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Jim Leyland's awesomely grizzled take on the Nationals' team chemistry

Before last night's game, reporters in Jim Leyland's office brought up the topic of Ivan Rodriguez's impact on the Nationals. Talk turned to the effect a veteran Hall of Famer can have on a team.

"It's not what Pudge brings into the clubhouse," Leyland said. "It's what Pudge brings on to the field. He's hitting .336! That's the kind of production you want. [Shucks], I can find a nice bunch of guys you want in the clubhouse. I can find that. He's producing. That's what's good. That's how I look at."

The talk turned to how Brennan Boesch -- who has a 1.076 OPS in 15 games -- has sparked the Tigers. Leyland circled back to the same point he made with Rodriguez: the only spark comes from actual production. Leyland related his thought to the Nationals.

"They didn't bring Strasburg up because he's a nice guy," Leyland said. "They brought him up because he's a big talent. He has a chance to be an unbelievable pitcher and he's won two games already.

"Take all that clubhouse [stuff] and all that, throw it out the window. Every writer in the country has been writing about that [nonsense] for years. Chemistry don't mean [anything]. He's up here because he's good. That don't mean [a hill of beans]. They got good chemistry because their team is improved, they got a real good team, they got guys knocking in runs, they got a catcher hitting .336, they got a phenom pitcher they just brought up. That's why they're happy."

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 16, 2010; 3:05 PM ET
 
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Comments

This is SO true. Teams don't win because of great chemistry.

They develop great chemistry because they are winning.

With the exception of certain bad guys who are just toxic to any clubhouse, all the stuff written about chemistry is BS and I love the way Leyland minces no words about it.

Posted by: Meridian1 | June 16, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Willie Harris [Shucks]

Posted by: longterm | June 16, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the afternoon laugh. Those expletive placeholders are [quite simply] hilarious. :-D

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 16, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Making an exception for bad guys who are toxic reveals a different side to Leyland's argument. Yes, talent is going to win. But every team has at least some marginal/replacement level players. Maybe that's where chemistry makes a difference. If Dukes had put up numbers last year, he'd still be here. If he doesn't put up numbers, the team is happier with someone who is a better clubhouse presence.

To me, chemistry is not complete BS. It seems right to think that a player's mental health affects his performance. But it is a lot more complicated than just finding the 25 guys who get along the best.

Posted by: jcj5y | June 16, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Wow. This might be my favorite take on chemistry EVER. Go, Jim Leyland.

Posted by: Section220 | June 16, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Ain't Leyland wonderful?

Posted by: JohnRDC | June 16, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Jim Leyland doesn't acknowledge the periodic table, because he only recognizes the element of surprise.

Posted by: trezmartin | June 16, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Amen, Jim Leyland!

Posted by: Section506 | June 16, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Blog entry of the day, hands down. Thanks for telling it like it is Jim Leyland, and thanks for passing it on in such a humorous way Adam.

Austin Kearns was supposedly a great "clubhouse guy." But he stunk when he was here. They're happy to have him in Cleveland, but it's because he's doing well at the plate, not because he's making the clubhouse a better place.

Posted by: Section222 | June 16, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I wonder can we trade Riggs and the over the hill gang. for a new staff? How about Pudge as a player coach?

Posted by: hansenjo | June 16, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Leyland was old school before the term was fashionable there's a video of Leyland in a confrontation with Barry Bonds during spring training while both were still in Pittsburgh with Leyland doing all the talking after Bond's had verbally abused members of the media, let me just say this cussing like a sailor was mild compared to the way Leyland let Bond's have it, hell Leyland was the freakin admiral on that sermon he laid on Barry that afternoon.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 16, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Leyland was old school before the term was fashionable there's a video of Leyland in a confrontation with Barry Bonds during spring training while both were still in Pittsburgh with Leyland doing all the talking after Bond's had verbally abused members of the media, let me just say this cussing like a sailor was mild compared to the way Leyland let Bond's have it, hell Leyland was the freakin admiral on that sermon he laid on Barry that afternoon.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 16, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the double post!

Posted by: dargregmag | June 16, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Please tell me that Jim was sucking on a Marlboro as he dished this grizzled wisdom.

Posted by: pgolkin | June 16, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Exactly. Every1 said Bonds and ARod were 2 of the biggest jerks and clubhouse cancers around. But it never stopped either of those teams from winning did it? Good thing Rizzo went out and got that great clubhouse presence and all around good guy Adam Kennedy and his 4 or is it now 5 game-losing errors. At leasat everyone in the clubhouse likes hime right?

Posted by: dovelevine | June 16, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Guys that speak like that are [anal sphincters]. "Old school" does not mean "limited vocabulary."

Posted by: tailwagger | June 16, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Jim Riggleman meet Jim Leyland. Willie Harris is hitting .176 but hey he is good in the clubhouse? Where's the beef? The production? C'mon Riggleman!!!???

Posted by: periculum | June 16, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Hehe - love it. Nice substitutions.

Posted by: PattyinSJ | June 16, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Excellent, excellent, Mr. Leyland!
I hope Riggleman and Rizzo take notice.
You don't make the jump from respectable to contender by signing and playing the good clubhouse guys with their .650 OPS and mediocre defense.

Besides, there is also something wrong with a clubhouse that is unable to deal with a couple of jerks as long as they produce.

Posted by: amo36 | June 16, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Got to love Jim Leyland. He's also one [lollapalooza] of a manager.

Ol' Salty.

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | June 16, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

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