Owner: Sarah Buehler
Stadium: Desert Edge Stadium
Desert Edge Stadium is located on the northeastern edge of downtown Salt Lake City, with breathtaking views of the Wasatch Mountains beyond the outfield fence. The stadium, with its 40,000+ capacity, was built in the hope of luring a Major League Baseball team to Salt Lake City in the wake of the 2002 Olympics. While that didn’t come to pass, the stadium now serves as home to the Samurai. Both the Samurai and Salt Lake might be said to be each other’s second choice; Samurai owner Sarah Buehler considered locating her team in Japan, but this was nixed by league organizers for travel and economic reasons.
The Samurai have done their best to make the stadium their own. Everything is painted in the team colors of black and red, from the seats to the fences to the series of archways leading from the parking lots to the main gate. The lighting fixtures in the concourse are designed to look like Japanese lanterns. The landscaping around the stadium includes several Zen-style rock gardens and rows of cherry blossom trees.
Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the stadium is the 25-foot wall in center field. Apart from creating some curious caroms for visiting outfielders, the wall also serves a practical purpose: the stadium is built on the edge of a rather steep bluff, and the fence is designed to discourage enterprising fans who might try to scale the bluff in order to get a free peak at the action. The wall’s presence also means that the upper deck is the place to be for more casual fans who enjoyed taking in the game and the mountain views at the same time.
The stadium’s sponsor has raised some hackles in the community. Desert Edge Brewery is one of a local chain owned by Pub Group Restaurants. The idea of naming a major civic feature after a brewery drew the disapproval of some in the Mormon community, who threatened to picket the stadium. Supporters of the name pointed out that it’s a successful, locally-owned small business. In the end, the protests died down, and the fans are enjoying seasonal craft beer from the brewery.
(click to enlarge)
Total Payroll: $33,300,000
Available Cap Space: $1,700,000
Manager: Johnny Dugan
|29||Chris “Catknife” Davidson||3B||$200,000||2|
|13||Norm “Rattler” LaForce||SP (L)||$100,000||3|
|38||Ray Galban||RP (L)||$200,000||3|
|50||Jimmy Okamura||RP (R)||$900,000||3|