Buzz owner Joe Buzas is confident Salt Lake City will someday be home to major league baseball. What he doesn't believe, however, is a report in Friday's St. Paul Pioneer Press that says the Minnesota Twins could be headed to Utah as early as next season.
The newspaper said a Charlotte ownership group, which demanded anonymity, plans to buy the parent club of the Triple-A Salt Lake Buzz and relocate the American League team to Franklin Covey Field for a season or two until a new ballpark is constructed in North Carolina. One of the potential buyers said the group favored the plan over proposals to bulk up a minor league stadium in Charlotte or remain in Minnesota."That is so asinine as far as I'm concerned," Buzas said. "It's ridiculous. It's laughable. It's just a rumor, somebody's pipe dream."
If something was happening, Buzas would know about it. He holds the lease on the city's 5-year-old 15,500-seat baseball stadium. All such matters require his approval. And besides, Salt Lake's working agreement with Minnesota is up for negotiation after this season.
"I have not talked to anybody," said Buzas. If the group were to make an inquiry, however, Buzas would try to help it out. But only if it lined his pockets with money and didn't involve moving the Buzz to another city.
The Pioneer Press said the minor league team would relocate to accommodate the Twins.
"Over my dead body," Buzas said. "I can't believe this bull----."
For starters, where could he move the Buzz temporarily? Then comes questions concerning personnel and the transfer of team equipment and merchandise. Buzas said it would take a mega-bucks offer, millions of dollars, he says, to uproot his team for what could be just one season. He wouldn't, however, be opposed to sharing the Salt Lake stadium.
"Who wouldn't like to come to the ballpark every day?," said Buzas, who holds the facility's concessions rights as well. "But I don't think it'll ever happen. It could cost them dearly."
In order for the Twins to increase their current attendance average of 14,838, they would almost need to sell out every game at Franklin Covey Field. A tough prospect considering Sunday play and the fact that not every visiting team is the New York Yankees. And luxury boxes are of little help, considering there are only 24 of them in Salt Lake - some of which would likely be lost to increase press box space.
"This is an excellent minor-league ballpark," Buzz media relations director Kent Haslam said. "But it's hard to imagine running a major league operation out of here because of the sheer numbers of people."
In order for Utah to secure a big league franchise on a permanent basis, Buzas said a new stadium with a capacity exceeding 40,000 would need to be constructed.
And that, he added, will happen - some day.