After Smith’s Ballpark sat quiet for 2020 it was “Better At The Ballpark” in 2021 as the Salt Lake Bees wrapped up their season on Oct. 3. Overall, the team finished with a 55-74 record and Smith’s Ballpark hosted 300,535 fans as baseball returned to Salt Lake City.
On the field, the Bees saw standout performances for several players. Angels top prospect Jo Adell finished the year with 23 home runs in just 73 games played with the Bees. Adell went on to hit another four home runs and drive in 26 RBIs in 35 games for the Los Angeles Angels following an August call-up. Michael Stefanic joined the Bees at the end of May and never stopped hitting. Stefanic finished with a .334 batting average and 135 hits, each the second most in Triple-A West, despite missing the first month of the season. Adell and Stefanic were both named to the Triple-A West All-Star team and Adell was selected as the Triple-A West Top MLB prospect.
On the mound Packy Naughton had one of the best single-game outings in Minor League Baseball when he carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning in Las Vegas on May 23, as the Bees finished with a one-hit shutout of the Aviators. Top pitching prospect Reid Detmers stopped in Salt Lake on his way to Triple-A, striking out nine batters in six shutout innings in front of a packed Pioneer Day crowd at Smith’s Ballpark.
Off the field the Bees switched to a fully digital and cashless ticketing and concessions ordering system to great success. In the community the team thanked thousands of health care workers on July 13 for Health Care Appreciation Night which included a first pitch from Utah Governor Spencer Cox. Smith’s Ballpark also thanked first responders with a food drive, ticket offer and ceremonies on the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11. Fans also raised over $7,000 for Huntsman Cancer Institute on Go Gold Strikeout Childhood Cancer Night.
With the 2021 season in the books, the work at Smith’s Ballpark turns towards making the 2022 season the best season ever. The Bees will open next season on Tuesday, April 5 in Tacoma with the home opener coming on Tuesday, April 12 against Las Vegas.