If human history has proven anything, it is that we as a species are not capable of "all just getting along."
So rather than undertake some quixotic quest for perfect harmony, I suggest we spend our all-too-finite resources predicting who among us will freak out next.
Hence the baseball version of that pursuit, a team-by-team list of the most likely player-manager feuds this upcoming MLB season.
Because we all know how much authority sucks—tip of the hat to punk rock—and we all know much fun it is to challenge it.
On a team filled with familiar faces, I'll take the new guy as the most likely dissenter.
Hard as it is to see Phillies manager Charlie Manuel feuding with anyone—the man is too avuncular for grudges—it's even harder to envision him in a fight with any of his core players.
Jonathan Papelbon doesn't know the clubhouse has enough personality to ruffle a few feathers. Plus, I'm afraid prolonged exposure to that sour-lemon glare of his could alienate teammates.
It's hard to love anyone when they look so disingenuous. We get it—you're intense. Now shut your mouth.
This selection has nothing to do with personality.
Jason Heyward seems to have a level head. Manager Fredi Gonzalez looked near comatose during the Braves' epic collapse last September.
Hard to see either of them at the other's throat.
But I'm not sure how much longer a man of Heyward's talents can stand to sit behind a player that licks his bat.
Heyward both a) knows bats aren't for licking and b) has the kind of hitting potential that can revitalize Atlanta's offense. If Gonzalez continues to waver on his commitment to the young stud, tension may bubble.
It kills me that I can't put Bryce Harper in this spot, since it's a near certainty Harper will feud with a manager at some point in his baseball career. Alas, he does not yet play for the Nationals, and even if he does get the call up, he is unlikely to pick a fight during early major league action.
Jayson Werth keeps his spot warm until then.
The disgruntlement factor is strong with this one. He's coming off the worst year of his career in the first season following a scrutinized mega deal. That's reason enough to sulk.
But wait, there's more.
Werth also has a well-worn reputation for prickliness—see his Sports Illustrated profile—and Nationals manager Davey Johnson feuded with star Roberto Alomar and owner Peter Angelos during his time in Baltimore.
Powder keg, meet match.
It's a tribute to David Wright's character that he hasn't already flipped.
His owner dissed him, Mets fans assail him for his perceived fragility and he's the last man standing on a bombed-out roster. He's withstood all of that, his sanity intact, despite taking questions from the world's most unrelenting media.
David, buddy, let it out.
Everything about Wright's past says he's the grin-and-bear-it type, but even the most restrained among us have limits.
Carlos Zambrano is the most batsh*t-crazy player in baseball (post-Milton Bradley). Ozzie Guillen is the most batsh*t-crazy manager in baseball.
So instead of wasting your time explaining why Zambrano and Guillen will feud, let's speculate as to how their feud(s) will start:
* Jenga gone awry
* Arguing over who would win in a fight between triceratops and brontosaurus
* The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift—great movie or greatest movie ever?
* Pitching, baseball, the like
* The merits of Charles Dickens' literary career as compared to his role as social reformer
* Who gets that delicious bologna sandwich?
My money is on the fictional dinosaur fight.
I know we're supposed to believe Zambrano and Guillen can coexist because they're countrymen and have a prior friendship, but the fact that they're friends only further convinces me of their eventual combustion.
When two crazy friends join forces, it doesn't neutralize the crazy—it heightens it.
I don't know if it's Nyjer Morgan who'll feud with Brewers manager Ron Roenicke this year or whether it's his alter ego, Tony Plush, that is quick to anger.
Which brings us to problem the first: Nyjer Morgan has an alternate personality.
It was all well and good last year when the Brewers were winning, but if things don't go as smoothly this year—with Prince Fielder gone and Ryan Braun likely out 50 games, they may well not—Morgan's charm can turn darker.
Last year was a best-case scenario for the Brewers' relationship with Morgan. 2012 might not be so kind.
The potential for conflict is ripe as the Cardinals transition from Tony La Russa to new manager Mike Matheny.
Thus, while everyone is a suspect, veteran catcher Yadier Molina seems the most likely purveyor of discord.
Molina's been with St. Louis eight years and grown accustomed to La Russa's style. What's more, Molina was the player La Russa picked to supplant Matheny as the Cardinals' full-time starting catcher in 2005.
