KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s not just the fans that are ready to come back to baseball - Kauffman Stadium game day workers are excited to return to their posts and interact with those fans.
“It’s a whole new ballgame, I’m looking forward to it,” said Jennifer Davis, who started working as an usher at The K in 2015, the year the Royals captured baseball’s crown.
Fast forward to 2021, and fans are back at the ballpark, after a season without spectators.
“I’m pretty excited to be back, I was pretty bummed last year, I’m sure everyone was,” said Shelby Jarrard, another game day staffer.
This offseason was different for her and her colleagues, as stadium staff prepared for a different work environment.
“A lot of trainings about COVID and new protocols. That was different because normally we do in-person training days, and it was all online, but we did quite a bit I’d say, I feel pretty prepared,” Jarrard said.
Enforcing safety procedures is just like the game they watch while working - preparation is one thing, execution is another.
“Make sure people are in the seats they’re supposed to be in, not just for their safety, but we’re at limited capacity, so it’ll be harder to control, so it’ll be interesting with masks. Hold up these signs, all of that, we’ll see how it goes,” Davis said.
The games mean a lot to the staff.
“Everybody is so fired up to be back here, it’s like a big family, you see the same people, the employees, some of the fans, oh my gosh, it’s awesome,” said Mike Bogard, another usher at the ballpark.
The family camaraderie of the staff happens outside the gates of Kauffman Stadium, too.
“I get Christmas cards from them, newsletters and stuff, it’s fun. Now I’ve seen a bunch of fans back that I know, it’s nice,” Davis said.
The wait is almost over - Royals baseball is back in Crown Town, as hope springs eternal for a new season.
“I’m just going to be so happy. I think the Royals are going to do great this year, I’m looking forward to it,” Bogard said.
The first pitch for the Royals and Texas Rangers at Kauffman Stadium is scheduled for 3:10 p.m. Thursday afternoon.