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Bryce Harper gives honest thoughts on Gabe Kapler

Gabe Kapler was fired by the Phillies after the 2019 season. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)

One of the lowest points of the 2019 Philadelphia Phillies season came on June 23, when after the team’s seventh consecutive loss, Bryce Harper let out a laugh when asked about then-manager Gabe Kapler’s suggestion that the team would begin using a curveball machine in batting practice to help break out of their slump:

Thursday, Harper was asked about the infamous curveball machine, and his opinion on his former manager.

“I love Kap,” Harper said Thursday to Angelo Cataldi on SportsRadio 94 WIP. “He’s very personable with his players…he understands the guys in his clubhouse…I don’t like curveball machines, I think he knew that. But, like you [Cataldi] said, he wasn’t your cup of tea, I guess you could say. He wasn’t that old style part of the game…but he was. He had that old mentality, but also he had that new mentality of ‘hey, we’re in a new game, we’re in a new atmosphere of a team.’ I think he did a great job for us personally, but if we needed to make a change, we did and that’s what we did. We brought in Joe Girardi and we’re turning the page. I think he’s [Kapler] gonna do great things in San Fran for the Giants and him and [president of baseball operations] Farhan [Zaidi] are gonna be that one-two punch that San Fran wants to have. I’m just excited to be with Girardi and I’m excited to turn that page.”

Despite Harper and J.T. Realmuto, the team’s two best players a season ago, publicly supporting Kapler after the conclusion of the 2019 season, the Phillies elected to part ways with the skipper after just two seasons. Of course, that didn’t come before managing partner John Middleton spent 10 plus days deliberating on the future of Kapler, a process that reportedly included seeking out the opinions of some players. One would imagine Harper, who is signed through the 2031 season, was one of those players, though that’s not confirmed, nor do we know what he said behind closed doors if he did speak on Kapler’s managerial style.

It didn’t take Kapler long to find his next job. He interviewed for managerial vacancies with the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs, before the Giants tabbed him as Bruce Bochy’s replacement on Nov. 12, just over a month after the Phillies fired him. Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi was the Los Angeles Dodgers general manager during Kapler’s three-season stint as the team’s director of player development, so them reuniting in San Francisco wasn’t especially surprising.

Ironically, the Giants were seen by some as the Phillies biggest competition for Harper when he became a free agent after the 2018 season. Oracle Park was also the site of Harper’s first mutli-home run game as a Phillie, as he launched two titanic home runs – one of which landed in McCovey Cove – on Aug. 9. Harper and the Phillies won’t have to wait long to see Kapler, as they are slated to play in San Francisco April 27-29.


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  1. Bob Colozzi

    March 10, 2020 at 11:36 am

    Awesome article as always!! It’ll be a nice change to have a new voice in the clubhouse and different strategies on the field. One question though… is there a way to keep that hot take creep Cataldi away from players. I know WIP has a partnership with Phillies but he is a two faced Dbag to players and coaches. Rips them on air then pretends he’s best friends to their faces. That is all for my rant. Thank you!

  2. Katherine Garonzik

    March 10, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    My beloved son passed away on April 22,2019. He loved baseball with a passion.I would like to thank the entire Phillies teams past and present for the very best memories. I would also to thank the organization for making it possible for families to afford to attend games. My son loved baseball with an intensity and fierceness that only a Philadelphia fan knows.

    • Ken Bland

      March 12, 2020 at 4:58 pm

      I’d wager that others read your message, Katherine, and would reply if they could come up with the words. Personally, I can’t. But while writing it was hopefully a tad therapeutic for you, perhaps acknowledging having read it will at least help a small amount. I guess I’d say it sounds like you have some very positive memories of his fandom at a minimum from which to draw, and that’s a good factor in his legacy. Be well.

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