Listen to the full podcast with Larry Baer from the Mark Willard show here:
Full Transcript Below:
Mark: I’ll take the baton and what a nice surprise that I get to talk to you tonight Larry, what’s going on?
Larry: Hey Mark, it’s great talking to you. I like TKB, but I like you too.
Mark: Well, I appreciate that. And they keep hogging you, so it’s my turn, you know what I’m saying?
Larry: Yeah, well, I got to say, if I sound a little tired, I’m not playing the games, but there were some MLB meetings earlier this week on the east coast and sorry, but you got to watch all these games right, so I’m back east. And that’s about a 2:15 or so bedtime when you’re watching the games from the east from San Diego, and games are going four hours. Just unbelievable baseball. The first two games of the series had better outcomes than today.
Mark: Yeah, no doubt about it. And I wonder as you’re experiencing this because I’ve talked a lot about this week. I think the fan experience and the player experience right now are so different. I was talking to Kai Correa earlier this week and he was talking about how much fun this team is having. And I’m like, I’m glad you guys are having fun, I’m not sure if the fans all the time are having fun, because this is really, really stressful.
But it comes down to like, are you into the process of this, rather than just the results? So, how do you deal with it, where you know you just sit back and watch?
Larry: You try to have fun with it. The scoreboard watching is incredible. I mean, I’m one of those that in June and July will be looking at what the Dodgers are doing, or the Padres, or the other teams in our division. And here we are with I mean my goodness, what with nine games left in the season and one game separating. And I have to say like the last couple of nights I was watching one game on my phone and one game on my iPad because they were going simultaneously as was today’s and we’re not there.
Look, in some respects, you have to say, and we desperately want to win this division, but I’m not sure it could get any better than this in terms of for a fan. We’re at 99 wins, the Dodgers are at 98 wins and it’s just kind of what it’s about I think.
So, you try to enjoy it and you deal with the pit in your stomach after today’s game, it was within reach. But the last two games in San Diego, I mean if you were a Padre fan or a Dodger fan, you would say, how the heck did those games getaway? And they got away because of just an incredible grit and resilience from this ball club, this Giants ball club they’ve shown all year.
Mark: I’m sure you’ve thought about it. We’ve all thought about it, whether it’s game 163, or it’s an actual playoff series, what would it mean to the organization if the Giants and Dodgers do play?
Larry: Well, I think it would probably be viewed as kind of an all-timer. But, the goal isn’t just to beat the Dodgers. So the goal is to move on, keep going. So if we don’t play the Dodgers in this scenario, I mean it’s interesting because Mark, if you go back to 2010, 2012, 2014, people would say things like — boy, a Giants Yankees World Series would be great when it looked like we were going to be there. Or, you know, Giants, Red Sox, or something like that. And it didn’t really take anything away from the accomplishment by beating teams that were not the Yankees or Red Sox, or more perhaps iconic team than say, the Rangers in Texas in 2010.
So, it’s a big part of the narrative, for sure that we could play the Dodgers in the NLDS, but we could play somebody else in the NLDS as well. And we got first to get to the NLDS. So, you don’t really think about it too much. I mean I know the fans are thinking about and it’s fun to think about it, but you’ve got to really kind of mark time as you go, and it’s a 9 game season now. We know we have a playoff game, but we know what we’d prefer, a series versus one gamer.
Mark: Yeah, I think the one gamer for the Giants or the Dodgers, and I’m sort of preparing for this conversation because it will come up. It really does, it almost feels unfair, for either of those teams that they’re going to end up in that situation.
Larry: Well, there’s a really interesting article, I don’t know if you saw it, Jared Diamond who’s a pretty good writer wrote it. I think it was in the Wall Street Journal yesterday on exactly that point, that you know the way it’s laid out, you can have two teams that just completely have remarkable seasons and one of those teams gets relegated to the one gamer. I’m not sure we’ll see with the new CBA what the rules are going forward, we don’t know whether it will stick or not. I mean it’s funny because you think back and Mark, you remember this in 1993, we won 103 games. The Braves 104 games and we went home.
We didn’t even get one gamer. We went home, it was, thank you very much. There was no wildcard. Now, they fixed that, they changed that and the very next year they added the wild card. So we’ll see, but I think you certainly can make that argument, and it doesn’t happen that much. I think yesterday’s story talked about the fact it doesn’t happen that much, but it’s certainly possible to have two teams with historic seasons and one of them relegated to one game, or you can make the argument that it makes the fight even more ferocious, right? So I mean you can look at it in a lot of different ways.
Mark: Larry Baer SF Giants CEO executive show with us here on The Sports Leader and TKB, they’ve already gone home. So Mark Willard with you and we’re hanging with Larry after just an odd day I think for the Giants.
