SALT LAKE CITY — Starstruck.
That is the only way to describe Salt Lake Bees outfielder Bo Way on Friday afternoon when he walked out of the tunnel and onto the field at Smith’s Ballpark.
Standing in front of him on the grass behind home plate, not more than 20 feet away, were some of his baseball idols.
Legends like Scotty Smalls, Hamilton “Ham” Porter and Alan “Yeah-Yeah” McClennan. Heroes like Tommy “Repeat” Timmons and his brother Timmy or Bertram Grover Weeks, Phillips and Kenny De Nunez.
All told, eight cast members from the beloved '90s' baseball tale, "The Sandlot" were on hand at Smith’s Ballpark, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the movie.
Way and countless other Bees, professional baseball players one and all, many of whom have played in front of tens of thousands of screaming fans in major league ballparks across the country, were simply starstruck.
Bees slugger Jabari Blash, a giant of a man — he is listed at 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighs over 235 pounds — couldn’t help but smile giddily as he walked by.
Way, an easy-going, easy-talking Georgian, could hardly get a word out when asked if he wanted a picture.
Pitchers, position players, it simply didn’t matter, all were mesmerized.
They weren’t alone either.
A near-capacity crowd filled the stands at Smith’s Ballpark to see "The Sandlot" cast throw out the opening pitch of Friday’s game between the Tacoma Rainiers and the Bees, among other things.
The experience wasn’t anything new for the eight cast members (Tom Guiry, Marty York, Victor DiMattia, Shane Obedzinski, Brandon Quintin Adams, Grant Gelt, Wil Horneff and Patrick Renna).
Throughout the summer, they have traveled the country, getting the royal treatment at minor league and major league ballparks alike, all in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the once-unheralded film.
When they visited Dodger Stadium, a thrill for York (Yeah-Yeah), a lifelong fan, the cast was able to man their actual positions on the field, after being announced over the loudspeaker no less.
“I think going to Dodger Stadium was one of the greatest experiences of my life,” said York. “We took our positions on the field before the game and they announced us out of the dugout. We felt like major leaguers.”
They traveled from L.A. to Miami to Cincinnati to Minneapolis. Seattle was involved. Denver. San Francisco. All told, 20 major league teams held "Sandlot" celebrations this summer.
“Truthfully it has been kind of surreal,” said Guiry, aka Smalls. “It makes me kind of sit back in disbelief at the impact the move made. I never thought when we made the movie that this would happen. I get a kick out of it.”
“It is pretty crazy,” said Renna, otherwise known as Ham. “It is pretty special, an honor and humbling. It is wild to have done something that means so much to so many people.”
“I mean the impact of the film is amazing,” said York. “We have met a lot of major league baseball players. The movie impacted almost the entire MLB. Guys were our age when they started in baseball and now they are playing in the majors.”
For all the travel, the celebrations and thrills, this weekend is different.
The cast of the movie is back in the Beehive State, back where the film was made. Home.
“It is surreal,” said York. “It gives you chills. It is like, 'Wow, this is where it all started.'”
“The mountains, even the smell of the air remind me of my childhood,” said Guiry. “I just never would have imagined that 25 years later I’d be back.”
York and Renna, among others, were in Utah five years ago for the 20th anniversary, but something is different this time around.
“I was here for the 20th and it was surreal being back, but I can tell you it was nowhere near as big a deal as it has been for the 25th,” said York.
The biggest reason for that is the fans.
“It was filmed here, it holds a special place in people's hearts,” Renna said. “Utah holds a special place in our hearts too. Every time we come back it is so cool to be here because we filmed it here. Utah is a home away from home.”
However, no place in Utah feels more like home than the sandlot itself.
“We went back for the 20th,” said Renna. “That was like goosebumps. It was pretty awesome to be back on that field. That was cool.”1 comment on this story
Guiry has yet to return to the sandlot, but it is a moment he’s sure he’ll never forget.
“I can’t wait. It is going to be crazy. There might be a couple of tears,” he said. “I’m here with my wife and two kids. I never thought when we made the movie that I would come back to the place where we made it 25 years later with a wife and two kids. I get a kick out of that. It makes me kind of sit back in disbelief at the impact the movie made. I am just so happy that I am able to share it with my kids. I’m just so happy.”