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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
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Torre: 'Winning Creates Chemistry'
2008-01-05 08:24
by Jon Weisman

Dodger manager Joe Torre offers a favorable take on the longstanding which-comes-first debate in this ESPN Radio interview (Thanks to Dodger Thoughts commenter Silverwidow for the link.).

However, Torre also distinguishes between chemistry and respect.

"I always like to believe that players want to win," Torre said. "As far as I'm concerned, I'm not a believer that chemistry creates winning. I think winning creates chemistry. You don't have to necessarily get along, you don't have to go out to dinner all the time together, but I think the fact that you respect each other and respect what you need to do out there is very important. ... I know the Dodgers, we almost drew about 4 million people last year, and we do attract a great deal of attention, but to me, the support has to come from within the clubhouse, and I think that's probably where things are going to start."

Also, Torre responded to a question about what the Dodgers' greatest need is.

"I don't know. I know we have a great deal of talent. Everybody you talk to somebody in baseball, they're interested in a different player from my team. ... We've had inquiries about a number of different players, even players that haven't seen the light of day in the big leagues yet. So that's pretty impressive, and that's why I'm very curious and anxious to get to Spring Training."

Comments (77)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-01-05 08:47:12
1.   screwballin
Sounds like we're in agreement. It seems like last year it was about respect also, except the PVLs only saw it as a one-way deal. It never occurred to them that they needed to offer respect as well as receive it.

So, I didn't see it discussed yesterday, but is there another conceivable Pierre trade partner now that Swisher is in CF for the White Sox? I can't think of one.

2008-01-05 08:55:39
2.   D4P
Consider the following three scenarios:

1. Overachieving
2. Playing to your ability
3. Underachieving

I think that getting along with your teammates increases the probability of #2, but not #1.

Conversely, I think that not getting along with your teammates increases the probability of #3.

In other words, good chemistry doesn't make you a better player than you are, but bad chemistry can (but not necessarily) lead you to play worse, either because you're distracted, you're not committed to giving 100% effort, etc.

2008-01-05 08:56:33
3.   Mattpat11
He's right. The idea that you need "Team Chemistry (read: awful players) to win has always been absurd. Some great dynasties have been filled with nutjobs that hated each other.
2008-01-05 08:58:18
4.   underdog
Speaking of chemistry:
Dodgers can win with mix of vets, young players, says Sporting News' Gerry Fraley in new column:

>>To Colletti's credit, he did not panic and change the plan.

He used free agency again to improve the roster, adding center fielder Andruw Jones and Japanese righthander Hiroki Kuroda. Colletti again kept his young talent. It appears that will hold through the remainder of the offseason.

That gives the Dodgers an increased chance at success.

Arizona and Colorado won with young players last season. The Dodgers' collection of catcher Russell Martin, infielders James Loney and Andy LaRoche, outfielders Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp and pitchers Jonathan Broxton, Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw is of similar high quality. The plan is to keep them together and let them grow.

This is how the Dodgers used to operate. The franchise lost its way when general manager Fred Claire was fired in 1998. The Dodgers have not won a playoff series since 1988 and are 1-12 in playoff games since then.<<

2008-01-05 09:09:36
5.   Jason in Canada
The franchise lost its way when general manager Fred Claire was fired in 1998.

I think the franchise kind of lost it's way when Peter O'Malley sold the Dodgers.

But that is old news...

