Happy Holidays everyone and welcome back to another edition of Out of the Park Newsletter. With less than two months until pitchers and catchers report to spring training, it’s also the time of year I get the itch to return to the daily grind of baseball. I can’t say I’m entirely ready, but I sure could use a break from all of the eating the comes with the period of gluttony from Thanksgiving to New Years. I’m not the only one, right?
I would also be willing to bet at least some readers can appreciate, even join, my general rebuff of resolutions. It’s not that they don’t serve a purpose. But personally, I prefer reflection on everything that happened in the prior 12 months. For example, as I look back on 2022, what stands out the most to me is our collective return to normalcy. From a baseball perspective, it was the first full season – complete with travel! – that we had as broadcasters since 2019 and it felt great.
Being face-to-face every day with players made my job so much easier, but it presented some unexpected new challenges too. I found myself struggling to keep pace building and maintaining the relationships that are critical to my speaking business. After spending two baseball seasons at home, coming back to the rigors of an in-person schedule left my energy levels depleted. I don’t pretend to hold all of the answers, but I have learned the value of grace and evolution. They will always be in our control and have the power to change almost anything.
It’s a refreshing break from the reality that some things never will be, such as flight cancellations. I write this as one of the thousands whose holiday plans were derailed by the Southwest Airlines fiasco. But if the pandemic taught me anything, it’s that it could always be worse. So I choose to find the good, just like my friend Mindy Corporon. She made it her personal life’s mission to fight hate after an unthinkable tragedy changed her world.
Mindy openly shared her story on an episode of my podcast Rounding the Bases earlier this year, which I hope you will listen to if you have not already. In light of her loss, she founded SevenDays, an incredible organization that promotes kindness and understanding through education and dialogue. I’m honored and excited to partner with my wife Susan as Honorary Co-Chairs of SevenDays, and help “Make a ripple to change the world by connecting communities.”
With kindness and grace, health and happiness, I wish you a wonderful 2023!
In the offseason I travel less frequently, but it doesn’t mean we can’t still give recognition and reflection to some of MLB’s most incredible stadiums. Only now, we’re going to do it with some trivia. And where there’s competition, there is always a winner.
Here’s the question: What is the oldest active American League stadium west of the Mississippi River? Here’s a hint: The team’s current color commentator on television has the second most career strikeouts and second most innings pitched in Kansas City Royals history.
Email your answer to email@example.com. The first person to send me the correct response will received a signed copy of my book Small Ball, Big Results.
Rounding the Bases Rewind
Another calendar year of podcasts is in the books and I can’t thank my team enough. Ashleigh Sterr, Colleen Lotz and Kendall Jackson help make it all happen. I also want to give a quick shoutout to Andrew Drake, who was a social media contributor earlier in the year.
The past twelve months brought lots of big things for Rounding the Bases. It marked five years of the podcast, which is a milestone I’m grateful to have reached. It also brought the conclusion of Season 7 and beginning of Season 8, which had two of the most impressive guest lineups to date. We are wrapping up 2022 by highlighting a few of my favorites from the year. These include Tech N9ne, Bob Costas and Brian Roberts, a former pro soccer player turned Lockton executive. Every one of my guests has an incredible story to share, but these in particular stand out. Give them a listen and you’ll understand why.
In the spirit of reflection, I also found an interesting – and unplanned – parallel that deserves recognition. In January, I brought attention to human trafficking through a four-part podcast series. The final new release of this year, which aired on December 15, told the story of Caroline Markel Hammond. She’s a successful Kansas City businesswoman who fell victim to the very type of trafficking addressed earlier this year.
It’s easy to assume this type of abuse doesn’t happen in our neighborhoods. Maybe even unthinkable to imagine that someone with her credentials could become ensnared in its web. In the season-ending episode, she bravely and eloquently told her story of how it all came to be, and I’m proud to play a small part in raising awareness about these horrific crimes. She’s undoubtedly a hero, and one of the most powerful guests I have ever had the privilege of interviewing.
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?
It’s been a relatively quiet offseason for me, so I don’t have any new baseball interviews to share. However, I continue to be excited about the Kansas City Royals 2023 season. That’s in large part because of the coaching staff that new Manager Matt Quatraro has assembled. I look forward to meeting each of them at spring training, and admit that for the first time in my career, I will be older than every Royals coach on the roster.
With that said, my interview of the month is actually something that aired before a recent St. Louis Blues hockey game. In my keynotes, I often talk about our television crew. I love shining the proverbial light on them, because let’s be honest, the men and women behind the camera are the ones who make the magic happen. What’s more is that it’s always applicable to audiences. Every organization has unsung heroes who rarely get the credit they deserve.
Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to work with a producer named Allen Stout. He works out of our St. Louis office, but has filled in from time to time on Royals baseball. In my reflection on 2022, I can’t help but think about the day we learned he had a brain tumor. It was Stage IV with little hope for recovery, news that left us devastated. We all sent cards, and I got to work collecting video messages from our broadcast team, former Royals Manager Mike Matheny and even some of his staff that had previously worked for the Cardinals.
In September, “Stouty” received some unexpected – and uplifting – news. It was shared in an emotional television story that aired earlier this month as part of the Blues pregame show. It was also played for everyone in Enterprise Center to see, immediately before he was welcomed to center ice for a pre-game ceremony. I was able to watch the segment from home in Kansas City and it brought me to tears. Turns out it did for him too. I texted him at the end of the evening and he said that he had been bawling in the tunnel just moments before walking out.
It may not be an interview, but I hope you will watch the story of this incredible person’s fight to live. Most days he is anonymously behind the scenes, but right now, he deserves to be front and center.
Bally Sports Midwest producer Allen Stout, who is fighting brain cancer, rings the bell at center ice after a successful surgery at Siteman Cancer Center. (Courtesy Blue Note Productions)
— Bally Sports Midwest (@BallySportsMW) December 2, 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 overcoming adversity and competitive advantages. Check out all recent releases here.
Upcoming Speaking Engagements
Veteran speakers have taught me a number of things. In reflection on them, one that seems particularly timely is to always book refundable backup flights for out of town events. In light of recent airline challenges, I have now booked three different flights ahead of a January trip to Orlando. Between them, I hope to arrive on time for my keynote to FireMon.
The theme for its gathering is TEAM, which couldn’t align more perfectly with my message about Small Ball. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s the concept that every day we have opportunities to do little things. And over time, they add up to big results. Elements like trust, empathy and working together towards a greater purpose apply as much in baseball as they do in business, and will also be the basis of my speech.
January 26 I will also be speaking in Kansas City to United Private Networks at what is sure to be a great event.
My 2023 speaking calendar is filling fast, but I would love to round it out with a keynote or workshop for your audience. I will always do my best to accommodate requests, even those of the last minute variety. Getting back on the stage has been a highlight of 2022, and I look forward to doing it even more in the coming year.
For more information on my speaking services or to schedule me for your next event, please contact Charlotte Raybourn.
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