Much of the city’s attention today is focused on the football field where the Eagles will take on the San Francisco 49ers in a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship Game. The Eagles won that game handily, and the 49ers, their fans, and media sycophants haven’t stopped whining about it since.
In the days leading up that game, I compared the cities of Philadelphia and San Francisco. Since I don’t feel like re-hashing the 2010 NLCS and stupid Cody Ross again, I’ll instead discuss a man who managed baseball teams in both of the cities. Of course, I’m talking about that wacky, analytics-loving, coconut oil enthusiast Gabe Kapler.
Despite some people being very invested in him succeeding, Kapler has now failed as a manager with two different teams. Kapler might not have had the greatest talent to work with in Philadelphia, but I also don’t think he improved the team’s chances. Part of the problem was that he had a Jonathan Ganon-like ability to make up stories and provide different explanations for moves that didn’t work out.
When he was fired after the 2019 season, several players made a token defense, but it was more of a “He didn’t fail to execute, we did,” and not an outpouring of love for a guy who was beloved.
Wow, look at all the tributes to Kapler pouring in from Phillies players. Like the one from...no...or how about...no, he didn’t say anything either...— Sixto Lezcano (@mleif) October 10, 2019
Since this is Major League Baseball, Kapler was able to immediately parlay his relationship with Giants’ president Farhan Zahidi into his next job. His first year in San Francisco seemed familiar, as his team faded down the stretch and missed the playoffs. Because the Phillies also missed the playoffs that year, both the “Gabe must go” and the “Should of kept” contingents of Phillies fandom felt justified.
But in 2021, the Phillies once again fell short, while the Giants surged to a 100-win season, and the “Should of kept” crowd came out in full effect.
That talk cooled severely the past two seasons when the Giants failed to put up a winning record and fell short of the postseason.
The main problem with Kapler as manager is that his style is so unpleasing to watch. Micromanaging almost every game is not a fun experience as a fan. If the team is winning, you can endure it, but that 2021 season was the only time a Kapler-helmed team finished above .500. I can’t imagine it’s all that fun for the players either, and it probably isn’t coincidental that the Giants have had multiple high-profile free agents famously reject them in recent years.
But don’t weep for Gabe, as he quickly ended up in the front office of the Miami Marlins. The Marlins are viewed as a team on the rise, as they made the playoffs in 2023 before getting quickly dismissed by the Phillies. Part of the reason for their seemingly upward trajectory was the work of General Manager Kim Ng, whom the Marlins famously made the majors’ first female GM.
But apparently, the Marlins felt that Ng couldn’t handle the job without oversight and sought to hire a president of baseball operations to serve over her. Unsurprisingly, Ng declined the option in her contract and has departed from the organization.
Kim Ng Deserved More From the Marlins https://t.co/JWlplVmjd6— FanGraphs Baseball (@fangraphs) October 18, 2023
Perhaps this will work out for the Marlins. Maybe Kapler’s analytics-heavy approach will work better in the front office where he doesn’t have to deal with the personalities in the clubhouse and he can take a bigger-picture look at the team, rather than worrying about in-game minutiae. But even if he does fail yet again, it seems clear that he’ll just find himself a new job with little difficulty.