Bees’ groundskeeper gearing up for one last home opener at Smith’s Ballpark

Apr 2, 2024, 5:24 PM | Updated: Apr 3, 2024, 6:31 am

SALT LAKE CITY Many of us are excited to get our lawns ready for spring again.

For Brian Soukup, though, it’s his full-time job.

Soukup is in charge of the grounds crew for the Salt Lake Bees, and with Tuesday night being the home opener, well, this isn’t your typical lawn.

“Coming out of winter is always tricky,” Soukup said. “Some years are a little bit easier than others, but I would never say it’s easy. We had that one week of good weather a couple of weeks ago and that’s usually all we need to get us over the hump to get going.”

The crew spent most of the day making sure the grass was perfect and the infield dirt as smooth as can be.

The field at Smith’s Ballpark is prepared for one last home opener. (Istvan Bartos, KSL TV)

However, the sodding, planting, and planning began as soon as the season ended last year.

“The fall is our little window to tear it down to build it back up so it’s ready to go for next year,” Soukup said.

He has spent 13 years working on the field for the Bees.

This year, though, is bittersweet for Soukup.

The team is moving to South Jordan next season, so tonight is the last home opener at Smith’s Ballpark.

“I know every nook and cranny of this place,” he said. “It will be sad to see it go, but it is also exciting to go down to Daybreak and start something fresh there. We will have a new shop and everything.”

It’s not often field crews get to work on a new stadium.

Salt Lake Bees break ground, release designs of new Daybreak stadium

The team’s new radio voice

It’s also not often Bees’ fans will hear a new voice calling the games on the radio.

Tony Parks has filled in before as the Bees’ radio broadcaster, but the permanent job is now his after longtime broadcaster Steve Klauke retired.

“It is a dream come true,” Parks said with a smile. “The season is early, there is an excitement and an expectation. The weather is starting to get better and more than that, you can just start to feel the love of baseball and people have that here in this community.”

Salt Lake Bees radio announcer Tony Parks. (Istvan Bartos, KSL TV)

The Bees’ home openers have been rained out, snowed out or canceled because of COVID-19 over the past five years.

“We had about a foot of snow at this time last year,” Soukup said. “This year looks great.”

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Bees’ groundskeeper gearing up for one last home opener at Smith’s Ballpark