Baseball is a mathematicians delight. There are averages, percentages, statistics for countless categories. Theoretically, one should be able to project the outcome of any given situation based upon averages, and percentages. If a left-handed batter is hitting left-handed pitchers at a .200 clip, 4 times out of 5 he should make an out. If a catcher guns down 40% of would-be base stealers, then 3 out of 5 times, a runner should be able to steal a base.

But baseball is more than just numbers. Otherwise, the game could be played with cards and dice. There are so many other variables. Attitudes, health, even luck. Four line shots hit directly at the shortstop turns into an 0 for 4 day, while a Texas League double, or a dribbler through a pulled in infield raises the average.

But of all the variables, there is the intangible element called chemistry. If statistics are the science of baseball, then chemistry is the art of baseball. Chemistry is that almost mystical blending of talent, personality and character that transcends the numbers.

The Cincinnati Reds have great chemistry. That was obvious last year, as the team exceeded every prognostication. And that is obvious this year, as the Reds gear themselves up for a pennant drive following a somewhat disappointing showing.

"This is a great clubhouse," states Dante Bichette. "There's great character, on and off the field. The guys here have made it easy for me. They're a good bunch of guys."

In 1979, the Pittsburgh Pirates, on their way to a world championship, brandished the words of Sister Sledge as their rallying point, "We are Family." And it's true. A ballclub becomes a family. "In fact, the trick," says Eddie Taubensee, "is to keep it in balance, to find the time to spend with your own family. Because for 8 months of the year, this ballclub is family."

The Cincinnati Reds "family" is marked by great character and integrity. "There's a pretty good nucleus of spiritual leaders here. It helps keep everything in perspective." So declares Scott Sullivan, Reds relief pitcher, who, despite having only four full years in the majors is already near the top of the current Reds longevity list, and has seen a lot of change in the "family" over those four years.

Sean Casey is another who thinks the Reds have good chemistry. "This is a team where guys aren't afraid to show they care about each other. We've learned how to trust our teammates."

"The guys pull for each other," says Tom Hume, bullpen coach, born in Cincinnati. That's another sign of chemistry. Doing things for each other. Placing the team, and a teammate, above one's own personal agenda, learning to sacrifice.

Every ballplayer brings his own personality and convictions to the clubhouse. Some lead by quiet example. Others, those who have perhaps been around longer, know when it's appropriate to offer encouragement to a teammate, either when he's struggling, or when he's seems not to be hustling as much as he should.

That's chemistry – the part of baseball that no mathematician can reduce to a formula, or an average, or a percentage. How guys get along, how they deal with each other, how they encourage each other or perhaps correct each other – it's all part of the art of the game.

Players like Taubensee, Bichette, Casey and Sullivan have learned to place the team, the "family", above themselves. It's part of the faith they profess and live by. It's part of their own character – and it's what they bring to the clubhouse, far beyond their averages or won-lost record.