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Lebron James In His Prime: We Are Witnesses to Greatness

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by: Andrew Wilkes

Growing up I’ve always wished that I was old enough in the 90s to have seen the great Michael Jordan in his prime. Now, I am content to be able to bear witness to the most dominant player at this time in the world, Lebron James.

As of today, Lebron set a new NBA record that none of the great ones of NBA past have ever been able to do and that is score 30 or more points and shoot at least sixty precent from the field in five consecutive games.

Nevertheless, the debate can go on and on for ever. Lebron or Kobe, Lebron or MJ but quite frankly I believe we should look it at from a different perspective. Look at these great players from an era stand point. MJ had his time of greatness, the 1990s where he won an unprecedented six NBA Championships en route to the greatest basketball career to ever.

Then, in the 2000s there was the Black Mamba. Kobe Bryant was young and in the precious prime of his career where he averaged 28 points per game and hauled in five NBA titles.

KBB

The greatest player of the 1990s, Michael Jordan; the greatest player of the 2000s, Kobe Bryant; the greatest player of the 2010s, yet to be decided.

I say yet to be decided but I believe we all see the writing on the wall.

Just how Michael stole majority of the titles from Charles Barkley, John Stockton among others and the way Kobe kept Iverson and Michael Redd from obtaining their rings, Lebron will limit great players such as Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul from ever winning numerous championships because that is just what great era defining players do, win championships.

michael-jordan-first-trophy

 

Every era has their own great players and in each era the great players come out on top in the end. In the 1960s, Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics won nine NBA championships; In the 1980s Magic Johnson and the Showtime Lakers pulled out five titles; the 1990s saw Michael Jordan take home six and the 2000s gave Kobe five rings.

Now, as we enter the 2010s one can only assume that Lebron’s time as started. He already took one title home in 2012 and in 2013 he is showing that even when we thought he could not get any better, he has.

Lebron James, who is 28, is beginning his prime just like Michael Jordan himself did at a similar age. Michael Jordan won his first championship at the age of 28 and his last at 35.

It is well known that the prime of a basketball player’s career is his late 20s early thirties and Lebron is entering that time and the way I see it there is nobody who will stop his path to greatness.

As we love to do, in ten years we will look back at the 2010s era of NBA basketball as Lebron’s time where King James reigns over all and keeps majority of the championships to himself because we have learned that all the great ones have one thing in common and it’s that they win.

So for all the debate who is the greatest basketball player my advice is let it rest. Frankly, there will never be a player who is considered by everybody the greatest to ever live. It is all a matter of opinion and I believe we should take each player for what they are, a once in a lifetime chance to watch a God-Given talent perform on the court. Each era will have their great one and lets stop worrying about who is the greatest ever and just begin to respect Kobe as he finishes his last couple of years and be in awe of Lebron as he begins his prime years and journey to be one of the greatest ever. We Are All Witnesses.

“X Games King” Sean White Boards to Sixth Peat

by Andrew Wilkes

sean3Shaun White knows a thing a two about winning gold medals; 13 times in fact at the Winter X Games. Last night, “The Flying Tomato” who fashioned his new afro-less hair, flipped and twisted his way to yet another flawless performance in the super pipe.

After watching the 14 year old phenom throw down an impressive 92, Sean White showed the whole world why he is the best snowboarder that has ever been.

Just when you thought Sean was done, he ran his third run to sheer perfection. On his way to his score of 98, Sean’s jump hit a height of 24.1ft  while averaging 19ft throughout his run. This isn’t anything Sean has not done before. Last year, he was rewarded with a perfect score with a flawless run of similar moves.

Even more impressive, Sean was able to bounce back from a disappointing slopestyle performance the day before with a focus and determination that was second to none. In the slopestyle event, Sean fell two out of his three runs and finished in fifth place.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been more focused on what I’m doing physically and mentally,” White said. “I used to get so super-stressed out and would have lost control if something would have happened like Slopestyle the other day. But now I’m old enough to turn that into a positive. I take that and use it to help me take a giant step forward.”

Sean2

He wanted to redeem himself.

“I had a very unsatisfied feeling from slopestyle,” White said. “Every hit got me more and more motivated.”

