Garry Templeton regrets making obscene gestures to fans at Busch Stadium but will wait to make the public apology demanded by St. Louis Cardinals Manager Whitey Herzog until after he sees a psychiatrist, the shortstop's agent said today.
"He has acknowledged to me that he regrets the incident," said Richie Bry, after a four-hour meeting with Templeton. "He has agreed to seek professional help. He has been under some strain and stress. The pressure has been building all season."
Bry said he would meet with Templeton after the player sees a psychiatrist to decide on a course of action.
"The first step is to get to the root of his problems," Bry said. "Any talk about his rejoining the Cardinals is secondary at this point. We haven't concentrated on that aspect at all."
Templeton was suspended indefinitely and fined $5,000 by Herzog after the incident during Wednesday's game against the San Francisco Giants. The shortstop directed an obscene gesture at fans after he was booed when he failed to run to first base after the catcher dropped a third strike.
More obscene gestures followed after fans threw ice at Templeton. After the shortstop ignored several warnings, home plate umpire Bruce Froemming ejected Templeton from the game in the third inning.
Templeton made further obscene gestures to fans on his way to the dugout. Herzog yanked him off the field and the two scuffled briefly before they were separated by other players.
"He just exploded. He just got mad like anybody else would," Bry said. "The pressure had been building up for some time. The fans have been on him all season. It was pure and simple anger. The fans were throwing ice and other debris at him. There were racial slurs."
Herzog said he would seek a shortstop and a pitcher or an outfielder in any trade for Templeton.
"There could be a trade for him within the next few days," the Cardinals' manager said. "I've got one offer that I would consider. I won't be naive. But if I think I can make a deal that will benefit the ballclub, I'll make it . . ."
Templeton, who is losing about $4,000 a day while he is under suspension, received little backing from his teammates. Catcher Gene Tenace, the most outspoken of the Cardinals, criticized Templeton for lackluster play and said he was a disruptive influence on the team.
Herzog said he was pleased Templeton had agreed to seek psychiatric help, but added that returning to the team is "still going to be tough for him."