As a child Leslie’s parents moved her from Florida to live just outside of Boston. Leslie became a lifelong member of the Red Sox Nation. A few weeks ago once our travel plans had become more solidified, Leslie started looking at the baseball games for both Kansas City and St. Louis. As soon as she saw that the Boston Red Sox were going to be in Kansas City when we were planning on being there the answer was clear – we would be going to a Red Sox Game.
Monday we watched as the Boston Red Sox won against the Kansas City Royals. It was a very good game with some real action at times. Early in the game the Red Sox took the lead with in the first inning, here is a picture of Ortiz and Gonzalez waiting at home plate for Middebrook to arrive after they scored on his home run.
It got a bit shaky in the bottom of the 7th (at least I think it was the bottom of the 7th) when Kansas City had the bases loaded which would have propelled them into the lead – but were unable to bring them in (even though Boston looked like they were helping for a bit). At the end of the day Kansas City had 10 hits but could only score 5 runs whereas Boston had 16 hits and scored 11 runs.
It was the first time that I have ever seen the “Colors” being presented by the National Park Service.
OK now that the baseball part is covered – about the stadium.
Kauffman Stadium was built in 1973 making it the 6th oldest stadium in major league baseball. The stadium is part of the Truman Sports Complex which includes Arrowhead Stadium home of the Kansas City Cheifs football team. Although the two stadiums were built during the hayday of multipurpose stadiums – they were built as two separate stadiums. Kauffman Stadium is the only ball park in the American League to be named after a person – Ewing Kauffman, the founding owner of the Kansas City Royals.
Although the park is 39 years old – it does not look it. In 2006 the residents of Jackson County, Missouri approved a 0.375 increase to the sales tax to renovate the Truman Sports Complex. The renovations to Kauffman Stadium were started after the 2007 season and completed for opening day in 2009.
Unlike the other baseball stadiums we have visited Kauffman Stadium is not in a downtown setting and I did miss looking out to see a cityscape, however being part of a sports complex does have its advantages. There was lots and I mean lots of onsite cheap ($10) parking. We also saw something we have not seen before at a baseball game – tailgating.
I was happy to be back in a stadium that had an open feeling from concourse to the ball field. However it was a bit strange seeing the tables of information for local attractions and a few businesses.
One of the items that were included in the renovations was the addition of a kid’s area. It had a kid’s area unlike any I have seen in any other park. It had a baseball themed mini golf area (I really wanted to play – but there were kids playing), along with a mini field batting area where kids could hit the ball and run the bases. Or if they were so included they could go into the Pitcher’s Mound area and try out their throwing arm.
As part of the renovation they updated the scoreboard to a new large high-definition board which is 84 feet wide and 105 feet tall and was the largest high-definition LED display when it was put into operation a few years ago.
I personally enjoyed watching the fountains before the game and during the inning breaks. I guess they did not have the money in the bond issue to make them dance to the music like they do in Vegas.
Kauffman Stadium is home to the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame where I learned that the idea of the Catcher’s Mitt came from Joe Gunson, a player for the old Kansas City Cowboys. Prior to the mitt they used a glove like the one seen on the left of the picture below. In the center is a tribute to Kansas City Royals George Brett (number 5) commemorating his 3000th hit (it is made from 3000 baseballs – the bat is the center is the bat that hit number 3000 and that is the ball with it). Of course they had their world championship trophy on display also.
The food – Oh the food. We have to say the food at Kauffman Stadium might very well be the best we have had at any Major League Park (even Safeco). We started the game with the famous KC Ribeye Stack. It is thin Rib Eye steak topped with fired onion ring, cheddar cheese, bacon, grilled mushrooms, barbecue sauce, lettuce, tomato and pickles on a potato bun. It was wonderful
Later in the game we were ready for some more. We got some Bacon and Blue Cheese fires (that were just as good as the Garlic Fries from Safeco) and a dog from Dog House. I picked the All-Star BBQ dog which is a good hot dog covered in pulled pork, coleslaw, pickle slices and BBQ sauce which also excellent. Perhaps next time we might try the Island Dog – again a excellent quality hot dog with ham, pineapple slices, mandarin oranges, Hawaiian coleslaw, and teriyaki sauce.
Here are a couple of panoramic shots I made of Kauffman Stadium. (Caution they are each over 700K)
We had a great time and think that Kauffman Stadium is a great place to watch a game and grab a bite to eat. Since we will only be about 3 hours away in Des Moines we might make a trip to down to catch a mid-week game in late August or September once the amusement park is only open on the weekends.