Sorry for the delay, folks. I've finally finished crunching the numbers for the 2006 MLB Team Chemistry Indices. This year's TCI's were especially difficult to calculate, but I think you'll find them especially revealing. (A complete explanation of the formula can be found at the end of the post.)
Anyway, on to the numbers and some explanatory comments!
== 2006 MLB Team Chemistry Index [(c) 2006 FJM] ==
1. STL -- 167.78 (+8) Not much of a surprise here. Great leadership by gritty veterans like Edmonds and Rolen. Another cohesive ship helmed by LaRussa. And oh -- let's not forget a little thing called Eckstein.
2. PHI -- 156.65 (+7) Didn't expect to see them quite so high, but clearly the wild card chase brought this team together like magnets. Quiet leadership from Ryan Howard; don't forget, he's almost 27 and knows how to communicate well.
3. FLA -- 153.67 (+7) Needless to say, "it showed." This team was clearly more than the sum of its parts, especially after the all-star break. Exceptional chemistry for such a young team. Watch out for these guys.
4. MIL -- 123.92 (+5) Look at this team's roster, and you'll see that they're full of glue guys like Corey Koskie and Jeff Cirillo. Side note: you ever wonder why it seems like National League teams are always at the top of these lists? Here's a theory: pitchers having to bat creates a little less friction between pitchers and position players.
5. NYM -- 80.64 (+3) What's that old saying? "Working together is chemistry. Winning together is alchemy." You better believe it.
6. BAL -- 76.27 (+2) Maybe all those things they used to say about Miguel Tejada are still true. First one to the ballpark, sparkplug, etc. Add a few character guys (Millar, Loewen) and suddenly this high ranking isn't so surprising.
7. CLE -- 67.00 (+2) To be sure, the on-field results were disappointing this year. But ask the local beat writers if these guys ever gave up. Ask them if Pronk and Sizemore and Cliff Lee ever threw in the towel in September. Ask them what Jake Westbrook found in his cleats one morning in Detroit, and you'll find out what kind of clubhouse they had.
8. NYY -- 65.67 (+2) People wonder why I keep saying Joe Torre should be Manager of the Year every year. Numbers like this one are why. Assist: Derek Jeter. Unsung Chemistry Hero: Ron Villone. TCI Could've Been Over 100 Without: A-Rod.
9. TOR -- 65.20 (+2) And they said all J.P. Ricciardi cared about were the numbers. Tell that to guys like Greg Zaun and Jeremy Accardo. Laid back Canadian atmosphere can't hurt either.
10. CIN -- 63.67 (+1) You have to wonder whether this number would have been higher or lower without those midseason trades. Some say despite all those strikeouts from Austin Kearns, he may have been the guy holding that young clubhouse together.
11. PIT -- 63.45 (+1) Sometimes it's easy to get along when there are zero expectations to begin with. These are a good group of guys to be sure, and one of the newest clubhouses in the bigs fosters lots of communal time among teammates.
12. LAA -- 59.74 (0) Whether it's Blink 182 or Carlos Santana; Burgers or Enchiladas; Jessica Biel or Jennifer Lopez, it's all welcome in the bilingual Angels clubhouse. Credit owner Arte Moreno for bringing in the heavy Latin flair.
13. SEA -- 57.91 (0) Word out of Seattle is this young pitching staff does everything together. I mean, almost everything.
14. SND -- 57.39 (0) What do Cla Meredith, Russell Branyan and Khalil Greene have in common? More than you might think.
15. COL -- 54.21 (0) You have to wonder how the changes to the longstanding batting order affected the psyche and clubhouse demeanor of Todd Helton. They don't often win more than 80 games, but these guys are usually better than a middle of the pack chemistry team.
16. ARZ -- 53.42 (0) Credit Darren Nolan of the Phoenix Daily Globe for this perfect description of the Diamondbacks: "Twenty-five players. Twelve to fifteen cabs."
17. BOS -- 52.86 (-2) You might expect them to come in even lower, but remember, the TCI is a cumulative, full-year statistic. "Manny being Manny" (the bad kind) didn't kick in till about August. Plus, as good as Papi is on the field, he's just as valuable in the clubhouse.
18. CHC -- 51.25 (-2) It'll be interesting to see how the next Cubs' skipper tries to turn this number around. He might not be able to get guys on base more often, but he can sure do something about that 51.25 TCI. It wasn't all Dusty's fault, though. See also: nagging injuries, Scott Eyre, and, according to one anonymous infielder "dogshit clubhouse catering."
19. LAD -- 51.19 (-2) Paging Dr. LoDuca.
20. SNF -- 50.50 (-2) It's hard to build too much chemistry when there's a performance-enhanced elephant in your clubhouse. And I'll tell what isn't the cure for a situation like that: Shea Hillenbrand.
21. CHW -- 49.53 (-2) Looking for an explanation for the defending champs' failure to even make the playoffs? Look no further. Just as easily as you can picture Ozzie celebrating after a big win, it's just as easy to picture him screaming at his boys behind closed doors after a loss. And that's not the kind of clubhouse you want to walk into the next day.
22. KAN -- 46.59 (-3) Hard to blame the players when their owner doesn't even seem to care. What's the use of getting along when you know you're just going to get traded as soon as you become too good?
23. MIN -- 46.38 (-3) All year long we heard the same thing: the Twins will go as far as Santana and Liriano will take them. There was nothing Mauer or Morneau could do to garner attention, and for a team so young, that kind of competition can be seriously disruptive. Give them credit for being able to leave their off the field problems off the field.
24. TEX -- 44.79 (-3) Hey, it's not like Rod Barajas and John Koronka are exactly known for their people skills.
25. HOU -- 43.98 (-3) You think maybe everyone other than Roger Clemens was getting a little sick of the Roger Clemens saga?
26. OAK -- 43.85 (-4) Score another point for those who say there's one thing Billy Beane can't measure with all his fancy numbers: heart.
27. ATL -- 42.72 (-5) You think these guys ever finished in the bottom four during their 300-year run as division champs?
28. WAS -- 40.05 (-7) From those on the inside, it sounds like the much-rumored Ryan Church-Luis Ayala brawl may have been the least of their problems. The closest thing these guys had to a veteran leader was Jose Vidro. Due respect, Jose, but that's not gonna get it done.
29. DET -- 39.32 (-8) There's your giant surprise, folks. But what does this really tell us? My take: Leyland gets a little too much credit for engendering a winning attitude...but not nearly enough for being a great game manager.
30. TAM -- 38.12 (-8) When you're counting on Dan Miceli as your 'show-the-kids-how-they-do-it-in-the-bigs' guy, you're pretty much asking for as much chemistry as Andersoon Cooper and Portia di Rossi.
TCI Forumla: As always, the TCI for each team is derived from a series of random numbers.
Once teams were ranked, TCI was computed by using the total domestic box office gross (in millions) of the top 30 films from 1987. Cardinals = "Three Men And A Baby"; Brewers = "Good Morning, Vietnam" and so on.
Then it's time for some ridiculous "Power Rankings" like comments, and that's pretty much it. Now that I'm done with this I kind of forgot what the point of this exercise was. Oh well.