Smiles, laughs, and a calming presence graced the Phillies introductory press conference for manager Gabe Kapler
Hours after watching his former employer in Los Angeles lose the World Series Gabe Kapler was donning the Phillies pinstripes.
“This is incredibly exciting,” Kapler said off mic, and you could tell he’s been waiting a long time for that moment.
For a man Philadelphia knew fairly little about, Kapler gave a tremendous perspective on where the organization is heading. Comparing analytics to evidence, showing players why they need to do something instead of just telling them, and elaborating on his blog were just some of the highlights Kapler exhibited.
Kapler offered his gratitude and thoughts towards several former Phillie legends, including Mike Schmidt, Charlie Manuel, Chase Utley, and Larry Bowa.
He was extremely praising of Utley, who he said the team will play like him every day in order to get owner John Middleton his “effing trophy back.”
When asked about a coaching staff, Kapler said he wants a diverse staff that may not always agree with him. He’s open to a veteran, baseball lifer working alongside him in the dugout.
As for the current team, Kapler loved the talent at his disposal, though only named one player knowing some may not be back next season.
Sitting aside Kapler as the only other representative available for questioning, general manager Matt Klentak gave a thorough recap of the manager search.
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Klentak said minutes after the team removed Pete Mackanin from the manager role other coaches, executives, and baseball lifers reached out to offer their recommendations.
After a week of widdling down the list, Klentak and a small group of executives conducted the first interviews.
Once the main list was shortened the Phillies put finalists through an extensive, day-long interview process. Candidates met with ownership, trainers, scouts, executives, clubhouse workers, and several others so the Phillies could get a full review from the people who’d be working directly with the next manager.
Kapler extinguished many of my concerns regarding his lack of experience, intensity, and writings. He came across warm, personable, and ready to get to work. From the start, Kapler feels like the right man to move the organization forward.