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.