Even though Sean has been winning Gold medals for ten years now, he still cherishes each victory like it is his first.

After his third run victory lap, Sean could be seen at the edge of the crowd on his hands and knees face first in the snow. Even though everybody in the world knows he is the best, Sean knows he is fortunate to boast a career that has avoided devastating injuries; and be able to turn snowboarding into a career that he can take into his thirties, a feat that is unheard of in this day and age.

A pretty humbling title,” said White, who looks different with his shorter hair, but wins just the same as when he had those long, curly red locks. “This is pretty heavy.”

Sean1The man who can be known as the “X Games King” now has 18 X Games medals in his trophy case with 13 of those being gold medals.

Even though Sean could retire knowing he was the best ever, he keeps going full steam ahead continuous improving his art. With the Olympics just over a year away, Sean White decided to take the summer off of skateboarding and focus on sharpening his skills and being fully read come Winter Olympics 2014. As Sean said himself,

“Obviously,” he said, “I need to go practice some Slopestyle.”

Andrew Wilkes

A Start of a New Era in the NFL: The Incredible Class of 2012 Rookie Quarterbacks

Some call it the Rookie Revolution, I call it a transformation.

We are at the dawning of a new era. NFL quarterbacks come and go as fast as my girlfriends and finding a franchise player to throw the pigskin effectively is hard to come by. Even when a guy has a successful college career, that does not mean it will translate into success in the NFL. Lucky for us NFL fans, the draft class of 2012 provided arguably the most talented and most productive group of first year quarterbacks ever to take the gridiron each Sunday.

Rookie of the year candidates Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III

Rookie of the year candidates Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III

For the first time in NFL History, three rookie quarterbacks lead their team to the playoffs. Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts, and Robert Griffin III with the Washington Redskins.

Each stud brought with them a new dimension to the NFL that is transforming the quarterback position. The three Rookie of the year candidates have amazing athletic ability. They possess a unique mixture of talents including: their speed and power, solid arm strength with impressive accuracy, and possibly the most impressive of qualities, their leadership,confidence and work ethic.

It did not take very long for these proteges to find a role on their teams. They have shown an uncanny ability to focus and lead and now the rewards are just beginning. Griffin was named a team captain at the start of the season; Wilson was voted winner of the Steve Largent Award, given to the team’s most inspirational player.

In a league where quarterback play is incredibly critical, the NFL has been blessed with great athletes and ambassadors to lead the NFL into another era.

RGIII Celebrates a touchdown pass

RGIII Celebrates a touchdown pass

It is not only Wilson, Griffin and Luck who have shown signs of greatness, there are others also. Other rookie starters include Brandon Weeden, Ryan Tannehill, and Kirk Cousins. Even though those players did not make the playoffs, they displayed their abilities and gave hope to the future of their represented franchises. Five of which started the teams’s first game, the most since 1950.

It is obvious these magnificent competitors are and will continue to change the quarterback position with their abilities to throw and run affectively. I as a fan, am glad to be able watch these guys compete each week of the NFL season and can’t wait to see what greatness is in store future for them. In a time where drugs, partying, and recklessness are prevalent in pop culture, it is amazing to see rookie quarterbacks who are as humble and motivated as these guys. And because of their winning mindset, they will only get better with time.

Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts

Rewriting of the Rookie Record Books

Andrew Luck threw for over 4300 yards.(NFL Rookie Record)

Andrew Luck with over 600 passing attempts.(NFL Rookie Record)

RGII’s 102.4 Passer Rating. (NFL Rookie Record)

RGII’s 815 Rushing Yards.(NFL Rookie Record)

Russell Wilson’s 30 TD passes.(NFL Rookie Record)

Russell Wilson’s 385 passing yards in playoff game.(NFL Rookie Record)

Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks

Andrew Wilkes

SEC Basketball: Conference Struggles as a Whole Early

I intend to write this without mentioning my Ole Miss Rebels who just dominated #10 ranked Missouri, so here I go. The SEC dominates the NCAA in football and baseball but so far in the 2012-2013 basketball season, it has been a struggle for the conference to say the least.

