Posted: Tuesday September 12, 2006 11:14AM; Updated: Tuesday September 12, 2006 12:06PM
Kansas City Royals
Kansas City, Mo. :: Opened: 1973 :: Capacity: 40,793
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
Average Ticket Price: $13.71
Average Cost of Concessions and Souvenirs: $73.00
How expensive is stadium parking? FREE: 2% $5-$10: 86% $10-$15: 10% $15-$20: 2% More than $20: 0%
Is public transportation a viable option? Never: 39% Worth it if you have a lot of time and patience: 36% A good option to avoid rush hour: 5% Pretty easy if you know the system well: 17% The only way to go: 0%
How would you rate traffic getting to and from the game? To the game: A slow-moving parking lot: 1% Slow, but usually steady: 15% Moves well outside of rush hour: 30% Aside from the occasional bottleneck, it's good: 36% A smooth ride at all times: 17%
From the game: A slow-moving parking lot: 7% Slow, but usually steady: 26% Moves well outside of rush hour: 16% Aside from the occasional bottleneck, it's good: 42% A smooth ride at all times: 8%
How would you rate the number of restrooms for men and women? Bring a map: 1% It depends on the section: 19% Never more than a short walk away: 33% A satisfactory amount: 28% Plenty: 9%
How long is the wait to use a bathroom? Always available: 57% 1-5 minutes: 39% 5-10 minutes: 2% More than 10 minutes: 1%
How would you rate the variety of food/beer concession options? Limp hot dogs, bland peanuts, even blander beer: 4% Nothing fancy, but the staple foods are tasty: 20% A little variety of food and drinks available at specific locations: 39% A nice variety but locations are spread out: 28% You name it, they have it around almost every corner: 8%
How much will a meal at the ballpark cost you? $5-$10: 26% $10-$20: 62% $20-$30: 9% $30-$40: 1% More than $40: 1%
How would you rate the entertainment options aside from the game? Nonexistent: 8% So many games/promotions and scoreboard highlights that the game is lost in the background: 2% Typical mascot antics/scoreboard quizzes and fun music: 56% Some unique promotions/antics, but it sometimes distracts from the game: 5% A nice balance that draws your attention when the game is stopped but doesn't distract from the action on the field: 29%
With the Royals' fall from contention over the last, oh, two decades, it has been easy to forget about this little gem of a park. No, it doesn't have the lights and buzzers of the new generation of retro stadiums, but it still retains the "open-air atmosphere," the crown-topped scoreboard and the "beautiful" fountains in center that not only "fit in with the city" but provide "one of the best settings in baseball." Although a comprehensive rejuvenation of the park is in store for the offseason, the park has, "at least on the surface, aged remarkably well." The food choices are "pretty average," unless you make a journey to the first-base side for the "best BBQ in the world" at Gates' Bar-B-Q. You shouldn't have to wait long in line: The crowds are "small but dedicated." Of course, who wouldn't be dedicated to go to a place where a dozen Krispy Kremes are given away to each fan if the team gets 12 hits?
It's a good thing Kansas City is an easy city to traverse by car, because that will be the only thing you'll be going to after a game. Located in a parking lot next to the Chiefs' Arrowhead Stadium, Kauffman offers fans "an interstate, one hotel and a gas station." Seeing as how you'll probably have to drive to get here, you'd be wise to drive 15 minutes to the chic shops and restaurants of the Plaza district downtown. Of course, can you really say you've been in K.C. until you've made a trip to Arthur Bryant's or Gates barbecue? Again, you'll have to go by car, but your stomach will be oh so happy you made the effort.
2006 record: 54-890(all statistics through Sept. 10) Players worth the price of admission: Emil Brown (.294 Avg., 13 HRs, 73 RBIs), Ambiorix Burgos (18 saves, 66 Ks).
Long forgotten as one of baseball's more beautiful parks -- a result of the Royals' struggles as much as new ballpark construction -- Kauffman might be underrated in its third decade of use. The fountains still run in the outfield, the crown-topped scoreboard is legitimately retro and the park is comfortably spacious. And it's cheap at the box office and the concession stands. Unfortunately the thrifty attitude in K.C. seems to pervade every aspect of the organization, as ownership appears intent on making the Royals a AAAA farm team for the league's more wealthy clubs.