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Baseball and The Great Depression?

By Todd M. Civin

I got laid off today.

After seven years of clawing my way up the corporate ladder, some big mucky muck greased the rungs. I had aspirations of being a big mucky muck some day. They laid me off while I was just a medium mucky muck.

The In-Human Resource Lady called me into a big conference room with a huge oak table in the middle. There were 16 chairs around the table. One for each of the company's Vice Presidents. She said something about "Fiscal Responsibility". Sixteen Vice Presidents? Doesn't seem very "Fiscally Responsible" to me.

The Senior Vice President looked like he didn't sleep last night. His stomach made a huge farting noise just before he said, "Trim the Fat." When he speaks he lisps. When he introduced himself, he said, "Hi, Mr. 'Thivin', I'm the Thenior Vith Prethident."

This made me laugh.

He made small talk with me as he walked me out of the big conference room with the oak table and 16 chairs. He said that he heard I love baseball. I told him, I'm passionate about it.

He told me he heard I was equally passionate about my job. I told him this was true. He said, "Thank you." I don't know what "Sank you" means. His lisp confuses me.

I'm 47 years old with a wife and five kids. The kid who took over my job is half that age with no kids. He makes about one-half of what I made. I suspect this had something to do with being "Fiscally Responsible."

The In-Human Resource Lady, and the Thenior Vithe Prethident, and the 16 Vice Presidents sat around the big oak table with the 16 chairs and had a catered lunch after the layoffs. I suspect this has something to do with why they need to become "Fiscally Responsible."

The decison to lay me off had nothing to do with my age. They gave me a letter which told me this. The letter said we "laid off an equal number of old and young...." The law says they have to do this. This didn't make me feel much better.

I suspect they gave a similar letter to the Women, African Americans, Hispanics, Gays, the Little People and the Special Needs employees. It is important that the company is politically correct when laying off people.

They employ the same practice when hiring. Our company employs 32 percent old people like me, 24 percent African American, 22 percent Hispanic, three percent gay, one percent little people, and one special-needs person.

Each one of the 16 Vice Presidents is a young, white male of average age, height and physical capacity. Politically correct? I think not.

I think if they could hire a bi-racial, gay, woman who was of below average height and in a wheel chair, they would. I'm sure that she would have "Job Security."

I think I'll go home and play baseball with my son. I love my son. I love baseball.

The Thenior Vithe Prethident says he "lovth his thon, but he hath to work today."

I don't.

His stomach made a big farting noise just before he told me he loved batheball. Mine didn't. My stomach seems totally relaxed.

Many of my employees told me, that laying me off was like cutting the heart out of the organization.

Back during the last Great Depression, the owner of my favorite baseball team sold the team's star to finance a play. They say selling The Babe was like cutting the heart out of the organization, too. History says he cursed his former employer for 86 Years.

I don't believe in curses. Eighty-six years, huh?

I love old time baseball. My son and I used to sit for hours and look at baseball cards. Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr. We used to sit and talk about what it must have been like to wear woolen uniforms and play with small gloves. We'd talk about the smell of the glove and the sound of the crack of the bat.

Once we drove up to Cooperstown together and spent the day eating hot dogs and visiting the Hall of Fame.

The Thenior Vithe Prethident collects baseball cards. They sit in plastic in albums. I bet there is dust on the cover. He told me, he'd like to take his son to the Hall some day.

His son is 22 now.

I love my son. I love baseball.

I think we'll sleep outside of Fenway to buy tickets for opening day. We'll sit in the bleachers and toss peanuts up in the air and try to catch them in our mouths. We'll laugh and yell, "Hey battah, battah" like we did when he was in Little League.

Hey, "Why is it called a Depression, anyhow?"

I'm not depressed at all.

Todd M. Civin is a baseball writer for He can be reached at


  1. I'm sorry to hear about your job. I hope you find something real soon.

  2. Thank you Buff. I'm close...Truly apprecaite the kind words. Todd