SEC basketball has never been the best as a whole but it usually does not struggle this bad as a whole either. To the conference’s defense, the SEC still is home to the reigning NCAA Champions and also produced the most draft picks in the 2012 NBA Draft.

Still, nobody expected this many SEC conference teams to get knocked around like it has during the first part of the season.

First of all, I do understand basketball. I understand that the one and done rule can be a real hardship. With the likes of the super talent from Kentucky and Bradley Beale of Florida going 1,2,3 in the draft, it is never easy to build a team when you continue to lose your best players. Nevertheless, the same problem goes for every team in the country.

One of the problems lies in the ugly non conference losses that have plagued the league. The SEC teams who have made a habit of attracting top recruits who go one and done are always left with an unexperienced group of players. Anybody that knows anything about about basketball knows that experience and chemistry are everything and that is where the struggling SEC teams are at the disadvantage. The smaller conference schools come in with two or more seniors and the team entire team has been playing together for years. Even though they may not play professional basketball, they have developed the chemistry of a quality basketball team and a lot of times, these early non conference games can be a trap for bigger schools who tend to have to restart each year.

Struggles in the SEC have been all around though. Not only have SEC schools lost the majority of their games against other major-conference teams, they’ve struggled against teams smaller conferences who have a hard time making it into the Big Dance in March.

Auburn lost to Winthrop. Mississippi State fell to Alabama A&M. Texas A&M couldn’t handle Southern. Youngstown State defeated Georgia. Mercer beat Alabama.

Billy Donovan, Scottie Wilbekin

In a recent interview with ESPN, Florida Head Coach Billy Donovan talked about this very exact problem, he does not believe it is fair to judge a conference based on November and December performance.

“I never really agreed with that.” Donovan said. “I think teams get better. I think one thing that has happened in our league is a lot of teams in our league have lost a lot of people. Kentucky lost a lot. Vanderbilt’s lost a lot. Mississippi State has got a new coach. South Carolina has got a new coach. There has been a lot of turnover in personnel from key guys.”

The SEC lost 12 players to the NBA draft last year and that has hurt significantly with teams trying to gel early on.

South Carolina’s new coach, Frank Martin also had a pretty avid opinion on judging the league mid way through the season.

“We make it out like the SEC is the only league in the country that’s losing non-conference games,” Martin said. “It’s happening all over the country. With the one-and-done rule in college basketball, there is more parity in college basketball than ever before. And you have to take into account that teams can get better. For us to be talking about this on Jan. 7 is a waste of time.”

Nevertheless, losing players or not, the SEC has looked rough this year and one can only hope that at least four teams can at least make the NCAA tournament. As of today, there are only three teams in the BPI top 50, Florida at #4, Ole Miss at #17 (I am sorry I just could not help myself) and Missouri at #27. Also, the SEC is ranked 9th in the country in conference RPI.( RPI is a ranking of strength of schedule)

sec-logo

Hopefully, by March the SEC will have more relevant teams and someone can make a run in the tournament. As of now, it could be anybody and there is no clear cut power team. One positive is that this could make for a very interesting conference tournament with a NCAA tournament bid on the line it will be anybody’s ticket to grab.

Andrew Wilkes

As of 1/13/12

1 Duke ACC
2 Indiana Big Ten
3 Louisville Big East
4 Florida SEC
5 Minnesota Big Ten
6 Kansas Big 12
7 Michigan Big Ten
8 Arizona Pac-12
9 Syracuse Big East
10 Creighton MVC
11 Gonzaga WCC
12 VCU A 10
13 Wichita St MVC
14 NC State ACC
15 Ohio St Big Ten
16 Cincinnati Big East
17 Ole Miss SEC
18 Notre Dame Big East
19 Miami (FL) ACC
RK TEAM CONF
20 UNLV MWC
21 Pittsburgh Big East
22 Oklahoma St Big 12
23 New Mexico MWC
24 San Diego St MWC
25 Oregon Pac-12
26 Baylor Big 12
27 Missouri SEC
28 Wyoming MWC
29 Connecticut Big East
30 Michigan St Big Ten

2013 NFL Playoffs: AFC Who will win and why?

AFC match ups

It is here. The NFL playoffs. Every saturday and sunday be prepared to be glued to your TV for 3 hours and cheering on whomever you want to win. Here, I will give you my take why each team will win and why they will not.

