Sadly, Baltimore is inching closer and closer to become a zero newspaper town. In February, the 3 year-old Baltimore Examiner newspaper closed its doors. Last night, The Baltimore Sun, the preeminent Baltimore daily, announced that it was laying off a third of its remaining staff. This comes after several previous rounds of layoffs and a December bankruptcy filing.
Sports writers David Steele and Rick Maese were amongst the casualties in this round of layoffs. Steele and Maese were often controversial and at times unpopular in their opinions, but that’s part of what made The Sun’s sports section fun to read.
I called to cancel my subscription to The Sun last night. In the past, customer service representatives were relentless in their efforts to keep my business, going as far as to offer eight free weeks of delivery. I accepted their offer the last time I called, which is the only reason I’ve held a subscription to the ever-shrinking paper for this long. Last night, the customer service rep seemed resigned to the fact that I was moving on. There was no sales pitch, no promise of free delivery, no real attempt to tell me why I should remain a loyal customer. There was only a resigned, “ok, your delivery will end on May 22nd.”
The writing in clearly on the wall when it comes to the newspaper business. The truth is, I stopped reading the little blurbs they replaced their stories with a while back.
For readers, this means the internet will soon be the only place to get your regular baseball fix.
Fortunately, Baltimore has a vibrant and growing list of sites for Orioles fans to choose from. Each offers a different style and perspective. If you are reading this, then you probably already know where to get your sports fixs in the post-print millenium. Eventually, hopefully pro-teams like the Orioles who are slow to recognize internet writing as viable will soon open their doors to bloggers. Maese and Steele were in the press box when they got the pink slip from The Sun. If the Orioles don’t change their policy soon, that press box is going to be pretty empty.