When asked why he loves his job so much, Marc Amicone’s response is simple: the fans and his coworkers. “We’re fortunate to have some of the most dedicated employees in the business,” says Amicone, vice president and general manager of the Salt Lake Bees Triple-A baseball team since 2005. “They love coming to the ballpark, they love the Bees, and they take ownership in our product and how we interact with our fans.” And, their efforts are paying off.
Amicone BS’80 MS’94 and his Bees (an affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels) were named the top Triple-A franchise last year when they received the 2015 Baseball America Bob Freitas Award. Freitas was a longtime minor league baseball operator, promoter, and ambassador, and the award recognizes excellence in the operation of minor league baseball franchises with a focus on business success, operational practices, and community involvement. The award was presented to Amicone and the Bees on December 8, in Nashville. “This award is a testament to the combined efforts of every employee on our staff,” says Amicone, with characteristic generosity.
Amicone first became interested in baseball in high school, when he played for the Granger Lancers. He went on to play four seasons with the Utah Utes baseball team and majored in sports management. During the summer months, he played on a fastpitch softball team with some of the Golden Eagles, Salt Lake’s first minor league hockey team. That led to an internship opportunity, and by the time he graduated from the U, he was already working for the Golden Eagles. By 1986, he was general manager of the team. Under his leadership, the hockey franchise won four league titles, and in 1987 and 1988, the International Hockey League named him Executive of the Year— making him the first and still the only person born in Utah to receive the title in both professional baseball and hockey. He was also named the Triple-A Pacific Coast League’s Executive of the Year in 2009.
After the 1988 season, Amicone left the Eagles and returned to the U, where newly appointed Athletics Director Chris Hill MEd’74 PhD’82 hired him to run the sports marketing department. The two had first met when Hill was the basketball coach at Granger High School, after Amicone graduated. At the U, “I ended up doing a little bit of everything over the years,” Amicone said in an interview with Lee Benson for the Deseret News in August 2014. “I did ticket sales, football team travel for awhile, supervised baseball, golf, and swimming. I was tournament director for the men’s basketball tournament a couple of times, and did some gymnastics nationals and regionals.” Ultimately, he was promoted to assistant athletics director and spent 16 years at the U, where he found time to obtain a master’s degree in health. “My best friends to this day are those I met as a student at the U and during my time in the athletics department,” he says.
Today, as Amicone celebrates more than a decade with the Bees, he seems to enjoy his job more than ever. He and his staff work hard to ensure that those with simply a casual interest in baseball can have a great time. “We like to say ‘It’s better at the ballpark’. The games are affordable, fun, and provide what I consider to be the best gathering place for all members of our community. …I know that the Bees and the experience at Smith’s Ballpark have enriched the lives of millions of fans over the years, and I’m proud and humbled to be a part of that.”
—Ann Floor is an associate editor of Continuum.