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Axel Kohagen

Clubhouse Pin Drops.

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Yesterday, a comment on 1500ESPN by "Everyday" Eddie Guardado took Patrick Reusse and Jim Souhan into a brief rant against the quiet, introverted Twins clubhouse. My first instinct was to write it off as being just another "back in my day we were tougher and manlier" speech.

Then, I started thinking about the relationship between clubhouse dynamics and communication, like I blogged about earlier this week. It seemed to me Olson's concept of cohesiveness applies to this situation.

If the team is quiet and disconnected in the clubhouse (a place we bloggers don't get to go, as another 1500 ESPN host ranted about earlier in the week), it seems to lack cohesiveness. Is this truly a problem? As always, it depends.

LACK OF CLUBHOUSE COHESION COULD BE A PROBLEM IF . . . it leads to disconnected, unmotivated players. If the baseball season goes along and players aren't motivated to add a little extra effort because they don't want to let their buddies down, the lack of cohesiveness would probably take a few wins away from a team. If I were a manager, I'd consider this a problem worth getting involved in.

LACK OF CLUBHOUSE COHESION WOULD NOT BE A PROBLEM IF . . . players were able to create bonds without using the usual towel-snapping, loud joking ways. If the Twins are connected in this way, I wouldn't think there was anything for a manager to worry about at all.

LACK OF CLUBHOUSE COHESION COULD BE BENEFICIAL/DETRIMENTAL DEPENDING ON . . . the overall status of the team. Slower communication could mean slower change to the overall group. If the teams doing well, it means small personal problems would be less likely to disrupt the team. However, now that the Twins are not performing at their best, it suggests the recovery process could be slow going. A manager would benefit from knowing when to gas and when to let the team just keep winning.

After thinking about it, it seems like the Twins being the Twins could make this year even tougher. It also seems like Ron Gardenhire has a unique opportunity to demonstrate his ability to positively impact his team in 2012.

As an afterthought, the Twins said goodbye to several players who had very prominent roles in how the clubhouse operated, positively and negatively. New players will step in to fill these roles in their own way, and that's a part of the baseball season I'm really looking excited to watch develop. Reusse and Souhan thought Ben Revere might find himself a clubhouse voice. I'm not so sure, but I'm excited to find out.


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