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Out of the Park: Feeling Grateful – Joel Goldberg Media

Newsletter / November 30, 2023

I’m grateful for the career I have enjoyed for nearly 30 years. I’ve said before that when I was a kid, becoming a sports broadcaster was the only thing I ever wanted to do. Not everyone is fortunate enough to get to live their dream. As someone who is, I’m grateful for the opportunity itself. But I’m also grateful for the players who trust me and the fans who watch. Without them, I would not have gotten very far.

Baseball’s international popularity has allowed me to tell the stories of ballplayers from around the world. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a major source of incoming talent is from Latin American counties where English is not the primary language. I’ve always known that it took courage for Spanish-speaking players to give me an interview with a camera and microphone in their face. Until recently, I didn’t realize just how much.


Earlier this month, I took the stage with a racing heart that was full of trepidation. I don’t usually get nervous before my keynotes, but then again, this was no ordinary presentation. It was an event for The Fortuna Foundation, formerly The Carlos Fortuna Organization, held in Bogotá, Colombia.

It’s a non-profit that was founded in the memory of Carlos Fortuna, a Royals minor league prospect. Baseball may have been his career, but his mission was to help kids – particularly ones from low-income families – prepare for life as professional players. Sadly, the Dominican pitcher died of cancer just days before his 23rd birthday. He never made it to The Show himself, though his legacy lives on with the help of the foundation.

The Fortuna Foundation recently held its annual seminar, or Congreso, as it’s called in Spanish. The two-day event promoted Carlos’ vision by focusing on the topics of education, leadership, finance and – of course – baseball.

I delivered a speech to a the Teatro de Bogotá. The audience was welcoming, despite the language barrier. For the first 30 seconds I spoke entirely in Spanish and to be honest, it felt like a flop. I’m grateful to the crowd for the grace it showed me and my poor pronunciations. For the remainder, I had the luxury of a translator who helped me bridge the language barrier while still connecting with the crowd.


Later I joined a panel on stage as its only non-Spanish speaking member. I only received occasional translations, which left me feeling lost. Yet still I nodded my head as if I somehow understood.

It’s always my hope to build enough trust with athletes that our interviews become a safe space, and I never begrudge anyone for relying on a translator. On the stage that day, I really felt what it’s like to address an audience in a language that is not my own.

Was it scary? Absolutely. But going into the trip, one of my goals was to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’m also grateful to have been able to walk in those shoes. It’s an experience that will make me a better, more empathetic storyteller for the rest of my career, inside and Out of the Park.

Stadium Standout

Day two of the Congreso Internacional de Beisbol was spent at a baseball clinic. It was held at the beautiful Jardin Botanica de Bogotá, a sprawling park in the heart of the city. Hundreds, if not thousands, of families descended upon the complex that Sunday. They watched or took part in everything from tennis and bike racing to basketball and martial arts.

The park also had a baseball field that is home to the Liga de Beisbal Bogotá, where our day’s activities commenced.


The passion those aspiring athletes brought to the field is something I will never forget. You can tell by watching them how grateful they are to play the game they love. This kid in particular stood out to me as much for his energy as for his skill.

It matched the spirit of so many of the Latin American players I cover in the MLB. I found myself transfixed by his moves, and envisioning past and present starts in their younger years. Such as current Kansas City Royals pitcher Carlos Hernandez, who was also in attendance.

He is from Venezuela, but was introduced to The Fortuna Foundation by Monica Ramirez. She is the teacher who taught him, Fortuna and so many other players English. She now serves as the Executive Director for the foundation while also working for the Royals. 

One of my favorite moments of the trip was when Hernandez helped a young player swing the bat before running – with the boy in tow – to first base. The juxtaposition of his giant-sized stature carrying such a small kid was a sight to see.

For a full look at everything the park had to offer, check out my TikTok. I think you’ll agree it’s impressive.

Dugout Dialogue

I’ve covered Royals superstar Salvador Perez for the last 13 years. He’s tied with Alex Gordon for the most seasons I’ve spent with any athlete in my career. Provided Salvy is back in Kansas City in 2024 (and I expect he will be), I will have spent more time with him than any other athlete since I began broadcasting on television in 1994.

To say I’m grateful for my relationship with the potential Hall of Famer is an understatement. I’ve been on the receiving end of so many of his famous Salvy Splashes that they’re become an inextricable part of my own brand. It’s a blessing to be associated with a player as happy, high-energy and universally loved as Perez. But there’s so much more to it than that.

I know I can ask him anything because of the trust we developed years ago. The first time I interviewed him, he was a 20-year-old minor leaguer at spring training. “Easy questions sir, easy questions sir,” he pleaded with me in English, the Venezuelan catcher’s second language. I gave him a platform to share his story, repeating back the answers he gave. In doing so, I allowed him to be heard, while also letting him know he was understood.

