Minor league baseball players understand the importance of team chemistry and know how to build it. As they move up [or down] the farm system, get traded and play in new fall and winter leagues each year, these players always have new teammates. Neil Sellers, the Reading Phillies’ 3B and five-year Minor League vet, gives his advice about team bonding.
“The better you know your teammates, the better you know how to play with them and what everyone’s capable of doing,” Sellers says. “It also helps a lot with communication, on and off the field. Through the course of the season, there are a lot of ups and downs, and it’s nice to have teammates to talk to.”
According to Sellers, who currently plays for the Philadelphia Phillies’ double-A Minor League team, bonding off the field improves how you play on it. “We like to go out to dinner, watch movies—and always being in different cities gives us new places to go,” he says. “Those are the times you really bond as a team. We also like to play a lot of cards and games. That keeps the competitive edge in us.”
If you’re new to a team that’s been playing together for a while, Sellers’ advice is to be open and be yourself. “Just talk to the guys and get to know their backgrounds. You can always find a tie to a friend, someone you’ve played with or even against.”
And although Sellers admits you won’t always be this close to every teammate, he warns never to let personal issues affect the team. “If you don’t get along with a teammate, stay away from him when you’re at the field, practice or clubhouse, because the last thing you want to do is affect your other teammates and the team as a whole. Then make sure you settle the matter outside of the sport.”