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Root, root, root for the home team?

By Tom Fetters

Back when I was in school, there were a couple of conference road trips that were better left untaken. These were places where – it seemed at the time – every call went against us. Their guys got all of the advantages. By the end of the game, they were celebrating and we were convinced we’d been homered. And it hurt.

I remembered those road trips a few months ago when the city of Milwaukee enacted its local preference law –- a type of legislated homering. Out-of-town contractors, including American Sewer Services Inc. of Rubicon and United Sewer and Water Inc. of Menomonee Falls, felt the sting of visitors watching as the home team got the advantages. They lost, and it hurt.

In fact, it hurt so much the companies and their supporters are fighting on multiple fronts to get the law reversed.

And I remembered those road trips again Tuesday when I read about the Beijing government’s “Buy China” policy that has U.S. business groups griping about getting homered from halfway around the world.

China has announced that it is giving an unspecified advantage to its local companies when it buys computers and other tech products, and non-Chinese companies –- perhaps including Microsoft, Intel and Motorola –- are hurt.

U.S. business groups are appealing to the Chinese government to reconsider the policy, and they’re pleading with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to ask the Chinese to change their minds.

No matter the circumstances –- perceived or legislated or declared and in the school sports world or in the local construction world or in the international technology world –- homering hurts.

Tom Fetters is a copy editor with The Daily Reporter. With a wife and a daughter, he gets homered … even at home.

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