Mind Over Sports

Repressed feelings can damage performance

Posted on: May 26, 2007

roger_clemens_grimace_faceWhen George Steinbrenner signed Roger Clemens to a contract to play for The New York Yankees this year, he may have caused more damage than good, especially the way Clemens’ contract is worded.

It stipulates that Clemens does not have to be with the Yankees full time, but only when he feels like it. I don’t think it was a coincidence that as soon as that contract was signed, the Yankees went into a nosedive and went from 6 ½ games out of first to 11 games back. The feelings of many members of the team, including reliever Kyle Farnsworth, were expressed by Farnsworth while being interviewed on Chicago’s 670-AM The Score when he said: “Everybody should be here, whether they’re pitching or not…You should be part of the team.” By wording the contract the way he did, Steinbrenner has created a disruption in team chemistry, a distraction for the entire team, and a managerial problem for Joe Torre. But I believe Torre will handle it well by allowing team members to express their feelings, and not repress them, in a private team meeting. If this doesn’t happen, the Yankees can kiss a World Series appearance goodbye, and it won’t be the fault of the manager. Steinbrenner is lucky to have someone like Torre on his staff. If anybody can repair the damage Steinbrenner created, Torre can.

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