- Sept 16, 2023: The Giants expected to do better than to be one of four clubs battling for the third and final National League Wild Card spot this season, but their brain trust appears to be safe for now.
Giants chairman Greg Johnson reiterated to The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser on Thursday that president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and manager Gabe Kapler “will both be here next year.” Johnson’s vote of confidence came on the same day the Red Sox dismissed Chaim Bloom as their chief baseball officer, ending a nearly four-year run that resulted in only one playoff appearance for the club.
Zaidi was hired one year prior to Bloom’s arrival in Boston, but his tenure in San Francisco has been marked by similar pitfalls. Tasked with turning the Giants into sustainable contenders, Zaidi steered the club to a franchise-record 107 wins and a NL West division title in 2021, but San Francisco significantly regressed last season, going 81-81 and missing the playoffs for the third time since 2019. (M Guardado - MLB.com - Sept 16, 2023)
|Birth City:||Hollywood, CA|
|Draft:||Tigers #57 - 1995 - Out of Moorpark JUCO (CA)|
|2007||-||Did Not Play|
- When Gabe was 8 years old, he got hit by a car. After that, he needed therapy to deal with his fear if crossing the street.
During his first college experience, at Cal State-Fullerton, Kapler made no dent on the program and was gone after a short stay. He admits, "I played around too much off the field."
That helped make his approach to the pro game much more purposeful than most players. Gabe is a competitor, is very strong, has leadership qualities, and comes to play the game every day. His hustle separates him from most others.
Kapler says he wasted his time "partying a little bit, not going to class at all," downig double cheeseburgers, fries and industrial-sized sodas from the Del Taco next to his dorm. Then drinking cheap malt liquor at night. The Titans' coach, the late Augie Garrido, called him into his office one day.
"You're not ready for this program," he said. "You're better off at a junior college."
Kapler left and called his father, "Dad, I just lost my scholarship," he said. "I'm coming home."
"I knew I had blown a real opportunity, but it was one of the biggest turning points in my life," says Kapler. "It was a huge wake-up call for me."
Gabe enrolled at Moorpark College, in California's Ventura County. In 1995, the Tigers selected Gapler in the 57th round, a round that no longer exists. Of the 143 players picked in the 16 drafts with a 57th round, between 1965 and 1997, only one who signed made the big leagues: Kapler.
Kapler's all-out, hustling style is impressive. He plays as hard as any player in the game ans is a positive influence in the clubhouse.
YOU SHOULD SEE HIM WITHOUT A SHIRT
- In high school, Gabe was a cigarettes-and-beer guy. Then he hit the weights -- to compensate for his insecurities from just being a teenager and a few leftover fears from that childhood car accident.
- Kapler looks more like a bodybuilder than a baseball player. But his weightlifting program is geared more toward baseball than what it used to be. He is not tight. Gabe is proof you can have a body like that and not be musclebound. He eats right and stays in great physical condition.
- He appeared on the cover of the September 1998 issue of Men's Exercise, and before that had a spread in another magazine called Men's Workout. His physique is that impressive.
- Gabe is into flaxseed—energy pills that provide essential fatty acids. He hates the taste of them, but loves the results. He gained eight pounds in eight weeks while dropping his body fat from 5.8% to 3.5%.
Kapler says he has never, and would never, take steroids. But the suspicion always exists because of his great physique. "I believe strongly that it stems from jealousy of some sort," Gabe said. "It's also a compliment."
Kapler doesn't even drink coffee. He does take lots of multivitamins and supplements—even creatine.
- In 1997, Kapler led the Florida State League in doubles and tied for first in extra-base hits (153), tied for third in homers and RBI, and was fourth in slugging (.505) and runs (87).
In 1998, Gabe was Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year. He led all of minor league baseball with 146 RBI, shattering the Southern League's old mark of 132. He also set loop marks in extra-base hits (80), total bases (315), and doubles. And he was the SL MVP.
Oh yeah, he also led the league in homers, hits, and runs.
Kapler says that Rusty Greer was his role model, and he tried to emulate the hustling Rangers outfielder. "Just because of the way he plays the game—the way he carries himself out there," Gabe said a few years ago, when they were teammates. "He just pours his heart out on the field."
- Gabe says he'd love to pursue an acting career when his baseball days are over. "I would really love to act on the stage or screen in the future. If things go well in my baseball career, that could fall into place," Kapler said.
- Gabe is confident, but in a quiet way, and gets along well with his teammates. He has tremendous heart and drive. He is mentally tough.
Gabe is a big believer in positive thinking. And he reads a lot.
Gabe and his wife welcomed their first child, son Chase, in October 1999.
- When he was a kid, Kapler told his mother that he was going to be an athlete and an actor. "What a blow to every Jewish mother's dream of job security," Judy Kapler said.
- He is not that religious, nor into Judaism. But if he is an inspiration to Jews, that is OK with him.
Kapler takes pride in being recognized as a Jewish baseball player and likes the idea of Jewish youngsters seeing him as a role model or inspiration to try to make athletics a career. He does admit, however, that he isn't the most devout member of his faith.
"It would be misleading and hypocritical for me to say I'm practicing and I go to temple and I do X, Y and Z, because that's not true,'' he said. "I identify much more with the race and the culture and the bloodline of it. We're really considered a race—and that's where I feel the strong, powerful connection and loyalty.''
It hasn't always been that way. For the first decade of his life, Kapler actually celebrated Christmas and his family had a Christmas tree in its Southern California home. "I grew up in a blue-collar, racially diverse neighborhood and that's just the way it was,'' he said. "I loved Christmas. It was awesome—but then it just stopped when my mom decided to celebrate being a Jew.''
Michael and Judy Kapler were free spirit—"hippies'' according to their son—and they weren't heavily involved in any organized religious activities for many years.
When Judy got a job as director of a Jewish preschool in North Hollywood, things began to change. She began to have an awakening to the importance of her religion and culture, and the impact it had had on her ancestors and society in general. (Judy Kapler remains deeply involved in synagogue Adat Ari El, in North Hollywood.) Gabe eventually was sent to Hebrew school. He had his Bar Mitzvah at 13. "My family's of Russian descent and I don't know if any were lost, but I've known other people who have lost family members in the Holocaust,'' Kapler said.
- Gabe says his favorite player when he was a kid was Fred McGriff, when he was with the Blue Jays. And also George Bell and Lloyd Moseby.
- Kapler says his all-time favorite movie is "Seven."
- Gabe had a Major League season-high 28 game hitting streak end August 16, 2000.
In a move to get him out of a dreadful 0-for-20 and 4-for-50 slump, Kapler shaved his head near the end of June 2001.
"I had to change my mood," he said. "I've done this every year. I try to pick a time when I need a change. I did it in the minor leagues, I did it in Detroit, and I did it here (with the Rangers)." He went two-for-three in his first game.
- Gabe believes his best years are ahead of him. In 2002 Spring Training, he said, "I still don't believe I've scratched the surface. I'm still waiting for that player that I think I can be. Actually, I'm not waiting. I'm being proactive and trying to find him. I know he's in there. I just have to find him."
