It is called an intangible. But its presence within a clubhouse is almost tactile.
Reliever Kyle McClellan believes its value can equate to five wins in a season, maybe more. Without it, a 162-game schedule may seem endless. With it, a team augments its resiliency.
It is known as chemistry, or mix.
Admittedly challenged in that department in 2010, the Cardinals rescued themselves last season by calling upon one another's pride and professionalism during a late August meeting that arguably came at the summer's low point.
Less than a month shy of returning to Jupiter, Fla., in defense of an improbable World Series title, the club again wonders about its vibe.
"When you look at 2010, we just felt this was something to be addressed in '11," general manager John Mozeliak said. "I do think the leadership we have on hand for the upcoming season made up a lot of the core strength we enjoyed last year. But I would agree that you can never take those things for granted. It's something you work on from Day 1."
Right fielder turned first baseman Lance Berkman said: "I don't see it being an issue. But I guess you really never know until you get out there and come together."
Mozeliak recognizes first-year manager Mike Matheny's role in the approaching transition. Nearing his fifth season as head of baseball operations, Mozeliak is sensitive to what "the mix" represents.
Holliday, Berkman will take on bigger roles
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Jan 20