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Reacting to John Sherman’s Open Letter on New Stadium

With an offseason in the present, Sherman provided a possible glimpse into the future.

Late Tuesday afternoon, merely hours after the club announced a flurry of roster moves that included Rule 5 protections and a contract signing, the Kansas City Royals dropped another big piece of news. Team Chairman and CEO John Sherman released a four-page open letter containing plenty of information about the team's current search for a place to build a new stadium. The letter, which also contained a rendering at the end, discussed a possible ballpark district, costs for construction, public-private funding and more:

While the Royals' current lease at Truman Sports Complex doesn't end until 2031, Kansas City is attempting to get out ahead of things and map out what it wants to do next on the stadium front. Is the idea of a new stadium a good one? Is this idea the best? The Inside the Royals crew gathered to chime in on Sherman's open letter and what may come next for the organization. 

Shawn Bauman: A state-of-art stadium will be a shiny object that will definitely draw visitors for a few years. If long periods of losing baseball continue, though, it won't be long before the newness wears off. Will the cost required to pay for and maintain the stadium cut into payroll? A public/private partnership means taxpayers will be funding a big chunk of a $2 billion dollar price tag, regardless of what is said. It is exciting to think about it outside of my concerns above. But, as a lifelong Royals fan, I will always have the thought, "do we deserve good things"? Right now it doesn't seem like we do; hopefully, in 2031 that changes.

Trevor Hahn: I’m all in on a new stadium. I worked at 'The K' for four years and I have seen firsthand how outdated parts of the stadium are that are not in plain sight of a fan's view. It is time for the Royals to have their own area of the city that is dedicated to the team and its history. Also, whether we like it or not, it is happening and it’s time for the fanbase to accept it.

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Mark Van Sickle: The Royals have been eyeing a downtown move for decades but the timing hasn’t been right until now — it's the perfect storm of the lease at Truman Sports Complex being up in 2031, the Kansas City Chiefs wanting the sports complex to themselves and a new ownership group. The memories that come from Kauffman Stadium will leave fans longing for the nostalgia of the fountains and 'Crown Vision.' However, I have a feeling they will pay tribute to the best parts of 'The K' while making something enticing and new for fans of all ages while looking toward the future. 

When it’s all said and done, this will be a net positive for all involved; from the city adding jobs and investing in an attraction downtown, to ownership building up the net worth of the team, to the players and the comfort of a new and updated workspace and to the fan experience. I can’t wait to see what the final product looks like. It will be an exciting time in Kansas City as this comes to fruition.

Jerry Edwards: My thoughts on a new stadium have been well documented. My apprehension comes from my belief that winning should be the primary focus and not on how to squeeze the fans for a shiny new stadium. The problem with Kauffman is that it's decades years old and lacks the cultural significance of Wrigley or Fenway to make it appealing to outsiders. 

Kauffman is the last of the cookie-cutter era of stadiums and was one of the last stadiums (in my opinion) where the game of baseball was the main draw. Building this stadium won’t give the Royals the Dodgers' bankroll and it won’t make them as analytically savvy as the Rays. The Royals organization will still have to fix those issues to fill up their new plaything, otherwise, it’ll sit empty like Kauffman did this season.

Jacob Milham: I find it difficult to name many negatives about the Royals moving downtown. It offers the franchise a fresh start, away from an aging stadium with little significance outside of the Royals' fanbase. Change is hard, but this will hopefully expand the Royals brand and bring in more casual baseball fans. The new stadium, added accessibility to games, and more, will make going to ball games a better experience. I am hoping that more generations of Royals fans will experience a crazy Wild Card Game or World Series in a new stadium. A lot can change for this franchise between now and then, but something that won’t change is the memories made in Kauffman.