Whitey Herzog has drawn the line. He's fed up, disgusted and he's not budging on this one. "I've suspended Garry Templeton indefinitely without pay and it's going to cost him $4,000 a game until he publicly apologizes to the fans of St. Louis. And that's that.
"In our society, it seems like everybody's so afraid they're going to get sued that they're petrified. We can't get to the point where we're scared to do what's right."
St. Louis Manager Herzog was still seething yesterday every time he thought about Templeton, the Cardinals' shortstop with the $4 million contract. Just the memory of the player he'd dragged off the field, then suspended indefinitely without pay the previous day made Herzog's voice quiver.
"That was the most disgraceful thing I have ever seen in baseball,'' said Herzog, referring to Templeton's obscene gestures toward the hometown crowd on Wednesday.
"Who does he think pays the money for that $680,000-a-year, six-year contract of his? Isn't there any honor in a man making that much money? I've never seen anything anywhere near that," said Herzog by phone from San Diego before the Cardinal game with the Padres last night. "You can't give the finger to the people who pay your salary . . .
"Garry's been lackadaisical all year, playing at 60 percent like he doesn't give a damn. Everybody here (in St. Louis) knows it. He'll show; up for a game and say in the dugout, 'I'll just jplay five innings tonight and come out of there.' And then, in the fifth, he'll fake an injury, start limpin' around and say, 'I've hurt my knee.'
"As a manager, what are you going to do? You have to take him out.
"It didn't surprise anybody that he was dogging it (on Wednesday). In the first inning, he didn't run to first (after a dropped third strike) and the fans naturally started booing him. He brought it entirely on himself. The umpire (Bruce Froemming) warned him. Then, in the third inning, he just went wacky.
"He's always had some tantrums here, but nothing like this."
As of yesterday evening, Templeton had not offered the public appology demanded by Herzog and was not expected back in the Cardinals lineup.
Which does Herzog expect to hear first, a Templeton apology or a bill of particulars from Templeton lawyers?
"No lawyers . . . yet," said Herzog. "Four thousand dollars a game is a lot of money. I think there'll be an applogy.''
Templeton, who remained in St. Louis, could not be reached for comment.
According to Herzog, Templeton may not get support from the Players Association. "Our (Cardinal) player representative telephoned Marvin Miller (the union president) on Wednesday night and told him, 'You got 24 players here who are behind the manager,'" said Herzog.
Ironically, Herzog claims he had an excellent relationship with Templeton last season after he came to St. Louis in mid-season as both manager and general manager. "From June 9th on, Garry was the best competitor on my ball club," said Herzog. "Hell, he broke a thumb diving into first base, then came back and broke another bone."
Nonetheless, Templeton's reputation was baseballwide. During the offseason, Herzog tried to hire Gene Mauch as field manager. Mauch told him, "That's a club with a lot of problems and the first one that comes to mind is that shortstop of yours."
"Oh, he's not that big a problem, honest," said Herzog. Now Herzog adds, "And he wasn't . . . then."
Mauch's answer, according to a source and confirmed by Herzog, was: "You can't kid me. I knew Templeton when he was in the minors making $100 a week. He was a wrong guy then and he still is."
Even taking into consideration Templeton's long history of complaint -- on salary, on playing in St. Louis, on not making the starting All-Star team -- why would Templeton's performance change so much from 1980 to '81? "It's true that when a boy's personality changes that much, you have to look for a definite cause," said Herzog. "Just say we've tried everything we can to reach him and we don't seem able to."
The last straw, of sorts, came just the day before the incident. "I always thought Garry looked up to (outfielder) George Hendrick," said Herzog. "I called George in and asked him to help me try to get Garry straightened out. George said: 'I don't know what to do with him anymore.'"
Finally, Herzog had had enough.
"I think Templeton has more raw ability and potential than any player in baseball," said Herzog. "I'm talking about sped, range, arm, switch hitting. He has everything.
"But what he did Wednesday was a disgrace . . . it's so typical of the sort of thing that's tolerated throughout our society.
"But I'm not tolerating it here."