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Friday, October 6
Dodgers fire manager Davey Johnson

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- The days of Walter Alston and Tommy Lasorda are long gone. The Los Angeles Dodgers have dismissed their third manager in as many seasons.

After failing to bring his magic playoff touch to the Dodgers, manager Davey Johnson was fired today.

The Los Angeles Times reported earlier in the week that Johnson would be fired after he returned from a fishing trip. He came back on Thursday night and was officially terminated today with a year left on his contract.

"I regret that it (Johnson's firing) came out," Dodgers chief executive officer Bob Daly said. "We just thought it was in the best interests of the Dodgers organization to make a change."

With a league-high payroll of $90 million, the Dodgers were expected to reach the playoffs in 2000. But they never threatened San Francisco for the National League West title, finishing with an 86-76 record and ending up eight games behind the New York Mets in the wild card race.

Following the Dodgers' final regular season game last Sunday, Johnson told reporters that he expected the ax.

"The dye has been cast," Johnson said. "When you have the payroll that we have here and you don't win, someone is going to take the brunt of it."

Johnson's stormy relationship with general manager Kevin Malone did not help matters. The two clashed repeatedly over the makeup of the team, stirring frustration in the executive offices and creating clubhouse concern and confusion as to how the club's top baseball officials could be at such polar extremes.

Malone, who hired Johnson two years ago, was visibly shaken at today's news conference.

"This was a disappointing and trying season and process that we've been through," Malone said. "We had several problems this season and I've come to realize I contributed to some of those problems and I'm sorry for that."

The Dodgers had just two managers -- Alston and Lasorda -- from 1954 to 1996. But Bill Russell, Lasorda's successor, was replaced in 1998 by Glenn Hoffman and Johnson was hired in 1999.

"The cornerstone of the Dodgers has has been its stability and continuity," Dodgers president Bob Graziano said. "But we felt we needed this change. We need to find someone we have confidence in for the long term."

Alston and Lasorda combined to win 15 NL pennants.

Johnson was just 163-161 in his two years with the Dodgers. He has an overall record of 1,148-888 in 14 years with the New York Mets (1984-90), Cincinnati (1993-95) and Baltimore (1996-97) and Los Angeles and won one World Series title, five division titles and one wild card playoff berth.

Johnson is the fifth manager to be fired, all in the NL, since the season ended on Sunday. Terry Francona of Philadelphia, Gene Lamont of Pittsburgh, Buck Showalter of Arizona and Jack McKeon of Cincinnati also were dismissed.

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