I’m a firm believer in the power of a reset. Whether it’s taking a vacation or just changing your mindset, getting away from the grind is critical to being your best, especially when it comes to work.
In the world of baseball, the most significant stretch of time off during the season comes in mid-July with the All Star Break. To the players, coaches, staff and broadcasters who work six or seven days a week for months on end, this four day break feels like two weeks…and is as welcome as it is needed.
So what’s the best way to stay sharp during a long season? If you ask Salvador Perez, it’s by viewing each day as a new opportunity. He didn’t become one of the most tenured, high-performing players in franchise history by dwelling on the past. Instead, he uses each day as a chance to reset and focus on what’s next.
His positivity also seems to have rubbed off on others players. In talking to some of his struggling teammates, they have told me that they are aware of their poor numbers, but try to ignore the stats. Instead, they channel their energy into improving and look for positive ways to move forward.
As a storyteller, I can always find something to reset my mentality. Watching a scorching line drive hit pitcher Ryan Yarbrough in the face on May 7th is one such example. It was horrific to see, but the feeling when he took the mound again two months later was about more than wins and losses.
His heroic comeback was made in Cleveland. He waved to his wife and daughter as he took his place on the hill. He then proceeded to dominate the Guardian’s in the final game before All Star Break. The resilience shown in his performance was more than enough to help me settle in and mentally reset during our time off.
No matter how grim the outlook, opportunities to reset exist all around us. We just have to look for them…inside and Out of the Park.
One of the reasons I have enjoyed this season so much, despite the Royals’ record, is the variety of the schedule.
In the past, there was a heavy emphasis on division play and the Royals would face off against those opponents 19 times. This meant the team made three trips a year to challenge the Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Guardians, Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins. Each of those teams also came to Kansas City three times.
By contrast, the Royals would only face National League opponents once every three years. Excluding the annual rivalry with the Cardinals, we would play teams like the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies once every three years, and actually travel to those stadiums once every six.
This season, visiting Milwaukee, San Diego, Phoenix, Miami and San Francisco has helped keep things fresh. Next Month we visit Philly as well as Wrigley Field. It will break up the monotony and I look forward to writing about one (or both).
July, however, felt more like past seasons. Three games were played at Yankee Stadium and the other ten were in the division. In a strange scheduling quirk, we actually completed all of our road games against the Guardians in July after beginning – and ending – the month in Cleveland. We also made our second (and final) stop in Minneapolis.
Target Field is hands down one of my favorites in baseball. As the Royals pursue a downtown stadium, I look to the home of the Twins as the gold standard. With unique architecture, a prime location and great people, its one stadium I recommend any Royals fan visit. The only downside of this venue is the weather. I would not go in April to avoid the chance of snow. Rain is a possibility most of the year, but not a much as it is in Cleveland.
Progressive Field is another great spot to watch the Royals. It’s Northern Ohio location would make it easy to pair with a trip to nearby Detroit, Pittsburgh or Cincinnati, each just a few hours away.
Guardians fans are friendly and passionate with a healthy dose of skepticism, especially if you ask them about Browns football. If you do make the trip, try to catch a night game from the first base side to enjoy a dazzling sunset.
Exploring new cities always helps me reset, so I’m fortunate to be in a line of work that allows me to travel often. Over the course of my career, I estimate I’ve spent close to 150 nights in Cleveland. While there’s significantly less to see and do in this Northern Ohio city than in New York (to be fair, no place can compare), I’ve found more places to visit than just the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.
My wife and I visited the West Side Market with a local friend in early July and were blown away by this spot just two miles from downtown. It’s been around since the 1800s and features more than 100 vendors selling everything from pastries to meats. It may not receive the same fanfare as Seattle’s Pike Place Market, but its variety makes it no less impressive.
Every visit to Manhattan gives me about a million new recommendations to make, but I have two staples every time I visit: A slice of authentic New York pizza and a walk by midtown’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It’s stunning any time of day, but particularly striking – if not a bit eerie – at night.
With robust local flavors comes a robust column. Next month we make stops in Boston, Chicago, Seattle and Philadelphia…and I can almost taste the cheesesteaks.
Rounding the Bases Rewind
For many of us, a little bit of a break is all it takes to mentally reset. For others, getting back to your personal best is much more challenging. It’s why I chose the recent Rounding the Bases interview with former Cardinals player Scott Spiezio as my favorite this month.
The two-time World Champion was living his dream when it all became a nightmare. He shares the hallowing details from his own perspective, and how he saved himself before it nearly cost him everything.
Be sure to listen to this incredibly powerful interview, along with the others we released in the month of July:
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?
I truly look forward to going to work every day. I get paid to talk about baseball, travel with the team and keep fans connected. Being grateful is easy, but that doesn’t mean the days themselves always are.
The Royals are on pace to have their worst season in history. That might bring some people down, but I make a conscious choice not to let it affect my energy. With that said, reminders about the joy baseball can bring – and my role in it – always help me reset.
Coming out of the All Star Break, the Royals lost eight out of ten showings, including a sweep in New York. In the final game of that series, Dan Hurley, the head basketball coach of the defending NCAA Champion UConn Huskies was scheduled to throw out the first pitch. We may have been in New York, but Hurley is actually a lifelong Royals fan.
He joined us on the Royals Live pregame show and demonstrated once again that the power of sports is so much bigger than a game. He is a highly successful coach who has by all accounts reached the pinnacle of his career. Yet he was like a kid in a candy store getting to play ball, so to speak, with his favorite team since childhood.
NCAA men's national champion head coach Dan Hurley became a #Royals fan from the George Brett Pine Tar incident: "It shaped me as a kid and it's kinda shaped me as a coach. That's kinda the way I attack the referees when I'm coaching … He became my sports idol." pic.twitter.com/Jpv1iRsTvu
— Bally Sports Kansas City (@BallySportsKC) July 23, 2023
This interview is easily one of my top five for the year, and complete energizing despite the final score.
As baseball season begins to wind down, my speaking calendar is filling up. I’m thrilled to keynote the 2023 PRG Annual Meeting in Nashville on July 31, which falls perfectly on a Royals off-day.
On August 15, a morning presentation at Johnson County Community College means a speech to start the day and baseball to end it. Off-season engagements will take me to Lake of the Ozarks, Naples and Minnesota, to name just a few.
Do you or your clients have an event later this year or early next? Are you looking for a speaker with a truly unique message? If so, I’d love to talk.
Please contact my speaking manager, Charlotte Raybourn, to discuss my fall and winter availability.
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