The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

The Yankees getting a A+ in chemistry

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc on May 31, 2009 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

I am of the belief that team chemistry as it relates to baseball is vastly overrated. Some of the best teams in history — including the 1977 and ’78 Yankees — were full of guys who generally couldn’t stand each other.

Baseball is a game of individual performance. Being friendly with your teammates doesn’t mean anything when you’re standing at the plate and Jonathan Papelbon is throwing 97 mph on the outside corner.

That said, these Yankees are a good bunch of guys who really do seem to get along.

As Yogi may have said, you can see a lot when you’re watching. Take the Tiger Woods figurine I spotted Brett Gardner painting green before the game on Saturday. It’s not every day you see that, so I had to ask.

Turns out Gardner and Brian Bruney have been playing each other in a golf video game all season. The winner of the latest match gets to keep the Tiger figurine in his locker. When Bruney won the other day in Texas, he painted Tiger’s shirt red.

So when Gardner won, he painted the whole thing green. “I’m looking for some White-Out to paint a No. 11 on his back,” he said. “Can’t wait for Bruney to see that.”

Then you have Mark Teixeira. You may recall the game on May 17, 2006 when the Yankees beat the Rangers 14-13 on Jorge Posada’s walk-off homer in the ninth. Earlier in that game, Teixeira ran him over at the plate but Posada held on to the ball to get the out.

Newsday had a terrific photo of the violent collision on its back page. Teixeira’s sister, who lived in New York at the time, saw it had it framed for him.

“I never really wanted to hang it up,” he said. “I mean, I was out and we lost the game.”

So Teixeira gave it to Posada. “To Jorge,” he wrote. “Thanks for the forgiveness. Now we’re best friends! Mark Teixeira.”

Posada thought it was funny. Oh, and he does plan to hang it up.

Nick Swisher purchased a toy laser gun in Detroit at a gas station — “A gas station in Detroit? What a surprise it was him,” Derek Jeter said — and has spent the last few weeks playing with it. That is when Joba Chamberlain and A.J. Burnett aren’t playing with it.

CC Sabathia personally organized two suite rentals at the Magic-Cavs game the other night and invited the entire team. Nearly all of the guys who were in Cleveland attended.

The Yankees have a wide variety of people on their roster. You have players from the United States, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Panama, Mexico, Japan and Taiwan. You have older guys, younger guys. Different religions, different races, different backgrounds.

The common denominator is baseball. That doesn’t guarantee a good mix. But with this team, this year, it has.





65 Responses to “The Yankees getting a A+ in chemistry”

  1. SJ44 May 31st, 2009 at 1:53 am

    I am still in Austin at what is now the longest game in NCAA history.

    Top of the 25th and BC and Tx. Are still tied at 2.

  2. Peter Abraham May 31st, 2009 at 1:59 am

    wow. here’s hoping Tony hit a homer to win it.

  3. Avi May 31st, 2009 at 1:59 am


    I have to disagree. I don’t think team chemistry is overrated. It could very well be that factually teams’ performances don’t necessarily correlate to how well they get along. But even so, good team chemistry has a good effect. It has the clubhouse in high spirits, it has the fans in high spirits, and it makes everyone just happier. I love this new atmosphere that’s straying away from the business like image. I hope it continues. And I hope it does correlate to more and more wins for the team. It always seems that teams like these go far.

  4. m May 31st, 2009 at 1:59 am


    Good luck to your nephew. And you!

  5. Avi May 31st, 2009 at 2:00 am

    And Pete, what are you doing up so late. Catch up on some sleep.

  6. Buddy Biancalana-- I ain't no Debbie Downer! May 31st, 2009 at 2:00 am

    Watch the game here:

  7. Rachel May 31st, 2009 at 2:02 am

    Great now all they need is an 8th inning guy and they are good to go. lol

  8. raymagnetic May 31st, 2009 at 2:02 am

    The Texas closer is not an ace! Only 169 pitches, what a wuss!

  9. m May 31st, 2009 at 2:04 am

    Regarding chemistry. It’s probably like money. It’s better to have it than not.

    I do think that guys who get along will play better as a team. Little things that would probably irritate you become something to laugh at instead.

    Somebody mentioned earlier that it helps in the tough times and losing streaks and slumps are fewer and far between.

