Open Thread: The Five Musketeers


AJ, CC and Joba on the top stepWe usually try to avoid stories from the tabloids, but occasionally one comes along that’s worth directing your attention to. Joel Sherman of The New York Post penned one such piece, talking about the bond that has developed between the members of the Yanks’ starting rotation, and what newcomers CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett have done to build up some of that all important team chemistry. Allow me to quote:

On a suggestion from A.J. Burnett before a Feb. 28 game at Steinbrenner Field, the members of the Yankees’ projected rotation went to watch Joba Chamberlain warm up. And a habit was born.

“We have Five Musketeers,” manager Joe Girardi said.

One for all, all for one.

The fraternity in the Yankees clubhouse has been noticeably stronger this spring, and no place has that been more overt than among this re-shuffled rotation. The five starters have committed to each other in a variety of ways, including going to watch each other’s pre-game warm-ups.

Most days all four non-starters will attend the bullpen session of that day’s starter. Only Chamberlain and CC Sabathia made it yesterday (Chien-Ming Wang continues to battle a cold and Burnett had a family issue), but this has become the in thing and about seven young pitchers, including David Robertson and Phil Coke, stood on the side to offer support. At the conclusion of the warm-up, Pettitte was surrounded by fellow pitchers giving him fist bumps. This is now routine for that day’s starter: fist-bumping unity.

“It means a lot to get those knuckles,” Sabathia said.


“You have to have each other’s back,” Pettitte said. “This is a tough place to play, but if you know everyone is in your corner pulling for you and wants you to be successful, that does help you win. We have to have (this unity) and we are going to have it.”


“As a starting pitcher you can leave,” Chamberlain said, “and to look over and see that they have not left that feeling is indescribable.”

I’m firmly in the “chemistry is overrated” camp, but it’s great to see the staff coming together like this. Andy Pettitte is a guy that doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone in this game, but his quote shows just how much each guy appreciates knowing that every one else has their backs. Sherman also mentions that Sabathia bought a slew of courtside tickets for Orlando Magic games and has been taking different teammates to each game, and that Burnett has taken his teammates out on his boat and is organizing an all-out bass fishing tournament. Good stuff.

What do you guys think, how important is chemistry? Talk about that, or whatever else you want here. The only local team in action tonight is the Nets, who are out in Denver. Anything goes, just be nice.

Oh, and if you haven’t gotten a chance to vote in this week’s Fan Confidence Poll, make sure you don’t miss out.

Photo Credit: Steve Nesius, Reuters Pictures

Categories : Open Thread


  1. Matt says:

    I’m firmly in the “chemistry is overrated” camp, but it’s great to see the staff coming together like this.

    I’m right there with you.

    • Exactly. Chemistry is icing on the cake. It’s utterly extraneous and totally superfluous, but it’s nice to have.

      Nice. Not necessary, just nice.

      Having a baseball team full of talented superstars is like dating Roselyn Sanchez. Having a baseball team full of talented superstars who like each other and support each other and get along is like dating Salma Hayek. Given the choice, you’ll ALWAYS choose Hayek over Sanchez, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong at all with taking Roselyn Sanchez to the Oscars. Nobody is going to clown on you.

  2. Stanton Social says:

    I think you can win without chemistry, but it seems the teams that have been winning all have each-other’s backs. It definitely cant hurt, and maybe from the last 5 years of crap, a little camaraderie is what we need.

    • Steve H says:

      The 2007 (and 2004) Red Sox had cancerous Manny. While good chemistry doesn’t hurt, it’s down on the list of important players.

      • Drew says:

        Let me preface this by saying that Papelbon’s an idiot. Does everyone forget how the two big boppers in that lineup were best buds? Do we forget that everyone seemed to love Manny’s antics and dubbed it, “Manny being Manny.” Their ring winning teams had tons of chemistry and Papelbon’s comments have been given way too much credence.

        • Steve H says:

          Go back in 2004 and 2007, there was plenty of Anti-Manny sentiment. They placed him on outright waivers after the 2003 season because they were so sick of him, and despite that went on to win. Regardless of what Papelbon said, the chemistry on the 2004 and 2007 teams had nothing to do with winning. Had they not traded him this year, they probably would have won again, regardless of “chemistry”

          • Drew says:

            This may partially be true but when they placed him on waivers it was to get rid of his huge contract. Remember, they hadn’t won for such a long time. As far as players getting along on that team, the players all seemed to like eachother. I’m so sick of hearing that word tied to baseball which is why I replied to your comment. I’m not a proponent that chemistry builds championships but it can’t hurt.

