Feldman: Cardinals banking on clubhouse chemistry

Feldman: Cardinals banking on clubhouse chemistry

Credit: UPI

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Fernando Salas packs bags as he cleans his locker out at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on October 23, 2012. The Cardinals season came to an end with a 9-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series on October 22, 2012. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

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by Brian Feldman / Baseball StL

KMOV.com

Posted on December 12, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 18 at 11:08 AM

ST. LOUIS (Baseball StL) -- Following the 2010 season the Cards publicly stated that they wanted to add good, quality personalities to their clubhouse.  They never said it aloud, but many believe the chemistry that year was not very good and changes needed to be made.

In came Ryan Theriot and Lance Berkman (two guys who are well known as being great teammates) and out went Brendan Ryan (who got on a lot of the guys’ nerves).

The changes worked.  Tensions were lifted.  The chemistry could not have been any better in 2011 and is a prime reason why the Cards were able to work together and complete that dramatic run to the World Series.  Same thing in 2012 when they nearly did it again.

Well.  From a purely business standpoint many of those “good teammates” are no longer with the club.  Ryan Theriot is long gone.  Lance Berkman won’t be resigned.  And now, Skip Schumaker’s been traded to the Dodgers for a minor league shortstop that hit .233 in AA last year. 

Former Redbirds manager Tony La Russa once said one of the hardest parts of being a manager was dealing with all the different personalities in the clubhouse.  Some are really tough to handle.  But others, like Schumaker, you just treasured.  He said you wanted to put them in a bear hug and never let go.

For someone who was never really more than a role player here Schumaker was always viewed as a core member of the team.  Why?  Because he embodied everything the Cardinals wanted in a players and teammate.  Hard worker, coachable, played the game the right way.

So now that he’s gone out west, is there enough left over to make sure the chemistry doesn’t do a 180 and turn into 2010 again? 

The short answer is yes.  Part of the problem that season wasn’t necessarily the lack of good guys...it was merely the presence of, well, the not-so-great teammates.  Felipe Lopez comes to mind.

All those guys are now gone.  There isn’t a single person on this roster that I can think of who would be considered a bad guy.  Not a single one.

And the leadership is through the roof.  From Chris Carpenter (the unquestioned leader of this team) to Yadier Molina to Matt Holliday, the chemistry of this club shouldn’t be an issue. 

Sure, many of the good guys are gone.  But many others remain.

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