Thanksgiving Eve and Clubhouse Chemistry & 25 co-workers #Nats Bryce Harper and Jonathan Papelbon

On this Thanksgiving Eve, we look back to all we are thankful for, but also what we take for granted.  We get ready to hang out for the Holidays with family and friends. It gets you thinking how difficult it is in this world, in this country, in this community for everyone to get along.  It takes some effort to co-exist peacefully and thoughtfully.

It also gets you thinking that we get along well here because we have moderators and filters and protections against those who want to cause problems, but in a clubhouse or even a dugout or the typical workplace, there isn’t always that peacemaker to make sure everyone gets along all the time.

At home growing up, you had Mom to keep the peace. She isn’t there looking over her 34 year old son and how he gets along with his 22 year old co-worker. Yes, Papelbon and Harper are co-workers. They aren’t buddies, pals, or friends, they are simply put, highly compensated co-workers.  Papelbon said they are like brothers, but do you really buy that? If you believe Ryan Zimmerman, watch and listen to his interview:

zimmerman_MLB Network


From Ryan Zimmerman, “First of all I think our clubhouse is fine. I think the group of guys we have had here in the 11 years I’ve been here we’ve never had any problems… What happened with Pap and Harp, I don’t want to say it’s common. But, it happens on teams with good chemistry a few times a year. On teams with bad chemistry happens 10 to 15 times a year. It just doesn’t happen in the dugout to the MVP player in front of 100 cameras. Those guys have talked about it and they worked it out. The best way to explain that, it is having brothers in the same room for 7 months. Something is going to happen it’s just a matter on who it happens with and where it happens. You hope to be able to hide it. Obviously you can’t hide that one.  I know Harp and Pap have talked. At the end of the day all of us want to win.”

On MLB Network Radio on Tuesday night on the MLB Roundtrip show hosted by Jim Memolo and Mike Stanton (former Nats reliever), Memolo got on the air on 6pm EST and gave his best shock jock lede for their show which was the Robinson Cano drama and the Ryan Zimmerman clubhouse dysfunction. Say what? Ryan Zimmerman was interviewed on the MLB Network, but there was nothing unusual about it. They asked him about clubhouse unity and Harper and Papelbon and Ryan didn’t fall into the trap and say anything out of school.

This is the real bio of Jim Memolo on the MLB Network Radio site His claim to fame was a keen eye for the baseball talent of Rob Dibble and maybe that says it all:

Jim Memolo is a veteran of New York, Chicago and network radio. He has a keen eye for baseball talent and once, while hosting a show in NYC, suggested the Yankees take a look at a promising Reds minor leaguer named Rob Dibble. He has spent the last two decades in Chicago radio, covering the Cubs.

The Robinson Cano discussion went on for hours, literally hours. Finally they got to the Ryan Zimmerman discussion which Memolo began talking about,  “there’s tension and this won’t be the same team next year”.  

Mike Stanton jumped in, “Absolutely I think they can. Listen, you put 25 Type A personalities in a room. They’re not going to get along.  Fights happen literally all the time. Whether it’s verbal sometimes, they even do get physical. This one just happened to happen in front of the national eye. OK, we saw it coming. There were issues a week before. It happens. Papelbon is not a bad teammate. OK. Yeah, he opens his mouth sometimes and says things he shouldn’t. But in the clubhouse, he is not a bad teammate. On a superstar, they have to put up with it. Can they compete—Absolutely.”

Memolo jumped back in.

“And as I said before, like he said, nah, I really don’t agree with that. I think there is a problem somewhere in that room. I don’t want to tab or tag Papelbon with it. There’s something amiss in the chemistry of that team. There’s gotta be to have that much talent and be as flat, at best flat as they were last year.”

Stanton said, “They were flat. There’s no doubt about it. But, there’s one thing that can fix team chemistry—that’s win some games.”

Memolo interjected, “I know it’s like the chicken and the egg. Did the chemistry cause the losing or the losing cause the lack of chemistry. That’s really what the question is. But I’m not the quiz master here. Chris Vass is.”

Chris Vass is the MLB Network Producer at Sirius XM Radio Inc. in Washington, DC. Local guy. University of Maryland’s journalism school.  He defused it quickly.  Someone should invite Chris to a Nats game.

Chris Vass said, “Well you guys do a great job with these questions. Well Ryan Zimmerman pretty much said everything exactly that Mike Stanton said right there. So Mike Stanton may know what he’s talking about.”

This was much to do about nothing except what we already know, and there is plenty we don’t know. What we know is this is still an open wound and is a lightening rod issue.  At your Thanksgiving table you might be seated next to someone you had a disagreement with, and how you deal with it is up to you.  Mike Stanton is on the side of those who wore the uniform and have said, “Papelbon is not a bad teammate.” He also didn’t say he was a “good teammate.”  Bryce Harper in his acceptance speech only named 2 teammates which was Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond.  Bryce named Matt Williams and Tony Tarasco also.  Bryce mentioned Yunel Escobar in one interview as a great teammate. There’s 21 teammates Bryce didn’t mention.  There’s things you say and things you don’t say, but listen to what Ryan Zimmerman said in his interview at the 3:15 mark in the video.  “At the end of day, all of us want to win”.

Here’s MLB Network on team chemistry,

If we don’t talk and you are travelling, safe travels and Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

This entry was posted in Dusty, Harper, Papelbon, RyanZimmerman. Bookmark the permalink.