    • whozat says:

      but it seems the teams that have been winning all have each-other’s backs.

      What’s more likely? That being friends helps teams win, or that people like to hear stories about winning teams all being friends (especially underdog teams), so that’s what we hear?

      And, on the flip side, when a team is losing it’s natural to look for reasons. Saying “well…the pitching was crap,” doesn’t really get a lot of eyeballs. A story about how the whole team is at each other’s throats? Oooh! Exciting! And, frankly…if you’re a team that expects to be winning and you’re not…guys are probably a little cranky, no?

      • Lanny says:

        Manny was such a cancer that the team won 2 titles and made the playoffs pretty much every year with him.

        Sign me up for clubhouse jerks like that.

  3. Matt says:

    Drafted this team last night, 8th out of 10 picks:

    C: Doumit
    1B: Votto
    2B: Kinsler
    3B: Aramis Ramirez
    SS: Jeter
    OF: Manny
    OF: BJ Upton
    OF: Alex Rios
    OF: Justin Upton
    UTIL: Mike Napoli
    UTIL: Jayson Werth
    BN: Denard Span
    BN: Felipe Lopez
    BN: Casey Blake
    BN: Jack Cust

    SP: Halladay
    SP: Oswalt
    SP: Joba
    RP: Marmol
    RP: Matt Capps
    P: David Price
    P: Jonathan Sanchez
    P: Gil Meche
    P: Wandy Rodriguez
    BN: Guthrie

  4. Matt says:

    I figured out a way for us to get Griffey and Bonds! And it wouldn’t cost that much!

  5. Moshe Mandel says:

    I think chemistry is overrated by those within the sport, and underrated by the intelligent fan on the internet. I feel like the reaction to this stuff is typically ”Oh those players and their silly chemistry, teams that win have it, teams that lose dont.” I think that it is the least important factor in building a team, but I think chemistry is important during rough times, slumps where a loose room and a tight knit bunch can help the team back on the right track, while a team with no chemistry may be sniping at each other.

  6. Hey Mike–what do you think of a serpentine draft or draft pick trading in the league?

  7. Drew says:

    Pitchers chemistry could be beneficial. Hopefully they work together well and with their powers combined, I am captain planet.

  8. BJ says:

    Anyone else cringe a little at the mention of athletes and fishing boats? I am glad they’re getting along, I just hope they don’t go too far out.

  9. Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

    I think Chemistry is essential. Who knows where we’d be without Primobolan, Winstrol, HGH and Deca Durabolin.

  10. VO says:

    I believe in team chemistry at certain times. Such as a player has a bad day, he isn’t going to go out there and give it his all for his team if everyone goes up to him and says man you sucked tonight, hope you get traded. But if your teamates come up to you and say it’s no problem man you’ll get ‘em next time. Thats the kind of team chemistry people need.

    • Whozat says:

      Unless you’re carl pavano, I suspect there’s a couple guys in every clubhouse that’re good enough guys to do that. Which is why I feel like it’s silly to be concerned about the chemistry aspect. There will be a couple decent human beings in a group of twenty plus guys. Having talented ballplayers is waaaay more important than the chemistry thing.

  11. Joey says:

    Haven’t heard from tsjc in a little bit, maybe his burrito finally finished cooking

  12. Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

    I mostly agree with Mike on this. I think its highly overrated by most, but don’t dismiss it entirely.

    For example, many teams in September pack it in while others bust their asses to make the playoffs, even when odds are against them. The 2007 Rockies come to mind. The 1995 Yankees comes to mind. Both of those teams had every right to pack it in by September of those years, but didn’t. Why? I don’t know, but that’s as good a definition of ‘chemistry’ as any other and shows there’s some (albeit intangible) value to it.

    • Steve H says:

      Maybe they had guys in contract years? I also agree with your sentiment, chemistry is overrated, yet shouldn’t be dismissed entirely. I also believe that winning will lead to good chemistry (at least as defined by the media) and losing will lead to bad chemistry.

  13. Drew says:

    I think Abreu has different handshake with every player in history.

  14. Aaron says:

    Who won the caption contest?

    • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

      Nobody yet. But I posted about 10 captions, and its my understanding they’re going to pick my best 5 posts and then we’ll see which one wins the vote.

  15. Crab Dribble Ointment says:

    Strasburg or King Felix?

    Who ya takin’?

