Today is opening day for baseball and every player and fan is optimistic that this is their year. But baseball is a long season, and eventually there will be hardships and challenges. Things will not always work out as planned. Former manager, Chuck Tanner, said: “What you have to remember is that baseball isn’t a week or a month, but a season – and a season is a long time.” The same could be said about embarking on a business succession plan or an estate plan. We all begin with high hopes, but along the path, life can get in the way. It’s a long haul and things don’t always work out like we expect.
The great Yankee manager Casey Stengal taught us: “There are three things you can do in a baseball game. You can win, or you can lose, or it can rain.” Or as my dad always said: “you win some, you lose some, some get rained out, and some never get played.” This is so true. Therefore, as we plan for things in life we must always be ready to adjust the plan. A divorce will happen, someone will die too soon, someone will get arrested, or congress will change the rules. Your estate plan or your succession plan is the result of a process and the process will continue until the end of the season. If it is a succession plan, that is when you no longer own the business. If it is an estate plan, it is when you die. So sometimes you will swing for the fences, at other times you will bunt, and sometimes you will even sacrifice. Just remember, keep playing. The season is long.
As a bonus (and in honor of the start of the baseball season), I thought I would share a few of my favorite alleged quotes from the great Yogi Berra:
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
“You can observe a lot by just watching.”
“It’s like déjà vu all over again.”
“Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.”
“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”
“Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.”
“The future ain’t what it used to be.”
“Pair up in threes.”
“You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.”