They say that money cannot buy championships. In the Kansas City Royals case, that has proven to be correct, as they have a chemistry that is beyond any price tag.
It is, in theory, easy to be the general manager of a large market team with a large payroll. Should there be a hole on the roster, then all one needs to do is open the checkbook and throw money at the problem. By getting the best players, one should have the best team, and that talent should win out.
At least, that is the theory. In reality, we have seen how well that strategy has worked for the Detroit Tigers and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Where are their championships? Quite a few years in the past. Meanwhile, the Kansas City Royals, a mid-market team, have made consecutive World Series appearances despite not having the same payroll flexibility that other teams enjoy.
With that being the case, the Royals needed to find different ways to succeed. Their stellar bullpen and focus on contact and defense have become notable, with other teams looking to emulate their ability to dominate in the later innings. However, the Royals also have something that money cannot buy – a team chemistry that helps them be greater than the sum of their parts.
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That chemistry has been developed over the years. Players like Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas all came through the system together, developing their friendship and chemistry at each stop along the way. Free agents have been selected not only based on their ability to fill whatever holes the Royals have, but in how they fit in with the rest of the roster.
The chemistry on the Royals is certainly evident. Just look at the interactions between Perez and Lorenzo Cain. Their bromance seems like it could have come out of a Nicholas Sparks novel. Look at the way that the Royals celebrate each player’s success, or the sheer joy of the Gatorade bath during the post game interviews following a win.
One school of thought is that team chemistry is not important, and that winning will cure all clubhouse ills. That has not been the case for teams like the Dodgers, who despite their regular season success, have had issues in the locker room between players and management. That higher payroll has been for naught, as the atmosphere brings everyone down. The Royals, meanwhile, have used another overlooked concept and have made chemistry a part of their winning formula.
The Kansas City Royals have found success by focusing on areas that other teams may have overlooked. Team chemistry, which has been so important to their success, is just another area that the Royals have been able to exploit.