Giants president/CEO Larry Baer has been suspended without pay through July 1st of 2019, per an announcement from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. His preexisting leave of absence will be converted to an unpaid suspension, meaning the cumulative suspension will be for 120 days.
The discipline was applied after the league reviewed the facts surrounding a public altercation that was captured on video. In the course of a verbal argument, Baer attempted to retrieve a cell phone from his wife, causing her to fall to the ground. He is not expected to face criminal charges in relation to the incident.
Manfred says that he met with Baer and reviewed the results of an investigation into the matter. The suspension was arrived at upon the conclusion that Baer’s “conduct was unacceptable under MLB policies and warrants discipline,” with the length of the term set based upon the view that 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.”
Notably, the commissioner’s statement does not specify that Baer was suspended pursuant to the league’s joint domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse policy. That policy, which applies to Baer and all MLB owners, players, and personnel, has been pointed to as the underlying grounds for discipline in recent player suspensions. Manfred’s statement does make clear that Baer will be totally precluded from involvement with the club during his suspension.
There are some potential long-term ramifications here from an organizational perspective. The Giants announced (Twitter link) that Baer will return to his position. However, the organization will not continue to utilize him as the designated control person vis-a-vis Major League Baseball. Ownership representative Rob Dean will continue to fulfill that role, as he has since Baer took a leave of absence, on an interim basis. A permanent control person will ultimately be designated, along with other unstated “changes to the Club’s corporate governance structure.”
There could also be a counseling component to the action. Per Manfred, “Baer will be required to undergo an evaluation by an expert to determine an appropriate treatment and counseling plan.” Baer released his own statement, as John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports on Twitter. He says that he “made a serious mistake” and will “seek professional advice” as part of a plan for “doing what it takes to earn the trust and respect of the many people impacted by my actions.” Baer also made clear that he will will not challenge the suspension.