  10. DB (officially panicked 5/13/08) May 31st, 2009 at 2:05 am

    As long as they are winning, I don’t care how well they get along..But, I must admit it can’t hurt. Too many times I’ve seen teams play badly and the team was in a shambles.

    I think those 77 and 78 teams were the exception and not the norm. The Dynasty teams got along pretty well and if you didn’t fit in, you were out.

  11. SJ44 May 31st, 2009 at 2:07 am

    TX wins. 3-2, in 25 innings. The nephew has caught all 25 innings.

    Back on the field in 10 hrs. In an elimination game against Army.


  12. m May 31st, 2009 at 2:07 am

    Ooh. Scoreboard showing 3-2 Texas.

    BC needs to answer in the bottom half.

  13. Avi May 31st, 2009 at 2:07 am

    too late, it’s over. texas wins in the 25th.

  14. DB (officially panicked 5/13/08) May 31st, 2009 at 2:07 am

    Game over…go home SJ!

  15. DB (officially panicked 5/13/08) May 31st, 2009 at 2:09 am

    Oooh, sorry thought your nephew was on Texas for some reason..

  16. swingsandmisses May 31st, 2009 at 2:11 am

    Dang, that’s a short turnaround. Hope those BC kids get some sleep.

  17. DT - OPPC member (it's in our blood) May 31st, 2009 at 2:11 am

    thanks for the link Buddy… I turned it on and game was over. Listening to postgame…

    only 3 Texas pitchers in 25 innings? Is their manager nuts?

  18. m May 31st, 2009 at 2:14 am

    Nolan Ryan managing the Texas team?

  19. Nick in SF in Larkspur May 31st, 2009 at 2:17 am

    Good luck tomorrow, SJ.

  20. Downunder Thunder May 31st, 2009 at 2:19 am

    Interesting read, nice post.

  21. DT - OPPC member (it's in our blood) May 31st, 2009 at 2:25 am

    Austin Wood’s line during tonight’s epic UT-Boston College clash: 13 IP, 2 hits, 4 walks and 14 strikeouts. Oh, and he entered the game in the seventh inning. Somewhere in there, there was also a hidden no-hitter, as Wood threw 12.1 IP of hitless baseball.

    In all Wood threw 169 pitches for the Longhorns.

    Recently, Bryan Smith of Baseball Prospectus pegged Wood as the best pro prospect on the Longhorns. With the Amateur Draft later this week, Wood certainly has picked a good time to deliver an utterly absurd performance.

  22. Kevin S. May 31st, 2009 at 2:31 am

    That’s also fantastically irresponsible on his manager’s part. It’s bad enough the NCAA refuses to allow its employees proper compensation, but to selfishly risk the kid’s future earning potential by actively trying to blow out his arm? That manager needs to be run out on a rail.

  23. DT - OPPC member (it's in our blood) May 31st, 2009 at 2:39 am

    I listened to the press conference… Texas manager is a good old country boy… 41 years on the job.

    He said Wood would suit up tomorrow but wouldn’t pitch. (duh)
    The most the kid had ever thrown was 120.

    One Texas kid struck out 7 times in the game. The Texas manager called it a “Ray Charles” performance…

  24. SJ44 May 31st, 2009 at 2:50 am

    Just got back to the hotel.

    Official time of the game, 7 hrs, 3 min.

    My nephew caught all 35 innings and nearly won the game 3 times with bombs that fell just short of clearing the CF fence.

    Really an amazing game.

    If I was the parent of the TX closer, I would want to kill their head coach. 169 pitches tonight, after throwing 46 last night. That abuse to the nth degree.

    I hope my nephew DH’s in about 10 hrsehen they play Army.

    I think 25 innings in 94 degree heat is enough for one day.

  25. SJ44 May 31st, 2009 at 2:53 am

    All 25 innings. 34 innings in 2 games. Sorry for the typo.

  26. Clare May 31st, 2009 at 2:59 am

    Tough loss. Belfiore threw a whole lot of pitches too (although not as many as Wood) . I thought I saw him in the top 100 draft prospect list. His agent can’t be too happy either.

  27. SJ44 May 31st, 2009 at 3:04 am


    I think he pitched 8 or 9 innings. He will go in the second or third round.