"There is a certain image that has been portrayed, and it's never really been me," Kapler said. "On the field I want to be thought of as a guy who does things the right way and plays hard. So I don't have a problem with that image. But at heart, I am a Southern California kid. Those influences are imbedded in me."
BIG TATTOO FAN
- Kapler likes body art. Eight tattoos are scattered across Kapler's body, the most visible on his legs. Each has deep significance, tied to family, religion or in the case of his "Man Up" art, motivation. "You aren't going to find a picture of a snake or Mighty Mouse," Kapler said. "I don't have any that are meaningless."
- Kapler was 18 when he decided to get his first tattoo, a kind of graduation from the platinum blond hair and earrings of his childhood. Of course, he didn't tell his parents, though "they were both kind of hippies in the 1960s who have always encouraged expression," Kapler admitted. Even now, Kapler can't believe what he did.
After dating for three months, Kapler and his girlfriend decided to get their names tattooed on each other's bodies on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. Only 17, she was turned away. But Kapler went through with the plan, splashing "Lisa" across his left biceps.
"If I could go back and understand what it meant to have somebody's name tattooed on your body, I probably wouldn't have done it at that point," Kapler said with a grin. "It could have been disastrous." But, Kapler averted a huge mistake, because his instincts didn't betray him. Almost 10 years later, Gabe and Lisa are married, with two sons. She has a tattoo of his name on her stomach, and both have matching wedding bands in dark ink.
- Kapler admitted his original motivation to get a tattoo was about testosterone as much as teenage hormones. Growing up in the San Fernando Valley, Kapler associated tattoos with toughness. "It was about street credibility," Kapler said. "That was the way I felt back then. But I fell into the whole process. Each time it was like getting a new haircut, a new conversation piece."
- The past decade, Kapler has steadily, if not conspicuously, added tattoos. His artwork is hidden when he's in uniform. That's not a total accident. As tattoos have become more popular, Kapler doesn't want to be considered someone following a fad. And besides, "People look at you differently when you have them."
Kapler's strong bond to his California home, where he was a skater and punk rocker, fostered his interest in tattoos. But as he became more fascinated by the culture, the tattoos became more personal. He has his two boys' initials on his body—CTK and DRK. There's a Japanese symbol for brotherhood that he got with his older brother Jeremy, and the numbers 818 are discreetly plastered on his leg.
"That's the area code where I am from," Kapler said. "A lot of people talk about wanting to go over the hill, to move to the city. But I have always loved the Valley, the strip malls, the graffiti, the ethnic diversity."
- His most prominent tattoos center on his Jewish faith. He has the Star of David with a message in Hebrew, which translated, means strong mind, strong will. The words "Never Again" also are written on right shin, with the dates of the Holocaust. "More than being religious, my being Jewish is a representation of where I came from," Kapler said. "I feel a strong allegiance to and responsibility to stand up for who I am."
- Kapler is running out of room for ink on his body. He got a tattoo on his lower leg, depicting a violent storm, symbolizing the emotional trials of baseball. He added a peaceful, serene setting during the 2004 All-Star break (detailed below).
Gabe really doesn't remember why he did the following foolish deed. He was young, a freshman at Taft High School in California, going through a period of rebellion.
One summer night he and a friend went to a Dodgers game at Chavez Ravine. Both were baseball fans, and his buddy's favorite player was Darryl Strawberry. Somewhere along the line, the two teenagers decided that watching Strawberry paled to actually meeting him. "So we hopped over the gate down the first-base line," Kapler recalled. "And the next thing we know, we are sitting in the dugout."
Kapler, wearing his high school letter jacket, remembers seeing Strawberry and blending in unnoticed for about a minute before a player barked out, "You know you kids can get arrested for being in here, right?" The two, wide-eyed kids zoomed out of the dugout up the stairs and out of the stadium before being apprehended. Though they got away with the prank. "We weren't trying to harm anyone," he said. Kapler admitted he neither understood the magnitude of their egregious behavior, calling it foolish.
Kapler told the above story as he watched highlights of a fan bolt from the stands the night of April 15, 2003 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago and attack first-base umpire Laz Diaz.
An even uglier scene played out September 19, 2002, when a father and son assaulted Royals first-base coach Tom Gamboa. Kapler said it was ridiculous how easily he had gotten onto the field, and emphasized that security measures have grown much tighter since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. "I have never felt unsafe on the field," Kapler said. "It's something you don't even think about. What happened in Chicago, I see all those as isolated incidents. You have to, or it would make it very difficult to do your job."
- Gabe showed up at the ballpark on May 15, 2004 with a shaved head. He didn't want to talk about it much, but did concede it was mainly a matter of superstition. Kapler is off to a rough start at the plate, hitting .235 with one homer and five RBIs, when he had the "close encounter" with a barber.
- During the All-Star break in July 2004, Kapler got a tattoo on his left calf of the San Fernando Valley coming up the 405 from Los Angeles. It has buildings and mountains bathed in bright sunshine. It is positive and peaceful, unlike the tattoo on his right calf. It has dark clouds, rain and lightning.
During the 2004 season, when the Red Sox were at home, he would ride his bicycle to Fenway Park, a 5-mile trip, mostly on Route 9. He would take a left at Brookline Avenue, taking about 25 minutes to make the trip, helmet on his head.
In a sport populated by the portly likes of Sidney Ponson and Bartolo Colon, Kapler is more ripped than any NFL cornerback. He started hitting the weight room when he was 19 and still pumps iron four or five times a week for 20-25 minutes after games. The rest is diet and good genes—though he says he'll occasionally eat a hamburger or a piece of cheesecake. Body-by-Gabe invites questions and wisecracks about steroids.
"I used to take offense," he said. "But I was young and didn't know how to take the ragging of baseball. I've learned not to be reactionary. It's really a compliment when you get down to it." (Dan Shaughnessy-Boston Globe-7/20/04)
Kapler exudes genuine joy. He is a great guy to have in the clubhouse and just plain nice to be around. Guys like Curt Schilling have said, "He's one of my favorite teammates of all time."
Dec 21, 2018: Gabe Kapler has thoughtfully shifted the focus from himself, his family and his home to others.
Kapler understands that because he is the Phillies' manager, everybody wants to hear his story and have him share his feelings about his Malibu home burning to the ground last month in the Woolsey Fire that ravaged Southern California. But Kapler, who spent parts of 12 seasons in the big leagues, is keenly aware that he is better off than most people. He is not seeking sympathy. He and his family, he said, will be fine. Others, however, need help. Kapler has asked people to help them. Phillies fans have responded to say they have.
"I am so grateful for the Phillies fans and Philly community for their generosity," Kapler said. "I know how many asks there are for people's time, money and attention, especially at this time of year. The response has been absolutely incredible, and I know that there are lives that are better specifically because of the donations and awareness from our city." Kapler has asked people to donate to the California Community Foundation's Wildfire Relief Fund. The fund supports "intermediate and long-term recovery efforts for major California wildfires, as well as preparedness efforts." Earlier this month, Kapler autographed Phillies scoreboard Christmas ornaments in the Majestic Clubhouse Store at Citizens Bank Park. Those proceeds will benefit the Wildfire Relief Fund. It needs all the support it can get.
