Our first taste was from his Lifestyle blog in which we learned that, “Coconut oil is the world’s greatest lubricant.”
“You’re moisturized and smelling tropical, your teeth are white and your face looks like you’ve just visited a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. The sun has set, and the moon is out. Perhaps you have a friend nearby, perhaps it’s just you by your lonesome…well, this is awkward. I’ve promised you authenticity, honesty and openness. Take this how you wish and I’ll spare you the step by step. Coconut oil is the world’s greatest lubricant. I can’t help where your mind goes with this. Once the ball leaves the bat, I can’t steer it.”
And from there, Gabe Kapler stole our hearts as he took over the reins as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies this year. Kapler came in and handled his business like a mouse creeping around the house. In fact, it took him only one press conference to make an ass out of himself by predicting the Phillies would make the playoffs in year one. I know, I know, it’s leading by example… I read the blog. However, Kap grew on me over spring training. I liked his swagger. Definitely a “can do” type of guy and to me, it was fresh. But then the start of the season came and my man went to make a damn pitching change and didn’t have anybody warming up! An absolute first for me.
From there, you would think that the only direction things could go is up, but you would be mistaken. In another first, Kapler was booed at the home opener as he made a pitching change. It was loud! The knuckle-draggers wanted blood. Of course, the Phillies weren’t going to fire him, but it was a tough start for the first time manager.
Now through all the pitching changes, lineup changes, arguments with fans and anything else that came Kap’s way year one, the Phillies led the NL East in early August, which felt like a damn miracle. But then they went 16-33 and finished their sixth straight season with a losing record at 80-82. Ouch. But expected.
With the big picture on tap, it amazed me at how much of a polarizing figure he was. A few sports talk hosts had his balls in their mouths from day one and plenty of fans absolutely despised him. But as the cliché goes, it’s always somewhere in the middle. That’s where I’m at with Kapler. He’s a leader and a breath of positive air. Does he over-manage at times? Sure. But if he was able to win 80 games with those bats and arms, then he deserves a chance to compete with a few new players this upcoming year. Hopefully the Phillies can land Manny Machado or Bryce Harper, and let’s put some butts in seats and buckle up for year two.
Be sure to keep up with the top 10 Philly sports stories that moved the needle in 2018!