Dodgers fire Steve Garvey
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers have fired former first baseman Steve Garvey from their marketing and community-relations departments, Garvey confirmed to 710 ESPN Radio on Friday.
The move appears to be a reaction to Garvey having made public his desire to be part of a group that would purchase the club if owner Frank McCourt, who has filed for bankruptcy, is ultimately forced to sell the Dodgers.
"I was always clear with management as to the exploratory ownership group I've put together," Garvey said Friday night in an emailed statement. "In fact, I twice offered a significant cash infusion to help the team.
"I met with team officials on multiple occasions, and was given parameters of what was appropriate for me to say regarding my investment group. I feel I stayed within those parameters."
On Saturday, Garvey was still unsure about what prompted the firing.
"I don't know," he said on 710 ESPN. "Maybe the response of the fans and maybe it irritated someone.
"(I) got a call from the Dodger attorney, and I knew pretty much what he was going to say, I've known him for 30 years, and he said I was being terminated. The Dodgers leaked it to sources, I wasn't even going to say anything."
As a player, Garvey is counted among the team's long list of legends, having been a power-hitting fixture in the Dodgers lineup from 1969 to 1982 before leaving as a free agent and signing with the San Diego Padres.
"If management doesn't want me to be an employee, I can respect that," Garvey said. "But no one can take away the fact that I am and always will be a Dodger."
Josh Rawitch, the team's vice president for communications, declined to address the matter, saying Dodgers policy is to not comment on personnel matters.
Garvey told The Associated Press last month that he's been pursuing a sports franchise for two years now, and has considered minor league clubs and professional soccer teams.
Garvey told the Los Angeles Times in April that he had joined with local billionaire Ron Burkle to form an investment group to buy the club, an interview that took place around the time Major League Baseball was announcing its intention to appoint a monitor to oversee the Dodgers' finances and months before the team filed for bankruptcy.
He said last month former Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser had joined forces with him under the banner of the Garvey-Hershiser Group. Hershiser works for ESPN as a game analyst and isn't a part of the Dodgers community relations department.
Garvey told 710 ESPN that he harbors no ill will toward Frank and Jamie McCourt.
"No I don't because I've been through divorce," he said. "And divorce is pretty devastating for Frank and Jamie McCourt. I know my wife, Candace and I, and other families ... feel bad about what has transpired over the last couple of years."
The 62-year-old Garvey has had his own financial problems, declaring himself broke after a series of sex scandals in the 1980s that tarnished his reputation as "Mr. Clean," a nickname he earned during his playing career for his squeaky clean image.
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Garvey made eight straight NL All-Star teams in 1974-1981 with the Dodgers, and two more with the Padres in 1984-1985. He was in his 30th year with the Dodgers organization and 15th year as a member of the front office.
"I'm sure everyone knows that my heart is and always will be with the players, the fans and the entire Dodger family. I've cared about the Dodgers for nearly my entire life, and nothing can change my allegiance to this franchise," Garvey said.
Last Sunday at the Dodgers game in Anaheim, Garvey and Hershiser said that several other legendary Dodgers figures and celebrities are also part of their still-forming ownership group, though they aren't ready to publicly come forward until the franchise is in fact for sale.
"I think the goal long-term is to convince the people that are alongside us that this is to build Dodger tradition and regain the trust of the fans," Garvey told ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne on Sunday. "And of course any significant Dodger names we would love to reach out to."
Garvey, who helped the Dodgers to four World Series appearances including the1981 championship, described the silent partners as "an All-Star group" who prefer to stay silent at this time because of their status and ongoing affiliation with the team.
McCourt has taken the Dodgers into bankruptcy court to continue the battle for control of the franchise, amid speculation Major League Baseball could soon seek to seize the team and put it up for sale.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne and The Associated Press was used in this report.