"In terms of recovery," Kapler said, "it's going to take a while. Malibu is working hard to bounce back. Right now, sites are being evaluated for hazardous materials, and that's expected to be completed by January. Once that's done, debris removal will start. After the lots are cleared, people can start looking at rebuilding or repairing damage. "I think the important thing to remember is that this is going to be a long process. People are going to be without housing for a long time. Going through insurance is a challenge, and, of course, insurance doesn't cover or replace everything. Tens of thousands of families were displaced, some temporarily, some permanently, and restoring their lives back to normalcy is likely to be a challenging path for many."
KAPLER'S STATEMENT ON WASHINGTON POST REPORT
Feb 2, 2019: Phillies manager Gabe Kapler responded to a report that while he was the Dodgers' player development director in 2015, he did not call police after being told that two Dodgers Minor Leaguers might have been involved in the alleged assault of a 17-year-old girl. The story appeared in the Washington Post. Kapler posted a statement on his personal website, Kaplifestyle.com, but the site crashed soon afterward. Here is Kapler's statement:
Many of you may be aware of the recent accusations made against the Dodgers and me. I thought that the best thing I could do to explain my actions in this situation would be to walk everyone through my involvement in these events from start to finish.
Before we begin, I want to make one thing clear: There is an allegation that I concealed or otherwise mishandled a sexual assault claim. This is 100% not true. There was no allegation of sexual assault made to me during my handling of this incident. Now, I'd like to share what happened.
I was contacted by the grandmother of the victim the night of February 24, 2015 via my Dodgers email address. This email contained a written account of an incident that had taken place the night before involving two Dodgers minor league players. I called the grandmother to confirm what had happened. Then, I spoke to the players involved. One player had no recollection of the events at all (all parties agreed that he was passed out due to overconsumption of alcohol during the relevant period and was not a participant or witness to the event). The other confirmed in broad outlines what was said by the grandmother. The next evening, February 25, the victim sent an email to my Dodgers email address containing her written account of what happened.
All three of the accounts described a serious situation, but there was no allegation of sexual assault.
That situation was, in sum:
• Two players and two women met the individual in question. The group of five returned to the hotel room where one of the players was staying.
• One player passed out on the bed.
• The victim vomited on the other bed due to alcohol intoxication.
• The two women proceeded to hit her on the head and poured water on her.
• The other player shared a video clip of the incident on Snapchat.
• The two women asked the victim to leave.
I worked to learn what happened from the players involved, the victim, and the grandmother. All three accounts independently outlined the same events. While a serious physical assault allegation was made against the two women in the room (in an environment that the two players helped to create), none of these accounts involved any sexual assault allegations, and no physical assault allegations were made against either Dodgers player. I and others at the Dodgers still took their role in the incident very seriously and proceeded to act with the information that we had.
Both players admitted their role in the incident and felt remorseful that their actions helped to create a situation that allowed these events to occur in their presence. The two players wanted to apologize directly to the victim for their poor decision making and lack of responsibility or maturity. To facilitate this, and with the understanding (as recounted by all parties I spoke to) that there was no physical or sexual encounters between the players and the alleged victim, I suggested a meeting in order for the players to apologize. The sole purpose was to provide the opportunity for the victim to receive an apology in a controlled environment with supervision, and to educate the players on how to be accountable. The meeting was suggested to the victim, and she declined. We respected her wishes and dropped the idea.
Subsequently, I received three emails (two from the grandmother, one from the victim) requesting financial assistance in some way ("I would appreciate any type of offer."). I felt a request of this nature was above my paygrade. I shared this information with people within the Dodgers. I did not reply to these requests, I did not provide financial assistance, I did not offer to provide financial assistance, and I did not engage in any negotiations of the sort.
The question of why I didn't report this to the police is a fair one. Admittedly, there were many thoughts going through my mind at the time. But above all, the victim's grandmother asked for my reassurance that I wouldn't "turn [the victim] in" before the victim would share what had happened. After the victim shared her description of the night, she sent me a follow up email and said she didn't want to talk about it any further. My feeling at the time was that the victim should have the right to make the decision about what she wanted to do. Perhaps I should have taken it out of her hands, but my intention was to respect the victim and her wishes.
In addition to my own involvement with this process, I alerted my supervisor and the Dodgers legal department to allow them to handle whatever employment and legal consequences were deemed appropriate to the situation. It should be noted that because the incident occurred in February, minor league players had not yet reported to camp. There were no formal baseball activities. I could not then suspend or bench the players or pull them from games, because there were none going on at that time.
Again, at the time and as far as I was aware, there were no claims that either player assaulted anyone in any way (sexually or otherwise). While others determined the consequences for the players from a legal and social perspective, I and others in player development took steps to work on their decision-making skills.
On March 4, 2015, the player in question asked for assistance in securing an attorney as he had been contacted by the police. I passed that request to the appropriate parties within the Dodgers. That same day, I was notified that the Dodgers would be hiring an attorney to represent the player. At the request of the player's attorney, I shared with him all communications I had with the victim and the grandmother. The attorney followed up with me on March 6, 2015 "regarding the police investigation of an incident that occurred at the Hampton Inn in Glendale on February 23-24, 2015" to thank me for sharing the information. At this point, I understood that this situation was in the hands of the police and the legal system and that my role was complete. My understanding is that there was no prosecution based on the results of that investigation. By the time the investigation concluded, the player had already been released from the Dodgers.
Ultimately, I tried to make the best possible decisions I could in order to ensure that this incident was handled appropriately and to refer the situation to the proper individuals at the Dodgers. I acted based on what I knew at the time based on written accounts and discussions. I believe my actions respected the victim, her situation, the player, and my role at the Dodgers.
I take violence against women, especially sexual violence, incredibly seriously. In this particular case, the notion that a sexual assault had taken place was never brought up during the time that I was involved in responding. There is a big difference between responding to a player who displayed an unacceptable lack of judgment and one that assaulted a woman. I am well aware of that difference, and I assure you that I would have acted differently if at the time I was involved I had reason to believe that a sexual assault had occurred.
In short, I believed everything that the victim told me throughout the process, and I acted based on that information to the best of my ability. During my handling of this situation, I had no reason to suspect that a sexual assault was alleged. I tried to make the players involved aware of their poor decisions, and I tried to encourage them to make proper decisions in the future. I believe I acted with the best intentions based on what I knew at the time. My goal in every interaction is to always act with integrity and to treat everyone with respect, and I believe my actions reflected those principles.
Thanks for reading. (MLB.com - Feb 2, 2019)
March 15, 2019: Phillies manager Gabe Kapler learned that one of the fans who first informed him of Philadelphia's 13-year, $330 million deal with superstar free agent Bryce Harper was among the 157 people killed in the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.
Matt Vecere was headed to Kenya for the United Nations Environment Assembly as part of his efforts to help deliver air and water filters to underprivileged communities, especially in Haiti, where he worked for many years. In a tweet, Kapler urged the Phillies community and the broader baseball community to support causes Vecere cared about, which his mother said included the environment, civil rights, social and environmental justice and advocacy for the less fortunate.
Vecere was in the stands behind the Phillies' dugout during a Spring Training game against the Blue Jays and was one of the first to relay the information that Harper had reportedly agreed to a record deal with the club. According to friends of his who contacted Kapler after his passing,
Vecere said, "Bat him third and he'll give you 90 runs."