All these years later, my wife and I spent a day in Miami with Salvy. It’s his offseason home and we were passing through en route to Bogotá. As you might expect, he is the same Salvy off the field as he is on it. He’s fun-loving, infectious with energy and a proud – and gracious – host.

So what does all of this have to do with my favorite interview of the month? The sense of pride Salvy had welcoming us to Miami is one I’ve seen before. It’s the same one that shows up every day on the field as he watches the progress of his Spanish-speaking proteges. And when one of them agrees to an interview in English, you can see him positively beaming.

Salvy put a lot of emphasis on English interviews during the 2023 season. He encouraged guys like Freddy Fermin and Edward Olivares, fellow Venezuelans, to trust me, just like he does. One day last June, both players joined me on the postgame show at Salvy’s request. Neither had their translator.

After my experience in Bogotá, I can now fully understand the magnitude of what that was like. Click below to watch.

I’m grateful for the bravery they showed, the support they received and of course, the friendship of one of the greatest Royals of all time.

Local Flavor

From the moment we arrived in Miami to the time we departed Bogotá, we ate, and and ate some more. I suppose it’s fitting for November, when food is a constant. Was this not my October theme too? It’s been a glutinous offseason.


Salvador Perez took us for a Venezuelan breakfast, where he was adamant that it was superior to Colombian food. We enjoyed arepas and empanadas that were nothing short of delicious.

While in Colombia, Royals pitcher Carlos Hernandez also took us to a Venezuelan restaurant. He suggested I order the pepito, a massive sandwich filled with meats and french fries. I was only able to tackle about half of the massive sandwich.

We of course enjoyed local dishes as well, including one of the most amazing soups I’ve ever tasted. You can find Ajiaco in Colombia. Most often its served in Bogotá, and is made with corn and potatoes, with sides of shredded chicken and avocado. I ate it two of the five nights we were there, loving it so much that I even mentioned it to the audience during my presentation.

Despite my poor Spanish and bad pronunciation, the crowd broke into applause, grateful I included their regional delicacy into my material.

As for the question of which cuisine reigns supreme? Both were spectacular, but I think the edge goes to Venezuelan on this one. (Hey, who am I to disagree with Salvy?)

Rounding the Bases Rewind


This month, the top podcast belongs to one I recorded while in Bogotá. It follows a format I have only used a handful of times in nine seasons of Rounding the Bases. Instead of interviewing one or two guests, it includes six different people. By narrating much of the episode in voiceovers, it allows me to share the interviews more fully as a storyteller.

I’m grateful for the amazing Monica Ramirez of The Fortuna Foundation, plus Carlos Manual Yañez and Michael Weintraub. I’m also grateful for Elier Hernandez, Carlos Hernandez and Dilson Herrera, three ballplayers who put aside their fears to talk to me in English. We covered their love of baseball, the trip and – in Herrera’s case – his native Colombia. Listen to the full interview here. 

We officially kicked off Season 9 of Rounding the Bases this month. I’d like to extend another big thanks to all of our incredible guests and encourage you to check out their episodes if you haven’t already:

Tiffani Bova 

Dennis Powell + Tucker Lott 

Pauly Hart

You can catch new episodes every Tuesday, available wherever you get your podcasts.

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

Apply Today

Speaking Engagements

Gratitude is so important in my life. Like everything, you have a choice how you let it influence you, and this is one area that I choose to practice daily.


I’m grateful to Royals fans, whether they choose to watch us nightly or only every once in a while. I show up to each game during the baseball season knowing that someone, somewhere is watching the show. They may be at home, overseas on a military base, on a ship or perhaps in a hospital bed. Wherever they are at that moment, I have a chance to make a difference in their day or night. It’s a humbling responsibility that I take very seriously.

I feel the same about clients who hire me to speak with their teams. There is nothing like holding the attention of a live audience using stories and lessons I have been fortunate to experience firsthand.

As we move from Thanksgiving into December, I am taking a brief hiatus from an exhilarating speaking schedule that took me from Kanas City to Florida to Colombia and then some. When my break is over, I will hit the ground running once again with a pair of Kansas City-area events. One is for Nazdar, the other for Indian Hill Country Club.

I’m grateful for all of these opportunities. I’m now accepting bookings into March, as well on select dates during the baseball season. If you are looking to add a dose of motivation to your event, it’s time for us to talk. I can’t wait to inspire your team with a memorable experience.

Please contact my speaking manager Charlotte Raybourn for more information.

Keeping the Score

I’m grateful that I get to interview business leaders, athletes and everyone in between every week on my podcast Rounding the Bases.

No two stories are ever the same, but each provides an enlightening – if not inspiring – lesson. My blog Keeping the Score rounds the bases with a single, double, triple and home run from one recent episode. This month, it covered Dennis Powell and Tucker Lott, the father and son-in-law duo keeping the spirit of Christmas alive 365 days a year at The Soul of Santa.

Gratitude for their blessings and paying them forward are huge themes of the work they do. Click here to read more about the ways they add color to Christmas, all year long.

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