Kauffman Stadium – Kansas City Royals
Kauffman is a True Original
Kauffman Stadium is an “original” built in 1973 and at a time when most facilities of its kind were constructed to house both football and baseball. These multi-purposed doughnut-shaped stadiums lacked aesthetics, were void of character, and fabulously vapid. The home of the Kansas City Royals was a ballpark–and ballpark only–if its NFL counterpart the Kansas City Chiefs wanted to play, it did so across the parking lot in its own facility Arrowhead Stadium.
Thank goodness for the forward thinkers of architect Charles Deaton and Chiefs general manager, it would be almost two decades later until another one of its kind was built from scratch when Camden Yards opened in 1992. If Kauffman and Arrowhead were built as one stadium like Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, The Vet in Philadelphia, or Shea Stadium in Queens it surely would not exist today.
The dominant features of the ballpark include a 322-foot wide water spectacular beyond the outfield walls and a large chevron shaped scoreboard in center field, up until 2009 there was no access beyond this part of the ballpark. A total of $250 million in renovations turned the facility into a wraparound concourse to include an impressive children’s play area, a team hall of fame and museum, a social gathering spot behind the fountains, and a few more eateries to enjoy some of that Kansas City-style barbecue.
“The K” is 45-years-old and has always been regarded as one of the finest examples of a modern baseball stadium; that tradition continues with the 37,903-seat facility offering wonderful views of the outfield, plenty of areas to socialize, and high-quality food that today’s customers expect when they purchase a ticket.
Food & Beverage 5
Kauffman Stadium, like many others of its kind, offers Barry’s concession stands, portable stands, and freestanding restaurants that provide basic ballpark hot dogs to coconut chicken salads. It may take some time to look around the facility, but you will probably be surprised by some of the great eats one can have during an outing with friends and family.
The Royals introduced a series of new food items this 2018 season that includes four new hot dogs at The Dogfather hot dog cart located at Gate D. The Teflon Don features roasted chili, jalapenos, and chopped onions and Lucky’s Park Avenue has sweet beans and maple pepper bacon on top of a hot dog. The Taco Trio near the KC Cantina features tacos consisting of smoked brisket, carnitas, and barbecue chicken.
The Craft and Draft is located along the third base line in section 301 and is open to all fans on a first-come, first-serve basis. The restaurant features pub food, wood-fired pizza, and 20 beers on draft. Also new this season are pork belly mac-n-cheese and drunken barbacoa nachos with melted habanero cheese, charred corn, black beans, and chipotle sour cream.
Rivals Sports Bar is beyond the fountains in right field, the 150 seat restaurant is also open to fans on a first-come, first-serve basis and houses the 360 Vodka Bullpen Bar and Blue Moon Tap Room. Fans can enjoy a bite to eat and a few drinks with great views of the diamond from tabletop seats.
The Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Pit is located in the Outfield Experience and serves up smoked ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and burnt ends to offer a taste of Kansas City-style barbecue. Custom Crust allows fans to customize their own personal pizzas, and KC CHZ Steak (Section 249) serves up both chicken and cheesesteak sandwiches. Belafonte’s Ice Cream is a local favorite and offers freshly dipped ice cream cones.
Hours before the first pitch, the massive parking lot is engulfed with fans who are tailgating, a scene that exists in only a few baseball stadiums across the country. Once inside, the majority of the seating offers great views of the diamond and the massive 12-story chevron-shaped scoreboard is large and bright enough to provide stats, playback, and player profiles for all to notice from their seats.
The main attraction of the stadium is the 322-foot water spectacular, a series of 10-foot high waterfalls that extend from the left to right field of the outfield wall. The waterfalls are the largest privately funded fountains in the world and rise after a Royals home run or in between innings. They also change colors at certain times during the game or when games move into the nighttime.
The Outfield Experience is a great experience if you are with the children that opens 90 minutes before the game. Kids get a chance to test their pitching arm on the base paths, play on a mini-baseball diamond, play mini-golf, and run on the base paths. There is also a carousel and playground slides to keep the kids entertained for long periods of time. On Wednesday nights, the area offers concerts before the game.
For the adults, other areas in the outfield include the Miller Lite Fountain Bar that offers pub food and outdoor games such as Jenga and bags. The bar itself has been recently expanded and features more beer and menu options, plus a large canopy that extends to the FOX Sports Kansas City pre and postgame stage. Drink rails are available for single-ticket purchase and are a great place to house the popular loaded nachos, topped with either BBQ Brisket and Buffalo Chicken.
