Fans impressed with renovated Royals stadium

Bill Althaus

The Kansas City Royals -- who claimed an impressive 5-2 home-opening victory over the New York Yankees on Tuesday afternoon -- and their renovated stadium received the same type of rave reviews from fans who were blown away by the additions at Kauffman Stadium.

"Awesome! Awesome! Awesome - both the team and that new scoreboard," said Blue Springs resident Ron Smith, who owns Wildcat Siding and Windows. "I'm in the construction business, so the construction around the stadium doesn't bother me at all.

"During the game, one of my friends said, 'I'm seeing the game better on the scoreboard than I am in person.' And he was right. It's the most amazing thing I've ever seen - and we saw it during the day. I can't imagine what it's going to look like at night. It just might be the most amazing thing on the planet."

Smith paused for a moment, and added, "But I'll take four strikeouts of Alex Rodriguez and a win over the new scoreboard. If we had a competitive team and all the new renovation at the stadium that would be like a dream come true."

Grain Valley college student Michael Huskey agreed.

"It's worth coming out in the cold and the rain just to see all the cool new stuff at the stadium," Huskey said. "When we walked up (to the gate) and saw that scoreboard it was like, 'Wow!' It's just unbelievable."

Tim Pace was able to get away from the oven at Tim's Pizza in Independence to witness the opening day win and he walked away totally impressed by the entire Kauffman Stadium package.

"There is a minimum of inconvenience because of the parking situation with all the construction," Pace said, "but the Royals are bending over backwards to be fan friendly. It was really cold - but with the great game, the win and the new scoreboard, you didn't even notice it."

Pace said he had to chuckle when the Yankees took a short-lived 2-1 lead in the top of the second inning.

"A fan behind us started chanting, 'Let's go Jayhawks!' But that didn't last long because the Royals came right back and took the lead. You can tell the stadium is a work in progress, and I know it's going to be a masterpiece."

It wasn't just the fans who raved about the new 101-by-85-foot high-definition scoreboard/picture screen that stands in center field.

"It was pretty cool," Royals third baseman Alex Gordon said. "I'd catch myself watching it a couple of times during the game, just wondering what was going to come on next."

Pace's favorite moment came in the fifth inning when a 100-foot image of Garth Brooks showed up and the legendary country star sang "I've Got Friends in Low Places."

Brooks told the stadium, "I feel like I'm 100-foot tall. Oh, I am 100-foot tall."

Along with the new scoreboard was a digital-image left-field wall that updates pitcher statistics and the scores of other games in the American and National leagues.

The Examiner