The Beauty of a Ballpark

 

(Writer’s Note: I originally wrote this a couple of years ago for a weekly feature I do during the baseball season for 14 KVOE Emporia.  I stumbled across it today(ie. I cleaned my desk) and wanted to share it with everyone)

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This past week Boston’s Fenway Park celebrated it’s 100th anniversary, a feat that seems inconceivable for the batch of today’s baseball stadiums. With the influx of new stadiums over the past few years, teams have figured out that a good way to get more fans out to the old ballpark is to build a new stadium. Nothing makes the turnstiles move more than a new place to watch their favorite team play. Other than maybe Wrigley Field, it will be awhile before we see a park reach the triple digit mark.

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With Marlins Park opening this year in Miami, the number of stadiums that have opened in the past twenty years almost averages out to one a year: twenty one new ballparks have graced Major League Baseball in that span.

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With all that said, it is amazing that almost forty years later Kauffman Stadium is one of the most beautiful ballparks in baseball. A couple years ago renovations were made to the stadium and it went from being a good looking park to one of the best in the game to witness baseball. Sure, all these new parks have those extra special touches that make them unique and keep fans coming back for more.

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Whether it’s Boog Powell’s barbeque at Camden Yards in Baltimore or the monuments at the new Yankee Stadium, these ballparks give fans an extra incentive to make a trip to a ball game. Some are flashy, while some are more subtle and Kauffman could be classified as subtle.

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The fountains are still in the outfield and you can now walk out there before the game and feel the water on your skin, which is nice on a warm summer day.

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If you go out to left field, there is the Royals Hall of Fame, which takes a look at the history of not only the Royals but also baseball in Kansas City. Just make sure you get there early, as a long line forms pretty quickly out there.  There is also the Little K back behind the outfield, a place for the kids to play at and includes a small baseball field and putt putt course just name a few.

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Out in right field is the Pepsi Party Porch for the adults, a place to relax and enjoy the game out by the fountains. On top of that, the seating in the renovated “K” makes you see the game from a more level playing field. This all from a stadium that is close to 40 years old. Sure, the Royals are off to a rough start to this new season but the losses are softened if you get the chance to be at the game. It’s hard to imagine that Kauffman Stadium could reach 100 in another sixty years, but if the stadium is kept up it could be one of the ballparks to stand the test of time.

My Baseball Bucket List

(Writer’s Note: I originally wrote this a couple of years ago for a weekly feature I do during the baseball season for 14 KVOE Emporia.  I stumbled across it today(ie. I cleaned my desk) and wanted to share it with everyone)

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Most people have a bucket list, a mental list of places or things they want to do at some point in their life. I have a baseball bucket list, or baseball related places I want to visit at some point before I die.

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The big thing on that list is to visit every one of the Major League baseball stadiums. So far, I’m not very far into that, as I can only count three on my list, including Busch Stadium in St. Louis this past weekend. The initial plan was to do this some summer when I retire but I’m thinking more and more of going to a different stadium every year.

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Also on my list is to visit the ball field where the movie “Field of Dreams” was filmed. It seems a bit corny but I’ve always thought the look of the field was reminiscent of the old ballparks, which I am a sucker for. The farm where it is located was sold this past year and plans are to expand it into a baseball and softball complex to be named All-Star Ballpark Heaven. Maybe on a return trip back from Minnesota I could swing through Iowa and visit this iconic baseball field.

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Speaking of old ballparks, I would love to visit the former sites of Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds in New York. Both are stadiums that had their own unique feel to them and to see where they once stood would be an interesting peek into baseball history.

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Last on my baseball bucket list is to visit Omaha and attend the College World Series. Sure, it’s not quite the same as when Rosenblatt Stadium was still the home park, but it is still the College World Series! To take in this once a year event and get a feel for it would be a really cool experience.

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Of course there is more I would like to do that just isn’t on my list. I would like to visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown again, as I was able to go back in 1999, so it is not an urgent requirement. I also plan on going to the Negro League Museum in Kansas City but I am planning to cross that off my list later this year(writers note: I visited the museum in October and it was fantastic!). Also, to attend a World Series game would be pretty thrilling but I’m holding out for the Kansas City Royals to get back to the Fall Classic. I know, I might be waiting awhile but I can still hold out hope. Overall, it’s a pretty long list. But when someone has a dream, anything can be accomplished.      

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