Sunday, July 24 – Rangers 2, Royals 1
This was my first visit to the Kansas City ball park since 1981, when it was called Royals Stadium. Among the middle-aged parks in MLB, it has perhaps aged best.
Access: I had an easy morning drive from just west of St. Louis to the exit for Kaufmann Stadium. Helpful attendants let me park in position for a quick exit back to the highway and my tight plane connection. And, the charge for next-to-the-stadium parking was only $12. After the game, the quick exit worked great.
Seats/pricing: As usual, I went for a high infield view. The added consideration this time was shade in the mid-90s temperatures. If you extended the third base line through the backstop and up into the top deck, you’d hit my $23 seat.
View: The complex housing Kauffmann Stadium and the Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium is southeast of town. The only outside view is a highway. But inside, the renowned fountains in center field are a visual highlight and even offer something of a cooling feeling, at least psychologically if not literally. Views of the field from the main level concourse are limited. A sign even limits standing to ticketholders in the immediate area. However, the concourse continues outside the main seating area and completely encircles the stadium. From center field, there is lots of viewing room.
Food: Kansas City is famous for barbecue; I was referred to the Barbecue Shack on the giant center field concourse. It offers brisket, pork, pulled pork, and burned ends. I went all in for the faux batting helmet that began with a big layer of tortilla chips in the bottom, with brisket, baked beans, cole slaw, corn, sauce, and (at my option) onions on top for $15.95. I never did make it through all of the chips, but I got all of the good stuff in a stomach-stuffing adventure before the game. Excellent. A pair of moderate eaters could consider one helmet and two forks.
Beer: Some variety at $7.25 to $11.00.
Crowd: 32,739. On this Sunday afternoon there were many kids and lots to do on the center field concourse, which has a feeling something like Eutaw Street in Baltimore. Kids’ activities include a batting cage, pitching site, a small field, a carousel, even mini-golf, and a stage for MC-led kids’ games and contests.
Neighborhood: There isn’t any, at least insofar as pre- and post-game dining, drinking, and entertainment is concerned. But the center field concourse offers lots of shopping, eating, and beverage opportunities.
Arts and visuals: The Royals Hall of Fame also is on the concourse. Unlike, say, Cincinnati, there is no separate admission charge. Statutes of George Brett, Frank White, and the late manager Dick Howser are outside on the concourse. Poster-like signs on many support posts on the inside portion of the concourse display great moments in Royals history.
Baseball Moment: Only three days up from a trip to the minors, Delino DeShields homered in the seventh inning to break a 1-1 tie for the Rangers’ victory. He also doubled, walked, and had a stolen base batting at the bottom of the order.