The difference between Chip Kelly and Phillies manager Gabe Kapler

Gabe Kapler ready for regular season debut with Phillies
Chip Kelly is a name once loved in Philadelphia and he's probably the closest thing this city has ever had in comparison to new Phillies manager Gabe Kapler.

The man is unique. His way of doing things is outside the box and he's not afraid to be unconventional which makes him intriguing because for the better part of the last two decades the Phillies were the most old-school organization in all of baseball.

Analytics and sabermetrics, items that bubbled to the baseball mainstream at the turn of the millennium, have only recently become en vogue at Citizens Bank Park.

John Middleton, co-owner of the Phillies, is the primary catalyst for the change in philosophy and he brought on a young general manager in Matt Klentak who wasn't part of baseball's good 'ole boy network - the type of guys that rely far too heavily on the eye-test while discounting things such as exit velocity, spin rate, and ultimate zone rating.

Kapler is an analytics guy himself. He's looking for matchups and opportunities to exploit an opponents weakness, but he's also a different breed with his management style and how he views the game of baseball.

"You need a holistic approach to succeed today," Kapler said. "From dieting and sleep rhythms, to how many hacks to you take a day in the batting cage. It's all important. Players need to know and understand advanced metrics and be comfortable thinking outside the box in everything they do."

Kapler's mantra through spring has been "Be Bold." It's a hashtag and shirt design, but so much more.

"It's also about finding value at the margins," Kapler said. "If we do things with conviction and knowledge, we're going to put ourselves as a team in a position to succeed.

"We’re moving away from silence so nothing goes unsaid and everything’s out on the table. That’s what bold is all about."

Camp in Clearwater looked and sounded different, from all genres of music playing throughout the Carpenter Complex at all times of the day, to front office personnel at times wearing uniforms and participating on the field to lead drills.

It all seemed very Kelly'esque.

The difference, however, is it appears the players have bought into Kapler's "Be Bold" mindset.

At one point early in spring training, Kapler walked into the weight room and began working out with players. It was a unique sight and innocuous to some, but it demonstrated the type of bond the manager wants to have with players.

"You have to love it," Maikel Franco said. "You turn around and there he is, right next to you working out doing the same thing you're doing. I've never seen that before."

With so much youth and excitement surrounding the Phillies, Kapler's "Be Bold" approach is a breath of fresh air.

Adversity will come at some point, but Kapler appears to have built a strong relationship with his players and the strength of that bond will likely play a significant role in the Phillies success this season.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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