Astros bring back a familiar face in new Triple-A affiliation
Remember when the Astros had a minor league affiliate in Round Rock? Well, you don’t have live in the past any longer.
For the first time since the 2010 season, the Astros will have a strong presence in Round Rock as the Express will be the club’s Triple-A affiliate for at least the next four years. Following a successful stint with the Fresno Grizzlies (2015-18) and then-Oklahoma City Red Hawks (2011-14) as the organization’s Triple-A affiliates, Houston regains a familiar face with the Round Rock Express.
In case you don’t remember, the Express were originally the Astros’ Double-A affiliate from 2000-04 followed by a stint as the club’s Triple-A affiliate from 2005-10. The creation of the Corpus Christi Hooks, Houston’s current Double-A affiliate, prior to the 2005 season was a key reason behind the change. The Express were the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate from 2010-18.
During their time in the Astros’ organization, the Express experienced a great deal of success. When the club was first founded in 2000, the Express went on to reach the Texas League playoffs four times along with a Texas League title in their inaugural season. Unfortunately, no titles were won when the club became Houston’s Triple-A affiliate the first time around. Let’s hope the second time will be different, especially when you consider the Grizzlies’ success since 2015.
In anticipation of the affiliation change, the Express introduced four new uniforms for the upcoming 2019 season. The color scheme and style change are more reminiscent of the club’s look during their first stint as a minor league affiliate of the Astros.
Gone is the royal blue of the Rangers while the familiar navy blue is brought back. Per a press release from the Express, the new look “embodies the heart and soul of the Round Rock community.” The change also coincides with the Express’ 20th season celebration. Based on the first look, the Express and Brandiose, the firm used to update the team’s identity, did an impressive job. While a new look, I can’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia when I look at the logo and uniforms.
Honestly, the four-year agreement between the Astros and the Express always felt expected following the addition of Reid Ryan and Nolan Ryan to Houston’s front office earlier this decade. The Astros basically had to wait for the Round Rock’s agreement with the Rangers to end. That said, the organization did enjoy some good seasons with the Fresno Grizzlies and the then-Oklahoma City Red Hawks. Fond memories were made. But the return of the Express feels like a long-awaited trip home.