Larry Baer

Giants have plenty of questions to answer after Larry Baer suspension

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USATSI

Giants have plenty of questions to answer after Larry Baer suspension

SAN FRANCISCO -- There have been subtle signs of change. 

Staci Slaughter, a Giants vice president, kicked off a presentation to the media last Friday and talked about the moves the organization has made. Rob Dean, part of the family that owns a large percentage of the Giants, welcomed everyone to the Play Ball Lunch on Monday. Later that day, VP Alfonso Felder stood and examined the field after a storm hit Oracle Park.

A year ago, all of those spots likely would have been taken by Larry Baer. It'll be more than three months before he's back in that position, but even then there will be uncertainty. Baer on Tuesday morning was suspended without pay until July 2 by Major League Baseball over a public incident with his wife, Pam.

In separate statements, Baer and the Giants' board of directors complied with the move.

"The Commissioner has imposed what we believe to be appropriate disciplinary measures and we will work with Major League Baseball and Mr. Baer to ensure that all aspects of the disciplinary program are completed," the Giants said in a statement attributed to their board.

The baseball will go on, of course, starting Tuesday night at Oracle Park. The Giants have operated normally since Baer took a leave of absence on March 4. It's impossible to know what's truly going on behind the scenes, but team officials say everything is running smoothly, and the baseball operations department certainly is humming.

That's where this might most be noticed by fans long term. Baer has been a key part of every major push the Giants have made in free agency, and a few days before the incident with his wife, he flew to Las Vegas with Farhan Zaidi to meet with Bryce Harper. It's hard to see that being the case with the next marquee target, but Zaidi, in the aftermath of Baer's decision to step away, said he did not expect the situation to impede his immediate work in any way.

Baer hand-picked Zaidi, but the new president of baseball operations currently reports directly to the board of directors. He met with the board during the interview process.

"Larry did a great job of kind of making sure I'd had some direct contact with them and had relationships there," Zaidi said earlier this month. "We don't necessarily have another Harper situation imminent or brewing that's going to require real active involvement from the board, but as decisions need to be made, we have a really strong infrastructure in place."

Zaidi already had complete control of the Giants' roster, with the notable exceptions being a player like Harper, who would have required a significant commitment from ownership. Perhaps at some point Zaidi will have to tell someone on the board that Madison Bumgarner trade talks have picked up, or something similar, but for now the focus is on building the roster, and he has been as busy as any MLB executive in recent weeks.

For future years, there are question marks, though.

The Giants still are trying to determine whether Zaidi will report to Baer after July 1 or continue to work directly underneath the board. In their statement Tuesday, the Giants said they will make changes to the governance structure and designate a new control person.

That means Baer, who will return as CEO and president, no longer will attend MLB's ownership meetings and similar events. Per a source, the organization still has not determined if Baer, upon his return, will report to a new boss. In the past, he was a representative of ownership, and all aspects of the organization funneled through Baer. 

Dean will serve as the interim control person as decisions are made, and he appears to be a heavy favorite to take that role long term if he wants it. The son-in-law of former majority owner Sue Burns, Dean gave an impressive and heartfelt speech at the Play Ball Lunch on Monday, and there are some within the organization who view him as their next leader.

That will be determined over the next three months, and the next two weeks will be telling. 

[RELATED: Giants CEO Larry Baer suspended by MLB without pay through July 1]

With Baer ordered to stay away, at least one of the club's vice presidents will represent the team in San Diego for Thursday's opener. Baer was a regular at Giants-Dodgers games, sitting a few rows back of the plate near the visiting dugout. Will someone from the ownership group or board be at Dodger Stadium on Monday?

Then there's the April 5 home opener. That usually has been a time for Baer to give a speech and help kick off the season, but it's unclear at the moment how the Giants will handle that ceremony and all future occasions where Baer always was an on-field presence.

For over a decade, Baer and Bruce Bochy have been the voices of management, but this is an organization with a new direction in baseball operations and a new manager on the way. Over the next three months, we'll find out if the shake-up extends to ownership, too.

