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Opened in 1973, Kauffman Stadium is a baseball specific stadium which was built during a time when multi-purpose venues were en vogue. Kauffman Stadium is part of the Truman Sports Complex and shares land with Arrowhead Stadium, home of the NFL Kansas City Chiefs. Named Royals Stadium when it opened, it was renamed in honor of the Royals founding owner, Ewing Kauffman, in 1993. The park is best known for the water fountains beyond the outfield wall which were prominent when the park opened and remain today. Prior to 1995, the artificial turf was replaced with natural grass. Kauffman Stadium has been host to a Nolan Ryan no-hitter, a Royals World Series championship in 1985, and two all-star games, the latest coming in 2012.
A major renovation of Kauffman Stadium began in 2007 and came with a price tag of $250 million when completed prior to the 2009 season. Among the most prominent improvements were the installation of a high definition scoreboard, “Crown Vision”, an outfield concourse, kid’s area, and wider concourses. When Crown Vision was initially installed, it was the largest high-definition LED display in the world. It has since been surpassed by the board at Safeco Field. The renovations and other features make Kauffman Stadium an attractive place to take in a game.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There is something for everyone at Kauffman Stadium. Concessions are everywhere and seeing all that is offered takes a decent amount of time. Food ranges from your ballpark basics to more elaborate items.
Among the unique items is the brisket-acho. For $9.50 you get nachos smothered in sliced brisket, cheesy corn, baked beans, cole slaw, and bbq sauce. The newest craze seems to be the helmet nachos ($14.50). You get a full-sized batting helmet full of nachos with various toppings of your choice. Kansas City jumped on board and they are very popular with the fans.
As it is Kansas City, I went with the half rack of ribs for $14.00. They were quite tasty albeit a little on the small side.
The pulled pork mac 'n jack sausage is a pepper jack sausage with topped with pulled pork, mac and cheese, and bacon crumblings. For $8.00 you can get a specialty hot dog. You can go with anything from the Kansas City BBQ dog to the Texas dog (chili, onions, and Fritos) to the traditional Chicago dog to the New York dog with sauerkraut. Chicken gyros also looked tasty.
As for drinks, Pepsi products are the soda of choice here. Bottles of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper, and Root Beer are $4.75. For soda, your best bet is probably the large souvenir cup. For $7.50 you get the large cup and it comes with a free refill.
For the adults, there are plenty of drink options. From wine ($7.00) to souvenir margaritas ($12.00) to mixed drinks ($9.00), there is no shortage of choices. If you prefer to stay in your seat, you can buy beer from the vendors for $8.50. Budweiser, Miller Lite, and Bud Light are among the options the vendors offer. If you choose to head to the concourse, your options increase greatly. Behind the center field video board is Leinenkugel's Leinie Lodge for the Leinenkugel fans. In the concourse behind home plate is Boulevard Pub. There you can get the regular domestics along with Stella Artois and various microbrews. Depending upon the size and container, beer will cost anywhere from $6.50 for a regular domestic draft up to $11.00 for a souvenir domestic draft.
For a baseball stadium that screams baseball, there is so much more to do than watch the game. There is a large kid's area that stretches from left field to center field beyond the outfield concourse. Batting cages, mini golf, a whiffle ball field, playground equipment, and a carousel are among the choices kids have. Some of the choices are free while others have a cost. Additionally, there is a concessions area that caters strictly to kids in the kid's area.
The left field concourse also houses the must-see Royals Hall of Fame. Upon entrance to the building, a man dressed in old-time baseball garb is giving a history of baseball in Kansas City. As you enter the display area, bats, uniforms, and other memorabilia of Royals greats line the walls and display cases. Also included is a history of stadiums and baseball in Kansas City as well as uniforms and memorabilia from other great players to come through Kansas City with other major league teams.
All the seats in the stadium give a great view of the field, the video screen, and the fountains. The views are tremendous and add to the enjoyment of the game. All the ancillary activity does not take away from the experience of watching the baseball game. When you are in your seat, the stadium is built to isolate you from all activities in the outfield concourse and the focus is strictly baseball.
The numerous activities, things to see, and a great presentation of the game, make the atmosphere very tough to beat.
The immediate surrounding area around Kauffman Stadium is nothing to write home about. For lodging there are numerous choices. Among them, a Drury Inn, Holiday Inn, and Four Points by Sheraton are all within a mile or two of the stadium.
