Former University of Utah slugger and current Salt Lake Bees player C.J. Cron loves to spend time in Salt Lake City. He loves to attend Utah football games at Rice-Eccles Stadium, talk to former teammates and head coach Bill Kinneberg and go out to eat with friends.
During baseball season, though, Cron would rather not be in Salt Lake City. Why? Because that means that he’s not with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the MLB parent club of the Salt Lake Bees.
For Cron, it’s been a long road to be able to stick with the Angels and he wants to spend every moment possible in the Show.
Cron’s father, Chris, is a former major league player, who played for the California Angels in 1991 and the Chicago White Sox in 1992. Chris coached C.J., molding his swing and teaching him how to play the game.
“He (Chris) was always my hitting coach, so anything he learned, I kind of grew up hitting like that,” Cron said. “I was just always around the game, so I was just learning by being there. You kind of pick up on things that other kids don’t have the opportunity to do. Being around all of his teams made everything a lot better for me.”
Cron played high school ball in Arizona and was drafted out of high school in the 44th round of the 2008 MLB draft, but decided to play college baseball at the University of Utah instead.
“I got drafted really late, so that wasn’t really an option. In regards to Utah, I really liked the city. I liked the coaching staff, I liked all the guys and it seemed like a good fit for me,” Cron said.
The decision to play college baseball paid off for Cron. In his freshman year, he led Utah in hits, doubles, home runs and runs batted in. In 2009, the Utes shocked the Mountain West Conference by winning the conference tournament and earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament. The MWC conference tournament championship was Cron’s favorite moment while at Utah.
“We were the sixth seed and we were well under .500, but we just put together a good week and we beat TCU at their place,” Cron said. “That was a lot of fun to be able to dog pile and all that kind of stuff.”
Cron still keeps up with Utah baseball during the season and was happy to see the Utes win the 2016 Pac-12 championship.
“What they did last year was awesome. A lot of alumni were really proud of that moment and it was fun to watch,” Cron said.
Cron even got a free dinner…