An empty Yankees locker room was not the most exciting place to spend six hours on a Sunday. It was an easy place to watch two football games at once, but aside from the random appearance of two left-handed relievers and a few comedic attempts at poetry from Pete Caldera, there wasn’t much to help pass the time.
So I decided to write about the room itself.
The Yankees clubhouse is a kind of oval, with the lockers along the edges and six flat screen televisions hanging from the ceiling in the middle. Three TVs face one direction, three TVs face the other direction, and there are identical sets of couches and chairs that form sitting areas on each end. On the floor, in the very center of the room, is a massive interlocking NY.
If you imagine the room as the face of a clock, there are doors at 12, 6 and 3. There’s a blank space of wall at 9. Each section isn’t perfectly equal, but the room is more or less divided into four quadrants. The ends of the room – basically from 11 to 1 and 5 to 7 – are flat walls, so those sections are kind of set apart as well.
Here’s the basic layout of who belongs where, using that imaginary clock to put everything in place.
From 11 to 1
This is the far end of the room. The door at 12 leads into the players-only area (the training room, the dining room and whatever else is back there). On the left side of that door is Jorge Posada. On the right side is Derek Jeter. They sit alone at the end of the clubhouse, a place of honor and significance.
Jeter and Posada have empty lockers next to them. If you’re looking from the opposite end of the room, from left to right, you see an empty locker, Posada’s locker, the set of double doors, Jeter’s locker and an empty locker. During September call-ups, those empty lockers were occupied by Juan Miranda (next to Posada) and Royce Ring (next to Jeter). For most of the year, the empty lockers were used as extra storage.
In every clubhouse, empty lockers are strategically placed, giving the bigger name players a little extra space.
From 1 to 3
This is the rotation section of the room, with a few notable exceptions
In order, from 1 to 3, beginning next to Jeter’s empty locker: A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte, Javier Vazquez, Joba Chamberlain, CC Sabathia, Lance Berkman, Phil Hughes, Robinson Cano, Sergio Mitre and Francisco Cervelli.
The empty locker next to Jeter is also a spillover locker for Burnett. I’m sure Pettitte and some of the other pitchers in that area have used it as well. Cano seems out of place, but his locker has been there all year. Cervelli’s locker is next to a door that leads to various offices, including Joe Girardi’s.
Berkman’s locker was occasionally empty this season, serving as a kind of spillover locker for Sabathia. It was occasionally filled by call-ups. Miranda was there for a while. I think Colin Curtis might have had it at one point. Maybe Chad Moeller back when Posada was on the DL.
Based on the decoration, this is also the family section of the clubhouse. Burnett, Pettitte, Vazquez, Chamberlain and Sabathia are one after another, each with a ton of family pictures hanging inside their lockers.
From 3 to 5
This is the section that’s usually filled with the lower-profile members of the coaching staff, plus Alfredo Aceves. There are four lockers in this section, all of them very barebones: One shelf at the top plus a bar to hang clothes. There’s no installed computer or set of cabinets like in the other lockers. These lockers are wide open, which lets players share them during September call-ups, when the room is overpopulated.
In order, from 3 to 5, beginning next to the door leading to Girardi’s office: Colin Curtis/Kevin Russo, Jonathan Albaladejo/Romulo Sanchez, Greg Golson/Andrew Brackman and Aceves. When Jesus Montero and Dellin Betances were up for a couple of days, they were also thrown into this mix.
Aceves had his corner locker all year. Until September, the other lockers in this section were filled by coaching assistant Brett Weber, assistant video coordinator Anthony Flynn and bullpen catcher Roman Rodriguez. Russo, Albaladejo and Curtis had different lockers during their mid-season call-ups.
Coolest thing in these lockers: A vinyl Jimi Hendrix album sent to Curtis by a fan. It’s not there any more, but I’m pretty sure it was Electric Ladyland. That’s what I remember it being, anyway. Hendrix and Curtis are both Seattle guys, and Curtis used to have Hendrix as his at-bat music.
From 5 to 7
From the media’s point of view, this is the front of the room. The door at 6 is the one that serves as the media entrance. It’s also the door that leads out to the batting cages and the dugout. Just like the flat wall on the opposite end, there are four lockers, two on either side of a set of double doors.
In order, from 5 to 7, beginning next to the Aceves locker: Eduardo Nunez, Ivan Nova, double doors, Ramiro Pena and Dustin Moseley.
The Nunez locker was empty through most of the year. The Nova locker was used for multiple call-ups throughout the season. Mark Melancon had it for a while. Chad Huffman had it for a while. Albaladejo had it for a while. Nova won that spot in the rotation and the locker was his the rest of the way.
On the other side of the door, Pena had his locker all season. The Moseley locker belonged to Randy Winn at the beginning. I knew someone had it before Moseley, but I honestly had to look at the Yankees season stats to remember that Winn was even here at the beginning of the year. Incredibly nice guy, but easy to forget this season.
From 7 to 9
This section is split between the bullpen and the lineup.
In order, from 7 to 9, beginning right next to Moseley’s locker and ending with a blank wall: Boone Logan, Dave Robertson, Mark Teixeira, Brett Gardner, Chad Moeller, Austin Kearns and Nick Swisher.
With Moseley, Logan and Robertson grouped together, this is the country-boy section of the clubhouse. Gardner is in that mix too. And yes, I spend a lot of time over there myself. Moseley and I once stood in that corner and talked about growing rice. My father would be very proud.
The Moeller locker once belonged to Nick Johnson. The Kearns locker was filled with a few call-ups during the season. It was Russo’s locker back when Russo was playing fairly regularly. For much of the season it was full of random Swisher stuff.
Swisher is next to a bit of blank wall that’s also next to Mariano Rivera’s locker. Swisher has some stuff spilling along that wall, including a small fridge that has his Code Blue recovery drinks. In terms of decoration, these are pretty boring lockers. Swisher has some random things, Kearns and Teixeira have a few family pictures, but for the most part these are baseball lockers and nothing more.
From 9 to 11
Back in the higher-profile back of the room, the left side is split between the bullpen and three key position players.
In order, from 9 to 11, beginning with that blank wall next to Swisher and ending with Posada’s empty locker: Mariano Rivera, Chad Gaudin, Kerry Wood, Damaso Marte, Curtis Granderson, Marcus Thames and Alex Rodriguez.
The empty locker next to Posada also serves as a spillover locker for Rodriguez. Random pictures and boxes of mail from Rivera’s locker have spilled over to fill the space in front of that blank wall.
I don’t remember who had Gaudin’s locker at the beginning of the year. It might have been empty (makes sense next to Rivera). Wood’s locker belonged to Chan Ho Park. The position players in this section make sense: Granderson and Thames are old teammates and friends. Rodriguez gets a spot on the high-profile end of the clubhouse with an empty locker next to him.
There are a few decorations here and there, but most of these lockers are full of nothing but standard baseball gear. Right now, Rodriguez’s has about a dozen Nike boxes.