The baseball season is still new, but it’s been rough for new Philadelphia Phillies manager Gabe Kapler. The team is 1-4 and has forgotten how to hit. He’s made approximately a million pitching changes. He’s facing intense criticism from fans and the media over each and every one of his failed decisions.
Kapler has endured all the criticism so far, but on Thursday it reached a new level. The Phillies were playing their home opener at Citizens Bank Park, and when it came time to introduce the lineups, Phillies fans let the world know exactly what they thought about Kapler and his decision-making.
Those aren’t “some noticeable boos,” those are a lot of boos. Lusty, deep-voiced, emphatic boos. Those are the boos of a fanbase that was promised a brand new day with exciting players and a forward-thinking manager, and instead got a bunch of losing and a manager who won’t stop making pitching changes. After just five games, Phillies fans obviously aren’t feeling very friendly toward Gabe Kapler.
Gabe Kapler throughout his baseball career
Gabe Kapler throughout his baseball career
2 Mar 1999: Outfielder Gabe Kapler #23 of the Detroit Tigers poses for a studio portrait on Photo Day during Spring Training at the Joker Merchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Laforet /Allsport
LAKELAND, UNITED STATES: Detroit Tigers first baseman Tony Clark congratulates Tigers right fielder Gabe Kapler (R) who hit a home run off of Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Pete Schourek during the sixth inning of the spring training game at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, FL, 02 April, 1999. AFP PHOTO Tony RANZE (Photo credit should read TONY RANZE/AFP/Getty Images)
14 Apr 2000: Gabe Kapler #18 of the Texas Rangers looks on the field during batting pratice before the game against the Cleveland Indians at Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Ohio. The Rangers defeated the Indians 7-2.
15 Apr 2000: Gabe Kapler #18 of the Texas Rangers stands ready at bat during the game against the Cleveland Indians at the Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Ohio. The Rangers defeated the Indians 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Harry How /Allsport
DENVER - AUGUST 7: Left fielder Gabe Kapler #19 of the Colorado Rockies stands on the field between innings during the MLB game against the Cincinnati Reds on August 7, 2002 at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies won 7-2. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
BOSTON - AUGUST 30: Red Sox outfielders Gabe Kapler, left, and Johnny Damon chase after a Bernie Williams sacrifice fly ball to center field in the third inning. Kapler collided with Damon after making the catch for the out, but Yankees player Derek Jeter, not pictured, scored after tagging up. The Boston Red Sox hosted the New York Yankees in a game at Fenway Park. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - APRIL 11: Gabe Kapler #19 of the Boston Red Sox at bat during the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on April 11, 2004 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox defeated the Blue Jays 6-4. (Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JULY 1: Jorge Posada #20 of the New York Yankees tags out Gabe Kapler #19 of the Boston Red Sox in the 11th inning for a double play to prevent the Boston Red Sox from scoring on July 1, 2004 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York. The Yankees won 5-4 in 13 innings. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Jul 21, 2006; Chicago, IL, USA; Boston Red Sox GABE KAPLER against Chicago White Sox in Chicago at U.S. Cellular Field. The Red Sox won 7-2. (Photo by Matthew Kutz/Sporting News via Getty Images)
MARYVALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 26: Gabe Kapler #33 poses for a photo during the Milwaukee Brewers Spring Training Photo Day at Maryvale Baseball Park on February 26, 2008 in Maryvale, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Former Boston Red Sox outfielder Gabe Kapler was introduced as the new manager of the Greenville Drive at Haywood Mall in Greenville. Kapler, 31, retired from the major leagues after the 2006 season and will manage Boston's Class A South Atlantic League affiliate. (Photo by Tom Priddy/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 05: Outfielder Gabe Kapler #27 of the Tampa Bay Rays leads off first base against the Baltimore Orioles during the game at Tropicana Field on May 5, 2009 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JUNE 08: Gabe Kapler #27 of the Tampa Bay Rays rounds the bases after hitting a two run home run against the New York Yankees on June 8, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
JAYS VS BOSOX---09/12/05---Gabe Kapler just misses a Frank Catalanotto lead off double to deep centre field in the sixth inning as the Toronto Blue Jays play the world series champions Boston Red Sox at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. September 12, 2005. (Photo by Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 26: Gabe Kapler #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers bats during a spring training game against the San Francisco Giants at Scottsdale Stadium on February 26, 2011 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 12: Manager Gabe Kapler of the Philadelphia Phillies speaks during media availability at the 2017 Winter Meetings at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
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To be fair, it is a brand new day for the Phillies. Kapler is a manager unlike any they’ve had before. The players have to get used to him. The fans have to get used to him. And Kapler himself needs to learn how to manage in the majors, which until a few games ago, he’d never done. He’s got a lot of analytical ideas, but he obviously needs to figure out how to apply those to actual game situations. It’s a process, and it clearly needs more time.
So while the Phillies are still losing, they’re doing it in a brand new way. That’s progress, right?