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eliminate the noise

Out of the Park: Eliminating the Noise – Joel Goldberg Media

Newsletter / August 31, 2023


People often comment how I appear to eliminate the noise of everything around me during a live broadcast. As a professional, it’s my job to make it look that way. But the truth is, I’m also doing half a dozen different things, usually all at once. In a lot of ways, it’s not unlike the chaos of day-to-day life.

I’m engaging in on-air banter with my broadcast partner, listening to producer notes in my ear, checking my iPad for stats and keeping my concentration while fans wave in the distance. Add in texts from friends and family, and what appears to be a calm demeanor actually represents multitasking at its best. I’ll admit that I thrive on the organized chaos of it all, but when the postgame show finally wraps, sometimes it was all such a blur, it’s like it never happened at all.

When I’m delivering a keynote on stage, my focus is more narrow. I’m able to eliminate the noise of outside distractions and zone in on inspiring audiences with stories about the little things that make people and organizations successful. Or as I like to call it, Small Ball.

I’m amazed by the people who can maintain that same level of attention every day in our world of nonstop emails, text messaging, phone calls and social media temptations. I’m still a work in progress, but a recent Royals off-day forced me to eliminate the noise and just…be.

The team was in Seattle, so I spent an afternoon hiking with my brother who lives nearby. I still caught myself using a phone to shoot video as we explored lush green trails. But lack of cell service rendered me virtually inaccessible, which was surprisingly refreshing.

Last week I interviewed a guest named Tommy Short on my Rounding the Bases podcast. He was a longtime D1 college basketball referee who more recently became a speaker and performance coach. A highlight was talking about the campaign he started earlier this month called No Phone 365. He – an entrepreneur, husband and father of young children – committed to not use his cell phone for one full year.

Could you do it? My answer is no, but it does underscore the value of eliminating the noise to focus on your priorities, inside and Out of the Park.

Stadium Standout

August was a busy month of travel that included visits to some of my favorite MLB spots. Our first trip included stops in Philadelphia and Boston, while the second took us to Chicago, Oakland and Seattle. Of these stadiums, all but Oakland makes my top ten list…with a couple of caveats.

My favorites are always changing as stadiums go through renovations or as I discover new areas. Sometimes the game day energy can move a stadium up or down a few notches, as was the case recently in Philly. My other stipulation is that when it comes to baseball stadiums in Chicago, Wrigley is the only one that can be called “great”. Sorry to all my friends on the Southside.

When I was a kid, my family lived in Philadelphia. As much as I loved going to the games at Veterans Stadium before we moved, it was a dump. The Vet’s replacement, Citizens Bank Park, opened in 2004 and has always been a great venue. What’s different about this year is the Phillies’ playoff run. The excitement of the crowd is electric, making the City of Brotherly Love an amazing place to catch a game, now more than ever.

If you like to try and visit multiple stadiums on one trip, the East Coast is the place to do it. You can easily reach Baltimore, Washington D.C. and two teams in New York. Then of course there is Boston, home of my personal favorite stadium in baseball.

Fenway is iconic for a reason. Entering the stadium feels like you’re stepping back in history, to a time when it was easier to eliminate the noise. It makes sense, considering its MLB’s oldest stadium. Built in 1914, it edges out Wrigley Field – built in 1916 – by two years.

Cubs fans will argue their stadium is in fact the best, and it’s a fun debate. MLB’s second-oldest stadium always feels like a party and the Cubs’ own playoff contention only amplified the sky-high energy. The Chicago Air and Water Show was happening the weekend we were there, which made for some dazzling sights in the sky. No matter what team has your allegiance, Wrigley is another must-see that belongs on every baseball fan’s bucket list.

We continued the tri-city trip by traveling from Chicago to Oakland. The Coliseum is widely considered the worst in baseball and the A’s may move, potentially as early as 2024. If you’re looking to check this one off your list of stadiums to see, time may be running out.