Being this is Kansas City, the two barbecue kings are Arthur Bryant's and Gates. Gates is closer to the stadium and is about two miles away on highway 40. Having heard good things about Gates, we gave it a try and were not disappointed. A couple pointers; be prepared to order ASAP and remember to order sides. Food is prepared when ordered so lines stack up when busy and you could be tenth in line but they will still take your order. When ordering, most dishes do not come with sides. For instance, when you order chicken, you get chicken. After learning that, I went with a mixed plate of ham and turkey with BBQ beans. The food is tremendous and a trip to Gates is worth the quick learning curve you must have. Arthur Bryant's also came highly recommended and is about seven miles away from the stadium.
About six miles away is the crown jewel of Kansas City and an absolute must for any baseball fan. A visit to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is worth the trip to Kansas City all by itself. Admission is $10, a bargain for the trip through a historical period that changed the game. No pictures are allowed to be taken in the museum. On display are old uniforms, player contracts, posters promoting games, and so much more, it would be impossible to mention everything. A huge display of autographed baseballs of players who appeared in the leagues are also on display. Leave yourself an hour to get through it but if time is not an issue, much more could be spent.
There are a couple things very noticeable about the Kansas City fans. First, they love their baseball team. The fans are engaged in the game from the first pitch and appear more knowledgeable about the ebbs and flows of a game than fans at some other major league parks. For a team that has struggled so much over quite a few years, it is a credit to the stadium, the team, and the fans that Kauffman Stadium is such a fun experience.
Fans in Kansas City are also pleasantly conscious of not impeding others from enjoying the game. Fans do their best to stay out of each other's way and even help when the occasion is called for. The friendliness of the fans toward each other was very noticeable and added to the relaxed atmosphere at the game.
Kauffman Stadium is very easy to get to. Located just off I-70, it can be accessed by taking either the East Stadium Drive or Blue Ridge Cutoff exits.
There is an enormous amount of parking available and is $10 per car. The Royals do a good job having plenty of people directing traffic and the wait to get out of the parking lot after the game is very reasonable.
Concourses inside the stadium are wide and easy to maneuver. All the sections are clearly marked so finding a seat shouldn't be a problem. Additionally, there are plenty of ushers to assist with any questions you may have. Restrooms are located throughout the stadium. They are clean and sufficient for the crowd so standing in a line isn't an issue.
Handicap access is not an issue as the elevators, ramps to upper decks, and restrooms have a lot of room.
With the advent of "dynamic pricing" you can get a ticket for anywhere from $10 and up, depending upon the day of the week and opponent. Couple that with parking and you are looking at a minimum of $20 to see the game. With the scores of food choices, all priced along the lines of the other stadiums, the money is a reasonable investment for the enjoyment received while attending a game at Kauffman Stadium.
At least one extra point for being in the same town as the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. I can't stress enough how impressive and moving the museum is.
The view of the high definition video board and surrounding fountains get another point. It is amazing.
The game day employees are absolutely tremendous. Everyone I came in contact with was pleasant as could be, answered any questions I had, and genuinely appeared to be doing anything they could to help fans enjoy their experience at Kauffman Stadium.
In left field, there are statues of George Brett, Dick Howser, and Frank White, the three Royals who have their numbers retired.
Each game, the Royals honor a Veteran by giving four tickets and having an in-game tribute for the individual. It's a touching tribute that gets a great response from the crowd. Coupled with that is the Buck O'Neil Legacy Seat in which the Royals honor a person that embodies the spirit of Buck O'Neil.
Kauffman Stadium is fantastic. The video board and the fountain are worth seeing independent of the fact there is a baseball game going on. The game day employees enhance the experience and there is plenty to do for the kids but it does not take away from the baseball experience. A trip to Kauffman Stadium is a must for any baseball fan.
Inaugurated on April 10, 1973, Ewing M. Kauffman Stadium is the longtime home of the Kansas City Royals. Simply known as "The K" or "Kauffman" to regulars, it is located at the Truman Sports Complex along with the Chiefs' Arrowhead Stadium.
Though the Royals have arguably been Major League Baseball's most downtrodden franchise since their lone World Series win in 1985, one would hardly know it given Kauffman's tremendous combination of originality and amenities new and old. Already one of the most unique venues in baseball, The K underwent a massive face-lift completed in time for Opening Day 2009. Given the fantastic new additions to a ballpark that already carried a solid reputation, it's no surprise Kansas City was selected to host July's 2012 MLB All-Star Game.