Game 1: Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos

rayfacemask

Why Baltimore will win: John Harbaugh. I love this guy. He coaches with such great passion and intelligence and seems to be one of the most prepared coaches each and every week. There is a reason why this guy has made it to the playoffs each of the six years he has been a head coach. Also, do not forget about Ray Lewis. This greatest middle linebacker to play the game will not go down without a fierce battle.

Why Baltimore will lose: Joe Flacco struggles on the road. Flacco overthrew his intended receiver on 46.3% of his attempts at least 15 yards downfield on the road, the worst percentage in the league. At home, Flacco overthrew his receiver on 26.7% of his attempts.(According to ESPN) Flacco’s QBR on the road was ranked 32nd the entire league, barely behind the great Carson Palmer.(sarcasm)

Why Denver will win: This one should be a no brainer. You have one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time who is having an MVP caliber season. Just as Flacco’s QBR is terrible on the road, Peyton’s is incredible at home. Peyton Manning leads the League in QBR at home by 11 points. Denver averages 4.1 yards per carry at home and the Sheriff is practically unstoppable, I don’t care if you have the Ninja Turtles on defense.

Why Denver will lose: Ray Lewis. If somehow Ray Lewis can spark Ed Reed, Benard Pollard and company, maybe they can pull this one out. Ray Lewis will definitely influence players around him to be great lets just hope they can force Peyton to make some mistakes downfield that leads to turnovers.

Prediction: Denver 28 – Baltimore 10

SP30BRONCOSRAIDERS_2JL3662

 

 

 

Game 4: Houston at New England

What will Schaub do?

 

 

 

 

 

Why Houston will Win: Houston still is the same dominant Houston from the beginning of the season. Arian Foster is healthy, Matt Schaub is not terrible and the defense has a lot of momentum. Even though the Bengals are not much of a team Houston still eliminated any 3rd down conversions in their last game. Foster has the second most rushing yards all time in his first thee postseason starts and he looks to add on to that with ease.

Why Houston will lose: Matt Schaub is average, at best. If one thing is obvious in the NFL it is the teams with the best QBs make it far. It will be too easy for New England to take out Foster and force Schaub to make plays. When you are not balanced in this league, teams will find your strength and take it away. Schaub has thrown three interceptions and zero yes zero TDs in his past three games. Somebody get this man a jacket he is cold.

Why New England will win: New England are one of those lucky teams who can send out an elite QB every week. No doubt Tom Brady is the leader and the force behind their success. They are the fourth seed for the fourth time in franchise history and have made it to the super bowl two of those times. It will be a cold brutal day for the Texans in Foxborough.

Why New England will lose: Their defense is not the same dominant defense as in their dynasty days. NE allows an average of 373 yards per game. So one could expect them to not be able to stop foster and then Schaub begin to hurt them with play action passes. Whenever you posses a running game with Arian Foster that allows you to keep a good offense off the field such as NE’s you build yourself a big advantage. That could very well be the case here.

Tom will be poised for a big gamePrediction: New England 21 – Houston 14

 

 

 

 

Andrew Wilkes

2013 NFL Playoffs: NFC Who will win and why

NFC Matchups

Game 2: Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers

Why Green Bay will win: Green Bay has been known for their high flying offense. Lead by the discount double check man himself, Aaron Rodgers. The monster quarterback has been here before, won a championship and has proven to be excellent on the road. It will be a hostile environment but Aaron Rodgers will produce. The Packers defense has been suspect this year but have played better as of late.

Why Green Bay will lose: The running game of the 49ers forces Rodgers to sit on the side lines while Kaepernick and co run down the throats of Green Bay. They know it is coming, but can they stop it?

Why San Francisco will win: It is a double edge sword. SF is starting Kaepernick who has zero playoff experience but uber athletic ability. He has lead the 49er offense from 26th last year to 11th in offense this year. He is a true dual threat QB and darn good at what he does. Also, SF has playmakers galore on defense. P. Willis, Aldo and Justin Smith, Ahmad Brooks, Navorro Bowman all have had stellar seasons. They look to continue that when the discount double check comes to town.

