KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Opening Day for Major League Baseball’s season has taken Kansas City Royals fans to Kauffman Stadium since 1973.
However, within the next few years, the tradition could reset itself, potentially moving to a downtown ballpark, if metro leaders have their wishes granted.
As Opening Day 2022 arrived in Kansas City on Thursday, Royals fans paused to take stock of their current stadium and to consider what a move to the city’s center could bring.
Kansas City’s downtown leaders recently released its vision for the downtown core by the year 2030. They recommended more than 100 changes, including construction of a downtown baseball stadium. It would mean the possibility of moving the Royals about 8 miles to the west.
Royals owner John Sherman has publicly expressed his desire for a downtown stadium.
Royals fans in attendance on Opening Day seem to have their minds made up — but with vastly different opinions.
Several ticket holders FOX4 spoke with on Thursday said they’re opposed to the idea since parking areas, crowded downtown streets and space for tailgating might be question marks — not to mention the likelihood of taxpayers picking up the bills.
“I don’t like it. I want to stay here in the Truman Sports Complex with Arrowhead right there and keep everything close together. It’s what Kansas City is,” Diego Casados, a Royals fan from Grain Valley, said.
“I think they could do a lot of good things downtown, but I’m not sold that it’s the best financial thing to do, especially since I’m a taxpayer in Jackson County,” said Kyle Schmidt, a Royals fan from Lee’s Summit.
However, many Royals fans like the idea of a downtown ballpark village, similar perhaps to the one in nearby St. Louis. One criticism of the Truman Sports Complex is the small number of businesses that surround it, with few options for dining and entertainment.
Even Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas has spoken out, advocating for relocating the Royals. Kauffman Stadium is now the fifth oldest stadium in Major League Baseball.
“(Kauffman Stadium) is kind of in a random location. It’s still in the middle of both states, so it’s still a win-win for us. I still think downtown would be a little more central and something new for us,” said Sarah Houston, a Royals fan from Lee’s Summit.
“Baseball is about evolution and evolving. This city would really benefit from something like that where they’d build the inner core. I’d love that,” Shawn Adams, a Royals fan from Lenexa, said.
Most fans FOX4 spoke with on Thursday seemed to agree they’d be opposed to using taxpayer dollars to build a new ballpark since local tax is already used to support Arrowhead Stadium and Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals won their Opening Day game against the Cleveland Guardians 3-1. They’ll take Friday off before facing Cleveland again on Saturday at 3:10 p.m.