Ballpark #7: Kauffman Stadium


I checked off stadium #13 on Saturday, taking in a game at Kauffman Stadium with my sister, Alex. We made the 11 hour drive through Friday night and were treated to traffic (took us two hours to leave Columbus!), construction, and the scariest lightning either of us has ever seen! Besides those minor inconveniences, the trip down I-70 is smooth and there are plenty of rest stops along the way. We did stop once to take a two-hour nap in a hotel parking lot (safer than a truck stop or side of the road) Saturday morning before finishing the drive. Once at our hotel, Country Hearth Inn & Suites, we were lucky to check-in early and nap again before heading to Kauffman Stadium.

Alex and I heard the tailgating at Kauffman was quite the ordeal and it didn’t disappoint, especially since it was Cinco de Mayo and the Yankees were in town! We parked next to the stadium for $10, but before we could join in the celebrations, I had to make a sweep around the park. My loop around the stadium from the Right Field Gate (where we bought our $15 Fountain Seats) was cut short at the Left Field Gate since the outfield doesn’t have walkways. Kauffman Stadium is very unique in its design, almost all the seating is in the infield and the outer semicircular façade is concrete, steel, and glass. The ballpark’s outfield is thus completely open since it lacks typical bleacher seats. There’s no view of the city from the infield, just a grassy hill sloping up to the highway. No view, no problem! The Water Spectacular fountains in right field and giant crown scoreboard are hard to take your eyes off of anyways.

Once we finished our quick exploration of the park’s exterior, we went back to the parking lot to tailgate and make our signs. Alex and I always make signs for our favorite Yankee players and hold them up during batting practice. This time mine was for Mariano Rivera and as always Alex’s was for Robinson Cano. We made friends with some fellow Yankee fans before crashing a Royals’ tailgate. Both groups were fun and we had a good time before heading over for batting practice.

We went down behind the visitor’s dugout for batting practice, which wasn’t all that crowded with Yankee fans to our surprise. Usually, when we travel there is a split or more Yankee fans than the other team. The Royals had a strong showing Saturday and they rewarded the fans later! We held up our signs and enjoyed batting practice until moving up to the 200 level standing room for the anthem. Both the 100 and 200 levels make up the lower bowl, so there isn’t standing room at the 100 level. The main concourse is at the 200 level and quite large housing a variety of concessions and the Team Shop. The two spiral ramps flank the Home Plate entrance and the Diamond Club blocks out the entire area behind home plate in the stands. We watched the first Yankees at bat in the standing room off to the side of the Diamond Club before exploring the outfield concourse.

Only two years old, the new outfield concourse is quite the upgrade! The stadium previously ended after the fountain displays, but after recent construction extends back with a plethora of games and family activities, as well as a couple of bars for the adults to enjoy. Honestly, in the back you can do everything besides watch a baseball game- play putt putt, ride the merry-go-round, run the bases, or play MLB 2K12! This area was frequented by screaming children (obviously), so I was in and out asap before heading behind the fountains to continue watching the game.

The standing room behind the fountains provides a wonderful view of the field and an up close water show in between innings. To the right is the Budweiser Porch and Rivals Sports Bar and in front on the fountains is the Pepsi Party Porch. That night the party porch was rented out so we couldn’t go down closer to the field. Walking on to left field, we passed statues of former Royals and the Kauffmans before running into the Fountain Bar.  Right below the bar are the fountain seats, which I still can’t believe were only $15. A fan told me they’re a bargain because on windy days the fountains soak the people sitting behind them. Eh, for that price (range $10-15 depending on opponent) bring a poncho and pretend you’re at Sea World!

At the end of left field is the Royals Hall of Fame Museum which is free to all fans, though it closes during the 8th inning. This museum is fantastic! The displays are well done and highlight not only the team’s history, but baseball’s as well. I was happy to see the ’85 World Series trophy (which further proves 1985 was a special year) and take a picture with a giant baseball!

After we toured the museum, Alex went back to the standing room by the Diamond Club and I headed up to the 300 level to look around. The 300 level was mainly suites and lounges, but I did manage to find a standing room gem next to the Triple Crown Suites. On my way up to the 400 level, I was treated to great views of the surrounding parking lots before making my way to the concourse. The 400 level seats have a good view of the game action and an unobstructed view of the scoreboard, which isn’t true for some of the 200 and 300 level seats. The stands weren’t full, so sure you could move down and in if you wanted to.

I watched a little of the game from the 400 standing room, but it was pretty bad, so I went back to join Alex and watch the remainder of the game at the 200 level. In the middle of the 6th we sang, “Friends in Low Places” and the 7th inning stretch was led by a guest singer. Yankees’ pitching was poor and the Royals were pulling fielding plays out of their butts, so for the second Saturday in a row, I saw my team fall 5-1. Once the game ended Alex and I went down to take pictures by the field and wait out the traffic. The ushers were extremely friendly and let us mill around for a while. By the time we left the park, most of the traffic had cleared out and we were able to leave without much of a wait.

For this trip, we spent about $80 on gas, $10 on parking, $30 on tickets, $18 on water and nachos at the game, $20 on food and parking in the Power & Light District, and $80 on our hotel. That was $238 well spent; both Alex and I loved visiting Kauffman Stadium. The ballpark is certainly one of a kind and the Royals’ fans and stadium staff were perfect hosts. I will definitely visit again and stay longer next time!

For more pictures of my visit to Kauffman Stadium and my other ballparks of baseball trips, check out my Flickr account.


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