MLB

Highlights and Reaction from Gabe Kapler’s Introductory Press Conference

MATT ROURKE | AP

Earlier this afternoon, the Philadelphia Phillies introduced Gabe Kapler as the club’s 54th manager.

The press conference was a spectacle in and of itself. In attendance was a forward-thinking general manager (who is skating on thin ice in the opinion of some fans already) fresh off hiring the man of his dreams to run his baseball team, an eccentric 42-year old guy who is getting his first crack at managing a professional baseball team, and the media who was ready to learn more about what makes him a qualified choice for manager and learn more about his enigmatic personality.

Kap’ handled it well. He handled it more than well, actually. From the first time he addressed the media, after Matt Klentak introduced him, it was clear how he won the job. He is so articulate and passionate in his speech, he just makes you want to run through a wall. In a good way.

When he donned the Red and White pinstriped jersey, number 22, it was game over. He even looks the part of a winning manager.

“I think about this franchise and I can’t help but think about a history of excellence and a history of winning,” Kapler said after he thanked the Phillies organization. “That immediately makes me think of people I watched growing up. Mike Schmidt comes to mind, Larry Bowa and his ferocious style of play, and without a question thinking through Charlie Manuel and his contributions to this organization and this city.

“I was lucky enough to get to know Chase [Utley] in Los Angeles. I saw him prepare in the clubhouse and it was unbelievable. How much intent and how much intensity he prepared for the game with. He led by example. That’s how we’re going to play baseball with the Philadelphia Phillies going forward. We’re going to play with that same level of intent and that same level of intensity Chase played with.”

Well, less than three minutes into his speaking and I’m hooked. I’m all in on this guy, for real.

If nothing else, he knows what kind of town he’s coaching in. Kap knows that we, as fans, are suckers for the “lunch pail” guys. The Brian Dawkins and Chase Utley’s of the world. He used it to his advantage and to be honest, I believe him. I believe that he will have a team of hard-workers that buy into a team first mentality because of how intense and passionate he was behind the microphone today. You can’t fake what he said and the way he said it.

The real kicker that got me excited was when he talked about how competitive he was and what his goal was for the team.

If that doesn’t fire you up, check your pulse. I’m all aboard the #GabeTrain. I’m also fully convinced that Kap will be the guy to bring back John Middleton’s f’n trophy. He believes in this team and likes the pieces he has here.

I’d agree with him, I think the building blocks are in place. He has fun toys like Rhys Hoskins, Nick Williams, and Aaron Nola. Throw in the veteran guys like Freddy Galvis, Cesar Hernandez, and Aaron Altherr and there’s no reason that this team can’t compete for a .500 record and a wildcard berth next year.

I know, cart before the horse, yadda yadda. I can’t help it, I’m fired up about this guy. It’s hard to not be excited when you have a fresh young manager like Kap, a lot of young talent, and a shit ton of money to attract free agents with. If all breaks right I wouldn’t be shocked if the Phillies were next seasons Minnesota Twins.

With Gabe Kapler at the helm, I’m convinced that the Phillies will be the next team to parade down Broad street.

Until then, it is one step at a time. For the first time in years, it’s going to be an exciting offseason for the Phillies. I can’t wait until Spring training.


You can follow Anthony Mazziotti on Twitter (@AntMazziotti) and e-mail him at anthonymazziottiwriting@gmail.com. Follow Philly Influencer on Twitter (@PHL_Influencer), Facebook and Instagram

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