John Barrette

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August 7, 2013
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Scene in Passing: Wait till next year isn't forever, anywhere

Life isn’t baseball. But there are few better metaphors for gaining perspective on the big picture than the vagaries of major league ball.

Just as baseball is a favorite pastime in off hours, vagaries is a favorite word to capture vicissitudes of ballgames and that aforementioned big picture called life. Vagaries cover unpredictable or erratic actions and occurrences; vicissitudes cover changes of fortune, also known as ups and downs.

Economic life is particularly difficult to see clearly in a meaningful way over time because of vagaries and vicissitudes. For example, the recession is history, but it doesn’t feel like it. Things are getting better, but progress seems elusive at best. What tomorrow will bring is anybody’s guess.

But the crystal ball views of city Supervisors John McKenna and Brad Bonkowski are pertinent fodder for consideration.

McKenna is convinced the Internet has changed much, if not everything, and a look at Jeff Bezos’ fortune hints McKenna may well be right. Bezos, billionaire, just purchased The Washington Post newspaper for pocket change — $250 million. Bezos is worth more than $28 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

While warehouses go up to hold Internet inventory, vacated retail space here and elsewhere isn’t yet getting snapped up the way playoff or World Series tickets do.

Bonkowski is also wary of relying heavily on retail. He wants more industrial activity in the state capital and across the region to join with retailing, government and health care to help revive Carson City’s prospects.

In other words, the supervisors’ analyses take into account that bricks-and-mortar retail is troubled somewhat like the Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs last made the World Series in 1945. They last won it in 1907 and 1908. How’s that for a couple of ups and unending downs?

So Carson City’s standing in line post-recession for a slow but steady recovery may indeed be agonizing, but it beats roller-coaster boom and bust times. And it beats Cubs’ bust-only memories.

Perhaps, however, the Cubs calling up Logan Watkins from Triple A ball will spark Chicago’s National League team, now mired in the Central Division’s fourth place.

The second-baseman hit less than .250 in Iowa, but got on base one-third of the time. “That’s a big part of my game, drawing walks,” he said. “I just grind.”

Life is a grind. Probably Watkins won’t springboard the Cubs into the World Series. But you never know. And maybe Carson City will struggle to find the right mix to prosper. You never know. Yet one thing is certain. In life, whether in Chicago or Carson City, it helps to walk if you want to score runs.

John Barrette covers Carson City government and business. He can be reached at

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Aug 7, 2013 12:43AM Published Aug 7, 2013 12:43AM Copyright 2013 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.