Diamondbacks: A team that plays together, wins together
February 21, 2:31 pm
Hayden HarrisonBy Hayden Harrison
Behind clubhouse doors: Old teammates chat, laughing and catching up. Newcomers attempt to make friends with those close to their lockers. The shyer invitees usually sit by their lockers absorbing the atmosphere.
“In spring training, there’s so many guys,” non-roster invitee and catcher Mark Reed said. “Guys come from different teams, free agents and you haven’t played with them yet so you want to get to know them so it’s kind of breaking the ice and doing it in a fun way.”
Reed filled in for bullpen catcher Jeff Motuzas for half of the 2012 season because of elbow surgery, so that prepared him for his first year of major league camp.
“It makes it easier coming in to big league camp when you know a lot of people,” Reed said.
The Diamondbacks have found ways to bring the team together with group activities. Last year, it was golf. This year, it was paintball – involving most of the organization.
Before the paintball war on Tuesday, pitcher Tyler Skaggs said he was excited and nervous about playing against members of the front office.
“It’s going to be fun,” Skaggs said. “It’s going to be different. I don’t know if you want to shoot the guy who pays you.”
Nonetheless, the players won three out of four matches. In the other, time ran out so it was considered a tie.
The bonding activities are vital for the success of the team, according to outfielder A.J. Pollock.
“It’s pretty rare you see a team go far in the playoffs and them not enjoy being around each other,” Pollock said. “So, it’s very important.”
Even though Pollock enjoys the planned team outings, he said the best bonding occurs every day in the clubhouse.
“Basically, we have a lot of downtime,” Pollock said. “Just being in the clubhouse with everyone, I think the best way (to bond) is to do the normal routine thing. It’s fun doing the paintball and everything, but I think the real bonding goes on when you’re all tired together and doing the same stuff.”
Players tend to bond outside of the clubhouse and field by going out to eat or spending a day on the golf course.
“Things like going to dinner on the road and whatever it may be, days off guys playing golf together, those are good ways to kind of get away from the game,” Reed said.
Going to eat with teammates is common because the players don’t have much time to cook.
“Just because we have a day off, you’re like, ‘Alright well, do I sit around all day and cook for an hour or just go out to eat?’” said Pollock.
Since players spend so much of the six-month season together, they have to learn to trust each other.
“Well, (we) play 162 games, so no matter if ou like them or not, you’re going to be around them,” Pollock said. “And, I think at the end of the year the teams that are closer, those are the teams that really last.”
Post Author: Hayden Harrison.
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