The Bees are our local AAA team here in Salt Lake City.
The Bees franchize was known as The Stingers from 2002
to 2005. The Bees are the AAA affiliate of the Anaheim
Angels (as were the Stingers) and play at the beautiful
Franklin Covey Field. The Bees name is actually the
original team name for Salt Lake back in the early part of
the 20th century. The name's copyright had been held by
a small college in the mid-west until recently when new
Salt Lake owner Larry Miller was able to negotiate the use
of the name "Bees." So, although we Salt Lake fans have
had to endure changing monikers over the past several
years, we should all be proud and satisfied to finally now
once again have the original name Salt Lake Bees.
When Tee and I first moved back to Salt Lake City from
Sydney, Australia in 2000, we anxiously began to attend
games at Franklin Covey Field. It was one of those simple
luxuries we had come to appreciate through our years
away. At that time the Salt Lake team was known as "The
Buzz," and was associated with the Minnesota Twins
orginization. In 2001, the Buzz were moved to Edmonton,
Alberta, Canada, and the Twins moved a many number of
our former Buzz players directly into their lineup. Because
of that move, the Twins went on to be a dominant force in
the American League. We Salt Lake fans took a lot of pride
in the fact that so many of those former Buzz players, such
as Doug Menkavich, Torii Hunter, A.J. Prezinski, and
Jaque Jones were such big factors in the success
Minnesota during those years.
The Stingers also had a number of successful years and
contributed more players to the major leagues via their
parent club the Anaheim Angels than any other AAA team.
Tee and I often attend games on "Thirsty" Thursday or the
daytime games on Sunday, though it's likely you'll catch
us there at other times as well. We normally sit in Section
112, so if you're ever at a game come looking for us!
Salt Lake Bees:
While I didn't grow up a baseball fan, the
Mariners are the major league team I've followed
since I started following baseball regularly about
15 years ago. I loved the fact that Ken Griffey
Sr. and Jr. were on the roster together. I also felt
a bit of pity for the Mariners for a long while
because they rarely won. In more recent years
they've been at the forefront of recruiting players
from Japan, and since Japanese baseball is also
an interest of mine it's been particularly fun to
continue following the Mariners.
Since the Anaheim Angels are the parent club for
our local Stingers I've naturally begun following
them. So many of the boys we see play here end up
in the lineup for the Angels it's impossible not to
become a fan. Also, the Angels have had some great
success of late; winning the World Series in 2002
and winning the AL West this year (2005) and last.
Despite the eventual heartbreaking loss to the
Chicago White Sox in this year's ALCS, the Angels
had a very successful season, and our Stingers (now
The Bees) players really stepped up! Guys we know
as Stingers include Benji and Jose Molina, Jeff
DeVanon, Chone (pronounced Shawn) Figgens,
Rob Quinlan, Casey Kotchman, John Lackey, Scott
Shields, and Francisco Rodrigez (pictured here).
The Hanshin Tigers are my team in the Japanese
Major League's Central League (basically the
equivalent to the National League here in the
States). They represent the "Hanshin" area located
roughly in west sections of Osaka and the eastern
sections of Kobe. The Tigers are the second most
popular team in Japan, the first being the
"almighty" Yomiuri Tokyo Giants (boooo!). While
they are incredibly popular, with a very deep
history, they have very few championship titles to
their name. However, in 2003 they had a
spectacular season, ending the season with the
most wins of any team in the league and winning
the Central League Championships. Again this
year (2005) the Tigers dominated the Central
League winning 87 games and the pennant.
The Orix Buffaloes were known for many years as the Hankyu
Braves back when I first knew them in 1983-84, then were
known as the Orix Blue Wave until 2004. However, this past year
they joined up with the former Kintetsu Buffaloes to become the
Orix Buffaloes, and now play home games in central Osaka.
Until then this club represented the area of central and eastern
Kobe. The Buffaloes are from Japan's Pacific League (roughly the
equivalent to the American League here in the States), and
unlike the Hanshin Tigers, they have a fairly limited following,
with far less media exposure. Since I've spent most of my time in
Japan in the Kansai area, I naturally began following the
Braves/Blue Waves/Buffaloes. I also was a fan of their former
stadium, Yahoo/Green Stadium. It's located out of the city, near
the top of some beautiful moutains overlooking Kobe. The
Buffaloes (when they were The Blue Waves) are also the team for
whom Ichiro played all of his years in the Japanese Leagues.
|If you would like to know more about Japanese baseball or keep up on the latest
news from the Japanese Leagues check out these sites:
|Anyone interested in Japanese baseball gear and memorabilia must check out the great guys at the Yakyushop!