Led by an abnormally large group of talented youngsters, the Royals look poised for a long-awaited playoff berth within the near future. Their coming success should be met with open arms by fans across the country, as a venue like Kauffman Stadium deserves not just an All-Star Game, but a national spotlight for a wealth of October baseball.
Any quality trip to Kauffman Stadium requires a stop at one of the city's many Barbecue restaurants; in the vicinity of the K the options only get sweeter.
If you're coming from the southern portion of the Metro area, one should consider hitting up LC's Bar-B-Q at 5800 Blue Parkway. Their self-described tangy home style sauce provides great flavor for any of your meaty favorites. Ribs, beef, pork, turkeyâ?¦you can't go wrong.
While LC's is great, Arthur Bryant's at 1727 Brooklyn Avenue is other-worldly. Evidence of Politicians, athletes and actors being hosted at the restaurant is draped on the walls. Any restaurant this historic deserves respect, and when you taste the meats from their aged smoker you'll recognize why. Again, order anything on the menu but be prepared for tremendous portion.
After pre-game preparations, it's time to see the new K; in the midst of a midlife crisis, Kauffman Stadium had a facelift. While many of these butcher jobs are obvious patchworks, this overhaul resulted in seamless rejuvenation. Perks like a sports bar, hall-of-fame and expanded vending options were added. An entire "Outfield Experience" was constructed in a former dead-space area; it is equipped with standing room views within the famous outfield fountains, new seating, kids play area with a mini-Kauffman Stadium to play on, a tremendous HD video board, picnic area sporting famous Kansas City barbecue, and bars in both left and right field. If all of that isn't enough, the new K boasts mini-HDTV's by concession stands, new monuments and more frequent and cleaner - albeit more cumbersome - restrooms throughout.
Among all these new perks, the two biggest additions to the stadium were the Hall-of-Fame in left field and Rivals Sports Bar in right field. The Hall-of-Fame boasts several uniquely Kansas City pieces of memorabilia like George Brett's "pine tar incident" bat, Brett Saberhagen's hat from his no-hitter and the 1985 World Series Trophy.
Rivals Sports Bar boasts a full menu bar from its view in right - above the unique bullpen the stadium has possessed since its inception. The lower level is open to the public every game and the upper deck is available for large parties - when it is not rented the public is free to use it. If you are lucky enough to snag a table in Rivals, you are guaranteed to have a good view of the ballgame. Additionally, the pre and post game shows are anchored from there
Kauffman has always been home of one of the most beautiful fields in baseball. Even when the Astroturf was rolled out, head groundskeeper George Toma kept it neatly swept. Once the grass came back to Kansas City, the K was immediately upgraded. Unfortunately, what followed was the plastering of tacky sponsor signs around the outfield wall reminiscent of a Minor League ballpark. That, as much as anything else, made this recent revamping necessary. Since advertising is essential in this modern sports age, several video boards were installed that flash advertisements and game information while the number of billboards and banners has been reduced allowing attention to refocus on the striking field.
My visit to Kauffman was about 3 years ago, and my most vivid memories are of Arthur Bryant's BBQ, and not the ballpark. That doesn't mean its a bad place to see a game, it just means there isn't anything that sticks with you. Maybe it's just a good excuse to go back again.
On business in the area and went to catch a game. Walk up ticket was dirt cheap, $20 and 7 rows up behind home plate. Great concessions and atmospehere, especially at its age. Only problem is the place is surrounded by a whole bunch of nothing. All in all, a surprisingly good stadium and experience.
Much like Miller Park in Milwaukee, tailgating is a fun thing before attending a game here. The parking lots were well kept with ample refuse bins.
The fountains certainly lived up to the billing and the crown atop the scoreboard was made of individual rectangles that looked really cool in the light. The concourses were wide and spotless. Overall, this was the cleanest MLB park I've seen.
1727 Brooklyn Ave
Kansas City, MO
3002 W 47th Ave
Kansas City, KS 66103
1616 E. 18th St
Kansas City, MO 64108
3830 Blue Ridge Cutoff
Kansas City, MO 64133
9103 East 39th St
Kansas City, MO 64133
4011 Blue Ridge Cutoff
Kansas City, MO 64133