Rob Manfred

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


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.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred confident in A's Howard Terminal site

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred confident in A's Howard Terminal site

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred expressed his confidence is the A's Howard Terminal site for a future ballpark on Tuesday, despite a recent report from the San Francisco Chronicle on hazardous chemicals and a costly cleanup. 

“I am aware of some of the issues that have been raised with respect to the site,” Manfred said to reporters during a news conference at the Glendale Civic Center. “I’m optimistic that we’re going to find a way that the A’s and government officials in Oakland will find a way to work through those issues to everyone’s satisfaction." 

Manfred praised the A's ownership and front office for their creativity in landing at Howard Terminal, too. 

“I give (owner) John Fisher and (president) Dave Kaval really high marks for the level of effort, creativity and commitment they have put into the project in terms of trying to find a site in Oakland that’s workable. They deserve a ton of credit.”

The A's have long been looking for a new ballpark. It seems every year, we hear rumblings of either a new location in Oakland, or a possible relocation outside of the Bay Area. Manfred made one thing clear -- he wants the team right here in Oakland. 

[PHOTOS: Howard Terminal ballpark and Coliseum site redevelopment renderings

“I think it’s important for us to stay in Oakland,” he said. “Most fundamentally because of our commitment to communities. But, you know, Oakland is a major-league market. We should have a club there.”

The A's moved from Kansas City to Oakland in 1968, and have remained at the Coliseum -- with its many names -- ever since. 

In the case of Yuli Gurriel, how much does a slur actually weigh?


In the case of Yuli Gurriel, how much does a slur actually weigh?

Rob Manfred was damned if he didn’t suspend Houston’s Yuli Gurriel for his racist references toward Los Angeles pitcher Yu Darvish, and damned if he did.

But even if damnation, he chose what most commissioners choose – to find the ground that he (or she) thinks will offend the fewest people. And that isn’t always the same as justice.

In deciding to let Gurriel continue to play in the World Series and hold over a harsher than usual suspension until the five least significant games of the 2018 season, Manfred decided that slurs carry different weight depending on timing, and it is not a surprise that both the Dodgers and Astros agreed. After all, both teams know that they can never know when one of their own will decide to take us back to the 1940s.

And therein lies the slippery slope part of our discussion. Do different slurs to different groups carry different weight? Should the timing of the slur really carry that much weight? Should the acquiescence of the slurred matter when punishment is administered? Are five regular season games really worth as much as one World Series game?

In short, how much does a slur actually weigh?

Gurriel didn’t cost either team or the industry any money, as former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling did when his decades of racism were finally exposed on tape in 2014. Nor did the Dodgers threaten to boycott Game 4, as the Clippers and Warriors did in the Sterling incident. Plus, Gurriel hadn’t offended in a similar fashion before this, as Draymond Green had when he was suspended for accumulated physical irritations during the 2015 NBA Finals.

And finally, nobody within the industry registered a complaint, and ultimately Manfred chose the path of least resistance in the time-honored, “If nobody complains, there is no complaint.”

Ultimately, Manfred either smoothed the ground before reaching his decision or all the characters involved (the principals, the Dodgers, the Astros, the players union, et. al.) smoothed it for him ahead of time. And he works for the industry and the industrialists who own the teams, so he was preternaturally bent toward finding the half-solution that irked the fewest people.

Is that justice? Not really. The lesson “We don’t tolerate slurs but we operate on a sliding scale” isn’t really not tolerating slurs. But it was the best way to make the story die – at least until every moment Gurriel is on the field at Dodger Stadium in this series.

In other words, it was just enough. Which, ultimately, is what Manfred was after all along.