KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Royals are back home, leading the Central Division and welcoming more fans.
The Royals announced last month that 17,400 fans will be allowed in Kauffman Stadium in May, which is approximately 45% of full capacity prior to the pandemic.
“Kansas City is so loud and so exciting. I imagine it will be just the same, just a little less crowded,” Stephanie Lewis said before heading inside Monday’s series opener against the Cleveland Indians.
For many of the thousands of fans who streamed into Kauffman Stadium, it was the first time back at “The K” in more than a year.
“We were trying to remember if it was 2018 or 2019 because it’s like last year didn’t happen,” Lewis said.
The shortened season in 2020 was a year of cardboard cutouts fans.
“I’ve had a hard time with all sports in empty stadiums. It really is tough you just kind of miss the excitement. You miss the atmosphere,” Jeff McMurray said.
Opening Day brought 10,000 fans, many taken up by season ticket holders. Now with a capacity of 17,400 it opens it up to more single-game ticket buyers.
Seating is still in pods, but social distancing is reduced to 3 feet. Both tickets and parking have to be purchased in advance and are accessible on mobile devices only.
Both Kansas City and Jackson County ended outdoor mask mandates last week. But per MLB policy masks are still required inside the stadium, unless actively eating or drinking.
“We’ve both got both our shots so we’re being careful. But I think they are doing everything right,” Kelly Furst said.
It’s not quite like the Texas Rangers full stadium, where New Jersey’s Samantha Adams took her three kids on their tour of sporting events across the country. Wednesday they’ll see the NBA’s Indiana Pacers play at Conseco Field House. Tuesday they’ll visit St. Louis’s Busch Stadium. Monday they were at “The K.”
“The kids aren’t in school this year, so we’re trying to make the most out of it and have fun,” Adams said.
After a pandemic and an absence of any winning seasons since the 2015 World Series, fun is something many Royals fans are having right now.
“We’ve got a chance, our team is pretty good this year,” Tyrese Wilson said.
Fans got a chance to see Royals #2 rated prospect Daniel Lynch make his pitching debut Monday night.