August 14th, 2012
Something’s happening on this team and in this clubhouse. You can probably see it yourself.
Despite last night’s 14-2 debacle – which was just bizarre – we’re a different team than we were at the start of the season. It’s not just that we’ve added new players, though that’s part of it. I don’t know exactly the right words, but it’s this sense of meshing together as a single unit. Really battling for each other. Really believing that if one guys is scrapping, someone else will pick him up.
I guess it’s what some people call chemistry. How it comes about, I have no idea. But I’ve never felt it more than I do now.
And there is nothing more fun in this game than playing on a team with that kind of camaraderie. It’s awesome. And the thing is, the more you let go of your own individual performance, the better you seem to play. I don’t know how that works, but it does.
Sunday night was a great example. We were down. Things weren’t going our way. But we never stopped battling. Every at-bat. Every pitch. Every inning. And we came back to win.
You’re battling for two reasons, I think: because you completely believe you can win, and you don’t want to let your teammates down. They’re doing everything they can to win, so you never stop thinking about what little thing you can do – in the field, on the base paths, at the plate – to contribute.
Sometimes as a new player in the major leagues, you feel like you’re carrying a dream for a whole bunch of people – your family, your friends back home, your high school and college coaches and teammates. Then you come to understand you’re playing for one thing only: The 24 other guys in the dugout with you.
Yes, you play for the fans and for the coaches and front office and all the people who make your job possible. But for those hours on the field, it’s all about each other.
I know these are supposed to be the dog days of the season. But we’re energized. We’re ready to earn our spot in the playoffs and beyond. Getting Pablo back in the lineup is a real boost. Of course Buster is in a category all his own. What he’s done since the All-Star break is amazing. I don’t know how else to describe it. He’s playing the toughest position on the field and he’s still hitting the crap out of the ball. I look at him every day and say to myself, “That’s the guy you want to emulate.’’ He’s the model of consistency, peak performance and balance.
But I can look toward every locker in the clubhouse and find something to emulate in every single guy. That’s what makes this team so fun. The personalities and experiences are so different, but everybody gels and feeds off each other. Everybody brings a crucial piece to making this team what it is.
I don’t want to sign off without thanking all of you who left comments on my last post. I read every one of them. I feel really blessed to have so much support from so many people.
I hope you’re as excited about our drive to the postseason as we are. We have stiff competition. The Dodgers aren’t going away. But one thing we can promise: No group of 25 guys, and no staff of coaches, will battle harder or smarter than we will.
See you at the park.