Most recently we were in Seattle, which always makes my top five. Getting to the Pacific Northwest can be a challenge, and seeing multiple stadiums is tougher still. But the fun vibe always makes it worthwhile. The Mariners are exciting, their fans are passionate and the retractable roof guarantees no weather issues.

Local Flavor 

No trip to Philadelphia would be complete without a proper Philly cheesesteak. Asking a local for their favorite spot to get one is like asking someone in Kansas City for the best place to get BBQ…you could get dozens of different suggestions.

This month, my son and I were told to go to Angelo’s for amazing pizza and cheesesteak. Upon arrival, we were greeted by a sign that said they were closed for vacation. So instead, we went to nearby Lorenzo’s. Both are in the same Italian Market, a cool area in South Philly I used to go to with my parents in my early years.

History buffs will love a visit to the Liberty Bell and other historic parts of the city. I believe the best way to experience a slice of what Philly really has to offer is a stop at the Reading Terminal Market. According to its website, “The Reading Terminal Market opened for business on February 22, 1893. The street-level Market reverberated with the sound of trains rumbling overhead.” It celebrated its 130-year anniversary in 2023 and a walk through its aisles includes bakeries and butchers to restaurants and florists, plus everything in between.

The iconic Philadelphia City Hall was built in 1901 and is always beautiful, no matter what time of day.

And what would a list of must-see landmarks be without mention of the Philadelphia Museum of Art? Its location has breathtaking views that eliminate the noise of the bustling city below. Of course you can walk up its steps to see for yourself. But if you’re the type to bring your running shoes on vacation, you might as well channel your inner Rocky and jog.

Rounding the Bases Rewind

Rounding the Bases featured some exceptional interviews this month. My favorite would have to be the conversation had with Luke Russert. We were introduced by our mutual friend Chandra Clark, and I’m so glad she made the connection.

Luke is the bestselling author of Look For Me There: Grieving My Father, Finding Myself. It’s a profound book that chronicles his travels around the world to eliminate the noise while grieving the loss of his father, acclaimed journalist Tim Russert. Luke, like his father, is an excellent storyteller. It didn’t just make for a summer read I couldn’t put down, but a riveting and insightful discussion.

Without giving too much away, this is one of the can’t miss episodes of the season. You can listen to it here.

And lastly, another big thanks to all of the guests who joined the show this month:

Don’t miss new episodes released every Monday and Thursday, available wherever you get your podcasts.

Would you or someone you know make a great guest on Rounding the Bases?

Apply Today

Dugout Dialogue

This month, my favorite interview is an easy choice. One of the joys of my job is getting to meet people outside of the baseball world. I’ve been fortunate enough to interview Will Ferrell, the late wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper and most recently, country superstar Garth Brooks.

Brooks was in Kansas City to promote a new endeavor of his. He also threw out the first pitch while in town. When I talk about wanting to eliminate the noise at work or in live, the irony is that listening to noise – or more appropriately, music – is one of the things that works best for me. And when I turn on Garth Brooks, I can’t help but think about the millions of people he has impacted with his own work.

Eliminating the noise also made for a great topic in this month’s discussion with Chief of Staff KC’s Casey Wright. I shot this interview from inside Wrigley Field.  

Speaking Engagements

With the Royals season beginning to wind down, the frequency of my speaking engagements is picking back up. Though it takes some juggling, I’m always grateful when the timing allows me to accept opportunities during baseball, and the past few weeks have been particularly busy.

A big thank you to everyone who traveled from all over the country to attend PRG’s Annual Meeting in Nashville, and especially to Howie Fletcher. He has been trying to bring me to their meeting for years. A Royals off day meant I was finally able to make the trip and it was an honor to deliver the opening keynote. 

Closer to home, the faculty and staff at Johnson Country Community College invited me to speak before the beginning of fall semester. It was a privilege to help kick off their new school year with a discussion about Small Ball.

Next up, the 2023 KS SHRM Annual Conference, coming to the Overland Park Convention Center in September.

If you or one of your clients is looking for a speaking with a unique message, I would love to talk.

Please contact my speaking manager, Charlotte Raybourn, to discuss my fall and winter availability.

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