Saturday, August 19, 2023

Utah baseball stops in August 2023

I spent a chunk of August visiting family in and around Salt Lake City, a town with more than a century of minor league history. We made multiple baseball stops in the area and caught Tuesday's night game at Smith's Ballpark, home to the AAA Bees.

Stop one: Lindquist Field in Ogden

This current Ogden Raptors facility does its best to compress 100+ years into something approachable at the street level. My brother and I visited during a road series, so took photos along their park's main thoroughfare.

These three Dodgers cut their teeth in Ogden, winning multiple titles under Tommy Lasorda prior to his time as their MLB manager. The Salt Lake Tribune revisited those days in 2018.

As a Steve Garvey and #5 collector, it'd be amazing to find an Ogden jersey today. I'll accept this photo for now.

Frank (Frankie) Robinson also starred for Ogden way back in 1953 and "hit the horsehide" in a literal way.

Lindquist's Wall of Fame spans HOF catcher Ernie Lombardi ("C" in 1927) to the Raptors debut (1994)...

...with several Dodgers, Reds, and Athletics in-between. While we missed the Raptors this time around, I look forward to catching games there in future years!

Stop two: Baseball Kid statue(s) in Ogden Park

This park contained two statues at one point, one pitching and one batting, just outside the city amphitheater a few blocks south of Lindquist Field.

The batter's missing at the moment, perhaps undergoing repair, so I paid respects to this pitcher and his newsboy duds. I expect Ogden's batter to return at some point to that flattened patch of grass in the distance.

One statue or two statues, I'll nominate them for inclusion as a SABR baseball landmark.

Stop three: Smith's Ballpark for a Salt Lake City Bees game

This pleasant SLC ballpark features a family-friendly circumference with grassy berms behind its outfield wall and Wall of Fame banners overlooking its warning track. As a Boston resident, three former Red Sox stood out to me.

We sat along the third base lane and avoided direct sunshine for its first few innings by hiding under this second-deck overhang. Attendance filled about half the park on a "discount Tuesday," where fans got four tickets for $20 plus $2.50 hot dogs & sodas.

Smith's sixth inning trivia question gave Clemens (354 wins), Cy Young (511 wins), and Paul "Aussenmacher" (Assenmacher, 61 wins) as options.

Their fan contestant picked the right answer and won tickets to a future game. I wonder how Assenmacher ended up on that list.

Did you know Mike Trout spent time as a Bee?

Oh, cool, just checking.