If you watched any of Bill Neukom and Larry Baer's press conference Thursday at AT&T Park, it was obvious that only one person is comfortable with where they stand know; and that's Bill Neukom.
Even as he essentially was pushed out of the job he loves, after helping to bring AT&T Park to the Cove, the first World Series Title in the City's history, a 70 game and counting sellout streak, and skyrocketing the Giants franchise into the stratosphere in terms of money made, Neukom was his calm and collected self, always smiling and willing to answer anything asked of him.
Baer wiggled and squirmed with questions about payroll and free agency, giving prepared, P.C. responses knowing full well his new 'boss' are the rest of the ownership board that just gave Neukom the axe. Terms like "robust communication" were used to describe Neukom and the rest of the partnership's relationship, and mentioned no "precipitating event" to his untimely release "to his knowledge." Yet it's rather evident that something transpired to cause this sort of discord, but where did it come from?
Well, as Ray Ratto points out, it likely came from the Burns sisters, daughters of the deceased Harmon Burns, the silent majority shares holder:
Neukom, who came into the big chair because Peter Magowan forgot how to keep the rest of the owners acknowledged, amazingly made the same mistake. And both times, the linchpin for that dissatisfaction came from the Harmon Burns family.
Burns was the silent partner with the most money in the game, and he didn't mind Magowan running the shop alone. His wife Sue, who took over his 35 percent of the club (give or take a receipt) upon his death, did want to be consulted more, and had the most shares to make change happen.
Now, because the math is roughly the same, the Burns' daughters, Trina Dean and Tori Burns, had to be among those disaffected by Neukom's style. In short, nothing this momentous could have happened without their approval, if not instigation. There is no other big-piece investor to force his or her will.
As for Larry Bear, Ratto feels that his place "atop the food chain" is either "temporary, cosmetic, or both," though Baer himself claims this to be "business as usual" and that there won't be any philosophical turnaround.
Here are a few other important points from Thursday's press conference:
--Neukom said during the presser than he plans on divesting from the Giants to open up other possible opportunities, but still remaining a season ticket holder.
--His status as chairman emeritus in 2012 will leave him the opportunity to take part in some organizational work, but likely is more just a working titile that he will "try out for a year" meaning he likely won't return after next year.
-The 'rainy day' fund spoken of in Mark Purdy's original piece was not an issue according to Neukom, claiming the Giants have 'ample reserves' for such a time, but didn't mention if that was a factor to the rest of the ownership.
--There was no 'precipitating event' that caused the board to pull the plug on Neukom, but he would add "to my knowledge" at the end of it, leaving it wide open for speculation, and in some regards makes me feel that there most certainly was.
--New CEO Larry Bear essentially diverted any baseball related question away from himself and said decisions of that nature will be based on "the recommendations of [Brian] Sabean.
Many a Giants fan (including myself) hopes to see Mr. Neukom around AT&T still as a ticket holder, because even without the title of CEO he still is one of the most passionate fans the Black and Orange have. His regin with the team was very short, yet he made some of the biggest impact on the franchise and it's fans during that time.
Stay with SB Nation Bay Area as more on this story unfolds.