Most of what outsiders know about Kansas CIty is BBQ, BBQ, and “Hey, isn’t that where Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz lived?” If it’s not a BBQ or Wizard of Oz reference, then it’s something about how terrible the Kansas City Royals have been since their lone World Series championship in 1985. The Kansas City Royals are no longer an embarrassment to the city, but are perhaps the most famous ambassadors of the “Paris on the Plains.” In 2014, the Royals made an improbable run to the postseason, winning an extra-innings wildcard game, sweeping two American league series, and falling just short of a World Championship in Game 7, held at the underrated Kauffman Stadium.
Now, the Royals are one of the most talked about teams in the MLB, improbable favorites to return to the World Series, and are certainly enjoying their time in the spotlight. Nowhere does that light shine brighter than KC, which has completely fallen in love with this team and what they represent. Mostly homegrown players who win with grit and small-ball tactics, they are beloved by one of baseball’s smaller markets, tired of being overshadowed by the cross-state rival red birds. The team’s 2015 slogan has been “Forever Royal,” and with a palace like Kauffman Stadium, the kingdom is bound to reign for ages.
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".
Kauffman has always offered nachos, dogs, pizza, and the like, but has certainly enhanced the culinary experience in 2015. For one, celebrity chef and traveler Andrew Zimmern has opened two food stands at the park, one serving "links," the other kabobs and Mediterranean wraps. At Andrew Zimmern's Canteen, one can order a canteen dog, cheddar brat, or chorizo or Italian link for $10. At his "skewers" stand, they're selling kabobs with beef rib, pork, lamb or chicken, with several different spread choices. Taco enthusiasts should stop at the KC Cantina, and pick up a batting helmet full of chicken nachos. There is a "fry-works" bar with french fries served with different topping choices, a Farmland foods pork station, and in the outfield behind the fountains, a food truck from local favorite Salty Iguana.
The most notable addition for the 2015 campaign is the Craft & Draft bar in the left field mid-level. Cashing in on the local and artisan fad, this bar serves fancy-ish flatbreads and other foods, washed down with drafts from local brewer Boulevard, as well as several other craft breweries from across the country. This is undoubtedly where you will find the cool and young people of Kansas City, those who go to baseball games as much for the social aspect as the on-field action. That sounds pejorative, but is certainly not meant to be. These are the fans that are most likely to spend money on food, drink, and merchandise, and the Craft & Draft bar is like a flower garden is to honeybees.
The loser Royals didn't produce much in terms of wins or excitement, but that changed in the course of one month in the Fall of 2014. Nowadays, the games are packed, and the crowd is loud. No home game this season has seen less than 20,000 fans, and less than a handful have had less than 25,000. That makes for a lot of fans, all of them still buzzing from last year's excitement, most ready to scream after being silenced for 30 years of losing seasons.
Outside the stadium, fans show up hours ahead to tailgate in the oceanic parking area. Therefore, the atmosphere is most similar to that of a football game.There are tents set up to block the sun, grills cooking brats and burgers, all manners of beer and beer games, and flags displaying allegiance to KU, Mizzou, KSU, and local pro teams the Chiefs, Sporting KC, and of course, the Royals.
The Truman Sports Complex, that holds both Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadiums, is about 20 minutes east of downtown KC, just off Interstate 70 (in fact, drive on I-70 to KC and you can see inside Kauffman from the driver's seat). The remote location allows for the tailgating space, but also makes the area devoid of any nearby bars, restaurants, or other attractions. If one comes to a Royals or Chiefs game, you are coming for the game only.
Downtown Kansas City has its share of attractions for the visiting fan to enjoy. First and foremost among these is the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, located in the historic Jazz District. The museum honors the history of the Negro Leagues from the late 1800's to the 1940's, and is a must see attraction for any baseball fan. While in the area, there are several wonderful clubs in the neighborhood, as well as the American Jazz Museum, located in the same building as the Baseball Museum.
Kansas City is known for having some of the best BBQ joints in the country, so any fans visiting the area will have many great choices. If visiting the Negro Leagues museum, Arthur Bryant's is located just a few blocks away, and is a popular gathering spot for Royals fans before the game. Gates BBQ and Oklahoma Joe's are also some of the more popular restaurants in the area. Every local fan has their opinion on the best BBQ in the area, so check around while at the game. You will surely come away with several options for a post game meal.
