Monday, July 13, 2009

Diamondbacks release Tony Clark

I understand the "why" here, and how "baseball is a business" and all of that, but it still sucks...

From -
In another move made in part with an eye on 2010, the Diamondbacks on Sunday released veteran first baseman Tony Clark.

Clark, 37 and in his 15th season in the majors, was hitting just .182 with four home runs in 66 at-bats.

I don't use the word often because so often, it is overused or just used cheaply, but he is truly one of the class acts in all of professional sports. He is well-liked by those who know him, and more importantly, well-respected by his colleagues and the fans.

In addition to his playing skills (this season's struggles notwithstanding, one doesn't have a 15-year career in the majors without some serious skills), he has been heavily involved in community affairs wherever he has played and in the MLB Players Association.

I first met him in 1996 or 1997 before an Arizona Fall League game in Scottsdale. He wasn't there as a player as he was already an established major leaguer by that time. He was visiting AZ in the offseason (he played college basketball at U of A) and spent some time in the Valley, catching up with some of his friends who were playing that year.

Clark handled the steady stream of fans seeking an autograph or a simple 'hello' with a ready signature and a smile.

All the while maintaining a steady conversation with the players warming up on the field.

All of this sounds sort of like a eulogy, and it shouldn't.

Clark's time with the Diamondbacks may be over, but his time in baseball isn't.

He may/should catch on with a team in need of an accomplished 1B/DH/PH with a steady, professional influence in the clubhouse. And after his playing career is over, he will be a great coach or executive in any organization or with the MLBPA. Or in any field he chooses.

Back to politics later...

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