Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve heard a lot about the Boston Red Sox clubhouse, and how it might not be the greatest of work environments. In fact, ESPN’s Buster Olney recently described the situation in Boston as nothing short of toxic. These sort of things are suggested as at least a partial reason for the team struggling. However, anyone with any sense about the game might wonder why “clubhouse chemistry” seems to only be negatively affecting the pitchers on the Red Sox, while if anything, seeming to contribute to the second best offense in the league.

The truth is that no one really knows what kind of effect such an atmosphere can have on a baseball team. As we see above, David Ortiz is feeling frustrated, but his talking to the media about those frustrations occurred less than 24 hours after he hit a game winning home run for his team. Typically, first place teams don’t have chemistry problems. However, good relations with teammates and coaching staff don’t cause wins, it’s the other way around.

If the Boston Red Sox had won 40 games to this point in the season, instead of 36, I doubt we’d hear anything about the toxic clubhouse or things not becoming fun anymore or scrum interviews like the one that Ortiz gave yesterday evening.

I’m just tired of dealing with the drama here. This is baseball, man. It seems like everything that goes on around here is like one of those Congress decisions that will affect the whole nation. It ain’t like that, man. This is baseball. We’re supposed to have fun, to have our performance out there at the highest level. Every day is something new, some drama, some more bullshit. I’m tired of that, man. I’m here to play baseball, man.

On what it’s like to play in Boston, Ortiz added:

It’s becoming the shit hole it used to be. Look around, bro. Look around. Playing here used to be so much fun. Now, every day is something new, not related to baseball. People need to leave us alone, play ball and do what we know how to do.

For his part, manager P.R. Valentine dismissed Ortiz’s comments:

Obviously, that’s what we’d love to have. It is what it is. David handles [the atmosphere] as well as anyone I’ve ever seen. You might have caught him on a bad day today. He’s really pretty good with drama, like ninth-inning drama. It is part of the game, part of the challenge. In a great baseball community like this, you have to overcome the opposition and the distractions.

And The Rest

A quick search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark database reveals that someone applied for the trademark in Harper’s name for the phrase “That’s a clown question, bro,” to be used on “wearing apparel, namely, shirts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, pants, shorts, hats, visors, gloves, shoes.” [D.C. Sports Bog]

Boston Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford is in Florida to finally begin his rehab assignment. [Over The Monster]

The U.S. roster for the 2012 Futures Game is stacked. [Baseball America]

The World team isn’t too shabby either. [Baseball America]

Or, if you’d rather check out both rosters at once and compare the statistics of all participants. [Baseball Prospectus]

Texas Rangers pitcher Scott Feldman is not overjoyed at the prospect of returning to the bullpen. [ESPN Dallas/Fort Worth]

Former big leaguer Jeff Kent may be on the next season of Survivor. [Ultimate Astros]

Maybe the Seattle Mariners trading Felix Hernandez isn’t the worst idea of all time. [FOX Sports]

Why do first basemen get paid so much? [FanGraphs]

It’s another episode of the DJF podcast. [DJF]

Remember back when baseball didn’t employ robot umpires? Crazy, huh? [Baseball Prospectus]

The worst ball call of the season. [Baseball Nation]

On the latest Getting Blanked Show, we discuss Strasmas, Yu Darvish, homer-happy Yankee Stadium, and Big freaking Papi. Spoiler: they’re all great. [Getting Blanked]