead Season 4, Episode 2 – “Another Day in the Diamond”, showed us what Nolan Ryan’s iconic Dell Diamond would look like during the zombie apocalypse.
The Diamond was central to the episode’s plot. The beloved baseball playing field was transformed into a well-protected farm. The luxury boxes were now makeshift apartments with laundry drying on the balcony railings.
Round Rock Express Celebrates TV Show
On May 5, the Round Rock Express will celebrate the TV show by transforming into the fictional Armadillos featured on Fear the Walking Dead. The jerseys will appear to be dirty and worn, just like the show’s characters in the post-apocalyptic setting. Both the jerseys and hats will be auctioned online during the game. The proceeds will go to the Round Rock Serving Center, a nonprofit organization that serves human needs in the Round Rock area.
Fear the Walking Dead fans can buy official Armadillo hats and t-shirts will be available online and in the Railyard Team Store, along with other unique merchandise highlighting the team’s involvement with the show.
Other local filming locations for Fear the Walking Dead included the small picturesque Smithville and southwest Travis County (just outside Austin, Texas).