My husband and I have been fans of the Kansas City Royals for 35 years. We've attended countless games at their beautiful stadium, but had seen just the public areas of the facility.
During a recent trip to KC, we decided to take a tour of the stadium. To be honest, we almost didn't do it because of the cost. We were quite surprised when we saw the prices, since we had toured Fenway Park for a fraction of the cost. However, Fenway offers just one tour, while Kauffman Stadium offers three. The prices vary from $7 to $50, depending on your age and which tour you choose. We decided on the most expensive tour, which would give us the most possible access to private parts of the stadium.
The Grand Slam Tour is advertised as a 2 hour tour, though ours lasted 2 1/2 hours and we were not rushed through. Because the stadium is large and the tour was spread all over, we were driven in a golf cart that held 8 people. It was fun to ride around and around up the circle walkway that we knew so well.
The first stop was the Royal's dugout. We sat where the ballplayers sit during the games and I thought of all the players I had watched over the years who had been there before. We got a first-hand view of where the players are during the games and the view of the field they have from there. We walked out onto the field and looked around the park from a vantage point we'd never seen before. It was awesome.
Another stop was the press box, where reporters sit during the games and where the official scorer views the events of the game. Many seats had names assigned to various reporters and broadcasters who were there at that time for the 4 game series against the Boston Red Sox.
We saw the workout room and the door leading into it where many ballplayers have taken out their frustrations. This was quite evident by the large number of dents and scratches on the door. We see players leave the dugout in anger, but never see what happens once they disappear from public view. This gave us a clear indication of what ballplayers do to vent their frustrations.
We visited the Diamond Club, a private restaurant with a great view of the field, reserved for season ticket holders. The room itself wasn't a big deal to me, but some of the photos and other memorabilia were great to see. Visiting a private luxury suite was a view into how those with lots of money or great connections get to view the games. Other stops included the interview room, Party Deck and the Little K Playing Field, one of several new additions this year after the major renovation of the park. The most impressive update is the largest HD video screen in all of baseball. It is magnificent!
Throughout the tour, we saw walls decorated with amazing photos, jerseys and other memorabilia, most of which we had never seen on display before.
The Hall of Fame was fantastic. It is filled with historical memorabilia from years past, including George Brett's bat from the "Pine Tar Game" between the Royals and Yankees and of course, the World Series Trophy from 1985. For any Royals fan, the Hall of Fame is a must see. If you go, give yourself plenty of time to see all that is there. There is normally a $10 charge for adults, but it was included in the tour.
Those who took the Grand Slam Tour received a Kauffman Stadium baseball cap, an 8x10 photo from the World Series victory and best of all, an autographed baseball. On the day we were there, they were out of baseballs, so they took our names and addresses and mailed them to us later. We were able to choose whether we'd like a current player's autograph, or a player from earlier days. We both wanted one from a veteran player. All they could do was promise that we'd each get a different player, but we couldn't request anyone in particular, which we understood. We received the balls about a week later and much to our delight, we didn't get just one autograph, but each ball had 8 signatures, including one of our all-time favorite players, Willie Wilson. The ball alone was well worth the cost of the tour. I don't know if this normally happens or if we were just lucky because they don't advertise or promise multiple signatures. Our tour guide had recommended that I call the head of the tour department about getting a veteran autograph, which I did and he was quite friendly and promised to do the best he could. His best turned out to be more than we had even imagined. I called him the next day to thank him and let him know how pleased we were.
Our tour guide was quite knowledgeable regarding the history of the stadium and the teams throughout the years. He carried a camera and took a photo of us at a place of our choice, which was e-mailed to us. He also took time to take pictures of people with their own cameras.
My only disappointment was that we weren't able to go inside the visitor's clubhouse. Because it was a game day, the clubhouse was closed to tours.
Kauffman Stadium offers two other tours that take you to fewer parts of the stadium and no souvenirs are given. If you're mostly interested in going to the Royals dugout and the Hall of Fame, you can do that for $10, or for $20, you get the same tour, plus a few more stops and the baseball cap. Since I love collecting baseball memorabilia, spending the extra money for the full tour and getting the autographed baseball was worth every penny.
If you are a Royals fan or just like seeing behind the scenes, I recommend taking one of these tours. If you love autographed memorabilia, the Grand Slam Tour is a home run.