First-Year Broadcaster Tony Parks Continues ‘Major League Standard’ For Salt Lake Bees

Apr 3, 2024, 8:53 PM

tony parks...

Salt Lake Bees broadcaster Tony Parks acts as an emcee at Smith's Ballpark during the 2023 season.

SALT LAKE CITY— Some lucky people seem to have a destiny—a life path set out for them that, with discipline and dedication, allows a fortunate few to escape the usual rat race of life and find a career that fits their desires.

In his first year as the Salt Lake Bees’ play-by-play voice, Tony Parks is just that type of inspirational story.

“It’s one thing when you are somewhere, and you’re working toward something, and it’s another thing when you feel like you’re absolutely where you should be,” Parks said with a beaming smile at Bees Media Day.

RELATED: Rosenberg Lifts Bees To Win In Final Smith’s Ballpark Season Opener

Growing up, Parks didn’t simply watch his favorite teams. From an early age, he remembers being able to imitate the voices of Harry Caray, Steve Stone, former Utah Jazz Hall of Fame broadcaster Hot Rod Hundley, and others.

“It wasn’t just the ability to call a game; I can impersonate the broadcaster.”

Parks credits his mother with his love of baseball, which stretches back to his earliest memories of watching the Chicago Cubs on WGN.

“My mom taught me this game,” Parks said. “For most Cub fans who grew up watching WGN, Harry Caray was the star. In our living room, Steve Stone was the star. His knowledge was unreal and it was crazy how much my mom knew. She would start saying different things, Steve Stone would follow it up. Or Stone would say something, and my mom would follow up. I grew up thinking everybody’s mom knew baseball… That’s how I learned, and that’s how we bonded.”

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A natural conversationalist, Parks credits his mother with instilling in him the importance of answering the why when telling a story.

“One thing she was always really big with is, ‘So what?’ If you’re going to throw out a stat, so what? Why does that matter? Is there something connected to it? I want the fan to feel connected to the stories of the game… I want the listener to be connected to the why, not just the what.”

Right Place, Right Time

A chance encounter at Citadel Broadcasting in 2006 led Parks to land a job running the in-stadium music with the Bees.

“They needed somebody to run the music for the games. On a whim, somebody found me in the hallway at the radio station and thought, ‘Hey, I heard about this, and I think you might be good for it. ‘ I went for it and got it. I went to every single game, and the rest is history.”

Parks was named the Smith’s Ballpark emcee in 2007 and has been a fixture around the ballpark since.

Sixteen years after starting with the Bees, the baseball broadcaster in waiting got his opportunity. After 29 years of being the only play-by-play voice the Salt Lake franchise had ever known, Steve Klauke announced his retirement following the 2023 season, opening the home broadcast booth at Smith’s Ballpark for Parks.

“There’s so few of these jobs. I look back with a lot of emotion and gratitude that somebody would give me a chance to show what I can do here.”

RELATED: Bees Players Discuss Meaning Of Final Opening Day At Smith’s Ballpark

Despite the promotion, Parks hasn’t forgotten the advice and example of his longtime mentor.

“You can show up to work every day, but that doesn’t mean you’re an everyday guy. He (Klauke) brought that with a white-hot desire and passion that cannot be described. I feel so much of his influence. When you’re around greatness, you can’t help but have your mind start moving that way and start picking up on those things.”

“He always brought a Major League standard, and I try to do the same thing.”

Follow The Salt Lake Bees With KSL Sports

Salt Lake opened its final season at Smith’s Ballpark on Tuesday, April 2, against the Seattle Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate, Tacoma Rainiers. The Bees and Rainiers will play a six-game series from April 2 through Sunday, April 7.

Listen to ‘Voice of the Bees’ Tony Parks on KSL Sports Zone.

Brian Preece, our insider, can give you the inside scoop. He’s your guide to the Utah State Aggies, Locals in MLB, and the Salt Lake Bees. Please take advantage of his in-depth coverage of the Bees, Beehive baseball, and Aggie athletics.

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First-Year Broadcaster Tony Parks Continues ‘Major League Standard’ For Salt Lake Bees