Wednesday Thoughts: Club House Chemistry

The Boston Globe just ran an article about how team chemistry brought down the Red Sox (I would recommend reading it first before jumping into discussion).  I would like to high light 2 points in the article and draw a quick conclusion.

Point 1 - Group of players that get along become fat and cost Boston some wins

Drinking beer in the Sox clubhouse is permissible. So is ordering take-out chicken and biscuits. Playing video games on one of the clubhouse’s flat-screen televisions is OK, too. But for the Sox pitching trio to do all three during games, rather than show solidarity with their teammates in the dugout, violated an unwritten rule that players support each other, especially in times of crisis.

Sources said Beckett, Lester, and Lackey, who were joined at times by Buchholz, began the practice late in 2010. The pitchers not only continued the routine this year, sources said, but they joined a number of teammates in cutting back on their exercise regimens despite appeals from the team’s strength and conditioning coach Dave Page.

"It’ s hard for a guy making $80,000 to tell a $15 million pitcher he needs to get off his butt and do some work,’’ one source said.

For Beckett, Lester, and Lackey, the consequences were apparent as their body fat appeared to increase and pitching skills eroded. When the team needed them in September, they posted a combined 2-7 record with a 6.45 earned run average, the Sox losing 11 of their 15 starts.

Point 2. The best player on the team is an outcast:

Youkilis, by nearly all accounts, grew more detached and short-tempered as he tried to play through his ailments. He also factored in a divisive clubhouse issue as the only player last year who publicly criticized Jacoby Ellsbury - several others privately chided the outfielder - when Ellsbury missed all but 18 games with rib injuries.

The episode chilled Ellsbury’s relationship with the team. As joyful as Ellsbury’s MVP-caliber season was to many fans, his interaction in the Sox clubhouse was limited mostly to his friend Jed Lowrie. Ellsbury produced one of the most sensational seasons for a leadoff hitter in franchise history - he also ranked with Pedroia, Aceves, and Jonathan Papelbon among the team’s hardest workers - but he contributed little to the clubhouse culture.

Conclusion Confusion:  Let me get this straight, the players with the best chemistry on the Red Sox ended up getting out of shape and costing the teams wins.  On the other hand, the team out cast is a MVP candidate.  Does this mean that better team chemistry leads to less wins? Help me out here.

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