  16. I am so crestfallen that my worst fears re: the Cassel to the Chiefs trade is coming true. The Pats are sending the Chiefs pick to the Panthers for Peppers.


    • Steve H says:

      I can’t wait for the Jets QB to be running for his life. Who’s it gonna be?

    • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

      You wanted him to go where?

      • Anywhere outside the AFC East.

        Staying in CAR would have been my most preferred option. Dallas, TB, SF, whatever, they’d all have been fine. I just don’t want Peppers on the same front 7 as Wilfork, Seymour and Mayo.

        • Steve H says:

          Don’t forget Adalius. And Ty Warren.

          • I didn’t forget them. They just don’t scare me as much as Wilfork, Seymour, Mayo, and Peppers.

            Warren is slightly above average. Thomas is wildly overrated.

            • Steve H says:

              Warren has been better than Seymour in 2 of the last 3 years, mostly health related. Thomas, with the pieces around him can/will be a beast, but I agree, he’s not the cornerstone of a D. But if he’s getting blocked by one guy, look out.

              • Most of the past two years, he was getting blocked by one guy. He didn’t accomplish crap.

                He had a single crazy good year, mainly because he was surrounded by Bart Scott, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Chris McAlister. Those 4 made everybody else look amazing.

                In real life, Thomas is no better than a Michael Boley.

                • Steve H says:

                  When he 1st came to the Pats he was playing ILB and taking on blockers. Once they moved him outside he was playing very well and was off to a decent start this year before being hurt. Like you said about the Ravens making everyone else look better (which Scott may fall victim too as well), the Pats now (assuming they get Peppers) have the guys in place to make Thomas look better.

                • Like you said about the Ravens making everyone else look better (which Scott may fall victim too as well)…

                  Can’t remember where on ESPN, but read a quote from some NFL scout this offseason re: Bart Scott.

                  He was asked, “Is Bart Scott just a creation of Ray Lewis?” His response: “No. Over the past 3 years, Ray Lewis is now just a creation of Bart Scott.”

                • Steve H says:

                  It’ll be an exciting year for the AFC East no matter how it turns out. Looking forward to it, that’s for sure. Of course we do have this little thing called baseball to look forward to as well.

    • Mike Pop says:

      Just a 2nd rounder for him, steal.

    • Drew says:

      That’s one scary linebacker

      • I agree. However, ESPN Insider rightly wonders how effectively he’ll transition from a 4-3 DE with a hand on the ground to a 3-4 OLB who stands up in coverage.

        From the Patriots’ perspective, it’s a bit more puzzling. While Peppers is a dominating force as a pass-rusher and one of the most freakishly athletic players in the league, his abilities as a standup linebacker are unknown. Additionally, a league source that works in player personnel told Carucci that Peppers is “very long [in the torso], which is not ideal for a 3-4 outside linebacker. And he can’t drop into coverage, he’s very stiff.” While this would work out well for the Pats on downs where they needed a blitzing linebacker, he could be a liability otherwise.

        John Abraham certainly hated it…

  17. A.D. says:

    Team Chemistry can’t be a bad thing, so happy they’re getting along

  18. Yankee1010 says:

    How in the world could the ump miss that? It’s amazing to me how bad some of them are.

  19. Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

    Joba Will Answer Your Questions

    OK, who’s first?

  20. Alright, here you go. The unabridged Compendium list: make comments, crystallize definitions, share comments on what should be added and if any should be removed. Go.

    Nails Krzyzewski
    Gritt Gritner
    Hacky McHeadfirstslide
    Phil Hughes is not Chinese
    My posts are pretty much for the intelligent fans
    You can’t make lemons with lemonade
    Pencilnecked little beancounter
    Creepy and effeminate
    Austin Jackson is uninspiring
    I saw it with my own eyes
    Olney thinks he’d be a good fit
    The Cashman Hate Template
    It’s a game of skill, deception, honor and deceit.
    CASHMAN YOU TEH SUX0R!!!!!1!!!11!!!
    Alex Cora wins ballgames
    Clearly, that’s a shot at Jeter
    Bernie Williams was the most feared hitter of his generation
    For Diamond Cutters, I’m Peter Gammons, ESPN.
    Provide analysis to back up your statement
    Go make love to your spreadsheets, nerd!
    Mo it is written, Mo it shall be done, Mosanna, Mosanna, Mosanna in the highest
    Melvin took steroids once. They made him weaker. OR Asiseno de los suenos
    TEH 8TH INNING!!!1!1ONE!!!ELEVENTY111!!!
    True Yankee©®™
    :::head explodes:::
    “_____ says hello”
    [ facepalm ]
    Ridiculous Upside
    LoHuddite OR LoHuddian
    Let me Google that for you
    [Insert "keep comments on topic" rant here.]
    Please use the reply to comment button on the right. It makes the whole conversation easier to follow and more fluid.
    The 4 Rings Club
    I’d do that in a cocaine heartbeat.
    We’re socialist.

