YUMA, Ariz. — Steve Garvey confirmed a published report Wednesday that quoted him as saying former Padre Manager Dick Williams quit on the first day of spring training "to inflict the most harm on our team."
"Yeah, I basically said that, but it wasn't with quite that ferociousness," Garvey said Wednesday. "I was philosophizing as to what may have happened, and I said I probably thought that Williams, a while ago, had made up his mind to quit. I can't believe he made up his mind over night."
In Wednesday's Los Angeles Daily News, Garvey told Rick Talley: "The more I think about the timing of his quitting the madder I get. The whole thing smells of premeditation. Dick has known for a long time he wasn't going to manage this season. But I think he deliberately misled the media and fans in order to inflict the most harm on our team. That's the way he does things.
"Leaving like this, at the beginning of spring training, was his way of trying to burn the players. Ironically, though, it's the best thing which could have happened to the Padres. You know those dark clouds which roll in from the ocean and dump rain, then blow away? Well, the cloud over the team has just blown away. Now there is sunshine."
Garvey also criticized Padre owner Joan Kroc, who, along with Williams, failed to field questions after announcing Monday that Williams was resigning.
"Nobody answered any questions," Garvey told Talley. "What kind of news conference is that? She has done that before--take it or leave it. I'm sure there will be an epilogue. One day, you'll find out that Williams is being paid for the final year of his contract ($200,000) even though she said he was quitting."
Garvey said Wednesday he knew of no buy out of Williams, that he merely was stating his opinion.
But . . .
"I just think when you don't answer questions, that just means there's more answers," Garvey said.
Kroc was unavailable for comment Wednesday, but a source close to her said: "Wow! That's very un-Garvey-like."
The source also said it's not known whether there's been a buy out of Williams and that: "Dick's decision was an almost 11th-hour decision, late last week."
Williams was unavailable for comment.
Garvey told Talley:
"We have a very good team. All we need is some positive reinforcement, and that's something Dick Williams wasn't capable of giving. He is not a good communicator.
"He was OK with a young, new team on the rise, but when he reaches a certain plateau, that's it. He didn't handle pressure well at all last season and I'm sure he didn't want to face all the pressure which would have been on him in '86. The quitting didn't surprise me. Only the timing did.
"He couldn't inspire, he couldn't communicate, and he conducted personal vendettas against players.
"For example, (former Padre pitcher) Ed Whitson. Williams let him die on the mound one night just to humiliate him, and it may have cost us a ballgame. It was a game we could have won, yet to burn Ed by leaving him out there, he sacrificed the team's chances for a victory.
"Now he tries to stick it to the players by quitting when he did. Frankly, it's a relief. I was expecting spring training to be uncomfortable, and it shouldn't be. It should be the best of times for a ballplayer.
"Managing a baseball team today is quite different than it once was. You have to motivate. You have to communicate.
"Williams, for example, literally wasted the season with Kevin MeReynolds in '85. Kevin is the kind of young player who needed reinforcement--the kind of player Tom Lasorda would have built up. But Dick just cut him down."
It might have been Garvey's all-time bitterest outburst, but he said he had no second thoughts.
"As far as the dark cloud over our team, I believed that," he said. "But, it's been lifted. All those things I said were basically correct. Premeditated may not have been the best word. But I just feel he knew he wasn't going to manage. What can I say? It's full speed ahead from here."