Why San Francisco will lose: Most people agree on the biggest downfall of the 49ers is the inexperience at quarterback. We all know the talents Kaepernick posses but what will he do when there is no guaranteed tomorrow? He is less accurate than Alex Smith was but he has the bomb arm. He contributes to the run game in a big way also, where he averages 6.6 yards per cary. But all in all, in a time where inexperience is key, does he have what it takes just yet?Patrick Willis kicks ass and takes names

Prediction: San Francisco 31 – Green Bay 28

Game 3: Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons 

Mr. best mode himself

Why Seattle will win: Seattle is arguably the most balanced team in the playoffs right now and they are also hot. The past 5 games Russell Wilson has thrown 11 touchdowns to 1 interception, held a stellar QBR, and fourth best passer rating. No doubt he is on fire and does not look like a rookie QB by any standards. And I cannot forget about skittles himself, Marshawn Lynch. The beast mode man himself has a sore foot but when does anyone ever feel soreness in a playoff game anyways.

Why Seattle will lose: I do not see Seattle blowing this game because they are just too solid. But I can see Matty Ice Ryan ready to win his first playoff game.  This could be the year he turns it around. The best team in the NFL at the beginning of the season slowed down at the end so their expectations aren’t wild. They have very little to lose and Matty Ice is ready to actually earn his Ice nickname and pull through when it counts and beat Seattle in a nail biter.

Why Falcons will win: The falcons have some big time playmakers on offense. Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez are all big time players who make big time plays. Look for Ryan to target these guys early and often and when it come 3rd and 5 from the 6 yard line, the Seahawks better find a Sasquatch to guard Gonzalez.

Why Falcons will lose: How disappointing would that be for Matt Ryan? I mean you are so incredibly successful in regular season but you have stunk it up each of the past 3 playoffs. He has all the qualities to become an “elite” quarterback but it is a must he comes to play in the postseason. Frankly, Matt Ryan has been great each regular season and terrible in the playoffs.(How can his nickname be Matty Ice when he does poorly in playoffs I will never know)  He has never thrown for over 200 yards in a playoff game has an ugly 23.8 QBR in the postseason.

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 21 – Seattle Seahawks 17

MAtty

Saban: Controlling his own dynasty

Nick Saban holding up his third crystal ball in four year. His fourth in eight years of college coaching.

Nick Saban holding up his third crystal ball in four year. His fourth in eight years of college coaching.

If you haven’t heard, yes the Alabama Crimson Tide won the BCS national championship. Oh yeah they did it last year too. I almost forgot about winning in 2009 also. So now that it is a general consensus that Nick Saban himself has turned this era of football into crimson and white, lets just take a step back and respect how why this is so impressive.

It was this easy it would’ve been done several times. But It has not. There have been very few “dynasty” football programs in the history of college football and lucky for us we are right witnessing one in its most dominant form. Besides the fact that Johnny football was playing like an NCAA video game that day in Tuscaloosa and other than in 2011 vs. LSU when Bama’s kicker couldn’t kick a can on a street even if it was on the edge of a sewer drain, the Tide haven’t lost since Cam Newton & Company won the Iron Bowl in 2010.(That Cam guy was pretty good if I do recall)

Why is it so difficult for colleges to dominate like this? Just recruit all the best to your school and boom you have a winner.

No. Not even close. If recruiting equalled wins then USC would have a 10 year dynasty.

There are reason why Alabama has been and will be better than everybody else as long as ole Nick is in charge and here is why:

1) The way he recruits. It is one thing to recruit good players. It is also one thing to recruit a lot of good players. This is what Alabama does, but so does about 30 other colleges. Nick Saban gets the best character guys that are the best players. And if you have a questionable attitude with you athleticism then it is guaranteed either a) you will not be around long or b) you will change for Nick. When you recruit and develop great guys who stay out of allegations, arrest, and drugs then their athleticism will shine even brighter. Saban has a knack for going to a  high school game recruiting one guy and coming out with a complete other. That is one trait that separates him from your average head ball coach.

