Johnson Named Manager of the Year
By David Ginsburg
Johnson, who led the Orioles to an AL-best 98-64 record, had been fighting with Angelos since the team was eliminated by Cleveland in the AL championship series.
"If you're not wanted, do you want to take the money?'' Johnson said. "Life is too short. I'll survive. I was hoping it wouldn't come to this.''
Johnson, who had finished second three times in voting for NL manager of the year but never won, received 10 first-place votes, twice as many as anyone else. He received 88 points, 38 more than the second-place finisher, Buddy Bell of the Detroit Tigers.
Two days after the World Series, Johnson's agent sent Angelos a letter requesting a contract extension or a buyout of the final year. A day later, word leaked that Johnson ordered Roberto Alomar to pay $10,500 in fines to a charity that retains Johnson's wife as a fund-raiser.
Angelos said Johnson failed "to recognize the real issue posed by your imposition and handling of the Alomar fine and your divisive statement to the press in July that unless the Orioles got to the World Series, you would not be permitted to return for the final year of your contract.
"Such a statement, during a pennant drive, was ill-advised and potentially a harmful distraction. Your own actions and conduct — not mine — have produced the fulfillment of your prophecy.''
Johnson, who led the Orioles into the playoffs in both his seasons, sent Angelos a letter Wednesday morning asking for a decision on his fate by the end of the day "to put this matter to bed.''
He had one season remaining on a $2.25 million, three-year contract and offered to forgo his $750,000 salary next year if Angelos permitted him to immediately negotiate with other teams.
Toronto General Manager Gord Ash said Wednesday he intends to interview Johnson. The expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays also may be interested.
"I must say that your indifference to the work I have performed over the last two years in guiding the Orioles to the playoffs and in delivering a wire-to-wire division championship is discouraging, to say the least,'' Johnson wrote Angelos on Wednesday morning.
"Your apparent lack of regard for my management skills and for me as a person is reflected in your statements to the press and the front office staff that my status as manager is 'under review.' ''
Johnson said he did not believe there was a conflict of interest involving the Alomar fine, but admitted the charity he chose "could create the appearance of impropriety.''
© Copyright 1997 The Associated Press