    His dad and I are close.

    We both hope the coach has the good sense to give him the rest of the weekend off.

    College coaches are a scary lot at tournament time. They sometimes forget these kids aren’t machines.

  28. SNZA May 31st, 2009 at 3:10 am

    CC seems like a pretty great guy.

  29. james May 31st, 2009 at 3:11 am

    While I think it’s more important these days than it was in the past that they all get along it has to alleviate stress. More pressure in sports than ever in this modern age and more pressure on the Yankees most of all. Still I’ll be much happier to see them win some games against the Red Sox, I didn’t like they way they looked in what can be called big games and the Red Sox reminded me of the 90′s Yankees. So they can goof off all they want or fight all they want just win.

  30. Clare May 31st, 2009 at 3:11 am


    Belfiore pitched yesterday, too, right? As well as playing first base, left field and DHing the past 2 games. He definitely deserves some time off.

    You’re right, college coaches are scary. I don’t see why any pitchers go to college if they can go to the pros instead (i.e. Gerrit Cole).

    But despite the result, an amazing game.

  31. Michael May 31st, 2009 at 3:34 am

    Nice write-up, Pete. Thanks.

  32. Miguel May 31st, 2009 at 3:48 am

    does chemistry necessarily mean liking each other, or can it also mean respecting each other and having confidence in each other as ballplayers, even if you’d never want to hang out with the other guy off the field? it is well known that Reggie and Thurman did not like each other, but did they believe they could win together? That’s a different kind of chemistry. Did the 90′s Yanks all consider each other great friends, or just great guys to go to war with? Pete–I’d be interested to hear your take on that since you know what these guys are like when they interact with each other.

  33. Patrick May 31st, 2009 at 3:55 am

    What an incredible game, does anyone have a link to the box score? SJ44, you have got to be so proud of your nephew, congrats man. There’s no way he catches tomorrow is there?

    Why is Austin Wood closing if he can pitch like that? The Texas coach is out of his freaking mind. Wood’s parents and advisor/agent must be livid right now. This is how pitchers get hurt.

    I know a guy that pitched in division 3 ball. In the state tournament he threw a complete game in the regionals then on one day’s rest pitched another complete game to win the finals (against my college :( ). I would expect that kind of abuse in D3 but I never thought D1 coaches would pull the same stuff.

    Hopefully Wood is rewarded with a high selection in the draft.

  34. Silky Johnston May 31st, 2009 at 4:47 am

    I know how to fix the Yankees weakest link, the bullpen. You do it by adding a guy who provides great chemistry and a 0.00 career ERA. Thats right, move swisher to the bullpen, and you call up Shelly Duncan to replace him. Shelly is the owner of a great Chemistry-VoRP, and he can also crush fastballs and perform aggressive fist pumps with the best of them. The problem with the bullpen is clearly chemistry, especially with Bruney out.

  35. GreenBeret7 May 31st, 2009 at 5:38 am

    The only ones that don’t think chemistry is anything are those that don’t have any chemistry.

    It’s difficult to believe that high school and college coaches are just as bad as little league coaches. Winning comes before the health and welfare of those they are in charge of protecting. Augie Garrido needs to be fired for that. He’s had a string of bizarre incidents over the last couple of years.

  36. Giuseppe Franco May 31st, 2009 at 6:37 am

    I don’t see why any pitchers go to college if they can go to the pros instead (i.e. Gerrit Cole).


    Cole opted for UCLA instead of the Yanks because his dad insisted on it. He wanted the kid to get an eduction and that was that.

    Money didn’t matter and the kid’s dad didn’t even want to hear an offer from the Yanks.

    Kids who play college ball tend to be much more polished when drafted and they also tend to work through the minors much quicker.

    It sucks that they lost out on Cole because that kid has stardom written all over him.

  37. Doreen May 31st, 2009 at 6:55 am

    SJ44 -

    I hope you’re still asleep right now, but if you see this later – it’s too bad your nephew’s team was on the losing side of an historic game. To have caught all 25 innings – wow! Nothing else to say on that. I wish him luck today and in the upcoming draft.

