Pretty low-key clubhouse this afternoon. We talked to Jeremy Reed, who's very excited to be back up with Mariners. Was it really that long ago that he was supposed to be the centerfielder of the future? But Reed is here now and that's all that matters to him.
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Did he ever wonder if he was doing enough to get back?
"Yeah, you go through a time when you feel like you are doing everything you possibly can. You never know what's going to happen. It got really tough. Last year when I got called up in September, I would go through weeks with really good days. And you wonder if things will turn for you. Luckily I came earlier than later this year and hopefully I can stay here."
Reed will most likely be used off the bench, according to manager John McLaren, but as for a late-inning defensive replacement, McLaren said he thinks the outfield's overall defense has "been good." I'm sure some of you might disagree.
A lot of talk in the Seattle blogosphere about "team chemistry" and it's meaning. The USS Mariner had good post on it. And I know Baker is having his verbal sparring about the subject as well on his blog.
Even Detroit manager Jim Leyland weighed in on it today in a big story by USA Today.
Here's some brief thoughts I have on the sujbect...
* I think clubhouse and team chemistry makes a difference, particularly for a team that may not have as great of talent. I won't bore you with my stories of my past playing days, but I have been around the team dynamic for part of my life and have experienced both ends of the spectrum. I do know this: you work, you play, you do most things better if you have some camraderie and respect for the people you are doing them with.
Good chemistry and leadership helped supplement the talent of the 2004 Red Sox. I mean guys like Kevin Millar, Trot Nixon, Mark Bellhorn and Bill Mueller weren't the most talented guys, but they were good teammates.
There were also plenty of places where talent overcomes poor chemistry like the 1986 Mets, who won in spite of the fact that it was a collection of degenerates, misfits and malcontents.
Everybody says chemistry gets too much value when things are good, which is probably true. I think the true measure of chemistry is when things are going bad and whether a team will stick together or split apart.
The one misconception of clubhouse chemistry is that everybody needs to like each other. That doesn't need to be the case. They just need to respect each other and the game. In a group of 25 guys along with coaches and staff, not everybody is going to like everybody else. It's a fact. But all those people must be able to move beyond any differences personal, cultural or whatever and play together, play for each other, not just play for themselves. It's about the idea of every player playing hard regardless if they hate the guy in the locker next to him. As much as we want to believe professional players can put aside petty differences and gripes when they step on the field and give maximum effort would be ignorant. They're human and fallible.
Do I think the Mariners have bad chemistry? Not right now. But I think, it's not as strong as some other teams. There's a certain level of tenseness in the clubhouse that exists, and it's not just because the team is losing.
George Sherrill and Adam Jones both pointed out how different the Baltimore clubhouse is in comparison. I believe Adam's words were, "you know I'd only been in one major league clubhouse, so I thought that's what they were all like. But this is way different."
That's not to say the way the Mariners clubhouse operates is bad. It's just different. And it's different than it's been in the past. It usually follows some of the personalities of the team. And players like Ichiro and Raul aren't much for sitting about and lounging and conversing, they're are about preparing, which is respectable. I don't know if its possible but maybe the team dynamic can be overrated and underrated at the same time.
I know I talked to Jay Buhner about it during spring training and he said it was invaluable to success.
Here's John McLaren's take on team chemistry ....
Chemistry is about winning. It seems like you're great chemistry when you do win and your challenged when you don't win. When you win, you overlook things, things won't bother you as much. You just kind of let things pass over. But when you're losing, you're making it a big deal, bigger than it ought to be.
If you see most of your good teams, there is good chemistry.
There's been exceptions, the Oakland As, the Yankee teams of the 70s, there was some problems off and on there, I think basically you know when you win, you have great chemistry.
I think you're seeing that with Oakland and Baltimore right now. They're doing better than expectations, what I'm hearing and what I'm reading is that they all get along well together. That's way the usually it is. When you lose, you lose, you lose, you just don't seem to have that cohesion and that brotherly atmosphere that you do when you have that really good winning team.
Here's tonight's lineups....