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1 hour ago, Charles Liston said:

There was a time when people derided "chemistry" and "leadership" and stuff like that, and justify themselves by saying "Bill James doesn't agree with that", back when Bill James was the gold standard.  Eventually Bill James had to correct everybody by saying "I never said that chemistry wasn't important.  All I said was that I didn't know how to measure it". 

I think that it's the same thing with psychological makeup and I am happy that an attempt is being made to examine that, but I echo the reservations that previous posters have expressed about borrowing too heavily from the corporate world of employee psychological evaluation.  After all, that is the origin of such employment interview questions as "If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?".  It could be worse though, it could be that baseball was emulating the armed forces and their HR practices.

I think, for a long time, things like chemistry and leadership were vastly overrated/stated. Things like that tend to lead to people getting annoyed and saying they don't even exist. Of course it exists, but how much of those things matter if you can't hit? Not a whole lot. And I'm of the opinion that winning creates chemistry rather than the other way around. Nobody ever says that a team with no talent and can't win has great chemistry. 

 

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I really think the whole chemistry thing is almost entirely BS driven by the media. Oh look, this team wins a lot and has like 4 players who are constantly smiling. They must have great chemistry. Smiles a lot guy must be a great leader because everyone else smiles a lot too! Did you see the one laughing on the bench between innings? Chemistry! 

Or they're just having fun because they're always winning. That tends to happen. 

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10 minutes ago, Yoda said:

. Nobody ever says that a team with no talent and can't win has great chemistry. 

 

I don't know - by all reports that was exactly true of our 2019 Tigers. We've had a lot a crappy teams over the years as well as a lot of unhappy ones and despite last year's being one of the crappiest, it for sure was nothing near one of the unhappiest. 

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11 minutes ago, Gehringer_2 said:

I don't know - by all reports that was exactly true of our 2019 Tigers. We've had a lot a crappy teams over the years as well as a lot of unhappy ones and despite last year's being one of the crappiest, it for sure was nothing near one of the unhappiest. 

Who were the unhappy teams? All I can think of is when a guy like Juan Gonzalez (Higginson, Pudge, etc) decides to be a dick, which is an individual thing, or when you have a team like 2008 expected to win but isn't. I don't think that was a chemistry thing either. It was a bunch of disappointed players but they may have gotten along just fine. 

In the case of last year, it was a bunch of players who didn't care if they won or lost because they weren't expected to win. ****, the org didn't even want them to win. Not exactly a lot of pressure there. 

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4 minutes ago, Yoda said:

Who were the unhappy teams?

all the ones with McCann and Iglesias....

:wink:

 

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Teams who win = happy
Teams who lose and are expected to lose = happy
Teams who lose but were expected to win = unhappy

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2 minutes ago, Gehringer_2 said:

all the ones with McCann and Iglesias....

:wink:

 

I wouldn't wanna be on a team with McCann either. Fair point. 

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I've think a lot of times all it takes is one guy being ridiculous. Sergio Romo sticking his face in every camera (photobombing) he can find for attention. OMG they have so much fun they have great chemistry!  Quintin Berry constantly clapping for himself after every hit. OMG that team is so much fun they must have great chemistry! Nate Robertson chewing gum. Much chemistry! 

The media just loves stuff like that. Couldn't possibly be that they all just happy because they're winning. 

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3 hours ago, Yoda said:

I've think a lot of times all it takes is one guy being ridiculous. Sergio Romo sticking his face in every camera (photobombing) he can find for attention. OMG they have so much fun they have great chemistry!  Quintin Berry constantly clapping for himself after every hit. OMG that team is so much fun they must have great chemistry! Nate Robertson chewing gum. Much chemistry! 

The media just loves stuff like that. Couldn't possibly be that they all just happy because they're winning. 

Teams are full of human beings. How happy could they be?

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3 hours ago, Longgone said:

Teams are full of human beings. How happy could they be?

You know, I got a lot of problems with you people!

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7 hours ago, Yoda said:

I really think the whole chemistry thing is almost entirely BS driven by the media. Oh look, this team wins a lot and has like 4 players who are constantly smiling. They must have great chemistry. Smiles a lot guy must be a great leader because everyone else smiles a lot too! Did you see the one laughing on the bench between innings? Chemistry! 

Or they're just having fun because they're always winning. That tends to happen. 

I would not say almost entirely, but I agree it can be over stated.  The only people who can TRULY comment on this would be those IN the clubhouse...the rest is just "smoke filled, coffee house crap" - (great line).  

