August 5, 2008

Stadium Review: Kauffman Stadium

As part of my vacation to Kansas, my family and I saw the Royals play the Rays at Kauffman Stadium. For some perspective, I grew up watching games at Memorial Stadium and Camden Yards in Baltimore. I've also seen games at Fenway and Skydome (I just can't call it Rogers Centre). So I haven't been to a ton of MLB stadiums, but I've seen some pretty good ones.

Kauffman is undergoing some major renovations (just out of the shot to the left), but on the inside there wasn't much disruption from the construction.

The exterior is pure 70's futurism, but that's not totally a bad thing. Most of the 70's concrete monstrosities have very flat upper bowls that wrap all the way around the stadium, but Kauffman's upper deck sweeps down from behind home plate to hug the foul lines.

Instead of a boring multi-sport bowl like so many cities built, Kansas City built a pure baseball stadium and a pure football stadium. With Arrowhead, they got one of the best (and loudest) NFL venues in the country. With Kauffman, they got a decent baseball stadium with some character.

From the main parking lots where we parked, the approach to the stadium isn't all that impressive. There's not a street scene like Eutaw Street at Camden Yards, and the facade doesn't dominate a city skyline like at Fenway. It's an OK looking stadium from the outside but nothing to write home about.

The coolest thing about the exterior of the stadium is the statue of George Brett. I always like it when teams put statues of their iconic players right out front, and Brett is certainly deserving. He was one of my favorite players when I was growing up (for no good reason) and it was really cool to see the statue.

The inside of the stadium is nice, but not spectacular by any means. The main concourse wraps all around the stadium and is open to the stands and the field. It's cool to be able to see the field from anywhere on the concourse, I had never seen that at a stadium.

The most dominant feature of the inside of the stadium is, of course, the outfield fountains. Instead of having mostly empty bleachers, Kauffman has two sets of huge fountains with waterfalls. In between innings, they do a water show (seen above) and after a home run is something similar. I really like the fountains, they add a lot of character to the stadium and make it unique.

Another cool feature of the stadium is the dugout seats. I don't know how many other stadiums have this, but there were seats in essentially a second dugout. I bet it would be a lot of fun to watch a game from there, but I'm afraid they'll have to remove the seats after someone gets seriously injured by a hard foul ball.

In between the 5th and 6th (I think) innings, they had a mini-weiner race. I'm not sure how I feel about these gimmicks. The Brewers race is awesome because it started the trend, but the Nats' Presidents race and the Royals mini-weiners running around are just a bit weird. The part that makes the Royals' event unique is that they use kids in the costumes. Watching little kids run around in costumes is at least more entertaining than watching adults do it.

Overall, we had a really fun time at the game. Kauffman is a good place to watch a game. It's a decent (but not great) stadium with a fair amount of character. The fountains are awesome, and I'd like to see more stadiums take risks with architectural elements like that.

2 Responses:

Anonymous said...

Seriously, you went to Kauffman stadium and didn't even touch on the LARGEST HD SCREEN in the world. How could you leave that out???

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