A Salt Lake Experience Is About to Disappear: Smith’s Ballpark

Sunday afternoon at the ballpark is not unique to Utah. Baseball, after all, is America’s pastime. But we do, in fact, have Sundays and we do have a ballpark. Smith’s Ballpark, the Home of the Salt Lake Bees (for now). And what a park it is, situated perfectly to frame the towering Wasatch Range. There is no better place to be on a Salt Lake City Sunday afternoon soaking up the sun on the first base line, idly watching the boys of summer chase their major league dreams. 

For obvious, Utah-specific reasons,  attendance is low on Sundays and it feels decadent, almost Roman to while away the day in the half-full stands. The Bees are the AAA affiliate of the redundantly named Los Angeles Angels. For these players and the visiting opponents, every play counts. They live and die on each swing of the bat praying to be noticed by the Angels above and called up to heaven—the major leagues, the show. We watch like Caesars on a lazy Sunday afternoon in the Coliseum. With a beer. There’s even a chariot race: the Smith’s Produce Run, a mid-inning promotional sprint around the warning track with costumes—carrot, tomato, eggplant, corn and a banana. We cheer for one of the veggies to go down in the final stretch—one nearly always does. 

Above the drama on the field (real or ridiculous), we daydream and raise our eyes to the mountains to push away a looming Monday. We consider another beer…hmm… maybe a hot dog? 

But Mordor’s Eye is fixed on Rivendell. Baring heavenly intercession, in two years, our Bees will move south and no longer be Salt Lake’s Bees. There has been a ballpark on this spot since 1928 and its final iteration—our beautiful ballpark, the namesake of the “Ballpark District”—will come down. We’re told it will become something else. What that “something else” is no one can say exactly. But we are assured that Salt Lake City’s Sunday afternoons in the ballpark will disappear and one more of the lovely, ephemeral, intangible things that make this place our place will be gone. 

Still, there is at least one more summer (hopefully, two) for us—the fans in the stands, the boys on the field, the carrot, the tomato, the eggplant, the corn and the banana—to spend lazy Sunday afternoons. 

Before the Bees Stadium disappears, the ballpark is hosting one last anniversary celebration of beloved film Sandlot. Learn all about the festivities, and see where the cast is now 30 years later.

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Jeremy Pugh
Jeremy Pughhttps://www.saltlakemagazine.com/
Jeremy Pugh is Salt Lake magazine's Editor. He covers culture, history, the outdoors and whatever needs a look. Jeremy is also the author of the book "100 Things to Do in Salt Lake City Before You Die" and the co-author of the history, culture and urban legend guidebook "Secret Salt Lake."

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