Better Living Through Chemistry


Consider how far down the “Godless heathen number slave” scale we fall on here at Getting Blanked I thought I should lay out my personal stance on “chemistry.” Team chemistry is often suggested as the reason for success when a team competes and overcomes great odds…or something like that.

Whenever “they’ve got great chemistry” is thrown down as the reason for the latest winning streak, some fun sponge usually comes along and points to successful teams (inevitably some iteration of the Yankees) that hated each other – the ever-popular “25 different cabs” theory.

What this point misses is all the crappy teams with great chemistry – young teams who turn have a grand old time in the clubhouse and on the road, who “stick up for each other” and “believe in one another” yet still manage to “not be very good baseball players.”

That’s the main thing – talent wins. The team with the most talent doesn’t win all the time, but teams that succeed are teams with talent that is properly cajoled and deployed by the powers that be. Work ethic, professionalism, and dedication to improvement are not marks of good chemistry, they are talents. They make the players better which, naturally, makes the team better. It is really that simple.

The imprecise science of nailing down the motivations of professional athletes is not a pool into which I will wade, but let’s just assume “money” is among the top two. If anything, the desire to bro around and shoot the breeze with your teammates might come at the expense of working towards whatever targets set forth in the deepest, darkest corners of their self-doubting souls.

It’s just a game. One with a high probability of failure and a razor-thin line between life-changing riches and what-could-have-been bitterness. Guys who have the talent, the health, the work ethic, and the perseverance seek tiny edges to push themselves that little bit further. No doubt that edges shifts and changes with the tides, no sense ascribing any more importance to stuff because it makes for a decent narrative.