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SALT LAKE CITY — It's that time of year again, time for thousands of Utah fifth- and sixth-graders to visit Spring Mobile Ballpark for a Salt Lake Bees game.
The ninth annual "Preventions Dimensions Day" was held Monday morning and the 12,500 students in attendance kept the concessions and souvenir stands busy, all while maintaining a dull roar throughout Salt Lake's 4-1 victory over Albuquerque.
"It's a great way to spend a couple of three hours of your school day," said Bees general manager Marc Amicone. "We think it's one of those things that's good for the community. What we hope doesn't get lost in it is the whole Prevention Dimensions message."
Prevention Dimensions is a lesson set that supports the Utah State Office of Education's health core. It's designed to give students effective substance abuse and violence prevention skills. Utah's First Lady, Jeanette Herbert, and Broadway star Tade Biesinger of Bountiful were among the participants in the program at the stadium. Mascots from the Bees, Jazz, Grizzlies and Real Salt Lake were also on hand.
"This is kind of the nice reward for the kids to get to come to. So it's really good for us to be involved with that and get the kids here," Amicone explained. "Hopefully, they learn that message and then for us it's also wonderful to get some kids to the ballpark. Some of them come from quite a ways away and they may not be able to get here otherwise."
The students, administrators, teachers and parent volunteers bolstered attendance to a season-high 15,254.
Unlike a year ago when rain fell, this year's Prevention Dimensions game was played under sunny skies.
It was more than bright enough outside for the Bees, who played a night game on Monday.
Salt Lake manager Keith Johnson acknowledged the quick turnaround was the most challenging aspect of it. Johnson headed to the ballpark after taking his son to school at 7:40 a.m., while the players began reporting to work at 8:15 a.m.
The change in routine wasn't all bad, however.
"Now I can go home and relax — get my nap in after the game instead of before the game," Johnson said.
The early contest, he continued, provided a nice release for the school kids.
"I'm sure there's a lot of the kids that like watching the game," Johnson said. "But for most of them it's just an opportunity to go to school, get out of class, be outside, do some things, go to a ballpark and have some fun."
It's a field trip, Amicone noted, that the kids will hopefully always remember.
NOTES: Outfielder Ryan Langerhans was promoted to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. His roster spot in Salt Lake is being filled by Drew Held, who was with Single-A Inland Empire ... The Bees have a rare off day on Wednesday before playing at Iowa on Thursday ... Ed Lucas had a streak of 15 consecutive home games with a hit snapped. It was the longest run in the Pacific Coast League this season.
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