It is easy to forget about the human element in sports. Teams spend so much time focusing on statistical evaluations and analytics where the players themselves are almost secondary. Concepts such as team chemistry and the idea that certain players just have a knack for coming through in specific spots have fallen by the wayside.
But those intangibles can make a major difference. As Chris Bassitt noted in an interview with Pitching Ninja on Twitter, those intangibles can make a difference in building a winning team.
Chris Bassitt makes great point about team chemistry
Team chemistry can make a major difference. That was evident last year, when the Padres, a team that many expected to steamroll into the postseason, sputtered and finished below .500. The enduring image of the season involved Manny Machado yelling at Fernando Tatis Jr in the dugout. The same can be said of the Mets, whose season was known for the thumbs down celebration and a fight between Jeff McNeil and Francisco Lindor.
Then there is a team such as the Braves. They were left for dead around the trade deadline, needing to rebuild their entire outfield. By adding the likes of Joc Pederson, they were able to build a viable team and improve the locker room. That made a major difference in their improbable push for a title.
It is something that can be felt in our day to day as well. As Bassitt noted, there are some people that just suck the life out of a room. We have all had managers that we did not want to work for, causing us not to put forth our best effort in the workplace. The same can happen in every walk of life.
And that is something that can be a major difference when it comes to sports as well. Having a close-knit locker room can lead to an extra few wins over the season. While they say that winning breeds a stronger, more cohesive unit, having a team that likes each other makes a major difference to begin with.
Intangibles are being overlooked in the Age of Analytics. As Chris Bassitt pointed out, those intangibles can make a major difference.