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Gabe Kapler’s final reckoning

We can finally reveal why the Phillies’ leadership group decided to move on from Gabe Kapler

MLB: Miami Marlins at Philadelphia Phillies
Gabe Kapler’s fate was ultimately decided by John Middleton
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to a super-duper secret inside source, I was able to obtain a transcript of the final meeting between John Middleton, Andy MacPhail, and Matt Klentak in which they decided to fire manager Gabe Kapler.

Middleton: Gentlemen, we’ve drawn this out long enough. It’s time to make a decision.

MacPhail: Sounds good...What are we deciding on?

Middleton: What are we deciding on? Whether or not to keep Gabe Kapler around! What do you think we’re deciding on?

MacPhail: I thought we were talking about extending the netting at the stadium? I’m fairly certain concerns over that is why we didn’t experience the kind of attendance surge we expected this season.

Middleton: No! Do you think I really care if a few fans get killed by foul balls? We’re here to talk about Gabe Kapler! I’m still on the fence, so convince me.

Klentak: As I’ve repeatedly argued, Gabe has exceeded all expectations, and should absolutely stay as manager.

Middleton: Exceeded expectations? We’ve missed the playoffs the past two years! We finished in fourth place!

Klentak: Actually, based on the latest formula that my team has come up with, the Phillies were the second best team in the division, and were very close to overtaking the Braves.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies-Workouts
Matt Klentak remained Kapler’s biggest supporter
Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Middleton: (Shoves a newspaper in Klentak’s face) Take a look at the standings. They don’t seem to think we were all that close to overtaking the Braves, do they???

Klentak: If you’re going to be a slave to outdated stats like wins and losses, then I don’t know what to tell you.

MacPhail: I’ve got to agree with Matt on this one. I think this whole over-emphasis on winning and losing is causing the fans to become far too riled up. And they really have no right to be upset considering all the amazing amenities we’ve added to the stadium.

Middleton: It’s funny you should mention that, because we conducted a fan survey, and over 10,000 people responded. When asked if Kapler should be brought back as manager next year, 10% said yes, 60% said no, 5% were undecided, and the rest threatened us all with physical violence if we didn’t fire him.

MacPhail: But did you ask them the important questions, like how much the new armrests enhanced the stadium experience? Because I spent a lot of time deciding which ones to go with, and to be honest, your complete disregard of them hurt my feelings.

Middleton: Oh, I’m sorry, Andy. I’ll make sure to run a follow-up. In the meantime, would you like to hear the feedback I got from the players?

Klentak: (snorts) The players? What do they know? Most of them probably still think FIP is a viable predictor of future performance! I mean, hello! 2018 called! They want their stat back!

Middleton: Anyway, well here are some of the responses I got from the players: “We all hate him,” “He’s a weirdo,” “He’s f***ing weird,” “He’s really f***ing weird,” “If I have to hear about coconut oil any more, I’m going to lose it,” “I like him because he let’s me play video games and doesn’t mind when I throw my teammates under the bus,” “If I hear him talk about launch angle anymore, I’m going to f***ing kill myself,” “F*** him, he took me out of the game for Hoby Milner,” and “I got my money for the next 12 years, so whatever, dude.”

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Miami Marlins
Bryce Harper had no complaints when it came to Gabe Kapler. Probably.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Klentak: Speaking of launch angle, would you like to see what my team has come up with regarding-

Middleton: No! I just don’t see how we can continue to-

(Becomes startled when he suddenly notices Gabe Kapler standing directly behind him)

Kapler: Greetings, my friends.

Middleton: Jeez, Gabe, you nearly gave me a heart attack! How long have you been back there?

Kapler: Perhaps I have always been there, and you were just unable to perceive me until now.

Middleton: ....

Klentak: Gabe, I was just trying to convey how good a job you did this season. Maybe you could tell John about some of the positives from this season.

Kapler: Ah yes. You mean like Nick Vincent?

Klentak: Um, no, I was thinking more along the lines of-

Kapler: When Nick Vincent arrived, most people didn’t see much in him. But I saw his true potential. And that’s why I used him in key spots in back-to-back games during the stretch run. And while he was not successful in those situations, as the saying goes, it doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down, but rather how many times you get back up.

Klentak: Gabe, maybe you want to talk about a player who had more conventional success-

Kapler: Like J.T. Realmuto. Under my guidance, he was named to the All-Star team this year.

Middleton: He was an All-Star last year! That’s why I wanted to trade for him! I specifically told Matt last year that he needed to trade for J.T. Realmuto.

Klentak: That’s true. As you know, my simulation program calculated that in 52% of sample timelines, we would be better off over a 20 year period if we had just kept Wilson Ramos instead.

MLB: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies
Should the Phillies have held on to Wilson Ramos instead of trading for J.T. Realmuto?
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Middleton: Can you remind me why your job isn’t on the line too?

Klentak: Um...Gabe, maybe you want to talk about the performance of the bullpen despite the loss of players like Pat Neshek, David Robertson, and Seranthony Dominguez.

Kapler: (Pauses for a few seconds and then breaks into a wide smile) I see, you’re trying to confuse me by asking me about made up players. Very clever. But I have no more time for tricks. I must go meditate and allow the wisdom of the ancients to fill my mind with new strategies which I can apply on the field next year. Farewell, gentlemen. (Throws a smoke bomb to the ground and vanishes)

(Five seconds of uncomfortable silence)

Middleton: Does anyone have Buck Schowalter’s number?

Klentak: I’ll go look it up right now.