Chemical Imbalance

How chemistry makes Hebron a complete team


There is not a sport in which statistics are more prevalent than baseball. Every single event that happens on the field is recorded and dissected in a million different ways. Everything is quantified. Everything, that is, but chemistry.

Team chemistry is difficult to observe, namely because a large portion of it takes place away from the eyes of spectators. However, when I watch this year’s Hebron baseball team, it’s quite easy to see. The team is not only one of the top baseball clubs in the area, but they may also be up there as a cheerleading squad, too.

The rituals start during the team’s warm up. After Coach Stone leads a lap around the field, the team shares a series of personalized handshakes with each other, ranging from the simple to the overly complex (one shake conducted by catcher Stanton Turley and second baseman Austin Stone involves pretending to hit home runs off each others’ heads). Before the game even starts, the atmosphere in the dugout is loose and lively.

Often, there are complaints from the sports at Hebron that aren’t football that all of the student support is used up by the time the Friday night lights turn off for the last time.. This was glaringly apparent when the volleyball team couldn’t fill the stands even as they were making a run to the state title.

Most baseball games draw less fans than the world shuffleboard championships.. But without looking, you might think that there was a full student section. At a road game against Lewisville, the home fans grew so frustrated by the team’s constant chatter (as well as Hebron’s 8-0 lead) that they tried to shout them down.

I’ve even found that sometimes the chants can have an effect on the other team. When Hebron is at bat and the batter takes a ball from the opposing pitcher, the bench usually repeatedly yells “good eye.” In my observation, I started to take note of this occurrence and the outcome of the next pitch. What I found was surprising: following the “good eye” chant, the next pitch was also a ball about 75 percent of the time. Clearly that is too much of a correlation to be coincidence; the bench is actively affecting the performance of the opposing pitcher.

There is a debate in some circles about which comes first – good chemistry or success. The former Yankees great Reggie Jackson said famously that “winning creates chemistry.” He seems to underestimate the importance of chemistry to winning, though. More than almost any other sport, baseball is driven by the team rather than the individual. In football, a running back can juke his way to a touchdown all on his own; in baseball, it is typically a lot easier to turn a double play with help. Each player has to be in tune with the others because they rely on each other.

Chemistry and the way that a team acts it definitely has an impact on the quality of that team’s play. I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t seen this team play to go check them out. Not only are they fun to watch, but the camaraderie that the team exudes could take them on a deep playoff run this April and May.