Giants CEO Larry Baer suspended by MLB without pay through July 1

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USATSI

Giants CEO Larry Baer suspended by MLB without pay through July 1

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants president and CEO Larry Baer was suspended without pay until July 2, MLB announced Tuesday morning. 

Baer has been away from the organization since March 4, when he requested that the Giants' board of directors allow him to take personal time away from the team. Three days earlier, TMZ published a video of a public altercation between Baer and his wife, Pam. 

While Baer was not charged by authorities, MLB immediately opened an investigation into the incident and converted that leave into a suspension Tuesday. Baer will have no involvement with the club during his suspension, and he'll be required to undergo an evaluation by an expert to determine an appropriate treatment and counseling plan.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement that he met with Baer, and concluded that his conduct was unacceptable under MLB policies. 

"In determining the appropriate level of discipline, I find that Mr. Baer should be held to a higher standard because as a leader he is expected to be a role model for others in his organization and community," Manfred said in a statement. "Based on my conversation with Mr. Baer, it is clear that he regrets what transpired and takes responsibility for his conduct."

Baer put out his own statement shortly after the announcement. 

"I respect and accept the Commissioner's decision, and appreciate the fair and thorough process undertaken by MLB and the Giants," he said. "I made a serious mistake that I sincerely regret and I am truly sorry for my actions. My unacceptable behavior fell well short of what must be demanded of every person, particularly someone in my position and role in the community.

"I will now immediately begin the significant work ahead of me to listen and learn from my mistakes and to seek professional advice. I am committed to doing what it takes to earn the trust and respect of the many people impacted by my actions."

The Giants have divided Baer's duties among an executive team, and there have been noticeable changes at a couple of recent events. Baer traditionally speaks at the Giants' annual media day, but the team and ballpark updates were given by team vice presidents Staci Slaughter, Alfonso Felder and Mario Alioto.

At the Play Ball Lunch on Monday, the team was represented by Rob Dean, the son-in-law of former majority owner Sue Burns. Dean is the designated representative of the board and will serve as acting CEO. 

In a statement, the Giants said Baer will return as CEO and president when his suspension is over, but the team will appoint a new control person with MLB.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed wants accountability in Larry Baer incident

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San Francisco Mayor London Breed wants accountability in Larry Baer incident

San Francisco Mayor London Breed issued a statement Monday calling on Major League Baseball to issue sanctions on Giants CEO Larry Baer over a March 1 incident involving his wife, Pam.

“When the incident first occurred involving Larry Baer and his wife, the San Francisco Police Department immediately began an investigation,” Breed said in the statement posted on her website. "That investigation is ongoing, but regardless of the outcome, Major League Baseball needs to send a message that any and all acts of violence against women is unacceptable.

"The letter written by several respected women leaders in our domestic violence community echoes an all too familiar reality where incidents involving violence against women are not met with true accountability. While Mr. Baer has apologized and expressed remorse for his behavior, it does not excuse his actions and it does not erase what transpired. Mr. Baer’s actions were serious and wrong. We are a City that loves and supports our San Francisco Giants, and that means holding our organization and its leaders to the highest of standards.

“Every little girl, every woman should be able to attend a Giants game with a clear sense of the organization’s values. I share in the call to action by the women who have written the Commissioner calling for greater accountability. There must be a stronger public reaction and response to violence against women in our City and our country.”

The letter that Breed references in her statement came from a dozen San Francisco community leaders, who wrote to MLB that they’d like to see Baer disciplined. The San Francisco Chronicle cited portions of the letter, which told MLB their stance is about “… the responsibility that you, as well as the board and executive leadership of the Giants organization, have to fairly enforce MLB policy, as you would had it been a major league player in that video, rather than a high-profile CEO.”

MLB issued a statement on the day of the incident, saying: “Major League Baseball is aware of the incident and, just like any other situation like this, will immediately begin to gather the facts. We will have no further comment until this process is completed.” MLB has not commented since then.

The San Francisco district attorney’s office told the Chronicle on March 8 it hadn’t decided if charges should be filed and that police had been investigating the situation.