SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU/AP) - The Giants baseball team announced Monday that CEO Larry Baer is taking a personal leave as Major League Baseball investigates a spat between Baer and his wife Pam, which turned physical and led to her falling to the ground.
The announcement of Larry Baer's leave comes after video taken by a bystander surfaces showing the couple arguing in Hayes Valley's Proxy park Friday. The video shows Baer grabbing for a cell phone in his wife's hand. She topples off the chair to the ground, screaming.
In the video clip first reported by TMZ, you can hear her screaming, 'Oh my god. Help." It's unclear what exactly led to the altercation or at one point during it the video was taken.
"All of a sudden we just heard like, 'Larry, no!', said Khalil Hansen from the nearby Juice Shop. "And then there was a woman on the floor, and like the gentleman was towering over her and trying to grab something out of her hand."
And that's when I guess he saw a bunch of people come over and he just let her go and she got up and ran off."
The Board of Directors of San Francisco Baseball Associates released the following statement Monday morning on behalf of the Giants ownership group:
"The Board of Directors of San Francisco Baseball Associates is closely monitoring the matter involving Giants President and CEO Larry Baer. Pursuant to League policy, Major League
Baseball is taking the lead in gathering all facts surrounding the situation. The organization is cooperating fully with the process. Mr. Baer has acknowledged that his behavior was unacceptable, apologized to the organization and is committed to taking steps to make sure that this never happens again. He has also requested, and the Board has accepted, his request to take personal time away from the Giants beginning today (Monday). The Board has asked the Giants executive team to manage the day to day operations of the Club during this period, reporting directly to the Board. As leaders in the community, we at the Giants hold ourselves to the highest standards and those standards will guide how we consider this matter moving forward. We have no further comment at this time."
Friday evening, just after 6:30, the Giants tweeted an "official" statement from Larry Baer. "I am truly sorry for the pain that I have brought to my wife, children and to the organization. It is not reflective of the kind of person that I aspire to be, but it happened and I will do whatever it takes to make sure that I never behave in such an inappropriate manner again."
Giants manager Bruce Bochy spoke after an exhibition game in Scottsdale, Arizona,
"This is a guy who's been our leader and he's a good friend," Bochy said. "This will get sorted out. Right now, I don't have anything to add outside of the statement that was given."
Bochy said he didn't plan to address the players about Baer's situation. Pitcher Jeff Samardzija said the players are trying to avoid the topic and are focusing on preparing for the start of the season.
"We don't have any information on the matter," he said. "I think we're in the same boat as anybody else, what you see online and this and that. It's not talked about too much in here. We're worried about playing and that doesn't really affect us too much on the field. It's just unfortunate to see. I have all the respect in the world for Larry and his wife. We're getting ready for the season here and that's how we're approaching it. That's how you approach anything. There's always something that happens every year that you need to overcome as a clubhouse. It's a big part of it, how you band together and how you move on."
The Giants also said they are cooperating with an investigation by Major League Baseball.
"The players are always in the limelight but administration's in the limelight too because if you guys mess up it's going to affect the players too, so I think there needs to be the same penalty," said Kelia, a Giants fan
"I was happy about that, because it was a very disturbing scene, because it didn't just go on for a few minutes," said Nancy Lacsamana, who says she is a lifelong Giants fan and San Francisco native.
Another video clip posted on Twitter shows part of the argument before the fall.
The two appear to be having a dispute that witnesses say lasted some 30 minutes. They become increasingly agitated and vocal. At one point Larry Baer walks away. His wife Pam then walks after him.
The Baers issued a statement and apologized Friday, saying that they are embarrassed, it was a family matter, and that they remain happily married.
"Regrettably today we had a heated argument in public over a family matter. We are deeply embarrassed by the situation and have resolved the issue," the statement read.
"I think he should be held accountable as far as his behavior goes, but in a personal situation like that I don't think outside should get involved," said Rowland Jemmott, a Giants fan.
Fans and hosts at KNBR Sports radio debated the incident.
"Players have been penalized in these kinds of situations but its very rare if ever that we've seen an executive," said John Lund, a KNBR talk show host, "I think that a person that has a position that a Larry Baer should be more responsible than even what a player should be."
Attorney and Giants radio host Marty Lurie provided a legal perspective on KNBR's "Gary and Larry Show" Monday.
"There's rage going on but on the spectrum of what can happen in situations like this, it's on the lower end of the spectrum," said Lurie.
Some fans say Baer should face some consequences.
"They should require that he should get it just like any other player should get counseling," said Lacsamana.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy called Baer "our leader and he's a good friend," but had no further comment.
During Baer's absence the Giants' executive team will report directly to the Board.
KTVU reporter Jana Katsuyama contributed to this report. AP freelancer Carrie Muskat in Scottsdale, Arizona, contributed to this report