It's never easy to work for a guy that used to have your job. He's always needling you about procedure and dropping passive-aggressive references to "the way things used to work around here."
When that same boss happens to be the guy whose playing career you effectively ended, the awkward meter rises to new levels of collar-tugging squeamishness.
When he arrived in San Diego, Mat Latos quickly earned a reputation as a cocky kid with electric stuff and a defiant attitude.
What his Padre teammates didn't know was that Latos' churlish disposition had a long history stretching back to his days as a teenager.
A 2010 article in ESPN The Magazine called Latos "one of the most polarizing amateur players in South Florida's recent history," detailing his many past transgressions and the drawn-out process through which his San Diego teammates learned to tolerate him.
It's that track record that has me worried about his transition to Cincinnati, one that he will see him move from a spacious ballpark to a bandbox, and from pitcher-friendly manager Bud Black to pitcher-abusing manager Dusty Baker.
Given all that and the raised expectations brought forth by a four-for-one trade, Latos has big-time malcontent potential.
It appears Jose Tabata has matured since his days as a Yankee farmhand.
Back then, his antics, which included leaving the field during a game, impelled the Bombers to include him in a deal for Xavier Nady. It also came to light that his wife kidnapped a child. Neither of those tidbits speaks well to his judgment.
Since joining Pittsburgh he's displayed little of that immaturity, and his improved behavior emboldened the Pirates to give him a six-year contract extension.
But because no other Pirates players appear worthy of this ignominy, I'll take the guy with the skeletons in his closet.
I can feel my fingers typing "M-i-l-t-o-n..." before I catch myself and remind them that Milton Bradley no longer plays baseball for anyone anymore.
I hit backspace and begin to tap out another familiar name: "C-a-r-l-o-s..." Damn it, Carlos Zambrano does the crazy dance in Miami these days.
So who is the next Cubs clubhouse killer?
The most obvious candidate is current ace and rumored trade bait Matt Garza.
Garza earned a reputation for over-the-top on-field antics during his time in Tampa Bay, punctuated by a very public tiff with catcher Dioner Navarro.
Garza hasn't gone the Bradley-Zambrano route in his short time with the Cubs, though floating trade rumors and new manager Dale Sveum's hard line may challenge that newfound maturity.
Some incidents can be dismissed as youthful indiscretions.
Punching your wife in public and calling a beat reporter a "retard" during your sixth major league season don't fit in that category.
Myers is guilty of both—though his wife refused to press charges on the former—and they reveal the dark side of a jokester long admired for his positive clubhouse presence.
A rudderless, rebuilding team could well bring Myers' darker side to the surface. He's swung between extremes during his career, and the Astros hope he remains on good terms.
Stephen Drew is the kid with the ice pack at the back of a jubilant bus, sulking because the team performed better without him and because he was supposed to be the hero.
All the other kids buy into the winning spirit, while ice-pack kid sinks deeper into self-pity.
It's a rough—I mean super, super rough—parable for Stephen Drew's place on a rising Arizona team.
Injury sidelined him through the meaningful part of Arizona's season, and if there's anyone likely to lead the backlash against strong-willed manager Kurt Gibson, it's ice-pack kid.
Not to mention that Stephen Drew is a member of the Drew family, and as a Phillies fan, I reserve the right to bash anyone carrying that surname.
From outward appearances, Brian Wilson has gotten weirder and weirder since joining the San Francisco Giants in 2006.
So far it's been the good kind of weird—the goofy, pop-culture-crossing, vaguely inspirational kind of weird.
I doubt whether that can last forever, particularly as a team branded with an outcast identity descends from its championship perch. Weird can turn ugly fast when losing enters the equation.
Now Wilson has shown no signs of divisiveness to this point, at least not that I know of. And if anyone can keep this bunch together and focused, it's the affable Bruce Bochy.
But if I have to pick one guy to put a stick in those spokes, it's going to be the one that thinks different.
Don't let the Oklahoma City roots fool you. Matt Kemp likes it just fine in L.A.
He's taken to the city's celebrity lifestyle—most notable in his relationship with pop superstar Rihanna—and lives in the city year-round.
At face value that's not bad news, until you combine it with his fresh contract extension and past questions about his focus.
