|Ewing M. Kauffman Stadium
(; formerly 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 a 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. Kauffman Stadium is often held up along with Dodger Stadium as one of the best examples of modernist stadium design.
The stadium is currently years old, making it the eighth-oldest stadium in major-league baseball. The stadium is undergoing a $250 million dollar renovation, scheduled for completion in 2009.2009
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In 1967,voters 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 unusual for the time; it was long considered conventional wisdom 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
After the move, Missouri Senator Stuart Symington
threatened to revoke 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
, but pressure from Symington forced them 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
, the Royals inaugurated Royals Stadium with a win over the Texas Rangers
On May 15
, the stadium, barely a month into its existence, saw Nolan Ryan
, pitching for the California Angels
, throw the first of his seven no-hitter
s, blanking the Royals 3–0.
On July 24
, Royals Stadium hosted its first and only Major League Baseball All-Star Game
On October 9
, 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.
On October 17
, 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.
On October 11
, 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.
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.
Kauffman Stadium was the sole baseball-only facility built in the majors between 1962 and 1991. Although it is a baseball-only facility, its design was similar to the cookie-cutter facilities of the day. It is basically the one-third of a cookie-cutter stadium that contains the better seats for baseball. That is, there are seats behind the plate and along the baselines, with smaller bleacher sections (or "outfield plazas," as the Royals call them) in the outfield. 
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
, employ a similar design.
The sight lines are generally very good; the only seriously obstructed views are in the outfield plazas, where some seats are directly behind the foul poles. Many of the seats in the two view levels are almost as high as comparable seats in cookie-cutter stadiums, especially in the back rows. Most of the seats are on the first level, putting most of the fans very close to the action.
The original seats at Royals Stadium were actually red, orange and yellow. 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 behind the right-field fence. At 322 feet, it is the largest privately-funded fountain in the world.
The fountains are on display before and after the game and in-between innings, while the waterfalls are constantly flowing.
When the stadium was originally built, Kansas City was the westernmost major league city other than those along the Pacific Coast (1,600 miles away), which was a major reason why the Royals initially decided to use a faster-draining AstroTurf
The Royals' home territory included a large swath of the Great Plains
, 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, along with the surface of Arrowhead Stadium
, which had AstroTurf from 1972 through 1993.
The arrival of the Colorado Rockies
, however, removed a significant portion of the Royals' once-vast home territory, and the turf was replaced by grass for the 1995 season
. When the Royals ripped out the turf, 4 inch perforated tile was installed at 12.5-foot centers 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 minimize downtime after rain delays.
For many years, thousands of sawed webworm moths have descended on the stadium during rain delays.
On April 4
, Jackson County, Missouri
voters approved a 3/8ths cents sales tax increase to fund plans to renovate the Truman Sports Complex. The construction began
with a ceremonial groundbreaking inside Kauffman Stadium on October 3
, with completion of Kauffman Stadium in time for Opening Day
in 2009, and full renovation of the complex (including nearby Arrowhead Stadium
) by the year 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.
Projected improvements to Kauffman Stadium include:
- Reducing capacity to 39,000
- New high definition scoreboard and control room
- Fountain view terraces
- Outfield concourse
- Kids' area
- Taste of KC
- Right field restaurant
- Left field hall of fame and conference center
- New group sales areas
- Wide 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, nicknamed "Crown Vision", was one of the first things to be installed, and was ready for Opening Day 2008
. It is 84 ft. wide and 105 ft. tall, and was assembled in 55 separate segments, including an active bottom taper, to resembles 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. 
It will be adorned with a crown during the 2008 offseason.
Also, since this measure passed, MLB has stated that Kauffman Stadium will host the MLB All-Star Game sometime between 2011 and 2014. 
As part of this measure, every Jackson County
residential address will receive vouchers good for 50% off two tickets at Royals games on certain nights.
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
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
. There will be a person selected every game from community nominees to sit in that seat, formerly occupied by O'Neil in Section 101, Row C, Seat 1, who embodies the spirit of Buck O'Neil.
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