Happy Thanksgiving everyone! This month’s newsletter is all about gratitude. I’m grateful to work in baseball. I’m also grateful for the lessons it teaches, and to be able to use them to speak with groups across the country on culture and team building. But mostly, I’m grateful to work with some incredible partners. We’re on the road together for six months out of the year, and during the season, we’re often spending more time with each other than with our own families. The fact that we all genuinely like and appreciate each other is what makes this job, well, more than a job. As a team we have amazing chemistry, but there are some people that I’m particularly thankful for.
First is my Royals Live partner, Jeff “Monty” Montgomery. I worked with Frank White, Jamie Quirk and the late Paul Splittorff before Monty jumped into the mix during Splitt’s battle with cancer. I took pride in clicking with them all, but with Monty, it’s different. We share a unique longevity after having worked hand in hand for 13 consecutive seasons. And even though I’m not sure how it’s possible, we’ve never had an argument, dispute or awkward moment, save for a few on-air laugh attacks. He’s taught me so much about the game, and I hope I’ve done the same for him with broadcasting. After so many years working together, we have such a high level of trust and communication that we believe we can handle any situation.
The second is Steve “Phiz” Physioc, who has been my teammate since 2012. He recently announced his retirement after a 43-year career, and this is what I wrote about it in the moment:
“I have so many thoughts and mixed emotions on today’s Royals news. I’m sad I won’t see Steve Physioc at work anymore. I can genuinely make this statement. There’s not a kinder, sweeter person in the television business than Phiz. He’s tied for 1st in the award for nicest human being I’ve ever met. And he’s passionate about baseball, people and never stops working. It’s been a joy to call him a colleague and more importantly a friend over the past 11 years.
Thank goodness he puts up with my relentless and tormenting jokes about his age and his 150 years in broadcasting (all in fun and damn, Phiz still looks 25 years old).
But I’m happy today. To hear the joy in Phiz’s voice when we spoke on the phone about spending every moment of his life with his beautiful wife and traveling the world and writing more novels completely filled my heart. Cheers to retirement Phiz. You deserve every moment of praise for a remarkable career! And we will have you on to share Babe Ruth stories soon.”
The world needs more people like Phiz, and I wish him and Stace nothing but the best as they settle into retirement. I’m grateful to them for everything they taught me. And for each of my readers, this month and every month, as I give you a peek into my world, inside and Out of the Park.
Behind the scenes stadium photos will return when the 2023 season begins. Until then, I’ll put my amateur iPhone photography skills on display with a few of my favorite shots from the 2022 season. These images are as much Mother Nature as they are stadiums. I’m humbled by the views and grateful for the experiences.
In a rare break from my norm, I was home in Kansas City for the entire month of November. So it’s only appropriate that Local Flavor focus on a couple of my favorite hometown activities: Football and music. I would talk about restaurants, but after Thanksgiving, I need a break from food.
Rounding the Bases Rewind
Without a doubt, the best podcast episode from November featured a guy in a yellow suit. If you’ve never heard of the Savannah Bananas, do yourself a favor and look them up. Google, the ESPN documentary or the recent feature on my favorite show CBS Sunday Morning will all give you a taste for what they’re about. But to get the full experience – as best you can online, anyway – look them up on TikTok. I promise the entertainment value will be worth it.
I was lucky enough to be introduced to the Bananas’ founder Jesse Cole. His signature yellow tux obviously grabbed my attention, but the most interesting part of of the interview was the extreme focus the Bananas place on culture, innovation and the fan experience. I mean it when I say that I learned so much from our brief conversation. If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll check it out. It’s the beginning of what I believe will become an institution for years – maybe even generations – to come.
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?
My favorite interview was an easy choice. It’s a quiet time of year in the baseball world, but the Kansas City Royals news conference on November 3rd gave a glimpse into the future of the franchise. In a matter of a month, there were two different media gatherings that could not have been more different. In early October, General Manager JJ Picollo convened to discuss the removal of Mike Matheny as a manager, a move I gave some thoughts on in the October newsletter. I said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m grateful for the three seasons I spent with Matheny, and I learned so much from him thanks to his consistently thoughtful observations.
This month, we gathered to meet the Royals new manager, Matt Quatraro. What impressed me most was his focus on process. Everyone knows the Royals need to improve their pitching and “Q” spoke about that. What was unique in his approach was the lack of predictions and promises to “win it all.” Instead, his replies focused on the fundamentals that I call Small Ball: trust, collaboration, communication and more. It was a refreshing perspective, and I walked away beyond excited to begin working with him.
Thanks to the high level of trust between me and my broadcast partners Rex Hudler and Jeff Montgomery, we were able to conduct a live interview with someone we had met minutes prior. I’m also continuously grateful for the cooperation of Sam Mellinger and his Royals staff for providing us immediate access to Quatraro following the news conference, enabling us to introduce the new manager to eagerly waiting Royals fans.
Quatraro on his journey to KC: "It's a little surreal, but it's also really exciting. … I just tried to learn every step of the way. … All of those experiences put together are going to help me do well at this job." @goldbergkc | @j_montgomery21 | @RexHudler1 | #Royals pic.twitter.com/WByCe03Sh2
— Bally Sports Kansas City (@BallySportsKC) November 3, 2022
Keeping the Score
Every week on my podcast Rounding the Bases I get the opportunity to interview business leaders, athletes and everyone in between. No two experiences are alike, but each conversation tells a significant story and provides an enlightening lesson.
My blog Keeping the Score rounds the bases with a single, double, triple and home run from each guest on the podcast. This month, my guests and I covered the topics of storytelling, resilience and entrepreneurship. Check out all recent releases here.
Upcoming Speaking Engagements
October was a month full of speaking opportunities that took me to San Diego and Chicago. At my keynote to Illinois SHRM, I was grateful for the attendance of my longtime friend Jeff Landsman. Regular podcast listeners will recognize his name from my pre-Thanksgiving Gratitude Special, but Jeff and I go way back. As kids we would pretend to be newscasters and do broadcasts. He went on to work for Oprah and eventually started his own company, Phase6 Productions, and deserves all of the credit for my new highlight reel. I love the final product and hope you will too.
I also look forward to keynoting to the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce on December 7.
For more information on my speaking services or to schedule me for your next event, please contact Charlotte Raybourn.
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