The team's surge to the series in 2014 put a charge in the KC fans, and now Kauffman is filled for nearly every game. The stadium set a new attendance record this season with several home games remaining, and they will likely finish the season in the top five of American League attendance, something that has never been done. Believe it or not, there are legions of fans that have followed the team religiously forever, so the uber-informed Royals fan is certainly not a myth. Those who came to the team late still know all the players, hold watch parties for out of town playoff games, and even travel for away series in places like Busch Stadium and Wrigley Field. They are a passionate lot, and that passion has been bottled up for a long time and has been pouring out for the past 12 months. KC Royals fans; they're loud, they're proud, get used to it.
There's no way to get to the game other than by car, which for big city residents is bewildering, but in the roomy heartland of America, is expected. It seems that everyone in town has a car, so this is no hurdle. There is lots and lots of parking, albeit it a $12 fee, and there are numerous entry and exit points to the sports complex, so traffic is not too bad.
Inside the stadium, the main concourse is huge, so you never feel crowded inside, and there are plenty of men's and women's restrooms. The 2009 renovation really improved the fan experience in this regard, as well as increasing the concession areas so fans have more options and less wait time.
In years past, there were numerous games where $5 upper deck tickets could be had, and even the good seats didn't cost too much. Of course, that was when the team was having a hard time putting rears in seats, and that has not been an issue in 2015. Of course, ticket prices have increased, but I think the fan experience has improved along with the expense. The food and drink options are better and more numerous, the atmosphere is much better, and most importantly of course, the team is winning. On Fridays, stick around after the game and there are free fireworks. The team also has several "buck nights," when small sodas, hot dogs, and peanuts are only $1.
Kauffman Stadium boasts all sorts of fun features to make the kids happy, including a little ball park for batting practice, a mock base path to measure their speed, a carousel, a putt-putt course, and a playground. Parents will have no shortage of options for wearing out kids who have had too much cotton candy.
For adults, there are lots of pub and picnic tables to relax and drink a beer, the aforementioned Craft & Draft bar, and the Royals Hall of Fame.
Before the Cowboys monstrous big-screen, the Royals possessed the largest HD screen in the world for the scoreboard, and still today it's beautiful to behold, towering over center field with a crown perched on top.
A unique aspect of The K is the fountains in the outfield, a perfect symbol for a city said to have more fountains than anywhere but Rome. They look awesome on TV, and on a hot night it's great to stand behind them and watch the action from the outfield, catching a little bit of misty breeze to cool oneself.
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.
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.
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.
Food & Beverage: Awesome selection of both
Atmosphere: This was probably my favorite MLB experience and I've been to quite a few ballparks. If you sit by the fountains on a hot KC summer day, the mist is refreshing
Neighboorhood: Ballparks that are outside of the city have advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes the backdrop can be a bit boring but The K makes up for that with the fountains and the giant crown scoreboard. It is very easy to access which is a plus
Fans: Royals fans are the greatest
Access: Extremely easy to access from any direction
Return: Tickets are really cheap. You will definitely get your money's worth and then some
Extras: There's an entire kids area beyond the outfield wall. There's the party porch, hall of fame, restaurants with awesome views. What more could you ask for?
Kauffman Stadium, located in the outskirts of Kansas City, Missouri, is part of the Harry S. Truman Sports Complex along with adjacent Arrowhead Stadium. Kauffman Stadium has served as home to the Royals since 1973, making it the sixth oldest ballpark in the major leagues. Built during a time when multi-sport, cookie-cutter stadiums were being erected across the country, Kauffman Stadium stood out among these donut-shaped monstrosities at the time of construction, and has outlasted most of them as well.
Originally named Royals Stadium and renamed in honor of longtime owner Ewing Kauffman in 1993, the stadium underwent extensive renovations that were completed in 2009 at a cost of $250 million. These renovations have touched many parts of the ballpark, including the outfield concourse, concessions, scoreboard, fountains, press facilities, ticket gates, and Royals Hall of Fame. As a result, capacity of Kauffman Stadium was actually decreased at this time.
Great pricing, good food, and traffic not that bad. However I'm spoiled by the neighborhoods at STL and Chicago Cubs as there is nothing much else in the area and it is a way from the city center, something I find OK for football but a negative for baseball. Also a factor when game is long and people had to leave for the commute due to school or work. That did not affect me as I stayed at the nearby Drury that could be seen from the outfield. I was there to the end of both games including one that set a nine-inning club record for length of a game. I liked the Royals Hall of Fame in the outfield.
3002 W 47th Ave
Kansas City, KS 66103
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Kansas City, MO 64119
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Kansas City, MO 64133