Change and growth are crucial parts of Major League Baseball, even in October when the season has ended for most. As I write this, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers are preparing to face off in the World Series. For other teams in the league, they might not be playing but the work is far from over.
Many players took a few weeks off to rest after the conclusion of the 162 game season. The month isn’t even over yet, but gyms are once again bustling with activity. Teams are taking stock of the highs and lows from last season, and using the takeaways to map out next years’ goals.
For anyone who thinks a broadcaster’s life slows down in the offseason, I’m here to tell you that October has been a whirlwind. The past month has been booked with quality family time, speaking engagements and a return to my alma mater, University of Wisconsin.
They each brought opportunities to reflect on change and growth, but the real lesson was in preparation for the future.
It’s not unlike the Kansas City Royals, who faced a lot this year. We saw it in the young players, who showed a determination to adapt and improve all season long. That really is what baseball – and life – is all about.
As we move forward into a new season – of life, the year or whatever else you are personally up against – remember that change and growth aren’t confined to a season. It’s the pursuit of betterment all year round.
Here’s to making the most of every opportunity to change and grow…inside and Out of the Park.
The favorite stadium portion of the newsletter will take some occasional breaks during the MLB offseason. Most people know me as a baseball broadcaster, but as part of the change and growth of my own career, I have actually covered different sports – and venues – all across North America. Recently, I returned to the place where it all began: Camp Randall Stadium at the University of Wisconsin.
I’m not entirely sure if any video footage from my early reporting days exists, but I distinctly remember fear and trepidation. My junior and senior years, I interned for the NBC television affiliate in Madison. I tagged along to every home game, and would give my own postgame report after a more seasoned veteran completed their own.
In reality, the stakes were pretty low. I knew my material would never make the air. But my nerves were sky-high knowing that this could be the report that helped me land my first real job. I put pressure on myself to be perfect, as if my entire future in broadcasting depended on it.
All these years later, the number one piece of advice I give to aspiring journalists is to focus less on a perfect camera clip. Instead, aim for consistency. Just like batting practice in baseball or hitting the driving range in golf, the more we do, the greater our comfort level.
These days, I never feel the nerves that once plagued me. I have let go of trying to be perfect and wish I had been able to do so 30 years ago. Returning to Madison just for fun brought back so many memories. Yes, it’s an amazing city to visit and football Saturdays are incredible.
But Camp Randall Stadium will always represent my beginning, and be a testament to my own professional change and growth.
It’s October, which means diets are off and travel is on. This month I’m bouncing between multiple locations – and flavors – while taking a literal approach to the concepts of change and growth.
My return to Madison delivered an encore of the flavors I discussed in the May edition of Out of the Park. Each is quintessential Wisconsin and worth revisiting.
First off, if you like Bloody Mary’s, you must order one while there. Every bar puts its own unique twist on this breakfast staple. From jerky to cheese curds and beyond, the garnishes are so over the top they can usually double as a meal in itself. Amplifying the sheer excess of it all is the local tradition of ordering a beer chaser alongside your Bloody. Failure to follow custom will inevitably lead to confusion from your bartender.
State Street is a feast for your tastebuds and truly has something for everyone. Its range of flavors can appease college co-eds, adults and families in equal measure, making it a must-stop for anyone visiting Madison. State Street Brats is one place in particular that belongs at the top of your list. Great food and better ambiance has made this multi-level bar an institution on game day.
And of course, Friday fish fry is a must!
The food tour moved south to Chicago when we visited our daughter at DePaul University. Quick and simple, Red Light Chicken had one of the best chicken sandwiches I’ve tasted in quite a while. You can find it right in the head of Lincoln Park.
Finally, we made our way to Florida. We were there for a keynote I delivered in Naples. Thankfully, an extended itinerary gave us the chance to visit the eastern and western sides of the state. Pompano Beach’s appropriately named Beach House served up one of the best key lime pies we have ever had.
There isn’t enough room to do proper justice to all of the amazing restaurants in the Naples area, or more specifically, Marco Island. After my speech, we spent a few days there with my broadcast partner Jeff Montgomery and his wife, Tina. As spectacular as the food scene was, white sand beaches and calm blue waters are what made it the perfect beach getaway.