Personally (not having been in a clubhouse) I think a sucky team CAN have great chemistry

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I don't know what necessarily falls under the heading of  'chemistry' but there are some real on the field effects for a ball club if the guys are not pulling for each other. I think mainly of the OF, where outfielders can absolutely be a big help to each other if they care to be, or can leave their mates out on their own on line drives and deep balls if they don't. Now I suppose a disciplined pro should communicate with his co-fielders even if he hates them, but it's probably less likely!

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11 minutes ago, Gehringer_2 said:

I don't know what necessarily falls under the heading of  'chemistry' but there are some real on the field effects for a ball club if the guys are not pulling for each other. I think mainly of the OF, where outfielders can absolutely be a big help to each other if they care to be, or can leave their mates out on their own on line drives and deep balls if they don't. Now I suppose a disciplined pro should communicate with his co-fielders even if he hates them, but it's probably less likely!

For me, it basically means guys who like each other.  You help those you like.  No chemistry is doing the bare minimum that is expected of you...in your example it would mean lack of communication because the basics would included having the fielder closest to you backing you up. 

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10 hours ago, Charles Liston said:

There was a time when people derided "chemistry" and "leadership" and stuff like that, and justify themselves by saying "Bill James doesn't agree with that", back when Bill James was the gold standard.  Eventually Bill James had to correct everybody by saying "I never said that chemistry wasn't important.  All I said was that I didn't know how to measure it". 

I think that it's the same thing with psychological makeup and I am happy that an attempt is being made to examine that, but I echo the reservations that previous posters have expressed about borrowing too heavily from the corporate world of employee psychological evaluation.  After all, that is the origin of such employment interview questions as "If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?".  It could be worse though, it could be that baseball was emulating the armed forces and their HR practices.

“Tell us what your most negative trait is and why you are worthy to worship at our altar of mammon. This is the first of many dominance rituals will act out on you. How you respond will seal your fate for eternity.”

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8 hours ago, Yoda said:

Teams who win = happy
Teams who lose and are expected to lose = happy
Teams who lose but were expected to win = unhappy

 

54 minutes ago, John_Brian_K said:

I think a sucky team CAN have great chemistry

Agreed.

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Some groups of people get along with others better and it's reasonable to assume that this could lead to better team performance in some cases.  However, it is impossible to measure to what extent this leads to better performance or even if it does at all.   What usually gets ridiculed is people thinking that every team success and failure is somehow related to team chemistry.  Nobody on the outside can know including sportswriters and broadcasters.  Those on the team do know whether there is good chemistry, but I don't think they can know whether this translates to more wins.  

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I think the biggest thing good chemistry does for a team is it helps keep an even keel when things aren't going the right way and the team drops some games it oughtn't (be it due to uncharacteristic poor play and/or bad luck).  Basically it helps guard against a bad week from turning into a backslide from which the team is unable to make up later.

Just my general uninformed sense of it flavored by my (very) limited sport playing experience.

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15 minutes ago, tiger337 said:

Some groups of people get along with others better and it's reasonable to assume that this could lead to better team performance in some cases.  However, it is impossible to measure to what extent this leads to better performance or even if it does at all.   What usually gets ridiculed is people thinking that every team success and failure is somehow related to team chemistry.  Nobody on the outside can know including sportswriters and broadcasters.  Those on the team do know whether there is good chemistry, but I don't think they can know whether this translates to more wins.  

I think they can if they know each other well enough.  "If Jimmy was in a crappy mood NOWAY he goes 2/4 today...when he is in a foul mood he ALWAYS craps the bed at the plate and his 9th inning hit won us that game!"

I think those in the clubhouse can point to a handful of games a year where they can fairly certainty say something like "when Jimmy comes to the field in a crappy mood it almost always affects Billy over there because Billy looks up to him which in turn affects Sammy because he just loves Billy...acts like he is his older brother or something" or you can use ANY example you want...the point is that I think they can point to a handful a year where everyone was just foul or where everyone was just bouncing before a game.

Is all of that going to drastically affect the teams overall outcome?  If by handful we are talking like 5...for a team on the cusp it matters IMO...if they are 20 games out....then it means little.

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8 hours ago, Yoda said:

I really think the whole chemistry thing is almost entirely BS driven by the media. Oh look, this team wins a lot and has like 4 players who are constantly smiling. They must have great chemistry. Smiles a lot guy must be a great leader because everyone else smiles a lot too! Did you see the one laughing on the bench between innings? Chemistry! 

Or they're just having fun because they're always winning. That tends to happen. 

