The Analogy of Fall Baseball
It is October, and that means baseball – playoff and World Series baseball to be precise. And with that comes the chance to watch good baseball, with good announcers and truly meaningful games. That was what it meant when I was a kid, too, except back then that was about the only time we could watch games as we didn’t have cable TV on the farm, and the best option beyond that was the game of the week on Saturday – but we didn’t always get the station that carried that, either. Regardless, we dialed in when we could, and it always provided fodder for those harvest time conversations my brother and I would have with Dad.
Looking back, I find it interesting that Dad was as into these ball games as he was, as he didn’t spend a lot of time playing catch with us. And while I recall his baseball glove – a classic three fingered thing like Charlie Brown wears – I don’t recall ever actually playing catch with him – at least not baseball. We tossed the football around some, but never baseball. Never-the-less, he was into playoff baseball, and that rubbed off into some of his conversations. I now realize he could throw out an analogy on par with some of the best MBAs I have ever met.
His favorite baseball quote was from Jim Palmer, the Oriole right hander famous for pitching prowess and Jockey™ underwear ads. It was something to the effect of understanding that if you are going to miss your pitch, then you need to know on which side of the plate to miss. For the baseball novice, a pitcher needs to throw pitches on the outside or inside of the plate, but preferably not right down the middle. The down the middle pitch tends to get hit into the stands. So if you wanted to throw to the outside part of the plate, and you miss by six inches in toward the batter, you just served up a home run ball. If you miss outside, it is just a ball outside and you get to throw another pitch. Dad used his version of this line for years, generally only in the fall, though. I believe it changed a bit each year, but the essence of the message was there. It was a good analogy.
Flash forward some 30 plus years and I am the dad excited about playoff baseball. Among the benefits for me is that it brings back some fond memories of my dad, and that got me to considering the analogies I throw at my kids. I am not sure I am as talented at it as my dad, but I am prolific. I am pretty sure that’s my MBA coming through. Anyway, the one I go to frequently is pretty straightforward, I think. It is simply, “We really need to get out of this inning.” I find it is the baseball version of ‘cart before the horse’, only with a dose of life’s challenges mixed in. It works equally well for situations where someone is feeling overwhelmed, and for when there are some immediate tasks that are being neglected while fiddling time away on something less urgent – or even not urgent at all. Like I said, I use it a lot.
My son is a ballplayer, so he gets it. My daughter is a dancer, and took a bit to embrace it. Whether they remember it thirty years from now is anybody’s guess. But I do suspect that my willingness to add the occasional cuss word will keep it a bit fresher for them. After all, what’s an analogy without a little color?
Term of the Month
By Ny Lee
A green bond is a security whose proceeds are used to fund environmentally friendly projects related to clean water, pollution control, renewable energy, land development, habitat restoration and many other related projects.
Green bonds are a relatively new concept with the first issuance, a €600 million green bond, issued by the European Investment Bank in 2007. That issuance was followed in 2008 by a SEK 2.3 billion green bond by The World Bank. Through 2012, these multilateral banks were the only issuers of green bonds, after which point the first corporate green bonds began to appear. Since then, the global market has grown significantly with an estimate of reaching $150 billion by the end of 2017.
Structurally, a green bond is not any different than a standard bond, with similar risks, tenures, pricing and rating; the sole difference being the designated use of the proceeds. Green bonds are typically categorized into four types based on the intended use of proceeds and/or recourse:
- Use-of-proceeds bonds: full recourse to the issuer’s assets
- Use-of-proceeds revenue bonds: recourse only to the project revenue stream
- Project bonds: investors have direct exposure to the green project
- Securitized bonds: the relevant revenue stream is generated by a group of green projects
Currently, there is no domestic regulatory policy or uniform global standardization for which to certify a bond as a green bond. There are, however, two independently developed guidelines by the International Finance Corporation and the Climate Bond Initiative group that appear to be acceptable by many issuers around the world. But these principal guidelines are only voluntary and carry no regulatory weight. Thus far, only a few countries, including China and India, have passed some form of legislation to identify green standards.
In general, a green bond is a normal bond that allows an investor to make a return while financing environmentally beneficial projects. In the United States, certain green bonds are also tax-exempt, not because of the cause of the bond but rather the issuer itself may be a federally qualified issuer, such as a municipality or retirement fund.
Sources: Investopedia, Wall Street Journal, Climate Bonds Initiative, International Finance Corporation
Bits & Pieces
By Jeff Torrison
- Approximately $2 trillion is wagered on sporting events each year according to an article in the September 23, 2017, issue of The Economist. That’s about 7% higher than Italy’s annual GDP.
- In October of 1969 President Nixon authorized operation Giant Lance in which US B-52 bombers loaded with atomic weapons flew towards the Soviet Union and then diverted to the polar ice cap where they flew loops before returning to their bases in the western United States. Nixon’s theory was that by acting in an apparently irrational manner he could get the Soviet Union to apply pressure against North Vietnam in support of America’s position towards the country.
- Counties in Florida and Texas that suffered damage from the recent hurricanes issued 13% of the total building permits in the US in 2016 per the September, 20, 2017, issue of The Wall Street Journal.
- 1 in 16 people went to an emergency room in 2014 for treatment of injuries sustained at home per an article in the October 2017 issue of The Atlantic.
- This year marks the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence after being an autonomous grand duchy of the Russian Empire since 1806. Before then it had been under Swedish rule for centuries. In 1906, almost a decade before it became independent, Finland gave voting rights to all adult citizens. This was 14 years before the ratification of the 20th Amendment to the US Constitution which gave women the right to vote.
- Johnny Carson began hosting the Tonight Show 55 years ago in October of 1962 and continued in this role for almost 30 years, broadcasting more than 4,500 episodes. Over 90 million people have been born in the US since his show was last on the air.