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By Stephen Press
Hometown Weekly Staff
There are any number of things that can turn an average day on the job into a good one. Maybe you hit all the green lights on your way home. Maybe you finish your work a couple hours early, giving you the afternoon off. Maybe the project you've been working on for weeks has finally come to spectacular fruition.
For New Hampshire native Joe Goldberg, you can add "walk-off homerun" to the list. Goldberg, a Medfield resident, is the newly-minted Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Pawtucket Red Sox.
"It is incredible going to work every day at a ballpark, especially for the AAA affiliate of the team I grew up loving, being a New Englander and a Red Sox fan, and going to PawSox games as a kid," says Goldberg. "It is very exciting to see that park every day."
So, how exactly does one find himself working for his hometown team? The answer, in Goldberg's case, was simple: apply.
"I was in a different career," reflects Goldberg. "I heard of this opportunity through a friend, and I threw my hat in the ring and applied. I thought that it was something that would be very challenging, yet rewarding. During the lengthy interview process, the prospect of getting the job made my excitement grow by the day. And here I am."
A CFO's job is, by nature, a complicated one. Overseeing and optimizing the financial aspects of any business is difficult enough. Throw in relationship-building, liaising with fellow executives and being available as a resource for everyone in the company, and you've got quite a portfolio of responsibilities to hold down. Add to that the fact that a ball club isn't exactly a garden-variety business, and you have a recipe for complexity.
"I think in a ball club, it's being able to wear multiple hats, help out where I can, give advice where I can," confirms Goldberg. "A difference with baseball is that part of my duties relate to game-day duties. I'm at a lot of the games - obviously, most other CFO jobs don't have that - that's part of my job. And you won’t hear me complain about it."
Fortunately, Goldberg has some fantastic mentors.
"Thus far, I’ve learned as much in two months as most people in baseball have learned in a career. Their experience is paramount," he says as he starts naming names.
"Jeff White, who's the Treasurer. He has years of baseball and professional experience at the highest levels, including currently still being involved with the Red Sox. He's been a huge mentor for me thus far."
Dan Rea III, the PawSox General Manager (and a Sherborn resident, to boot), also receives a mention as somebody who has helped make Goldberg's transition a smooth, productive one.
Then, of course, there are Chairman Larry Lucchino and President Dr. Charles Steinberg, two legends whose names who will forever be linked with the Boston Red Sox' most successful period since the dead-ball era.
"Larry, his experience with building ballparks, rehabbing Fenway Park and running organizations… You learn what's the most important thing," says Goldberg. "And for him, the most important thing is service - making sure that the fans are happy and that there's always an open line of communication between the team and the fans. For Larry, that's a big thing - always looking out for what's best for the fans. And obviously, his overall baseball mind is second to none."
"With Charles," Goldberg continues about Dr. Steinberg, "it's a similar message. Charles is always talking about perfecting the ballpark experience for fans, especially families. [He and Larry are] different in terms of what their specialties are, but since they've spent so many years together, their main priority, again, is all about the fan experience. And it's also, internally, to make sure they share they share their experiences with younger people like myself so that we can carry that on to the next generation."
Of course, with so much to do and learn on a daily basis, it is imperative to have an appropriate refuge to return to at the end of the day. Enter Medfield.
"It's incredible. To come back from long, busy days to a beautiful town and a beautiful neighborhood - you can't beat it," smiles Goldberg as he waxes poetic about his home. "And on the weekends, when I'm not working, to have the ability to go downtown with my wife and to go to all the local restaurants and shops. My dry-cleaner's here now. My barber's here now. My dentist's here now. To come home to a town like this is the best thing that we could ask for."
Clearly, another part of the town's appeal is its closeness to McCoy Stadium - something he's quick to point out.
"You just forget how convenient, fun and cheap it is," Golberg says of a day at McCoy. "For families with kids, especially who live in MetroWest, to go to Pawtucket is a breeze."
Between free (or low-cost) parking, cheap seats (general admission tickets for two adults and two kids run only $30, total) and high-quality baseball (especially now, as the Red Sox boast arguably the finest farm system in the Majors), a trip to a Pawtucket Red Sox game has always been one of the best ways to spend a free afternoon or evening. Now, with new leadership and new ideas making their way into McCoy Stadium, the fan experience promises to get even better. Witness, for example, the development of Mondor Way, described as the PawSox version of Yawkey Way.
"[Former PawSox owner] Ben Mondor was a legend," says Goldberg. "This year we have created an area in front of the park called Mondor Way where we have food and drink and countless games. So far this year, we’ve already had face painters, performers and dancers. And we have some more fun to come." he enthuses.
If it all sounds similar to the transformation Fenway underwent in the wake of Fenway Sports Group's 2001 purchase of the Red Sox, don't be surprised. After all, it's being spearheaded by the same masterminds.
"It's all about the fan experience. It's all about listening to the fans and doing everything we can to make their experience the best it can be. We all care," he affirms. "We want each game to be a memorable one for every fan who comes to McCoy."