In his office, Johnson just needs a job

December 04, 1997|By Ken Rosenthal

So, Davey Johnson, what are you doing?

"I am sitting in my office trying to pay my bills on my computer, trying to figure out what I'm going to do next with my life."

You didn't get the Toronto job. You're not under consideration for the Chicago White Sox job. It doesn't look as if you're going to manage next season.

"I didn't expect I'd have anything. I didn't expect to get a job when I resigned. I just felt I needed to resign because it was best for the ballclub. It was not a good situation, that's all."

You must have been pretty upset to walk away from $750,000.

"I was upset. I was more upset with the fact that I didn't want to be a problem for the organization. I didn't seem to get on Peter's good side, no matter what. It was better I go."

So, what's next?

"I always felt my skills are transferable. You could always do something else with your skills. I'll work on it."

What do you have in mind?

"There are other things that could be challenging. I love the game of baseball. I just hate to think of being out of it. But I've been out of it before."

What happened in Toronto?

"I read the clippings. I thought they were going to give it to Tim Johnson. But it was nice that somebody wanted to talk to me. I told them that.

"I said, 'I've had a rough three weeks. Whether I never see you again, I appreciate it. Thank you.' "

Blue Jays general manager Gord Ash said: "We wanted our manager to be here for a while. I didn't get that feeling with Davey."

What did that mean?

"I guess maybe he figured I'm 1,000 years old, what the heck."

All right, back to the Orioles. Ray Miller was your pitching coach. How do you think he'll do as manager?

"I think he'll do good. I like Ray a lot. With Ray, Sam [Perlozzo], Rick [Down], Elrod [Hendricks] and now Eddie [Murray] coming on board -- and I think they're going to do Carlos Bernhardt -- I think it's a great staff.

"They were great for me. I think they'll continue to be great. They've got continuity. I think that's good. And believe me, I hope they take it."

What about losing Randy Myers?

"Let me tell you something -- it's not my responsibility. I have nothing to do with it. I have no opinion on it, you follow me? Ask Ray. I'm out of the loop now. I don't have to put up with that."

So what's your opinion?

"I love Randy. He did a heck of a job. He'll do good wherever he goes."

How about replacing him?

"Sometimes, it's time to grow up. You've got Arthur [Rhodes]. You've got Armando [Benitez]. They're prepared for some heavy duty after what they've been through the last few years.

"I'm sure Ray will pump them up, get them to do the things they're capable of doing. It's hard to replace Randy. But the groundwork has been laid. We laid it last year and the year before."

How about the Orioles in general?

"I think they're in pretty good shape. I don't think I'm handing over something that's on its way out. It's on its way up. I'll be real disappointed if they don't win next year."

Have you spoken with any of the players?

"It's kind of painful for me to go call a bunch of guys. I'm going to drop them a note probably before Christmas, wish them luck for next year."

Did any of them call?

"I did talk to Cal."

Did he call you or you call him?

"I called him."

How was it?

"Fine. I like him a lot."

How long was the conversation?

"You know Cal. Nothing's short with Cal. But he's a good man. I think he appreciated what I was trying to accomplish. We grew closer."

Johnson paused.

"It wasn't what I wanted the last two years. But it's not like it was chopped liver. It's not like we didn't do good each year.

"We put it back on the map the year before last. Last year, we went wire-to-wire. Blame it on me if we didn't get to the World Series. I don't have a problem with that. I blame myself. But I don't second-guess myself."

So, do you think you'll manage again?

"I'd love to manage again. The fact is, I had a little inquiry about managing in Japan."

You played there. Would you go back?

"As much as I love to manage, I might. I probably would, if the right situation came up. I had a good time there. And I still speak some Japanese."

Did you get an offer?

"I don't want to get into it. It was nothing concrete. Someone dTC asked if I was interested."

So, are you bitter over what happened in Baltimore?

"Bitter? I'm not bitter. I was given the opportunity. That's all I ever asked for, the opportunity.

"It might be hard for you to believe, but I don't hold a grudge in any situation, whether I think it's fair or unfair. It's just life. You try to do the best you can and leave it better for the next guy if you have to leave.

"Me coming back to Baltimore, that was the best thing that ever happened to me. It was the first time in 11 or 12 years I bought a home. I didn't do it in New York. I didn't do it in Cincinnati. I felt like I was home. That shows you how dumb I am."

What are you doing with the house?

"I'm trying to sell it. It was a beautiful home, a ranch home, an older home up on the north side of Loch Raven Reservoir.

"I've got a contract pending on it. I'll sell it. I'll lose some money on it, but someone else will be happy. Hopefully, I was going to be there five, 10 years. It didn't work out."

Davey, is that your other phone ringing?

"That might be a job right here," the Orioles' former manager said. "Let me go."

Pub Date: 12/04/97

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