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Kauffman Stadium exhibit celebrates 40 seasons

The Royals will celebrate their third straight Opening Day Monday, but this one will finally be their own. The club opened the season in Chicago and then played the home opener for the Phillies this weekend, but Monday marks the Royals home opener -- and will kick off a year-long celebration of 40 years of baseball at Kauffman Stadium.

"Three in a row for us," said Billy Butler, who drove in a career-high seven runs in a win Sunday to send the Royals home with a 3-3 record. "It will be fun. Our fans are going to be psyched. I can't wait; they're excited about this team, and we're excited about this team. You won't see an empty seat."

Counting Spring Training, the Royals have effectively been on the road for about seven weeks.

"It will be nice to get home and lighten up some of the luggage we've been carrying around for two months," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

"Saturday's loss was disappointing, but we came back strong and I think we're heading home on a really good note," James Shields said. "To come back off a loss like that, and go 3-3 on the first road trip? We'll take that."

The Royals Hall of Fame will help celebrate the 40th anniversary season of Kauffman Stadium with a retrospective exhibit of the ballpark and its place in history.

The "Home Sweet Home" exhibit features the origins of the original Royals Stadium and the Truman Sports Complex even before the franchise's inaugural season of 1969. Kauffman Stadium was known as Royals Stadium when the park opened in 1973. The Royals are 1,648-1,521 at home in their history.

The Royals Hall of Fame also is hosting a "Club 3,000" exhibit on batters with 3,000 or more hits and pitchers with 3,000 or more strikeouts. Artifacts from the National Baseball Hall of Fame include the baseball from Stan Musial's 3,000th hit and the cap worn by Nolan Ryan when he notched his 4,000th strikeout. Kansas City's George Brett is also part of the exhibit.

Among other stadium features this year:

• MLB Advanced Media is providing an At The Ballpark free app for iPhone, iPod touch and Android smartphones that allows fans to check in and manage their personal experiences at Kauffman. Included is expanded use of Passbook delivery for online ticket purchases.

• An enhanced sound system generated by the installation of a new digital console.

• A "Cool Zone" at Gate B includes cooling stations to help fans beat the heat this summer, plus live entertainment.

• A new Royals Authentics Store offers game-used bats, baseballs, jerseys and other collectibles.

Kevin Roberts is a contributor to
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