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Why Kapler always loved visiting Oakland in playing career

NBC Sports
Gabe Kapler

The yearly road games in Oakland always draw a mixed reaction from Giants players. It's an easy commute for the many veterans who live on that side of the Bay Bridge, but once players get to the cramped clubhouse, outdated trainer's room and bare-bones dugout, they're reminded of why the Athletics have been trying to leave the Coliseum for years. 

Giants manager Gabe Kapler likely won't mind any of that this weekend, though. Kapler played 32 games in Oakland as a visiting player and said it's a trip he looked forward to. 

"When I came to the Coliseum as a visiting player I loved the experience," he said. "I think the fan experience is really, really cool. It's a tough place to play. It's a challenging place to play."

That didn't seem to be the case for Kapler the outfielder. He had a .295/.357/.443 slash line in 98 career plate appearances there, although there was one lowlight. Kapler was on the other side when Dallas Braden threw a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays in Oakland in 2010. Kapler, playing right field, actually made the last out with a grounder to short. 

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Most of Kapler's previous trips to Oakland came during his three seasons with the Texas Rangers. He said the team stayed at the Westin in downtown San Francisco and he would always take BART across the Bay. 

"I loved it. I would take pictures along the way because I think there's a real rich culture and history in Oakland. I think Oakland is a really cool city," Kapler said. "At least from my perspective, players that I've been around just think of it as an opportunity to appreciate Oakland."

 

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