    Gotta love these Yankees. Really, really. Terrific game last night. Lots of positive energy surrounding this team. It seems like all 4 of the new guys (CC, AJ, Swish & Tex) are positive people who are able to spread it around. While chemistry may not win games, it makes the good times great and the bad times not so bad. Over an 162-game season plus spring training and (hopefully) post-season, having a team that likes being with each other certainly has to help.

    I’ll be at the Mets game today, but cheering for the Yankees and for Phil Hughes to have another good game. And cheering for the Yankees offense to give Pavano a headache today.

    Let’s Go Yankees.

  38. kph May 31st, 2009 at 7:13 am

    Great post Pete, I love these anecdotes. Keep them coming!

  39. Bob May 31st, 2009 at 7:26 am

    F in English Grammar (“an” A)

  40. Supernatural May 31st, 2009 at 7:26 am

    Hi!!! Yesterday, I was surfing on the net, and I went on this site: .
    I Think that it is super…In Italy talk about Derek Jeter..WOW!!!!

  41. randy l. May 31st, 2009 at 8:04 am


    amazing game.

    tony seems like a very special player . he goes to bc. they make the college world series for the first time in a long time.

    he catches the whole game in the longest game in college world series history.

    all while a week away from the draft that is seeing his stock rise daily.

    some team is going to be very happy to land him in the draft.

    i put in my two cents worth to my twins connections.

  42. YankeeDiva May 31st, 2009 at 8:07 am

    It’s bad enough the NCAA refuses to allow its employees proper compensation, but to selfishly risk the kid’s future earning potential by actively trying to blow out his arm?

    I never did agree with this statement. Most of those kids are getting free room and board, free tuition and stipends how are they not getting paid for their services? In baseball in particular depending on which school they go to they are probably making more than they would in A, AA and sometimes AAA ball. In basketball/football it may not be the same but if they are good enough to go to the next level then they should and come back to their education later if that is what they want to do.

  43. YankeeDiva May 31st, 2009 at 8:11 am

    As for chemistry I think it does matter. I think its a lot easier to do your job when you get along with your co-workers than if you hated them. Does Chemistry guarantee a WS ring? No. Does no Chemistry mean the team can’t win a WS ring? No. But I bet coming up against Paps in the bottom of the 9th with two outs is a lot easier to approach knowing that your teammates will have your back with either outcome.

  44. 86w183 May 31st, 2009 at 8:31 am

    YankeeDiva —-

    FYI college baseball teams award a total of 11.7 scholarships spread out among a roster of 28-35 players. The average player thus recieves about 35-40 percent of the cost of attending school.

    Garrido has been killing arms for years. Ask JB Cox. Skip Bertman turned Ben McDonald into a so-so MLB pitcher when he had talent comeprable to Clemens. It’s a disgrace.

    I can’t imagine sitting through a 25-inning game in that heat let alone catching one. Amazing effort there.

    Teams with poor chemistry never reach their absolute best. Think how much that ’78 team underachieved until August.

  45. tjk70 May 31st, 2009 at 8:36 am

    “They brought their f%@#ing toys with them”-Reggie Dunlop.

  46. Tom Tresh 15 May 31st, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Pete, Well said,A very good story

    SJ, Congrats to Tony, Just hope that for some reason he can fall to the Yanks.Not wishing any bad luck.

  47. Scorpio May 31st, 2009 at 8:54 am

    I love posts like these. This is what makes you a cut above the rest, Pete. Thanks for the great inside the clubhouse info.

    Keep up the great team mojo, Go Yankees!

  48. YankeeDiva May 31st, 2009 at 8:54 am

    What is the percent of the college baseball players that will actually make it to the Big Leagues and are good enough for the multi-million dollar contracts at 18-22 years of age? The odds are in most cases even those who are that talented will spend the first 2-4 years in A, AA or AAA ball, not making 6-7 figure paychecks. So they are still getting more out of college….getting to play ball, enhance their skills AND get a solid education for free or and at a great discount.

    Again if the player doesn’t think they can get their monies worth in college they can always enter the draft and take their chances their. NCAA is not taking anything away from them. The Player always has a choice.

  49. Joe from Long Island May 31st, 2009 at 8:57 am

    SJ – that is amazing endurance. Even when you’re young. Just amazing. I feel for that poor pitcher, the closer you mentioned. What must his arm feel like? Best of luck at the game today.

