His root canals are being rerouted. He's doing the groceries, taking his son to the doctor, watching the Montreal Expos on television.

Dick Williams, who used to manage the Expos, is in exile now. He did not see the final out Sunday when the Expos finally -- and belatedly from his point of view -- won the National League East. "I was in Bristol, Conn., doing some commentary for ESPN (the all-sports cable network)," Williams said. "I left the newsroom to go down to go on the air in the bottom of the ninth . . . There was no champagne . . . Later, I went back to the hotel with two other guys, and we had a few at the bar."

"I probably deserved to have a little champagne," he said later. "But it was not needed."

Williams is no crybaby. He's not going to say it hurt watching his guys bathe in Mumm's, 1979. Disappointment is all he will admit to.

"I've been too busy to feel left out," Williams said. "I'm rooting for 'em. But I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.

"You miss it at this time of year.

"You watch a little more intensely."

There is no second-quessing. "Not out loud," he says. "I'm not qualified to do that . . . I'm not close enough at this point."

He'll be sitting at home today in Tampa, watching on his 26-inch screen as the Expos play the Dodgers in Game 3 of the National League championship series now tied at one game each. Steve Rogers pitches for the Expos against Jerry Reuss.

"I believe I had a big part in it," Williams said. "Of course, I'm not there now so I have no part. But I believe it is my team, yes. We had 107 losses in 1976 (he became manager on Oct. 6, 1976). We turned it around. We drew 2 million two years in a row. I think I had a little hand in it."

Williams was fired on Sept. 7. "I still haven't found out the full reasons for the dismissal," he said. "We won that last game in Philly, and we were 1 1/2 out, and a reporter comes in with that story about me going to the Yankees. Of course (Expos President John) McHale heard it the last two years."

The Expos had to tell him by Oct. 10 whether they were going to retain him. He wanted a long-term contract. "They would have been forced to do it (let him go) anyway. They wouldn't have given it to me."

Williams says he has had feelers from four clubs, one more serious than the others, though he declines to name them. If he doesn't get the terms he wants -- five years -- he says, "I may just hang 'em up."

The five-year contract is a must in order to deal with players who come equipped with guarantees and are motivated, he says, only "by the almighty dollar."

"He's not very tactful with his players," his wife says.

He has not heard from any of them since they won the division title. A couple of his coaches called, and did send him regards from a few players.

If Williams was surprised at the timing of his dismissal, and the man who was named to succeed him, so was Jim Fanning, who had been out of uniform so long he didn't remember how to tie his baseball shoes.

"When I came here in 1968, I had given up any hopes of managing anywhere," Fanning said. "I managed five years in the minor leagues. At that time, I did have aspirations. Aside from the two times when the general manager asked me to take over the Braves (in 1966-67), I haven't thought about it since."

Williams talks about how you can't be buddy-buddy with your players. Fanning talks about a "feeling of uncertainty about how I would be accepted."

Williams played 14 years in the majors, on two pennant winners. Fanning lasted 64 games with the Cubs in the mid-'50s. He grounded out to second in his first at bat. "I was terribly embarrassed, I couldn't get a hit my first time up," he said. "I got my first hit in Brooklyn a few days later. Everyone always remembers who they got their first hit off, except me."

Williams barely spoke to his players. First thing, Fanning met individually with them, and, after losing three of five to the St. Louis Cardinals, called a team meeting. "I told them there were going to be times I was going to take them out of games, for pinch hitters and pinch runners, before they thought it was time. I only asked that they accept it professionally when it happened."

Some of the Phillies, who are now raking leaves, questioned some of Fanning's moves, and whether his managerial inexperience would prove a factor during the playoffs. "I did have inexperience," he says. "The only way to get experience is to manage in the majors, regardless of how much time you have in the minors. I have lots of help. I needed help. I'm new."

Fanning says the first 10 days of his reign "it almost looked like an instructional league manager." But that was intentional. "I let there be no doubt what I wanted them to do." He even spoke to them in the on-deck circle. How gauche. "Then something happened and they started to play sound, fundamantal baseball. I don't have to do those things anymore."

The uniform is beginning to acquire those comfortable contours. Fanning stands in the dugout, with his hands inside his belt. Olympic Stadium is wet and cold, anything but homey. Would he want to be back next year?

"It is kinda nice," he says.