When teams are winning consistently, everybody talks about chemistry. When you go 70-92. it is often said that the team "has no chemistry." Winning creates chemistry.
Losing creates empty clubhouses 30 minutes after the game is over. When Billy Wagner became the unofficial spokesman for the team after some pretty bad losses at the beginning of the 2008 campaign, he was critical of some of his teammates because they had long left the clubhouse before the questions began.
"Why ask me?" he said, "I wasn't even in the game."
Well, neither was anybody else.
No chemistry, everyone complained. When Jerry Manuel took over and claimed that he would go "gangsta" on players who didn't try, everyone loved it. The players started to heat up, and they won games that they were losing under Willie Randolph. They stayed to talk after the games.
Wow, now they have chemistry. Same players, same team, different approach. Ultimately, chemistry has always been about winning.
I like to watch the dugout during the games. With the Mets it, really doesn't appear to be much different than the other teams in either league.
Whey they're winning, the bench is alive. Players are loose, smiling, joking around, waiting for their chance to contribute.
It's different story when they're losing. They're sullen, angry, aloof, introspective, seemingly waiting for the game to mercifully end.
Enter Pedro Martinez—the ultimate "man enjoying playing a kids game" with a contagious smile, always laughing and making everyone around him just excited to share the bench with perhaps the greatest pitcher of his generation.
I've watched him. When he's not pitching, he's having conversations with just about every player on the bench. Whether he's sharing insight about the opposing pitcher or the hitters, he is constantly in the game making everyone around him better in every way he can.
It has been documented that no player prepares himself better for his next start than Pedro, and even on game day when they're down 2-1 in the sixth or seventh, I see him mentoring John Maine, Oliver Perez, and Mike Pelfrey.
A deciding factor in Johan Santana's success this year (especially in the second half) was the presence of his hero, Pedro Martinez sitting right by his side on the bench. Mike Jacobs said, after his trade to Florida, that it was Pedro Martinez that made his transition to the major leagues a successful one.
In a nutshell, the New York Mets need Pedro Martinez. They needed him four years ago to convince players to want to come to play for the Mets. He sure did that.
Carlos Beltran said yes to the Mets for one of many reasons, Pedro Martinez. Carlos Delgado, thrilled to become a Met, can thank Pedro Martinez. Johan Santana comes to New York and tells everyone who will listen that he's delighted to be here, and one of many reasons is Pedro Martinez.
If the Mets wake up before 2008 is concluded, they must resign Pedro Martinez. Then maybe, just maybe, Manny decides that playing with his friend Pedro on the Mets, makes the orange and blue the team to beat in 2009.