"Baseball brings people together," Kapler wrote in his tweet, "but Matt strove for bigger causes than what we do every day. As he loved the Phillies, I hope the community can return that love." (M Randhawa - MLB.com - March 15, 2019)
In 1995, Kapler had to wait until the 57th round to be drafted by the Tigers. It was so late that he initially thought he hadn’t been drafted at all. He received no phone call, no official notice that his professional baseball career had begun. Forty-eight hours later, Kapler attended a scout league game in Santa Barbara, Calif., where the man putting on the event asked him if he planned on signing. Until then, Kapler had no idea that was even an option.
So yes, Kapler knows what it feels like to be written off. He’s used that as motivation throughout his career, working relentlessly to make an impact over his 12-year playing career, his stint as the Dodgers’ director of player development, and most recently, his two seasons as manager of the Phillies.
There have been a few high-profile stumbles along the way, though, some of which have clouded his arrival to San Francisco. Kapler’s challenge now will be not only to work with president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and general manager Scott Harris to build the Giants back into a perennial contender, but also to build trust among the fans who view him as a polarizing choice to replace Bruce Bochy.
“I feel like I'm in a little bit of a hole,” Kapler admitted during his introductory press conference at Oracle Park. “And yes, that means something to me. I think I would probably just use it as an opportunity to to roll up my sleeves a little bit more, to dig in a little bit more to really find out what the issues are, to find out why I have had some of those issues. So far, I have not been a popular hire. I don't think I know everything. I don't think that I've made every perfect step. I made a lot of mistakes, but I think one of the things that you'll find out about me is that I'm pretty good at making adjustments.”
During their 20-minute opening statements, the Giants’ new brain trust addressed concerns stemming from reports that emerged earlier this year that Kapler mishandled assault allegations against two Dodgers Minor Leaguers during his tenure as the club’s director of player development. Both Zaidi, who was the Dodgers’ general manager at the time of the allegations, and Kapler expressed remorse for their inadequate responses to those incidents.
“I think what we've come to understand is, this is not a situation where these incidents and what you do afterwards are just about protecting victims, but really about supporting [them],” Zaidi said. “And I don't think we did enough in that regard. I've had to reflect on that, and I'm truly sorry that I didn't do more.”
Added Kapler: “I think this is the right time to say that I'm sorry that I didn't make all the right moves. Everything that I did, I acted on from a place of goodness and from my heart and wanting to do the right thing, but I was naive. I was in over my skis and trying to do things on my own when it was very clear that I needed counsel. I needed counsel from people like I've met in this community over the course of the last two weeks. Going forward, I would be seeking out that counsel.”
Kapler is expected to have another key resource at his disposal as well. He said he spoke with Bochy as part of his interview process and hopes to continue to lean on his predecessor, who led the Giants to three World Series championships over his 13 seasons in San Francisco.
"It is going to be impossible for me to fill Bruce Bochy's shoes,” Kapler said. “It's not something that I'm going to set out to try to do. He's a Hall of Fame manager, beloved in this city and across baseball for so many totally appropriate reasons.
"One of the things we talked about in our conversation was, his second time managing was better than his first time, and he made a lot of adjustments along the way. One of the things I'm going to set out to do is spend a lot of time with Boch and learn as much as I can about the things that he learned."
The Giants are counting on Kapler’s second run as manager to be more successful than his first. The Phillies went 161-163 (.497) in their two seasons under Kapler, leading to his dismissal. Still, Zaidi said he received a flood of text messages from Phillies players and personnel supporting Kapler’s candidacy and expressed confidence that Kapler will be able to parlay his “growth mindset” into greater success with the Giants.
Kapler also received an endorsement from Buster Posey, who was the only Giants player in attendance for the hour-long press conference. Posey was involved in the interview process and said he has detected some parallels between Kapler and Bochy, the only manager he’s known until now.
“Something he said today that is very similar to Boch is he wants players to be themselves,” Posey said. “I think that’s an approach Boch took a lot, or all the time. You can look back to some of our teams from 2010 to 2016. I feel like maybe we’ve gotten a little stagnant here the last few years.”
Kapler said he hopes to create a culture of accountability in the Giants' clubhouse while also giving players room to be active participants in the discussion. He said the biggest lesson he learned in Philadelphia was how to incorporate analytics into his in-game strategy without eroding the confidence of his players.
“Sometimes, a confident player is a better baseball player,” Kapler said. “That outweighs the strategic advantage you get of calling just the right pitch at the right time.”
After his dismissal from the Phillies, Kapler also had the opportunity to interview with the Cubs for the opening that ultimately went to David Ross. Still, Kapler said the Giants’ vacancy appealed to him more because it felt like a blank slate. He’s looking forward to getting to work.
“I'm very excited about foundation building,” Kapler said. “I know that the fanbase in San Francisco is not interested in winning once and then going away. Building a foundation that can create a sustainable winning culture, year in, year out, competing for National League West titles, is something that I'm very excited about.
“Part of the reason I was so attracted to this job is because I trust Farhan and I trust Scott and their ability to build not just a Major League club through going out and acquiring free agents, but a sustainable foundation. I'm really excited about being a part of that.” (M Guardado - MLB.com - Nov 13, 2019)
November 1999: The Rangers sent OF Juan Gonzalez, P Danny Patterson and C Greg Zaun to the Tigers; acquiring Kapler, pitchers Justin Thompson, Francisco Cordero and Alan Webb, C Bill Haselman, and INF Frank Catalanotto.
2001: Kapler signed a three-year, $5.6 million contract with the Rangers.
July 2002: The Rockies sent OF Todd Hollandsworth and P Denys Reyes to the Rangers, acquiring Kapler and INF Jason Romano.
June 2003: The Rockies released Gabe.
"As an organization, we felt the release was in the best interests of Gabe," Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd said in the official announcement. "He is a Major League player and we could not give him a Major League opportunity." Kapler appreciated the move. "I was treated like absolute gold in Colorado," Kapler said. "I was always told the truth. I walked away with the feeling that people always cared about me and my well-being. This just wasn't the place for me right now."
June 24, 2003: Kapler signed with the Red Sox.
December 22, 2003: The Red Sox signed Gabe to a $750,000 one-year contract, a day after the team non-tendered him. It was a procedure they had to follow. Kapler wanted to stay with Boston, and they wanted him, but had to get around the rule that limits pay cuts to 20 percent. Gabe earned $3.4 million in 2003. His 2004 contract includes performance bonuses in addition to the $750,000 base salary.
November 21, 2004: Kapler agreed to a one-year contract with the Yomiuri Giants in Tokyo. "He spent the better part of a week really agonizing over the decision," agent Paul Cohen said.
July 8, 2005: Yomiuri released Kapler after he had spent a month on the team's inactive list and had only managed a .153 batting average for the season.
- July 16, 2005: Kapler signed with the Red Sox again. Boston manager Terry Francona, like almost everyone in the clubhouse, was excited to have Kapler back.
