Kauffman Stadium

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Kauffman Stadium
"The K"
NewKauffman.jpg
Newly renovated Kauffman Stadium on opening day 2009
Former names Royals Stadium (1973–1993)
Address One Royal Way
Kansas City, Missouri 64129-6969
Coordinates 39°3′5″N 94°28′50″W / 39.05139°N 94.48056°W / 39.05139; -94.48056Coordinates: 39°3′5″N 94°28′50″W / 39.05139°N 94.48056°W / 39.05139; -94.48056
Owner Jackson Sports Complex Authority
Operator Jackson Sports Complex Authority
Capacity 37,903[1]
with standing room at least
40,933 (2012)[1]
40,625 (1973)
38,177 (2009)[2]
Record attendance 41,860 (July 26, 1980, Royals vs Yankees) [3]
Field size Left Field - 330 feet (101 m)
Left-Center - 387 feet (118 m)
Center Field - 410 feet (125 m)
Right-Center - 387 feet (118 m)
Right Field - 330 feet (101 m)
Backstop - 60 feet (18 m)
Surface Grass (mix of bluegrass and rye, 1995-Present)
AstroTurf (1973–1994)
Construction
Broke ground July 11, 1968; 46 years ago (July 11, 1968)[4]
Opened April 10, 1973; 41 years ago (1973-04-10)
Renovated 2007-2009
Construction cost $70 million
($372 million in 2014 dollars[5])

$250 million (2007-10 renovations)
($270 million in 2014 dollars[5])
Architect Kivett and Myers
Structural engineer Bob D. Campbell & Co. Structural Engineers[6]
General contractor Sharp-Kidde-Webb JV[7]
Tenants
Kansas City Royals (MLB) (1973–present)
Website
kauffmanstadium.com

Kauffman Stadium (/ˈkɔːfmən/, nicknamed "The K" and formerly known as Royals Stadium, is a Major League Baseball stadium located in Kansas City, Missouri, and home to the Kansas City Royals of the American League. Together with Arrowhead Stadium—home of the National Football League's Kansas City Chiefs, it is part of the Truman Sports Complex. Since July 2, 1993, the venue has been known as Kauffman Stadium in honor of the Royals' founding owner, Ewing Kauffman.

Kauffman Stadium was built specifically for baseball during an era where building multisport "cookie-cutter" stadiums was commonplace. It is often held up along with Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles as one of the best examples of modernist stadium design.

It is the only ballpark in the American League to currently be named after a person, Ewing Kauffman. It is also one of ten stadiums in Major League Baseball that does not have a corporate-sponsored name; the others are: Marlins Park, Turner Field, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, and Nationals Park. (Kauffman, Wrigley, and Turner are named for the individuals and not the corporations they owned.) The stadium is 41 years old, making it the sixth-oldest stadium in Major League Baseball. Kauffman Stadium recently underwent a $250 million renovation, which began after the 2007 season and was completed in July 2009.[8]

The 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was held at Kauffman Stadium.

History[edit]

In 1967, voters in Jackson County, Missouri approved the bonds for Truman Sports Complex, which featured a football stadium for the Kansas City Chiefs and a baseball stadium for the Kansas City Athletics, whose owner, Charles O. Finley, had just signed a new lease to remain in Kansas City. This was a very unusual proposal; conventional wisdom at the time held that separate football and baseball stadiums were not commercially viable. Before the 1968 season, however, Finley moved the A's to Oakland, California, and their brand-new multi-purpose stadium.[9]

A game at Royals Stadium on Sunday, September 19, 1976. The pitcher is Chris Knapp and the batter is Tom Poquette. The Royals would beat the White Sox 6 to 5.

After the move, Missouri Senator Stuart Symington threatened to press for the revocation of baseball's anti-trust exemption if they did not give Kansas City a new team. Baseball responded by hastily granting expansion franchises to four cities, including a Kansas City team owned by local pharmaceutical magnate Ewing Kauffman. The new teams were due to start play in 1971. However, Symington was not about to have Kansas City wait three years for the return of baseball, and forced MLB to move up the start date to 1969. Jackson County continued its plans to build a new ballpark. After playing four seasons in Kansas City Municipal Stadium, on April 10, 1973, the Royals inaugurated Royals Stadium with a win over the Texas Rangers.[9]

On May 15, 1973, the stadium, barely a month into its existence, saw Nolan Ryan, pitching for the California Angels, throw the first of his seven no-hitters, blanking the Royals 3–0.[9]

On July 24, 1973, Royals Stadium hosted its first of two Major League Baseball All-Star Games.[9]

On October 9, 1976, the Royals competed in their first post-season game in franchise history, losing 4–1 to the New York Yankees at Royals Stadium in the American League Championship Series. The Royals came back to win the next game on October 10, 6–3, for their first post-season win in Royals Stadium.[9]

View of the stadium in 1981.

