FanShot

Thoughts on "Team Chemistry"

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Came across this discussion over on LSB. A rather interesting debate over benching Vlad for the SF games or not. Seems there is some disagreement over whether such a move would "upset team chemistry." This strikes me as getting too far into the debate without examining the underlying assumptions. If changes that are beneficial and needed (like banning Vlad's circus show in right) can't be made because they might damage someone's ego and hurt "team chemistry," then how much team chemistry is there in the first place? If a team has great chemistry, shouldn't the players want to do what's best for "the team," regardless of how their ego is hurt? If individual players are willing to place their ego above the needs of the team, then can you really say the team has great "chemistry?" If the Rangers have great chemistry (and I don't doubt they do), then why is Vlad's ego even a discussion? The decision should come down to offensive pluses vs. defensive liabilities. Ego shouldn't even enter into the equation. This got me thinking about the team chemistry of the Giants and how various players have responded to decisions to bench them. Zito? Could have been a huge distraction when told he wasn't even going to be on the roster for the postseason in favor of a rookie. His reaction? "I wish I could have played better to earn a spot." In the dugout for every game. Rowand? Starting veteran with big contract loses his spot to a new guy while he was hurt. His reaction? Not a word. Pitches in whenever he can get on the field and cheers his teammates on otherwise. Panda? One of the most popular players on the team and just a year removed from being a force of nature at the plate. Benched in favor of a platoon of other players. His reaction? Not a single complaint. Each of these players put their own needs and egos behind those of the team. The team is far better for it and far more flexible because Bochy can mix and match to put the team in the best position to win every night, without worrying if someone is going to get their feelings hurt over a decision. That, my friends, is what I call having true "team chemistry" and that's why the town has fallen in love with this team this year.

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