Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Sun Sets In Baltimore

It's not enough that the city of Baltimore, with its gleamingly beautiful Oriole Park at Camden Yards stadium, has been saddled with a horrible team for the last decade. The Orioles, playing in a competitive division, haven't had a winning record since 1997.

But now it seems owner Peter Angelos (who has presided over the O's decay) is teaching the heads of the local paper, The Baltimore Sun, lessons in etiquette. From the blog "The Loss Column":

Over the past two days, management has laid off roughly 60 staffers including several senior-level editors.

If you’re wondering what this has to do with sports, Rick Maese and David Steele are among the cuts. What’s more, a source tells me that both Maese and Steele were informed of the layoffs while working in the press box at Camden Yards.

Let’s put a big red circle around that: two of the Sun’s most respected and visible sportswriters were informed by phone that they no longer had jobs — while they were working in the field.

It’s unconscionable and inexcusable. No explanation could make that OK. Period.

I’m as sensitive as anyone to the changing nature of the media landscape. I’ve invested countless hours in wrapping my head around it, and I’ve been paid once or twice to help other people figure it out. I consider myself well-versed on the issue, and I don’t make these critiques lightly.

The problem isn’t that the Sun felt the need to make cuts. The problem is the way they made them and who and what they cut.

The Sun is so integrated with the Orioles' ballpark, that its six letters "THE SUN" stand tall over the field's jumbotron and scoreboard. And one of the super-cool features of Camden Yards is that, after questionable plays that are left to the official scorer's decision about whether to rule a hit or error--either the "H" or "E" will start blinking after the ruling has been made. I know, almost any team's newspaper sponsor could do this since almost every city's main paper begins with "The"; however, it's still a really subtle feature of the park that reflected to me the importance and stature of the local newspaper.

It's too bad the Sun management--if this story is true--doesn't have the same sort of stature. Alas, newspaper industry, when will the bleeding stop?

Head nod right back at ya', BLS.


Alex Cora said...

At least it was better than this...

Steve Sax said...

That is unbelievable.