I think the energy and heightened focus that “positive chemistry” brings to the table can only make its affect felt on a team talented enough to make proper use of it through a long, grueling season. Which is an overlong version what Jim Leyland said when he brushed off accolades about his “MagicTouch“ by saying that a good clubhouse is a winning clubhouse. 

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24 minutes ago, Yoda said:

 

Agreed.

That first quote from you I agree for the most part, but I think a team can still be happy when they lose even if expected to win...in the MLB anyway.  If we are talking a playoff series then of course the team expected to win is going to be pissed, but if we are talking about a random game in June or something...then I think there is a good chance they can still be happy even when they lose.  Sometimes you are just off.

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Isn't one of the main reasons you do, or do not, call a guy up from the Minors is how long you have him under "team control"?

If we call Riley Greene up from Erie mid way thru this season and he plays in so many games, but then it not quite ready, don't we lose a year of control.  Not sure if the rule was in place when we called up Trammell and Whitaker.

 

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10 minutes ago, John_Brian_K said:

I think they can if they know each other well enough.  "If Jimmy was in a crappy mood NOWAY he goes 2/4 today...when he is in a foul mood he ALWAYS craps the bed at the plate and his 9th inning hit won us that game!"

I think those in the clubhouse can point to a handful of games a year where they can fairly certainty say something like "when Jimmy comes to the field in a crappy mood it almost always affects Billy over there because Billy looks up to him which in turn affects Sammy because he just loves Billy...acts like he is his older brother or something" or you can use ANY example you want...the point is that I think they can point to a handful a year where everyone was just foul or where everyone was just bouncing before a game.

Is all of that going to drastically affect the teams overall outcome?  If by handful we are talking like 5...for a team on the cusp it matters IMO...if they are 20 games out....then it means little.

There is no way of knowing though.  Even if Jimmy was in a good mood, he might have gone 0 for 4.  I just don't think it's possible to quantify.  That's not to say it doesn't exist.  Some teams might benefit from good chemistry, while others might not benefit at all.    

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Isn't "team chemistry" really just "team alchemy"? Because actual chemistry is a science where controlled inputs yield predictable outcomes, and putting a team together based on the principles of "chemistry" is essentially unpredictable, like mixing various fluids to try to discover the elixir that restores youth.

Anyhow, I've come around to the idea that players, like people in general, perform better when they feel good mentally and psychologically, which seems a bit like Life 101 when you type it onto a screen. How much of feeling good is related to self-actualization and how much related to socialization is a question ripe for study. It probably comes down to the individual, where some people feel better and are energized by prolonged social contact, while others run out of gas when they have to interact with people for too long and need solo time to recharge, and with any group of 26 men you're going to have plenty of both types. The good thing about baseball is that all the cooperation needed to succeed is technical, meaning there are defined roles and behaviors that require hard skills to execute in an expert way, as opposed to the soft skills one needs to navigate success in an office environment.

I think the organization that finally cracks this code is going to learn how to tailor approaches individually and figure out how to optimize technical cooperation from that. And yes, it will be quantified, and old school types will probably freak out saying that's impossible the same way WAR was impossible, that you can judge a kid's state of mind only with your gut and not with a spreadsheet, and we might just see the same kind of battle around the application of psychometrics that they had around sabermetrics.

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59 minutes ago, tiger337 said:

There is no way of knowing though.  Even if Jimmy was in a good mood, he might have gone 0 for 4.  I just don't think it's possible to quantify.  That's not to say it doesn't exist.  Some teams might benefit from good chemistry, while others might not benefit at all.    

Maybe, but then maybe his foul mood put a damper on Billy and he also went 0 fer...and maybe Billy goes 0 fer anyway or maybe he goes 2 for 4 if Jimmy was in a great mood.

I do not think you can completely quantify it right now, but I think it matters.

From game to game I think it matters a little, from season to season?  It COULD matter if the difference between a successful season is a handful of games.

Put it this way...all things being equal in teams...same stats across the board...are you taking the team that likes each other or the team that doesn't?  The answer to that question really seals it IMO.  If it matters not AT ALL then you would have to answer.....'It does not matter" to that question.

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1 hour ago, Double D said:

Isn't one of the main reasons you do, or do not, call a guy up from the Minors is how long you have him under "team control"?

If we call Riley Greene up from Erie mid way thru this season and he plays in so many games, but then it not quite ready, don't we lose a year of control.  Not sure if the rule was in place when we called up Trammell and Whitaker.

 

Once you add a player to the 40-man roster, then that start's his "clock."  At the moment, Greene is not on the Tigers 40-man roster, so they could stretch it out until they have to put him on there to protect him from the rule 5 draft.  

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