We’re back, with another one of these! Previous community polling topics have included front offices, ownerships, pitching coaches, general enthusiasm, and so on. Now I’m here to ask you about team chemistry. You know, that thing that’s impossible to measure, that thing that continues to be debated as if nothing has ever been settled, because nothing has ever been settled. That thing that exists — or doesn’t exist — mostly within a community that does not include yourself, because you yourself are not a major-league baseball player. How does your favorite baseball team get along? You don’t know. How do you think your favorite baseball team gets along?
I don’t know why I’m asking this now, exactly. It’s just coming out of curiosity, and I wouldn’t be any less curious tomorrow, or a week from now. But the timing, I suppose, isn’t bad — we’re deep enough into the season that teams should have personalities, but we’re not so deep everything will just be colored by wins and losses. Braves and Twins aside, everyone still gets to think they have a chance, so nothing has totally gone off the rails.
I do know I’ve been reading the Ben Lindbergh/Sam Miller book, and they’ve discussed chemistry prioritization and observation. I also read this post by Kate Preusser last week, and while that was specifically about the Mariners, it must’ve cemented the topic in my mind. I don’t want to talk about any particular team up front because I don’t want to bias any of the voting down below. But for something that gets talked about so often, I’m a little surprised we haven’t tried this before.
Don’t get me wrong — none of us actually know anything about team chemistry, for sure. I don’t think there’s even an agreed-upon definition. But we do get to observe how players interact, some of the time, and we get to read about more. So I think fans can get a certain sense of how the roster fits together. Whether there’s adequate leadership, whether there’s adequate support, whether there’s adequate interaction between all groups. What idea do you have about your favorite baseball team? Your idea might be wrong, but you might’ve also been wrong about the pitching coach, and I doubt that stopped you from voting back whenever that poll post went up. I’m just hunting for informed opinions. There’s information within informed opinions.
What I love about these poll posts is that they allow us to establish a context. Instead of saying, oh, this team seems to get along, or this team seems unhappy, we have an average, we have comparisons. It’s only by seeing the whole landscape that you can try to identify the standouts. This is why I could use your help! I sure as shoot couldn’t generate this data by myself. I need help from the community, so I can come back and analyze the voting a day or three from now.
You probably have a favorite team, or a couple favorite teams. You probably have some kind of mental definition of team chemistry. How good do you think is the chemistry of your favorite team? We can probably learn something from this. Even if we can’t, at least this is a few minutes you can distract yourself from thinking about the roiling sea of horrors that threatens to drown us all every day that we breathe.
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