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Do Dodgers need a mad scientist for good clubhouse chemistry?

February 13, 2013|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Money can't necessarily buy chemistry, according to Giants first baseman Brandon Belt, left, unable to make the play on Dodgers base runner Aaron Miles in a past meeting.
Money can't necessarily buy chemistry, according to Giants first… (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles…)

It’s getting tough for the rich. Just ridiculous. They can’t buy love, and now it seems, chemistry. Hope they’re still able to nab a swimsuit model. I mean, there has to be some perks beyond being first in line for a Tesla.

Perhaps by now you’ve heard that pithy little comment from Giants first baseman Brandon Belt on the Dodgers’ free-spending binge:

“All I can say is,” he told Comcast’s Andrew Baggarly, “you can’t buy chemistry.”

Suppose not, though I understand the Smithsonian Mega Science Lab makes for a mean chemistry starter set. Now there is chemistry that turns Peter Parker into a web crawler, chemistry that makes the opposing sex go weak in the knees, and presumably, the kind that brings teams together so they can go out and conquer the sporting world.

This is, however, sort of a chicken-and-the-egg argument. Does good clubhouse chemistry produce winning teams, or does winning create good clubhouse chemistry?

Now clubs have to pull together and be focused on winning, but I’m not so sure great chemistry ignites it. I covered the 1988 Dodgers, who had some of the best clubhouse chemistry ever, and just happened to win a World Series. I also covered the 1989 Dodgers, whose clubhouse chemistry was all but toxic and won only 77 games.

I wouldn’t get my little blue feathers all ruffled by Belt’s comment. First of all, he’s 24 and a career .259 hitter. And secondly, so what if you can’t? You can certainly buy the pieces that lead to winning teams, which I’m thinking have marvelous chemistry.

According to USA Today, last season the Giants had a payroll of $117.6 million, eighth highest in baseball. The Dodgers were at $95 million.

Now the Dodgers are the big dogs in the payroll department and the Giants, or at least Belt, are going to get all catty? Sounds suspiciously like jealousy. Maybe it’s just smart, self-preservation psychology. Hope it doesn’t upset their fine chemistry.


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