Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Tag Archives: Kansas City

A winning first trip to Kauffman Stadium

My trip to Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City for Saturday’s Cardinals-Royals game marked Major League ballpark number 15 that I’ve visited. And other than sitting in the bleachers at Wrigley Field on my 21st birthday, this was the hottest game I’ve ever been to (temperature-wise, of course). Luckily, the Cardinals made sitting in that heat worthwhile.


The Ballpark

Kauffman Stadium has always looked beautiful on television, especially the fountains in the outfield, so I was excited about the game. (Then again, I was seeing the Cardinals. How could I not be excited?) I went to the game with my friends Michael and Tammy, who live in Omaha, so we had a three-hour drive to get to the ballpark. As we came to a complete stop before even reaching the I-70 exit for the ballpark, I discovered one problem with Kauffman: it’s difficult to park there. Once you are able to exit, and temporarily think you’ll be there soon because there’s the ballpark – no. You have to wind around and around, merge into one lane countless times and, finally, eventually, get into a real parking lot. We did get a good view of the tailgating going on (which reminded me of Miller Park in Milwaukee) as we drove toward the lots. Plus we got a great view of Arrowhead Stadium from our parking spot right in front of it.

The employees at Kauffman all seemed very friendly, from the usher who told us our seats were in the sun to start with but would be in the shade soon to the concession stand worker who apologized for having to double-check she’d charged us for the right number of hot dogs. Of course I was wearing a Cardinals shirt, and was in the majority that day wearing red. And the gift shops were ready for the red-clad fans too, with Cardinals merchandise for sale.

The concession prices seemed reasonable and there was a good selection, including Kansas City barbecue. Given that it was so hot, it was great that the concourse was cooled by overhead fans and that there were three gigantic water coolers with paper cups on a table leading toward the seats. There also was a drinking fountain right outside the bathroom, where many people were refilling water bottles.

Speaking of water, the fountains in the outfield at Kauffman have always looked beautiful on television and they are definitely the most picturesque feature of the park. The scoreboard is also very nice, with it crown on top, but almost filled with too much information. It was easy to get sidetracked reading the facts and stats and almost miss an at-bat completely.

Many Major League parks have their tradition of playing certain songs during games – “Sweet Caroline” at Fenway Park, “Beer Barrel Polka” at Miller Park and “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” at Camden Yards. At Kauffman, it’s “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks, complete with Garth introducing the song on the big-screen and lyrics so you can sing along. Seems an interesting choice for a song, given the Royals typical finish in the standings.

As Angela mentioned in her post about Friday night’s game, there was a definite sea of red when you looked around the stands and the cheers for the Cardinals on Saturday were tremendous. However, when there was something for the Royals fans to cheer about, they made themselves heard. Well, most of the time. Highlights of the 1985 World Series were shown after each inning – one game per inning. Not being a Cardinals fan in 1985, I wasn’t sure who won each of the earlier Series games (of course I know about the final two games), but it was easy to tell by the music accompanying the highlights. Sad, slow music: Cardinals won. Upbeat music: Royals won. After the sixth inning, I’m not sure what the music was. All I could hear were boos.

The Game Itself

As mentioned, I was with Michael and Tammy for this game. Tammy and I went to quite a few Quad Cities River Bandits games together years ago, back when the team was an Astros and then Twins farm team. So this was, in all likelihood, not the first time we were together watching Aaron Miles play since he was on the Bandits in 1997 and 1998.

Yes, I have to mention Aaron Miles right away. Michael is, to put it mildly, a passionate Cardinals fan. And (as is the case for many of us) he’d prefer to see any of the Baby Birds on the roster to Proven Veterans such as Miles. So, there was Miles – not just playing on Saturday, but the designated hitter. “If that isn’t an argument for abolishing the DH, I don’t know what is,” Michael said after the lineups were read. So, to be obstinate (or maybe it was the heat), Tammy and I cheered like crazy for Miles. He responded in his first at-bat by getting the Cardinals first hit. “He doubled just to piss me off,” Michael responded. He also singled his second time up, scoring on Skip Schumaker’s homer.

Yes, the homers – first the Colby jack in the fourth and then Skippy’s in the fifth. Wonderful to see, great to be part of the roaring crowd and interesting to hear the following from Tammy immediately after Colby hit his: “I just got chills.” Which always happens when it’s 95 degrees, right? But I saw proof, since it happened again after Skip’s homer: she seriously had goosebumps on her arm.

