Baltimore Orioles: How much does atmosphere matter?
Chris Davis made it very clear that he likes the atmosphere in the Baltimore Orioles’ clubhouse.
Chris Davis made it very clear in his press conference (announcing his signing) yesterday that part of what drew him back to the Baltimore Orioles was the atosphere in the clubhouse. And it’s of little surprise; since the likes of Showalter have arrived on the scene we’ve seen that type of effect. The Orioles often vet potential players (free agents and trades) by asking themselves how the person will fit in the clubhouse.
For what it’s worth, Davis was also very complimentary of the Baltimore fans, who in his view have been good to him and his family. And while I would argue that the two things are somewhat related, it all boils back to wins and losses. It obviously makes sense that when you have a competitive team you’re going to be closer-knit…right?
It goes without saying, in my view. However is there more to it than that? The Orioles were one of the laughingstocks in sports from 1998-2011. Well, maybe not quite that long; things started to get bad when Ripken retired. But I digress. So many players came through here in those years that it got tough to keep track. The Orioles probably sold more game programs than ever before just so fans could keep track of who was playing that day.
With the roster being in so much flux, it was tough for guys to form rapport with each other. There was seemingly a different starting rotation, bullpen, and first baseman every year. Furthermore, a lot of the players were grizzled veterans who were looking to play out a string on their careers.
And yes, that makes a difference. The current Orioles are all in a “similar” age bracket. You don’t have a clique of young buds in this corner of the clubhouse, and a group of aging vets in another. The veterans such as Davis and others are actually relatively young as well. And that helps in terms of guys bonding in the clubhouse.
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You also might argue that during those darker years the lack of cameraderie in the clubhouse might have even added to some of the losing. That’s always a tough sell, because it’s an intangible arguement. However it stands to reason that you’re going to play better if you genuinely like the guys you’re playing with off the field. This is not to say that past teams were at each other’s throats – because I don’t think that was the case. I just suspect that guys would clean up after games and go home – as opposed to now where they might hang out together in the clubhouse or maybe go out to dinner.
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At the end of the day, Davis felt comfortable with the situation in Baltimore on and off the field. And a large part of that is due in part to his teammates. Another large part of that is due to the fans, and how they’ve treated him. And it all comes back to winning.