Team meetings can matter: Will this one?

May, 20, 2014
May 20
8:00
AM CT
There's a tendency to simply look at a team meeting as a desperate ploy by an outfit devoid of any answers. And in some respects, that's true.

After all, how many teams call a meeting in the middle of a six-game winning streak?

But meetings can still be effective, even if there's desperation in them. And how the meetings are conducted and who convenes them can be crucial to their success.

On Sunday, it was veterans Adrian Beltre, Alex Rios and Elvis Andrus who felt the time was right for the Texas Rangers to talk. A few weeks ago, with the team slumping and coming off a sweep at the hands of the Oakland Athletics, I asked Andrus if he thought the Rangers needed a meeting. He said it was too early to do that.

But after watching the offense continue to struggle in key situations, offering little help to a team ravaged by injuries, the veteran group decided to say something.

The timing of the Sunday-morning meeting wasn't by accident. The Rangers had a day game, with one last chance to beat the Toronto Blue Jays and avoid a sweep. And they were to be off Monday. Getting a victory Sunday and then having Monday to think about that and what was said in the meeting gives it a chance to have more impact.

The fact that the Rangers won Sunday right after the meeting doesn't make it a success. It's how they play in the coming weeks -- including the longest road trip of the season, an 11-gamer that begins Thursday in Detroit -- that will be the determining factor.

But the fact that it was a players-only meeting has to please manager Ron Washington. He has a real feel on when to call meetings -- and knows that it's something you can only do a few times a season to make a true difference. This time, he didn't have to march in and talk to his team. He let the veterans in that clubhouse do all of that for him.

Let's watch and see how things go, but I do think the timing of the meeting was smart. This team has two home games against the Seattle Mariners and then heads north to start a long trip. The Rangers know they've got to get something going and hang in. Nothing wrong with holding a meeting and getting everyone on the same mental page.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.324 19 77 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
WC. Lewis 10
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182