2008-01-05 09:18:01
6.   Connector
In other words, good chemistry doesn't make you a better player than you are, but bad chemistry can (but not necessarily) lead you to play worse, either because you're distracted, you're not committed to giving 100% effort, etc.
Well said 2 .
IMHO good chemistry is what makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts. Last year we had many talented players but we were missing the wholeness aspect.
2008-01-05 09:26:51
7.   regfairfield
5 If building through youth is the Dodger way then we lost it in 1989 when we massively inflated the payroll to keep a team that won with a series of miracles together.
2008-01-05 09:29:55
8.   immouch
chemistry isn't underrated or overrated - but it may be poorly understood....chemistry, in baseball, is a huge deal. the team is together nine months and, by the nature of practice and travel, the individuals on the team see each other more than they see their families for a considerable chunk of the year. but chemistry isn't everybody snapping towels at each other and singing on the bus; it's a common agreement on a common goal, what military types describe as a "mission." if everybody agrees (in ways that are expressed by actions, not nodding of heads) that they'll do whatever is needed (and within their particular powers) to achieve that, then the individuals can indeed play better and the team's result can be improved. the ancient oakland A teams or late 90s yankee teams or even recent red sox teams haven't had players who, individually, hugged the snot out of each other. but they did seem to share a common goal more readily than most of their opponents... i think this trait effects only a tiny fraction of performance, but a tiny fraction often is the difference between winning a championship and not winning one.... i realize this isn't a concept that (as yet) can be expressed mathematically. and i'm not a believer in the PVL concept expressed last year by colletti, or in the mindless blatherings of idiots like jon heyman at - so my belief in the world "chemistry" doesn't come naturally. but i think the history of the game supports something to this.... also, logically, i think the words "winning creates" isn't accurate; "winning" is a result, it can neither create nor destroy.
2008-01-05 10:11:48
9.   Joe Pierre
I like and agree with Torre's comment. I always felt that what takes place off the the field has no bearing on what happens on the field. It shouldn't. Winning gives players confidence. It makes them eager to get back on the field and play. They have to think as a team always. Note to SILVERWIDOW:: I know about Robles but in this case how come Wilson Valdez is still listed on the active roster?
2008-01-05 10:38:17
10.   Ken Noe
7 The franchise lost its way when Claire was hired. We had this conversation the other day, he had no clear plan or philosophy. And it was him, not Malone, that started the importation of overpriced, over the hill PVLs.

As for chemistry, the best team I ever played on had bad chemistry and frankly a couple of psychos among the senior players who loved to give us a hard time. But we also had positive senior players who taught, led, and shielded us younger guys. I don't think much about chemistry but I do believe in positive leadership. I think maybe that was what was lacking last year.

2008-01-05 10:48:08
11.   Bob Timmermann
I read the Lasorda/Plaschke book and Lasorda thinks the franchise lost its way when Claire was hired.

And went further afield when they put Lasorda out to pasture.

Not that Lasorda is an unbiased observer.

I don't know if Claire liked PVL's. Was Darryl Strawberry that type of player? Was Eric Davis? You could argue that Eddie Murray and Hubie Brooks may fall into that category.

2008-01-05 11:02:54
12.   regfairfield
Actually looking back at what I said, that's not true. Orel got a huge raise, but he deserved it. Murray might qualify as PVL but he was replacing Franklin Stubbs so that made sense and that's the only big signings that were made. It wasn't until 1991 that the spending got ridiculous.
2008-01-05 11:19:16
13.   bhsportsguy
11 So are you conflicted today?
2008-01-05 11:19:39
14.   regfairfield
In summary, Problem in 1989: thinking the '88 Dodgers were actually a good team and not a miracle, and just picking up Eddie Murray would be good enough.

1991: Way overspending because the only notable player we developed for several years was Ramon Martinez.

2008-01-05 11:21:30
15.   MJW101
11 As much as I hate to agree with LaSorda on anything I agree that the Dodgers started down their slippery path to mediocrity with Claire as GM.
2008-01-05 11:21:44
16.   Ken Noe
11 12 Strawberry, to me, was already troubled enough to count. But I also include guys like Willie Randolph, Alfredo Griffin, Eric Davis, Juan Samuel, and Hubie Brooks, all of whom put up decent numbers but who had seen better days elsewhere.
2008-01-05 11:27:32
17.   Bob Timmermann
I'm always conflicted about something. My life is an unending series of internal conflicts, anxiety attacks about drunken hang gliders, rogue walruses, and Russ Ortiz, and a constant, yet low level of hypochondria.
2008-01-05 11:29:46
18.   Ken Noe
...Gary Carter, Tim Wallach, Jody Reed, Delino....
2008-01-05 11:32:58
19.   bhsportsguy
Angels rumored to be dealing Kendrick/Santana for Konerko. Not sure I like that deal.
2008-01-05 11:35:06
20.   Bleed Dodger Blue
One reason why you should.

"Trading Konerko would let the White Sox move Nick Swisher from the outfield to first base while the players received could fill other needs. Swisher was acquired Oakland Athletics on Thursday."

That would mean they'd still need a center fielder ... right? wink wink.

... unless they get Figgins. Then we're really boned.

2008-01-05 11:36:41
21.   D4P
Is there an antonym for "hypochondriac"?

