Boston Red Sox: Does Chemistry Win Championships?
Being one of the most dominant teams in the league usually comes at a price, but that has not been the case for the Boston Red Sox this season.
After an offseason that included signing the likes of Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli and Ryan Dempster to relative contracts, the Sox find themselves at 54-36 and first in the AL East.
The Red Sox seem to have taken a different approach when it comes to spending their money. After the 2010 offseason when Boston signed stars Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to combined deals worth $296 million over 14 years, they were projected to win the World Series and be set for the next decade.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned. The Sox went through the infamous “September Collapse” and in addition to that, missed the playoffs the following year under the management of Bobby Valentine.
Throughout the league, there seems to be a trend where teams spend huge money on “star” players and get negative results.
Most recently, it has affected the Toronto Blue Jays, a big-market team that is not afraid of spending the extra cash if needed. After acquiring the massive contracts of Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle in a blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins, the Blue Jays have found themselves last in the division with a 43-45 record.
Though they have been plagued by injuries and inconsistency to star players, this season has been a very forgettable one for Toronto to say the least.
We saw the same happen to the Los Angeles Dodgers last season when they acquired the massive contracts of Gonzalez and Crawford, along with taking on the disgustingly overpaid contract of disgruntled pitcher Josh Beckett in a deal with the Red Sox. The Dodgers also missed out on the playoffs, having an all-too-familiar collapse of their own.
Though both Toronto and Los Angeles have great teams on paper, they have shown to have little to no chemistry. Again, the Dodgers find themselves struggling mid-way through the season with a 43-45 record and second in the underachieving NL West.
Something that the Red Sox seem to have that most organization’s don’t is team chemistry, which has been the formula for their success and one that has been used quite successfully over the years, most notably in the Sox’ 2004 championship team.
The first Red Sox team to win it all after 86 years were the self proclaimed “idiots”, as Johnny Damon dubbed them. The 2004 Red Sox team was filled with the characters and colorful faces of Pedro Martinez, Damon, David Ortiz, Kevin Millar, and of course Manny Ramirez. They not only had the talent, but they had team chemistry that helped them win a championship.
Despite not having the best of seasons, Victorino, Dempster and the outspoken Jonny Gomes have contributed in a way that isn’t found on a stat sheet. Not only do they bring a relaxed, positive outlook to the team, but they also have established the roles of being leaders on the field and in the clubhouse.
If the Sox can continue their winning ways, then it may prove once again that a team can have all the talent in the world, but it is truly team chemistry that wins championships.