Chronological Tour: Stop 234

A Beauty in the Heart of Zion

Across the street from Franklin Covey Field, Aug-2002.

A panoramic look at the stadium from the outfield concourse.

Every seat has a view of the Wasatch Front.

Quick Facts: Rating: 5 baseballs
I kept walking around this park, and the only thing I could find wrong with it was all the empty seats. The day I attended, fewer than six thousand paid admissions were recorded, possibly owing to the continuing heat wave in the Salt Lake Basin.

The park, now the largest in the Pacific Coast League (it did trail Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha and Civic Stadium in Portland, both of which are no longer in the league), consists of two levels, and there is not an aluminum bleacher to be found in the place. The sky boxes and press boxes are behind the second deck, so there are no obstructed views, and the upper boxes are high enough that folks standing in the top of the upper deck don’t block their views of the game.

You can walk all the way around the outfield on the concourse, which is at the same level as the main concourse within the stadium. There is a grass berm in both left and right field. While they hid the children’s play area below concourse level, keeping it partly out of sight, there is a motorized kiddie “train” that runs around the outfield concourse.

The field faces southeast, and the stadium is high enough that the setting sun is no issue for either the fielders or the fans. Most impressively, every seat in the park has a view of the glorious Wasatch Front that frames the Utah state capital.

Minor league innovator Joe Buzas controlled this team, and he had named it the Buzz in deference both to himself and to the club’s presence in the Beehive State. (Buzas also owned the New Britain Red Sox, who played at Beehive Field.) A suit by the marketing department at Georgia Tech established that “Buzz” as a sports mascot belonged to the Yellow Jackets, so the team became the Stingers in 2001 and the Bees in 2006.

The ballpark, now on its fourth name (Smith’s is a local grocery chain), is built on the site of old Derks Field, where Salt Lake minor league teams played from 1947 to 1993. Some old-timers still refer to the site as Derks Field.

Game # Date League Level Result
548 Thu 15-Aug-2002 Pacific Coast AAA Sacramento 9, SALT LAKE 6
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