Cultivating a superior baseball team is an art worthy of Machiavelli, and winning strategy is hardly confined to the playing field. There's the farm system. There's trading. There's the rotation roster. And then there's . . . noshing.
Hidden from the media, fans and other distractions in an unobtrusive room at one end of the Dodger clubhouse is a secret weapon: the snack room. "No question, it is very important," says second baseman Mark Grudzielanek. Players, who usually arrive at the stadium between 1 and 3 p.m. for a 7:10 p.m. game, can eat in the room (which doubles as a players lounge) any time before the game or step in for a quick energy boost during the contest. The menu includes cereal, candy, power bars, pizza, chicken tenders and hamburgers supplied by clubhouse attendant Carlos Robles, 32, of Lincoln Heights. The room's two refrigerators are stocked with bottled water, sodas, juices, fruits and cheese, eggs, tuna, turkey, ham and other sandwich fillers.