It has been less than a month since Gabe Kapler addressed his team for the final time. The Giants were having an energetic camp, one in which new ideas flowed and veterans and young players were fully buying into what Kapler and a 13-coach staff were bringing.
Baseball reality would have hit them on March 26. The Giants were scheduled to start their season against the Dodgers and Diamondbacks on the road, with those two NL West frontrunners then coming to Oracle Park. Today, the Giants would have been playing their 11th game, and they would have already had a pretty good idea of how big of a talent gap still had to be made up.
The Giants knew during camp that they would be outgunned, but Kapler was hoping to make incremental gains in other areas. He wanted his team to out-compete and out-prepare opponents and felt good about the progress. It's unclear when baseball will resume and what kind of Spring Training 2.0 teams will have if it does, but Kapler is confident that what the Giants were building will remain.
On an interview that aired on this week's Giants Insider Podcast, Kapler explained why he thinks the good vibes from a month of spring training will carry over whenever the Giants are allowed to compete again.
"I don't think that that's going to be a problem," he said. "I don't think I'm alone in assuming that when we get to baseball, and we're going to get back to baseball, but when we get back there, there's going to be so much energy and excitement and appreciation for the game that I just can't imagine that that won't spill over onto the field."
That was something the staff tried to instill over a month in Scottsdale. Kapler preferred to keep things positive, but above all the Giants were about competition. Veterans like Evan Longoria noted early on that there was a different feel to drills, which were faster-paced and often pitted players against one another. At the time the Giants went their separate ways, there were still plenty of jobs up for grabs. Kapler had not named a fifth starter or closer, and much of the bullpen and bench mix remained a competition.
"Our players embraced and supported and endorsed the new coaching style, the competition-driven coaching style, the challenging drills that we implemented," Kapler said. "And I can't think of a reason why, when we get back to baseball, that they wouldn't be craving more of that and that our coaches wouldn't be enthusiastic about implementing it."
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On the podcast, Kapler discussed the day the Giants realize baseball was coming to a stop, how he's using a PlayStation game to get some managing work in, what the coaching staff is doing to try to stay sharp and how he's keeping in touch with his players. You can stream it here or download it on iTunes here.