A Win is a Win

I love baseball.  That’s an interesting statement perhaps since I don’t know much about the game; my only experience playing organized baseball was as an eight year old on the Pee Wee Pirates.  And the only time I get to watch baseball these days are my sons’ leagues (which are the highlight of my week), and every morning during my lethargic 30 minute workout when I turn on Quick Pitch–a show that broadcasts the highlights from all of the games played the day before.  This morning they highlighted the Phillies vs. the Mets; the Phillies have the worst record in Major League Baseball this season, having lost 50% more games than they have won.  The Mets on the other hand are in first place in the Eastern Division.

Last night’s contest was played in Philadelphia and the fan attendance was the worst it’s been since the park opened with only 28% of the available tickets even sold and less than half of those were occupied.  Now I don’t particularly care for the Phillies, but I always cheer for the underdog; it’s the way I was raised.  I love a good comeback story and I love seeing the struggler overcome adversity.  I believe that it’s the American way: hard work and determination paying off and all that.  Well last night the Phillies won 3-0 and they did so with three homeruns.  All three of the balls were hit to sections that didn’t have a single paying spectator, they just bounced around the seats for awhile and then rolled down the stairs; it was unbelievable.  It was a great win and three was lots of high-fiving and stuff.  While this one triumph isn’t going to win the Phillies the pennant and most likely won’t sell out all 43,647 seats for the next home game, it was a great victory (in the one minute recap I saw while huffing past mile two at seven miles per hour on zero incline) and an inspiration to work a little harder and run a little faster.

Speaking of working a little harder and overcoming hurdles: if you look at the graph below showing the declining job creation trend over the last five months, it looks like we have turned a corner.  Though today’s announcement of 142,000 newly created jobs in our country last month was 31% lower than analysts hoped for, it’s better than last month and that’s a start.

Not boding too well for a full recovery in the labor market is the rest of the Jobs Report, showing that the Labor Force Participation Rate fell to 62.4 percent, the lowest since October 1977 on account of 350,000 Americans dropping out of the labor force in August.  In my opinion, this means that Feds will probably leave rates alone this month, and, unless we see a lot of homeruns in the employment sector over the next 75 days, will most likely leave rates alone in December too.  Looking on the bright side, low interest rates are a victory for anyone with a mortgage to pay.

Housing and Baseball

Out of the 19 seasons that Yogi Berra played professional baseball, he was in 15 All-Star Games and competed in 14 World Series–winning the championship 10 times.  With stats like that, is it any wonder that he is praised as one of the greatest players of all time?  One of my favorite sayings attributed to him is “you can observe a lot by watching”.  It resonates because that’s all I do to produce this column every morning; I watch and read until something interesting pops up and then I attempt to turn it into useful entertainment.  We do the same thing in our professional practices: listening to the client and asking key questions to better ascertain how we can help them accomplish their goals, while keeping them interested in using our services.

Speaking of stats, Weiss Residential Research reported that the number of appreciating homes has declined more than 12% over the last year.  They also said that there are three times as many homes losing value every month than there were the year prior.  Pretty sure that I saw this on my eighth grader’s homework last night: (x-0.12=3x)? No word on what type of homes these are, where they are located, nor the cause of the depreciation. Given the price appreciation of housing calculated by every other publication this year, a possible explanation for their conclusions could be that the exploited sampling is very small and the reasons could be fire, flooding, or possibly anywhere around Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia where the Phillies’ winning percentage is only 37%.