Sunday, September 28, 2008

Deathtour~!: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City

After hitting Arlington I’m in KC, kicking it with the Jew Mafia in what was scheduled to be the final game of the season.

Kauffman Stadium is the definition of a work in progress. At 35 years old, The K is from the same era that Riverfront, Three Rivers, Dodger Stadium, Shea, Candlestick, and the Astrodome are from. As of 2009, all those stadiums, with the lone exception of Dodger Stadium, will no longer be used for baseball. In a time when those cookie-cutter ballparks are being replaced by modern retro style yards, Kauffman is being given a facelift, along with the Chiefs’ home arrowhead next door.

The reconstruction is ongoing, and watching a game at The K is akin to moving into a home with 2 walls. I half expected to be given a hard hat as I passed through the turnstile.

It’s retro week, or 80’s week, or something like that. Upper Deck seats are only $3! So of course that’s where were sitting, right? Nope. About 3 seconds before we got to the ticket window I changed my mind and splurged for the $25 first base side seats. Kauffman Stadium is the most affordable park in the country. Hopefully that doesn’t change with the renovations. This could be the best baseball park in terms of total value in 2009.

It’s surprisingly crowded, likely a result of the $3 seats and the ongoing construction which has reduced the capacity of the stadium to something in the 20,000s I’m guessing. The concourse is narrow. An issue that will be resolved next season, Simon says.

One of the new features that has already been put in is the new screen in centerfield and it’s a crowning achievement in video technology (no pun intended) and it looks every bit as good as the screen at Chase Field. Its shape is unique and also matches the logo of the Royals (the crown will be added for next season).

Being a National League guy, I don’t really know much about the Royals as a team, at least their current roster. Simon mentions all the youngsters on the Kansas City roster. Meanwhile I’m looking over the names of past Royals listed on the long sleeve t-shirt we got at the gate: Bret Saberhagen, Jeff Montgomery, George Brett, Hal McRae, Dan Quisenberry. Before tonight I honestly couldn’t have named a player on the Royals roster if you placed a gun to my head. Benito Santiago played here for a season, right?

One of the Royals best prospects, I’m told, is Alex Gordon but I'm pretty sure that's Jim from The Office.

A lot of seating has been removed, including several rows behind home plate. Entire sections were closed off in the upper deck.

The bulk of the renovations are taking place in the outfield. A new restaurant (all the rage in baseball parks these days) is being built behind the left field bullpen and a portion of the water formation will be removed to add a small bleacher section. The waterfall and fountains will still remain in center and right fields.

It’s too bad I came here during construction. From the looks of it, it’s going to be a top of the line facility next season. I just don’t know when I’ll get a chance to see it.

Just 1 more game! Can I make it to Houston before the season ends?

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