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Sunday, March 02, 2014

Gammons: As team chemistry grows, Rays positioned for great season

Mourning Joe…Dillon.

The texts lit up Matt Silverman’s phone before 7 am Wednesday, when Mike Barnicle and Willie Geist asked a guest for a ground hog World Series prediction and the first two words of the answer were “Tampa Bay.” The Rays president knows that February promises won’t get a ballpark built or even a profit turned, but that “it’s good for people to be reminded what this team has done in this division, in this market and with our payroll.”

“People need to be reminded,” says the face of the franchise, Evan Longoria. In Longoria’s six seasons with the Rays, his team is the only team in the American League East to have won at least 90 games five times in six years, and in every one of those years did so with the lowest payroll in the division that considers itself baseball’s S.E.C.

...The people of Tampa shouldn’t need to be reminded of what winning 90 games five of the last six years means, which the Yankees and Red Sox haven’t done. They’ve done so despite a system that punished small market teams that are run well and reward big market teams that are inefficient businesses in terms of the draft. They’ve done it even if there are many who think the Rays and Tigers should flip divisions.

On the first day of March, almost every baseball person one talks to mentions the Rays as the team to beat in the American League if Price stays. One of these years the World Series is coming back to The Trop on The Island, Longoria is going to be the MVP, and the people from Sarasota to Fort Lonesome, Orlando to Indians Rock Beach are going to realize what they have, and what they’ll miss if nothing gets done and they move to Montreal.

Repoz Posted: March 02, 2014 at 01:12 PM | 34 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rays

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   1. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: March 02, 2014 at 03:01 PM (#4664915)
Funny bit of trivia probably only I care about: Five minutes ago I was reading Scott Adams saying (correctly, I think) that "passion produces success" is bullshit; success produces passion, and everyone has the cause and effect mixed up.

Chemistry, winning, same thing.
   2. The District Attorney Posted: March 02, 2014 at 03:06 PM (#4664917)
I'd actually consider it a bad sign for a team if someone who is apparently not worth naming says on a morning cable TV chat show that they'll win the World Series, and people think that's a development worth texting the team president about.
   3. Dr. Vaux Posted: March 02, 2014 at 03:08 PM (#4664920)
It's likely true that success produces passion once you're already engaged in something, but why do you start doing it in the first place if not passion?
   4. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: March 02, 2014 at 03:13 PM (#4664923)
I know a lot of people who superficially will claim to have gotten into whatever career they're in because they were passionate about it, but in truth are just there because when it was time to pick a degree that's where they thought the steady paychecks would be. Currently the most popular such category is nursing.

Everyone is passionate about something, even if (as for many people) it's merely watching TV or playing video games. Following that passion is a great idea if your idea of the good life involves working retail until you get shipped into Useless Old People's Prison a retirement home.
   5. Dale Sams Posted: March 02, 2014 at 04:15 PM (#4664944)
Personally, I think the Rays don't have great chemistry. More than once they've mailed it in when things started to fall apart. Then there's Price's ######## about Papi...the general persecution complex they carry.

"all that hate's gonna burn you up son."
   6. Rough Carrigan Posted: March 02, 2014 at 05:05 PM (#4664969)
How do we know that bringing the same bunch of players back will improve the Rays' team chemistry? Maybe everyone was on their best behavior a lot of the time because they were constantly working with new people to whom they were making an extra effort to be friendly. Maybe irritation with those same people will break out if they have to live with them a second year. Maybe familiarity will breed contempt.

I'm not saying that these things are true but I don't see how Gammons is instantly certain that the opposite will be the case.
   7. SteveM. Posted: March 02, 2014 at 05:45 PM (#4664979)
I know a lot of people who superficially will claim to have gotten into whatever career they're in because they were passionate about it, but in truth are just there because when it was time to pick a degree that's where they thought the steady paychecks would be. Currently the most popular such category is nursing.


The best advice my old man ever gave me was that the best feeling in the world was actually getting up in the morning and wanting to go to work. At the time I was stuck in a dead end job and it help motivate me to get off my ass and go back to grad school. Maybe I'm in the minority, but i have to pinch myself sometimes that it is true that someone pays me (badly) to teach, research and write about the field I love (history).
   8. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 02, 2014 at 06:05 PM (#4664985)
Personally, I think the Rays don't have great chemistry. More than once they've mailed it in when things started to fall apart. Then there's Price's ######## about Papi...the general persecution complex they carry.

