I was nervous the first time I entered the clubhouse of the Florence Freedom. "This is hallowed ground," I thought, "I'm really behind the scenes. I came to find out that a lot more goes on in the clubhouse than just putting on a uniform before the game.
To begin the tour, I take you through the visitor's locker room. I actually spend more time in here than the Freedom's locker room. I'm often in there trying to pry the starting line-ups from the opposing manager. The opposing team is usually pretty nice. They can be found sitting at their respective lockers a few hours before game time, usually re-lacing their gloves or adding pine tar to their bats.
Between the locker rooms we find your basic laundry room. Often, I find Randy, the local clubbie, washing jerseys late at night for the next day's game. Randy is the big "behind the scenes" guy in the clubhouse. Without him, there would be no clean towels. He can often be found rubbing up baseballs with the sacred Mississippi River Mud.
Past the laundry room, we find the player's lounge. There is a big screen TV, a few video games scattered around, and most importantly, pictures of every player that has been an All-star in a Freedom uniform. Next to the lounge is a small kitchen area. Honestly, I've never seen any of the players cook, so I'm guessing Randy must be making some late night snacks.
The final spot on our tour takes us to what I like to call "The Palace", also known as the Freedom's locker room. This is what everyone wants to know about right? And well you should. For players in the Frontier League, the clubhouse is much more of a social gathering place than you would think. You're not at home, so the clubhouse becomes your home. You aren't living with your family anymore, so the team becomes your family. On a normal day, the players are mingling around the clubhouse way before it's even time to stretch out. There's usually some music playing, and the guys are just relaxing or watching TV. Often times you will see the guys giving each other haircuts. If that isn't trust in your teammates, then I don't know what is.
So, that's pretty much it. The clubhouse serves its purpose. Come in, relax, and get a bite to eat. What happens after that? They leave it all on the field.