Philadelphia manager Gabe Kapler talks mentors and no rules in the clubhouse
Gabe Kapler has no interest in hiding his unconventional attitudes towards leadership and managing, so since coming to Philadelphia, he's sought the mentorship of some of baseball's most successful managers to find out how he can couple a willingness to be different with success.

"It's interesting," Kapler said. "I played for Joe [Maddon] and it was less about what he was saying and much more about the energy he conveyed - which is, you belong, you're going to be good at this, and trust yourself."

And Maddon's best advice?

"This will always stay with me and that's don't be afraid to be different. I obviously needed to hear that from a guy like Joe who has historically dared to be different and is very comfortable being different and has been extraordinarily successful."

Kapler comes off as someone who is comfortable on the edge. An intense personality that is calculated in his decision making. That said, it's plausible his personality may clash with some players on the Phillies roster that are solid clubhouse guys but lack the everpresent intensity brought by the new manager.

He's not too concerned.

"I had a one-on-one conversation with Joe Torre and he talked about caring," Kapler said. "Joe's vulnerable and shared that's a really a good thing. That could be an area I'm a little different in with exposing vulnerability. I'm not perfect, I'm going to make mistakes.

"I'm going to lean on the expertise of our [coaching] staff. I'm going to lean on the varying years of experience and their different ways of looking at and solving problems. If there's a guy I can't get through to I'll rely on them."

Kapler has publicly said several times he's not a fan of rules. He's the type that would rather venture outside the lines than color within. That attitude and freedom is usually not the norm in a baseball clubhouse, but Kapler's opinion skews radical over traditional and mainstream.

"Not having rules doesn't mean not having expectations," Kapler said. "Not having rules doesn't mean not demonstrating to a player where they need to improve.

"By way of an example, say you don't have a rule about facial hair and a man comes to the ballpark and his facial hair is down to his belly button, we might not have a rule about it but just explain to him this is how this looks to your teammates and hold up an accurate mirror.

"Society passes judgment, regardless if we like it or not. Every decision you make in a clubhouse has repercussions and so, one of the ways to police it is by challenging and when people aren't living up to expectations sharing there's no rule against what you just did but there is a consequence for the action."

In Kapler's world, those consequences could be ambiguous.

"You don't always pull a guy out of the game, but maybe he losses his teammate in the locker next to him because maybe he now has less confidence in him because of that decision."

Kapler experimented with the no rules policy with the Dodgers' farm system and, in his mind, the concept was a success.

"With the Dodgers, we didn't have any rules and what we found is, very rarely, did players break the traditional rules. You actually don't need to post rules on a wall for there to be a philosophical agreement that we have expectations."

It'll be interesting to see how Kapler's strategies work over the coming months, but as the Phillies enter the final stages of a rebuild there's certainly going to be a uniqueness to the upcoming season.
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

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