Now I have the bag dilemma. What do I do with my carry-on and backpack during the game? I tried to check it at the airport, but Southwest doesn't let you check until four hours before the flight (which would have been 2 PM). Game time was 1:10, so checking my bags was out of the question. I decided to try stashing my bags at a hotel downtown, so I told the cabbie to head to the President Hilton in downtown KC. This was probably the smartest move I made all day. The ladies at the counter were very nice and put my bag in the storage closet, and I went to the bar and talked to the bartender about my traveling troubles. Most everyone agreed the cab prices were insane, so he looked up the nearest rental car place on his iPhone for me, and I walked the two blocks to Budget and rented a car for $80. This might seem steep, but when I factored in 2 cab trips from the hotel to Kauffman and back, plus the cab trip back to the airport, I figured I would be saving money. I think I did, which is incredibly sad. Plus it allowed me the freedom to grab some Kansas City BBQ at Jack Stack, which was really good, and I went back to the hotel to grab my bags and stash them in the rental car. Pictures below. More about parking and such in the stadium details below, but I urge my readers to rent a car if you ever find yourself in Kansas City.
Location: The stadium is located right next to Arrowhead to the southeast of Kansas City's downtown and about half an hour from the airport. It's kind of in the middle of nowhere and public transportation is nonexistent. I paid $10 to park about 1/2 mile from the stadium, which probably was worth it. The setup of the two stadiums reminded me a bit of the way Citizens Bank Park, Lincoln Financial Field, and the Wachovia Center are set up next to each other in Philadelphia. It would be really cool to park and double dip with the Royals and Chiefs on a Sunday in September.
Kauffman's next-door neighbor: Arrowhead Stadium
Ballpark: I fell in love with Kauffman Stadium after having seen the same type of stadium many times in a row. The stadium itself is pretty old and has been home to the Royals since 1973. It was renovated in time for Opening Day 2009 in a 0.375% sales tax increase vote in Jackson County. Renovations to the Chiefs home, Arrowhead Stadium, were also included in the funds from the tax increase.
The ballpark on the inside is beautiful during the day. They have some water and fountains in center field that in between innings look like a mini version of the fountains in front of the Bellagio in Las Vegas. They have the best scoreboard I have seen besides Yankee Stadium, and it's shaped like an elongated home plate with a crown on the top. Also, I don't know if it's the way the stadium is set up or not, but the wind was gusting 30-40 mph out to left field. I'm surprised more home runs weren't hit today.
The ballpark has an AWESOME Royals Hall of Fame exhibit that included a 15-minute film on Royals history. It was in right field and definitely worth the time I took to go there. Plus I chatted with the fellow dressed up like an 1886 Kansas City Cowboys player who has been to over 50 stadiums in his lifetime. I figure once I finish this tour, I can hit the new ones when they open and keep my running tally going.
Behind home plate view
Looks like the guy is throwing up the Hook 'Em Horns back there, but...
...it's actually really awkward looking
The guy who had been to all 50 stadiums. Pretty sweet 'stache.
Food: The food at Kauffman seemed to be pretty good. Since I had Jack Stack's, I didn't eat at the stadium, but they offer funnel cakes, lemonade, a burrito, nachos, and margarita stand, Blue Moon and Boulevard beer stops, Sheridan's custard, pizza, steak burgers, BBQ, ribs, potato skins at this Fry Works place, and a $9 meal of chicken breast, cole slaw, and a cinnamon roll. The SCPI here was $13 ($4.50 dog and $8.50 large brew). It all looked really good, but I think you understand I HAD to try some KC BBQ.
My Jack Stack's / rental car benefit. Highly recommended.
Game: The game was a lot of fun. I sat in the left field bleachers and got sprayed by some of the water in center field because of the gusting winds, but I talked with a lot of the locals and they were genuinely interested in my trip. Flattery by other fans gets these stadiums a 0.5 overall bump I think. The Royals were playing the Mariners and lost 6-5, but they made the game entertaining after they fell behind 5-1. I wish I could have seen Zach Greinke pitch (last year's AL Cy Young winner), but I walked away with a Greinke t-shirt jersey and plan on picking up a shirt jersey at every stadium in the future. It's going to be expensive, but well worth it.
Summary: The stadium was gorgeous during the day and the fans were nice, the food selection looked great and the game was entertaining. Getting there was expensive and a pain, but I definitely enjoyed my trip to Kauffman and would love to go back. It's hard not to root for the Royals, too. Plus I'm a sucker for anything in baby blue hues.
HA! Been there, done that, Royals.
David, this is a GREAT sign...
Record: 4-4 (the D-backs have started me on a losing streak that I hope continues tomorrow in St. Louis).
Giveaway tally: 1 A's Snuggie, 1 Padres sticky calendar.