What It's Like To Get Fired In The Press Box

Last week, The Big Lead reported about some of the layoffs at the Baltimore Sun. One of the reporters who was fired, David Steele, recounts his personal trauma for Real Clear Sports.

The rumor was that some of the reporters were in the press box, covering an Orioles game, when they received the news of their doomed jobs. One of those let go was Steele, a longtime Sun columnist, who you may remember from his impassioned email written to Deadspin after I posted the item about the Len Bias movie. Well, Mr. Steele, a man who's obviously never at a loss for words, wrote about his humiliating, infuriating experience to Real Clear Sports.:

To answer your question: yes, it felt just as bad as you imagine it would. To answer another of your questions: no, I have no real desire to visit the press box at an Orioles game any time soon. Next time, maybe I'll be told that they're foreclosing on my house during the seventh-inning stretch.

It's sort of funny that even five days later, there were a lot of people in the news industry who thought it was an unconfirmed rumor: that three of the more than 40 Baltimore Sun staffers laid off on Wednesday, April 29, found out when their editors called their cell phones while they were at that fateful Orioles game. Let me confirm that definitively for everybody, because I was one of the ones who got that call, the second of the three, if my timeline is correct. A fourth got a similar call, but with the option of moving out of sports to return to a previous news reporter position. Otherwise, the list of injured bystanders was me, our other general sports columnist Rick Maese, and photographer Elizabeth Malby.

Every media company (including, ahem, the one that owns this site) has been forced to make uncomfortable decisions pertaining to people's jobs in order to get through the economic downturn affecting everyone. Some of these are expected, some not. But you learn along the way there's a right way and wrong handle these situations, especially after you're forced to make a lot of changes for "the good of the company." The Baltimore Sun had to make 61 layoffs in a short amount of time. They cut the fat, I guess, but it's tough to see how they succeeded in making the paper a better place by executing some of their employees in such a dastardly way. The Orioles lost that game, 3-2 by the way. I'm thinking most of the Sun employees probably gave less of a shit than usual about that outcome.