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January 15, 1988     The Message
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January 15, 1988
 

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Sports The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana January15,1988 Rutter on Sports By DAVE RUTrER Market misdiagnosis costs Cardinals their hitting heart It was a big week for Dal Maxvill. The former St. Louis Cardinals' shortstop was promoted from General Manager to Vice Presi- dent .... not. of the whole country; just the Cardinals. Then, as vice presidents are wont to do when left to their own devices, Maxvill managed to get himself into a serious heap of trouble. Events started placidly enough. A headline in last Wednesday's St. Louis Post-Dispatch pro- phesied: "Progress hinted in Clark talks." This was to announce to Cardinal fans that the six-month negotiations between the Cardinals and their slugger, Jack Clark, seemed to be at the touchy stage. "We are not going to discuss this in the press," said Cardinals' executive council member Lou Susman. This pronouncement came two days after Max- vill's announcement in the same newspaper that Clark essentially was fighting a pointless battle. "I don't know if clubs out there, based on his past health, would go into the $2 million category, where we are," he said. For public consumption, that is as close as a baseball team usually gets to saying one of its players has been given a take-it-or-leave-it pro- posal. You are dog food, says the club, and we have the spoon. To be fair, this is very expensive dog food {$2 million a year), but still dog food. Then came Wednesday afternoon. If Oct. 19 was Black Monday for stock market investors, then Jan. 6 was surely Black Wednesday for Cardinal fans. With a contractual handshake for his new employer and a wave goodbye to St. Louis, Jack Clark -- Jack The Ripper, the thunder in a popcorn lineup, the man who helped give the Cards two pennants in three years -- picked up his marbles and left for New York. Va There he will toil for George Steinbrenner and the Yankees. If there is an illuminating element to the scenario, it is that Clark took less money from the Yankees than St. Louis eventually offered (after an emergency board meeting) and that he was very open why he had done it. Dal Maxvill was the reason. Dal Maxvill and humiliation. It is tempting at this juncture to hope that Maxvill knows something the rest of us do not. For example, that the ankle injury which ended Clark's season before the 1987 World Series is so serious that he is unlikely to be himself soon. In that case, we could note with satisfaction that Maxvill mere- ly was being businesslike in a tough world. In other words, the Cardinals were trying to make a good show of signing Clark, but had no in- tention of actually doing it. The Cardinals allowed relief pitcher Bruce Sut- ter's escape to Atlanta in what was then thought to be a tragic case of tightwaditis. Then Sutter came down with arm woes that essentially have ended his career, except for the part of his career which forces Ted Turner to pay him a $1 million every year until the next century. But that episode with the Cardinals seemed more a straight dollars-and-cents issue. As a free agent, Sutter demanded more on the market than the Cardinals were willing to pay. So, he walked. If the Cardinals didn't want Clark, they made a lavish charade of the non-signing process. It was so lavish, in fact, they offered him roughly $4 million for the next two years. A team is unlikely to offer $4 million to a player it doesn't want. The Jack Clark episode is more simple than that. Except for the Dew Jones dive in October, it may be the worst case of misdiagnosed market forces witnessed recently. An arbitrator recently ruled that baseball's owners more or less conspired to ignore free agen- Continued from p,ge 5 bah has exhibited an ability to avoid commenting on specific political issues while stating an openness to help look for solu- tions along with other "men of good will" working for peace. But this "is a very difficult, immense work, a task which for many_years politicians and other men have failed to achieve," he said. Patriarch Sabbah plans to go about this task as a religious man stressing religious values. "When people believe, in a homogeneous manner, in cer- tain superior values, perhaps Seminary trend to be studied WASHINGTON {NC} -- Leaders in seminary education and research plan to meet with Catholic. foundation represen- tatives Jan. 21-22 in Florida for a conference on "U.S. Catholic Seminaries and their Future." Costs of seminary education and the place of non-priesthood students in seminary-sponsored programs are among key con- corns to be addressed. Researchers have reported that enrollment of non- priesthood students in seminary programs has helped keep the cost of priesthood training down in many places, but a 1986 Vatican letter responding to a comprehensive study of U.S. Catholic theology-level seminaries urg- ed clearer separation of seminary programs from those for lay ministers or lay theologians. The average yearly cost for educating a seminarian is now over $13,000. In the 1986-87 school year nearly half the students in the 54 Catholic theology schools around the country were not preparing for the ,priesthood. CONTI00 C.ENTER 3900 WMhlnglon Avenue 479-4228 cy for the last few years. That was made clear when Detroit pitching ace Jack Morris couldn't find anyone -- but the Tigers -- to pick up his salary and made even more clear when Montreal's Tim Raines went unwooed when he went on the market. Maxvill apparently believed the same gentleman's agreement remained in effect through last week. Dealing from a position of such ap- parent strength allows a negotiator to do -- and say -- what otherwise might be objectionable. From Clark's perspective, this translated in> continual haggling over side issues and harping on injuries. In the end, Clark believed he was being unnecessarily harpooned, merely for the sake of Maxvill's corporate image within Anheuser-Busch. When asked about the free agent deadline for re- signing Clark, Masvill said: "I'm sure they're go- ing to wait until Friday to use that as a pressure tactic...but A-B (Anheuser-Busch} doesn't move because of applying pressure." Said Clark later: "I wasn't looking to leave; I wasn't looking to go'anywhere." He isn't angry, he says, just "frustrated and disappointed. It's just one person's word against another and that's pro- bably the way it will be." How grievous is the wound wrought by MaxS rill (and perhaps the board members whose spears he carries)? Without Clark's presence to protect Willie McGee, Terry Pendledon and Tony Pena in the batting order, the team's lineup suddenly loses its heart. It has fast feet, but no heart. Manager Whitey Herzog worked magic with his "bullpen-by-committee" when Sutter departed. But no team can survive without the one man who produces runs. It's like the Phillies without Mike Schmidt; the Yankees without Don Mattingly; the Braves withotlt Dale Murphy. t Jack Clark was that man for the Cardinals. Dance fast, Dal. Vice presidents can be shipped out, too. then they can find certain criteria for walking toward a real, sincere and just peace," he said. The pope gave the patriarch symbolic support when he or- dained him a bishop Jan. 6 at a major liturgical ceremony in St cere Basilica. Attending, at Vatican invitation, were of- ficials of Israel, Arab countries and the Palestine Liberation Organization. The aim was to show that an- tagonists can come together in peace under a church roof. 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