A wide view of the Kauffman Stadium prior to the game between the Kansas City Royals and the Atlanta Braves on April 16, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images)
By Leif Skodnick
World Baseball Network
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes it rains.
That’s what Crash Davis, played by Kevin Costner, said in the 1988 feature film “Bull Durham.” He left a few things out, though.
Sometimes it rains somewhere else and flights get canceled.
Sometimes it rains somewhere else, flights get canceled, you drive to Kansas City hoping to get home, and you get through security and are about to order barbecue when another flight is canceled and you get to spend the night.
That’s what happened to two reporters from the World Baseball Network Tuesday, who made the best of a travel situation that was confounding a large number of commercial flights across the country and went to see the Kansas City Royals play the Cleveland Guardians at Kauffman Stadium.
Kauffman Stadium was built in 1972 to replace Kansas City’s Municipal Stadium, an old ballpark that played host to the Triple-A Kansas City Blues, the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues, and later, the Kansas City A’s following their move from Philadelphia. Part of the Truman Sports Complex, the ballpark is across the parking lot from Arrowhead Stadium, the home of the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League.
At 51, Kauffman Stadium only shows its age when you look at the concrete beneath your feet. It’s a bit old and weathered, but 51 years in the Major Leagues will do that to anyone – or any ballpark.
It’s uniquely modern and all-concrete architecture is very 1970s, but the renovations done between 2007 and 2009 have made Kauffman Stadium into a ballpark with most things a franchise would desire, save one: a large number of luxury suites, which help drive ticket and sponsorship revenue. It also has anything a fan could ask for – great sight lines, easy access to concessions, great value for the ticket price, a fantastic museum, and even a kids play area beyond the outfield.
The team has announced that it intends to move to a new ballpark closer to downtown Kansas City before their lease ends in 2030, which is too bad – Kauffman Stadium is a unique product of its era, one that has stood the test of time and with further thoughtful renovation, the Royals could stay.
Don’t miss the Royals Museum, located in fair territory in left field, which has a terrific collection of nearly everything related to the Royals since their founding, save for George Brett’s pants from the Bellagio (if you don’t get the reference, look it up on Youtube, but send the kids out of the room first).
Ticket Prices – 5/5
The Royals aren’t a good baseball team this year, so it’s not surprising that we were able to get a pair of seats five rows behind the visitor’s dugout for $120 on StubHub. That’s a fantastic deal anywhere you go.
Access From The City – 3/5
Having never been to Kansas City before accidentally ending up there on Tuesday, World Baseball Network’s reporters took an Uber to the ballpark from the Kansas City Airport Marriott, which cost around $45. The demand for rides back from the ballpark made the trip back to the hotel about twice the price, which is a lot, but it’s a 30-mile trip. The ballpark is easily accessible off I-70 and has ample parking
Concessions – 3.5/5
The main concourse has a great selection of concession items that span the classic ballpark menu. Of course, being in Kansas City, there’s some terrific barbecue, too. Don’t miss the Rookie Sandwich, featuring chopped brisket or pulled pork on a roll with pickles. Interestingly, there’s Chickie and Pete’s stand on the main concourse. The Philadelphia’s joint’s famous crab fries are available at The K, and they are as good there as they are in the city of brotherly love.
Game Experience – 4/5
The lower level of Kauffman Stadium is a great place to see a game. The staff, and the fans, are friendly and welcoming to folks visiting from out of town. There’s a lot of canned music, as you’d expect at any ballpark these days, along with all the usual videoboard features between innings. The Royals museum is a tremend
Overall – 3.85/5
Taking in a game at Kauffman Stadium was a great way to make the best of a travel day gone wrong. It’s a great modern-style ballpark that’s worth seeing before it becomes a pile of rubble. Luckily, there’s still time to get there if you haven’t, or to get back if you have.
Editor’s note: This piece represents the opinions of the author and not those of the World Baseball Network.