Gabe Kapler repeatedly blew bubbles using his gum, and he popped them against the Los Angeles Dodgers during his postseason managerial debut. Dave Roberts can still recall his division counterpart doing this during their Double-A days.
Kapler says he gets butterflies all the time, and that’s a good thing. Kapler has found a way of channeling those feelings into winning in San Francisco, a lot of winning — and he does it by making many right moves throughout the year.
The season is down to a winner take all Game 5 between Roberts and his defending World Series champion Dodgers. Roberts, a veteran manager who has been through the postseason, faces Kapler with all his innovative strategies and support from many coaches.
You can call it adrenalin, nerves or anxiety. Kapler is open to all of it. He talks them over with Dane, his son. Dane called Kapler recently to share his feelings about the football game.
“I don’t have them now. Kapler admitted that he has experienced them before, including nerves or butterflies. “I think nerves are great from a nerves perspective.
“My son Dane told me that he was going to college football. He said, ‘I’m really nervous.’ I replied, ‘That’s awesome. Your focus will be sharpened by nerves. “You’ll be a better decision-maker if your emotions can be channeled.
Kapler learned from his failures, including two disappointing seasons as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Roberts’ steal base in Game 4 (AL Championship Series) with his team is forever etched in Boston legend. Kapler then went to Japan, where he “had a very difficult job getting nerves, finding nerves”.
This was to say the least, somewhat alarming.
Kapler recalls, “I would get in the on deck circle and my heart wasn’t beating very fast,” Kapler said. “I played terrible in Japan.”
Buster Posey, a veteran catcher, credits Kapler with keeping him “even keel” throughout the season, despite significant injuries and Alex Wood and Donovan Solano being diagnosed with COVID-19 simultaneously, and all other unexpected challenges that could have hampered this record-setting team.
Kapler spoke to a few of his coaches and discussed Posey’s season. Adrenalin may have helped the veteran catcher get through big games, long nights, and exhausting stretches. He continued playing behind the plate until the NL West was won the last day.