"Gabe, more than just on the field, he's the ultimate teammate," Francona said. "He does some duties on a team that aren't the most, I don't want to say popular, but aren't the most glamorous. The things that maybe partially got in the way of Jay [Payton] handling his role here. Gabe does those things voluntarily and enthusiastically. I know he was a favorite out in that clubhouse, and he was kind of a favorite in here, too."
December 20, 2007: After spending the 2007 season as the manager of the Greenville Drive (SAL-Red Sox) in the low Class A South Atlantic League, Gabe signed a one-year, $800,000 contract with the Brewers and resumed his playing career.
"Managing was incredible for me this year,” Kapler said at the time of his decision. “I learned so much about baseball, about the young men I had an opportunity to lead, and about myself. Ultimately, the experience reawakened the competitor in me. I miss the battle. I still need to be on the field as a player.
"My body is as healthy as it has ever been, and I must take advantage of that," he said. "Managing was an important component of my development, and I am eternally grateful to the Red Sox for having provided me the opportunity to tackle a new challenge."
- October 30, 2008: Gabe filed for free agency.
- January 12, 2008: Kapler signed a one-year, $1,000,018 contract with the Rays. The extra 18 representing Kapler's lucky number, as well as a symbol of life, or chai, in the Jewish community.
- October 27, 2009: Gabe signed a one-year contract with the Rays. This one was for $1,050,000.
January 18, 2011: Kapler signed with the Dodgers.
- September 2012: Kapler played for Israel in the World Baseball Classic qualifying tournament.
December 2016: Kapler committed to play for team Israel in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
Gabe didn't come into the 2008 season expecting any specific results. He came back after a year as a manager because he missed the game, not to achieve some statistical goal.
“Coming into this season without expectations was really good for me,” he said. “I didn’t really have any, so there’s nothing really to be disappointed about. I was just going to roll with it no matter what. It’s given me the ability to enjoy every moment and be in a state of gratitude.”
Yost, speaking from personal experience, thinks the year away from playing helped Kapler in another way.
“It’s his ability to be prepared for any situation; it’s his mind-set,” Yost said. “He doesn’t let little things like not playing every day affect him. He prepares to be ready for any situation he’s called (for).”
Kapler said the things he learned from his year managing were much more complex than that, but agreed that the new perspective didn’t hurt. (Anthony Witrado-Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-8/13/08)
Before 2010 spring training, Kapler discussed his training and diet regimen.
"We're all made up differently," Gabe said. "Some people need to step on the gas pedal a little bit, and some people need to apply the brakes. And I think I'm the type of guy who just needs to apply the brakes more. I've really realized that especially over the last three years.
"Life is a lesson in balance. Life is about kind of keeping things in harmony. When you feel way out of whack, you kind of have to make an adjustment."
Diet is a key component to anybody's fitness regimen, and Kapler's routine is no exception. On any given day, Kapler can be seen in the clubhouse munching on his special cereal, a particular kind of peanut butter or various nutrition bars. But he also embraces the idea that being too strict in one's diet is taboo.
"I don't think it makes any sense to be so strict in your eating that you have no flexibility and you're not enjoying it any more," Kapler said. "Because that's out of balance and you end up paying a price for it. I think the training is the same way.
"And my workouts are so much different now," Kapler said. "My rep schemes used to be to do eight to 12 to 15 reps, because that's how you build muscle size. But now I understand that in baseball, we don't do anything eight times, we don't do anything 12 times; it's all one, short, quick movement. So now all my rep schemes are much smaller. They're sets of two and three."
According to Kapler, fewer repetitions translate to less of a toll on his body, which allows him to remain healthy. Kapler used as an example a "full body lift and power clean," an exercise that incorporates the muscles of the entire body, to illustrate his mind-set while training.
"It might be just one or two reps," Kapler said. "I just want to have a perfect rep without compromising any muscles or any tendons. And within that perfect form, I want to perform the act quickly. I want it to be an explosive movement instead of seeing how much weight I can put on the bar.
"I want everything I'm doing now to be moving fast, because in baseball, that's what we do. And it took me a long time to figure that out. And this offseason is the first time I've trained with that in mind. Right now, my mind-set is to train for short, explosive bursts. Next year, my thing might be to train for balance or maybe for just speed."
Flexibility is a primary focus of his workouts, as well. Kapler begins every workout with a 20-minute flexibility routine and he ends his workouts with an additional 20-minute flexibility routine. Taking the flexibility a step further, Kapler rolls a piece of PVC pipe over his muscles before going to bed as "a way to kind of manipulate the muscles in conjunction with an active stretching program." (Bill Chastain-MLB.com-1/07/10)
When the Phillies hired Kapler, Brewers executive Doug Melvin, who traded for Kapler in Texas and signed him as a free agent in Milwaukee, told Phillies president Andy MacPhail, "My only worry is he is so full of energy and there isn't somebody there who can say, 'Gabe, just tone it down a bit.'"
Kapler was so hell-bent as a player that he once ruptured his Achilles rounding second base . . . on a teammate's home run.
"I like Gabe. He just goes hard at everything," Melvin says. "It's about him; and when you're managing, it shouldn't be about you. There are going to be stories about him because he is polarizing. I know there are some people rooting against him. I hope he does well."
Dec 23, 2019: Amid the bustle of his first Winter Meetings with the Giants, new manager Gabe Kapler took a few minutes to talk to MLB.com.
MLB.com: What did the holidays look like in your household when you were growing up? Do you have any favorite recollections or traditions that you did with your family?
Kapler: I think Thanksgiving probably stands out as my favorite holiday, by far. It just kind of represents indulgence. Me and my brother are both often pretty strict eaters. Oftentimes, we've gone two or three weeks at a time eating on a really strict schedule and kind of not going after it. On Thanksgiving, a tradition that he and I have is just to eat a lot of whatever we want to eat, starting in the morning with like donuts and then drinking whatever we want to drink.
MLB.com: What did you indulge in this year?
Kapler: Ice cream.
MLB.com: What flavor?
Kapler: We had our traditional Thanksgiving interactions, and then, myself, my older son [Chase], my brother Jeremy and his son Everett all went to an ice cream shop, but the ice cream shop was closed, so we ended up at 7-Eleven. We bought like eight different flavors of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. We just put it all out on the table and ate whatever flavors we wanted. I'd say Half Baked is probably my favorite of those.
MLB.com: Do you have a favorite present that you received during the holidays as a child?
Kapler: I think I got a dirt bike . . . like a pedal dirt bike, so not a motorized one. It was a blue Rampar. This is probably when I was 6 or 7 years old. I was on that bike all day in my neighborhood as a kid. I used it as a real mode of transportation, not just to ride the bike. So out all day during the summers and back home late, mostly on that bike.
MLB.com: Have your traditions changed now that you have kids? How do you plan to spend the next two weeks heading into the New Year?
Kapler: Well, my kids are now 20 and 18 years old. My older son, Chase, is at UCLA and my younger son, Dane, is in his senior year of high school, really focused on college. It's mostly going to be shorter interactions than they normally are because we're kind of in separate places, but we’ll find time to connect and have good conversation.
MLB.com: Is Hanukkah big for you guys? Do you celebrate Christmas, or do you have your own traditions?
