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Larry Baer responds to criticisms over team spending, lack of stars, Dodgers fans taking over Oracle



© Neville E. Guard | 2022 May 7

It’s been an exceptionally rough stretch for the Giants.

On Thursday they lost their eighth straight vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers, their 12th loss in the last 15 contests. San Francisco is now four games under .500, 21.5 games behind the Dodgers and 12.5 games behind the Padres in the NL West. With less than 60 games remaining, the Giants find themselves 6.5 games out of the final wild card spot.

On Friday, Giants CEO Larry Baer joined KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes show, and responded to a host of questions surrounding the organization: Here are some highlights, edited for brevity:

Baer on if the Giants are going to start spending more money on players:

One of the narratives I want to be really clear about is there’s not hold back financially. The trade deadline wasn’t really about financials, it was about prospects, who are you going to add that will make a difference and what will it cost you in prospects not in dollars.

So there’s constant conversation about what we can do to improve and get better. The financial piece of it is not a constraint. Not now and it won’t be going forward into the future. Farhan [Zaidi] or the group are not under some hard cap or hard constraint that’s not going to allow us to do what makes sense. I mean we sat with Scott Boras on Bryce Harper a few years ago.

Having said that, we know. We know what we need to do and we need to push forward. And we have a lot of players who aren’t on the field. Immediately we’re focusing on the present as well as the future, and immediately we need to win games and get many of our regulars back, and our regulars are not on the field.

It’s not an excuse. Could we have played better, should we have played better in the series? Sure. But we didn’t and so we’re going to push forward. But the will organizationally has always been there; to improve, to add.

It was interesting because we got a lot of reactions on the trade deadline, and I think some people were upset that we didn’t subtract to get prospects. But you have to get the prospects offered or what are you doing? Then you’re just subtracting for the sake of subtracting, which we don’t want to do. We want to win as many games as we can this year and going forward.

Baer on Dodgers fans filling the stands at Oracle Park:

Well there’s various schools of thought on that. That have been teams in baseball and in other sports that say ‘Okay, we’re going to prohibit you from buying tickets.’ I don’t think that’s right. They have a right to buy a ticket. Not to say there weren’t a lot of them but Dodger fans are largely around the first base dugout where the Dodgers are.

I get it. We had 280,000 people at the home stand that just ended. So we had a lot of people in the ballpark, Giants fans in the ballpark over eight games. 33,000 a game average, sold out on Saturday. So look, I’m not complaining about the attendance. We’ve got all sorts of things going on out there with San Francisco and getting back which is just starting to happen which has been slow, so we’re not going to complain about that.

Our fans are great, our fans have been out there. There’s passion. I guarantee you there will be Giants fans in San Diego and Los Angeles later. But the Padres are on an upward trajectory. Over the years we’ve had unbelievable support here. Underlying fanbase passion is there. We’ve had two stretches of eight consecutive years of sold out crowds, and the underlying passion is there. Get the team on the right course and the fans will be back.

Baer on how important he feels adding ‘star power’ is:

It’s a good question. We talked about this internally. I think if you break it down, and you’re just focusing on attendance or on filling the ballpark, there’s probably three factors that go into it. It’s like a three-legged stool, and I’m very much simplifying it, you could break it down analytically in a lot of different ways. But the three kind of big buckets are 1) winning, as you said it’s arguably the biggest. The second is the environment you have. How people feel about the team, the ballpark itself, is it a comfortable place, do people enjoy the experience…The third thing is the attractiveness of the players. That star power. Are they going to come out and watch the Giants even if they’re not winning ’cause they have Barry Bonds or whomever.

So, it’s a factor. But would I rank it over the other two? Not necessarily. It’s a factor. Does it go into some player considerations? It’s thought about. Look you can get a really attractive star player like you’re talking about, that player gets hurt or has poor performance, then where are you? So it gets in the mix but it’s not really…I’ve heard the narrative that we’ve got to get the stars to get people out. I would argue that there’s a lot of ways to create stars.

As I said at the beginning, we’re not opposed to spending money. Just show us the right deal and we’ll look at it. We’ve looked at deals throughout from Bryce Harper on. But another way to create stars is internally. Was Tim Lincecum a star? I think so. Do you want to come to watch Tim Lincecum? Well he was drafted and developed. Same with Buster Posey. Same with Madison Bumgarner. Same with Brian Wilson.

It’s not quite as simple as just go sign a guy cause he’s a star. You want to try to create stars too.

Listen to the full interview below. You can listen to every KNBR interview on our podcast page at knbr.com/podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Catch Murph & Mac weekdays from 6 – 10 a.m. on KNBR 104.5 / 680 and streaming live on KNBR.com.