Kapler admits he'll change his tune a bit in 2019

Phillies manager Gabe Kapler talks about how he'll be better in 2019
Gabe Kapler will be the first to tell you that he wasn't perfect last season in his rookie year as skipper of the Phillies, but he's sought feedback from those around him and intends to be better in 2019.

"I've spent a good amount of time evaluating myself and I continue to look for ways to improve," Kapler said Monday in Las Vegas at the Winter Meetings. "I think one thing I can do to improve immediately, that I think will really resonate well with our fans in Philadelphia, is to be more assertive in illuminating the things that we need to work on. I'm committed to taking that step."

Kapler was often criticized by Philadelphia fans last year for his overtly positive views on things, even when the negative outweighed the positive. Rather than say tough things publicly, he relied too much on spinning things. He acknowledges now though he needs to balance things a bit better.

"It's one thing to specifically call out one of our players, just for the sake of calling them out," Kapler said. "My job is to support our players and put them in the most advantageous position to succeed. I believe the best way to do that is by showing them support, however, I do think our fans demand that we hold [players] accountable.

"I think I've demonstrated to our fans that I do that behind closed doors, and I think many would like to see me create that high bar publicly and I'm committed to doing that."

Phillies president Andy MacPhail said at the end of the season he wanted Kapler to be more forthcoming about areas where improvements could be made and too limit the over-the-top positiveness that alienated part of the fan-base.

“He will get probably an all-expense paid dinner where he’s going to have to listen to me drone on for two hours," MacPhail said at the conclusion of the season. "I watched this happen to Dusty Baker. If you’re just overly positive, overly positive, you lose credibility with the fans after a while. You have to find a way to craft a message that is not critical of your players or negative, but acknowledge that there are some areas, like the rest of us, we have to make some improvements.”

Well, that dinner between Kapler and MacPhail happened.

"It was awesome because I had an opportunity to share my feelings with Andy and vice-versa," Kapler said. "Andy did say that he thinks holding players, staff members, and the entire organization to a very high bar publicly is something that he thinks will work well. I agree with him. I think it's an easy adjustment for me to make, and it doesn't have to be anything dramatic or forced. It's the turning up of the volume, of raising the bar and holding the club to a higher standard."
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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