Kapler: We celebrated Hanukkah in my house growing up. We also celebrated Christmas in my house growing up, and at an earlier time. When we were all together as a family, we celebrated both. So yeah, not one or the other. (M Guardado - MLB.com - Dec 23, 2019)
Feb 21, 2020: Following the completion of a round of live batting practice at Scottsdale Stadium, manager Gabe Kapler jogged over to the dugout to greet Bruce Bochy, who reported to Giants camp for the first time in his new role as special advisor.
Kapler shook Bochy’s hand and chatted briefly with his predecessor, providing a snapshot of two distinct eras for the Giants. Kapler called Bochy a “legend” and said he’s looking forward to using him as a resource as he embarks on his first season managing the Giants.
“I think Boch has a really good feel for baseball from all angles,” Kapler said. “I don't think there's an area of the game that he's not very developed in. Trying to get a really well-rounded view of the game through his lens is going to be really valuable for me. I also think he has a really good way of just connecting with people—players, media, staff. I want to do a lot of listening when I have a chance to sit down with Boch.”
Bochy, 64, remains a beloved figure in San Francisco after guiding the Giants to three World Series championships over his 13 seasons with the club, but he delayed his arrival to camp partly because he wanted to keep the spotlight on Kapler this spring.
“I think that's why he is where he is today, because he's so thoughtful and thinks about things on a deeper level,” Kapler said. “There's a lot of awareness and sensitivity. Obviously, being on my end of it, I'm super grateful for that awareness.” (M Guardado - MLB.com - Feb 21, 2020)
Honoring John Lewis has genuine significance for Gabe, though preparing his ballclub for its 2020 season opener at Los Angeles might seem unrelated to the Georgia congressman and civil rights icon who died recently at age 80.
Kapler’s parents raised him and his older brother, Jeremy, in southern California’s San Fernando Valley amid an atmosphere of activism. Now 81 and 75, respectively, Michael and Judy Kapler preached nonviolence, but they weren’t afraid to do so in a loud voice. Gabe was keenly aware of their participation in various marches and protests. He recalled that his parents attended at least one speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the towering leader of the civil rights movement.
“The concepts of racial equality and social justice were deeply embedded in my household,” Kapler said. “My parents believed in peaceful protest, but they were certainly fiery. I knew from a very early age that anything with a racist, sexist or other bigoted edge was unacceptable. I grew up understanding that diversity of all kinds makes us stronger, and I learned to affirmatively seek that out.”
Kapler’s worldview obviously extends beyond the foul lines and outfield dimensions. He understood the impact of Lewis’ life as well as his death.
“I think what stands out to me about him was his recognition that the fight against injustice is a constant one, one that he gave his entire life to,” Kapler said. “He recognized the difficulty of standing for what is right and yet did so with grace and dignity. I believe his legacy is most felt in his encouragement for all of us to act, to speak out, to ‘make some noise and get in good trouble.’"
Kapler’s identification with Lewis and his message explains why the wall in front of Kapler’s desk in his Oracle Park office is dominated by a stirring, framed photograph of King standing in front of the throng at the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963, when he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. Lewis, who regarded King as his mentor, also addressed the crowd that day. At 23, he was the afternoon’s youngest speaker.
“The role of the manager has changed in my opinion,” Kapler wrote. “It has never started with the first pitch of the game, but now more than ever, I see the job as bringing together a group of people to work together towards a common goal. Typically, the magnitude of the goal of a baseball team pales in comparison to the one Dr. King was and other civil rights activists are still working towards, but the concept still resonates. In July of 2020, the clubhouse can become a forum for the exact discussions they spoke so passionately about, and their words [and the words of Rep. Lewis] are still relevant and necessary now.” (Haft - mlb.com - 7/19/2020)
- Aug 18, 2023: -- Giants manager Gabe Kapler was fined an undisclosed amount and served a one-game suspension in the club’s series opener against the Braves at Truist Park for returning to the dugout following his fourth-inning ejection during San Francisco's 7-0 win over the Rays on Aug 15.
- Gabe has good power and also hits for a good batting average. Kapler has excellent strike zone knowledge. He is a good two-strike hitter who works himself into a good count.
- He drives the ball into the gaps. He seems to do much better when there are runners on base.
- Gabe no longer lunges while trying to pull every pitch. He stays back well now. "If I'm concentrating on using the whole field, I'm successful," Kapler said.
- He has a natural power lift in his swing. But sometimes he stops his power with a swing in which his left arm is locked almost from the start.
Kapler is mentally tough. He can look bad on one pitch, and he doesn't quit, doesn't give up an at-bat. And he doesn't make excuses. He has trouble hitting the curveball and off-speed stuff.
WORKING ON HIS SWING
Starting in 2000 with the Rangers, Gabe learned to relax his hands much more at the plate. He had such a death grip on the bat before, with the Tigers, that his biceps would pop out on his arms because of the strain.
Texas hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo had him keep his head still, stay balanced, and relax his hands. He can now drive the inside fastball.
- Gabe had a poor first half in 2000, just four homers and .245 batting average. But he spent the All-Star break reconstructing his swing with Rangers' hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, who added a leg kick to Kapler's stride to keep him from starting his swing too early. And he dominated the second half.
- Kapler is not an instinctive player. His highly mechanical swing looks gangly and awkward. But he works hard to stay under control. His swing is full of moving parts and trigger points and he admittedly overanalyzes mistakes. Most of his slumps are due to "fixing" too many parts of his swing.
In 2003, Gabe changed his approach, shortening his swing. "I have always felt like I had several different swings throughout the season. Now I believe I have a practice swing that I can duplicate in the game, which should eliminate the tinkering," Kapler said. "The reason I didn't have the production I need in 2002 is that I wasn't making solid contact enough. I am strong enough that if I make solid contact I am going to drive the ball."
- Kapler has average speed. In fact, he has been timed as fast as 4.1 seconds running to first base, above-average speed for a righthanded batter.
- In 2000, he stopped sliding head-first into bases.
- In 2001 with the Rangers, he stole his all-time high 23 bases, getting caught 6 times.
- He runs all-out, all the time, taking the extra base when he can.
- He goes back on the ball real well. He is excellent at tracking balls over his head, in fact. But he doesn't have great speed.
- Gabe sometimes plays with a reckless abandon, when a little more control might make him a better fielder. He gets a good read on the ball, but sometimes he dives for one that he might not really have to dive for—a somewhat theatrical move. Sometimes one of those will get by him.
Despite never having played third base as a professional, Gabe played several games at the hot corner during 2004 spring training with the Red Sox and made several spectacular plays.
He hadn't appeared at third base since 1995 at Moorpark Junior College in California.
Kapler drew much praise for his defense. He really gives 100 percent in the outfield.
His arm is very good. And it is accurate.
Kapler also likes to show off his arm making a throw that he doesn't need to make. The Rangers worked on toning down his play so that he would be more in control.
- Kapler's career numbers: batting average was .268 with 82 home runs and 386 RBI in 2,983 at-bats.
Gabe is very cerebral. While on rehab assignments in 2005 and 2006, Kapler discovered a love for teaching the game's next generation. So he was ready to take the next step and start his managing career in 2007.
"It's much more fulfilling to be thinking about other people," he said. "I had one of the best off-seasons I've ever had. I'm not in a hurry, that's the bottom line. I want to be good at what I do, and right now that means helping guys become better players."