For the record, I think Kemp is too good to regress much and more committed to his craft than people tend to admit. But if there's one player on the Dodger roster with character questions on his head, it's Kemp.
Fair or unfair, no one else has garnered the same level of scrutiny.
If you believe Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd, every complementary piece of last year's disappointing Rockies team was to blame for their uninspired play.
He felt homegrown prospects had become too comfortable with their place in the organization and that their collective attitude created a blasé clubhouse.
So O'Dowd did what he felt he had to do: He jettisoned nearly every homegrown complementary player the Rockies had—a list that included Ian Stewart, Ryan Spilborghs, Chris Iannetta and Seth Smith.
As O'Dowd sees it, those moves cleared the Rockies of their parasites and netted them a roster full of good guys and grinders (non-sandwich variety).
It isn't the SABR-approved way to build a team, and O'Dowd might not survive the fallout if his chemistry experiment fails to improve what was once a promising young team.
Edinson Volquez has his wake-up call.
Four years after he earned his first and only All-Star nod as a 24-year-old, Volquez finds himself on the "four" end of four-for-one deal.
Translation: The Reds don't think you're that good anymore.
It's been a bumpy road for Volquez since 2008, one that includes Tommy John surgery, a 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs and a demotion to the minor leagues for what Sports Illustrated's Joe Lemire deemed "attitude and control issues."
Now Volquez needs to prove his worth as a big-league starter, and he'll have to do it in small-market San Diego. Probably not what he envisioned for himself, and certainly not what the Reds had hoped for.
If he can swallow this assault to his pride—a trade in which he was the fourth-most compelling piece moved—Volquez has the stuff to regain respectability.
If he still sees the "ace" label as a birthright, his time in San Diego will be short.
In the same time it took God to flood the earth, Rafael Soriano managed to alienate his new Yankee teammates and anger manager Joe Girardi.
Amidst a six-game losing streak in mid-May, Soriano had this to say about his team's efforts:
"I don't think the bullpen is the problem right now. ... I think it's the hitters."
Girardi responded with a thinly veiled rebuke:
"My thought is, we win as a team and we lose as a team. ... Everyone on this club can always do a little bit more. That's the bottom line. You can take that for what it's worth."
Perhaps it wasn't the destruction of all creation, but by setup-man standards it was close.
Soriano has yet to recover from those inauspicious beginnings in the eyes of the Yankee faithful, many of whom already eyed him and his many-zeroed contract with suspicion.
Until reported otherwise, he remains lead hound in Girardi's doghouse.
Rays manager Joe Maddon gets rave reviews for his work with young players—the only type he's really known during his time in Tampa—but the master motivator seems to have hit a brick wall with B.J. Upton.
Not only has the talented outfielder stalled in his baseball development, Upton's lack of hustle in a few notable instances has drawn Maddon's public ire as well.
As Upton continues to emerge in trade rumors, their relationship should get a stiff test this spring.
I'll be happy if I never hear another word about whatever Josh Beckett and his pitcher friends ate or drank in the Boston clubhouse last year.
But whatever happened and whatever was reported has Beckett hopping mad.
Long considered a hothead, few questioned his commitment to baseball until the recent "scandal" involving Beckett's role in the Red Sox late-season meltdown.
That apparently has Beckett's head hotter than ever, a sentiment he expressed to new manager Bobby Valentine in an offseason chat.
Not to say Beckett's anger was directed at Valentine—more that when you're first meeting someone, you probably want to elicit some reaction other than utter vitriol.
Good luck tidying up that mess, Bobby V.
Rare is the player who hits 23 home runs and posts a 132 OPS+ at age 23.
Even rarer is the player who manages the first and finds himself on another team by age 24.
Colby Rasmus pulled off the rare double dip by clashing with the one man more unassailable than a hotshot prospect: a Hall of Fame manager.
Tony La Russa didn't take to Rasmus when he was a St. Louis Cardinal, and now the talented malcontent is Toronto's to mold.
If the Blue Jays do it right, they have a key piece of their future puzzle in place. If they don't, manager John Farrell has a potential headache on his hands.
This prediction comes with no insider knowledge of the Orioles clubhouse or any prior incidences suggesting people dislike Kevin Gregg.
It's simply my default, when given no other promising leads, to pick the temperamental dude.
