PSL: Thoughts from Inside the Locker Room

the locker room is a strange but easy-going place…it’s an awkward collision of men getting dressed for work, and other men standing around, looking around, wandering around with note pads and voice recorders waiting for something to happen…

…i didn’t ask, but i wonder if the players find it bizarre that there guys are just sort of hovering around…

…also, the locker room here is fairly small…it’s essentially two long hallways divided by and surrounded by lockers, which contain a few jerseys, shirts, sneakers, random nik naks, etc…i am not sure, but i think one of the coaches had a pair of Nike Air Huarache…i loved those shoes back in the day…i didn’t know they still made them…

…the veterans who are not traveling with the team will drift around in street clothes, just sort of chilling, getting ready for the bus ride, setting up their iPods, or portable video-game systems, while catching up with other players…it’s very slow paced…nobody appears to be in a huge hurry…also the entire place smells of mineral ice, which actually made me a bit nostalgic, because i was addicted to that stuff when i pitched in high school…just dip your elbow in it, son, and you’ll be fine…

…there is a separate room catered for the players to grab some breakfast…most all of them were eating french toast with sausage on a paper plate and coffee from a plain-old styrofoam cup…they’d grab their food, plunk down on the stool in front of their locker and eat, while balancing the paper plate on their lap, knees together, trying to keep the food from sliding off on to the floor…

…speaking of nutrition, i talked briefly with Jon Niese, who recently changed his entire diet to a more organic, raw approach…i eat the same way…he explained that a few years ago he roomed with another player who majored in nutrition, and so through this guy’s encouragement jon got on a track and has since lost 30 or so pounds…

…i also walked up to David Wright, who is traveling with the team today, so he was standing in street clothes grabbing a few things for the bus ride…i said hello and introduced myself…he asked me how things were working out with SNY, noting that MetsBlog must be ‘blowing up,’ which was funny to hear…it was nice to finally meet in person…he was wearing a Giants Super Bowl Champions hat, of course…

…the guys are all very approachable, in fact…if a reporter has a question, he or she will just walk up and start talking…it’s not very official at all, as writers are just wondering aimlessly around the room…in one case, a player began talking from his locker to one reporter…it was just the two of them…within seconds, though, five other reporters were in there with notepads and voice recorders…the player walked away, and the cluster broke apart as each writer returned immediately to the aimless drifting…

…the whole place is actually well organized…i was quite surprised…i guess i just expected a lot of hustle and bustle and chaos, which is not the case…there are shopping carts loaded with equipment, bats lined up along the wall and packed bags in the runway…things seem to run very efficiently…

…it’s hard not to feel out of place…like Fernando Martinez, who just wondered around, occasionally sidling up to other players, listening, not talking, while wearing jeans, sneakers and an orange polo shirt…actually, judging by his body language, you would have thought he was a reporter…he bounced from locker to locker, room to room, smiling and making small talk…he’s not a big kid, either…he’s only an inch or two taller than i am, though he’s very lean and strong…Darryl Strawberry walked by, patted him on the back, gave him a nod as if to say, Everything good?…fernando nodded back, and darryl kept walking…

…strawberry was stopped in his tracks by Pedro Martinez, who let out a big yell, screaming, “Hey, Hey, It’s the Big D,” which ended with pedro giving darryl a big hug…they exchanged pleasantries about one another’s families, shook hands the entire time and then parted ways…

…it’s business as usual for them…but, definitely not for me