On October 17, 1980, the first World Series game held in Kansas City featured the hometown Royals against the Philadelphia Phillies. In his first at-bat, George Brett hit a home run down the right field line. The Royals would go on to record their first-ever World Series win, 4–3 in 10 innings. However, the Royals would lose the World Series that year in six games.[9]

On October 11, 1985, in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, George Brett hit two home runs off Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Doyle Alexander, made a back-handed stop at third base to throw out a runner at home, and recorded the final out to give the Royals a much-needed 6–5 win. The Royals went on to win the American League pennant in seven games.[9]

On October 27 of that same year, the Royals clinched their first World Series title in franchise history, winning Game 7 in Royals Stadium. Led by the pitching of Bret Saberhagen, Darryl Motley's two-run home run, and George Brett's four hits, the Royals beat the St. Louis Cardinals 11–0. The Royals were the first team in the history of the World Series to lose the first two games of the series at home and come back to win.[9]

The stadium hosted the Royals' first playoff game in nearly 29 years when the city's former team, the Athletics, came to town for the 2014 American League Wild Card Game. Despite trailing 7-3 in the eighth inning, Kansas City rallied to win the game, 9-8, and advance to the Division Series.[10] They hosted Games 1, 2, 6, and 7 against the San Francisco Giants in the World Series but lost.

Features[edit]

Kauffman Stadium as it appeared prior to 2009 renovations

Kauffman Stadium was the last baseball-only park built in the majors (not counting temporary facilities) from 1966 to 1991. It was one of the few baseball-only facilities built in the majors during the heyday of the cookie-cutter stadium era, and is one of two such facilities (Dodger Stadium is the other) that are still active and were never converted for use as multi-purpose stadiums.1

Although it is a baseball-only facility, its design took several stylistic cues from the multi-purpose stadiums of the day. The main stadium itself is primarily concrete, with a smooth, uncovered concrete facade. The stands wrap around the infield and end at the foul poles, with smaller bleacher sections (or "outfield plazas", as the Royals call them) in the outfield. In their book, The Ultimate Baseball Road Trip, Josh Pahigaian and Kevin O'Connell wrote that it is essentially one-third of a cookie-cutter stadium, containing only the seats in a cookie-cutter stadium that provide the best views for baseball.[11] The upper deck is quite steep, though not as high as other parks built during this time. Many minor-league stadiums built in the 1980s and early 1990s, as well as U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, employ a similar design.

By 2000, all of the seats were replaced by blue seats, the lower section seating also getting cupholders.

The park's best-known feature is the fountain and waterfall display (known as the Water Spectacular) behind the right-field fence. At 322 feet (98 m), it is the largest privately funded fountain in the world.[11] The fountains are on display before and after the game and in-between innings, while the waterfalls are constantly flowing.

Giants vs Royals, 10 August 2014

When the stadium was originally built, Kansas City was the westernmost major league city other than those along the Pacific Coast (1,600 mi. [2,600 km] away), which was a major reason why the Royals initially decided to use a faster-draining AstroTurf surface.[12] The Royals' home territory included a large swath of the Great Plains and Rockies, and Kauffman didn't want fans who drove many hundreds of miles to go home without seeing the game completed. The Truman Sports Complex's legendary groundskeeper, George Toma, best known as the head groundskeeper for every Super Bowl, thus had the ironic job of maintaining two carpets for most of his career. He also maintained the surface at Arrowhead Stadium, which had AstroTurf from 1972 through 1993. However, Toma has said that artificial turf requires a good deal of maintenance as well; his crews were able to keep Royals Stadium's original carpet for two decades, somewhat longer than the typical lifetime for a turf surface.[13]

The arrival of the Colorado Rockies, however, removed virtually all of the western portion of the Royals' once-vast home territory. Partly due to this, the stadium's turf was replaced by grass for the 1995 season. When the Royals ripped out the turf, 4 inch (10 cm) perforated tiles were installed at 12.5-foot (3.8 m) centres across the entire field. As a result, the current grass field drains very well. Many newer facilities (and some older facilities through retrofitting) have similar drainage systems to minimise downtime after rain delays.

