Next week will mark the 11th anniversary of Jackson County voters approving a measure to fund upgrades for the stadiums at the Truman Sports Complex.
It’s been eight years since the renovations were finished at Kauffman Stadium, but the Royals noticed last season that things needed to be spruced up at their home. So when fans arrive at the stadium this season, they may notice a few changes.
“When we renovated the stadium in time for the 2009 season, it was a complete renovation of Kauffman Stadium,” said Toby Cook, the Royals’ vice president for publicity. “It doesn’t seem that long ago since we renovated, but we started that project right after the 2007 season.
“So you’re coming up on 10 years since they first started to tear things out. You know, an outdoor stadium can show a little wear after a few seasons. This is the most renovations that we have undergone since the big one in ’09.”
One of the biggest changes is to the team store, and fans will notice that immediately. Where there had been one door to enter, the Royals have added a garage door that will serve as the entrance. Inside is new flooring and LED lighting.
Additionally, there are now 10 registers instead of the six that had been there last season.
Aramark retail manager Brett Salzenstein said the team wanted to improve the flow of fans going through the store.
“There will be people who walk in on opening day and they won’t recognize it,” Salzenstein said. “The floor and the lighting. Those are two things that really stick out when you walk in. Everything is a lot brighter.”
The other major change is to the Diamond Club. While that will mostly noticed by those with tickets for that area of Kauffman Stadium, fans in the concourse can purchase food from the club, because the Royals Authentics store and the Royals Charity room have moved across the concourse.
Fans heading toward the outfield will note that the photo from the 2015 World Series championship celebration at Union Station is gone from the front of the Royals Hall of Fame. It’s been replaced by a photo of the downtown skyline with the words “Welcome to Kansas City.”
There also is large ACE 30 sign that looks like the patches the Royals players will wear to honor the late Yordano Ventura. Inside the Hall of Fame is a case that honors Ventura, including his jersey from his first postseason start against the Angels in 2014.
“The rest of the artifacts that are in this case are things that Royals fans brought out here to Kauffman Stadium following Yordano’s passing,” said Curt Nelson, director of the Royals Hall of Fame. “So … you’ll see a little bit of everything in here. Most of the ones we picked were handmade or homemade in some way, because we felt that spoke to the feeling.”
A video that played at Ventura’s memorial at FanFest will play for one or two home stands, Nelson said. Some of the signing boards will be in the Hall of Fame as well.
“If you were at FanFest,” Nelson said, “you might be part of that exhibit. If you signed your name to one of those big panels, those panels will reappear here as a tribute to Yordano.”
Royals FanFest in Bartle Hall was filled with mixed emotions on Friday. Fans were sad over the loss of Yordano Ventura but there was plenty of fun to be had and autographs to gather to help people look forward to the upcoming season.
A subtle change was made to the look of the Crown Vision video board, where the graphics will have a sharper look.
On the concourse in the outfield, there is a Price Chopper Patio, while the Budweiser Patio is being turned into the Blue Moon Tap Room.
The Royals have deals in place with MillerCoors (official beer) and Boulevard (official craft beer), and that leads to one of the crazier stats:
Not including vendors in the stands, there are 67 places at Kauffman Stadium to buy beer and 477 total taps.