08 July 2006

No Love for the KC Royals?

I was asked why we arranged our previous trip through Kansas City, but didn't go to a Royals game. The primary baseball focus on this trip was twofold -- the new Busch Stadium in St. Louis and the College World Series. If scheduling would have worked out better, we thought about doing an interleague game there - Pittsburgh was in town. Since we only had a few days in Omaha to soak in as much as we could of the CWS, when we saw the limited scheduling opportunity, we decided to pass.

We attended a game at Kauffman Stadium during our first trip to the College World Series back in 2003. You will have to use "attended a game" in the most broad sense, as we got much more of a story than a game that night. Get a quick look at the sky -- it isn't poor coloring on the photo, it is ugly weather rolling in.

We secured tickets outside the stadium from what appeared to be a season ticket holder, who just didn't want to be bothered with the impending weather. Total cost for two excellent seats was about $20 (less than 1/2 the face value of $24 each). My general rule of the thumb when going to a new ballpark is to buy the cheapest ticket I can find, and then see what better seats are available. I like walking around a park anyway, and this way almost forces me to wander. I am sure we could have purchased cheaper general admission tickets (or their equivalent), but this worked out well. Surprising as it may sound, not that many people turned out for a rainy night to see the Royals play the Diamondbacks (not exactly one of those marquee interleague matchups).

I was surprised at how much I liked this ballpark, considering how sparsely attended the game was, the horrible weather, and the incorrect perception that this stadium was similar to the other cookie-cutter stadiums of the same era in Cincinnati, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh. The fountains, seen often on TV (as often as the Royals are on TV) are pretty cool, and they also had a mini-park just outside the main stadium where kids played with the team mascot.

Kauffman is also home to the worst Hall of Fame in the history of sports. George Brett is a worthy candidate. Name another Royal worthy of induction to ANY Hall of Fame. This one contains the likes of Dennis Leonard (no All-Star game appearances), Freddie Patek (a career .242 batting average), Lary Gura (won 18 games twice, All-Star once), and Paul Splittorff (never an All-Star appearance). Ouch.

Three-plus innings into our game, the sky opened up like I have rarely seen. We get some powerful thunderstorms here in central Florida, and this one gave any of ours a run for the money. If you are a fan of storms, this was one to watch. Our seats were not far from the nearest overhang, so we got a good view of the storm, and stayed relatively dry. Since our goal is not to watch bad baseball, but rather to "collect" stadiums, we were OK with taking calling our visit complete and making a run for the car at the earliest sign of a weather break. After about a 45 minute wait, the game was called. The picture was taken before 8:30 pm - still light at this time of year. The weather was just that ugly.

On our way out of town the following day, we decided to exchange our tickets for an upcoming game. It turns out that the Yankees were coming to town soon, and we would be able to exchange our tickets and then list them for sale on eBay. They exchanged our tickets (remember, these were season tickets) for some cheaper seats (there was no exact match for pricing purposes) and gave me a $6 refund, to boot. So, now I have two $21 tickets to the Yankees one and only series in town, and I only paid $14! The tickets sold for about $20 each, making Kansas City one of our more profitable stadium excursions.

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