Major League Baseball announced Tuesday it will suspend Giants CEO and president Larry Baer without pay until July 1 as discipline for a March 1 incident in which an argument between Baer and his wife outside a Hayes Valley coffee shop over a cell phone became loud and physical.
Bystanders caught video footage of the altercation that showed Baer standing over his wife Pam Baer, trying to pry his cell phone from her hands. In the process of grappling for the phone, Baer caused his wife’s chair to topple to the ground with her in it and she is heard on the video screaming, “Oh my god! No! Help!”
The San Francisco District Attorney’s office declined to prosecute Baer for the incident, but MLB’s Domestic Violence Policy, to which front office executives are subject, does not require a prosecution or court conviction for penalties to be assessed.
In a statement released Tuesday by MLB, Commissioner Rob Manfred said Baer violated MLB policies, though he did not specifically name the Domestic Violence policy. The Giants president’s unpaid suspension will be backdated to March 4, when Baer announced a leave of absence from the team.
Baer will be prohibited from participating in the organization’s operations during his suspension, and the Giants said a team of executives will take over day-to-day activities in his stead.
In the meantime, the Giants are required to name a new interim control person to operate the club, and the team has named Rob Dean, who will also serve as the team’s acting CEO.
Dean has previously served as a representative for the Burns family in the Giants ownership group and works as a portfolio manager of the venture capital firm Harmony LLC.
Manfred said he met with Baer personally to discuss the CEO’s conduct:
“Based on my review of the results of the investigation, I have concluded that Mr. Baer’s conduct was unacceptable under MLB policies and warrants discipline. 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.”
Baer said he appreciated the fair and thorough process through which Manfred made his decision, and apologized for his behavior in a statement Tuesday:
“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.”
MLB will require Baer be evaluated by an expert to determine a counseling and treatment plan as part of the disciplinary measure. For his part, the Giants executive said he is committed to seeking “professional advice” to regain trust and respect from those affected by the incident.
In a statement Tuesday, the Giants Board of Directors said they support Manfred’s decision:
“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 Board of Directors noted that upon Baer’s July return he will maintain the title of CEO and president but he will not regain his role as the team’s representative, or control person, in dealings with the league.