"all that hate's gonna burn you up son."


I have no idea what any of the above is talking about
   9. Anonymous Observer Posted: March 02, 2014 at 06:26 PM (#4664997)
The best advice my old man ever gave me was that the best feeling in the world was actually getting up in the morning and wanting to go to work.


I would love to know what this feels like. I hate my job, and want to get out of IT all together. The problem is, I really don't know what I would rather do instead.
   10. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: March 02, 2014 at 06:27 PM (#4664999)
I have no idea what any of the above is talking about


It's about being a Red Sox fanboy.
   11. Dale Sams Posted: March 02, 2014 at 06:30 PM (#4665003)
I have no idea what any of the above is talking about


You don't remember Price complaining about Papi staying in the box to watch a homer down the right-field line?

It's about being a Red Sox fanboy.


Oh yeah...that's me.
   12. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 02, 2014 at 06:45 PM (#4665010)
"He knows how I've pitched him for the last probably year-and-a-half, two years," Price said. "So he steps in the bucket and hits a homer. And he stares at it to see if it's fair or foul, I'm sure that's what he would say, but as soon as he hit it and I saw it I knew it was fair. Run."


Clearly a hate-filled message deserving of karma, especially coming right after the game from a guy who gave up a home run to extend the other team's lead in a postseason game. And I don't even like Price all that much.
   13. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 02, 2014 at 07:59 PM (#4665035)
Chemistry matters in my opinion. I don't think it matters nearly as much as some of the media believe but it helps. It's not going to make a 60 win team a 90 win team or anything but I think it can make an 85 win team a 90 win team.
   14. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 02, 2014 at 08:18 PM (#4665052)
Chemistry matters in my opinion. I don't think it matters nearly as much as some of the media believe but it helps. It's not going to make a 60 win team a 90 win team or anything but I think it can make an 85 win team a 90 win team.


I think chemistry matters, but I tend to think of it in reverse. I don't define good chemistry as everybody getting along, but any environment that is most conducive to getting the most individuals to playing at or near their best. And bad chemistry is any environment that leads to more players playing below their potential.

In other words, if the majority of individuals who comprised the 70s A's and Yankees thrived in those raucous environments, then those clubhouses actually had good chemistry. Likewise, if there's a team where everyone gets along fine, but it leads to complancency or a lack of accountability and the results stink, that would be bad chemistry.

The problem, of course, is that a) it's damn near impossible to predict how the individuals will react to a given environment, b) the same individuals may react differently to a given environment from one year to the next c) chances are good that what is a good environment for X numbers of guys is not so good for Y number of players, and d) it's really hard to isolate how the chemistry you had really affected the performance.

Thus, it's real, but unless you have a specific clubhouse problem that you believe needs addressing and can be done by adding and/or subtracting a couple of guys, it's not something that a club can be expected to have a strong handle on.

   15. Walt Davis Posted: March 02, 2014 at 08:26 PM (#4665056)
Funny bit of trivia probably only I care about: Five minutes ago I was reading Scott Adams saying (correctly, I think) that "passion produces success" is ########; success produces passion, and everyone has the cause and effect mixed up.

I disagree. Certainly the majority of people I've met that I consider to be masters of their craft are ... well, I use the word obsessed not passion but much the same phenomenon. It's not just that they work their asses off -- they do -- but that they also can't really contemplate doing anything else with their time. To an often unhealthy degree, especially as regards marriages.

Whether they actually enjoy this obsession or if it's more like an addiction is not always clear.

There's not a one-to-one relationship obviously. There are a lot of obsessed/passionate people that aren't successful and some successful people that aren't obsessed (e.g. maybe Jeff Kent). But it's rare to become a top player in your field without dedication and it's difficult to sustain dedication without commitment. Although, sure, a big salary helps with the commitment.

On the other hand, I can't think of many cases at all in my life where success has spurred passion. Sure, I've met lots of folks who went into a job thinking it was a poor fit for them and found they liked it (usually people finding out they actually are pretty good administrators of one form or another). But they never seemed to reach the level of passion and, in fact, it seems they still harbored the wish that they could have been successful at what they really wanted to be successful at.

I would love to know what this feels like. I hate my job, and want to get out of IT all together. The problem is, I really don't know what I would rather do instead.

