Many years ago, the story goes, a much more spirited Ralph Barbieri drove into the media parking lot at AT&T Park. In fact, right into the spot of then majority partner/owner, Peter MaGowan.
A young parking attendant quickly strode over to Barbieri and informed him that he wasn't allowed to park there. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary and the kid was simply informing The Razor that the spot wasn't his.
"Do you know who I am?", Barbieri shouted at the slightly flustered kid,--'if it weren't for me, there'd be no park!" Needless to say, the kid was shaken. A Giants employee was sent down to the area and apologized to the clearly shaken parking-lot attendant. Several of the team's higher-ups were none too pleased over the incident and the Ralpheroo got plenty of scolding from some of the Giants and Knibber's management brass.
I wasn't witness to the incident but know several people who were there and confirmed the account. It wasn't eye-popping nor anything other than a hugely, over-sized ego displaying his wares but it represents some of bad/Ralph behavior that Giants' people didn't care for and, thus, confirms the current feeling permeating 24 Willie Mays Plaza that there's no big tears over his departure from KNBR/Cumulus.
Sure, Larry Baer made a point of publicaly acknowledging Barbieri's sudden 86 on his Knibber show last week. It was pointed, generous and respectful, but noticeably short. He thanked Ralph and noted that, indeed, Barbieri's heated public pleas for a downtown park was of benefit to the franchise. And yes, one could almost argue, without Ralph, (and probably a guy named Barry Bonds too), there would be no AT&T Park. Nevertheless, Baer's comment was devoid of the usual platitudes. It was beyond brief.
That's not to suggest anything sinister, but Baer was the only visible team official to talk about the canning of The Razor. GM Brian Sabean, at least publicly, had nothing to say, and for good reason.
Over the years, Barbieri's on-air rousting of Sabean was not appreciated by Giants upper suits. And most certainly not by Sabean himself. This was evident numerous times and was a chief reason why Sabean took a detour from doing the weekly radio show weekly and precipitated the inclusion of Baer into the proceedings. At one point, according to numerous broadcast sources, Sabean threatened to quit after one tumultuous Barbieri interview. He relented, but only after Baer and KNBR and Giant's people agreed to the new show format.
To Barbieri's credit, and many Giant's fans inquiring minds, the relentless, cross-examination-style, weekly interrogations put forth by The Razor was darn good radio, not to mention, at times, a needed jolt of requested inside baseball without the usual banal PR. That is, according to people in the know, unless you were Sabean, who was more than put off by the frequent Ralph/Perry Mason to Sabean/Prosecutor Burger.
Sabean, a NY guy with several tours of duty through a lot of rodeos didn't like a lot of the Ralph grilling. Good thing the Giants won a World Series a few years ago, (in SF), but Sabean has a long memory.
He's not much into that type of process and was never really comfortable with the radio gig. And although the two insisted that all things were mostly good on and off the air, their relationship took a noted deviation from seasons past.
Again, Sabean did not say anything of note publicly, (and probably won't now because of the legal developments), but suffice to say, you can bet he's not lost a whole lot of sleep over the Ralph ouster.
That feeling is also shared by many inside the Giant's organization.
That's not to indicate that Ralph didn't, (or doesn't), have his staple of team defenders. He certainly does. It's just that a good amount of folks in the front office and a few players weren't happy over his control-oriented demeanor around the ballpark and on the microphone. Enough, in fact, to warrant spirited and intense situations like the one that took place in the parking lot.
Ralph is a serious Giant's fan. He rode on the KNBR float in the World Series parade. He took his son to every post-season game home and away in the 2010 season. He made no bones about that on the Knibber airwaves.
Some of his Giant's admirers don't necessarily feel the same about him today.
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