Peter Neukom handed Tim Lincecum his World Series Championship ring earlier this season. Neukom wanted to use the increased revenue from that championship on the field product, but apparently ran into differences with other executives.
Bill Neukom stepped down as Managing General Partner and CEO of the Giants on Wednesday after being asked by team management to leave, as NBC Bay Area confirmed.
In the short term, this is just another nasty body blow to a beaten up season that's seen the dreams of repeating as World Champions quickly die.
But what does this mean in the long term for the Giants?
Well, potentially bad things based on the quote the San Jose Mercury-News' Mark Purdy dropped in his column yesterday
"Neukom's falling-out with the Executive Committee, the baseball sources said, began over how to spend the additional millions of dollars that flowed into team coffers after the World Series championship," Purdy wrote on Wednesday. "For example, one source says that since October, the Giants' merchandising revenue alone has increased by $1.5 million to $2 million per month over previous years. Ticket sales also boomed. The Giants have effectively sold out every game this season."
The kicker, though, is when Purdy writes that Neukom wanted to spend the extra cash from winning baseball games on, you know, winning more baseball games, by "increasing payroll and buying new technology for the baseball department."
Instead, the Executive Committee preferred to pump the money into a "rainy-day fund."
Now, as Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles points out, you can spin those quotes just about any day you want. Maybe a "rainy-day fund" is supposed to be used for Tim Lincecum's gigantic new deal.
And perhaps "new technology" is a method of duplicating Aaron Rowand and his contract. (That would, by the way, be bad.)
But that's kind of a tough sell, given how the Giants have performed before and after Neukom taking over in 2008 -- the team hadn't won more than 76 games since 2004, but barring a total 0-fer collapse down the stretch will have won 80 or more games over the past three years.
Plus, he did bring the city it's first World Series championship, so that's kind of nice.
And while the feeling of championship awesomeness may linger for a while, Giants fans have to be wondering what's afoot here with respect to the long-term plans of the franchise.
Bean-counters are good and necessary in baseball. You just don't want them making every single decision related to a franchise's future, because all of a sudden profits become more important than winning, and a team's good fortune can circle down the drain faster than Brian Sabean can spend a couple million on a veteran outfielder.