SALT LAKE CITY — Opening day for the Salt Lake Bees' first season following the the coronavirus pandemic will have to wait another month.
The Bees announced Wednesday a delayed start to their season, pushing opening day to May 6 against the Reno Aces, four weeks later than initially anticipated.
Major League Baseball informed its Triple-A affiliates Tuesday that the start of the year would be pushed back at least a month, and as such, MLB clubs will operate a single-site training camp among their affiliates to begin the year.
The new date is more in line with Double-A and Class-A teams, which were scheduled to begin as early as May 4, in some cases. The newly reformatted Triple-A West, which includes Salt Lake, Las Vegas, Reno, Sacramento and Tacoma, had planned for an April 6 opening day in some cases.
"This is a prudent step to complete the Major League and Minor League seasons as safely as possible, and we look forward to having fans back in ballparks across the country very soon," Morgan Sword, MLB's executive VP of baseball operations, said in a statement.
The delay won't just impact the Bees, but local businesses in the Salt Lake's "ballpark" area.
"Last year was just tough all around," Lucky 13 bar and grill co-owner Jasmine Gordon told KSL TV. "It doesn't even feel like summer without baseball.
"We love having baseball; we love having our regulars that come for the season."
Without baseball, Bees general manager Marc Amicone knows there's no taking anyone out to the ball game.
"What was really hard was seeing the sunshine and being around the ballpark, and you couldn't have anybody here," Amicone said. "The way we're protecting each other is getting things better."
The Bees' updated schedule adds home games Monday, July 12, and Tuesday, July 13, against the Sacramento River Cats, but will not reschedule any game or series initially scheduled for April.
The new schedule consists of 120 games divided evenly home and away. All night games at Smith's Ballpark will start at 6:35 p.m. MT, with Sunday matinees and Memorial Day scheduled for a 1:05 p.m. MT first pitch.
Some of the games will be made up on the back end of the season. The delay also allows some of the Bees players, staff and personnel to receive the COVID-19 vaccine; President Joe Biden said this week the expectation is that most U.S. adults will have access to a form of the vaccine by early or mid-May.
Eventually, it could lead to more people being "taken out to the ballpark" — and to the businesses around it.
"Whatever it is," Gordon said, "we're excited for whatever we can get at this point."
The full schedule is available at slbees.com.
Contributing: Alex Cabrero, KSL TV