Rounding the Bases Rewind
It’s hard to believe we’re getting ready to kick off another season of my podcast, Rounding the Bases with Joel Goldberg. Since the show began in 2017, change and growth have been constants. This year is no exception.
Beginning in November, the show will move from two new episodes per week to one that will go live every Tuesday. We are grateful for our partnership with Community America Credit Union, and its continued support as the show evolves.
Season Nine will begin with a powerhouse guest who is making her return to Rounding the Bases after more than three years. Tiffani Bova first appeared on Episode 426 when she was the Senior Vice President – Global and Innovation Evangelist for Salesforce.
For a newsletter carrying a theme of change and growth, it’s fitting that she left her long held position earlier this week. She wrote on her LinkedIn page, “It has been incredible to be a small part of the fastest growing enterprise software company in the world.” She continued, “Now it’s time to blaze my own trail, wherever that may lead me.”
Tiffani is the perfect guest to start another great season of interviews about leadership and culture with a baseball twist. Be sure to listen to her brilliant insights on November 9th, available wherever you get your podcasts. For now, click here to get a sneak peek.
Also be sure to listen to our Best Of Season Eight episodes that have been running the month of October:
Would you or someone you know make a great guest on Rounding the Bases?
During the Kansas City Royals’ final road trip of the year, I conducted a postgame interview that really stood out to me. It’s one that would have seemed unthinkable earlier in the season. With hindsight on my side, it’s actually a perfect illustration of change and growth.
The Royals acquired James McArthur from Philadelphia in May through an under the radar trade. The Phillies had designated the 26-year-old right handed pitcher. In essence, he was getting cut.
Before any other team could claim him, Kansas City brokered a trade to secure McArthur’s rights. In exchange, the Royals sent Philly cash and a 19-year-old outfielder playing at minor league’s entry level.
A coaching staff shakeup last winter changed the way Kansas City evaluated pitchers. The baseball operations department identified pitchers around the league who fit a certain profile based on their analytics. If any of those pitchers became available, the Royals would attempt to acquire them. It’s a process that is as much an art as it is a science. It’s also one that is critical for small market teams to master in order to compete.
McArthur reported to the Royals AAA team in May and made his MLB debut in June. To say it did not go well would be an understatement. In his one inning pitched, he allowed six hits, two doubles, one triple, one home run, a walk and seven runs. I remember congratulating him the next day, telling him it’s a start. He was sent back to the minors a day later.
Kansas City shipped him back to the minors a few more times over the summer. In September, they recalled him for the last time. McArthur joined the Royals having allowed 12 runs in his first seven MLB innings. For the rest of the month, he pitched 16 and a third innings, never giving up a single run.
By the end of the season, he had become the Royals’ closer. He dominated the Astros, leaving Houston’s star players befuddled. The 6’7” righty literally grew more than most kids when he was young. I would argue his growth as a pitcher this season also tops the charts.
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 one recent guest on the podcast. This month, my blog covered a Best Of Season Eight interview with Lauren Golden, founder and CEO of The Free Mama.
Change and growth has been a huge theme in Lauren’s life and business. Click here to see what she had to say.
The baseball offseason is off and running. My speaking calendar is more full than other times of year, but also more flexible. I love getting on stage to talk about business culture, leadership and team building. They’re the soft skills that are relevant in every profession…something I call Small Ball.
It was a thrill to keynote the KCAHE annual meeting at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City. Shortly after, I flew to Naples, Florida where I delivered a talk to the Wire Reinforcement Institute that was a long time in the making. It was originally scheduled for last October, but Hurricane Ian forced a one year postponement.
Next month, I will head to Bogota, Colombia to participate in a special event for athletes and their parents. Big leaguers past and present will also be in attendance, and I’m honored to have been asked to speak (…with the help of a translator). I cannot wait to make new connections, learn different perspectives and dive deep into a new culture.
I would love to fill my remaining offseason availability working with you or your client. Please contact my speaking manager Charlotte Raybourn for more information.
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