Larry Baer, president and CEO of the San Francisco Giants, will have diminished power when he returns to the team from a suspension for getting in a well documented public scuffle with his wife.
The day Major League Baseball announced Baer’s suspension without pay until July 1, the team said a member of the investor group, Rob Dean, will become acting CEO and the team’s control person when it comes to dealing with MLB.
(When no investor owns more than 50 percent of a team, the team is required to designate a control person who can speak for the owners in league deliberations.)
Dean is married to one of the daughters of the late Harmon Burns, who was the biggest investor when the current group of owners purchased the team from Bob Lurie and saved the Giants from being moved to Florida.
Burns made his fortune at Franklin Resources, which owns Franklin Templeton mutual funds. Charles Johnson, a son of Franklin’s founder, is currently the biggest investor in the Giants with a reported share of 25 percent.
Johnson got in hot water a couple of years ago when it was revealed he contributed money to a PAC that ran a racist political ad campaign in Arkansas, and helped fund the campaign of Mississippi Senate candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith, who among others things said she would enjoy a “front row seat” at a public hanging.
That created a political fire storm in ultra liberal San Francisco, requiring Baer to publicly repudiate Johnson’s actions and reaffirm the team’s commitment to San Francisco values.
So, is Johnson now teaming up with the heirs of Harmon Burns to oust Baer from the top spot? The team announced that Baer will remain president and CEO when his suspension ends, but that a new control person will be named.
We’ll see how long he retains those titles. Peter McGowan and Bill Neukom looked secure in the team’s top spot until they weren’t.
Cal passed on Eric Musselman, the head coach at the University of Nevada, Reno, when it hired Wyking Jones to coach the men’s basketball team. Now they’ve hired Mark Fox, former head coach at UNR, to replace Jones.
Kevin Harlan, who did the play-by-play of several NCAA tournament games on TBS, can make a call for a time out seem exciting. Then there are commentators like Reggie Miller, who criticizes the college boys for failing to play defense. Nobody ever accused Reggie of playing defense.
Miller was a junior at UCLA when his sister, Cheryl, was a senior at USC. Sports Illustrated’s college basketball issue that season featured a cover shot of Cheryl with the headline proclaiming her the best college basketball player in America. Reggie never heard the end of that.
One of the reasons women’s college basketball has trouble generating interest is the disparity between the good and bad teams. Blow outs are common in the women’s tournament, and then you get something like this last Saturday: Stanford missed 26 of 29 3-point shots against Missouri State and still won by 9 points.
When the annual speculation starts on which college basketball players will turn pro, I’m always reminded of what John Calipari said when he was coaching Memphis and his star player was Derrick Rose:
“If he does what’s best for his family, he’ll leave. If he does what’s best for my family, he’ll stay.”