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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
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Jesse James and Jack Clark
2004-07-14 14:49
by Jon Weisman

Not all coaches get recycled in the same way. Ex-Dodger hitting coach Jack Clark, whose credentials, for better or worse, I questioned aggressively in 2003 (more than once), has been head of baseball operations of the Mid-Missouri Mavericks of Columbia, Missouri in the independent Frontier League since June 21. Clark had been managing the team, but was promoted upstairs from the managerial slot and replaced by fellow former major league star Jim Gentile.

It's been a homecoming for Clark, who of course was a hero during his playing days in that other Missouri town known as St. Louis. Seemed to have a big hit against the Dodgers on at least one occasion that Niedenfuers to mind. I mean, springs to mind.

But it hasn't been an altogether smooth return for Clark to the Show-Me State. As far as Clark's 2004 managerial record, see if you can extrapolate from this quote from Gentile upon his hiring, courtesy of the Mavericks website:

"Baseball is a game of ups and downs," Gentile said. "I have both played on and coached teams that were in slumps. The Mavericks are obviously struggling, but we’ll work hard to improve and make our fans proud. Jack and I make a great partnership, so I am hopeful that better days are ahead for this club. ... Let’s never forget that this game is all about fun, developing young players, and teaching folks about a great American tradition."

Aye, let us never forget.

On top of everything else, Clark has just taken a second job, moonlighting as hitting coach of another Double-M team, the McKinney Marshals of the new Texas Collegiate League, debuting this year as the only summer wood-bat college league in baseball's Lone Star hotbed. Al Quintana, from Cal State Northridge, is among those on the team's roster.

"Settled in 1841, McKinney has a rich history and frequently served as a hideout for Jesse and Frank James, and the James Gang," the Marshals website says. Hiding out, of course, is the least of Clark's issues, unless that Missouri-Texas commute is a lot easier than I'd imagine. In any case, if you can make it to Columbia in about five weeks, Jack Clark Bobblehead Night is scheduled for August 21.

Update: In the comments below, Robert Fiore writes:

Speaking of batting coaches, did you ever apologize to Tim Wallach for writing he didn't have enough experience to be one? You may have done so when I wasn't watching, but considering how he's got these banjo hitters making a noise like a bass fiddle I think you owe him one.

Fiore is referring to this February 17 piece I wrote questioning Paul DePodesta's hire of Wallach.

Not to get overly literal, but I don't think I owe Wallach an apology. The evidence was not there that Wallach would be a good batting instructor, and I think I can be excused for suspecting he wouldn't be.

The fact that he does appear to have been effective reflects on my fallibility, but I made the best analysis I could. I don't see Jack Clark and Dan Evans apologizing for their fallibility, nor would I expect them to.

But Robert, you aren't really being that literal, are you? Drat. Didn't think so.

So yeah, I do owe both Wallach and DePodesta sincere congratulations and kudos for a job well done. Some people will say that the Dodgers were do for a rebound and that Wallach probably didn't do anything. But that flies in the face of reality. The idea that major league hitters are immune to coaching does not make any sense.

Tim and Paul - congratulations and kudos!

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