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Gabe Kapler opens up about initial perception when Giants hired him

© D. Ross Cameron | 2021 Oct 7

When the Giants hired Gabe Kapler in 2019, fans were skeptical. The media was skeptical. 

Kapler noticed it, and he recognized it. Coming off a 160-162 stint with the Phillies and being tasked with replacing Bruce Bochy can raise some eyebrows. 

“I remember back to the first couple days when I was announced as manager of the Giants,” Kapler said on KNBR. “I understood it. Coming from Philadelphia, definitely a challenging couple of years. And you have one of the most iconic baseball managers in Giants history, if not the most iconic baseball manager in Giants history, that was coming before me. It’s hard to replace a legend who had three World Series rings and the adulation of an entire city and the Bay Area. You can’t replace that sort of talent. You can’t replace that sort of relationship. I totally understood it. It all made perfect sense.” 

In winning the 2021 National League Manager of the Year, Kapler has already done something Bochy never did. Hardly anyone could’ve imagined that outcome at his introductory press conference.

“My goal was and continues to be to earn trust over the course of time,” Kapler said. “You don’t earn it in the first conversation. You earn it through consistent work and loyalty over a period of years. I think we’re off to a good start of building that foundation of trust, and I think we have to continue to build on it if we want to keep this level of excitement going about the Giants.” 

And trust Kapler has earned. The 2021 Manager of the Year agreed to a two-year contract extension that will keep him in San Francisco through 2024. He led the Giants to a record 107 wins and earned more time to build more faith. 

Now though, he’ll have to do it without Buster Posey, who retired after 12 legendary seasons. Leaning on Posey and other SF veterans was key for Kapler in 2021. 

Kapler said that like following Bochy, it will be “impossible” to succeed Posey. 

“We’re not going to replace Buster,” Kapler said. “We all know that. He’s one of the best players in baseball, he’s arguably the best catcher in baseball. The production on and off the field, both from a leadership perspective and from a production in the batter’s box and behind the plate perspective, is just impossible to recreate. 

“What we have to do is think about how we get some of that leadership and some of that production from a new catcher — whoever that person is. Whether that’s a combination of Joey and Curt or someone else. And then we fill some of that production from other positions. And understand we’re not going to replace that leadership in the clubhouse but we have other ways to kind of challenge the clubhouse and support the clubhouse. We’ll be creative in how we do that.” 

For the full conversation that featured Kapler’s love for football, burrito preferences and cycling habits, check out the Murph & Mac Podcast. 

Catch Murph & Mac weekdays from 6 – 10 a.m. on KNBR 104.5 / 680 and streaming live on KNBR.com.

 

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