by Alex Poletti
Photo by ERIC RISBERG / AP PHOTO
Vengeance, nine years in the making, finally belongs to the Philadelphia Phillies. Nearly a decade after losing to the San Francisco Giants in the 2010 NLCS, ending their bid for a third straight World Series appearance, the Fightin’ Phils got their payback after the Giants signed their former manager, Gabe Kapler to a three-year contract.
“Honestly, we may have had our best team in 2010,” former Phillies general manager Rubén Amaro Jr. says. “Doc Halladay was a Cy Young winner, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt pitched well—but the Giants had to ruin our fun. We got them back though. I hope they enjoy three years sitting at .500!”
For many in the baseball industry, the signing of Gabe Kapler is a puzzling one. With one of the most talented squads in the National League, he failed to make the postseason at all during his tenure, faring far worse than many expected. He was fired after two seasons and replaced by Joe Girardi.
“We saw what he could do with All-Stars like Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Aaron Nola,” Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi says. “Imagine how he can underwhelm with a bunch of past-their-prime 30-year-olds and no outfield?”
The Giants beat the Phillies in six games back in the 2010 Championship Series en route to their first World Series championship in San Francisco. The Phillies had the best record in the National League, five games better than the Giants. After the upset victory, the Phillies intended to get their vengeance in the postseason, but they last played October baseball for the in 2011, never again facing the Giants.
“Obviously, we wanted to settle things the old fashioned way,” former manager Charlie Manuel says. “But we never got another chance at them. They won two more World Series and we couldn’t make the playoffs after a 102-win 2011, so we had to think outside the box. Luckily, Gabe Kapler came along and really learned how to be a lackluster manager in Philly. We didn’t think the Giants would take the bate, but they did!”
Kapler replaces Giants legend Bruce Bochy, who retired after 13 seasons with the club. The surefire Hall of Famer managed some aging clubs over the past few seasons, leading his career record to fall below .500. However, his 2,000 wins still make him a Cooperstown lock.
“I think I can bring a lot to this team while still honoring Bochy’s legacy,” Kapler says. “I too, believe that I can lead the Giants to a sub-.500 season.”