Clubhouse show: Lost in space

KEN ROSENTHAL

April 04, 1992|By KEN ROSENTHAL

SOMEWHERE INSIDE THE ORIOLES CLUBHOUSE -- Help me, I'm lost.

Hey, it's no big deal. The players are just as confused as I am.

"I've got no chance," Brady Anderson says. "I'm going to get lost in here every day."

How big is the new clubhouse?

So big that when Mike Flanagan is told the pass list is in equipment manager Jimmy Tyler's office, he asks, "How far a cab ride?"

So big that Anderson talks about racing Mike Devereaux from one end to the other, claiming, "I'd beat him. I can maneuver around couches."

So big that if presidential candidate Jerry Brown could win a majority of votes among the players, he'd get a delegate to the Democratic convention.

No doubt the players would endorse him.

Former infielder for Cleveland, right?

Anyway, forget politics, I need a tour guide.

Hey, here comes Bob Milacki.

Bob, wait!

"I'll be in the Jacuzzi watching TV if you're looking for me," Milacki says.

Yes, there really is a Jacuzzi.

It's roughly the size of Lake Michigan.

"Don't go in," trainer Richie Bancells warns.

"No lifeguard," assistant trainer Jamie Reed explains.

Then again, the jacuzzi isn't for everyone.

"Old guys can't go in, because then they [team officials] will think something's wrong," the 40-year-old Flanagan explains. "You don't want to give them any ideas."

Fine, Flanagan can use the sauna. Or he can plop himself on a leather couch in the players' lounge and watch "Flintstones" re-runs on the big-screen TV.

Wait a second.

I thought we were the couch potatoes.

The players' lounge, like the jacuzzi, is off-limits to the media. But it was empty yesterday after the first exhibition game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, a 5-3 victory over the New York Mets.

"You don't see anybody in there," Randy Milligan says, "because no one knows where it is."

Of course not. The entire area covers 14,000 square feet, not including the four batting and pitching tunnels. The clubhouse proper covers approximately 3,500 square feet.

How big?

The Orioles could easily accommodate a World Series media crush, heaven forbid they ever get there again.

How big?

"I tried to call Cal Sr. a while ago," manager John Oates says. "They said, 'You must first dial a 1.'

Oates, of course, has his own office. Ripken Sr. dresses with the players, but his locker is halfway to Annapolis.

Where's that light rail when you need it?

Flanagan, the former Blue Jay, estimates the clubhouse is twice as big as Toronto's in SkyDome. "We keep in shape," he says, "by walking to get something to eat."

Of course, there's also a weight room -- a 3,000-square-foot weight room -- but the clubhouse offers other athletic options that are far more intriguing.

Floor hockey?

"Be sweet," Bill Ripken says.

Soccer?

"That's a possibility, too."

Your average World League quarterback couldn't throw a football from one end to the other. The Orioles can practice their putting on the wall-to-wall carpeting (standard). Or they can really have fun and build a bowling alley (optional).

The lockers, it goes without saying, are huge. In fact, they'd rent for $1,000 a month in New York, and they're a lot safer, too, with two separate compartments where players can lock up their private belongings.

Flanagan calls the corner lockers "end units." Stadium announcer and former Dodger Rex Barney jokes, "This is what I had in Durham, N.C., Class D. Four guys lockered in one of these."

Glitches, you ask?

Well, there is one.

The shower stings.

"You lose your skin," one player says.

Ever prepared, Cal Ripken Jr. bought his own shower head after detecting the problem during a clubhouse tour.

"I tried to beat the game," he says, the familiar glint in his eye.

Alas, the shower head didn't fit.

Ripken said I could test the shower myself, provided I kept my clothes on. No thanks, I replied, consulting my special clubhouse map as I headed for the door.

How big?

Someone dial 9-1-1.

I'm still inside.

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