Yes, a frustrating loss in some ways. Although one thing that amazes me more than anything else Larry — and I wonder if you sort of feel this way — watching Giants games this year, to a degree last year as well, very different experience for the viewer/listener than it was the previous decade. Because when I sit down now and have lunch, and it’s 4-0 before my seat gets warm, I don’t think the game is over. In fact, my first thought is — I wonder how they’re going to get back in this thing?
You almost have a feeling as they will and they did it again, and even though they ended up falling short, this is a very different brand of baseball than what you guys had over the last 10 years. What are you hearing from fans about that?
Larry: Very much the same. I mean, it’s a really fun way to watch a game, right. Because, the home runs have been so prominent and to the credit of the players and the coaches and Gabe, I mean, it’s just amazing. And the front office, you know, Farhan and Scott putting this team together. I mean it’s just really is a different brand. then even arguably some of the teams during the championship years where there might have been more of a lockdown starting pitching. We’ve had some great starting pitching this year.
But these comebacks, I mean today, Slater had the 16th, pinch-hit home run in the season, and that tied a record with the Cardinals. [ad break]
So, you know, this doesn’t happen all the time, these sorts of amazing comebacks and amazing comebacks fueled by power. And it’s a lot of fun to watch. And to your point, you feel like the team is never out of the game.
Mark: I don’t know if you guys ever feel this way, I’m sure you wouldn’t sort of intimate it this way, but the narrative is this Giants Team is ahead of schedule. This wasn’t certainly expected, not this many wins by anybody was expected this year. And so as you sort of enjoy now, but also think about the future, how has this success with these veterans changed what you guys may do next?
Larry: Well, I think I kinda little bit bristle at the ahead of schedule, because I know the folks who are putting this together, Farhan and his group, they didn’t really say — okay, 2021 we’re going to kind of take a back seat and get to 500, or whatever. I mean, I don’t think that was in anybody’s mind. So I don’t know ahead of schedule is the right phrase. But you know, there’s a trajectory.
We all felt that there was a trajectory as we moved forward with the new personnel and the new manager and everything. And after the last group did historic things, the Hall of Fame-worthy accomplishments in that trajectory.
But I think in professional sports Mark, I think things can happen faster, and this is one of the real appeals that Farhan has extolled is that things can happen faster than you might think. In the old days, five years were rebuilt, in three to five years. And yes, you do need minor league development and yes, baseball’s different than the other sports, football, basketball were draft choices are going to come in and immediately have an impact on the major league team in the year he is drafted or even the first couple of years he’s drafted. On the other hand, there are things you can do, there are moves you can make and you can find…
I mean, look at the people that are contributing to this club now that were found and that are just making amazing contributions, whether it’s Leonie or Donovan Solano or Wilmer Flores. So there are ways you can put it together that create a schedule that you’re two years out or three years out. So, there are other ways to do it and I’m really proud that we’ve been able to put that together this year.
Mark: Larry, have you looked, and I imagine you have, you looked at all the scenarios for a week and a half from now and what this could look like from hosting the Dodgers on Monday to potentially hosting a wildcard, to potentially waiting and hosting, who knows who after that and what that all looks like?
Mark: Okay. [laughter]
Larry: And just to share some of that, because I think actually for our fans, we actually went on sale today at two o’clock for the first element of that, Mark. So that would be the potential division series, because we know we’re going to have at least one playoff game at home, right? If somehow we fall back and we’re the wild card, we would play Wednesday, we would host a wild card game, Wednesday, October 6th.
And if we win the division, we would host a five-game series with the games Friday, October 8th, and Saturday the 9th.
If there is a tie-breaker, which, you know is certainly possible with one game separating us right now, that would be Monday, October 4th. And because we had a 10 to 9 advantage in the season series, that would be hosted in San Francisco on Monday, October 4th.
So, those tickets actually have not been put on sale, but will have to go on sale here. So stay tuned for that. But we have on sale, if you go to The Giants website, you can buy tickets for any of the four potential games in the Wild Card/Division championship series. So that would be the one Wild Card game if we’re hosting it, and potentially three division series games.
So that’s out there, those tickets and then if there’s a tiebreaker, we’ll get those on sale right away, there’ll be notices next week about that.
Mark: Larry, really fun to get the opportunity to talk to you. Get some rest. For people who do radio shows after the games are over, they’re a little short on sleep too. I just want to let you know that.
Larry: I’m sure. I mean, we’re copacetic, we’re like two peas in a pod, right. And you know what? It’s great to be running on adrenaline. I know our fans, a lot of our fans are running on adrenaline and keep the adrenaline going and want to hear some loud, throaty, tired voices next week at the ballpark for the final six home games.
Mark: Enjoy it Larry, thank you.
Larry: Thanks, Mark, talk to you soon.