June 5, 2021
By Fred Liggett
Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals, is a busier place now than it has been for almost two years. The Royals played host to the National League’s Pittsburgh Pirates starting on Monday, May 31. That evening Royals officials opened the stadium gates to the team’s first home game without capacity restrictions.
The Royals gave their fans an entertaining 7-3 win over the Pirates to begin six-game homestand. Off the field fans were treated to open seating with no more pods of limits to 2, 4 or 6 people sitting together. Masks were no longer required and fans could walk around the entire stadium along the concourse without any closed areas.
Before the Royals and Pirates took the main field many long time Royals fans were treated to a game at the Little K between the Royals Legends and military veterans. Some of the Royals alumni taking part was Dennis Leonard, Willie Aikens, Jerry Terrell, Jamie Bluma, Greg Pryor, John Wathan, Jamie Quirk and serving as the umpire was John Mayberry. The game was set up by Royals Charities in honor of Memorial Day 2021.
Then it was time for the current Royals to take the field for an interleague series against the Pirates. For the first time since September 2019 the Royals had every seat available for fans to purchase a game ticket for. For the first time all season the Royals opened the doors to the team’s Hall of Fame museum and the kid approved Outfield Experience. The Royals are one of the first teams in Major League Baseball to open up without restrictions. Division rival Minnesota will do the same next week when they return home after playing the Royals this weekend. Other teams will wait further into June to join the Royals on the full capacity list. For example the San Diego Padres are set to open up Petco Park on June 17 and the St. Louis Cardinals first open seating game will be on June 14th.
Taking the Royals up on the offer for a game with full capacity was Norman and JoAnne Greer of Lee’s Summit. The couple who are retired Lee’s Summit school teachers are both vaccinated and stated “feel really safe to be here.” The Greer’s are really big Royals fans and were happy to be there on this festive night as it was the first game in their “old seats.” Prior to Monday’s game the two were subject to seating in pods and where the team selected those pods to be located. Norman Greer commented “glad to have our regular seats back.” The Greer family has a partial season ticket plan of 20 games with the Royals. JoAnne Greer said, “I am glad for the Royals to make money again, food vendors, parking and others.”
The Royals played the Pirates before an announced attendance of 12,604. Club officials stated an increase in ticket sales for the team’s weekend series against division foe Minnesota Twins. The 2021 season began with the team being limited to 10,000 fans a game, then in the month of May 17,000 fans. Royals officials are expecting on Friday or Saturday night the stadiums highest attendance figures since the end of the 2019 season.
For fans like the Greer’s the return to full capacity is a welcome sight in addition to another KC Royals victory.