We'll have to wait and see if the Giants' principal partners also make Neukom change his name and relocate to a run down trailor park in rural Nevada.
Bill Neukom's removal was supposed to be made public at the conclusion of the 2011 season sometime before December, the baseball equivalent of making the move in the middle of the night when no one is watching. But when word of Neukom's purge was leaked to Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury the Giants' front office went into scramble mode, trying to pass this off as an orderly, planned transition under the silly cover story that Bill Neukom had intended to "retire" this year all along.
Right. And Osama bin Laden passed away after accidently tripping on a rug in his secure compound.
Simply put, this is an unprecedented palace purge within a Major League franchise that won the World Series a mere 10 and a half months ago. And these type of topplings do not happen unless another guy at the top is making his move; in this case team President and COO Larry Baer now becomes San Francisco's Chief Executive Officer. Think "Godfather III" only with a much better script and no George Hamilton.
During a 47 minute live press conference on CSN Bay Area this morning, Bill Neukom and Larry Baer spent a great deal of time hailing Neukom's achievements leading the Giants. In fact the gathered media was repeatedly reminded of Nukom's wide-ranging accomplishments on behalf of the organization, making one wonder how they could possibly let him slip away.
The chilling reality? Absolutely no denials of reporter Mark Purdy's two key contentions that, 1) Neukom did not effectively communicate with the ownership's Executive Committee in terms of the trades and other payroll decisions made this year (think the Carlos Beltran and Orlando Cabrera trades and eating the remaining $12.5 million of Aaron Rowand's contract); and, 2) that Bill Neukom is being forced out by the ownership's Executive Committee.
What does it all mean? That's up to Larry Baer, who has been part of the Giants' original ownership group since 1993. Either Baer is going to boldly put his mark on this franchise or he is going to slink under the radar and be more of an empowering steward who hopes to simply keep his job longer than three years. Think about it: the Giants will have had three CEO's in one four year period.
The "Larry Baer era" would have to begin with the graceful removal of General Manager Brian Sabean and his outdated management approach. At a time when many younger GMs freely communicate with each other, with player agents, and with the media, Sabean still runs the baseball operations side of the franchise like the Soviet Union during the cold war.
And Sabean's slow acceptance of the advanced, cutting edge information sabermetrics can provide kept the Giants front office perpetually stuck in a 1990 baseball operations mindset for years. Which may explain why the team ends up with so many high-priced veterans who were productive at some point in the past-- unable to properly assess upcoming talent, Sabean relies on the previously talented.
Brian Sabean has a one year extension through 2012; what happens with that contract will be a big clue about the team's future direction. Another test will be what the Giants do this off-season about their anemic offense. At the end of this season free agents like Albert Pujols will be up for grabs, and somewhere out there are teams who would be willing to trade a quality offensive player for pitcher Matt Cain and his 68-72 record.
Wow, didn't mean to upset you so much (and I don't mean that sarcastically).
I’m not sure why opinions expressed in the past about sports (or the arts, or politics, etc.) are sometimes used as “gotcha” moments to… what? Prove that the person who expressed those opinions is completely worthless and absolutely doesn’t know what they're talking about?
Given that, I hope you're also sending nasty emails to the hundreds of ESPN.com, MLBTV, FoxSports, and SI.com, and newspaper sports writer “experts” around the country who picked Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Detroit (respectively) to beat the Giants this postseason.
Thanks to the Giants winning the Series we now know those experts are actually really stupid.
And that’s one thing we apparently both agree on Mark-- hindsight creates 20/20 vision. Your chances of being “right” about something go up dramatically if you express your opinion about it after it has happened.
Having said that, your comments are legitimate given that I said what I said in 2011 about moving Brian Sabean out after Larry Baer took over control of the team. And, yes, that would be the same Brian Sabean who just won his second World Series in three years.
But here’s the thing: I wasn’t “wrong” in 2011, suggesting Larry Baer should replace Sabean. As any long time Giants fan will tell you, Brian Sabean has hardly been the perfect baseball god he is today since he became GM in 1993.
In his first 17 years as GM he made the World Series once, in 2002, and lost. Those 17 years included building an entire franchise around Barry Bonds, which brought excitement but damaged the team and its minor league player development.
Because of those decisions, the Giants’ minor league system is still rated at the bottom third of all MLB teams.
Then for six years (2004-2009) Sabean produced a series of losing teams populated with aging veterans and cast-off players, relying on AT&T Park to attract customers. I won’t even go into the many bad and expensive player contracts he sanctioned (Armando Benitez, Ray Durham, Edgardo Alfonso to name a few).
Given where Sabean had taken the team for so long, it appeared to me to be time for new leadership.
But the pitching came together in 2010 even though that team relied on imported hitters to score just enough runs to win. (That’s what is so great about the 2012 team—the pitching is still there, but now we have home-grown position player/hitters as well.)
Anyway, obviously I am really happy that Larry Baer did not replace Brian Sabean in 2011.
P.S.: You'll be happy to know I just turned down a position in the State Department to oversee our nuclear strike force arsenal. Keep posting and cheering on the Giants!
Okay, The Giants just won the 2012 world series and lets see how sports savvy you merit to justify posting any information that is worth paying attention to.
You mention "Either Baer is going to boldly put his mark on this franchise or he is going to slink under the radar..."
Obviously he chose the 1st option by frequently appearing on KNBR, attending front row to countless home games and some away. and not so obviously allowing Sabean to be the GM he was never allowed to be during the post 2000 Bonds years.
But apparently you meant another 'mark' as you stated the following: "The "Larry Baer era" would have to begin with the graceful removal of General Manager Brian Sabean and his outdated management approach." I don't need to go over the names of his acquisitions and home grown talent Sabean assembled to make the Giants the world Series winning caliber team they have become. Thank goodness your version of making his 'mark' was nothing like how Larry Baer actually did.
And here is how you believe a cutting edge younger GM should negotiate: " At the end of this season free agents like Albert Pujols will be up for grabs, and somewhere out there are teams who would be willing to trade a quality offensive player for pitcher Matt Cain and his 68-72 record.". So spend massive amounts of money for a single super star, ala the LA Dodgers, and dismantle the backbone of an AT&T park strength, the pitching, by trading a perfect game winner and base it on a record that every credible pundit acknowledges was due to a phenomenally bad history of run support, not bad pitching.
As I conclude I have decided to encourage you to continue prognosticating about the Giants. What if you turned your views to nuclear war and how to handle other countries. Apocalypse Now!
Very good post. You go beyond the conventional wisdom with your comments and critique of Sabean. Found your blog this a.m. as I was looking for some commentary on the Giants' upcoming games and whether they can sustain the run-producing ways of the last several games and 9-0 run. Lincecum has to be big tonight.
I think they may have a better shot at catching AZ than catching the Braves...not because Braves are tough (they aren't) but because St.Louis might get to the Braves first.