SCOTTSDALE — There wasn’t much, “Let’s shock the world!”
The rah-rahs of yesterday are far less prevalent in today’s game. But a message of, well, “Let’s not do these much!” is just about fitting for baseball in 2021.
“My general message is: We’re going to be efficient and not spend a whole lot of time in meetings,” Gabe Kapler said Monday, in relaying what he had told his club before its first full-squad workout.
It makes sense, the manager not wanting the group to cluster while another season is played alongside a pandemic, whose protocols he also outlined to the players.
After a year unlike any other, this spring training matches in uniqueness. The players’ workouts are staggered; as live batting practice gets underway Tuesday, the squads will be split between Scottsdale Stadium and Indian School, where the Giants’ minor league facilities are. The players are dealing with plenty of isolation-related frustrations that so many share, though one aspect of 2021 Giants camp should excite them: the transparency.
No longer will Kapler and the front office keep depth charts and playing-time decisions hidden away from the players’ eyes. The players will be able to look into the coaching quarters and see lineups in advance — and are free to question those lineups — and, more notably, see where they rank in the hierarchy.
Kapler remembered the days of coverings blocking that information from players eyes, so the coaches had, say, the orders of their best second basemen but the players had to guess what that looked like.
“One thing that players historically say is they want to know where they stand. Second thing they say is, they want to be shot straight — they want to be told the truth,” Kapler said over Zoom. “So one way to do that is just to open it up.”
Minutes earlier, Mike Yastrzemski explained how he helped convince good friend Curt Casali that the Giants were the right fit for him.
He told his former Vanderbilt teammate “just how organized it is and how openly you can communicate and speak to what you need and they’ll tell you what they need.”