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Must-Click Link: The dome the Royals almost got but thankfully didn’t

Apr 10, 2013, 5:33 PM EDT

Kauffman Stadium

Kauffman Stadium turns 40 years-old today. It’s a wonderful ballpark. Even more wonderful when one takes into account the time it was built. In the late 60s and early 70s places like Pittsburgh and Cincinnati — following the example of Washington and Atlanta — were going with multi-use stadiums. Places which could house both football and baseball, but which were pretty poor venues for both. Way worse for baseball, in my view.

Thankfully Kansas City built separate places for both the Royals and the Chiefs. It really resulted in two great venues. They’re both beautiful and, when the teams are good, exciting and fun places to see games. Amazing what happens when you let form follow function.

But it didn’t have to be that way. In fact, the city fathers of Kansas City once proposed a mighty dome for the Chiefs and Royals.  And Royals Review has the story, along with some cool renderings.

Of course the renderings of these things are always cool. How much ya wanna bet that a real dome built in KC back then — complete in its multi-use glory — would be sub-Tropicana Field awful today. It it even survived the 80s.

  1. txrngr34 - Apr 10, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    “How much ya wanna bet that a real dome built in KC back then — complete in its multi-use glory — would be sub-Tropicana Field awful today. It it even survived the 80s.”

    I grew up with the Astrodome (built in the 60s as a multi-use venue). It was great during its day, but eventually wasn’t able to deliver the park experience pro teams need this century. Today, it’s a hideously deteriorating dome next to Reliant Stadium. It no longer even looks imposing or magnificent as it once did, thanks to the monstrous Reliant…which dwarfs the Dome’s landmark-ish appeal.

    I have great memories there, but something needs to be done with it. KC is definitely in better shape, with less burden on taxpayers, ultimately.

  2. geoknows - Apr 10, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    Actually, they never came very close to the domed stadium concept. The sliding roof that could be placed over either Arrowhead or (then) Royals Stadium, however, almost happened, and the footings were actually laid for it. I believe the strike had a lot to do with why it wasn’t completed.

    It’s too bad they settled on the location they did for the Sports Complex, instead of opting for the land where the Kauffman Center now sits, as was one of the original proposals. In my mind, the only drawback to the stadiums is their location. While not terribly far from downtown, a downtown location would still be infinitely preferable than the wheatfield they appear to sit in. There’s simply nothing else close to them that is of any attraction to the out of town guest, or even the natives, for that matter. $2 million to purchase the land vs $20 million was a huge difference at the time – heck, it still is.

    • blacksables - Apr 10, 2013 at 6:50 PM

      No freakin’ way. Municipal Stadium had absolutely no parking, and it was insane to drive there. It hasn’t gotten better trying to get downtown 40 years later.

      While the idea of a downtown stadium is a great fantasy, the reality is that people have to get there. And it’s situation in exactly the right place for people to come from all over the 6 state area.

      The only worse idea was building out towards the airport because everyone thought the city would grow that way? How’d that work out?

      Its in exactly the right spot. The only drawback is the didn’t orientate the center field fence towards downtown, to see the sky line.

  3. hojo20 - Apr 10, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    I love Royals Stadium.

  4. vols84 - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    Kansas City missed out by not building a downtown stadium. But what else would you expect from the poorest ran mid size city in the country. They almost built a retracting dome that would move back and forth from Arrowhead to Kauffman stadium, only because the NFL promised the city a Super Bowl if they built a dome. Thankfully this idea was rejected.

    • ajg314 - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:39 PM

      I’ll disagree. As a former resident of the Kansas City area, I think the Royals and Chiefs stadiums are built in a great spot. Compared to other big city stadiums, it’s pretty easy to get in and out. I was sorry the voters rejected the sliding roof. I thought the thinking was innovative and was sorry to see it not built.

  5. DJ MC - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    That page has several proposed stadiums for the Camden Yards site in Baltimore. The first would have been a retractable-roofed multipurpose stadium in 1967, the second a dome design from 1973. It even has the original HOK design that would have given the Orioles New Comiskey Park, part two, before the team stepped in. I bet you can find proposals (legitimate ones, I mean) for every major-league city.

    That moving cover would have been interesting, even if it probably would have ended up like the retractable roof at Olympic Stadium.

