On Gabe Kapler

So.

Today the San Francisco Giants announced that they hired former major league player and Phillies ex-manager Gabe Kapler as the new Giants manager.  I am a less than pleased about this announcement, and not just because his reviews as a Phillies manager were . . . lukewarm. No, my real objection is this:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/told-of-girls-assault-at-spring-training-hotel-gabe-kapler-dodgers-didnt-alert-police/2019/02/01/45da0208-2624-11e9-81fd-b7b05d5bed90_story.html?noredirect=on

Which is pretty much the same thing as this:

My Statement

That’s right, the person in charge of the day-to-day of my favorite team is the guy who thinks inviting a female minor to a dinner with himself and the two guys who got drunk with her and then recorded her being beat up is a good idea.[1]

Wow.

This is what we would call in my day job a “failure of leadership.”  Faced with a situation in which bad shit has gone down involving people he was responsible for, Kapler did not inform his bosses.[2]  He did not inform the authorities.  He did not engage in any level of critical thinking about potential outcomes and figure out a reasonable approach to a problem.  As far as I can tell, he imposed no discipline on the players.[3]  Instead, he offered to take the girl to dinner with the guys who mistreated her and himself, so that he could “educate the players on how to be accountable.”[4]  How, exactly, he thought taking a young woman to dinner with three men, one of whom she didn’t know and two of whom had recorded and posted her physical assault, was supposed to hold the guys to account is something he doesn’t address.  Maybe he wasn’t going to allow them to get appetizers?

To make matters worse, this wasn’t the only time Kapler was involved in some shady shit.[5]  On more than one other occasion, Kapler was aware of players behaving badly and covered it up.  Am I saying that Kapler is solely responsible for these incidents?  No.  Am I saying that this type of incident is rare in baseball?  HAHAHAH.  I’m a heterosexual woman.  I know better.

What I am saying is that this is Kapler’s idea of leadership.  This is how he handles high pressure situations without clear outcomes.  This is how he handles accusations of wrongdoing.  And this is the dude who is now in charge (sort of) of my favorite baseball team.

Honestly, this decision makes me angry.  Because the job on offer is one of 30 management jobs in Major League Baseball.  It is cherry.  It is choice.  There is no shortage of people who would kill to have this job.  There is also no shortage of people[6] who are as qualified for this job as Gabe Fucking Kapler.  There are dozens of bench coaches and minor league coaches and even former major league coaches who have the same (or better) resumes as Gabe Kapler, and who don’t have the public record of shitty judgment that this dude has.[7]  And I’m tired of seeing people[8] who we know have shitty leadership skills and poor judgment be rewarded with jobs and promotions and money that could go to people who haven’t demonstrated shitty leadership skills and poor judgment.[9]

But the GM, Farhan Zaidi, has worked with Kapler before (and was involved at least peripherally in at leas one incident described above, although I can’t find reporting on how, exactly), so now we, the fans, “get to know” the person Zaidi has “known personally and professionally” for a number of years.[9]  Hooray.  The Old Boys’ Club strikes again.[10]

Of course, because this is a big fucking deal, they had to address it in the press around his hiring.  In a conversation with KNBR, Zaidi makes reference to the many things he’s learned from the incident in the years since it happened.[11]  The lesson of maybe not hiring people who cover up the assaults of minors was apparently not one of them.

In his first press conference after the announcement, Kapler mentioned that he’d been talking to his mom a lot “for obvious reasons” and he wished he would have talked to her more during the first incident.  To quote one Twitter user:

Screen Shot 2019-11-13 at 3.36.57 PM

Maybe we should have, Jaime.

~~~

[1] There has been some confusion in the reporting as to whether (a) the girl was sexually assaulted and (b) she told Kapler she was sexually assaulted.   Because those facts are not established, I’m going to limit my comments here to my reaction to the events as confirmed by Kapler himself.

[2] He did after the girl’s grandmother asked him for money, because that was “above his pay grade” (per his own statement).

[3] He says in his blog post that “I and others in player development took steps to work on their decision-making skills”, but there’s no information on what steps those might be.

[4] His words.

[5] https://www.si.com/mlb/2019/02/05/nick-francona-gabe-kapler-controversy-los-angeles-dodgers-assault-allegations

[6] Read: men, because who am I fucking kidding?

[7] Again, read: men.  Because who the fuck am I kidding?

[8] This means you, David Simon.

[9] From Andrew Baggarly in https://theathletic.com/1374240/2019/11/13/the-gabe-kapler-era-in-san-francisco-will-begin-not-with-a-fresh-start-but-with-opening-old-wounds/

[10] In an interesting side note, Baggarly points out that the Dodgers passed on Kapler last year, when he was widely considered to be the front runner in their search for a new manager.

This is not how it went four years ago in Los Angeles, when Kapler was the clear choice of Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and yet he and Zaidi, then the GM, were instructed by ownership to broaden their search and interview more candidates.

The Dodgers hired Dave Roberts.  I guess Zaidi just had to wait until he had a new job to hire his old buddy Gabe, and now I have to admit that the Dodgers did something right.  This day sucks.

[11] https://omny.fm/shows/murph-mac-podcast/11-13-farhan-zaidi-discusses-why-giants-hired-gabe

 

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