Friday, December 21, 2012

Rant of the Week: Stadiums

It might only be a few days away from Christmas, but I’m going to interrupt your holiday spirit with a rant; and this time, it’s about the stadium situation in Kansas City.

The Truman Sports complex is an eyesore; more specifically, Kauffman Stadium’s view. For football, it’s fine, and Arrowhead’s location is that much different from such stadiums as the one the Giants and Jets play at in the Meadowlands. A baseball stadium sharing that same sporting complex, however, I find ridiculous.

Let me explain: I don’t see anything wrong in the Chiefs and Royals sharing a sports complex. It’s the LOCATION of that sports complex that irritates me.  For football, traffic is a major concern and that’s why it’s common to find football stadiums located just outside of cities like Arrowhead. But how many baseball stadiums are also located 15 minutes outside of downtown? The result is one of the worst stadium views in all of professional sports.

Before I interned in West Virginia this summer for a minor league baseball team, Kauffman stadium was really the only stadium I had ever watched a professional baseball game at – besides one game on vacation in Anaheim – and I thought it was a very aesthetically pleasing stadium. After all, watching games on TV, it’s hard to fully grasp the scenery surrounding those other ballparks. This summer, however, I was able to travel to a couple of other stadiums and was wowed.
My view at Progressive field.

The stadiums I visited were Progressive Field in Cleveland and PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Progressive field is in the heart of Cleveland, and is surrounded by the buildings that form the skyline. You feel encompassed by the city, and even become a part of the city. It’s across town from the Browns stadium, and you get the separate-but-equal feeling between the two giant sports of the Sixth City.

My view at PNC park. 

In Pittsburgh, to even get inside the stadium, you must first cross one of the famous yellow bridges that cross the Alleghany that you see in any postcard of Pittsburgh. While on your way there, there are vendors of hotdogs and of not-quite-MLB-authentic gear (I purchased a Pirates jersey-shirt of Andrew McCutchen but it simply said ‘Cutch’ on the back.’ It was only $10 so I don’t care if it was licensed apparel or not.) Once inside, you are swept away by the view of the Pittsburgh skyline, coming over the top of the outfield wall. And even when a Pirates’ homerun is hit, the lights of one of the buildings, already glowing at the top, began a little celebratory dance up and down the peak of the building.

My view at 2012 opening day.

What do the denizens of Kansas City get to see when they watch a Royals game? A highway on a hill with a Fellowship of Christian Athletes building in the background, that’s what. No giant scoreboard, no crown, and no amount of fountains are going to get me over the fact that we have the ugliest view in all of sports. Minor league stadiums have better views that Kauffman.

Kauffman’s only redeeming quality is that it is easy to enter and leave the sports complex, which isn’t much of one. I would easily sacrifice any sort of tailgating opportunity to be able to enter a stadium and be wowed. I don’t even enter Kansas City when I go to the stadium since I come from the south. Something needs to be done, the stadium needs to be moved somewhere downtown, somewhere that you can see the city, experience the city, and become party of the city. Not part of the Truman Sports Complex.

So Royals: Get out of the parking lot and get into the city. Until you do, I don’t think it’s even a question that you have the ugliest view in all of baseball.

And I’m not even talking about the product on the field. 


  1. Much ado about nothing. Give me a wide open view of a beautiful midwestern sky instead of some ugly downtown skyline.

  2. Really not bad ... you just have to sit and observe well. Something I do not like is the sky because is dark most of the time.

  3. I totally disagree. I cant stand the smell of a dirty city and with a good chunk of the Royals attendance coming from rural areas it would discourage me for sure from going to a few games just because of basically an extra hour fighting to get downtown and out before we could head home. I love Kauffmann.

  4. I have to agree with Docjay and I've been to my fair share of downtown stadiums. Just because it works for some teams doesn't mean it would work for everyone. Notoriously Kansas City has had to draw well from across the Midwest (Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri), for that reason it makes a lot of sense for the Royals to position their park where easy access can be achieved.

    It is for a similar reason that the Royals had turf all those years, they didn't want fans to travel across a state to a game and see it rained out. I've dealt with the parking and exit time of down town stadiums, and I'll gladly keep an hour of my time instead of sacrificing it for a few buildings in the back drop.