Moneyball anyone? Pay heed, Carson City

Old sayings in baseball and finances come to mind while pondering Carson City area commerce and economic recovery moves forward.

This consolidated city’s new manager used a baseball axiom beloved to people who think steroids and home runs have hurt the national pastime. Nick Marano, who becomes city manager on June 2, in his interview before being selected said he would be content to hit singles in moving Carson City commerce and government forward.

The applicable axiom: hit singles or doubles and home runs will take care of themselves. In finances and commerce, even government, if operations are efficient, an equivalent saying counsels people to watch pennies and the dollars will come. Personal and professional financial matters are simple if you make sure outgo doesn’t exceed income.

So it was interesting to read this week there is plenty of skepticism regarding the mega-factory plans of Tesla, the electric motor car company, to build scads of lithium-ion batteries. Northern Nevada supposedly has been in the running to get the plant, along with Texas and other states, but an article in Monday’s Wall Street Journal (WSJ) raised questions about this home run, big money idea. Wherever the plant winds up, is it homer or strikeout?

“Is Tesla’s Battery Factory Realistic?” a headline in a WSJ report on energy issues blared. Assessing opinions from experts based on facts and speculation brought some raised-eyebrows comments.

“Next generation chemistries, such as lithium air, are another 25 years away from commercialization,” K.M. Abrahamson, 30-year lithium battery researcher, told the business newspaper. A research professor at the Northeastern University Center for Renewable Energy Technology, Abrahamson said progress from here won’t be as simple as it was until now.

There is nothing wrong with state government striving to hit home runs and bring big money operations to Nevada, as the Governor’s Office of Economic Development does, but no one should neglect the nuts and bolts of bringing in small firms that can grow or helping those already here. Both are just as important. Put it this way: the take-a-walk or get-a-single leadoff hitter in baseball is just as important to winning as the heavy hitter in the meat of the order.

A home run with a man on is two runs, but a leadoff hitter on base also can score on a single if he steals second or a bunt advances him.

Last year first baseman Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles belted 53 home runs while hitting .286, but he also struck out 199 times. After 30 games this spring, he had just three homers and had struck out 33 times while hitting .231. Baseball is a game of statistics, inches, small ball and moneyball. Much like life and commerce.

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


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