What do I know? When Gabe Kapler took over as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, I thought he could do nothing right. I remember listening to the opener in 2018, and I forget what managerial gaffe or gaffes Kapler made as the Phils fell to the Braves.
Things didn’t get much better for Philadelphia that year (when they finished 80-82) or in 2019 (81-81). Kapler, whom I considered a rock-headed loser, got the boot. Shortly thereafter, he was hired by the San Francisco Giants to succeed Bruce Bochy.
Good luck, Giants fans, I thought at the time. The slide from the glory years under “Boche” is going to be painful.
COVID disrupted the 2020 season, and the G-men went 29-31 under Kapler, another middling year.
But then along came 2021, and Kapler and the Giants can do no wrong. With two days left in the regular season, they have the best record in baseball, as they have had through most of the year.
I’ve held off on posting this entry, superstitiously so, not wanting to jinx the Giants into a late-season collapse. But before the regular season expires, I have to go on the record and give Kapler credit. He’s done an amazing job with the Giants.
He hasn’t done it alone, of course. Buster Posey, Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford — three core players from the glory years of the previous decade — have had some of their best seasons. The team overall has coalesced into a continuous winner.
Whatever Kapler is doing, it has worked, and as a Giants fan I’m mighty pleased. I have my fingers crossed that San Francisco will clinch National League West and go far into the playoffs, ultimately taking the World Series.