Saturday, September 3, 2011
A couple weeks ago, I was able to visit the recently renovated Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. "The K", as the locals call it, has been home to the Kansas City Royals since April of 1973. This was not my first trip to the Royals ballpark, but it was however my first since the organization essentially re-built it. In 2005, when I was first introduced to Kauffman Stadium, the impression I received was not one of shall we say, acclaim. It was old, dirty, unkempt, mentally stuck in the 90's, and seemingly on it's last legs. It's presentation was similar to an elder under hospice care, waiting for the end. 6 years later, "The K" has undergone a face lift, reconstructive surgery, and been awarded the 2012 MLB All Star Game. It really is amazing what $250 million in renovations can do (sarcasm). The sixth oldest ballpark in the league, now looks like the sixth newest. The Royals have added a kids center, behind the center field wall and fountains, to entertain children who seemingly can't withstand a 3 plus hour ballgame. Additionally, the club added a Royals Organization Hall of Fame in the left field stands. Inside, fans can tour for free, and observe multiple artifacts from players such as George Brett and Bo Jackson. The team really constructed this aspect exceptionally well, to which they deserve praise. The club has also added multiple restaurants, food courts, team shops, and even re-designed concourses. Visiting fans are sure to be impressed with the stadium next July 12th, for the mid-summer classic. The team decided to reduce the capacity of the park to just around 39,000, which in my opinion was an incredibly wise choice, due to the following: The ballpark is literally in the middle of nowhere, far away from downtown K.C., the team has been less than entertaining in past years, having not made the playoffs since 1985, and the fan base has dwindled due to these notable occurances. While at the game between the Yankees and Royals at "The K", a certain minor league vibe came across me. Fun family atmosphere, affordable tickets, and mediocre athleticism displayed on the field. Hopefully with the coming of Eric Hosmer, and Mike Moustakis, the Royals can stop looking like a AAA team, and start playing like the A+ organization which they are. The All-Star Game will no doubt be an opportunity to showcase the opulence of Kauffman Stadium, the only question is will it be enough to draw more fans on a per game basis, and additionally lure stars to don the Royal blue and white. The cap shown above is the primary cap for the Kansas City Royals. It has a Royal blue brim, and crown, with the flowing "K" and "C" front and center. A very simple, yet beautiful cap, that should be a staple in anyone's collection. If you get a chance to check out "The New K", do it. It's truly an opportunity to enjoy a baseball game in its rawest form. There isn't a sushi stand, a steak restaurant, or a Hard Rock Cafe, but if you are a real baseball fan, those absences shouldn't make or break your experience. Until next time, enjoy.