by Ryan Meehan
This week in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, former MLB player Jack Clark said that he had a conversation with Pujols’ personal trainer Chris Mihfield back in 2000 where Mihfield told Clark he shot him up with “all of that stuff” during a workout during that time period.
There are a two main reasons that this seems fishy, but the first one is the most important so I’d like to expand on that before I get to the other one.
1) It’s very easy for all of these retired guys to point fingers, since there are virtually no tests results for HGH available from the era in which they played
This bothers me the most because Clark is obviously not the first guy that we’ve seen from the previous generation who has decided that he’s going to tell us who is using and who isn’t. Canseco famously called out guys for using PEDs and ended up being right about a few of them. But this is different. What Clark is doing is going out of his way to attack MLB’s golden boy in the wake of another serious PED scandal which involves a player everybody hates.
Here’s an excerpt from said interview:
“He just told me that he wanted me to get started on steroids and he had some other guys that were doing it. He told me that’s how he’s conditioning this guy that he met out of high school and college and he looked like he was going to be a star, keep an eye on him.”
Clark said he was looking for a nutrition program, not steroids.
“He told me, ‘Well you couldn’t do what I do with Albert Pujols, he’s on this real strenuous workout deal.’ I said, ‘I wouldn’t want to try to do that.’ Every day he kind of came to me and says, ‘you ready to do it? I’m ready to do it.’ I said, ‘Well I’m just not a needle guy, I’ve had enough surgeries and injuries over the years. I don’t like needles … I’m not going to do that … I’m not a player anymore.'”
That whole quote reeks of bullshit. “I’m not a needle guy?” Uh, I don’t quite know how to put this, but most all athletes have to take something that comes out of a needle even if it never gets remotely close to steroids. If you’re an athlete they’ll make you a needle guy, you don’t have much of a choice.
And although I believe that Clark probably would have declined an offer for steroids a good eight or nine years after he had retired, I’m not necessarily sure that a guy like Mihfield would have anything to gain by supplying him with the juice. That’s why a lot of this drug stuff is confusing to me – it all sounds so scripted and “after-school-special like” from the guys who believe themselves to be the victims of so called “drug pushers”. I’m surprised that he didn’t say that Mihfield confronted him in front of a brick wall as he walked out of a grocery store and then whispered “Hey kid, you really want to be good?” And what in the world would this trainer have to gain from shooting up Jack Clark the better part of a decade AFTER he retired?
Back to my original point – the fact that all of the retired guys who did the finger pointing came from an era where MLB didn’t even test for HGH. It’s kind of a bitch move to accuse anybody of anything like this, because during that era nobody was really tested for anything at all. HGH was commonplace, and bowls of amphetamine pills lingered in every major league clubhouse. Hell, Mike Schmidt waited until the day after he was inducted into the Hall of Fame to mention that amphetamine usage was a big part of his life.
It’s a very “do as I say, don’t do as I do” existence, and it remains to be the case even if the one pointing the finger never picked up a point or a pill his entire career. Like I said, it’s a bitch move. It’s like comparing apples to much larger apples that have been genetically modified to the point where they’ve become oranges. It’s essentially a zero statement.
2) Clark just got a new radio show, so this could very well be a publicity stunt
Jack Clark now has a new radio show down there on AM air in St. Louis, and I’d be willing to bet that a great deal of this is him doing anything he can to build a larger fanbase in a city that probably doesn’t consume a lot of talk radio.
While I usually would use this space to make jokes about how more car stereos are stolen in East St. Louis than any other outdoor prison colony in America today, the real fact here is that St. Louis talk radio probably struggles a lot to find a guy who is worth half of a fuck to begin with. And that’s likely why they ended up with Jack Clark in the first place. If this was another (larger) market, he’d likely be out on his ass after another month of comments like this one.
Additionally, it could be a good way to get people who are listeners that might still be sour that Pujols left for Los Angeles. Which is a pretty sad way to promote your show, and kind of a dead giveaway that you don’t have any real talent. Imagine if you had a radio show in Buffalo and you did a weekly segment about how much everybody hates Scott Norwood. Sure everybody would agree with you, but really what kind of a grown man would do that?
Probably a guy like Jack Clark. And don’t get me wrong, I’m willing to listen to the whole “Back in my day, things were better than they are now” just so long as you’ve actually done something. Usually the guy I’d be willing to listen to is better than a career .267 hitter.
Bonus dumb comment regarding Justin Verlander:
In the same interview, Clark served up another verbal abortion when he accused Tigers ace Justin Verlander of juicing, and giving a rather weak reason for doing so.
“Verlander was like Nolan Ryan, he threw 97, 98, 100 miles an hour from the first inning to the ninth inning,” Clark said on the air. “He got that big contract, now he can barely reach 92, 93. What happened to it? He has no arm problems, nothing’s wrong. It’s just the signs are there.
“The greed … they juice up, they grab the money and it’s just a free pass to steal is the way I look at it.”
Oh boy, where do I even start with this one. First off, let’s get one things straight – NOBODY is like Nolan Ryan. Nolan Ryan was a freak of nature and defied all sports odds with his uncanny pitching speed. While Justin Verlander is incredible, he is not Nolan Ryan. Nobody is.
Also, most guys get a big contract like that in the middle of their prime, which Verlander was in when he inked that deal. At that same time, it’s commonplace for guys to lose velocity. And can Clark cut this guy a break? Jesus, he’s still throwing in the nineties. Clark makes it sound like he all of a sudden became Tim Wakefield.
And how the fuck exactly does Clark know that he’s got no arm problems and that “nothing’s wrong”? That’s insanity. Is he friends with Verlander? Does he know Verlander’s trainer as well and has some shady story about that as well? It’s absolutely impossible for Clark to know if Verlander is feeling 100% everywhere, and every pitched has strains and tears we never hear about.
Lastly, which is he accusing Verlander of doing: Using steroids, slacking off because of his newly acquired big money, or both? It would seem to me if you were going so far out of your way to be so accusatory of somebody, you’d at least just pick one angle and stick with it. I used to kind of like Jack Clark and his hustle. Now I just think he’s a pussy.
Realistically, we probably won’t ever know if Albert Pujols used steroids to build mass and put up incredible numbers. However, we can’t rely on the information of has beens and almost weres because their opinions are going to be heavily biased. Of course Jackass Clark is going to say that Albert Pujols used steroids because Al has 488 career home runs and counting, and Clark only finished with 340 of them. He fought with the management of almost every team that he played for, and appears to be a bit of a loudmouth. So if anything he’s just being a jealous prick and we certainly don’t need any more of those on the air.
It’s my own personal belief that in the wake of the Ryan Braun and A-Rod suspensions, even if Pujols did juice up he will be protected by the powers that be. Now, there’s no way they let that get out if it happened a while back. Perhaps maybe Clark thinks he’s the detective to break this case, but he needs to go about it in a less whiny way if he wants to make his feelings to be taken seriously. Because after all, they are JUST feelings unless he saw the injections take place himself, which he clearly didn’t.
Jack Clark is the 55 year old man who lives on your block that doesn’t have any kids of his own to yell at, so he yells at other people’s kids. He’s a grumpy old man that probably shouldn’t still be hanging around the world of sports pointing fingers and telling everyone else what to believe when almost everything that comes out of his mouth is speculation. Your revolution is over, Mr. Clark. You’re a total hack, and enjoy your airtime while you have it because it’ll be over before you know it. And then you won’t be able to blame any of the active players for that, it’ll be all your doing.