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Bees Players Discuss Meaning Of Final Opening Day At Smith’s Ballpark

Apr 2, 2024, 10:48 AM

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SALT LAKE CITY— Opening Day represents so many things. It signals the end of winter and gives fans across the country hope for sunshine, warmth, and another glorious summer at the ballpark. Every team is 0-0, and every player believes this is the year dreams are realized.

“My favorite two words in baseball, other than ‘strike three,’ probably,” Bees lefty Kenny Rosenberg said when asked about what Opening Day means to him. “It’s amazing. To be the last home opener. To pitch that game and stand out there wearing the black and yellow. Anytime that you get an opportunity to put on a uniform, no matter where you are, it’s a blessing, and it’s not lost on me.”

RELATED: Previewing The Salt Lake Bees March & April Schedule

 

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Smith’s Ballpark and its double-decker stands form a comforting bowl around the mostly informal practice. Nearly fifteen thousand pale green seats expectantly wait to be filled on the first night of fireworks.

The sun shines down, highlighting the game and its players. The pop of leather as teammates throw in the outfield; pitchers and coaches chatter in the bullpen while the latest technology records a throwing session. One group after another rotates through on-field batting practice, dutifully laying down a bunt or two before launching balls into the Salt Lake afternoon. Players, coaches, team staff, and media mill about the home plate area, careful not to trod on the perfectly manicured playing surface or stray in unforbidden territory on the bright green and lush foul grounds grass.

RELATED: Bees Bring In New GM, Make Other Front Office Changes

“A sigh of relief,” ninth-year Bees manager Keith Johnson quipped when asked about shifting the focus to Opening Day. “All the work, all the thought process from an organization standpoint. Putting together rosters and going through spring training, getting these guys ready for the season… It’s just a great feeling to finally, actually go out there, put it on the line, and see where we are.”

A fresh season represents a clean slate; the ballpark is where the artists get a daily opportunity to show their work.

RELATED: Previewing The Salt Lake Bees Opening Day Roster

“It’s like the first day of school,” second-year Bees outfielder Jordyn Adams said. “You go through the offseason thinking about Opening Day. You go through your work and spring training thinking about Opening Day. Then, one day, you open your eyes, and it’s Opening Day. The excitement is always going to be there for me because that’s the start of the season, and that’s when you display what you’ve been working on all offseason.”

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Salt Lake opens its final season at Smith’s Ballpark against the Seattle Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate, Tacoma Rainiers, on Tuesday, April 2. The Bees and Rainiers will play a six-game series from April 2 through Sunday, April 7.

Listen to ‘Voice of the Bees’ Tony Parks on KSL Sports Zone.

Brian Preece, our KSLsports.com insider, can give you the inside scoop. He’s your guide to the Utah State Aggies, Locals in MLB, and the Salt Lake Bees. Please take advantage of his in-depth coverage of the Bees, Beehive baseball, and Aggie athletics.

You can find KSL Sports coverage of the Bees here.

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Bees Players Discuss Meaning Of Final Opening Day At Smith’s Ballpark