Minor League Baseball

Baseball: A Way of Life for Marc Amicone

Marc Amicone/Univ. of Utah
Marc Amicone/Univ. of Utah

Sometimes you have to go searching for a dream. Other times you realize it’s right in front of you. Salt Lake Bees (Triple-A baseball affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) Vice President and General Manager Marc Amicone has been around baseball all his life. In 2009, he earned the Pacific Coast League’s Executive of the Year award.

Sam's Dream Blog: How long have you been in baseball, and how has your dream evolved?

Marc Amicone: I’ve been in baseball, if you want to put it 'being around’ baseball, since I was 7 or 8 years old. So it’s been almost 45 years or so, since I was a kid, to playing in high school, to playing in college and now through my professional career in the front office. I worked at the University of Utah for 16 years and here with the Bees for eight years. It has evolved from being a player to an administrator. As a player, all you think about is that you want to play professionally and play forever, but as you get older that changes. I was still able to be in baseball and realize my dream despite not being good enough as a player.

SDB: Some people have dreams that occupy a small portion of their lives. Baseball and softball have become your family’s life. How did you realize the game was supposed to be more than an occupation for you, and how do you maintain your passion for the game?

Marc Amicone: It’s one of those things that just happened. It’s about all I’ve ever known and done. I grew up around a dad and brother who played. I got involved with softball, which is how I met my wife. It was there that we were introduced by someone who coached both of us. When you have so many games in a short amount of time, you get a tiny bit tired at the end of the season, but you have that break and you get geared up again. When I worked in college I had multiple sports to deal with, so that kept things fresh. Part of it is I love it and I don’t know what else to do, so it’s easy to stay passionate in that case.

SDB: What steps did you take on the way from playing ball to ultimately becoming Vice President/General Manager?

Marc Amicone: That was a progression. I knew I wanted to be in the business of sports but didn’t know where that would lead me. I knew I didn’t want to coach. I especially didn’t want to be a high school teacher and coach, which was a route a lot of guys took. My degree in college was geared around sports management and recreation management. A lot of people that graduated in my degree worked at amusement parks or ski resorts or health spas, so that made sense to me. Through playing ball, I got a job with the minor league hockey team in Salt Lake, because I played ball with the people who ran it. It wasn’t baseball but it was sports.

SDB: What opportunities has your position allowed you to enjoy that would not have been possible as a fan?

Marc Amicone: Being very close to the game. You are much more close to the game, you get to be more personally involved with players and coaches, and you get to know the staffs. As a fan you don’t get to travel with the team or be that close.

SDB: What’s a big lesson you have learned in pursuing goals and dreams?

Marc Amicone: The biggest thing is keep doing what you want to do. I’ve had opportunities to do other jobs in other fields in business, but that wasn’t ever what I wanted to do. There were opportunities to get out and make more, and that sounds good when you are young, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do. You keep doing what you are doing and stay with it.

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Sports Career Advice with Art Berke

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Art Berke is a sports career consultant and communications consultant. His work experience includes Major League Baseball, ABC Sports, Sports Illustrated and the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center among other employers. Currently he is the Managing Partner at Diamond Sports Careers.

Sam's Dream Blog: What’s your dream?

Art Berke: My goal, my dream was to work in sports. I was able to do that throughout my career. When I retired from Sports Illustrated after about 20 years in 2007, I was thinking about what I wanted to do. One of the things I wanted to do was give back to students who had the same aspirations as I had. I’ve always felt it was important to spend time with young people who just needed an encouraging word, a referral or some level of hope.

SDB: What is it about Diamond Sports Careers that makes you come alive?

Art Berke: It’s the reward you get from seeing the light bulb go on in someone’s head. It’s when you work with someone and have tried to help them along the way, then they land a job. It’s really the reward you get from helping these students realize their goals. A lot of them have nowhere else to turn and they need help. Everybody needs nurturing and everybody needs mentorship.

The role of being a mentor is important to me because I’m someone who really didn’t have any connections.

SDB: How did you go from having "no connections" to being involved in so many different facets of the sports industry?

Art Berke: When I wrote my first small story for the high school newspaper, I said, "This is what I want to do. It’s combining my passion with making a living." I wanted to be a sportswriter. I went to Indiana University, majored in journalism and was the editor of the college paper. As time went on, I had a couple of editorial jobs, one with a weekly football newspaper, the other with an encyclopedia company where I developed a sports encyclopedia for kids. At that point, I felt like my talents were more in line with the public relations/promotions end.

I think what turned everything around is that I made the decision to go the extra mile and attend a seminar that a minor league baseball executive, Dick King, was putting on in Cleveland. I was living in Columbus at the time. I drove up there and spent money I didn’t have. I came back and didn’t think anything more of it. Six months later, I got a call from Major League Baseball. They were looking for an assistant pr director and said that Dick King from the seminar had given them my name. The bottom line is that if I had not taken advantage of that weekend, I never would have made the connection and I never would have started with Major League Baseball. I was there for five years, I worked for ABC Sports for eight years, and I was at SI for almost 20.

SDB: What are some obstacles you have faced?

Art Berke: If a young person would look at my resume, he would think that it was an absolute easy road. However, there were a lot of bumps in the road in terms of measuring up and competing and working at the highest level. You had to work hard, you had to work smart, and you had to keep getting better and better.

SDB: What are some lessons you have learned to get over those bumps in the road?

Art Berke:It’s a cliché, but you need to show up. When I was at ABC, I worked with Howard Cosell on a magazine show he was doing. That was a difficult situation because of who he was and everything. When I left to take another job, I went in to talk with him and he was very complimentary. The one thing he said was, "You were always there. You were always there to help, and you were always there when I needed you." A lot of people take that for granted.

The fact is, I look at myself as someone who isn’t exceptionally talented at anything. I think I’m good at a lot of things. The one thing that I think I am perhaps better at than others is that I am always available. It doesn’t matter what time it is. If I’m needed, I am there. Some people think they work hard but they really don’t. They really don’t understand what real work ethic is. Working hard is very important, as is taking advantage of opportunities.

SDB: What’s next?

Art Berke: I want to continue doing projects I enjoy, and I want to continue working with young people.

Check out Diamond Sports Careers for great sports career advice to take another huge step toward your dream!