Greek Giant

Let’s talk about Gabe Kapler. Do you remember where you were on November 12, 2019?

That is the day The Giants and Farhan Zaidi announced the hiring of one Gabe Kapler. Kapler’s hiring was a bit of a surprise to those not familiar with Zaidi’s background where Both the GM and the new Giant Manager shared their LA work roles in a camaraderie that became friendly.

Without a doubt, the overwhelming response to Zaidi’s choice was negative. Kapler had two forms of ugly baggage: an unsuccessful stint as Manger of the Phillies where he was see as leading a talented team into under-achieving waters. His players were not always on board with his bullpen management and choice of line ups. There was controversy. There was the negativity of the Philadelphia meeting. The second form of baggage Mr. Kapler was carrying into SFO was his role in a sexcual harrassment-assault case involving minor leaguers in the Dodger system.

Flash forward a few years and wow, how perspectives change, how history writes a new chapter.

“Probably the key thing that we were looking for and the most important trait, if we could summarize it in one sentence, was somebody who was capable of building trust and relationships with both players and the front office,”
-Farhan Zaidi

The Giants just finished with a record-setting 107 win NL West Division Championship season in which Gabe Kapler was unanimously hailed for his handling of his players, veterans and rookies, his handling of the pitching staff and his overall approach to stewardship of the Giants in a pandemic and in games. He will win Manager of the Year this season. He is riding high in the eyes and hearts of Giants fans for his respectful, wise, intelligent and commanding mastery of the media, the status of players and the class with which he has led our team through good times and bad.

What has impressed me most about Gabe Kapler is the respect and praise he has garnered from the veterans like Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey and Brandon Belt and from the young  bloods. What impresses me second most is the way he and his staff (which he leads) have nurtured, coached and coaxed players like Yaz, LaMonte Wade Jr., Camilo Doval, and many others into superb players reaching heights nobody else in baseball saw coming.

Add to these accomplishments Kapler’s fantastic work under the pressure of a pennant race, the greatest, most exciting pennant race in the divisional era that saw the Giants finally unseat the Bums as NL West champs, and you get a sensation two years of work.

It is time to say we were wrong. It is time to acknowledge the excellent work by the Giant Skipper, his coaching staff and the Giants front office. Sure, I could go on to question Kapler’s commitment to platooning that too often, in my book, chooses players based on past numbers and not current situations. I could also question some of the relief choices in games but that would be confusing the forest for the trees.