Larry Baer explains heated conversation with Brian Wilson

Larry Baer details confrontation with Brian Wilson *COURTESY KNBR*

Larry Baer explains heated conversation with Brian Wilson
September 27, 2013, 2:45 pm
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Larry Baer: "..And then all of a sudden I look up and there is Brian about five feet away from me, walking over..." (CSN)

Programming note: Padres-Giants coverage kicks off tonight at 6:30 p.m. with Giants Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

Immediately following the Giants' 3-2 win over the Dodgers on Thursday night, Dodgers relief pitcher Brian Wilson approached Giants CEO Larry Baer for what appeared to be a heated discussion. 

[RELATED: Source: Wilson confronts Larry Baer over World Series ring]

Baer joined KNBR's "Murph and Mac" show on Friday morning. Below is a transcript of his interview:

Question: What happened?

Baer: First of all, I have to say, I like Brian Wilson a lot and nobody will forget the fact that Brian Wilson was on the mound when the Giants won their first World Series in San Francisco, and that’s just fact. And it is one of the great, joyous moments in our lives as Giants fans, so you gotta remember that and think about that, and I always do. And I like Brian. So, what’s happened is, obviously, with Brian not a Giant this year and not pitching at the beginning of the year, we wanted to get him his World Series ring from 2012. And we invited him to the ring ceremony where some of the other former players came, players who are not on the Giants, who are not playing this year, Aubrey Huff and some others. Brian was not responsive to that, did not come. That is certainly his prerogative. That’s fine. We’ve been trying to track him down to get him his ring this year. And this week, coming into town for the Giants, we’ve been trying to get him the ring and it just was not happening. There were kind of messages going back and forth. And we’ve been unsuccessful in getting him the ring.  So he came over and said, “When am I getting my ring?” Basically, it was demonstrative and all that, it's heat of the moment, I think he was being heckled by the fans when he was warming up, so I get it. As much of a big deal as it seemed, it’s not that big of a deal.

Quesion: Well, it was very unusual; you just don’t see that, usually these things aren't handled in front of everyone.

Baer: Unusual and Brian is that a surprise to you?

Question: What was your strategy in dealing with him? When you saw him coming over, did you know what he was going to be talking about, or were you totally completely caught off guard?

Baer: Well, we had some guests -- our friend, the president of Yale University, Rick Levin and his wife. Frankly we were talking to them as the game ended and then all of a sudden I look up and there is Brian about five feet away from me, walking over. ... Believe me, over the years, players, others, front office people, three minutes after a game you’re not necessarily in your most normal, rational mode, and I think he was just blowing off some steam. And we’ve been trying for three days to figure out a way to get him the ring. Kind of proposals back and forth as to how it was going to be done. And we wanted to do it consistent with the way we have given others the ring, former Giants who are playing on other teams, many of them, Nate Schierholtz and some others, but we couldn’t work it out with him. So he came over and basically said, “What are we doing with the ring? Where is my ring?” So we got him the ring.

Question: So it was settled, you guys reached an…

Baer: Yeah, so I called Ned Colletti just afterwards, he didn’t want anything other than to take the ring on with him on the bus.

Question: Do you guys look back at this now, and think, we could have handled this better?

Baer: No, not really, because we tried to handle it in various ways. The bottom line is there is a lot of emotion around an organization you’re with your entire career, and its as you know the way baseball works it wasn’t an option for us to tender him a contract this year, because of the health because we didn’t know if he would pitch. The baseball rules only allow you to reduce a salary by 20 percent, so we would have had to pay him about $7 mil this year, $6.8 mil to pitch this year, which isn’t realistic. But I think Brian was hurt that we didn’t do that. That’s kind of the way I read it. I get it, it’s not easy with athletes in those situations. He has been with us his entire career, he was on the mound when we won the first World Series. I get it, and as far as I am concerned, it's case closed.

Question: Was he profane? Were you worried about kids hearing stuff he had to say?

Baer: You know players. Look, if a player is gonna take the time to come over and make that beeline, as you described, over, he’s probably not gonna say, “Good evening Mr. Baer. How are you?”

Question: Pauley was saying he’s been doing a very specific job of crafting his detached, dry, ironic persona about how nothing phases him. To us it looked like a breakdown of that persona that he was completely rattled and fazed and that if he was the detached guy he wouldn’t have done this. When you looked into his eyes, did you see a guy that was rattled? A guy that was emotionally rattled?

Baer: First off, he was warming up to pitch in the game so this is when a player is within minutes of being in a game I think they are in a different emotional level to begin with, especially when it's loud when he was warming up. Fans were doing the Giants-Dodgers heckling thing. Sure Brian was amped up, but everybody's amped up.

Question: Was he the last player to get his ring? Are there other outstanding rings?

Baer: We have players that are scattered. Like I said, we’ve been trying to get Brian his ring since the beginning of the season, when they were produced, that first weekend. Our hope was to get Brian to come to that opening ring ceremony. We didn’t do that, he declined to come. This week there were many ways we offered to deliver the ring to him. As an opposing player, we have been doing it this way with the other opposing players, we wanted to stay consistent, and do it the same way with Brian

Question: Nate Schierholtz got it on the field. Melky Cabrera got it behind closed doors. Did you guys think about an on field ceremony for Brian?

Baer: When he comes in as a Dodger? That’s a little awkward.