Monday, November 9, 2009

Paying off a bet – What I learned from watching the World Series


So the Yankees are the World Champs of baseball for 2009. I’ve been struggling with what to write for this post. Honestly, it never entered my mind that I would be the one paying off this bet. I assumed, even when the Phils were down 3-1, that they would win and Dan would be extolling their virtues. But, a bet is a bet, and I promised to write a post praising the Yankees, with an employment law bent, if they won the World Series.

So here’s the lesson that I can draw for you from this sad outcome. The team with the most resources doesn’t always win, but it doesn’t hurt to have the best hand to start with. With an uncapped salary system, the Yankees spend money as they see fit, with no limits. Thus, their payroll for their top three players eclipses that of the complete rosters of most of their major league counterparts. Yet, their superiority of resources is only part of their ability of success. After all, they’ve outspent everyone for as long as I can remember, and yet this is only their first title in the past 10 years. And so, while they always have the best chance to succeed (and always assume that they will), it doesn’t always work out that way for them. This year, for example, they appeared to come together as a team, and not just play as an amalgam of superstars, which perhaps accounts for why they succeeded this year and failed in the decade prior.

For employers, the lesson is this – in many cases, you will assume that you should win. You may have better facts, better law, more money and resources, the better lawyer, and you may even have had past successes and a good rapport with the same judge. And yet, with all of these supposed advantages on your side, you could still find yourself on the losing end of big verdict. Advantages are just that, but they do not bring home the win. Hard work, teamwork, and even a little bit of luck are all needed to take advantage of your advantages.

Here’s to a great World Series and the Phillies getting back to the top of the mountain in 2010.


Presented by Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, with offices in Cleveland and Columbus. For more information, contact Jon Hyman, a partner in our Labor & Employment group, at (216) 736-7226 or jth@kjk.com.

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