Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Bottom of the Ninth (Part II)

Thankfully he didn't fly-in to just talk to me. He had an early dinner arranged with several other owners to discuss what can only be described as important matters. Given the weather conditions up north, I could certainly understand why some of the owners would be flocking to either Arizona or Florida to check out the opening games of Spring Training.

"Where's all your stuff?" he asked after crushing his cigarette into an ashtray that resembled a catcher's mitt.

"What stuff?" I responded knowing full well what he was asking for.

Mr. Hunt smiled. He went on to let me know that Logan and DeSear were on their way here to fire me but that he stopped them. I believe he called them a bunch of whining tattle tales just looking for an excuse to hammer me, no matter how trivial the issue. And that he's been the only thing standing between them and me having to look for other employment opportunities.

He even called Logan a young arrogant punk. But that he ultimately hired Logan for all the right reasons. And if I could paraphrase Mr. Hunt, it would go something like this - I'm not a philanthropist. I'm a businessman who likes to win and turn a profit. Pure and simple. And Logan's looking to build a team that will give me the most wins for the dollars I want to invest. He gets it. But what I also know is that he's not a baseball person. He's never played the game competitively. Oh sure he knows baseball theory but he doesn't know the more practical things that can make or break a professional ball club. That's where you come in.

The tools and intangibles that you spend so much time trying to detect are something that Logan does not and cannot fully appreciate. Yet, you do not fully appreciate the analytical process of performance scouting which has incredible merit from an efficiency point of view. What they do is more objective and concrete. They can analyze someone's performance numbers and decide what they're willing to pay for those numbers. Much like the way things are done in the real business world. When I decide to buy a company, I spend countless hours breaking apart the financials to see what its worth. But if you think about it, that's only part of the equation when valuing a company. The other part is what I call the forward-looking part. And you just can't assume past performance will equal future performance. You really need to spend a great deal of time thinking about the company's future potential and what you would be willing to pay for that potential.

You see Cutter, anybody can break apart financials and past performance. That's the easy part. But only the best can go the extra step to accurately predict a company's potential and ultimately determine its true worth. That's the more subjective part. The forward-looking part. The speculative part. That's where the big deals are either made or broken. And it's a good thing that past performance does not always predict future performance. Because if it did, there would be no opportunities to speculate and make a killing.

What you do Cutter is subjective and at times, very speculative. You and the other senior scouts are my forward-looking part. In my mind, we will never win a World Series Championship until both the past and future come together to eventually put the best team on the field in the present. I just can't hire Logan to get the best past performers. And I just can't hire guys like you to get the best future prospects. I need both elements. I need both of you to work together if we are ever going to win a World Series Championship. And let's face it, I'm not getting any younger. Are you with me?

With that said, we shook hands and I vowed to work more closely with my performance scouting counterparts. Needless to say, I'm up here in Macon, Georgia this evening getting ready to look at Goldie's three prospects that he accused me of refusing to look at.

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