Top 10 Salt Lake Bees Facts You Didn’t Know

By: Sports Teller


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Top 10 Salt Lake Bees Facts You Didn’t Know

The Salt Lake Bees are one of Triple-A Baseball’s exciting teams every sports fan needs to learn about. In fact, the Bees are a Minor League farm club for the Los Angeles Angels. Any Salt Lake City fan that bleeds Bees yellow will know every information possible, from the team playing in the Pacific Coast League Championship in 2013 to Bumble being the official mascot. However, there are new Salt Lake Bees facts that many baseball supporters never knew or never heard of in their lives. For details on what facts baseball fans rarely knew about, please refer to Top 10 Salt Lake Bees Facts You Didn’t Know below!

10: Smith’s Ballpark is One of Two Triple-A Stadiums to Host the All-Star Game More than Once

The Triple-A All-Star Game serves as the official halfway point for the Minor League Season. The event allows fans to watch some of the biggest stars from the league take center stage. During the Midsummer Classic, Team Pacific Coast League would battle against Team International League. In the past, Salt Lake City has hosted the Triple-A All-Star Game on multiple occasions. In fact, Smith’s Ballpark is one of the two active high-level Minor League stadiums to host the Midsummer Classic more than once. The other one was Sahlen Field, home of the Buffalo Bisons (1988 and 2012).

Since its opening in 1994, the Salt Lake Bees venue has hosted the main event two times. First, the then-Franklin Quest Field served as the home for the 1996 Triple-A All-Star Game. In that contest, the National League defeated the American League in a nail-biter 2-1. Next, the Midsummer Classic returned to Salt Lake City in 2011, where the International squad managed to beat the Pacific Coast team 3-0. Despite the couple All-Star contests under its belt, Smith’s Ballpark has never hosted the Triple-A National Championship Game. 

9: Before Salt Lake Bees, the Team Had Two Different Name Changes

Having a team name is sufficient when it comes to developing a sports team and coming up with a stadium plan. In fact, a name can either be named after an animal or something that has a strong connection in the community. But sometimes, sports clubs could revise or change their identities at owners’ discretion. Recent examples include the Tampa Bay Devil Rays becoming the Rays and Florida Marlins turning into the Miami Marlins. For the Salt Lake Bees, they had two different names in the past. 

In its inaugural season in 1994, the baseball team was known as the Salt Lake Buzz. One notable player who represented the Buzz was 2022 Hall of Fame inductee David Ortiz, who was a Twins prospect at the time. Then, in 2001, Salt Lake ditched the Buzz name and renamed themselves the Stingers. However, that name only lasted five seasons, as the baseball club became the Bees in time for the 2006 season. Each of the tree names had something to do with bumblebees because Utah is one of the most populated bee states with nearly a thousand bee species

8: Smith’s Ballpark Has Never Hosted a No-Hitter in its History

Accomplishing a no-hitter is one of baseball’s rarest gems spectators can witness in their lives. This achievement takes place when a starting pitcher lasts through nine innings without giving up a base hit. In more rare situations, no-hitters can occur in a combined effort if a starting pitcher is unable to continue due to injury. Perhaps the most difficult challenge for a pitcher is throwing a perfect game, where a pitcher throws nine innings without any hits or baserunners. But for Smith’s Ballpark, the Bees venue has never hosted a no-hitter in its history. 

The Salt Lake club has taken part in three no-no’s since the late 2000s, but all of them were on the road. In 2009, Bees right-hander Sean O’Sullivan tossed a no-hitter against the Sacramento River Cats in California. Just a couple weeks later, Salt Lake got into the wrong end of history as then-Oklahoma City RedHawks pitcher Luis Mendoza achieved one vs. Bees in Oklahoma. During the final days of the 2021 regular season, the River Cats accomplished a combined no-no against Salt Lake at Sutter Health Park in Sacramento. As of today, Smith’s Ballpark is one of the oldest Triple-A stadiums to have never witnessed a no-hitter. 

7: Bees Stadium is One of the Two Active Triple-A Parks to be the Home for College Baseball

Smith’s Ballpark is perhaps the most visited Minor League venue in the Mountain Time Zone. One of the main reasons was due to the breathtaking views of the Utah mountains. Another example is that the Salt Lake Bees are the only major sporting event in the summer for the state of Utah. One more thing to point out is that Smith’s Ballpark would likely sell out if an Angels player like Mike Trout plays for the Bees as a rehab stint. But did you know that the Salt Lake City stadium also serves as the permanent home for the Utah Utes baseball program? 

Every spring, the University of Utah plays its baseball games on the same field as the Bees. The ballpark is about a 10-15 minute drive from the school’s main campus. Smith’s Ballpark is pretty much the only college baseball stadium where spectators can see the mountains from their seats. Despite their presence on the Bees’ field, the Utah Utes only reached the college baseball playoffs twice, in 2009 and 2016. That being said, the Bees ballpark is one of the two Triple-A venues to host full-time major college games, along with the Duke Blue Devils at Durham Bulls Athletic Park

6: Before Smith’s Ballpark, the Current Baseball Venue Had Three Different Names

For most of the time, sports franchises usually tend to generate profit by securing a naming rights partner. Those clubs would reach out to either a big-name company or a local firm. If both sides strike a deal, then that means they will have a good business relationship. However, naming rights deals’ lifespan can vary from either a short-term pact or a long-term partnership. Believe it or not, the current Salt Lake Bees stadium had three different names before becoming Smith’s Ballpark. 