If so, I think I'm it. I never think I'm sick, unless I obviously am. But even then, I'm dubious.

2008-01-05 11:37:01
22.   Ken Noe
21 I still have faith in Ken Williams. Do it Ken. Ozzie wants him.
2008-01-05 11:54:44
23.   overkill94
Arizona sure closed the gap at the end of the first half there. Maybe if they can start playing some defense and have someone besides Budinger score they might have a chance in this game.
2008-01-05 12:00:33
24.   lukemccain
1 What is PVL?
2008-01-05 12:04:49
25.   D4P
What is PVL?

Pampered Veteran Leech

2008-01-05 12:07:00
26.   Bob Timmermann
2008-01-05 12:10:33
27.   Benaiah
Kotchman and Konerko had the same OPS last year.

Konerko: .259/.351/.490/.841
Kotchman: .296/.372/.467/.840

On the other hand, Konerko still has great peripherals and his BABIP was a little unlucky last year. Kotchman hit 11 home runs last year, no elite team can get that little power production from its first baseman.

2008-01-05 12:18:07
28.   lukemccain
24 Never mind. I tracked it down (proven veteran leadership)
Now all I need to figure out is how to create a numbered link.
2008-01-05 12:21:20
29.   A Dodger expatriate in Pennsylvania
The franchise lost its way when Al Campanis agreed to appear on Nightline.
2008-01-05 12:22:05
30.   silverwidow
9 The Valdez thing probably isn't official yet, that's why.
2008-01-05 12:23:36
31.   lukemccain
...or when Peter O'Malley did not have the guts to keep Campanis after his appearance on Nightline.
2008-01-05 12:39:52
32.   LAT
That was supposed to be one of the hardest storms to ever hit LA? I think weather people like to dub every storm as "Storm of the Century" so as to scare for ratings sake. Why should they be any different from other news people?
2008-01-05 12:41:41
33.   Bob Timmermann
It's supposed to start raining again overnight and rain all day Sunday.
2008-01-05 12:47:38
34.   MarLoKemp
Howdy Toasters,

My first post here.

As with the failure of Los Angeles to land an NFL team, part of the downfall of the Dodgers can be attributed to Coliseum-lovers and in particular former L.A. city councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas.

Despite repeated strong statements by the NFL that the league had no interest in the Coliseum , would NEVER put a team in the Coliseum , Ridley-Thomas et al continued to push it.

Among the victims of the Coliseum Cabal was the Los Angeles Dodgers football team. Not only would Chavez Ravine have been an ideal place for a football stadium, but the O'Malleys would have been great football owners and remained the great baseball owners they were.

2008-01-05 13:03:24
35.   wireroom
32 I don't know what part of los angeles you are in, but last night my entire street in NoHo Arts District flooded to the point that my car would not start. It was a river on Vineland. I was bummed because I was literally stranded at my apartment instead of being able to watch my friends concert last night. I was all dressed up and by the time I got to my car I was soaked and then to top it off my car would not start because water had gotten into something.
2008-01-05 13:10:06
36.   berkowit28
24 Click the FAQ link in the Toaster box at the very bottom of th sidebar on the right.
2008-01-05 13:20:21
37.   68elcamino427
34 That is a great obsevation! Do you think that we would have had an L A Dodger Football Team if Walter had been calling the shots, rather than his son? Walter O'Malley was a strong leader and a shrewd businessman. He was focused and did not allow a liitle bit of negative flack to keep him from attaining his goals. Peter O'Malley had a different style. When issues were framed as being "politically incorrect" he would fold. 31 points this out in regard to Campanis. I doubt that Walter O'Malley would have allowed Mark Ridley Thomas to have any negative influence on the outcome of Walter O'Malley's and the Dodgers desired goals.
2008-01-05 13:39:58
38.   Bob Timmermann
Peter O'Malley made the mistake of trying to curry favor with the surrounding neighborhood to get them behind a football team. But the people living around Dodger Stadium didn't want to have even more traffic around their homes.

NIMBYism, formerly reserved for the Valley and Westside, had found its way to Echo Park and Solano Canyon.

The neighborhood opposition combined with the City Council's insistence on the Coliseum made the younger O'Malley realize that it was time to get out of the game.

I don't think The O'Malley (as Water was called) would have fared better. He lived in a different era with a different set of politicans.