The outfield also houses the Royals Hall of Fame that is open to the fans for free during the game. The ample, but very impressive museum features a wonderful collection of paraphernalia, accolades, and many memories of the franchise dating back to its first season in 1969. If you want more history, bronze statues of George Brett, Frank White, and Dick Howser reside in the right field area of the ballpark.
If there is one thing about the stadium is that it is built in a sports complex outside of downtown just off I-70, but that was the popular thing to do in the early 1970s and downtown Kansas City has changed dramatically since then; however, you are never too far by car to take in some great places to eat and visit in town.
The city is known for its barbecue and there is a lot to choose from and many of them will feature long lines, but be patient, they move quite quickly. The popular spots are Gates, Arthur Bryant’s, Joe’s, and Jack Stack–you won’t get bad barbecue, but other local favorites of Q39, Char Bar, and LC’s are amazing places.
Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que has various locations, but its original spot in a gas station just across the border in Kansas City, Kansas, is quite the experience. Wait in line, grab a pint of beer, and talk with others about what you are going to order. The burnt ends are a specialty on Friday’s, but everything is so good here that you might want to come back for dinner.
Q39 is located downtown and has quite the reputation among the people in KC. The burnt end burger, pork belly, and sausage corn dog, and regular brisket and pulled pork are among the highlights here. LC’s BBQ is a small barbecue joint; It might be overlooked by some of the tourists in town, however, the award-winning barbecue is among the elite in town.
The best way to wash down all of that tasty barbecue is with a beer from the Boulevard Beer Hall. The two-story building features 30 beers on tap, outside patio seating, and couches for a great place to relax with friends and family. The Vamos Mexican Lager beer is made exclusively for the Royals and is perfect during a hot summer day.
The World War I Museum and Memorial is a comprehensive collection of material from the first world war that is informative and detailed to a somewhat forgotten part of her history. Just down the hill is Union Station that features exhibits, a planetarium and Science Center in the historic train Center. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is also another comprehensive look at the men and women who shaped baseball featuring stories about all-time greats, uniforms, and a timeline about the various Negro Leagues.
The Royals have a collection of great fans who support the team and were treated to a World Series only a few short years ago in 2015. The stadium must have been energetic and majestic during this period, but now things are back to somewhat normal with crowds hovering around the 20,000 mark per game. However, there are many die-hard fans that can be found throughout the game while many others enjoy what is conceived as one of the better ballparks in Major League Baseball.
Kauffman Stadium is located right off I-70 in the Truman Sports Complex just a few miles east of downtown Kansas City. There are six different entrances that direct motorists to the parking lots and it is advised to get there earlier for weekend games and promotional events. Once inside the stadium, the wraparound concourse takes fans to all parts of the facility with the greatest of ease.
Return on Investment 5
The price of a ticket starts as low as $19 at the box office or even lower through secondary markets online. Depending on the type of individual, your tickets can fluctuate to around $100 if you choose. The concession prices are moderate and fall in line with many other major league baseball stadiums. The price to park is $15 and is probably the best access to the stadium unless you happen to have a hotel nearby.
Kauffman Stadium receives its first point for the beautiful waterfall display in the outfield. When you think of the home of the Kansas City Royals you think of those beautiful waterfalls and it makes perfect sense playing in the City of Fountains.
Kauffman Stadium gets a second point for the children’s area located in the Outfield Experience section of the ballpark. The impressive playground area is enough to entertain kids and keep them busy well into extra innings.
Kauffman Stadium receives a third point for being an outlier at a time when baseball stadiums were quite vapid and dual purpose. This created easy modification when renovations took place years later that has turned one of the true ballparks into something for fans to enjoy for years to come.
Kauffman receives a final point for the 12-story scoreboard that is shaped like the Royals logo. The chevron-shaped scoreboard has been a staple at the stadium since its opening in 1973 and is probably the second most dominant feature.
There’s a reason why Kauffman Stadium has been regarded as one of the class jewels of Major League Baseball for well over 45 years. It is a baseball facility that offers tantalizing views of waterfalls and great menu items for everyone who visits. It continues to reinvent itself making it a great place for a stadium journey during the baseball season.
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