31 May 2009


On Friday a co-worker asked me what my plans were for the weekend. I paused for a moment to realize I did not have a single obligation, commitment, invitation, or appointment for the coming days (yes, I know, I am a loser!).

Anyways, when I awoke Saturday morning with nothing to do, I decided to go on a brief one-day road trip. I headed to Kansas City to see the Royals play at Kauffman Stadium (locally known as "The K").

When I arrived in town, I had some time to kill before the game. I made my way to the original Arthur Bryant's to try their famous Kansas City BBQ. I must admit that I was sorely disappointed. Other than the authenticity of the establishment itself - a decades old building that has likely never been renovated or modified in any way - the experience failed to live up to my expectations. The ribs were dry and tough; the "famous" BBQ sauce was mediocre, and the service was wanting. To date, I believe the best ribs I have tried were at Corky's BBQ in Memphis, TN.

Fortunately, the disappointment experienced at lunch was more than compensated for during my time at the ballpark. I have driven by Kauffman Stadium on a number of occasions. I remember the first time I saw it - I thought it was the ugliest stadium I had ever seen. The grandstands are a very odd shape - sloping gradually upward from the foul poles in outfield up to a cone-like peak immediately behind home plate.

I still cannot identify if it is in spite of or because of this odd architecture that I had such a surprisingly enjoyable time at "The K." Because the grandstands provide adequate seating, the outfield was left very open. Unlike some ballparks (i.e. Yankee Stadium, Citi Field) where the field is entirely surrounded by seating, restaurants, and other stadium ammenities, Kauffman felt very open and airy. Grassy hills and lush trees outside the stadium provided a backdrop very well suited for a ballpark in the heartland of America.

Additionally, the Royals fans know how to have fun! At many of the parks I have been to, the fans take their team VERY seriously. Cardinals fans, Red Sox fans, Yankees fans, Cubs fans know and understand the game of baseball intimately. For many, their devotion to the team is borderline religious. Although these informed and dedicated fans bring a certain intensity to the ballpark on gameday, in Kansas City an evening at the park is a time to relax and enjoy the company of those around you. Despite a losing effort by the Royals on this balmy Saturday afternoon, the overall attitude of the crowd was light and carefree. Many attended the game in straw hats and tank tops. Many enjoyed tailgating before and after the game. And all the Kansas City folk joined in their traditional 6th inning sing along of Garth Brooks "I've Got Friends In Low Places."

Kauffman Stadium "The K" (#12 - 18 to go!)

05 May 2009

Baseball anyone?

The 2009 MLB season is off to a great start. Within the first three weeks of the season I attend a game in four awesome parks:

Busch Stadium (St. Louis)

Yankee Stadium (New York)

Fenway Park (Boston)

Citi Field (New York)

I have four first-time stadiums on my agenda for the rest of the season, as well as a beloved classic:

6 June - Atlanta Braves (Turner Field)
19 June - Kansas City Royals (Kauffman Stadium)
18 July - Chicago White Sox (US Cellular Field)
25 August - Milwaukee Brewers (Miller Park)
28 August - Chicago Cubs (Wrigley Field)

By the end of the year I will be over half way toward my goal of attending a game in every Major League ballpark!