The Persistent Hope of Opening Day in 2024

The Persistent Hope of Opening Day in 2024

May 02, 2024

The ballpark can be a great place to meet with your financial professional

Opening Day for the 2024 Major League Baseball season was Thursday, March 28th.

For every team, as writers have written over the years, “Hope springs eternal.” And in the spring of 2024, we need to hold onto that hope.

History of Opening Day

So, how long has baseball had Opening Days? This is the 148th season of the National League, which began in 1876. From 1876 to the present, almost every year has had an Opening Day.

In fact, there have only been five cancellations or delays since that time, including last year. But last year was thankfully the only time in almost 30 years that games were cancelled because of a labor dispute.

US presidents have been part of Opening Day for over 100 years. Since President William Howard Taft threw out the ceremonial first pitch of the 1910 season, every president has thrown out the first pitch on Opening Day at least once. President Franklin D. Roosevelt did it eight times, halting the practice during World War II. President Harry Truman did it seven times. As a matter of fact, President Truman threw first pitches with both his right and left arms in 1950.

Some games on Opening Day have been especially memorable:

  • On Opening Day, 1907, fans in New York rioted, throwing snowballs at players. The umpire stopped the game, and the New York Giants had to forfeit.

In that same game, Giants catcher Roger Bresnahan became the first catcher to wear shin guards, a now universal practice.

  • On Opening Day, 1940, 21-year-old Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians pitched a no-hitter, the only one ever pitched on Opening Day.
  • On Opening Day, 1947, Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers became the first African American to play Major League Baseball in the 20th century.
  • On Opening Day, 1974, Hank Aaron hit his 714th home run, tying the record of the legendary Babe Ruth.

Hopeful Baseball Teams

Only two teams have played continuously since 1876, the Chicago Cubs and the Atlanta (originally Boston) Braves. Talk about persistence. Year in and year out, whether in good times or bad, these two teams have returned for Opening Day.

The Cubs provide a particularly persistent example of hope. Before their 2016 World Series victory, the Cubs last won the World Series in 1908, back when Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas II still enjoyed their Empires.

The Boston Red Sox also maintained their optimism. After selling the contract of Babe Ruth to the Yankees, the Red Sox waited 84 more years before another World Series title in 2004. Even after making what many consider to be the worst deal in sports history, the Red Sox came up with many great players over the years, enjoying many winning seasons. And then they won the World Series three times in ten years and again in 2018.

Fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates never gave up hope, either. The once proud Pirates, with past World Series titles and many Hall of Fame players, endured 20-consecutive losing seasons, from 1993 to 2012. This marks the longest streak of seasons with losing records in professional sports history. However, after careful planning, restructuring, and analysis of its players and the competition, the Pirates have had more recent winning seasons and playoff appearances.

These baseball teams and their fans did not abandon the cause, drop all of their players, or give up on the proven baseball strategies for success. They kept plugging away. Team management reviewed the team’s status every year. They changed players as needed, sometimes in a planned way, and sometimes because of a sudden injury. They adjusted their rosters and their strategies to fit the situation and the competition.

Investors

Baseball had been around for a very long time, but Major League Baseball began in 1876. Stocks had been traded, but the stock market’s first index – the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – was created in 1896. And since the DJIA was created, as of the summer of 2018, only one of the original member companies remained in the DJIA, General Electric (GE). Sadly, that came to an end as GE was booted out of the DJIA and replaced by Walgreens.

As with all stocks (and baseball teams), GE has had good and bad years, has adjusted its holdings, its personnel, and its strategies. And every year, the company keeps plugging away – although a quick review of its stock price shows it has really struggled since getting booted out of the DJIA.

As of 2024, General Electric is actively navigating a significant transformation in its business structure, mirroring its history of resilience and adaptation to market dynamics. The company has announced the approval of the spin-off of GE Vernova, a move that signifies a strategic repositioning. This decision aligns with GE's broader restructuring plan, which also includes the separation of GE Healthcare and the combination of GE Renewable Energy, GE Power, and GE Digital into a unified entity, further indicating GE's intent to streamline its operations and focus on core growth areas.

GE has shown robust financial performance leading up to this transition. The company reported a significant increase in orders and revenues, signaling strong demand in its end markets and improved operational execution. For example, GE announced a 19% year-over-year increase in total orders in the third quarter of 2023, alongside an 18% increase in organic orders. Furthermore, GE's financial results for the fourth quarter and the full year of 2023 reflect a positive trajectory, with total orders amounting to $21.7 billion in the fourth quarter, marking an 8% increase.

This financial upswing and strategic restructuring reflect GE's enduring capacity to adapt and thrive amidst the challenges and opportunities presented by the global market. By focusing on core areas of growth and streamlining its operations, GE is positioning itself for a future of sustained success and innovation.

However, just like baseball teams, year in and year out, whether in good times or bad, companies and investors continue to show up for business. After careful planning and as-needed adjustments, they remain hopeful. Wise investors do not abandon the cause or the proven financial strategies for success.

Opening Day & Your Financial Professional

Despite bad seasons or strings of bad seasons, each team’s fans hope for the best. Fans don’t drop their teams. Baseball team owners don’t abandon ship just because things are not going as planned (well, sometimes they abandon cities, but that’s another story altogether). Successful team owners and managers keep level heads, carefully adjust their rosters and their strategies, and stay hopeful. Even when they don’t win championships, they still win games.

Financial professionals and investors would be wise to follow the same strategies. Remain level-headed, plan carefully based on resources and the market, and then work toward success.

Financial professionals may remind clients to review their investments yearly, usually at the end of the year. However, in the spirit of hopefulness, what if clients reviewed their investments on Baseball’s Opening Day, when “Hope springs eternal”?

 

Important Disclosures

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. No investment strategy or risk management technique can guarantee return or eliminate risk in all market environments. All indexes are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA): A price-weighted average of 30 blue-chip stocks that are generally the leaders in their industry.

This article was prepared by FMeX.

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