    And, Jack’s screencap of the reply button (I need a new link for this)

  21. Drew says:

    Is it too late to sign Abreu?

  22. A.D. says:

    Off the comment above, who do you take, Ynoa or Strasburg?

  23. Crab Dribble Ointment says:

    It’s really something special when the state of Connecticut decides UConn is the #1 Seed LEAST likely to make the Final Four.

    Crazy New Englandahs.

  24. A.D. says:

    Felix limping…

  25. GG says:

    Chemistry being overrated or not is completely on a pitcher to pitcher basis. Some guys have the mental makeup to go in and throw the best they can regardless. Some guys it absolutely means a lot to have a group of “friends in the making” like it seems here in the rotation with you. This is going to be a very, very good team.

    • Steve H says:

      I don’t buy it. I don’t think there is any evidence, ever, of a pitcher performing better because of the pitchers around him helping him thru friendship. Schilling and Unit hated each other, barely even spoke, and dominated together. Schilling and Pedro hated each other as well.

      • Good players with good attitudes = not a chemistry problem
        Good players with bad attitudes = not a chemistry problem
        Bad players with good attitudes = chemistry problems
        Bad players with bad attitudes = chemistry problems

        Mike Mussina was kind of a jerk. He still pitched well. Him being a jerk didn’t cause us to lose any games from chemistry issues.

        Jeff Weaver sucked. He lost us games, and he was a chemistry problem because his suckiness directly lead to us losing games. Doesn’t matter whether he was a nice guy or not, he was a chemistry problem because his suckiness directly lead to us losing games.

        • radnom says:

          Smartass =/= jerk. Sorry, you should know that.

          Also, completely blowing up and losing composure everything something goes slightly wrong causes “chemistry problems” no matter how good you are.

      • A.D. says:

        Its more that chemistry can’t really hurt you, lack of chemistry may not hurt you either, its a “nice to have”

  26. Joey H says:

    In my opinion, if anyone gives a flying shit with angel wings, Chemistry is over rated in baseball. It isn’t as important as it is in say football with the quarterback and his wide receivers or with basketball where a point guard needs to have a strong sense of his other teammate’s capabilities and presence. However, a strong relationship between catcher/pitcher is key to the game. But outside of that it doesn’t matter much. Clubhouse chemistry is a bullshit term. Clubhouse VIBE is a relevant term. Good personalities matter, Which from the looks of things the Bombers seem to have a good collection of personalities.

  27. A.D. says:

    Abreu by the wall…

  28. A.D. says:

    Busch league fist pump

  29. Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

    Another one bites the dust, The Seattle Post Intelligencer to become an online-only paper, with others in bankruptcy court.

    “Bad news about America’s newspapers is tumbling out too fast for their presses to keep up. The closure of “the Rocky” after 150 years capped a week in which the Journal Register Company and the 180-year-old Philadelphia Enquirer joined the owners of the Chicago Tribune and Minneapolis Star Tribune in bankruptcy proceedings.

    Hearst is threatening to close the San Francisco Chronicle – and on Monday said it would make the Seattle Post-Intelligencer an online-only publication”

  30. Matt says:

    That’s clearly a homer. Kick his ass, Luis!

  31. Matt says:

    Don’t worry, Felix! You’ll pitch plenty of big games in the Bronx!

    /wishful thinking.

  32. A.D. says:

    So JC Romero can pitch in the WBC, despite being suspended for the 50 games?

  33. Rich M says:

    I see you guys have been mentioned in the sports business journal.

  34. Steve H says:

    So 3 more solid innings from Igawa today? Too bad Torre is with the Dodgers, he’d be a good 5th starter for them. Of course they wouldn’t eat a dime of his salary.

  35. Drew says:

    So they make me sit through Sutcliffe for 3 hours, then Phillips.

    ~FACEPALM followed by a FACEPLANT~

  36. [...] The Five Musketeers / He May Be Stupid, But At Least He Has A Conscience [...]

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