Phillies embrace Gabe Kapler's emphatic message of boldness

Jason Kelce was at Phillies camp
Players arrived at Spectrum Field on Monday morning to find red "Be Bold" T-shirts on the chairs in front of their lockers. It's Gabe Kapler's declaration this spring to be uniquely yourself.

Kapler pushed back the start of morning workouts by an hour, brought umpires in for bullpen sessions to create in-game situations, and had cameras installed throughout the Carpenter Complex so players can more easily track their activities. He's also scheduled a talent show for the players and already held a chicken wing-eating contest involving the coaching staff.

Camp Kapler, 2018.

"I think it's great. I think it's different," Phillies left-hander Adam Morgan said Monday morning before the team's first full-squad workout. "I think the place where we're at, different can be good."

The Phillies are a young team on the rise and Kapler's capitalizing on youthful energy found in camp. He showed the club video highlights of recent Philadelphia parades and had several sports personalities from the city record video messages to offer best wishes, all in the hopes of motivating and inspiring the guys in camp.

On Monday morning Kapler introduced Eagles center Jason Kelce to the team. He spoke about his legendary speech from the parade and keyed in on the underdog mentality that ultimately helped the Eagles survive the playoffs and the Super Bowl.

"Don't listen to what people on the outside say," outfielder Aaron Altherr said. "They believed in themselves. They knew what they could do. I believe when he says he sees similarities between the Eagles and Phillies. A lot of people are counting us out, but I think we definitely believe we can compete for that division title."

The red T-shirts have the acronym "VAM" on the sleeve, representing Value at the Margins. It's Kapler's way of ensuring players exhaust every unique opportunity to improve as individuals, but collectively too.

"He instills a confidence in guys," Morgan said. "Be bold. That's good. Value at the margins. That's huge. One person doesn't need to carry the whole burden. Rhys [Hoskins] doesn't need to hit 80 home runs to make this team better. If he hits 10 more than he did last year, that would be great. If everybody takes just one little step forward, we're going to be a better team than we were last year. That's what we're kind of looking for."

"It's fun. I was telling some of the guys, I'm having fun this spring. You better get your work in. We're here for baseball, not just to say we're here for baseball. But the more relaxed we are, I think that's going to make us better."

[UPDATE 4/4/18: Quotes for this piece came from Todd Zolecki's piece on MLB.com found here. Apologies for the lack of proper attribution.]
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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