For today's final athlete run-in story, we meet former All-Star — and "RBI Baseball" all-world star — Will Clark, who has always been one of our favorites since going crazy for the Cardinals a few years ago and then flat retiring. This one's from Peter in Denver ...
As a former bartender/food schlepper, I've had a few run-ins with athletes and celebrities. Some were good (Gary Payton, Bill Wenington, Eric Lindros, Barry Melrose), some were bad (Del Harris, Jerry Sloan, Mike Piazza) and some were bizarre (an incredibly stoned Scott Weiland, Mean Gene Okerlund), but all were interesting and not what you would expect.
If I had to share one encounter, it would have to be an encounter with Barry Bonds and Will Clark. The Giants were in town to play the Rockies, and some of the Giants were at the establishment I worked at. One of the schticks this establishment did was having any celebs sign a t-shirt, which would then be framed and put on the wall. The girl who was taking care of Bonds and some of the Giants asked if Barry would be kind enough to sign a t-shirt. He flat-out refused and was angered that the girl even asked him to sign it. Barry then stormed off, presumably back to his hotel, with everyone in the place looking on. The waitress was crying, and so I went over to tell her to forget about it, and Will Clark walks up to her and tries to console her as well. At this point, I was surprised; I had read before that Will was kind of a hothead. Will then says to me that he wants to buy a drink for EVERYONE in the place, which at this point was around a sixty or seventy people. Will then pays the tab (left $300 on a $200 or so tab), tips the waitress that Bonds upset another $100, then says to her, "I know I'm not your first choice, but if you want me to sign a t-shirt, I'd be more than happy to." Signs the t-shirt and leaves the waitress a couple of prime seats to the game the following night at will call. Completely changed my opinion of him. And I loathed Bonds from that point forward.
To be fair, looking like a nice guy compared to Barry Bonds ... not so tough. Clark could have urinated all over the bar, and the clientele would have been like, "Yeah, you know, cool guy, classy, not a dick like Bonds."
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(Remember, your athlete run-in stories are always welcome at email@example.com.)