2008-01-05 13:58:25
39.   D4P

What do ya know: a planning acronym

2008-01-05 14:14:56
40.   68elcamino427
38 Great Points. The O'Malley caused quite an uproar that still echos today. All the way from Brooklyn to Chavez Ravine! The O'Malley wasn't concerned with increased traffic in the neighborhood, he took out the neighborhhood. This was an extended public battle. It was a messy fight that he won.
2008-01-05 14:46:06
41.   dzzrtRatt
NIMBYism is universal. NIMBYism unites whites with blacks, rich with poor, old with young, east with west, good witches and bad witches, veterans and prospects, Hatfields and McCoys. When Matt Kemp moved a trashcan, he was acting in the fine tradition of NIMBYism.

Everyone like to shop at Home Depot, Lowe's or Costco. Everyone likes their kids to go to a neighborhood school. But how dare you build one near me? You crooked, boodling developer you. Don't you realize that near my house is "inappropriate?" ("Inappropriate" is the greatest word ever invented for local politicians.)

2008-01-05 14:54:49
42.   dzzrtRatt
38 Part of the O'Malley legend is Mayor Riordan called him and asked if he would consider a football team at Chavez Ravine. O'Malley said he'd look at it and spent $1 million developing preliminary plans. Then, at the behest of Ridley-Thomas, Riordan called O'Malley a year later and told him to drop his plans and endorse the Coliseum. O'Malley went along with the mayor's request, but was embittered by it. In addition to being excited about the project, he also saw NFL revenue as a way to keep the Dodgers. Now, that dream was gone.

Whenever I think about this story, the one thing that nags at me is, Why didn't O'Malley tell the mayor to shove it? Put the popularity of the Dodgers on the line against the popularity of any of those idiots in City Hall, the mayor included. Tell the truth about the Coliseum and show the public his NFL plan.

O'Malley was a bit too timid, and I think that's the real reason for the Dodgers' fade since the early 80s. Campanis was a great GM in his day, but by the time of Nightline, he was over the hill. Claire was a horrible choice to replace him. Lasorda should've been put out to pasture much sooner than he was. The '88 season should have been seen as a lucky accident instead of a bonafide for Claire's genius. O'Malley was a better man than Frank McCourt, but I have to admit, McCourt's aggressiveness, fragile ego and undercapitalization have combined to put the Dodgers on a most promising road. Weird, huh? I'm in a Panglossian mood I guess.

2008-01-05 15:00:30
43.   Bob Timmermann
And I should add that Walter O'Malley barely won his battle to get his stadium in Chavez Ravine. The ballot measure to approve the land transfer barely passed and was later held up in court.

You can come to the Central Library on Thursday April 3 at noon and hear my talk on the Chavez Ravine dispute. Plenty of good seats available!

2008-01-05 15:38:00
44.   Andrew Shimmin
Westbrook looked Mbah-a-Moutian on that one.
2008-01-05 15:44:46
45.   trainwreck
Did I mention that Russell Westbrook is good?
2008-01-05 16:19:58
46.   Andrew Shimmin
Was the dude in gold (and more gold, and more gold) somebody I should know? Or does the cameraman have a thing for man jewelry?
2008-01-05 16:32:10
47.   immouch
dodgers went to crap when they kept winning ROY awards in the '90s. the awards lulled management into thinking they had more talent than they did. or, rather, the awards allowed management to convince the public they had a farm system when, in fact, their system was stinky. of the players who won ROY in that run only piazza and, briefly, mondesi, were true stars at their position. well, nomo too for a bit. and i loved karros as a guy, but he was, overall, a so-so first baseman... anyway, they didn't develop much during that period and i can't help but think the ROY awards prevented them from rebuilding the farm system sooner than they shoulda.
2008-01-05 16:32:18
48.   El Lay Dave
Old friend Jolbert Cabrera given an NRI by the Reds:
2008-01-05 16:33:03
49.   immouch
my tv is freaky. cal looks like orangecicles.
2008-01-05 16:33:56
50.   El Lay Dave
I dislike the camera angles from Cal's gym.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-01-05 16:53:06
51.   D4P
You can come to the Central Library on Thursday April 3 at noon and hear my talk on the Chavez Ravine dispute. Plenty of good seats available!

Do I need a library card to get in...?

