SALT LAKE CITY – Baseball is back in the Beehive State! On Thursday, the Salt Lake Bees will welcome fans back to the friendly confines of Smith’s Ballpark for the first game of a 6-game series against the Reno Aces.
After having to cancel the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, Salt Lake Bees general manager Mark Amicone told ABC4 writer Austin Facer (Hey! That’s me!) that he was eagerly anticipating a happy scene at the ballpark for Opening Day.
“We have some really loyal group of fans, and I’m picturing in my mind right now that it’s going to be a fun, exciting day for all of us to be back in the ballpark, no question,” said Amicone.
Things will be different this year though. The Pacific Coast League, the Bees/Stingers/Buzz’s longtime Triple-A league, is no more. In its place, the Bees will play in the Triple-A West League. Not only that, they’re in the West Division of that league, meaning they’ll be members of the Triple-A West West Division, officially. Kinda weird as far as names go.
The Triple-A West League is comprised of 10 clubs:
- Salt Lake Bees
- Las Vegas Aviators
- Reno Aces
- Sacramento River Cats
- Tacoma Rainiers
- Albuquerque Isotopes
- El Paso Chihuahuas
- Oklahoma City Dodgers
- Round Rock Express
- Sugar Land Skeeters
Sugar Land was bumped up to Triple-A after some time as an independent club in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.
As part of the adjustments to COVID-19 protocols and to keep the teams from having to postpone or cancel games, the schedule has been created to minimize travel. One Bees staffer described the schedule to This Is The Place Sports as “pretty.” It can be found here.
The clubs will play longer-than-normal series against opponents, lasting 6 games from Thursday to Tuesday. Wednesday will be the designated travel or off day each week.
While the roster has not been announced yet, there are some ideas as to who could be suiting up for the Bees this summer. The Los Angeles Angels’ top prospect, Jo Adell, suggested that he might be spending some time in Utah this summer with this tweet: