Padres News: Tony Clark Visits Padres Camp as MLBPA Director


Thursday the San Diego Padres welcomed another visitor to their camp. This time though it wasn’t a new player courtesy of trade or free agency, but former player and Padre Tony Clark as reported by Dennis Lin. Clark is in his second year as Executive Director of the MLB Players Association, previously headed by Michael Weiner who died of brain cancer in 2013.

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Clark is also a native of San Diego, going to high school in El Cajon and college at San Diego State University. He talked about growing up a Padres fan on his visit Thursday:

"“I was fortunate where I used to go to Padres games when I was a kid. We were in the top deck looking down on the field, and that was something I always thought or dreamt could be a possibility.”"

Clark finished up a 15 year playing career in 2009, playing for six teams and 70 games for the Padres in 2008 mostly as a pinch hitter.

Just last Monday he joined the next group to be inducted into the Breitbard Hall of Fame at the San Diego Hall of Champions. He was unable to attend the ceremony due to commitments for his current role and spring training beginning as he makes his circuit and gets in touch with his constituents, the players.

The Hall honor was not last on him though, “To know that the Breitbard Hall of Fame is the collection of all the best San Diego athletes we’ve had, to be recognized as part of that conversation, knowing — I’m getting chills even talking about it — how I grew up and how everything transpired, when I got the call I was excited, to say the least”.  Also inducted was LaDanian Tomlinson and former notable Yankee Chris Chambliss.

There is a lot on Clark’s plate right now, both taking over for Weiner who had a strong legacy but also as MLB is in an unprecedented time of monetary growth, team parity, and no work stoppages since the 1994 strike.

In other words, the only way to go is down. Currently the biggest issue in the game is the new pace of game rules. Compared to the NFL’s battle with off-the-field issues and concussion issues, the NBA with bloated playoffs and flopping epidemics, it seems like the easiest gig of the big four sports at the moment. Yet those things can change quickly.

The game seems cleaned up, but as Josh Hamilton‘s recent relapse shows and BioGensis only being a 2013 issue, there is still a long way to go. Tony Clark is the first player to be the MLBPA director which gives him both a unique perspective to understand what the players are going through and offer different perspectives than previous directors were able to provide.

I have confidence in Clark to continue to lead MLB and the MLBPA in prosperity as the game continues to advance and be a model professional sports league. There is still a lot of changes that need to be looked at in terms of international talent and protecting those players and questions coming around with how MLB and the MLBPA will handle recently opened up Cuba.

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