This, my friends, was a shocker.
After yesterday’s win, the bomb was dropped that current Giants CEO Bill Neukom is out and current COO, Larry Baer’s is in. Neukom “will retire from his position effective Dec. 31,” the team said in a press release, which is in other words, bullshit.
Reports surfaced saying Neukom had been asked to step aside by the 10-member Executive Committee which makes up the main part of the Giants’ ownership group (there are 32 people in the ownership group but only 10 in the EC). The request is believed to be the fallout from a handful of disagreements with the committee during Neukom’s three-year run as CEO of the franchise. If you’re interested, the Giants along with Neukom and Baer will be holding a presser this afternoon at 11AM (sure to be streamed on SFGiants.com) where you can see the
explanation first hand.
Some early reports said the ownership group was unhappy with Neukom’s “excessive” spending but it’s become more clear that while they weren’t exactly thrilled with the open coffers, they were more bothered by Neukom not involving the EC in baseball decisions that had a financial impact, such as the Aubrey Huff re-signing or the addition of Carlos Beltran. One nameless EC said Neukom felt the Giants funds were “his own” and he spent them on whatever he deemed necessary without much (or any, in some instances) input from the EC. Reports also say the EC was upset that Neukom was not keeping a “rainy day” fund, which the group deemed important.
Myself – I’m not going to pretend to know just exactly how much damage (if any) this will do the Giants. I’ve always liked Bill. He seems like a fantastically nice guy – wanted nothing but the best for the Giants and was very smartly taking advantage of the Giants playoff run last year from a fiscal point. Frankly, it sucks to see him go, especially in this manner – despite how bad the Giants want to call this a “retirement”. And given the timing of the announcement, clearly, the relationship was/is extremely strained.
So as the three year Neukom era comes to an end, the Larry Baer begins. There’s nothing wrong with Larry, he’s more than capable of the job, though I have a feeling he’ll be much more cautious with the financials and be more of a whipping boy for the EC than Neukom ever was.
Certainly a shocking move – one I really don’t agree with, hopefully Baer fights to keep the pockets open a bit more than the EC wants.