Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Spring Mobile Ballpark opened in 1994 under the name Franklin Covey Field and was recently renamed in 2009. The stadium is located on the site of old Derks Field which use to host Pioneer League games. I even found some signs and plaques that did not reflect these changes while roaming outside the stadium. The stadium also hosts several University of Utah baseball games each year. My first visit to the stadium was to watch a Utes game against San Diego State in early April. At that time, the stadium maybe had thirty people in it. The stadium is the home of the Salt Lake Bees which the is the AAA affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels in the Pacific Coast League.
Random Fact: Locals call the stadium "the Apiary".
Stadium Rating: A
Spring Mobile Ballpark biggest oddity is the location. I imagine very view stadiums can be found near a city's downtown area, have a gas station in front of the stadium, a residential neighborhood placed outside the stadiums outfield wall, and an awesome view of snow topped mountains depending on the time of year. Parking and traffic can be somewhat aggravating and once you learn your way around the city, the Trax station is probably the easiest way to get to the stadium. The outside the stadium features your tradition bricked stadium and it is a double-Decker. Luxury boxes and the press box seating is on the top deck. The stadium features a 360 degree wrap around concourse and is wide enough that it makes it very easy to navigate from one side of the stadium to the other while not missing any of the game action. Its a very colorful stadium once you get inside.
The interior of the concourse features small circular posters picturing members of the baseball Hall of Fame are posted along the walls. Gift shop did not offer anything that you would not find any other stadium. My wife questioned the construction date of the stadium ( 1994) because it had a lot of the same comfortable elements that Riverwalk Stadium.
We decided to bring a blanket and enjoy the grass berm section of the stadium. Spring Mobile Ballpark has its picnic area placed in the perfect area and the stadium features zero bleacher seating which was a staple in older stadiums. Box seats and reserved seating looked very cramped with very little leg room and elbow space throughout the stadium. Parents will also enjoy the built in babysitter playground located along the outfield wall. A pavilion and party area is also located along the outfield wall. The ushers were very friendly and accommodating to the point they are not annoying. Numerous exits make entering and exiting the stadium very easy. Bathrooms are spotless and smell good.
For the most part, the PA announcer was very low key which is always a plus, and the music was kept at a low level. Stadium was packed and it is not hard to believe that this stadium can hold over 15,000. I did not really get to watch the in-between inning promotions due to me roaming around the stadium. However, the remote control car race looked like it would be fun. Overall, it seemed people were interested in watching a baseball game.
Sadly, this stadium is not cheap and could be a problem for the potential young married couple on a budget ( my wife and I) or the college student. Our berm seats were $16.00 and we opted to walk to the stadium because we live two blocks from the stadium so we did not have to pay for parking. I saw ticket prices ranging anywhere from $8.00 to $24.00 dollars. We saw parking for $5.00 and $7.00. I had a good chuckle with seeing a minor league first outside the stadium: a ticket scalper! No one offered me a program and if they did have them for sell, I did not see them. For food, we had the two All- Star hot dogs that were dressed with fajita toppings for $5.25 each along with some pretzel bits with cheese for $5.00 and finally two drinks at $3.75 a piece. Ouch ! Sadly, no souvenir cups for non-alcoholic drinks were available for purchase which is a rarity in a minor league stadium and something I always purchase. Only thing that saved the rating from being lower is that the food is exactly good. The All-Star hot dog is the best ballpark hot dog I have ever experienced.
I could very easily take the autograph review from Riverwalk Stadium and paste it in this thread. Setup is the same with no nets or other objects restricting your access to the players or the dugout. Box seat Section 19 on the visiting teams side and box seat Section 7 on the Bees baseline is where you need to setup. Bullpen players will also walk pass you in these sections. Did I get everyone I needed ? No, but it was not due to the stadium. Security and the ushers for the most part seemed relaxed and did not monitor my actions around the players, which is always nice. Graphing the outside of the stadium as the players leave looks like it could be a potential problem but looks like with Spring Mobile Ballpark's setup that graphing the outside the stadium will be rare.
Overall, I could not think of a better place to build a ballpark in Salt Lake City. However, let me warn you. The panoramic view of the Wasatch Mountains make it hard to pay attention to the action on the field once your inside Spring Mobile Ballpark. It will be the 7th inning before you know it. I stayed in Salt Lake City for 17 months, I probably attended 15 games in this stadium and noticed something different about the stadium every time I entered it. The photo's above were mainly my favorites from those 15 games and for the most part captured what I enjoyed about the stadium.