Kansas City, Mo. — If ever a team was having a rebuilding year, it's the 2008 Kansas City Royals.
The whining of saws and the rat-a-tat-tat of jackhammers in a race against time will crank up at 6 o'clock every morning all over Kauffman Stadium. When the Royals are home for night games, workmen will pack up their equipment and call it a day about four hours before the first pitch.
A special water truck will be standing by to wet down dry areas, lest the hot summer winds give fans raspy throats and red, watery eyes.
For the entire season, Kauffman will be a combination baseball stadium and major construction zone. It's all part of a $250 million renovation that in many ways will almost completely remake the 35-year-old ballpark by the time everything is finished around July 2009.
Great pains are being taken to ensure comfort and safety, said Kevin Uhlich, the Royals' senior vice president for business. As soon as construction is halted every game day, workers will be scurrying around seeing to it that fans will have no problem when they start filing into their seats 90 minutes before game time.
"We'll clean everything up, make sure we've got a safe environment, make sure we've got a clean environment," Uhlich told about 25 media representatives who donned hard hats and goggles for a tour of the stadium on Tuesday, one week before the home opener against the New York Yankees.
"They won't get hit with falling mortar," Uhlich said.