AUSTIN — Central Texas will soon be home to America's first baseball themed entertainment venue known as "Home Run Dugout."
In 2018, Tyler Bambrick and Nick Hermandorfer had the idea of creating a new type of place for people to be able to go to that will allow them to play baseball in a relaxed but fun environment. These two were finishing up school when they started brainstorming the product in a Dripping Springs garage.
"I would work on this during the weekdays and then on the weekends, I'd go to school," Bambrick said. "We wanted to really take the cage out of a batting cage."
Their vision turned into Home Run Dugout. It's like a mix of top golf with a screen projector that works for baseball instead of golf. Bambrick and Hermandorfer moved out of the garage and created a prototype that is currently in a warehouse right off U.S. Route 290 where Austin and Dripping Springs meet.
"You're not always going to hit a home run but sometimes when you swing and miss, it's funny for the group," Bambrick said. "It's just an enjoyable time."
Glenn Bloomquist heard about what these two were creating and decided he wanted to be a part of this product. He is now the executive chairman for the company and said it has a good chance to be successful in Central Texas.
"We came out and hit a few balls and got really excited about what Nick and Tyler had developed," Bloomquist said. "It's really a full service bar and restaurant that happens to have baseball entertainment connected to it."
The team decided to partner with the Round Rock Express to debut the entertainment venue. Chris Almendarez is the team president, and he said he will get a lot of project ideas for his ballpark, but they can't all be approved to be put in his ballpark. He said it was an easy decision to work with Home Run Dugout.
"For 70 games a year, we run a baseball team, but the stadium sits dormant for many days," Almendarez said. "The fans for the 20th season are going to have a lot of exciting things out of Dell Diamond."
When this venue is put into Dell Diamond, it will feature two bays where people can take real life baseball swings from a machine that pops balls up into the air. You would then hit the ball into a projector before it gets funneled back into the system. There will be a machine that not only tracks the statistics of your swing but also allows you to put any Major League Baseball stadium on the projector.
"You can hit it, and then we can see with the tracking technology where you hit it in any MLB stadium," Bambrick said. "We just wanted to create an activity people could get together with and enjoy."
Bambrick's team has been bringing small groups out to try the prototype at the warehouse. He said depending on the day and time, they have gotten all types of people from kids parties to date nights and even corporate events.
"It is the sports capital of Texas, so we thought this was a great spot to kind of unveil it," Almendarez said. "Everybody always asks, 'What do you do during the offseason?' Well, now I know what I'll be doing. I'll be taking cuts at Home Run Dugout."
Bambrick said the goal is to make this successful at Dell Diamond. If it does well, he said this could potentially expand to other cities.
"There's a lot of avenues we can go down, but we have to prove these two batting bays are a success to the community," Bambrick said. "Then we're going to look at where we can place these next."
The two bays are currently being built in right field at Dell Diamond. Starting soon, people will be able to make reservations at the dugout. To learn more about this entertainment venue, you can click here.