Leadership Message by Salt Lake Bees President Marc Amicone
On May 6 at exactly 6:39 p.m., Salt Lake Bees pitcher Jaime Barria delivered the first pitch of the 2021 season for the Bees. Over the course of the season, we’ll see thousands of pitches thrown, but this one was different because it ended a drought of 621 days without professional baseball at Smith’s Ballpark.
In the movie “Field of Dreams,” Terrance Mann has a monolog explaining how baseball is such an ingrained part of the American culture. “The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.” Without baseball in 2020, time never felt like it moved right. How could summer start and end without a hot dog under the lights at the ballpark?
But time did move forward. Hopefully, we never endure a year like 2020 again, but as we prepared for the 2021 season, it would be unfortunate not to take what we learned in 2020 and apply the lessons moving forward.
Someone once told me you have two choices: you can be flexible, or you can be miserable. Over the last year, we have had to be flexible because so much of what we’ve dealt with has been completely out of anyone’s control. In 2020, we didn’t know if we would play next week, next month, or next year until the season was ultimately postponed in late June. This year, as we tried to prepare for opening with fans, it seemed like the protocols and guidelines around what would be allowed and required to have fans in the ballpark would change daily. Shortly after announcing our season would begin in April, we received notice from MLB that they would postpone the season a month and start the first week of May.
None of these things were within our control, but we could control how we responded. “Control the controllables” has been a mantra at the ballpark as habits, rules, and the way things have always been done have been dramatically altered. We can’t control everything, but we can always control how we react to what comes next. Much like a batter facing down a great pitcher, life is all about making adjustments. You never know what will be thrown at you; all you can do is prepare and be ready to take your swing.
As the season starts, we get the chance to put our flexibility and our adjustments into action in the form of innovation. Smith’s Ballpark is now cash-free, has mobile concessions ordering and digital-only ticketing. These are all changes we had on our radar to make in the coming years, but the pandemic has accelerated our timeline. Innovation isn’t always easy, and we’ll make some mistakes. We’ll swing and miss occasionally, but you can’t hit a home run if you don’t swing the bat.
Our company’s values of hard work, integrity, stewardship and service could not be more valuable as guiding lights than they have been during this past year. Our teammates have had to work harder than ever before to pick up extra duties with reduced rosters. Our integrity has been paramount as we’ve needed to help our co-workers, friends and family navigate these difficult times. Stewardship has never been more important than during a time when a pandemic has inflicted wounds on us all. And serving others has allowed us to persevere and move forward in a safe, positive, and productive way.
I’m grateful to have our company’s beacons guide me as a lighthouse would in turbulent waters. Following these fundamental principles gives us a great playbook to be leaders for our company, leaders for our friends, and leaders for our families. I look forward to many great years of Bees’ Baseball coming our way. It’s once again time to PLAY BALL!