Neukom puts his stamp on Giants
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The business of baseball no longer belongs mainly to businessmen, but also to traditional baseball men. At least that’s what Bill Neukom believes.
Neukom, the Giants’ managing general partner, revealed Friday that key figures from baseball operations, including general manager Brian Sabean, vice president of baseball operations Bobby Evans and scouting director John Barr, have been attending meetings of the Giants’ investors — not just to hear more than they ordinarily might about ledgers and balance sheets, but also to impart some of their horsehide-oriented wisdom upon the millionaires. “Part of the Giants Way,” said Neukom, citing his now-familiar program for revitalizing the franchise, “is integrating the business side and the baseball side of our enterprise.”
Neukom also pointedly mentioned the contributions of Jeremy Shelley, senior director of baseball operations/pro scouting, and baseball operations coordinator Yeshayah Goldfarb — reflecting the Giants’ increased emphasis on statistical analysis. This, too, reflects Neukom’s influence since he took over the club last Oct. 1.
“These are not just crunchers who give you some funny numbers,” Neukom said. “They know the game, love the game and have an opinion, and they stand up to Brian and the scouts and [vice president of player personnel Dick] Tidrow and say, ‘This is not the guy you want for these reasons’ or ‘this is what you might not have caught on this guy.’ “
Sabean, to his credit, has mentioned statistical analysis more than once during recent months to explain certain moves — or non-moves.
Given the state of the economy, it’s wise for anybody involved in baseball to understand more about the game’s monetary aspects. The recession, said Neukom, “is a serious matter and it’s changing the complexion of the finances of the game. We want to try to stay in front of that if we can. Be prudent.”
— Chris Haft