    Doreen – Good luck with your road trip to new Shea.

    Early game, today, 12:40 PM. That will work, as we’re getting house guests, and they’ll want an early dinner after travelling – getting in from Europe on the QE2.

    Phil Hughes against Carl what’s his name, who can be an effective pitcher when he wants to be.

    Let’s go Yankees!

  50. JRVJ May 31st, 2009 at 9:07 am


    Mariano, my countryman, is from Panama, so add that country to the list you wrote.

  51. joeman May 31st, 2009 at 9:09 am

    if they could ever pull the trigger on a Mark DeRosa trade it would be a very nice piece to the puzzle, can play all positions & a nice bat. At least worth looking into..

  52. Ziny May 31st, 2009 at 9:13 am

    hey you forgot Panama… Mariano is from Panama…

  53. Doreen May 31st, 2009 at 9:17 am

    Thanks, Joe from LI

    I think we have a plan to make the pre-game time bearable. Hope the weather clears up. Right now it’s overcast in cental NJ.

    Enjoy the Yankees game everyone!

  54. Peter Abraham May 31st, 2009 at 9:17 am

    Yes, Panama. Fixed it. Sorry to any Panamanians. Don’t send Roberto Duran to kick my ass.

  55. joeman May 31st, 2009 at 9:20 am

    hey Pete…think a DeRosa would be a nice add to team ?

  56. Vince May 31st, 2009 at 9:51 am

    It’s hard to imagine how Angel Berroa can add chemistry to a team.

  57. DL May 31st, 2009 at 9:57 am

    Kim Jones posted this exact same piece earlier last night.

  58. TimStoddardOwnsYou May 31st, 2009 at 10:10 am

    Finally, this team hasn’t had chemistry in years, and it was noticeable.

  59. 86w183 May 31st, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Diva— I never said that college baseball wasn’t providing opportunities. My point was that your claim that they are all getting free room, board, tuition and stipends is way off base. College baseball players are the most exploited student athletes on campus.

    The average college baseball player plays 50+ games and gets 1/3 of his schooling paid for. The average football player plays 12 games and gets a full ride.

    Know something about a subject before you start mouthing off.

  60. Ziny May 31st, 2009 at 10:24 am


    in the conditions that Roberto Duran is right now, I can safely say, YOU would kick his ass. And thanks for fixing it! :0)

  61. Sony May 31st, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Some people say they don’t believe in chemistry, but everyone seems to believe in psychology as it pertains to baseball. Everyone knows that a player with all the ability in the world can turn into a train wreck when his mindset isn’t right. So doesn’t it stand to reason that anything that contributes to a positive team-wide mindset probably helps?

    I think chemistry is important, and not just for the warm-and-fuzzy off-field reasons. I think a team where the players respect and pull for one another – and where each understands his role in relation to the others – is more likely to succeed in defense, situational hitting, and even pitching. If one guy fails, the next guy wants to pick him up. If one guy does his job, the next guy wants to keep the line moving by doing HIS job. They understand that they’re part of a coordinated effort. Sure, I guess you can hate your teammates and still understand that. But is your heart really in it?

  62. jennifer May 31st, 2009 at 11:27 am

    I thought I read A.J. Burnett bought it.

  63. Sean May 31st, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    hey pete,
    good to see you’ve branched out and are now ripping off kim jones’ website – she posted the same thing about 4 hours prior to you – keep up the good work.

  64. Brian May 31st, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    All I will say is this. If you look at the last few teams to win the world series(with the exception of the phillies last year), they have all had crazy antics and acted like a bunch of animals in the clubhouse. maybe it’s time for the yanks to be that kind of team.

  65. Wei June 1st, 2009 at 1:18 am

    Well, I don’t think any of this chemistry talk is relevant. When we are doing well,we have A+++ chemistry, when we are not doing so well, it all becomes ARod’s fault (And bad club house culture, blah blah blah)

    Winning, is the medicine for anything and everything.

Leave a comment below

Sponsored by:





    Read The LoHud Yankees Blog on the go by navigating to the blog on your smartphone or mobile device's browser. No apps or downloads are required.


Place an ad

Call (914) 694-3581