Kansas City, MO
Review by Gary
I visited the Royals attractive ballpark twice in the 1990’s and was treated to a couple of enjoyable experiences. The first time was in 1990 when the stadium was still called Royals Stadium and featured artificial turf and the latest visit was in 1999 after the park was renamed after the team’s first owner and natural grass had replaced the carpet. The park sits alongside Interstate 70 and shares a parking lot with the iconic Arrowhead stadium, home of the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs.
This is one of the most spacious most open-air stadiums I had been to at that time, without skyscraping buildings or mountains to be seen from the stands. Just the nearby highway racing by. The park's best-known feature is the fountain and waterfall display behind the right-field fence. The fountains are on display before and after the game and in-between innings, while the waterfalls are constantly flowing, making for a nice backdrop to the ballgame.
When I visited in 1990, there were still signs up around the stadium extoling the greatness of the 1985 World Champion Royals, as this was their first and only championship at the time. By 1999, the stadium and scoreboard had undergone some improvements such as two video boards; to replace the old light-bulb scoreboard in the massive and memorable KC Crown display in centerfield.
Kauffman Stadium is a great park to see a game. The notable changes I recalled between my two visits were the replacement of the original AstroTurf field to grass and the more fitting Royal blue seats taking the place of the original red ones. While there is not a bad seat in this house, one may feel a bit dizzy sitting in the super steep, high seats behind home plate. But this is just a one small comment to an otherwise classic ballpark in the Midwest.
"My visit to Kauffman was a surprise. I was driving from New Jersey to Colorado and saw the stadium lights on as I drove by. A quick U-turn and I was at the game. Since Gary's visits there has been significant development, especially in the outfield where the concourse was extended complete around the stadium and party decks and nice standing areas built. The scoreboards are all thoroughly modern. They did all of this without taking away from the unique look of this old gem. It's also worth noting that this was the only ballpark built between 1965 and 1991 that was baseball-only, rather than multi-purpose. Great ballpark."
A look back at the old artificial turf that once inexplicably served as a "field" for the Kansas City Royals.
I met Buck O'Neill in 1999 when I visited the Negro League Hall of Fame Museum and he was by far the nicest player there. A true gentleman. I read that the Royals had a red seat placed behind home plate amongst the all-blue seats in 2007 to honor Mr. O’Neil.
Each home game, one person will be selected from a group of community nominees who embodies the spirit of Buck O'Neil to sit in the seat formerly occupied by Mr. O'Neil.
Buck O'Neill played for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League from 1937 to 1955.