July 5, 2012

David Ortiz, Red Sox proving clubhouse chemistry is important

David Ortiz thinks it's embarrassing to make $14.575 million in one season. He even went as far as saying to USA Today that it's humiliating.

Now, he's right to feel humiliated – but only for these comments.

He's the team's best player, sure, but he's only a designated hitter. And he's 36 years old. The Red Sox' deal was more than fair. Put a cork in it, Papi.

All of this ranting about the media and his contract reminds me of Gary Sheffield, who memorably complained about his three-year, $39 million deal, among other things, with the Yankees.

I'm glad the Yankees haven't had anyone like Ortiz or Sheffield on the roster in recent years.

Think about how much of a pleasure it's been to have Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson in postgame interviews. Both guys have great character, and they can play.

You might be thinking that it doesn't matter what happens off the field as long as the player produces, but I think negative press can hurt a clubhouse. And, despite the fact that there are no statistics supporting that, as a former high school athlete I believe clubhouse chemistry factors into a team's success.

Here's some evidence: The Red Sox had their problems in the clubhouse last season and they collapsed. Want more evidence? This year, Ortiz has run his mouth, as has Bobby Valentine, Dustin Pedroia and Josh Beckett. And would you look at that, the Red Sox head into this weekend's series with the Yankees 7.5 games back in the AL East.

Sure, the Sox can use their injuries as an excuse, but as we'll all see this weekend, the Sox still have a good team, better than their 42-40 record. The team's leader, despite his good production, is partially to blame.

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