Returning to the minor leagues has caused Kapler to reevaluate his goals. When he ascended the minors as the Tigers' top prospect, his focus was always on the future, causing him to miss out on the present.
"I think I was consistently looking too far out as a player," he said. "As a manager, I'm committed to enjoying the process. I was so focused on getting to the next level that I wasn't there. I'm not going to do that this time." (John Tomase-Baseball America-2/23/07)
Kapler knows what it feels like to be on the wrong side of the language barrier.
“When I went to Japan in 2005, the baseball was nearly the same, but I was very used to communicating in the clubhouse,” Kapler said. “When that element was removed for me, I felt very out of my skin and that translated to poor performance on the field.
“I’m not saying it was the only reason (he hit .153 in 38 games for Yomiuri), but it was certainly a contributing factor.”
The Dodgers are taking steps this season to remove that hurdle for young players from Latin America making their way through the system. When Kapler announced the minor league coaching assignments for 2015, it included expanded staffs at each of the Dodgers’ six affiliates.
Instead of the three-man staffs that are prevalent throughout the minors—a manager, pitching coach and one additional coach—the Dodgers will have four-man staffs at each of their affiliates, with at least one Spanish-speaking coach on each staff.
“Cultural assimilation, for us organizationally, is as important as any other element in player development,” Kapler said. “We want to make certain we have systems in place for guys for whom English is a second language to assimilate comfortably so they can feel their most comfortable.” (Bill Plunkett - Baseball America - 2/13/2015)
Nov 2, 2017: Did anybody else get the feeling that Gabe Kapler has no problems mingling and conversing with strangers at a party? Kapler has a big, outgoing personality. He is no introvert, but the Phillies like that about him. Kapler's desire to connect with people is one reason they hired him as manager.
"It has to be used right," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said when asked about the value of a big personality in the clubhouse. "I think there have been a lot of big personalities in sports that for one reason or another have not succeeded. But personality by itself can be a good thing, and the total package that Gabe brings to the table is going to be a good thing for us."
Arguably, it is easier to work with a roster full of mostly inexperienced players than a roster full of mostly veterans. Young players are impressionable. They want to stick. They are less likely to rock the boat. Players mature over time. They gain experience. They make more money. They acquire their own strong opinions. In other words, a clubhouse with Rhys Hoskins, Nick Williams, J.P. Crawford, and Aaron Nola is different than a clubhouse with Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Jonathan Papelbon and Cliff Lee. But Kapler thinks his style will work, even as the roster evolves into a more experienced, more highly paid one. How?
"By focusing on the environment," Kapler said. "It's not that we're not focusing on the player, but one of the things that you see very infrequently is us ignore the mechanics of the swing. We very infrequently ignore game strategy, but we will ignore building a healthy culture where people like coming to work. Whether that be young players or old players, everyone likes coming to work with people that they enjoy being around. Everyone likes coming to work and having the freedom to be who they are, and they're not going to be hammered down because they're not the version that you want them to be.
"The way we manage young players and veteran players is by creating great environments for them to develop in."
A perception about new managers, especially ones on analytically inclined teams, is that the front office dictates lineups, philosophies for managing the game, and more. Hey, this guy has pitched too many times in the past week. Stay away from him tonight. Klentak said while it is important that the manager and front office have a shared ideology, he is not going to control the game from the GM box.
"I am a firm believer in boundaries," Klentak said. "And I think we have to be very careful that those lines don't get blurred between the general manager and a manager, or a coaching staff and the front office. The players need to know that the manager is the individual who is writing out the lineup, who is deciding on pitching changes and playing time, and that is not coming from the front office.
"It's OK for the front office to be around the clubhouse and be accessible and conversational with players—and that has happened and will continue to happen—but I believe strongly in the fact that the Major League manager has to have the autonomy to prepare for the game and run the game." (T Zolecki - MLB.com - Nov 3, 2017)
The 2018 season should be one of the most interesting Phillies campaigns in recent memory, but not because they are expected to compete for the World Series championship. It should be interesting because manager Gabe Kapler is interesting. He is unlike any previous skipper in team history because he might be the most unconventional.
MLB.com is asking all 30 teams: What will be the most exciting storyline in Spring Training? That is easy for the Phils: Kapler, 42, has a strong personality and a wide range of interests. He is steeped in analytics. How many other managers in the big leagues have written for Baseball Prospectus? Kapler is passionate about fitness and nutrition. How many other managers have had a lifestyle blog? He has hinted at turning traditional bullpen usage on its head. Kapler is confident he can keep everybody happy in a crowded outfield. He is a big believer in connecting with his players, which means one-on-one conversations, text messages and tweets.
Kapler has offered some glimpses into how things might work based on interviews since his hiring in late October 2017, but Spring Training will be the first opportunity to truly see his personality and style in action. Will it be totally different than Spring Trainings past? Or are there really only so many new things a manager can do? In other words, how different will life with Kapler be?
So far everybody from players to former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel have been impressed with Kapler's presence and communication skills. But how will players respond to Kapler in the coming weeks and months, if he challenges players to truly think differently?
"It's undoubtedly true that I believe that a bullpen and a roster and a lineup works best when players are feeling like flexibility is the way to go," Kapler said. "The mindset can and will be one of flexibility, and I am not married to any specific role because that isn't mental toughness. If I can only do one thing, that's not a very mentally tough way to start." Kapler believes his players will respond quite well to his philosophies, whether the roster is full of inexperienced players trying to stick in the big leagues or a roster full of veterans with strong personalities like Pat Burrell, Jonathan Papelbon and Cliff Lee.
"By focusing on the environment," said Kapler, when asked how he achieves that goal. "We very infrequently ignore game strategy, but we will ignore building a healthy culture where people like coming to work. Whether that be young players or old players, everyone likes coming to work with people that they enjoy being around. Everyone likes coming to work and having the freedom to be who they are, and they're not going to be hammered down because they're not the version that you want them to be. The way we manage young players and veteran players is by creating great environments for them to develop in." (T Zolecki - MLB.com - Feb 7, 2018)
Feb 16, 2018: There is a small Bluetooth speaker set up in the hallway outside Phillies manager Gabe Kapler's office at Spectrum Field. It plays music softly throughout the day, filling an otherwise empty concrete passageway.
The music in the Phillies' clubhouse is louder. The music at Carpenter Complex, which also played last spring, is louder than that. Music has been a constant companion to the Phillies the first week of camp. That will not change.
"I believe strongly that mood is enhanced by music," Kapler said. "One of the ways we decide on the music: We ask all our players, 'What do you like to listen to? What makes you feel strong during your workouts?' We ask them after the workouts. 'Hey, how was the music today? More volume? Less volume? Did you hear something that you liked?'
"When we're surrounded by music, we feel good. We smile more. When we smile more, we're more relaxed at the plate. There is science behind this. It's not a theory. It's been studied. Workplaces are happier and they're more inspired when music is playing." Every type of music is represented.
"A lack of variety wouldn't appreciate the diversity we have on our roster and the diversity we have on our coaching staff," Kapler said. "We're not trying to cater to one individual. We're trying to cater to our environment." Kapler said he comes from a musical family.
