February 26, 2013
Can't Buy Me Chemistry?
My wife and I have been married for seven and a half years. We dated for four years before that. There are days when it's eerie how in sync we are. We've gotten to the point where someone will say something and we’ll both look up and smile knowingly at each other because we’re both aware that the other's mind just went to the same obscure song lyric from 15 years ago. Yeah, I think we have some chemistry going.
And then there's the chemistry I have with the man who probably controls my life even more: the best boss in the world, BP's editor-in-chief, Ben Lindbergh. He sent me an e-mail last weekend which contained a couple of quotes and an idea for an article on the subject of team chemistry. Since I wrote about chemistry a couple of weeks ago, he thought of me when he saw them. Remind me to send him some flowers.
It's that odd time of year when players are reporting to camp after having been away for a few months. I'm sure it's a nice time to reunite with old buddies whom you haven't seen all winter but whom you spent six months with in rather close quarters last season. There's surely a lot of high-fiving, back-slapping happiness as guys get to catch up with one another. And it must be kinda tough for the new guys. After all, they walk into a clubhouse where most of the people know each other, and they have to be the new kids in school.
We've also reached the awkward point in camp where teams are starting to play games but most players aren’t at maximum effort, so there's not much to talk about other than the obvious five questions about each team that often have five obvious answers. It's noteworthy when anyone says anything remotely interesting. Brandon Belt was asked about the Giants' NL West rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles, and how they have welcomed quite a few new faces into the fold recently. Belt stated, "You can't buy chemistry." Evidently he figures that since the Dodgers have a lot of new faces on the team, their on-paper talent may not have had time to jell yet, and so they might not be as fearsome as their projections indicate.
Meanwhile, in Nationals camp, there was this dispatch from Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell:
In an itinerant mercenary sports world, the Nats are recreating something from a previous age — as much as the era permits. They want to be a club that stays intact year to year in its core personnel. That way, they accumulate knowledge as a group from season to season. More important, they want to embed a clubhouse culture in which everyone aspires to ferocious focus.