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Winter Warm Up: Chemistry Lessons

Personality Goes a Long Way

Much was made about perceived chemistry and personality issues within the 2010 Cardinals’ clubhouse. Players and coaches alike insisted that was not the case, but clearly players like Lance Berkman and Ryan Theriot were brought in to reinstate a professional atmosphere and provide veteran leadership in addition to what they can contribute on the field.

Friend of the site Cadence with Chris Carpenter

That said, Kyle Lohse doesn’t allow the “chemistry” excuse to fly regarding last year’s team. “If we’re winning, chemistry is not an issue with that same group,” he said. “It’s only when the team is struggling as a whole and people are looking for reasons. I don’t think we had big cliques and everybody got along but when times are going tough of course it’s going to be quiet. I don’t think it was any one person or a few people’s problems.” He went on to say the players never really talked about any chemistry issues in the clubhouse; they were too worried about playing the game. “It’s not something that was in the forefront of our minds; we were worried about what we were doing that night and how to get out of those funks we were in.”

Although he acknowledged it is always a benefit to the team when quality veterans are brought in, Carpenter also refused to blame the 2010 squad’s shortcomings on team chemistry. “We had a good clubhouse last year and guys enjoyed being around each other…we just didn’t do the things we needed to do to win,” he said. “We had the talent, I think, we just didn’t play well. It was the same going into Spring Training last year, talking about the series against the Dodgers (in the 2009 NLDS). We had the talent to win then; we just didn’t play well. And we didn’t play well last year.”

When pressed about why the team didn’t play well in 2010, Carpenter offered a sentiment that is no doubt shared by the rest of the team, the entire coaching staff, the front office, and all of Cardinal Nation. “Last year was last year. I’m excited about spring and I’m excited about our players.”

Indeed it is exciting, because it is a new year…and pitchers and catchers report in less than a month.

Chris Reed is a freelance writer from Belleville, IL who also writes about the Cardinals for InsideSTL on Mondays and Bird Brained whenever he wants. Follow him on Twitter @birdbrained.

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