Oklahoma City’s game with Iowa is five hours away and players are already filing into the clubhouse for a mid-July game.
In one corner, players groove to Salsa music while a Cribbage game is under way in another. Other players doze off in recliners while ESPN plays on a continuous loop.
This is life in a minor league baseball clubhouse on just another summer afternoon. They may play pro baseball, but most of the RedHawks admit they’re just like most folks. They like to laugh, they like to drive nice cars and they like to look nice.
The Oklahoman polled players to see who the clubhouse personalities are. We found out who’s the biggest prankster, the best dressed, the best card player and who has the best car.
Biggest prankster: Kevin Richardson
Richardson looks for targets of opportunity. For example, there’s no cell phone reception inside the clubhouse, forcing players to leave their phones unattended in the hallway to get their text messages.
"A good one is to get on a guy’s cell phone and change their girlfriend’s number to someone else’s number,” Richardson said.
He also piled up "everything you can imagine” in a teammate’s locker so they couldn’t get to it. The cell phone trick is an easy gag, but public humiliation is preferred.
"If he does something, it’s going to be good,” infielder Royce Huffman said. "He’s creative and he makes sure it’s public.”
But he isn’t without a rival.
Tommy Hunter, now with the Rangers, had plenty of tricks up his sleeve, too.
Hunter liked to put Red Hot (similar to Icy Hot) in sliders and socks to lighten the mood in the clubhouse.
"It keeps things loose,” Richardson said. "Sometimes you can keep it too serious in baseball.”
Best car: Josh Rupe
The parking lot at the Brick is not short of quality rides. There is one Bentley, and assorted BMWs and SUVs. And then there is pitcher Josh Rupe’s black Ford F-250.
Ford may not be the "it” car, but in Rupe’s case he makes it work thanks to after-market lifts, oversized tires and exhaust pipes straight off a semi-truck. Rupe’s ride gets about 10-13 mpg in the city and sometimes takes up two spaces in the parking lot.
"It’s a beast,” outfielder Steve Murphy said.
Rupe simply wanted some reliable transportation, with a little bit of flair.
"I love her,” Rupe said. "She gets me where I need to go.”
It also gets more than a few gawkers around town. It’s the sort of vehicle that’s hard to miss.
"I get a lot more comments than I anticipated getting,” Rupe said. "There’s no doubt she draws a lot of looks, which is good and bad.”
Best dressed: Greg Golson