"My dad is a music teacher," Kapler said. "He is a classical musician. He's a piano teacher. He has written music. He's written children's music. My mom is an early childhood educator. I grew up with music in my house all the time. And if you ever come into my office, there will be music playing. In my home, I have music playing all the time. Mostly because it makes me feel strong."
And what is his type of music? "If you come into my office, you might hear some John Lee Hooker or, early in the morning, some Norah Jones as I drink coffee," Kapler said. "It's eclectic." (T Zolecki - M LB.com - Feb 16, 2018)
Kapler became the Phillies manager despite having only one year of experience as skipper of the low-A Greenville Drive (SAL-Red Sox).
"He's a salesman" one L.A. staffer said about Gabe. "Salesman is a dangerous leadership trait. Finding the right dial setting is a matter of common sense. On a scale of one to 10, Gabe always wants to be a 10, when the truth is, six fits a lot."
"Someone from the front office needs to say they understand there may be some mistakes in Gabe's development as a manager, and they will sit down and address it," one rival executive says. "He has to focus less on nutrition, sleep rooms, conditioning (and) education of analytics and focus on game management. No one will second-guess what fatty food are being served."
Kapler is a walking search engine. Each of his decisions is likely to be backed by some research that he's done or some quotation that he's found.
"If you ask me what my hobby is, I don't have a traditional hobby," Gabe says. "I'm not a golfer. I don't fish. I don't even watch TV. You give me a block of two hours? I want to sit down and drink coffee and scour information, just because I'm interested in it.
"I might research whether people really enjoy coming to work more when there's music playing. The answer in my opinion is yes. And what I've come to find is there is some science to back that up." (Tom Verducci - Sports Illustrated - 4/23/2018)
POST-PLAYING CAREER POSITIONS
2007: Kapler began his managerial career as Manager of the Greenville Drive (SAL-Red Sox).
2015: Gabe became Farm Director for the L.A. Dodgers.
Kapler fits the profile of the people Andrew Friedman has surrounded himself with since taking over as president of baseball operations—bright, energetic and open-minded to new ways of doing things. Gabe is the rare former player who had a sophisticated understanding of statistical analysis in player evaluation and team building.
“Gabe has a tremendous mind, a thirst for knowledge, and he’s a great leader of people,” Friedman said.
October 30, 2017: The Phillies hired Kapler as their Manager.
March 2, 2018: As first-year Phillies manager Gabe Kapler walked in from right field, from the clubhouse to the dugout, he stopped to shake hands and say hello to several people along the way. Ushers, stadium workers, and media members. Kapler ended his 12-year playing career after two seasons with the Rays, in 2009 and 2010. He then spent three seasons as a special assignment scout with Tampa Bay. Returning to Charlotte Sports Park, the Rays' Spring Training home, was a reunion of sorts for him.
"It really seems like yesterday. In a lot of ways, it seems very comfortable," Kapler said. "Seeing the clubhouse attendants, really good to be around them again. It's a cool place to be. I'm looking forward to seeing Erik [Neander, the Rays' general manager] and Chaim [Bloom, the Rays' senior vice president of baseball operations] and everybody, for that matter." Tampa Bay's front office helped shape Kapler's way of looking at the game.
"I'd been thinking about [managing] long before putting on a Rays uniform," Kapler said. "Really, more as a bench player you start thinking about those things and you start thinking along with the manager in the game. I think the way I personally analyze baseball was shaped heavily by the Boston front office and then the Rays' front office," said Kapler. Gabe played for the Red Sox from 2003-2006 and managed in their Minor League system in 2007.
So far, what is Kapler's biggest challenge in his new role? "Hours in the day, without question," he said. "There are just so many things you want to work on." Kapler is learning to give his mind a rest at the end of the day. "That's another challenge," he said. "Right now, I shut the bathroom door and sit for five minutes at a time and just breathe and have a moment." (M Mullen - MLB.com - March 2, 2018)
Nov 12, 2018: Kapler lost his Malibu home in the wildfires that have ravaged California.
Kapler moved to Philadelphia last winter, when the Phillies hired him, but he kept his home about a mile from the Pacific Ocean. His two sons and ex-wife lived there. They are safe, but Kapler learned the home had been destroyed.
"We're good," he told The Athletic. "Our family is good. There are a lot of other families who are not." (T Zolecki - MLB.com - Nov 12, 2018)
Oct. 10, 2019: The Phillies announced that Gabe Kapler would not return as manager in 2020.
Nov. 13, 2019: The Giants hired Gabe Kapler as their new manager.
- Nov 12, 2021: The Giants rewarded manager Gabe Kapler with a two-year extension after he led San Francisco to a franchise-record 107 wins in 2021. The new deal stretches Kapler’s contract through the 2024 season. He was initially signed to a three-year contract when the Giants hired him in 2019.
- Sept 29, 2023: - The Giants announced Friday that manager Gabe Kapler has been dismissed in the wake of a disastrous September collapse that left them out of the playoff picture for the second consecutive year.
Kapler earned NL Manager of the Year honors after helping to steer the Giants to a franchise-record 107 wins in 2021, but the club fell short of expectations in subsequent seasons, going 81-81 last year and then fading down the stretch this year.
May 4, 2000: Kapler went on the D.L. with a torn quadriceps muscle. And he reinjured it May 23 while on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Oklahoma.
Gabe's 2000 season ended in September, when he was diagnosed with a lesion in his left (non-throwing) shoulder. The lesion was a partial tear of muscle that could lead to long-term instability in the shoulder area.
- March 22, 2001: Kapler tore the quadriceps muscle in his right leg while running to first base during an exhibition game and started the season on the D.L. He was activated April 22.
- June 24, 2002: Gabe went on the D.L. with tendinitis in his left wrist. He was reactivated July 16.
June 2005: Kapler was on the Injured List while playing in Japan.
When the Red Sox signed Gabe on July 16, 2005, they immediately put him on the D.L. with a strained lower back.
September 14, 2005: Kapler ruptured his left Achilles tendon while rounding second base after teammate Tony Graffanino hit a home run in a Red Sox win over the Blue Jays in Toronto. It was very bizarre to blow out an Achilles running ahead of a teammate who hit a home run.
''I can't really describe it other than it felt like I got hit or popped in the back of my ankle," he said.
Dr. Lewis Yocum, the renowned sports doctor who serves as the team physician for the Angels, performed surgery to repair the Achilles tendon September 20, 2005.
- March-April 2006: Gabe started the season on the D.L., rehabbing his repaired Achilles tendon.
- April 2008: Gabe had a bruised right shoulder.
September 10, 2008: Kapler suffered a right shoulder strain and had to leave the Brewers game with the Reds because he could not throw the ball.
An MRI revealed that Kapler has a torn latissimus dorsi muscle behind his right shoulder. The injury is similar to the one suffered in August 2005 by Brewers pitcher Ben Sheets, who was plagued for a couple of seasons by shoulder issues afterward.
- June 12-29, 2010: Gabe was on the D.L. with a flexor strain in his right hip.
- August 16, 2010: Kapler was on the D.L. with a sprained right ankle. He apparently was injured in a home-plate collision with Baltimore's Matt Wieters.