SBD/March 29, 2011/People and Pop Culture

MLB Giants Managing General Partner Neukom Key To Franchise's Resurgence

Neukom began buying stock in Giants as Microsoft's General Counsel
MLB Giants Managing General Partner BILL NEUKOM is "at the top of his game now, and on top of the national pastime,"  according to a profile by Bruce Newman of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. With the Giants winning the World Series last season, Neukom at Spring Training "frequently was greeted like a rock star by fans as he made his way through the stands." Neukom, who "began buying blocks of the team's stock in 1995 with the millions he earned as Microsoft's general counsel, was determined to bring the same organizational clarity to baseball he had imposed while building a high-tech legal department of more than 650 people." Giants Senior VP & GM BRIAN SABEAN: "Bill believes in process. You don't have much second-guessing in an organization if everybody's in on the first guess." Newman noted his "lawyerly mien belies Neukom's intense dedication to any cause he supports, and devotion to the people at his side." One of the areas in which he has been "least complacent is asserting the Giants' territorial rights in Santa Clara County, which has prevented" the A's from moving to San Jose. In order to "counter the campaign A's Owner LEW WOLFF has waged in the South Bay to bring about that move, Neukom engaged a firm to offer background briefings on territorial rights issues to the press." Neukom: "My relationship with Lew is not very close." He "refuses to talk further about his position on the territorial rights dispute," saying only, "I think it's obvious what's gone on there" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 3/28).

HANDS-ON APPROACH
: In Cincinnati, Paul Daugherty profiled Reds President & CEO BOB CASTELLINI, who is "Cincinnati to the core." He was "tired of seeing his hometown team underachieve and its fans become disillusioned" before joining the franchise in '06. Castellini "knows everything about this business," and he said he becomes "a better fan every day." Reds Senior VP/Business Operations KAREN FORGUS: "He trusts his people to know what to do. He focuses on the why." Reds Vice Chair & Treasurer TOM WILLIAMS called Castellini "tenacious," while Reds Community Fund Exec Dir CHARLEY FRANK said he is "demanding." Frank: "Tough, but fair. Bob challenged me to be great all the time." Castellini: "It doesn't take me long to let people know they're not cutting it. If someone is not doing a good job, I'm not bashful about letting them know." Daugherty notes Castellini "remains emotional, sometimes impatient and entirely hands-on." A Reds front-office employee noted if there is a rain delay at Spring Training, Castellini wants manager DUSTY BAKER to "tell him how that's going to affect the pitching rotation" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 3/28).
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