Kauffman Stadium opened in 1973 in the middle of nowhere – as opposed to downtown – Kansas City. Royals Stadium, as it was known at the time, was different from its contemporaries because it was for baseball only, as God intended stadiums to be. Other pro sports cities were drafting their own one-way tickets to hell by building multi-sport facilities. Not Kansas City.
It has changed a bit for this season, though!The ‘New K’ is still Kauffman Stadium – still has the fountains, still has the friendliness, still has Slugerrrr roaming around, still has a crown-shaped scoreboard in center field. Oh, except the new scoreboard is actually a hundred foot tall HD screen, with glorious video replays on the top and bountiful stats on the bottom.
As you can see in the first photo of this post, the old Kauffman Stadium had no seats beyond the outfield walls – just grassy hills and interstate traffic. Now there are seats and a few Standing Room Only areas all around the outfield, as well as a few bars and team stores.
These are some of the seats beyond left field, but there are also seats beyond right field, and some SRO areas around the legendary fountain displays. I intend to go back to The K in July, because the fountain water – which team officials assure us is cleaned and filtered constantly – is nice and cool.
Here you can see some of the “guts” of the fountain, as well as some of the improvements behind the plate. For you rich folk out there, the seats behind the plate are part of the Diamond Club experience, which I think includes access to concessions that regular people don’t get. I’m bitter because that section was built where my regular seats used to be, and I miss my seats.
Around the press boxes, you can see the new ribbon scoreboards. They’re lovely, although my seats were up the first base line so it was easier to just look at Crown Vision and the scoreboard on the left field fence.
This trip was taken on a whim, so I kept the budget really tight. That meant I didn’t get to sample some of the newer foods (I hear the burnt ends are to die for, though) or drinks. Well, that and I’m not 21 yet, so I’m confined to soda and lemonade anyway.
My budget for parking+food was $20, and I was only off by $.25. That may sound shockingly low to people from bigger baseball markets, but it’s totally doable! Parking is only $9, and that hasn’t changed in a very long time. I have to give props to owner David Glass for not raising those prices, because he totally could since the stadium is in the middle of nowhere and the stadium lots are the only option. And the people who collect your parking fees are all very friendly, as are most of the staffers (and fans!!) around the stadium.
With my remaining $11, I was able to get a regular Dr Pepper and a large plate of nachos with tons of fixins – chicken, salsa, cheese, sour cream, etc. So there are inexpensive but fulfilling food options for those of you visiting KC on a budget!
I loved The K before, but I adore the changes made to it now. Having fans out in the outfield made a huge difference in the atmosphere, because the chants and cheers from the crowd weren’t just floating off into the night – they were being echoed from the other fans. That made celebrating a dramatic 9th-inning comeback that much more amazing, and I can’t wait to get back to The K and do it again!