Gabe Kapler, the Most Interesting Man in Baseball

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Is San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler the most interesting man in baseball? My guess is that he doesn’t mind being viewed that way and does his part to create that impression.

ESPN’s Tim Keown followed Kapler around for a feature article that reinforced the perception that the Giants skipper is hardly an old-school baseball man like Buck Showalter, Dusty Baker, Brian Snitker, or Bob Melvin. Those guys don’t have writers highlight their fitness, facial hair, nutrition, shoes, taste for Scotch, and fashionable watches. (Unless I missed those profiles of Jim Leyland 12-15 years ago…)

Oh, and Kapler’s diet:

“His diet consists almost solely of red meat, and it’s almost because he recently began mixing in some berries and the occasional bacon-and-egg breakfast. ‘There’s really not a lot of vitamins the body needs that doesn’t cover,’ he says of red meat and berries. ‘Now, I’m making that statement without being an expert on the topic. I always know there’s a chance I could be wrong.'”

I’ve been kind of obsessed with Kapler’s diet too. I’ll never be in the kind of shape he’s in, but while Kapler was the Los Angeles Dodgers’ director of player development, he created a website called Kap Lifestyle with articles and guest posts on fitness, health, nutrition, and mental well-being. Just as the title implies, it was Kapler as life coach.

One small thing Kapler got me to do was eat Ezekiel Sprouted Bread instead of the sourdough or rye I always enjoyed. (Except when I was on a very strict low-carb diet eight years ago. Wow… has it been that long?) We even communicated about it on Twitter!

I also appreciated what he wrote about getting back to the gym after recovering from an injury. That was what I needed to read after a two-month break following surgery.

Yes, I’m an easy mark for Kapler, though, admiring him since he was a top prospect for the Detroit Tigers in the late-1990s. Even after he was traded to the Texas Rangers and played for four other teams in his MLB career, I still followed him — especially when he was with the Boston Red Sox. I even saw him manage the Red Sox’s Single-A Greenville team in 2007 when the Drive visited Charleston to play the RiverDogs.

Kapler has made the most of his second chance as a manager, succeeding with the Giants after faltering with the Philadelphia Phillies. I think it was a bad fit in Philly, though. Kapler had a lot of new ideas, many of which incorporated analytics and advanced metrics. The Phillies’ ownership and front office weren’t on board with that, but Giants general manager Farhan Zaidi is of the same mind.

I’m not a Giants fan (and probably never will be since many of their fans were nasty to me when I covered their World Series runs for Yahoo! and Bleacher Report). But I am a Gabe Kapler fan, so I suppose that means I’m indirectly rooting for the Giants now. I’m certainly rooting for personality and an unconventional way of doing his job.

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