    • critter69 - Apr 11, 2013 at 6:23 AM

      I now live in Baltimore, within walking distance of Camden Yards (if you like long walks of about a mile or so – VBG). Otherwise, a hop, skip and jump to light rail, which has a stop right at Camden Yards.

      The original opening weekend of the Orioles at Camden Yards, I underwent an appendectomy, and the Chairman of the agency ‘accused’ me of playing hooky from work so I could attend the opening. (When I got back to work weeks later, I ‘set him straight’ on the problem – turns out he was envious. VBG.)

      Many may remember the old Hammerjacks. It was located between the baseball and football stadiums. For a while, the parking lots between the stadiums worked to Hammerjacks favor, as they could ‘expand parking’ onto the stadium lots. That ended when the stadium authority put up a fence (chainlink, 8′ to 10′ high, with no pedestrian openings) on the property line. Then Hammerjacks tried to say that the property was worth many more millions than the stadium authority wanted to pay when the stadium authority tried to buy it out. Hammerjacks said ‘uncle’ when the state came in and told Hammerjacks it could review the property taxes Hammerjacks paid in the past 10 years (when Hammerjacks was assessed for less than 10% of what they said the business was worth), and retroactively assess a much higher tax on Hammerjacks.

      I grew up in NE Indiana, within a couple hundred miles of several MLB teams, but I have been a fan of the SF Giants for several decades now, even though most of the rest of the family were Reds fans (Grandpa was born and grew up in Adams County, OH – Cincy was a few dozen miles west).

  6. kcrobert10 - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:37 PM

    Do any of you guys even live or have been to kc in like the last 20 yrs. I’m glad the rolling roof never happened its much nicer going to those stadiums in the elements. Now people are right the royals should be downtown. The sports complex is the perfect place for the chiefs plenty of room to tailgate and some of the best bbq in the country is on display there every sunday during the fall. Ur crazy to think that a downtown stadium would cause anymore traffic than the big 12 tournament does at the sprint center and power and light district every yr. This last yr there was some 80 thousand people down there the arena only sits 20 and belive me there was no problem finding parking or things to do. Also the guy who doesn’t think the area by the airport hasn’t filled in must of not been in town since like 10 yrs ago. Platte county especially the I-29 corridor is filling up with people and shopping areas and so on, faster than any other county in the metro. The k is great but with in the next 10 to 20 yrs it will be time to replace it and arrowhead. My guess the royals go downtown and the chiefs to ks by the speedway, soccer stadium, and the legends.

  7. cardsfan773 - Apr 10, 2013 at 10:24 PM

    I have been to KC more than a few times, and I love the ballpark. Where else can you get box seats on gameday 4 rows off the field for $4 each. But it really is a gorgeous view on gameday. Never sat in a seat with a bad view of the game action. My kids loved the waterfalls in center. It also has an amazing hall of fame on site. Great place. Hopefully the fans get to see a winning team soon. They deserve it.

  8. vols84 - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:40 PM

    Here in KC we are too busy debating light rail vs street cars. The drawback of the current stadium location is that with the revitalization of downtown, the walk up ticket sales would be through the roof for weekday games. I know that after a game at the K, I don’t want to stay in that area very long. Nothing to do out there and it’s run down.

  9. blazertop - Apr 11, 2013 at 6:05 AM

    txrngr34 – the only reason Reliant stadium *looks* larger than the Astrodome, is because 1/2 the Astrodome is below street level.

  10. stonymark - Apr 11, 2013 at 7:09 AM

    When I go to KC to watch something, I know already where I’ll park. Also there’s a reason tailgating is so good up there. I like the location. Downtown stadiums are pure cosmetic.

  11. malonerainja - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    Kauffman is a beautiful stadium, but as others have noted here, the location is horrible. It’s in the boonies for everyone that doesn’t live in Raytown, Independence (see 70% of metro residents). KC typically has poor planning though, so it’s to be expected. I was hoping instead of pouring more money into the K that they would just put it towards a downtown arena fund a few years ago, but alas no one in this city is very forward thinking. In 20 years Kauffman will be considered out of date and we’ll be in danger of losing the team. Then hopefully we’ll get a downtown arena which will be a different kind of boon for the River Market and Downtown neighborhoods. By then, hopefully P n L will have transformed into something more tolerable and local.

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