Larry Baer continues to serve as the President and CEO of the San Francisco Giants, the Major League Baseball Team that he acquired nearly 30 years ago. He’s seen two major negotiations between players and owners during that time, and the first strike provided some context for the lockout that recently ended. After the lockout was over, Baer gave his perspective on the Giants’ past and future.
Reflecting on Strike and Lockout
Comparing the owners’ 2021-2022 lockout to the players’ 1993-1994 strike, Larry Baer shared that he thought the lockout was much less severe.
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He and other owners were committed to making a deal happen before the regular season started this year, and even a good portion of the spring season will still be played. In contrast, the players’ strike of three decades ago resulted in canceled regular-season games that were never made up.
The owners and players reached a mutually agreeable bargaining agreement on March 10, well before the 2022 regular season was slated to begin.
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Empathizing With Fans’ Frustrations
Speaking to fans through the San Francisco media outlets, Baer showed that he understood the fans’ sentiments during this time. He could easily empathize with fans, for Baer found the lockout difficult on a personal level.
His staff was prohibited from talking, calling, texting, emailing or otherwise communicating with players for more than three months. That’s very different than normal for the Giants, who are regularly touching base with players through all of these mediums.
Not only did the lack of communication have professional implications, but it also affected relationships. Baer, his front office and his coaches all have meaningful relationships with players, for anyone who works together closely as the Giants’ personnel does will get to know one another.
Whatever fans felt during the lockout, the staff of the San Francisco Giants felt similarly.
Comments on Financial Considerations
For Larry Baer, owning the San Francisco Giants is undoubtedly a baseball fan’s dream. The team is also a business, however.
Baer purchased the Giants for $100 million in 1993, and the team now has an estimated value of $3.2 billion.
Part of this valuation is based on gameday sales, and this is one reason why owners didn’t want to miss any regular-season games. In addition to the melancholy of missed games and their effect on fans, owners would lose out on sales.
With regard to the business aspect of owning the team, Baer also expressed a view that the Giants were a civic organization for San Francisco. The team gives city residents pride, and also a major economic infusion. Many nearby restaurants, bars and stores are directly dependent upon the team, and the players bring high-net-worth individuals into the city.
Explaining the Upcoming Schedule
Even though no regular-season games will be missed, there are likely to be some adjustments to the schedule. Baer said that the spring training schedule, which wasn’t yet released at the time of these comments, could be extended. Any regular-season games that are rescheduled will be made up as a double-header the next time the teams meet. Double-headers will be 9 innings for each game, rather than 11 innings.
By insisting on a lockout and executing it during the offseason, the owners were able to ensure that the full regular Major League Baseball season would take place.