2) He has his hand in everything. This is also quite impressive. In an industry where coaches flop around like a 30′ inch redfish that I catch with live shrimp off the coast of Louisiana. You have 2 successful seasons as an asst. then you will surely get a better offer from another school in no time. And Alabama has the golden pot for hiring universities. So often, a team losing a coordinator or a position coach and things just hit the fan. Not with Saban. He has his hands everywhere. I am convinced that Saban could actually coach the whole team offense, defense, and special teams all by himself. Whenever one coach leaves Saban either hires the exact man he wants or he hires somebody and teaches them what he wants. Making his team as consistent as possible year in and year out. He is smart enough to control every phase so every phase will always be done to his liking.

3) Another incredible feat is his ability to keep college kids focused. Alabama. Pretty southern girls. Great bar scene. Great frat scene. This is a 18 year old’s dream in one town with a few DUIs and other charges just waiting to happen. But somehow he manages to keep his players focused. It is one thing to be talented, but a complete other to be focused consistently. He does it by never accepting failure. Always coaching and always looking to improve. He relates with players with analogies and comparisons each week and new opponents come with a new speech Saban has rendered to explain how they should not believe in the 20 point favorite that is put on their upcoming game. Keeping 110 18-22 year old focused on a goal constantly, just flat out remarkable.

So all you tide fans don’t expect Saban to go anywhere just yet. I cannot see him making another run in the NFL and he will have a job in Tuscaloosa as long as he would like. The only thing you guys would worry about his him getting bored with winning all the time and wanting a new challenge. Every fierce competitor thrives off of having a challenge and Saban is the model for a competitor. He is set to make 5.5 mill this year so he is the highest paid coach in football, Tide fans just hope that he doesn’t ever find that winning championships is too easy and begins to look for something new. Until then, Roll on will the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Andrew Wilkes

Who’s to blame for the LA Lakers struggles?

Image

Why will the LA Lakers will not make the playoffs this year?

Two words. Phil Jackson.

The Lakers have proven a lot of things this season. One being nobody on the team is comfortable with any offense but Phil Jackson’s triangle.

After coaching the Lakers to 5 NBA Championships in 11 years, why would any Laker want to change out of one of the most productive offenses in our era. The triangle perfectly allowed Kobe to flow with Gasol and Bynum. Even in the earlier years with Shaq it just seemed all to easy for the uber entertaining Lakers. Now those days are over and the Lakers are more talented than ever, they are more pathetic than ever. 5th from last in points allowed per game and hovering around 15th in the power rankings the Lakers have transitioned to average.

But who’s to blame?

It’s not Kobe who is leading the league in scoring. It is not Nash who cannot get a rhythm in D’Antoni’s offense. It is not even Dwight who is playing like somebody took his superman powers away. It is management.

Why hire Mike Brown then fire him a year later? Ok. You made mistake number one but you have to avoid mistake number two, which they did not. Hiring Mike D’Antoni was mistake number 2. I am not hating on Mike D’Antoni either. He has had a successful coaching career and he deserves the respect. But he was put in a lose lose situation. We all know he runs a pick and roll offense. This is a type of offense that takes time and practice to develop a feel for. When you run a pick and roll offense it can be very effective, but also it can be very painful to watch if not run properly because the amount of turnovers it can produce.

15.3 TO per game and the Lakers let their inability to be a productive offense effect their ability to play defense. We all know, the NBA is full of freak athletes, freak athletes that love to run fast breaks. Ever heard what the best offense is? A good defense. Wanna know what the best defense is? A good offense. When you force teams to take the ball up majority of possessions you won’t have LeBron James or Blake Griffin going coast to coast and putting Gasol on Sportscenter’s Top 10 for getting slammed on.

No matter how good Kobe is, there are four other players and none of them seem comfortable in Mike D’Antoni’s offense. I wonder if hiring him in the middle of the season and having to learn on the fly a complicated offense that takes preseason time to develop has anything to do with the struggles. But I am just Andrew Wilkes, First United Methodist Church League Basketball MVP and reigning League champion, not the GM of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Andrew Wilkes

Successful investing is like playing baseball

baseball_gambling5b15d

I sound crazy right? Investing and baseball. Have I really gone mad or do I actually have a point?

