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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Fear strikes out

The trouble with Gary:

Much like the people of Mudville were let down by their beloved Casey, the residents of Gary have suffered the same fate at the hands of their mayors over the last four decades.

In the 1888 poem "Casey at the Bat," the famed slugger made the final out, whiffing as he swung for the fences with two men on and his team trailing by two runs.

Therein, lies some of Gary's problems, some say.

"A series of incredible plans and unrealistic expectations ... regrettably, that appears to describe repeated efforts to revitalize and regenerate the city," said Robert Wichlinski, a student of local government in Northwest Indiana.

Wichlinski went on, "Gary seems to always be swinging for the fences, pinning all their hopes on the grand slam.

"Perhaps the best we can do is to support and inspire an understanding that a series of singles scores runs, too. A few singles, a few runs, a few wins and who knows."he baseball

The baseball analogy is a good one because it makes clearer the desperation of a city always trying for the big score because it hasn't been attending to the little things. But Gary isn't the only example of "swinging for the fences," just the most striking one given how far the city has fallen since the steel mill glory days. A lot of what passes for "economic development" these days -- going after that one big company that has every city in the country bidding on it instead of paying the tax and regulatory structure that can encourage or impede all business development -- amounts to the same strategy.