Pitching-wise, Blake Hawksworth had a very impressive five innings. The sixth inning had a couple of pitching changes, as first Trever Miller and then Jason Motte came into the game. It was while Motte was warming up that we noticed Matt Holliday, Colby and Nick Stavinoha meeting in centerfield.

Then we saw David Freese and Brendan Ryan standing together and chatting.

Which meant that Skippy and Albert were together too, right? No. Skip was all alone, and Albert was doing this.

That hands-on-his-hips death stare did the trick: Motte threw one pitch, which resulted in a double play to get out of the inning. When Motte had to leave the game in the seventh, though, it really made us wonder what Albert was doing while glaring at Motte …

All in all, it was a nice 5-3 win for the Cardinals, and especially good to see Ryan Franklin have a one-two-three ninth inning for his 15th save. And Kauffman Stadium is definitely worth the visit. Hopefully, though, the next time I’m there they’ll be done talking about the 1985 World Series. Twenty-five years seems like enough.

Cards At The K

If you’ve never been to a game at the beautiful Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, you truly are missing out. Now, I wrote about the Cardinals’ rivalry with the Royals over at Baseball Digest, so I won’t rehash it, but despite the score, it was really a fun atmosphere down at the K last night. To start – here was the scene around the third inning last night:

Yes, I sit in nosebleeds. I like it, too. Sweet views!

As you can see, there are an awful lot of red shirts in the seats, to the point where the ‘LET’S go CARDinals! *clap*clap*clapclapclap*’ chants  were much better than anything the Royals PA could put together.

Don’t forget (although you want to) – the Royals won. They were just overpowered in the stands. I heard several mentions on my way into the stadium about how cool it was to see the ‘sea of red’ taking over the parking lots. (To be fair, season ticket holders and anyone buying a ticket package park in a different lot.)


I wasn’t going to say anything, but I have to – Royals fans moan about how Cardinal fans need to get over 1985, but if they don’t quit wearing their 25 year old world championship t-shirts pretty soon, the shirts will start showing up at the park sans-owners. That leads perfectly into my list of FANS OF THE GAME!


1st Place: This gentleman (that’s a kind word) was sitting next to my family. The front of his shirt had 2 dead birds hanging off a bat. This is the back:

2nd Place: I’m amazed that I didn’t notice this man until the 7th inning stretch. Maybe it’s because I see him every year. No joke. Then again, when were Beanie Babies last cool – 2001? I also enjoy that he is wearing a KU championship shirt instead of a Royals shirt. Convenient for when the score is reversed, ehh?

3rd Place: Sadly, I don’t have this one (not for lack of trying), but this one goes to the two buddies that were wearing Royal blue Denkinger shirts. Number 85, of course.

Honorable Mention: I feel the need to notice the following good Cardinal folks that made the trek: the Scott Spiezio jersey, the 2 Chris Duncan jerseys (2? In the same section? But not together? Madness!), and the 2 year old in the Rick Ankiel jersey. Friends, wait to buy player jerseys for your kids until they fit into them. Don’t plan ahead, or if you do, go for a franchise player!

All jokes aside, I truly do enjoy going to games in Kansas City. I’ve been to enough games over the years and have enjoyed seats from the 4th row to the 4th deck. I’m telling you – there is not a bad view no matter where you sit. I like sitting way up high because you can take in everything at once, from the shift of the infield to the action in both bullpens. The Royals have done very extensive renovations in their outfield over the past few years. If you haven’t been recently – here’s the view of the outfield area:

The right field area is the place to be in my mind. On hot days the Pepsi Party Porch will give you a nice mist when the fountains are on, and the whole outfield area is now open with different attractions and places to stand and watch the games. I’d venture that about 75% (probably more) of the people wandering around out there during the game actually have seats, but never sit in them. Even compared to games that I attended here 5 years ago, this is a much more fan-friendly atmosphere now.

Friday nights are the best nights, because the Royals do a pretty spectacular fireworks show that you do not want to miss! It’s not quite to the standards of the 4th of July at the Arch, but it is worth seeing, every time!

So for any of you out there that are going to be at either of the next two games, see ya there (I’ll be one of the ones not sitting in a seat), enjoy the stadium, and help me bring home some winners!

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