PHILADELPLHIA -- Phillies manager Gabe Kapler is not going to yell and scream and take a bat and bash the furniture in the clubhouse to motivate his players. He will handle matters his own way.
“It’s not my personality,” Kapler said before Tuesday night’s game against the Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park. “It’s not who I am. I don’t think it’s the best way to motivate people, so I don’t do it. But it doesn't mean that I don’t have every possible conversation, and it doesn't mean that I don’t care deeply and passionately about making our players better.
"It doesn't mean that I won’t look under every stone to give them every opportunity and support to be the best versions of themselves. I’ll continue to do that. I just don’t do it in the way that many people think it should be done. I’m not going to apologize for that. I’m not going to say like, ‘Man, I should be Dallas Green.’ I’m not [expletive] Dallas Green. I never will be.”
The heat has been turned up on Kapler and his coaching staff following the team’s play the past few weeks. The Phillies entered Tuesday’s game 15-24 since May 29 and 75-87 in their last 162 games. Players are becoming frustrated.
“I had one conversation with Rhys [Hoskins] that was really focused on how we can come together as a team in these moments,” Kapler said. “He expressed there's some frustration. … We're not playing well as a team. We talked about the different things we tried. We both agreed that there's no panic. We play loose. We don't let what's going on around us impact our club.”
Phillies president Andy MacPhail and general manager Matt Klentak recently have expressed their unequivocal support for Kapler and his coaches.
“There isn't a day that goes by that we don't work our asses off,” Kapler said about his coaching staff. “And there isn't a day that goes by that we don't relentlessly pursue the most minor adjustments that we think will make us better. I know, and I understand it -- I know that that's hard to see in these periods of time, and I know that's it's frustrating for everybody around, including myself and probably most frustrating for me.
"However, nobody gives more effort than the people in this room. Nobody cares more than the people in this room. And we won't stop. Nobody's sitting on their hands. That is the opposite of what we're doing. We are constantly looking for ways to adjust and improve, always. I hope you guys, if you know nothing else, I hope you guys have seen that.”
But what if it isn’t about working hard or caring enough, but about the quality of coaching and being able to deliver messages that players respond to?
“I think the way to really come to that is to find out at the end of the day, when all is said and done, did you win enough games?” Kapler said. “Because really that’s all that matters, right? Did you win enough baseball games? Did the talent in the room, the personnel in the room, win enough baseball games? So I think everybody knows that this is a big-boy business, right? The players are accountable for their performance. The coaches are accountable for their performance. The manager is accountable for his performance. And I will always be accountable for mine. I understand all the criticism, and I’m ready to take it.”