Kauffman Stadium is one of the oldest and most famous stadiums in the game, drawing baseball fans from all over the world. Most people know to arrive early for tailgating and check out the iconic fountains, but there’s a lot more going on at the K, including some things even loyal Royals fans won’t know about.
Pork and Peanut Butter
A few years ago, John Woychick, the executive chef for Aramark at Kauffman stadium (@thekfoods), was throwing a little get-together by his backyard fire pit when he decided to get a little crazy.
“I had just brought some smoked pork belly home, and I had some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups,” he says. “So I combined them. Everybody loved it, and I kept that idea in the back of my head.” This off-season, the Kauffman food team was looking for something unique and attention-grabbing.
Woychick’s creation is now on the menu at Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue pit behind the Price Chopper Patio in right field. It’s called the BBQ Reese’s Sandwich and includes pulled pork, Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce, crumbled Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and imitation bacon bits.
“We found that it needed some crunch, and the bacon bits did that,” Woychick says. “They’re almost like pop rocks.”
‘Room’ For All
As of Opening Day this year, the K now has two sensory rooms: one on the first-base side and the other on the third-base side. The rooms are designed to help children reduce and manage stress and aggression, says Amanda Grosdidier, executive director of Royals Charities. They were added to the stadium at the request of parents whose children were overwhelmed by the noise and pageantry.
“We don’t ever want the stadium to feel like it’s not comfortable,” Grosdidier says. “So this is a way to be comfortable and engaged in the game in a different way.”
Families should call Guest Services in advance of their visit for directions to the sensory rooms, which are in out-of-the-way spots near exits.
“The paint, the flooring, the walls are all adapted to be as soothing as possible,” Grosdidier says. “And then we also worked with KultureCity to train all of our staff.”
Having a Ball
While there are team shops selling hats and jerseys all over the K, there’s one where you’ll find serious memorabilia collectibles, says Ashley Ficken, the Royals’ director of merchandise sales. Game-used balls are the “bread and butter” of The Authentic Store, which is on the main concourse behind section 225, Ficken says.
Game-used balls are available starting in the seventh or eighth inning of every game—and you’ll see people lined up, Ficken says.
The balls get authenticated by a league employee in the dugout and are marked with a sticker that notes information like who threw the pitch and who the batter was. Prices vary based on who was involved—the ball from Bobby Witt Jr.’s second hit went for $3,000.
Another popular item is a small bottle of water from the iconic fountains in center field, which is also authenticated by a league employee.
Martin Cizmar is the editor of Kansas City magazine.
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