When the baseball venue opened in 1994, it was referred to as Franklin Quest Field. A couple years later, the Bees stadium became FranklinCovey Field following the merger of two local training firms: Covey Leadership Center and Franklin Quest. The Salt Lake baseball club’s partnership with FranklinCovey® lasted for another 12 years until 2009, when Spring Mobile Ballpark became the new name for the venue. Five years following the name change, the Bees found a new stadium rights deal with local supermarket company Smith’s® Food and Drug. What all three of those names for the current stadium had in common was that they had a major presence in Utah. 

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5: Salt Lake Bees Actually Offer Miniature Train Rides at the Stadium

In the Minor Leagues, there is something that baseball fans remember in terms of unique experiences. For example, Comerica Park in Detroit has a Ferris Wheel as well as a carousel. Another example is that the Altoona Curve (Double-A squad for Pirates) has a wooden roller coaster that is situated beyond the right field wall. One more example to include is that the Quad Cities River Bandits have a huge Ferris Wheel located over the left field wall. But for the Salt Lake Bees, they have an attraction that many professional baseball stadiums do not offer. During Bees games, the team offers miniature train rides at Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City. 

During the 2010s, the Children’s Safety Train made its debut and offered rides for the little ones free of charge. Of course, adults can ride on the trains as long as they are accompanying a toddler or an infant. As for the experience, the Children’s Safety Train runs its tracks in the outfield. However, the vehicle doesn’t go through the 1st Base/3rd Base concourses in order to avoid traffic congestion with long lines in the food stands. The Children’s Safety Train has made Smith’s Ballpark a destination for baseball fans and families alike. 

4: The Team Spent the 1st Six Years as a Farm Club for the Minnesota Twins

The Salt Lake Bees have one of Triple-A Baseball’s longest running farm club partnerships. Since the early 2000s, the Bees have served as the high-level affiliate for the Los Angeles Angels. Since that partnership began, the Angels reached the Championship Series three times and won the 2002 World Series. But interestingly, the Halos were not Salt Lake’s original collaborators when the Buzz started playing in 1994. In fact, the Utah baseball club was working with another American League franchise. 

In the mid-1990s, the then-Salt Lake Buzz were the Triple-A team for the Minnesota Twins. The plan appeared to make sense because both of those markets were located in the northern parts of the country. Also, Salt Lake City was about a 2.5-hour flying time from Minneapolis. However, the Twins’ pact with the Buzz ended in 2001 as the Los Angeles Angels became the Utah franchise’s new partner. Eventually, Minnesota found a new Triple-A collaborator in the Rochester Red Wings before settling with the St. Paul Saints in 2021. 

3: The Stadium’s Surrounding Neighborhood Will be Getting Upgrades in the Future

Smith’s Ballpark is one of Utah’s greatest attractions located just outside the city center. The stadium serves as the home for both Salt Lake Bees and Utah Utes Baseball. The facility has lots of parking options located near its home plate entrance as well as the nearby train station. However, the area where Smith’s Ballpark is located was lacking when it comes to other options on shopping and entertainment. But recently, city officials have revealed future plans for the neighborhood that surrounds the Bees stadium. 

In late 2021, plans were made to improve the gameday experience for Smith’s Ballpark along with the overall area. That plan included the following: office buildings, additional shops, residential buildings, and more restaurants. Smith’s Ballpark will also be getting an upgrade as the right field concourse will be receiving an event space that could serve fans 365 days a year. However, the new upgrades plan came with a catch as the Salt Lake Bees had to agree on a new lease extension that expires in 2030. Over the next couple years, Salt Lake Bees fans and Minor League spectators in general will be seeing a revised version of Smith’s Ballpark’s surrounding neighborhood. 

2: Smith’s Ballpark is Located Not Far from the City’s Train Station

Anytime a sports fanatic goes to any game, he or she would definitely need to rely on transportation to get to the stadium. Fans could either drive their own cars to the parking lot or find a space in a nearby parking garage. Also, spectators would focus on public transportation, such as riding in an Uber® car or calling in a service from Lyft®. In some cities like New York and Boston, they have subway trains that take them from city centers to their preferred ballparks. But did you know that Smith’s Ballpark is located not far from the city’s train station? 

Situated just two blocks from the Bees stadium is a loading area called Ballpark Station. The train station has three different routes to choose from: Red, Blue, and Green. First, the Red Route takes fans from the Bees venue to the University of Utah campus. Next, the Blue Route takes spectators from the baseball stadium to Downtown Salt Lake City. Finally, the Green Route takes fans from the ballpark to either the Salt Lake City International Airport or to a Utah Grizzlies hockey contest at the Maverik Center. 

1: The Mountains Fans Can See at Salt Lake Bees Games are Not the Rocky Mountains

Whenever fans go to a Salt Lake Bees game, they get to experience an exciting night at the ballpark. For instance, they get to watch their favorite team take on some of Triple-A Baseball’s most popular opponents. In addition, spectators get to try and eat hot dogs and chicken fingers at the food stands in the concourse. What makes Smith’s Ballpark fan friendly is that anyone can walk around the entire stadium via a 360 concourse. Perhaps the main highlight for Salt Lake Bees contests is the amazing view of the Utah mountains. But believe it or not, those mountains are not the Rocky Mountains at all! 

Those areas are actually called the Wasatch Mountains, which are located on the eastern side of the city center. For those who are not convinced, the Rocky Mountains are about an eight-hour drive from Downtown Salt Lake City. Utah is not the only state where people can find Wasatch Mountains, as can also be seen in parts of Idaho. By the way, remember the old Utah Jazz logo with a mountain in it? That feature also resembles Wasatch Mountains because of their popularity in the Salt Lake sports community. 

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