OGDEN -- Lindquist Field, which has provided one of the best views in all of baseball for the past 12 summers, is now lending its stunning Wasatch Mountain backdrop to live music.
After resisting it for years, managers of the downtown ballpark decided to hold at least three concerts there this summer as a way to bring in some extra cash.
"As a professional baseball club, we've always been very protective of our field," said Joey Stein, general manager of the Ogden Raptors, which operates Lindquist Field.
"But with the need to generate more revenue, we decided to book a couple of concerts here and see if our end-of- season revenue will come out better."
The concert series opened Thursday night with classic rockers Blue Afñyster Cult. Next Friday, Lindquist Field will host Country Superstars Tribute, a Las Vegas-based show featuring impersonators of various country music icons.
Also planned is an all-day music festival on Aug. 1 featuring nine acts, five of which are nationally famous.
Danny Marz, who booked the shows through his concert promotion firm, Rockin Northern Utah, called Lindquist Field a "big, beautiful venue" that he says is friendly to all ages and preferences.
"All ages can have fun, and Dad can have a beer if he wants," Marz said.
He said there may be a fourth show in September, but those plans are preliminary.
The ballpark tried holding a concert in 1998, less than a year after opening, but rainy, cold weather kept people away, and the concept was shelved until recently.
Stein said the decision was driven in part by the sluggish economy, "but it was really just us trying to think outside the box."
Ogden owns Lindquist Field, but Stein said the idea came purely from within the Raptors organization. The Raptors pay a flat yearly fee to lease the facility from the city, which pays for its maintenance.
Mayor Matthew Godfrey said that while the city won't get a direct share of the concert revenues, "anything that helps the Raptors make more money is good for us."
"The original concept behind Lindquist Field was economic development -- getting people to spend money downtown before or after an event," Godfrey said. "That's still the mission, so we love to see them putting on more events."
The ballpark went through a renovation and expansion before the 2008 baseball season that increased its total seating capacity to 7,000. Stein said the possibility of becoming a concert venue was not part of the motivation behind the expansion, although it could prove beneficial if concerts become a regular part of the mix there.
Despite the fact that it can accommodate thousands of people, he said, the stadium provides an intimate setting for live music.
"The front row is only about 5 feet from the stage," he said.
Thursday night's show used only the section of seats along the third-base line -- about 2,000. Marz said next week's show will be set up in a similar fashion, while the all-day August show will use the entire park.
Stein said concerts are designed to help the Raptors meet the challenge of funding a year-round operation for a team that has only 38 home games a year.
Depending on the outcome of this year's shows, he said, concerts could very well become a staple at Lindquist Field.
"Hopefully the community will come and embrace something new here, and if it works out, it's something we'll continue to do."