Between the lines Gregg seems to fit that label. He feuded with the Red Sox last year over an at-bat against David Ortiz that resulted in a bench-clearing brawl.
This year he'll have to handle his opponents' ire as well as his demotion from the closer's role in favor of teammate Jim Johnson.
The same logic that applies to Kevin Gregg applies here to Jose Valverde.
Anyone as demonstrative as Valverde on the mound has to have some water-cooler-destroying tendencies deeper within.
I'm thinking Newton's law, but for relief pitchers with silly dances.
Just when you thought Derek Lowe's days as a hard-partying Hanson lookalike were behind him, bad Derek resurfaces with a 2011 DUI and shamefaced public apology.
Lowe's fought character issues throughout his career. For those who thought he'd outgrown the drama, 2011 was a big step backwards.
The Indians expect him on his best behavior and feel he can provide veteran guidance to their young staff. Any more setbacks along last year's lines threaten to derail those plans.
"If you play against him, you hate him. If you play with him, you hate him a little less."
—Former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen on catcher A.J. Pierzynski
Today's media-savvy and image-conscious professional athletes rarely let on which players they like and which players they dislike.
That's how much they all hate A.J. Pierzynski.
A Sports Illustrated player poll rated Pierzynski the most hated player in baseball, and the longtime catcher's prickly disposition has become common knowledge among even casual fans.
Ozzie Guillen endured many a headache dealing with Pierzynski over the past seven years, and now that unenviable task falls to new manager Robin Ventura.
The Kansas City Royals are too young and upwardly mobile to be arguing with each other.
If they're bickering at this point in the "Process," God help them all.
During Ron Gardenhire's tenure as manager, the Minnesota Twins have developed a league-wide reputation for their clubhouse chemistry.
Last year it didn't lead to much winning, but as Richard Justice of MLB.com points out, it garnered Twins players on the free-agent market special attention this offseason.
"There's something about those Minnesota Twins that baseball people love."
I'm not sure I can explain why people playing baseball in Minnesota are nicer than people playing baseball elsewhere, but no one around the game seems to question it.
Today he's the prototype for a player's manager, but it hasn't always been that way for Texas skipper Ron Washington.
Public disagreements with past Rangers like Mark Teixeira and Gerald Laird led to speculation about his long-term viability as a clubhouse leader.
The current group in Arlington seems so enamored of him that it's hard to imagine a major rift developing.
But Wash did take issue with star shortstop Elvis Andrus' lack of hustle in a June game against the Minnesota Twins, proving he hasn't abandoned the confrontational style that led him to past dust-ups.
For now the relationship between Washington and Andrus appears copacetic, but it's early in the youngster's career, and those wounds have time to fester.
Both C.J. Wilson and Albert Pujols—the Angels' big-ticket free-agent acquisitions—come with chemistry concerns attached.
Wilson is a self-styled free thinker, a straight-edge connoisseur of radical politics who has angered past teammates with unflattering comments about their intellect.
The quirkiness flew in Ron Washington's Ranger locker room, but it's unclear how that'll play in Mike Scioscia's domain.
Albert Pujols gets the perfunctory title of clubhouse leader because of his long career and outstanding production, but all that glitters isn't gold.
Longstanding rumors say he holds preference for fellow Latino players and used the locker room carte blanche given him by former manager Tony La Russa to exclude teammates he didn't favor.
That's all unsubstantiated, but it goes to the larger point that Pujols and La Russa were as close as manager and player can be.
Will Scioscia give Pujols the same kind of leeway or work to develop the same kind of bond? At this point in Pujols' career, can he?
All important questions as Pujols makes this once-in-a-career transition to new territory.
Brandon McCarthy is one of the few Athletics familiar enough with the Oakland locker room to find the manager's office.
McCarthy also has one of the most frank (and entertaining) Twitter accounts on the interwebs, and he's not afraid to barb his employer in 140-character spurts.
Earlier this offseason he bemoaned the loss of teammates via Twitter. It wasn't an uprising, but by modern baseball player sensibilities it was a surprising bit of honesty.
I have no reason to think that Chone Figgins is the fighting type, except that I met him when he was a rookie and he acted standoffish.
Plus, everybody in Seattle wants him gone, which at some point has to wear on a fella.