The hats, the jerseys, the pants and even the belts worn by the cast members of "Major League: Back to the Minors" look like authentic Salt Lake Buzz gear. And they are.
But the team definitely isn't our Buzz.In fact, this sequel, the third installment of the "Major League" movie franchise (which opened in Salt Lake theaters Friday), wasn't even filmed in Utah. Instead, it was shot in Charleston, S.C.
And perhaps adding insult to injury, writer/director John Warren took the liberty of relocating the Buzz to that Southern city.
"I don't know why they decided to make the movie about the Buzz," said Kent Haslam, the team's public relations director. "I guess they just liked the name or the logo."
According to Haslam, the filmmakers told Buzz officials that Franklin Quest Field was too modern for the movie. In "Major League: Back to the Minors," a comedy about a former big-leaguer (Scott Bakula) who is given the opportunity to manage the Buzz, the team is depicted as being unsuccessful - both financially and athletically.
Besides obvious weather restrictions - much of the movie was shot during the winter - Warren wanted to film in a place that had several baseball parks in close proximity. So he and production designer David Crank researched several states and settled on South Carolina. As a result, Charleston's quaint College Park became home to the Buzz.
"What I liked about these old ballparks is that they still have wooden bleachers and they're not too sleek," Warren said. "They're kind of like my ballplayers - they're not polished yet."
Still, Warren and the film's producers insisted on using authentic minor-league nicknames and uniforms, so the filmmakers turned to the real teams for help.
Enter Haslam, who "loaned" 35 sets of Buzz jerseys, pants and belts to the production - which was actually all of the uniforms the team owned at the time. (Astute moviegoers will note that the uniforms used in the film are the white, pin-striped Buzz home jerseys. The Buzz road jerseys include Salt Lake in the logo, which rendered them unusable.)
"I haven't seen the movie yet, but I was told that they used our uniforms," Haslam said. "We had to pack them up and send them out almost the instant (last) season was over."
The team did get its uniforms back in time for the start of the new season, but the Buzz management bought two dozen sets of new jerseys and pants, which are now being used by most of the players. "I guess (the old Buzz uniforms) were good enough to use in the movie, but they were getting too old for the daily wear-and-tear."
But some real-life Buzz players still wearing the old jerseys are anxious to see the movie, hoping to figure out who wore them.
"They're kind of excited about it," Haslam said. "But we've already told them that some of them may be more famous than the actors in the movie."