The Cubs Clubhouse

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There’s not much to do on an off day other than hoping that certain teams keep losing, so this seems like a good opportunity to talk about a rather nebulous topic.  See, I didn’t used to believe in clubhouse chemistry, as I figured that the most talented team would win out anyway and that’s what a front office should focus on.  But as the Chicago Cubs kept grabbing guys like David Ross and Joe Maddon and even Munenori Kawasaki to incorporate into the burgeoning juggernaut, it became clear to me that people smarter than me valued chemistry and synergy, so here we are today.

David Ross recently penned a column for the Players Tribune about glue guys, naming some players that you wouldn’t believe were good clubhouse guys.  But that’s the interesting part about professional baseball, in that we don’t see everything that goes on in the players’ private domain.  That does explain why the Cubs would keep certain players past their effective date, and why a publicly disliked guy like John Lackey can still be a good teammate (even if we can’t see it at all).  Having a team full of not just talented players, but also with glue guys and role guys, is probably what has kept this team from going off the rails.  It starts with the team’s manager (h/t Bleacher Nation):

Win or lose, Cubs manager Joe Maddon is always positive and is always the same guy. And according to Epstein, that has a big effect on the players and team as a whole. In fact, by Epstein’s tone, it sounds like Maddon keeps the front office’s spirits up, as well.

It obviously helps to have talent, but when you also have guys who are fun and who are marketable, I think that combination feeds back positively to improve the team in both morale and functionality.  They get very creative, which energizes the team, brings in more fans, and gives us cool stories like this:

“It started in college,” Schwarber explained in Atlanta earlier this week. “That was kind of our thing my sophomore year. Waving at your teammates that get on, and they’re waving back to you because they know you’re in that at-bat with you the whole time. They’re grinding it out with you.”

And that means we get fun little gifs, too!

I mean, even if they don’t smile, you have to assume they’re having fun!

It’s a permeating positive vibe that transcends language barriers:

As players start getting their swagger back, I should caution you that the Cubs WILL continue to lose games here and there, and may even have a couple more losing streaks in them.  But that’s the nature of baseball, and it won’t be because of lack of effort, and certainly not because they forgot how to have fun.  After all, it’s a kid’s game.  They’re supposed to have fun.  The winning is certainly a bonus, and here’s to a lot more of it.

 

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About Rice Cube

Rice Cube is the executive vice president of snark at World Series Dreaming. He loves all things Cubs, with notable exceptions (specifically, the part of Cubs fandom that pisses him off). Follow on Twitter at cubicsnarkonia

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