Friday, June 6, 2014

Kansas City Royals

If the teams that built the ugly cookie cutter ballparks in the 1970s would have put some thought into it, many of those parks would still be around today instead of rubble. That is what the designers of Kauffman Stadium did. The K (real baseball people like me call it The K, you call it Kauffman Stadium until you can explain the infield fly rule to me) is still a good venue to watch them toss around the horsehide. It has a distinct late 60s or early 70s aura about it, but it is still relevant. With it’s signature royal blue accents and crown-shaped scoreboard one immediately knows that he is inside The K. Oh yeah, there’s that waterfall in the outfield wall thing too. Did you know it changes color at night?

While I like going to The K, I don’t like going to The K. It isn’t the ballpark that’s the problem, it is the fact that it lies in the middle of a parking lot the size of New Hampshire that it shares with Arrowhead Stadium (the KC Chiefs’  football home). On a hot day you will need to be replenished twice by helicopter in order to make your way from the far reaches of the asphalt desert lest you perish. Once I had to park there on a Wednesday to make it to the gate on time for a Sunday afternoon game. It’s big, really. Exacerbating matters is that there is NO other way to get there unless you drive. And parking is $11. I forked over only $5 to park at a small church lot across the street from the Royals official parking lot. I lost 8 pounds on the walk to the ballpark.

Enough about cars...on to the dog!

Bun-soft, fresh and steamed.
Taste-the Farmland frank was actually quite good.
Toppings-nice selection of kraut, jalapenos, onions, mustard and relish.
Portability-foil sleeve does a bang up job.
Price-$5.00 for the junior dog, which is really a normal sized dog.
It factor-I nearly missed the one spot where you can get some specialty dogs. They looked amazing….and filling.

Location-in the middle of what looks like a crater left over from a nuclear strike that has been paved over.
Access-car or a week’s worth of walking.
Cleanliness-really good and for 40 year old ballpark I give it top score.
GA Ticket Price-$23. WTF? I got one from a desperate fan for $20, but still. This is what dynamic pricing has done to ticket prices. If you don’t know about dynamic pricing there will be a long and unflattering rant about it in my book. You are buying my book aren’t you?
Fans-nice crowd, but surprisingly unfriendly. Not mean or bad, just not friendly.
Ambiance-hard call here. It has a distinct baseball vibe, but one from the 70s. I expected to see George Brett take the field. But since it lacks an over the top kid zone (or any kid zone that I could see), I give it top score. Hey, the 70s were not bad...except for that disco thing, and inflation, and the oil embargo, and Watergate, and that hair and disco and the clothes and disco.

DogBallparkTotal Dog/Game
Portability5GA Ticket Price2
It Factor5Fans4

A near perfect score for the hot dog was utterly demolished by the ballpark score. Location and access really hit KC hard. I was feeling really bad about rating the Royals so low, then I remembered that they were charging $23 for the cheapest seat. Not much they can do about the location, but ticket prices and access are well within their control and could make the Royals and The K a much better hot dog/ballpark experience.

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