I’m going to let you in on a secret. I’m going to tell you what clubhouse chemistry is and why it’s important.
Quite simply, clubhouse chemistry is getting along with your coworkers. You have a job, right? If not, you’ve probably worked one. If not, try to envision it. Go by what you’ve seen on TV shows. Any job is made better or more bearable if you like the people you’re working with. These are people who know the frustrations and triumphs of the work. You develop a relationship with these people built upon the lingo, jargon, inside jokes, eye rolling, giggling, struggling, fighting, and jackassery that might not leave the workplace, but it’s there waiting for you when you clock in.
Now put that into the context of baseball. Put that into the context of 20 game roadtrips and sharing hotels. Put that into the context of winning and losing. Put that into the context of slumping and hot streaks. Put that into the context of veteran leadership and rookie hazing. That’s clubhouse chemistry.
So why is it important?
Well, it’s not in terms of statistics and probably not in terms of wins, either. It’s a non-measurable thing. But, it’s important to know that someone has your back not because they’re paid to have it, but because they want to have it, particularly when the well-being and success of a team depends on all of the pieces of that team working together. It’s a lot more important, I should think, if you’re in that clubhouse, especially with so many bats so close at hand.
It should be important to the fans, too. I want to watch a team that gets along. I want to watch a team that wants to win, not just for themselves, but for their team and for their fans. I want to watch a team have a good time. It makes for a better game. It makes the wins better and the losses mild. It makes me want to root for THAT team, not just for the Chicago Cubs in general.
Without any chemistry, it’s just a bunch of guys wearing the same outfit. That’s not a team; that’s a fashion faux pas on a grand scale.
There are a lot of fans out there that say screw clubhouse chemistry. Just get the whoever it takes to win. It doesn’t matter if they get along. It doesn’t matter if they’re nice guys. These guys are paid big money to play. It’s all about winning. Period. End of story, end of season.
To these fans I say: I’m so glad I don’t work with you. You’ve got to be no fun at all.
I’d also like to point out that the irony of you minimalizing the happiness of the players on your team so you can be happy should be burning you right about now.
Why bother hating on it when it’s brought up? Is it because it reminds you that the players you’re ripping on for poor perfomance are more than just a series of numbers? Does it remind you that they’re people with moods and wants and desires and failings that can’t be accounted for with statistics? Does it make you feel a little bit guilty because you have bad days, too, but you don’t think the players deserve one because of the numbers?
Stupid human factor!
Clubhouse chemistry isn’t bad thing to be shunned just because they haven’t created a stat for it. Maybe the sabermetrics guys should get on this and create one to make people less resistent to it.
Now, I’m not discounting sabermetrics. I think the numbers are important. But I think the people behind those numbers are important, too, and more than just in terms of winning and losing.
I’m a Cubs fan. The numbers are never so comforting. It’s the clubhouse chemistry that gets me through every season, good and bad.