Whenever I begin to lose my way and start buying the hype of the mutual fund industry that the losses are fine and that you shouldn't worry and that the beatings come with the program, I turn to the sports section for a breath of fresh air.
Sports and business go together well. First, there are clear lines of professionalism. Amateurs get blown out when times are tough, professionals soldier on. Second, the pros get paid huge amounts. They are both compensated gigantically for their efforts. And why are the both paid lots of money? Is it to lose you money or to lose ballgames? Nope, they are paid a lot of money to win.
This weekend, in the
New York Times
sports section, Curt Schilling, the consummate professional pitcher for the
, gave a great interview about what it means to be a pro. He was talking about the change in the
from worst to first, and why it is happening. He cites the leadership of Larry Bowa, the new manager. "What
Bowa has made them understand, the ones that needed to anyway, was that you're getting paid to win, not to play. They have some guys over there who thought coming to the park, suiting up and going out and playing was what they were getting paid for. You get paid to suit up and win."
These are valuable words for both professions. We did not give our money to managers to just play with the stock market. We gave them the money to win. We did not give the money to Ryan Jacob to play with
. We gave it to him to win. We gave the money to
and to Alger and to
to win, not to play with the market and lose us a fortune.
In sports, pros who don't win get traded. Pros who don't win get cut. They get drummed out of the majors. They don't get the big bucks anymore. In business it should be exactly the same way. You did not give these pros millions in fees to lose you money. You could do that all on your own!
When you forget who the boss is, and to whom you are paying millions of dollars so he can win for you, remember the words of Curt Schilling: "The money they are getting paid is to win, not to play." Many people in our business need to be taught this lesson. Now.
James J. Cramer is a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet.com's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for TheStreet.com and RealMoney.com, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. While he cannot provide personalized investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to send comments on his column to