SAN DIEGO — The end came swiftly, with little display of emotion and even less amplification from the leading man and lady.
Dick Williams' resignation after four years as manager of the Padres was announced at a hastily arranged press conference Monday morning at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.
Williams and team owner Joan Kroc needed less than 15 minutes to read copies of a prepared statement that shed utterly no light on what led to the parting of ways or who might take over the helm.
Both Williams and Kroc declined to accept questions.
The only departure from the the news release came when Kroc leaned over and planted a kiss on the ex-manager's mouth.
"Dick," she said, "I'll never forget that season we dedicated to Ray Kroc, the wonderful summer of 1984."
Memories of the delirious scene in the Padre clubhouse after they defeated the Chicago Cubs in the 1984 playoffs contrasted sharply with the somber mood Monday. g
Williams was appropriately attired in dark clothing--black and white checked jacket, black tie, black slacks. Kroc looked crisp and business-like in a muted suit.
"My sense is that this will not alter the course of world history," Kroc said, apparently neglecting that every Padre fan wonders how it alters the team's future.
Williams made a point of stressing his bonds with Kroc, saying, "I am sorry to leave the Padres and most especially my association with Joan Kroc."
They departed the podium together, surrounded by a group of team officials and a palpable air of intrigue.