Instead of ball caps and baseball gloves, it is all about hard hats and safety goggles at The K as the Kauffman Stadium Renovation project takes a dramatic turn in the next week.
Starting this Thursday, some of the most noticeable offseason changes to the stadium will leap off the drawing board and into action as the Royals work to complete the project by the 2009 season. After breaking ground on the renovation project on Wednesday, Oct. 3, the construction crew wasted no time in getting down to business. Fans, who have been checking royals.com regularly or straining their necks while driving by on I-70, have started noticing that several different projects are already in the works such as the removal of the outfield wall, the extracting of stadium seats near the bullpens and the disappearance of the backdrop behind home plate.
Also, just this week, more trees surrounding the stadium have been removed and the "Little K" area has disappeared from its original location. The popular children's area will be reconstructed behind left field during the 2008 offseason. But, even with all those changes brewing already, the big construction is just getting started and the newest phase of the renovation project kicks in now.
One of the biggest blasts at the stadium booms on Thursday when one of the spiral concrete ramps along the third base side of Kauffman (west side of stadium) is demolished. The demolition of the ramp will mean more fencing along that side of the stadium, which means offseason guests of the Stadium Club will have to enter through Gate C and walk down the concourse to enter the restaurant.
Also, it is time for fans to prepare for the "Crown" to come down. Construction crews will begin to dismantle the Crown Scoreboard on Thursday, removing the most visible feature of the stadium that will be replaced by Opening Day 2008. The center column light standard will be removed first and, by late Friday, the view from I-70 will be a little less "Royal" for the majority of the offseason. The new scoreboard will feature the largest replay system in Major League Baseball on one of the largest video boards in the country, all in high-definition.
Unfortunately because of safety concerns, the Royals are not offering any stadium tours until the 2009 regular season and the stadium Team Store is currently closed.
Luckily, even though fans will not be able to visit the stadium personally, they will not be left in the dark this offseason about the renovations. The Royals will continue posting updates, photo galleries and timelines on the renovation project on royals.com and the team's official blog: Around the Horn. In addition, two cameras - one inside the stadium facing toward the outfield and one outside the stadium pointing toward the main entrance - will be installed by the end of this month, giving fans 24-hour shots of the changes taking place. By going to royals.com, fans will be able to access the cameras and control the angles and views directly from their own computers.
With all the changes taking place, there is no denying that at Kauffman Stadium, "The Excitement is Building."