unicorns

Chemistry and Other Lame Excuses for the Cardinals’ Implosion

As the Cardinals have unraveled over the past weeks, I’ve discovered ever more Best Fans in Baseball™ who overlook the well-documented facts and blame the lack of a certain je ne sais quoi in the clubhouse. I haven’t heard this much chemistry jibba-jabba since my high school days, and it’s exhausting.

Baseball fans who believe in the healing power of team chemistry are like adults who believe in unicorns: sweet, harmless, daft. And so, the conversation generally goes a little something like this:

 

Unicorn Lover: The chemistry in that clubhouse is toxic.

Mad Librarian: Skip Schumaker’s offense is toxic. Good chemistry does not create good athletes.

UL: Yes, it does! [Begin discussion of children’s sports films, where the good-hearted, scrappy team beats the rich, talented, evil team.]

ML: Oh, fuck my life.

 

I’d pass on nine Ecksteins (18 career WAR) for nine shit-disturbing Mannys (with 40 WAR since the scrappy Eckstein scrappily debuted 10 scrappy seasons ago), but I realize that this makes me a rarity in a town swept up with LaRussa’s love of scrappy white guys. So after suffering through this ridiculous conversation several times, I performed 17 minutes of grueling research to determine the importance of team chemistry in creating a winning team.

 

I hereby present to you the hierarchy of factors that influence the outcome of a given game:

 

1. Athletic ability and skill of players.

2. Injuries to key players.

3. Use of performance-enhancing drugs.

4. Grittiness of players.

5. Random-ass luck.

6. Managerial tactics.

7. Which team Aaron Miles is on (if neither, skip this item).

8. Relative awesomeness of each team’s uniforms.

9. Whether you’re wearing a rally cap. (Yes, you.)

10. Appropriate timing of and enthusiasm for the wave.

11. Whether the crowd applauds sacrifice bunts because they understand the game, man!

12. Team chemistry.

13. Oprah’s will.

14. God’s will.

15. Tom Cruise’s will.

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