When a team lacks unity, it doesn’t matter who is on the team. You can have a bunch of high salaried players, but if they don’t mesh, the team won’t necessarily succeed. Just look at the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Red Sox experienced this firsthand last year. They had the talent, but they were emerging from a terrible collapse. They had taken advantage of the manager who kept them together and lost him. They got one who didn’t get along with many of the players.
But this season has been a complete turnaround from last season. The Sox are currently leading AL East and have the most runs and second highest on-base percentage. And they’re doing it with good old fashioned teamwork, according to John Farrell.
"Winning certainly helps, there's no doubt about it, but I think we have a group of guys that pull for one another," Farrell said according to Comcast Sports Network. "They get along well. They're anxious to get to the ballpark every day. That's evident by the relationships that have been built here since spring training. So this is a group that's become close-knit with each passing day, and I think it's a reason why we've been able to answer and meet some of the challenges that have been thrown our way."
It’s certainly obvious just by watching them. Even the new guys fit in well. In response to a Red Sox Twitter question, Farrell said that David Ortiz, Shane Victorino, and Mike Napoli control the music before games. You can see them all having fun during games. Dustin Pedroia even called to Twitter to get Napoli a nickname after a great start to his season.
After an atrocious 2012 everyone is, well, happy. Of course, as Farrell said, winning is likely a huge part of that, but liking the people you play (and for) doesn’t hurt either. While togetherness won’t win you a championship if you don’t have the talent, it’s certainly a key ingredient.
The 2004 World Series team was able to take the last four games of the ALCS because they all had the heart to stick together through a long and difficult series. Many teams wouldn’t have lasted much longer than two more games. But teamwork goes a long way in those situations, and this year’s crew certainly has it. And after watching them fall apart and take everyone down with them last season, it’s nice to see the family back together again.
Family fun on Twitter:
Today's #AskFarrell from @fabioamalfia: What songs do players listen to before games? Farrell "Don't know. Shane, Nap & Ortiz control music"
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) June 4, 2013