Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Chemistry is overrated

Does everybody have to ‘get along’ on a

team to be successful or does the

“chemistry”of getting along get overblown?

By Amaury Pi-GonzálezOne of the most successful teams in

Bay Area/baseball history, the Oakland

Athletics of the early 1970s were always

fighting. Yet, they won three straight

World Series in 1972,73 and 74.

Too much is made of the current A’S,

they like each other, they socialize,

go out to eat together, play video games,

listen to music. And that is all fine, but

does that translates into victories?

Not really. What wins baseball games

is not camaraderie but talent. The A’S

have been winning because the great

talent (especially their starting pitching)

not because they like each other and

go out to eat together after the game.

Yes, it helps when a team( like the current

A’S) is young, many the same age and

single. They have things in common

they always talking and it all looks like

a very “functional”happy family.

Although, we all remember last season

when hitting coach Thad Bosley came

to blows with Eric Chávez. That wasn’t

very friendly .But, no family is perfect,

right ?

Last season I remember a Bay Area

writer when talking about Jason Giambi,

why he would not leave the A’S, that

he liked it here, his girfriend lives here,

he likes the guys in the team, he loved

to ride his motorcycle to the Coliseum

and talking with the fans. Well, he left

for New York and took $120 million

from Steinbrenner, shaved his face and

is presently making more television

commercials in Manhattan.

The San Francisco Giants do not have

the same philosophy as the Oakland

A’S, they are a veteran team, with

players towards the end of their

careers, yet they have also averaged

around 90 to 95 wins per season under

Dusty Baker. Bonds and Kent have a

scuffle and all-of-a-sudden it is said

that the Giants don’t like each other.

Yet, the Giants in Bonds and Kent have

one of the best one-two punch in the

Major Leagues. Bonds hit 73 home runs

last season and he might win the N.L

batting crown this season. Kent might

be the best hitting second-baseman

ever in baseball. Hey, give me those

two guys fighting everyday of the week

and producing like that. At the end

what counts is production not

how you get along. These guys don’t

get pay millions of dollars to smile

at the camera, embrace, kiss and hug.

I am sick and tired of the word “chemistry”

when it comes to baseball. The best

chemistry is a 99 mph fastball with

movement, or Randy Johnson’s slider

or a Barry Bonds 490 foot home run

to center field or Omar Vizquel’s .998

fielding percentage at shortstop,that

is the real chemisty that wins you

games, not whether you like to “hang out”

together after the game.

There is no manager that likes kids more

than Giants Dusty Baker. He brings his

little boy to the games dressed with

uniform, also other Giants players. The

Giants dogout sometimes looks like

a family reunion. The Giants players have

a lot of kids, they also have families.

But just because Jeff Kent, Barry Bonds

and Rich Aurilia are not seen going to

eat together after a game, that doesn’t

mean anything in a 162 game season.

Chemistry is the four World Championship

trophies at the Athletics office, that is

real chemistry, 3 of those were during

the 1970s when it was a team of individuals

very few “getting along”and the other one

was in 1989, the Bash Brothers years

when they are also were not a happy-go-

lucky kind of team, but they won because

they have talent. Give me talent everyday

you can keep the chemistry, please.


Amaury Pi-Gonzáles is on his eight season

as Spanish Radio Play by Play Announcer

for the Oakland Athletics over KZSF 1370- AM

Radio (La Caliente). Previously, for 17

season Spanish Radio Play by Play

Announcer for the Oakland Athletics.

On staff with LBC Network for Postseason

and Playoffs and on Fox Sports International

during Postseason and the Caribbean

World Series.

Amaury is Vice President of the Hispanic

Heritage Baseball Museum, in San


His columns are featured also on

He is a host of a weekly Sportstalk Radio

Show on KEST 1450 AM San Francisco.


1 Anonymous { 08.29.02 at 2:11 pm }

I believe you disproved your point in your own article.

The difference between the Giants and A’s is two things: pitching and chemistry.

The Giants’ pitching is average and inconsistent, the A’s is dominant. As for line-ups, the Giants hold the edge. Marquee players? Giants again. Money? Giants again. Chemistry? Ahh, this one goes to the A’s.

Contrary to popular belief, the ’72-’74 championship teams did get along. True, there were differences and at times things escalated to blows, but it was their team chemistry that gave them the ability and wherewithal to overcome adversity. The current A’s are very similar. While their fun-loving clubhouse is widely publicized, it is no secret that at times rifts have developed and confrontations have occured. But similar to their historic clubs, the current one possesses that integral quality of chemistry and cohesiveness that allows them to overcome adversity (for example, poor starts the last two years and the loss of three marquee free agents).

It is this inherent lack of chemistry that prohibits the Giants from overcoming adversity and leaves them wallowing in mediocrity. Bonds and Kent may be dominant offensive forces, but their well publicized disagreements and inabilty to peacefully co-exist has carried over into other realms of the team. This, combined with Barry’s enormous shadow that leaves all but a few select veterans as afterthoughts and scrubs further damages team morale and commaraderie and results in lackluster finishes and leaves them watching the A’s on tv in October.

One of these clubs has consistently shown the ability to rise above their problems, hardships and obstacles and take the league by storm in the final third of the season three years in a row. Yet the other club, with more money and hype merely fades away into the sunset more often than not.

The fact is, the Giants have talent as do the A’s. But it’s the A’s chemistry that has made them the more successful franchise year after year since they moved to Oakland in the late 60’s.

Perhaps some day, the Giants organization and fans will finally realize this but until then, they can hype Bonds’ solo homers and celebrations all they want, but when it comes to winning baseball teams: the A’s are alone in the bay area, and the chemistry they have is the edge.

2 Anonymous { 08.29.02 at 6:15 pm }

Amaury you really need to get a grip. The Giants are doing better right now. They’re on a little streak of their own. Just try to forget about the great season the A’s are having. Maybe there will be a strike and then you won’t have to worry about the A’s getting to the World Series. Why in the world would you choose to write an article about how team chemistry is overrated unless you’re feeling a little insecure. What did the A’s do to you when you worked for them that has made your hatred of them so obvious. That’s a story I’d like to hear! Susan

3 Anonymous { 08.29.02 at 6:24 pm }

I actually agree. It is mostly about talent, and the A’s are simply a more talented team than the Giants. Look, they have Barry and Jeff, but their pitching staff is weak and inconsistent. The A’s chemistry would be meaningless if Hudson, Zito and Mulder pitched more like Hernandez, Rueter and Schmidt. Chemistry is not meaningless, but I’d rather take my chances on talent without chemistry than on chemistry without talent.

Steve B.

4 Anonymous { 08.29.02 at 8:26 pm }

Yeah, I agree with Amaury, although I don’t know what his past issues with the A’s are.

I think there is a risk for many teams, especially with a tight budget, to hold on to that big superstar and still be competetive. The Mariners and the A’s are showing you can lose a great superstar, and still be very competetive with the addition of a few key components.

And because the Giants Organization owes a ton for their ball park, losing a Barry Bonds may have affected attendance drastically. But with the money they gave Bonds, they could have lured some nice Free agent pitchers or trading for some.

But, if they would have let go of Bonds, the fan backlash would have been hectic, although once they entered the playoffs, they would have forgot and got over it.


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