How The 2016 Dodgers Clubhouse Chemistry Was Born: Ping Pong And Street Hockey

If you’ve read Joe Torre’s book The Yankee Years, then you know that it’s no surprise when teams with monster payrolls have clubhouse issues. Big talent creates big contracts, and big contracts create big egos, and too many big egos create big problems in baseball clubhouses. As it stands right now, the Dodgers have committed about $243 million to their 2016 payroll. It’s also no secret that the Dodgers are no stranger to clubhouse drama, which was well-documented in Molly Knight’s book, The Best Team Money Can Buy. The book detailed multiple altercations and incidents between Dodger teammates, all of which Yasiel Puig seemed to be the lightning rod for. Well, it seems like the Dodgers have turned a new leaf under new manager Dave Roberts.

While Los Angeles still owes outfielder Carl Crawford $21.6 million in 2016, he accepted his role as a bench player quite gracefully. That right there could have caused major problems within the Dodgers’ clubhouse right off the bat, so an assist to Crawford for taking his demotion like a man. Crisis averted, for now. Roberts came into spring training, offering to give Puig a clean slate, and apparently the team has responded by trying to change the narrative that their clubhouse is problematic by hosting ping pong tournaments and playing floor hockey in the clubhouse. It’s a good start, but let’s see how long the positive vibes last if Puig starts acting up again, or if Crawford starts performing off the bench and they have no open spot for him.