In a move termed budgetary by general manager John Borozzi, the Baltimore Blast has laid off three of its front-office personnel: Tim Donelli, Art Sinclair and Leah Miller.
"This was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do," said Borozzi. "The moves are purely budgetary. It has been a difficult year, we're in the middle of a recession and the recession has affected everyone. We were also hurt by not making the playoffs."
The Blast failed to make the the Major Soccer League playoffs for the first time in franchise history this past season.
Asked if more layoffs were to come, Borozzi said: "I don't think so as far as personnel is concerned. But we have some other areas to tie up within the next two weeks, then we'll probably look at other areas on the budget."
Donelli, assistant vice president and general manager, and Sinclair, director corporate sales and broadcasting, were laid off permanently. Miller, a receptionist, will be rehired in the fall.
Borozzi said that Blast owner Ed Hale made the decision on the layoffs, and that he concurred.
"It's six months until our next game, and we had to do something because of the economic situation," said Borozzi.
"I'm stunned, devastated," said Sinclair, longtime Blast radio voice, who quit his regular job last summer to join the Blast full time. "I don't know what I'm going to do."
Donelli, former public relations director and broadcaster for the Baltimore Skipjacks, joined the Blast in 1989 after working for former Baltimore Oriole Pat Kelly's Christian Outreach organization for three years.
"No one likes being laid off, but my faith is a great comfort to me," Donelli said. "My feeling is that God has other things for me to do. I've made a few calls, and we'll see what happens."