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This signing will have a huge impact

January 13, 2009

Sabermetric guys will laugh, stat guys will moan, but the Rays signing of Gabe Kapler will have an impact on this division next year. Gabe is not only a nice addition as an extra bat and OF, but his clubhouse presence is beyond measure. One of my all time favorite teammates, and people, this guy is a rock in the clubhouse.

He brings a ton of veteran qualities but beyond that he’s a stabilizer. He is one of the guys that never allows a clubhouse, or team, to go too high, or too low. He’s much more unique than many think or believe, just ask the guys that were here with him, ask the Brewers teammates he played with last year.

The only fear for a team like Tampa is a letdown in my opinion, not having guys in that clubhouse to push and make them understand that going out this year and being mediocore makes last year a fluke. I never wanted to be on a team or thought of as a fluke, since that denotes luck beyond skill. Gabe, and Pat Burrell, are going to help that team be good again next year. Not to mention Joe Maddon is a truly good guy. I’ve known him for 20-plus years and he’s a major reason I was even discovered. I don’t know what kind of manager he is but I’ve heard nothing that would make me not want to play for him or think it wouldn’t be a blast.

If they can stay healthy and compete again they can truly turn this division into a three-team show, and that would be a good thing.

Oh and another thing. This is why it’s now different here. These guys just do things right, professionally and players pay attention and notice.

“In November, Smoltz sent a video to teams he was interested in playing for, throwing in a bullpen and chucking a football. The Red Sox were impressed, so they sent front office representative Ben Cherington, trainer Mike Reinold, and pitching coach John Farrell to Atlanta to watch him pitch. “Even for a guy who’s been in the big leagues for 21 years,” Smoltz said, “That really impressed me.”

You have to understand how big that is. Laugh it off but it’s real and few teams put that personal of a touch to things. I promise after John talked to John Farrell Boston became a much more realistic option. Meeting and talking to him you get real fast that this guy is wired so differently than pretty much any coach, front office person you’ve ever been around.

Also this:

“Smoltz attended the Celtics game last night, and in the third quarter, they flashed his face on the Jumbotron. “It blew me away,” Smoltz said.”

It happens in other places I know, but it’s special and things like that make memories for a lifetime. 1993 at a Flyers game it happened to me and I’ll never forget it. Fans make moments like these in rare places, but they impact players.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. January 13, 2009 11:39 am

    I agree. The addition of Kapler is nothing but a positive no matter where he lands. Nothing that we (as outsiders) have ever seen or heard has indicated otherwise.

  2. Jeff permalink
    January 13, 2009 12:06 pm

    Obviously guys loke Gabe and Pat will help a young team likethe Rays. But both verteans will want to play and with only one out field position open (right field, with Upton in center and Crawford in left) how will they split up playing time? Also will Maddon have the same problems with B. J Upton? He was a distration last year, and needed to be put in his place. Gabe and Pat will help, but the team does not need a distraction. The Rays will be the third team in the race for the AL East for many years to come.

  3. Mathew permalink
    January 13, 2009 12:49 pm

    I’m curious what his managerial role in the minors has done for his presence in the majors. I didn’t pay any attention last season but I can only imagine it added another level of maturity and solidified what he already knows how to do as a player.

  4. Mostly Running. permalink
    January 13, 2009 2:51 pm

    The numbers folks aren’t laughing.

  5. DE3 permalink
    January 13, 2009 4:59 pm

    100% agree. The most under rated aspect of MLB is the clubhouse. It is the difference maker, especially in a huge salary world. The AL East is so competitive that the Clubhouse could be the deciding factor on who is Golfing and who is still playing.

  6. January 13, 2009 7:33 pm

    I don’t think that stat guys will freak out because Gabe Kapler will not be a starter. They would only freak out if he was taking away at bats from more deserving players. And of course Kapler will have an “impact,” Curt. But do you honestly think Kapler makes this team better? No one doubts that he is a good guy though, and you would know that more than I.

  7. Jeff Mills permalink
    January 13, 2009 8:19 pm

    All I’ve got to say to this is Gabe Kapler definitely as a future managerial job in the majors in the next 5 years.

  8. Jeff Mills permalink
    January 13, 2009 9:33 pm

    I’m sorry. That should have read Kapler HAS a future managerial job in the majors in the next 5 years.

  9. elibangkok permalink
    January 13, 2009 10:11 pm

    You can only say Kapler will make the team better, by comparing him to the player he is replacing in the lineup or on the roster.

    In this case, that person would be Rocco Baldelli.

    Curt, why insult Rocco like this?

    just kidding about this, really do enjoy the blog!

  10. DeniseSoxFan permalink
    January 13, 2009 10:12 pm

    I don’t know why the Red Sox let Gabe Kapler get away.

  11. shesee permalink
    January 14, 2009 12:40 am

    Having Gabe didn’t help the Brewers much last year when they needed it.

    Loved Gabe but spare

  12. shesee permalink
    January 14, 2009 12:44 am

    This is a baseball blog. Keep the Celtics talk to a INVISIBLE.

    Pierce you are a liar, punk and the worst friend ever. Poor Toine

  13. January 14, 2009 7:26 am

    Yeah, the Rays seem poised, calculated and deliberate in the offseason. I was really sad to see Baldelli go, but the moves they’ve made seem like they’d only improve team, but how many times have we seen teams make bold & unreal moves in the off season only to finish in the cellar (2008 Tigers)? You never really know until August.

    Seems like when the chemistry works, the team works. The Rays last year looked like they were having fun not unlike the fun y’all had in 04 and 07. I’ve heard really good stuff about Kapler too, it’s nice to hear a teammate’s (and future Hall of Famers) perspective.

    This a good post Curt, thanks.

  14. January 14, 2009 10:09 pm

    Regarding sending a group to watch Smoltz pitch. I understand why that would have an impact on Smoltz, I just don’t understand why no one else would do it!

  15. February 6, 2009 1:35 am

    First time commentor but long time reader. Excellent blog you have going here, where is your RSS feed?

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