Kauffman Stadium was ahead of its time in that it was built as a baseball-only facility decades before that was commonplace. However, this meant Kauffman lacked for a long time many of the features common to the modern ballpark. A series of changes over the years had steadily improved Kauffman (switches from artificial turf to grass, from red seats to blue, etc.) but it was the major renovations completed for 2009 that made it a really nice place to take in a game.
My visit in ’09 allowed me to experience the “New K” and I left impressed. My friend Ben and I were actually lucky to see a game as heavy rains pushed the start back to after 9 p.m., but they waited it out and finally played (probably due to the sellout crowd expected for Zack Greinke’s start).
The ballpark’s exterior is now an interesting mix of the original architecture and very modern looking gates and ticket windows. The interior features several unique features, from the sharply angled shape of the upper deck sections to the outfield dominated by a combination of water features and a crown-shaped video scoreboard.
With the renovations, all aspects of the Kauffman experience are pleasant, including concessions and restrooms. Another nice feature is an open concourse that allows you to walk all the way around the park and take in an inning or two from different vantage points. The outfield area has tons of open space for checking out the fountains and a statue of George Brett while also housing a kids area and the Royals Hall of Fame.
A Tip of the Cap
- Water fountains and features that are modern but don’t steal the show
- Well-executed renovations
- Friendly staff from parking attendants to the ushers
- The center-field scoreboard in the shape of the team logo
- The Royals Hall of Fame
Swing and a Miss
I couldn’t really find much to complain about at Kauffman. That may have been aided by having a seat that was just far enough under an overhang to stay dry during the long rain delay.
Spend some time in the outfield concourse where there is plenty of room to relax while taking in the game and the fountains (definitely cooler in person than on television). If you have bored kids, there is also an area to entertain them. Check out the Royals Hall of Fame if you have time.
Overall Rating: B+
- Setting (B): The pluses are that Kauffman is easy to access and parking is plentiful. The minus is that the setting doesn’t really provide any signature views of Kansas City.
- External Appearance (B): Newer gates and facilities give a more modern look to some exterior elements; the stadium looks pleasant though not spectacular upon approach.
- Internal Appearance (A-): Kauffman gives you Major League Baseball in a setting that’s not overly commercialized. The fountains and small outfield seating areas contribute to a manageable sense of scale. The angled design of the upper deck adds to the park’s visual appeal.
- Atmosphere (B+): Hard to judge based on the game I attended. The crowd was bigger than usual due to the game being part of Greinke’s run towards the A.L. Cy Young, but it was also somewhat muted by the long delay and a game that ran past midnight. Overall the focus seemed to be on baseball and the atmosphere was relaxed.