AN ALL-NEW HOME SWEET HOME
The first homestand of 2009 was a hit! Oh sure, we would have liked to have seen better than a 3-3 record against the Yankees and Indians, but the ballpark….WOW…
Thought I’d share a few pictures of what I saw during the first homestand…this is by no means a complete picture of what 250 million dollars can do to an already beautiful ballpark…but it’ll give you a little taste anyway: Among those things not pictured are the Rivals Sports Bar in rightfield….or the Bud Light Party Deck above it….
Perhaps the most popular new feature is the Pepsi Party Porch in rightfield. I didn’t make it down there either…yet. Every game it’s packed, as fans enjoy a view of the stadium they’ve never before experienced. Also the DRI DUCK Fountain Seats are great! Haven’t been to the New Stadium Club yet. Concourses and restrooms are all new. The new Little K is great too! Kids are loving that. I could go and on….but I’ll shut up about what is NOT pictured and let you enjoy what I was able to shoot during the first homestand in the NEW K.
CLICK ON ANY PIC TO ENLARGE
Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders and Royals Chairman/Owner David Glass cut the ribbon on the new ballpark (ok, I was a split-second after the fact. There were plenty of professional photographers there who got the ACTUAL ribbon being cut). Mr. Glass said, “I’ve been to most of the new stadiums and I would rank this right at the top of any of the others that I’ve been to.” I concur wholeheartedly…as did everyone I’ve talked to who’s been to the New Kauffman Stadium.
Denny was the emcee for the unveiling of the Dick Howser statue in centerfield, between the George Brett and Frank White statues. The late Dick Howser, who managed the Royals to the 1985 World Championship, is fondly remembered by all who knew him.
Howser’s widow, Nancy, did a wonderful job paying tribute to Dick and talking about how much he would have enjoyed being there. Howser, a former Florida State Seminole, is remembered in many ways…the baseball stadium at FSU is named for him…as is the “Dick Howser Trophy,” which honors college baseball’s best player each year.
Fans on the rail at the Miller Lite Fountain Bar watch batting practice from a perspective never before seen at Kauffman Stadium.
Here’s an area that is sure to be VERY popular…the brand new Diamond Club. It offers the indoor/outdoor opportunity…with a great view from inside…but also a nice padded seat just below. The prices are very reasonable compared with other premium seats in other ballparks. It’s cheaper than the beautiful Royals Crown Club, for instance…although it’s not all-inclusive in terms of food and drink. But on the cold days, or hot, humid days, it’s a great haven for baseball fans.
The Diamond Club is at the bottom through the glass there….above that is the new broadcast level…the middle booths with the short windows are for television. The booth to the immediate right of the TV booths is our new home, the Royals Radio Network booth.
Above the broadcast level are the exquisite new Triple Crown Suites. And above that…those top windows…are the new press box. It’s slightly higher than the old one..but SOOOO much nicer. It’s also where the new press dining room is located (perhaps the most important room in the ballpark for us media folks….).
Some friends from an original Royals Radio Network affiliate in Shenandoah, Iowa. They’ve been with the club since 1969. Pictured along with Bob, Don and me are KMA sports director Chris Williams, account executive Mike Wetzel and a friend of theirs, Mike Dreyer. The Royals Radio Network is 96 stations strong, largest in the American League. Atlanta’s is the largest in all of baseball. Only Atlanta and St. Louis have more affiliates than do the Royals.
The lights were out as Ryan introduced various members of the team at the Welcome Home Luncheon at the Hyatt Crown Center. The annual event sold out, and offerred fans a chance to meet their favorite Royals.