Salt Lake City, UT
Review by Mike
Smith's Ballpark is the home of the Salt Lake Bees of Triple-A West. There is a lot to like about Smith's Ballpark, but I have to admit that it was hard to appreciate due to size of the crowd in relation to the size of the ballpark.
This is a big ballpark, the largest in the PCL, seating 15,000. It feels in every way like a major league stadium; it's in a large state capital, the massive upper deck, the wide concourse under the grandstand, and the overall "bigness" of the place. Drop a 3rd deck on it and extend the grandstand around the outfield and you're ready for the big leagues.
The announced crowd was around 4,200, but that seems generous. It was also blisteringly hot and the fans that were present hunkered down in the shade, plus El Paso jumped out to a big early lead, which always brings a hush with it, so it kind of felt more like a scrimmage that an almost-major-league game.
Still, the ballpark is really nicely done. Despite the size, the views from the upper deck are excellent. You are right on top of the action and the big roof helped to mitigate that brutal August Utah sunshine. Plus, this ballpark faces Southeast, which is unusual, but it was oriented this way to provide a spectacular view of the Wasatch Mountains.
The stands run to the foul poles, but the concourse continues all the way around, allowing a 360 view of the field. Grass berms in the outfield had a few brave picnickers and there is a kiddie train that trundles back and forth from left field to center. One of the entertainments was watching one family picnic in the shade of the light pole, except they needed to keep moving as the pole's shadow traced a sun-dial-like path across the berm.
The food options in the aforementioned wide concourse are considerable and, with so few people in attendance, the lines were not. An open-air dining area by the left field foul pole provided high stools and counters under the shade of a heavy tent-like structure. It's a very nice ballpark, and I imagine that when the crowds come out, the place has all the buzz of a big league ballpark.