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If you have been following Major League Baseball at all this year you have heard the story of Yasiel Puig, the Las Angeles Dodgers rookie outfielder. For those who don't know, Puig is a Cuban defector who finally succeeded in reaching the United States last year and after several harrowing failed attempts.

He has prodigious talent and routinely does things like this and this. However he also is considered arrogant and his actions on the field have been called "stupid" by other players and coaches. His own coach has benched him for being late to the park or for allegedly loafing. His critics say that he has to learn humility, and he has to respect the game.

During my short and wildly unsuccessful professional baseball career my pitching coach hammered that point home to us on a daily basis, admonishing us that "this game will humble you". While it's fun to watch Puig show up an opposing pitcher after hitting a huge home run or run through a catcher with reckless abandon, my coach is right: in the long run baseball will absolutely humble him because it humbles everyone.

A great example is Matt Harvey, the New York Mets phenom. This year he was an All-Star, he was on the cover of magazines, and he dated a SI swimsuit model. Last month he blew out his elbow and his future is now uncertain. Every player is one play away from being humbled.

The same is true in finance. You can make a huge return on one deal and then lose your shirt on the next. Look at the year Bill Ackman has had, for instance. As a real estate professional I am acutely aware of the transience of success. There is a saying in our business that a developer is always one deal from failure. Most readers on this site either work, or aspire to work in professions where your circumstances can shift drastically at a moment's notice. In that type of environment it is important to remain grounded.

The only guarantee in finance is that, to quote Coach Eric Taylor from Friday Night Lights, "We will all be tested. We will be tested to our very souls." This advice also applies to your job performance. In a recent interview Charlie Munger attributes his success to being rational and able to invest without emotion. If one can maintain an even keel no matter the circumstances it will absolutely benefit your career.

Yasiel Puig may well lead the Dodgers to the World Series this year; there is no doubt that he is a championship-quality player. However I can also guarantee you that this offseason every single scout in baseball will be looking at video trying to uncover his weaknesses and next year he will be a marked man. Now he may be talented enough that it will not matter and he will remain the same amazing player he is today, but now everyone is gunning for him and somewhere down the line he will fall.


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Comments (6)

  • HFer_wannabe's picture

    Bill Ackman has many shirts

  • wannabeaballer's picture
  • Cash4Gold's picture

    Perhaps Puig would not make a great analyst and he would probably suck at doing basic administrative work, but I disagree with the premise that this means he would not make it in finance. After the analyst level, regardless of buyside or sellside, there is a goal that runs much deeper than churning as many presentations or charts as possible. He has already proven he is a once in a generation talent, and statistics seem to show that at worst he is streaky, and he does recover well from those "humbling" moments where he goes 0/4 with 4 Ks and throws a temper tantrum. Puig would probably not make it because if his inability to handle office politics, rather than his inability to recover from "humbling" moments.

    Baseball has the dumbest "unwritten rule" atmosphere out of any sport. The on-field temper tantrums are over the top and need to be punished, but as far as the loafing non-sense and playing with extreme passion, I can think of more than a few franchises that would take those problems if it meant they could have a record like the Dodgers.

  • droking7's picture

    This is a fucking stupid analogy haha. Puig is the Balotelli of the MLB. They're both phenoms, both cocky as shit, and both very polarizing. Balotelli pulled the same shit at City but has really calmed down now that he is back at Milan. Puig will inevitably do the same.

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