Is this a job that's 40 hours per week or 60? If the former, find your passion elsewhere. My personal happiness went up a good bit when I started viewing my jobs as the means to have the money to do stuff I care about when I'm not working. I've been lucky and, no, I couldn't stay at a job (i.e. employer) that didn't engage me.
   16. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: March 02, 2014 at 09:14 PM (#4665092)
My personal happiness went up a good bit when I started viewing my jobs as the means to have the money to do stuff I care about


Well yeah. I know people really like their "careers" and such, but I work solely for the cash. I've been self employed for 21 years, have great staff and actually enjoy most of our customers and the work involved. However if $20 mil fell out of the sky I'd quit tomorrow. Work gets in the way of all the fun things I like to do but don't have enough time for them all.
   17. Dale Sams Posted: March 02, 2014 at 09:55 PM (#4665113)
Clearly a hate-filled message deserving of karma, especially coming right after the game from a guy who gave up a home run to extend the other team's lead in a postseason game. And I don't even like Price all that much.


Pshhh...no the karma is for playing "Sweet Caroline" in TB after Rays victories over the Red Sox. The karma is for their faux outrage and the stupid Coco Crisp stuff. Price's juvenile comment, something you'd hear from a high school sophomore, isn't worth karma's attention.

But seriously, I have nothing but respect for Jim...and I WAS one of the Rays greatest supporters in 2008 when everyone would say how they weren't for real and throw a bunch of non-SABR vitriol their way. Or call them one-trick ponies. But the various incidents over the years make them a much more worthy rival than the Yanks. Hell, I can hardly even muster up any anger against the Yankees. They've become TNG-era Klingons.

I suppose that makes the Rays...the Cardassians?

Edit: And it was TWO home-runs.
   18. DL from MN Posted: March 02, 2014 at 11:07 PM (#4665160)
I suppose that makes the Rays...the Cardassians?


Does that mean Delmon Young is Bruce Jenner?
   19. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 02, 2014 at 11:29 PM (#4665163)

Personally, I think the Rays don't have great chemistry


There was that weird statement Longoria made about James Shields too when he was traded, about the "Devil Rays" mentality. But I guess those days are over, its all Rays now.
   20. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 02, 2014 at 11:40 PM (#4665167)
Hey, the Sweet Caroline thing was some good trolling. Plus can you really say that the repeated playing of an awful song doesn't deserve to be mocked?
   21. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: March 02, 2014 at 11:53 PM (#4665172)
the division that considers itself baseball’s S.E.C.


Is no one but me disturbed by this remark?
   22. TerpNats Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:01 AM (#4665174)
the division that considers itself baseball’s S.E.C.

Is no one but me disturbed by this remark?
What -- several of the teams are going on probation for recruiting violations?
   23. Anonymous Observer Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:17 AM (#4665176)
Is this a job that's 40 hours per week or 60? If the former, find your passion elsewhere. My personal happiness went up a good bit when I started viewing my jobs as the means to have the money to do stuff I care about when I'm not working.


40 hours.

And finding my passion is the issue. The things I'm passionate about won't pay the bills because 1) I'm not good enough at it to get paid to do it, or 2) there's no pay for it at all.

I know people really like their "careers" and such, but I work solely for the cash.


This is exactly it for me. Yes, I hate my job. But, it allows me the money to do things I like to do when I'm not working. If I could find something I liked doing that allowed me to afford even just a little bit of what I have away from work now, I'd quit tomorrow.
   24. cardsfanboy Posted: March 03, 2014 at 01:09 AM (#4665188)
Is no one but me disturbed by this remark?


Hard to argue with it. How many divisions have had 3 teams with better than .500 record since 2005?

I think the NL East overrates themselves to an extent, but it's hard to argue against them being the strongest division in baseball over the past decade. In a given year you might find a stronger division, but over multiple seasons, there is only one answer to that question over the past decade.


This is exactly it for me. Yes, I hate my job. But, it allows me the money to do things I like to do when I'm not working. If I could find something I liked doing that allowed me to afford even just a little bit of what I have away from work now, I'd quit tomorrow.


I couldn't do that. I like working. I don't "love" it, but I like a job where I'm happy to be at work and have a sense of accomplishment there. The money matters, and I have worked a job I hated, but I quickly dumped that at the first opportunity. (heck, I'm currently working a part time job that I absolutely don't need in the slightest, but enjoy getting out of the house to do the work roughly 15 hours a week)
   25. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 03, 2014 at 01:56 AM (#4665194)
How many divisions have had 3 teams with better than .500 record since 2005?


