SunTrust Park for the Win
If you’ve been keeping score, this isn’t a surprise. Two categories (stadium location and stadium amenities) went the way of SunTrust Park. Kauffman Stadium won the stadium atmosphere category. The pregame fun category ended in a push. So we’ll call the final score 2.5 to 1.5.
This is not meant to be a diss to Kauffman Stadium. When the idea for this article was hatched at dinner, I fully expected my final analysis would be that the in-game atmosphere at Kauffman Stadium canceled out whatever SunTrust Park would throw at me.
I was wrong.
Baseball by nature is a much more laid-back experience than going to other sporting events. With 81 home games throughout a season, including many meaningless games for teams that aren’t in the postseason race, each individual game matters significantly less than in other sports. That puts an increased importance on the experience of going to a ballgame.
The Battery Atlanta, which is still expanding, is the reason why this was always going to be an unfair fight. My girlfriend and I were in awe walking through it on our way to the ballpark. We had experienced a similar setup where we lived previously in Durham, North Carolina, where the Tampa Bay Rays’ Triple-A affiliate plays. But this vibrant scene took that to the next level.
After experiencing it, most people would struggle to argue that the Kansas City Royals are better off in their current location. There are many advantages to being part of the Truman Sports Complex, and it’s unlikely the team will move anytime soon after the renovations were completed.
However, if the organization eventually decides to build a stadium in a more urban setting, it could do a lot worse than copying the SunTrust Park-The Battery Atlanta model.