Renovations[edit]

Aerial view of the stadium

On April 4, 2006, Jackson County, Missouri voters approved a 0.375-percentage point sales tax increase to fund plans to renovate the Truman Sports Complex. As part of this measure, every Jackson County residential address was to receive vouchers good for 50% off two tickets at Royals games on certain nights. The construction began with a ceremonial groundbreaking inside Kauffman Stadium on October 3, 2007, with completion of Kauffman Stadium in time for Opening Day in 2009, and full renovation of the complex (including nearby Arrowhead Stadium) by 2010, depending upon cost overruns. The team committed to a lease that will keep them in Kansas City until 2030, an extension of their current lease expiration of 2015. The improvements to Kauffman Stadium included the following:

  • Reducing capacity to 37,903
  • New high definition scoreboard, dubbed "Crown Vision" and control room
  • Fountain view terraces
  • Outfield concourse
  • Kids' area
  • Taste of KC
  • Right field sports bar-themed restaurant
  • Left field hall of fame and conference center
  • New group sales areas
  • Wider concourses
  • New and upgraded concession and toilet amenities on all concourses
  • Enhanced vertical circulation to all levels
  • Four new entry ticket gates
  • New press facilities

The new high-definition scoreboard was one of the first features to be installed.[14] It replaced both the old matrix board in the shape of the Royals logo that had been in the park since its opening, along with the video board that had been installed in 1989. The new scoreboard was ready for Opening Day 2008. It is 84 ft. wide and 105 ft. tall, and was, at the time it entered service, the largest high-definition LED display in the world.[15] The Kaufmann Stadium screen was eventually dwarfed by the new scoreboard at Seattle's Safeco Field in 2013.[16] The display was assembled in 55 separate segments, including an active bottom taper to resemble the shield in the Royals logo. The video scoreboard alone cost $8.3 million, and the control room that operates it is staffed with 17 people on game days.[17] It was adorned with a crown during the 2008 offseason. Strobe lights atop the scoreboard flash after every Royals home run.

A second proposal on the April 2006 ballot would have installed a rolling roof at the Truman Sports Complex. The roof could have been moved to cover either Kauffman Stadium or Arrowhead Stadium when needed. The measure failed at the polls.

Buck O'Neil legacy seat[edit]

The O'Neil legacy seat.

Beginning with the 2007 season, the Royals had a red seat placed in the stadium amongst the all-blue seats behind home plate to honor Buck O'Neil. Every game, there will be a person who embodies the spirit of Buck O'Neil selected from community nominees to sit in that seat, formerly occupied by O'Neil. The seat is located behind home plate in what was Section 101, Row C, Seat 1, until 2008. Due to the stadium renovations and accompanying section renumbering in 2009, the seat number is now Section 127, Row C, Seat 9, and the seat bottom is now padded. O'Neil played for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League from 1937 to 1955.

Statues[edit]

4 Statues lay out in the outfield concourse behind the fountains. Three of the statues are located in right field (George Brett, Dick Howser and Frank White Jr.) and in left is the former Royals owner Ewing Kauffman and his wife Muriel.

George Brett Statue Dick Howser Statue Frank White Jr. Statue Kauffman's Statue

Notes[edit]

^Note 1 : Candlestick Park (1960), Anaheim Stadium (1966), and Jarry Park Stadium (1969) were all originally built as baseball-only facilities. Candlestick Park has closed and is slated for demolition, and Jarry Park Stadium was renovated into Stade Uniprix, a tennis-specific stadium with only a small portion of the original stadium present. Both Candlestick Park and Anaheim Stadium were converted to multi-purpose facilities. Anaheim Stadium, now known as Angel Stadium of Anaheim, was re-converted into a baseball-only facility in 1996.

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Municipal Stadium
Home of the Kansas City Royals
1973 – present
Succeeded by
Current
Preceded by
Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium
Chase Field
Host of the MLB All-Star Game
1973
2012
Succeeded by
Three Rivers Stadium
Citi Field