White Sox find ways to stay loose in clubhouse
CHICAGO -- There are several races going on in the White Sox clubhouse at any given time. But it's not for who can get the most steals, home runs or RBIs.
The races are instead between a couple of remote-control dragsters owned by Chris Sale and Adam Dunn. It's one of many ways White Sox players stay loose during the grind of the 162-game season.
"I don't know, maybe it's the youth movement, although all the guys with the remotes are the older guys," said a laughing Tyler Flowers of the remote-control vehicles in the clubhouse. "You know, it's been like that since Spring Training. I think we've established that we're going to work hard. Whatever it is -- Spring Training, now, playing the game -- we're always hustling, not quitting. I think those are the kind of things that almost enable you to continue to do that on the field. You've got to kind of have a break and cut loose.
"We're at the field and around these guys more than our families, so we've got to kind of entertain ourselves and each other to stay loose, and keep the emotion and everything and the adrenaline and the excitement on the field."
Dunn and Sale's dragsters are easily the most expensive models in the clubhouse. Sale won the race while Dunn's dragster rammed into the leg of Adrian Nieto, who was sitting innocently at his locker, jarring loose Dunn's front right wheel. Flowers is the de-facto mechanic in charge of all repairs.
As Flowers mentioned, the elder statesman of the clubhouse, 38-year-old reliever Scott Downs, was also driving around a remote-control car. Players have also messed around with a miniature remote-control helicopter.
Flowers said the fact that the team's veterans are leading the shenanigans has helped young guys feel comfortable in the mixed-age clubhouse.
"I think it just probably helps with that relationship, especially with the number of young guys we have," he said. "I mean, we still have a few rookies, not like we did last year when we had all those rookies, but I think it kind of opens up those lines of communications almost, it kind of breaks that barrier. At least when I came up, there were a number of veteran guys here where you were almost more hesitant to say anything stupid or say anything.
"I think it definitely breaks that up where guys are a little more comfortable with each other, and I think that carries over to the ballgames and in the dugout, everything."