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Clark remembers getting three hits in a high school game, stealing second and third and scoring the winning run on a suicide squeeze. "How could you let that pitcher pop you up?" he recalls his father saying of his one failure that day.
"A lot of bull," Calvin growls. "I was not critical."
Calvin wanted Clark to start his apprenticeship in the minor leagues, the way he had. Clark resisted. Clark cherished books. Calvin: "No book tells you that with a man on first, you give the bunt sign." Clark helped hammer out the 1976 and '80 collective-bargaining agreements with the players' union. Calvin: "They took away every right the ball club had." Clark championed an advertising campaign to boost ticket sales. Calvin: "We got rid of it. You spend $200,000 to $300,000 a year telling people, 'C'mon out and see us, we're great,' then you win five out of 15 and you make yourself look like a horse's ass." Clark led the drive to sign Roy Smalley and Wynegar to lucrative long-term contracts. Calvin: "Neither one was a leader. I said, 'They're the same damn things we had when we were paying them way down.' "
"You must battle for the hearts of fans," the son says. "We're asking fans to pay their emotional dollar to the Twins, to live and die with us, to hope for us. You can't keep getting rid of your best players and dash those hopes on the rocks every few years."
He carted most of his library of non-baseball books home from the office to ease the father-son strain, but that gesture didn't suffice. Last summer he was stripped of his responsibilities as team representative at league meetings and arbitration cases. His father began to send communications through Fox, whose power grew as Clark's diminished. The tension crested with a physical confrontation between Fox and Clark, and now Griffith's son moves through the hallways like a bad hallucination the others pretend not to see.
"You have to have your heart and soul in this game," lectures his uncle, Jimmy. "I don't think Clark does."
"They're full of crap," Clark snaps. "I love baseball."
Both Thelma and Calvin have executive vice-presidents for sons, although Bruce Haynes never became as deeply involved in club matters as Clark. "Clarkie wouldn't go to the minor leagues to learn, so I wouldn't force Brucie to go," Thelma says. "In some ways it would be a relief if we just sold the team."
Calvin Griffith could go from scapegoat to instant millionaire by selling, but he isn't anxious for that. He has been paying approximately $26,000 a year in premiums on an insurance policy, the purpose of which is to protect the eventual heir from debilitating inheritance taxes, but passing the team on to kin no longer seems to be as important as it once was. "Clarkie and Brucie are young enough to take care of themselves," he says. "As long as my mind isn't cluttered, I don't know why the hell I should worry about anybody else. I know both of them want it, but neither is in a position where he has money coming in from other sources to put into it. If I die, the board of directors will settle the question. It could be a little sticky."
Clark sits at his desk, trying to understand where it all went wrong. He has a map of Mount Royal Cemetery, the place where James Robertson, his grandfather, was buried in Montreal. He has been told conflicting stories about the man who raised his father for the first 10 years—that he was witty and charming, that he was a mean and vicious brute, that he died in a hunting accident, in a boiler explosion, from ingesting a poison. He plans to go to Montreal, to stand over the burial plot and somehow in the silence to come closer to accepting why he can't get the thing he has always wanted more from his father than a baseball team.