If you have ever played or watched baseball then you know the failures that involve playing America’s past time. If you have ever attempted to build a successful portfolio then you also know first hand how complicated it can be to keep your returns on the north side of the “Mendoza Line.”

Fact of the matter is, baseball and investing indeed go hand in hand.

First, as I previously stated, baseball and investing both require an individual to deal with failure. If a MLB baseball player gets a hit just 3 out of every 10 at bats over his career, he will find himself in Cooperstown (location of MLB HofF) not very long after he retires.( Not to mention the mega bucks MLB organizations pay guys to maintain a .300BA) So that means learning to coping with perceived failure 7 out of ever 10 at bats. If you have ever played baseball, then you should know the thrill of hitting successfully and on the other hand, the disappointment of getting out. So you may ask yourself, how can a professional fail 70-80% of the time and not go absolutely insane? It’s quite simple actually.

Approach.

Taking a discipline approach to the game of baseball requires you to keep your confidence and quite frankly, your sanity.

Now then, approach? Investing?

Yes, every investor has an approach to the stock market. The best take a disciplined approach everyday. Note I said everyday. Like baseball, investors cannot afford to show up and go through the motions. When they lose sight of their approach, they become a  sub-par amateur investor. Their job and your money depends on the intuition that has been developed from a confident, disciplined approach to each decision that needs to be made. All it takes, is the one bad investment, the one bad decision on the day you decided to slug it out and not focus on what you truly know. A batting average is hard to maintain, even more difficult to pull up, and quick to fall and an investment portfolio can be tanked by a wrong decision. Taking a confident, disciplined approach to baseball will only make you a better player and is what can be looked too when times are tough. Remember the best hitter never get too excited when he is hot and never too low when he is cold. You can never tell when successful investors are rising with the bulls or running with the bears because their disciplined approach will not allow it.

Just imagine you are 0-3, in the division championship game. You already have been hitting as bad as Alex Rodriquez in the 2012 playoffs and coach is on the verge of dropping you from the 9 hole. It happens like it always does. The baseball gods find the person who has been struggling the most and give him the opportunity. How did that happen? You were due up 6th in the bottom of the 9th and the game was suppose to end with a walk off home run by the 4 hole stud. Nevertheless it happened, bases were loaded, two outs and the game was tied. No chance to escape with a squeeze and your recent worst nightmare just became reality. So what do you do? Look back at the past 4 games and realize you haven’t got on base since your playoff mustache was in its infancy, or do you fret upon how the same pitcher is still in who sat you down on three straight fast balls last time up? This is where I relate baseball and investing.(I know I rambled on but  that story was actually from personal experience) If your answer was yes to either of the preceding questions then you have already failed. What is critical is that you learn from your mistakes, put the past behind and approach your chance of stardom with a confident grin.

In investing, you will fail. It is inevitable. The best fail and the worst fail a lot. It is your ability to cope with failure that will separate yourself from the rest of the field. When you are still wound up that $AAPL will probably not return to its $705.07 anytime soon, how on earth could you have been poised to jump in on $BA at the exact time when their new line of planes continued to show malfunctions. You had a bad call? So what. Everybody does. See where you went wrong in your analysis and keep your head up because your next call could very well be a big one.

As the great Benjamin Graham teaches, there are two types of investors. Enterprising investor and defensive investor. Most defensive investors either hire a professional or just put their money in an index fund or long term bond and not worry about it for years. For the enterprising investor it all comes down to research. Companies shell out multi millions of dollars on research and analyst. When you are investing, having a solid portfolio is the only path to prosperity. As much as I hate to say you cannot watch CNBC for a week and expect to have a great portfolio. As much as I love and respect Jim Cramer all of his calls will not turn out winners so you have to be prepared to put in time. Doing your homework is critical to a great portfolio. Knowing how to enter what, when, and why. If you cannot answer these questions then you are probably going to end up like A-Rod in October 2012, riding the bench while everybody else plays.

Do not be A-Rod and choke when opportunity arises. Definitely don’t be that guy who reflects on his past failures as to think it will do anything but worry you even more in the present time. And as always, learn and develop a disciplined approach to investing. Read, research, learn and enjoy gambling with Wall Street.

Andrew Wilkes

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