I’ll take the bait.
It’s a slow news day anyway.
Angelo writes a weekly column for Philly Voice, or maybe it’s twice a month. I’m not sure. I go over there to read Kempski, Neubeck, and Mullin.
This week’s column is titled, “It’s only preseason, sure, but Eagles have shown they’re far from perfect.” That part of the article is fine but Angelo then goes back to the 24-4 Phillies loss from last week, the first game of the double-header.
At the time, Angelo called the use of Scott Kingery and Roman Quinn as pitchers “disgraceful,” claiming that he was “embarrassed” to be a Philly sports fan the following morning. BWanks sort of shut that shit down – as Negan from The Walking Dead would say – in a story he wrote later that day.
The short explanation is that the Phillies were getting blasted in the first game and needed to save their bullpen for the second game to give them a chance to at least break even on the day.
Not good enough for Cataldi, who writes:
“The fact that the Phillies won the second game did nothing to stifle the rage fans felt the next morning, when complaints by baseball fans overwhelmed the usual flood of football calls after an Eagles game. As he is known to do, Kapler made the situation much worse by opening his mouth.”
Yeah, well, they played like shit in the first one. The rage should have been reserved for the myriad defensive errors the Phils committed that allowed the game to spiral out of control in the first place.
“You guys are going to spin this however you want to spin it, but the fact of the matter is, in the fifth inning when we’re down 11 runs, we started to prepare for the second game,” (Kapler) said. “We used strategy to best position the Phillies to win games. We’re going to continue to do that.”
Correct. The first game was lost. So you put yourself in a position to salvage the second half of the double-header.
Translation: We quit. In the city of Rocky Balboa, Gabe Kapler gave up. This is the same Game Kapler who played on the Boston team in 2004 that staged the greatest comeback, down 0-3 to the Yankees in the ALCS, in baseball history.
That’s the ALCS, not a regular season double-header. It is not the same thing. If Kapler blows every bullpen arm to miraculously erase a double-digit deficit, what exactly is left for the second game? Nothing. They win the first game, then get blasted in the next one. You arrive at the exact same position: one win and one loss.
Plus, everybody know that this Phillies team isn’t an offensive juggernaut. How many times has a club scored 12 or more runs to come back and win a game?
It was an astonishing admission, made much worse by the slow-pitch softball approach of erstwhile pitcher Kingery. What Kapler doesn’t understand — and may never understand — is that Philadelphia sports fans are wired differently than any others. Yes, there was some logic to the manager’s thinking. But not here. You don’t quit in Philadelphia. Ever.
“But not here.”
We don’t use logic in Philly. It’s heart before brain. That’s what he’s saying.
Again, this is not “quitting,” it’s foresight, awareness, common sense – the ability to see the bigger picture and not become blinded by some myopic “never say die” caveman cliche. I give Kapler credit for admitting that they were moving on to game two, instead of trying to save face with some half-assed “we gave it our best shot” quote. He was honest with the fan base and didn’t bullshit his way through it.
Equally worrisome for Kapler is the perception that he really doesn’t care how the fans feel, a fatal mistake made by many managers and coaches who have preceded him here. Ultimately, Andy Reid was pink-slipped when his contempt for the paying customers got to be too much for owner Jeffrey Lurie to tolerate. Even a hero like Doug Collins signed his own death warrant when he asked fans to pray for slovenly center Andrew Bynum.
You can’t really care about fan opinions.
Sure, you want everybody to appreciate the team and get on board with the plan, but at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter what the fuck the fans feel. You’re the coach. You believe in your system, your style, and your process, and when you stray from that, it starts to go downhill. You have to trust yourself more than anything.
Plus, there were a bunch of “fans” that wanted to fire Kapler after the season opener. Now the team is 12 games over .500 and fighting for a playoff spot.
Likewise, there were a bunch of Eagles fans that disagreed with Doug Pederson’s fourth down aggression last season. Guess how that turned out?
I know Angelo is just trolling for callers or readers at this point, and I plucked the low-hanging fruit, but we’ve got to evolve from this bogus blue-collar, lunch pail cliche and show some situational awareness here. There was plenty of logic in what Kapler decided to do on Thursday, and we should appreciate that instead of defaulting to the “Philly tough” fake outrage that we’ve been spewing since 1975.