From the desk of Willie Delwiche.
Baseball is back — another sign that life is returning to normal.
I’m already thinking about heading to the ballpark to see the Brewers play in person (even though my son isn’t thrilled that they changed the name from Miller Park to American Family Field).
I wasn’t much of a baseball fan growing up. In fact, I never progressed beyond Tee-ball. Washington didn’t have a team at the time and rooting for the team from Baltimore seemed to be out of the question. After moving to Milwaukee as an adult, I was surprised to hear the actor from “Mr. Belvedere” calling the games on the radio. Little did I know that Bob Uecker, a Milwaukee legend, was a baseball guy first and an actor second.
Despite my lack of on-field experience, I’ve enjoyed watching my son progress through the Little League ranks.
Little League games are a sight to behold. There’s something about the way an inexperienced player sees the game that reminds me of markets…
Younger players tend to approach every pitch and swing the same way. How many times have we heard coaches at the lowest levels have to remind their players to get in the ready position?
But with years of experience and coaching, the game on the field becomes less random. Players learn to identify trends. They start to think about various “what ifs”. They even learn to identify and pursue specific opportunities. A player doesn’t know the outcome of an at-bat before the pitch comes. But he can increase his odds of success and reduce the odds of failure.
Experienced players are actively engaged, not merely passive participants. They can make adjustments and position themselves to take advantage of known tendencies and in-game situations. Pitchers vary their delivery and location. A hitter might shorten his swing if he falls behind in the count. Fielders move all over the place, from a subtle shading of their positioning to a full on shift.
The nature of the game forces the players to act and react despite uncertainty. A skilled player is able to use available information to enhance his decision making in terms of proactive positioning and reactive execution. A batter might have in mind what he is going to do at the plate. But the best hitters work with what the pitcher’s offering. It’s hard to pull a pitch that is low and away, even if there is a short porch in the direction. But poking the ball into the opposite field — that’s doable.
When it comes to investing, we want to take the same active approach. We can understand the market context and look for opportunities. We can identify tendencies and trends. We can position our portfolios to the information we have and adjust when we learn new information.
In baseball and investing, we can build a solid process by simply getting the odds in our favor and then executing. Sometimes, we will swing away. Other times, we’ll leave the bat on our shoulder.