The AL West. Though until last year, they managed that with only four teams.

   26. cardsfanboy Posted: March 03, 2014 at 02:01 AM (#4665195)
The AL West. Though until last year, they managed that with only four teams.


Or 2011, 2010, 2008(2nd place team had only 79 wins), 2007, 2006, 2005,....Yep...very comparable.

I'm talking about each and every season the AL EAST has had at least 3 teams with better than a .500 record. (I probably should have worded it better)
   27. Anonymous Observer Posted: March 03, 2014 at 02:21 AM (#4665196)
I couldn't do that. I like working.


Don't get me wrong; I like working too. I'd get bored if I didn't. When I said I'd quit tomorrow, I meant that I'd quit my job if I found another one that I actually liked, and it paid enough to allow me to do even just a fraction of what I do in my spare time now.
   28. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 03, 2014 at 03:12 AM (#4665201)

I'm talking about each and every season the AL EAST has had at least 3 teams with better than a .500 record. (I probably should have worded it better)



OK, but the AL West was still posting the best overall record for years long after the AL East is The Beast conventional wisdom took hold. The AL East as juggernaut really began in 2008 when Tampa emerged. Before that, the AL East was the Yankees and Red Sox and three teams fighting for scraps, while the AL West was what the AL East was alleged to be. Having only three teams meant it was harder to have three above .500 teams every year, but until the M's went in the shitter, the AL West had the best overall record in baseball for something like 9 out of 10 years.

And yes, you should have worded it better (or just left out the snark in the first graph of 26).
   29. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: March 03, 2014 at 09:56 AM (#4665224)
no the karma is for playing "Sweet Caroline" in TB after Rays victories over the Red Sox. The karma is for their faux outrage and the stupid Coco Crisp stuff.


Viewed from a different persepctive, that stuff IS the karma.
   30. VCar Posted: March 03, 2014 at 12:50 PM (#4665354)
The things I'm passionate about won't pay the bills because 1) I'm not good enough at it to get paid to do it, or 2) there's no pay for it at all.


AO, can you do both? I also have a 40-hr/week IT job, but my passion is coaching kids baseball. I don't have the credentials to go coach a JV HS team, and would take a big pay cut to do it. So I volunteer at the local little league and coach about 50 games a year.
   31. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 03, 2014 at 02:00 PM (#4665421)
AO, can you do both? I also have a 40-hr/week IT job, but my passion is coaching kids baseball. I don't have the credentials to go coach a JV HS team, and would take a big pay cut to do it. So I volunteer at the local little league and coach about 50 games a year.


I do this as well and it is unbelievably fun. I coach 10-12 year olds and the kids at that age are terrific, young enough to not be little punks but old enough that you can teach them some finer points of the game.
   32. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: March 04, 2014 at 01:11 AM (#4665858)
A Coke for 30 & 31. I too am a little league coach, but 5 pitch 6-8 yr olds. Great fun. Except for the few hyper competitive coaches who think a 15 pitch / 3K inning is at all productive at that age. And play their two best kids at 1B and pitcher every inning.
   33. donlock Posted: March 04, 2014 at 01:14 AM (#4665862)
Only once, in 2008 when they won a dramatic seven game ALCS against Boston then got rained, cold and beaten by the Phillies in the World Series, have they made it past the division series, which may have lessened their dramatic appeal in a small market trying to support three major league sports franchises."

For the love of God, get Peter Gammons an editor.

That is one crazy sentence-"then got rained" Rained on? Rained out? ":"lessened their dramatic appeal in a small market" As a small market? They have poor dramatic appeal?Their dramatic appeal was reduced? Are we talking about playing good baseball, appeal or attendance?

And:" They hear that because they are built around depth, creativity and flexibility and the need to trade a Matt Garza or James Shields after four service years, that they therefore are not built for the post-season, but Longoria, James Loney and other players don’t buy its entirety.


They hear that because they (Are these the same "they"?) are built around the need to trade a Matt Garza or James Shields... but Longoria, James Loney and other players don't buy its entirety." Whose entirety? What is "entirety"? How is a team built around creativity?
   34. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:10 AM (#4665883)
So how many of you Little League coaches have been involved in knock down, drag out fisticuffs over games? Any shootouts?? Any death threats??? Opposing coaches try to run you over with their SUV?

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