Lawmakers to consider resolution supporting MLB in Utah

Resolution says baseball would be economic, cultural boon to Salt Lake City and the state.

John Kinsella might take issue with an assertion Utah lawmakers make in a resolution supporting efforts to bring a Major League Baseball team to Salt Lake City. 

As the ghost of John Kinsella and Ray Kinsella stroll across the diamond in the iconic “Field of Dreams” father-son catch scene, John asks, “Is this heaven?” Ray replies, “It’s Iowa.” To which John responds, “Iowa? … Could have sworn it was heaven.”

In the resolution that the state Legislature will consider in its upcoming session, the second line reads, “WHEREAS, heaven isn’t in Iowa, but in Utah … “

OK. Maybe we can excuse what some might find blasphemous. Legislators are apparently a little giddy about the prospect of baseball in Utah. The document goes on to list dozens of reasons why Salt Lake City is an ideal location for a big league team.

The Larry H. Miller Company is heading an effort to land an expansion franchise for the city. Big League Utah, a group of prominent business leaders, politicians and former professional athletes, is backing the endeavor. It has identified a site for a stadium in the Power District on the west side of the city.

A Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll found an overwhelming majority of Utahns want to see a major league team in Salt Lake City.

“Utah has the ingredients for an MLB team, including a ready market, a proven and focused ownership group, a shovel-ready site at the Power District, and a bipartisan coalition,” Gov. Spencer Cox has said.

The resolution recognizes that Utah is one of the fastest-growing states and has the “strongest economy” in the country. It highlights the state’s many tourist attractions, ability to host worldwide events such as the 2002 Olympics and Paralympic Winter Games and the success of the Utah Jazz and Real Salt Lake. It also touts Utah’s long tradition of minor league baseball dating back to the early 1900s, with teams using several names, including Elders, Bees, Giants, Angels, Occidentals, Gulls, Trappers, Buzz and Stingers.

In the resolution, lawmakers say the big league club would be an economic and cultural boon to Salt Lake City and the entire state. Seeing the plan through would increase revenue and state funds for public education and other programs. 

The document concludes with a ubiquitous catchphrase from another baseball movie, “The Sandlot,” which was filmed in Utah.

“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of the state of Utah, with the Governor concurring therein, supports the efforts of Big League Utah in the pursuit of bringing Major League Baseball to the great state of Utah.

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the only appropriate response to the suggestion that another city or state is better prepared than Salt Lake City and the state of Utah for Major League expansion is: ‘You’re killin’ me, Smalls!’”

Who knows? Maybe John Kinsella might someday have a catch in Utah’s own field of dreams.

Read the article by Dennis Romboy in the Deseret News