2008-01-05 16:54:04
52.   Daniel Zappala
I liked what Ken Noe said back in 10 : positive leadership is something the Dodgers lacked last year.
2008-01-05 16:54:44
53.   Daniel Zappala
Bob, you're going to videotape that talk and put it up on the web, right? Because I won't be in LA until two weeks later.
2008-01-05 17:26:16
54.   Bob Timmermann
99% of the research has been done by a friend of mine, Andy McCue, and he has graciously let me borrow it for my presentation.
2008-01-05 18:04:19
55.   Bluebleeder87

What time are you gonna start Bob?

2008-01-05 18:10:32
56.   Bluebleeder87

That sounds like a great idea also.

2008-01-05 18:30:51
57.   Indiana Jon
43 53
At least a written transcript maybe? For thos of us that can't make it to LA, but would love to see what you have to say.
2008-01-05 18:32:14
58.   Kevin Lewis
Is it just me, or is Best Buy the most disheveled store on the planet?
2008-01-05 18:38:59
59.   El Lay Dave
58 You must have never ventured into the 99¢ Store.
2008-01-05 18:49:38
60.   Xeifrank
32. 8 to 9 inches of rain in our local mountains. I'd call it a pretty big storm considering most of that fell on burn areas.
vr, Xei
2008-01-05 19:52:12
61.   Gen3Blue
LA--your rain is making me nervous. It usually portends precipitation on the east coast at some point. We have had the most snow in december I can remember for many a year, and I am getting too old for long snowy winters. But I seem to remember this foreshadowing successful D's teams, and if this is the case I will be resigned. By the way, I have a feeling Jones and Koruda will work out much better than Schmidt and Pierre. I have an optimism, but after seeing the 2003 line-up I just don't know how biased I am.
2008-01-05 21:17:08
62.   Gen3Blue
Looks like I had the last word--for a while! :0)
2008-01-05 21:27:06
63.   Kevin Lewis

Only once

2008-01-05 21:38:10
64.   Andrew Shimmin
I cannot think of a single (legal) reason to go to a Best Buy. Retail is for chumps.
2008-01-05 22:04:34
65.   natepurcell
The edge is strong for Andrew.
2008-01-05 23:04:32
66.   dzzrtRatt
64 Did your Blu-Ray fall off a truck?
2008-01-05 23:17:13
67.   Andrew Shimmin
66- The illegal reason for going to Best Buy I was thinking of, actually, was kidnapping. If you ever need a kid in a hurry, head to Best Buy. Nobody's paying any attention to them.
2008-01-05 23:19:36
68.   Jon Weisman
The approach of a new day brings a Bill Plaschke column that I can enjoy.
2008-01-05 23:20:20
69.   LAT
If you do buy something from a Best Buy or Circuit City store be sure to check the internet price first. I have had three occassions where the in store price was higher than the thier website price. They honored the internet price each time but you had to askfor it.
2008-01-05 23:28:36
70.   LAT
If that's the case, after nearly three weeks of having them home from school I may take mine to Best Buy.
2008-01-06 00:14:41
71.   bhsportsguy
68 It seems a little late to be writng this particular column.
2008-01-06 00:36:36
72.   fanerman
64 BB (as we like to call it) has good deals on lots of stuff from time to time. Just gotta look and wait.
2008-01-06 04:42:18
73.   old dodger fan
64 Best reason for going to Best Buy. I received a BB gift card for Christmas. 2nd reason: Where I live (except for the pre-Christmas rush) they have knowledgable sales people standing around willing to help. You can ask questions without having to buy. There are better values at Sam's Club though the selection is not as good.
2008-01-06 07:18:26
74.   Ken Noe
I prefer Buy More, followed by a snack at Winierlicious.
2008-01-06 07:55:25
75.   Bumsrap
Whatever the Dodgers had going under Fred Claire came to a halt when Piazza was traded. Not finding a way to keep Tommy John and Steve Sax earlier were the dominoes that caused so many other dominoes to fall.

So far my biggest complaint with McCourt's PVLs is not that they were obtained but that they seemed to play ahead of better younger players and I never had an interest for cheering for another team's player on loan to the Dodgers.

Team chemestry conjurs up memories of moles and a mole here and a mole there never added up to an easy answer.

2008-01-06 08:02:13
76.   Jon Weisman
New post up top.
2008-01-06 15:50:02
77.   ET90210
Off topic guys, but I found a pretty cool free agency list for next offseason. It's never to early, is it? lol

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