September’s newsletter focuses on positivity. We all go through ups and downs in our jobs and in life. By nature, I’m an optimist, always trying to find the silver lining. That mindset came under scrutiny recently when the Kansas City Royals dismissed Dayton Moore, its longtime General Manager and President. He had earned a reputation for treating every person, regardless of their role, with complete respect. So the decision was one that caught people throughout baseball by surprise. In Kansas City, players and members of the Royals operations department were sad to have lost their boss, mentor and father figure. But I was not surprised when I heard that despite his own untimely exit, Moore encouraged everyone to get back to work and keep pushing forward.
A few days after the stunning news, the Royals authored an unthinkable comeback in the final home game of the year. They trailed 11-2 against Seattle, and somehow, some way, managed to come back with an 11-run inning to win 13-12. I always hear about teams refusing to give up and maintaining positivity, even when it’s tough. Those that come back from the lows generally boast an abundance of upbeat players whose energetic perspectives influence those around them. Positivity is a little thing but has the power to create big ripples. So much so that I dedicated an entire chapter to it in my book, Small Ball, Big Results. I’m excited to spread more of it with the stories and lessons learned in this month’s edition of Out of the Park.
What’s my favorite baseball stadium? I love this question and struggle with it all at once because my rankings constantly change. After visiting all 30 active MLB stadiums and 42 Big League ballparks, I know this much. That Oakland is without a doubt the worst (I make no apologies to anyone insulted by that, either). And that Boston’s Fenway Park is the best. I can debate all the rest, excluding Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City since we all view our homes differently.
For example, I spent my teen years in Chicago but grew up outside of Philadelphia. Even though Veteran’s Stadium was a dump, it was my dump and home to my team. But moving meant lots of opportunities to go to Wrigley Field. I think a legitimate argument can be made for it in many ways. For starters, it and Fenway should be in a class of their own. They originated in a different era than the rest which stands for something. But no matter how historical or amazing it is, I never had an affection for the Cubs the way I did the Phillies.
Maybe I take Wrigley for granted, but in comparison, Fenway seems different. I think that’s at least partially because I didn’t step foot inside what New Englanders refer to as “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark” until working the 2004 World Series. It genuinely feels like you are going back in time, and for good reason. To give the non-history buffs some perspective, Fenway opened in 1920 less than a week after The Titanic sank.
I also love Boston fans. There’s always an abundance of cynicism in Red Sox Nation. That’s especially true now that the team is in last place while rival Yankees sit in first. They may not always have a winning season, they always support their team. Even a series against a Kansas City team with a worse record than them still drew an average 33,000 fans per game. Watching young Royals explore these sacred grounds, walking on top of and inside the famed Green Monster, never gets old. Add in one of the best, most historic walking cities in America and its a stadium I genuinely love getting to visit each year.
Three night games prevented me from getting to my favorite restaurant in Minneapolis in September. Murray’s Steakhouse is usually a must for our crew when we’re in town and I look forward to returning if we are afforded a rare night off next year.
In between games, I love walking by the Mississippi River or exploring indoors through all the Skyways. I grab breakfast at Hell’s Kitchen which is famous for its sausage bread, another local favorite of mine, as well as lunch at Monte Carlo. The next time you’re in Minneapolis, I recommend you give them each a try.
Rounding the Bases Rewind
Rounding the Bases with Joel Goldberg debuted in November 2017. My first interview was with Danny O’Neill, the founder of Kansas City’s Roasterie Coffee. Nearly five years later, what began as a twice monthly podcast now airs twice a week. It has featured a lineup of guests including Grammy nominated rapper Tech N9ne, best-selling author Simon Sinek and countless other leaders, athletes, entrepreneurs and interesting people with interesting stories. We aired the final episode of Season 7 this week, and my team will take a short break before we begin the next featuring one guest who will always top my list of favorites.
As someone who grew up wanting to be on television, famous broadcasters were my heroes. One of those was the legendary Bob Costas. I first met Bob in 1993 when I was an intern for a TV station in Memphis. We’ve crossed paths over the years and most recently, I moderated a panel that he participated in while in Cooperstown for Buck O’Neill’s Hall of Fame induction weekend. For decades, he has provided commentary to sports fans around the world. Recently, he provided me the same eloquent insights during a 50-minute conversation. Be sure to tune in on October 17 and listen to the full interview as we kick off Season 8 of Rounding the Bases.
Don’t miss new episodes released every Monday and Thursday wherever you get your podcasts.
Would you or someone you know make a great guest on Rounding the Bases?
Grown men dumping Gatorade on each other may seem silly to some. But in Kansas City, the celebratory bucket dump otherwise known as the “Salvy Splash” personifies positivity. I don’t remember when or why it began in Major League Baseball, but every team in the league now has its own version to celebrate after a win. What I do know is that Salvadore Perez, “Mr. Positivity” himself, started it for the Royals nearly ten years ago. Since then, it has become a time honored tradition. Over the years, Salvy has managed to splash me instead of the intended target more times than I can count, setting me up for more discussion about dry cleaning than I ever could have imagined.
Perez still tosses the occasional bucket. But this year, the beloved veteran catcher has largely yielded responsibilities to his rookie teammates. MJ Melendez and Bobby Witt, Jr. have taken it to a whole other level. They often mix different Gatorade flavors into the cooler, sometimes even adding Sour Patch Kids. The final Friday home game of the season left me completely drenched when rookie Vinnie Pasquantino earned himself a bucket dump and pulled me in on the madness. Would I have preferred to stay dry? Of course. And while I would also rather the focus remain on the players, the fans’ enthusiasm and players’ grins tell the whole story. The fun from those moments makes getting drenched worth it every time. And besides, I do have a great dry cleaner!
Vinnie P. and @goldbergkc knew one Gatorade splash was coming. Why not one more ?!?
— Bally Sports Kansas City (@BallySportsKC) September 24, 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 purpose, success and leadership. Check out all recent releases here.
Upcoming Speaking Engagements
I’ve been fortunate to speak to a number of groups over the course of the 2022 baseball season. As it comes to its end, I’m looking forward to being able to participate in even more of these events.
October will see the continuation of a rigorous travel schedule as I keynote in Naples for the Wireless Reinforcement Institute, San Diego for the dental conference EndoCon, and the 23rd Annual Illinois SHRM Conference & Exposition in Chicago.
For more information on my speaking services or to schedule me for your next event, please contact Charlotte Raybourn.
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