Phillies

Gabe Kapler drawing interest from multiple teams in search of a manager

Gabe Kapler drawing interest from multiple teams in search of a manager

In the four days since Gabe Kapler was let go by the Phillies, two reports have surfaced of teams set to interview him. First, the Giants, now the news Monday from the Chicago Tribune that Kapler will interview with the Cubs.

It shows that, despite how things ended here, Kapler is well-thought-of in major-league circles. Why wouldn't a few teams with openings bring him in to hear what he says, how he'd manage their club, and pick his brain for ideas? Not every team has as much of a preference for a seasoned skipper as the Phillies appear to. It makes sense for a few of the eight teams with vacancies to cast a wide net. There are plenty of examples of managers not succeeding at their first stop before settling in.

Kapler has ties to both the Giants and Cubs. San Francisco's baseball department is run by Farhan Zaidi, who worked with Kapler in the Dodgers' front office. Chicago's head man is Theo Epstein, who had Kapler as a player with the Red Sox from 2003-06.

Former Cubs catcher David Ross is viewed as one of the favorites for that job. Joe Girardi has been connected to the Cubs and Mets, and it is believed that the Phillies are speaking with him Monday in the New York area.

Fuld declines interviews

Sam Fuld, the Phillies' major league player information coordinator, declined managerial interviews with the Cubs, Mets and Pirates, according to MLB Trade Rumors.

Fuld is an important and valued member of the Phillies' organization. A former player himself, he serves as a conduit between the analytics department and the players. Fuld is highly respected around the game and could one day be a manager or general manager somewhere. 

Could an opportunity with the Phillies be the reason he declined three interviews? Possibly, but it still seems more likely the Phillies go the route of an experienced manager. It could have more to do with Fuld's family situation, comfort in his current role and potential upward mobility in the Phillies' own front office.

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Toronto's 3-month shutdown doesn't bode well for any pro sport

Toronto's 3-month shutdown doesn't bode well for any pro sport

The announcement Tuesday that the city of Toronto has banned all public events through June 30 is not a good sign that games in any North American professional sports league will be back by then.

This is the longest-ranged shutdown any city has enacted, a span of three months. What is more likely: That only Toronto makes this decision, or that by the end of April many cities in the U.S. have followed suit?

In Toronto, this pertains to city-permitted events such as festivals and parades, city-led conferences and cultural programs, and major mass participation events organized by external groups at civic centers and squares, parks and public spaces. It's logical that sporting events could follow.

Previously, we knew that MLB's regular season would begin no earlier than late May or early June. That is an optimistic target date. If the season somehow does begin by June, it will likely be in empty stadiums. This is going to be gradual. It's unrealistic to expect 30,000 fans plus hundreds of stadium workers to be carefree and packed into a venue in just a few months.

"If you have municipalities doing that, to me it's tough to open your doors at a ballpark," Jim Salisbury said on our Phillies Talk podcast Tuesday.

"You think, well, OK, play with no fans, but they need personnel in the ballpark just to get the ballpark open. These clubhouses are big complexes, multi-room complexes. You're gonna have an expanded roster of like 30 players, then you'll have guys on the IL, 10-plus man coaching staffs and video staffs and analytics staffs and athletic training staffs and there's even the guys in there nightly who do the drug testing. 

"Your clubhouse complexes are very populated. There's a lot of people in there, and you don't know where people are going in those 10, 11 hours that they're out of the ballpark. You have umpires and TV personnel. To me, those are still gatherings. I don't even know if you can play with nobody in the ballpark. I don't have any idea how this is gonna play out."

The Phillies were supposed to host the Blue Jays in April and visit them in mid-September. Toronto's NBA and NHL teams are both heavily in the playoff mix. The Raptors are the 2-seed in the Eastern Conference and the Maple Leafs are third in the Atlantic. Playoffs in both leagues end in June; how far could they extend this year?

More on the Phillies

How Philly-New York trash talk led to the Oakland Athletics elephant mascot

How Philly-New York trash talk led to the Oakland Athletics elephant mascot

The Oakland Athletics were slated to visit Philadelphia in mid-June in 2020 which, for the A's, would have been a return to the franchise's original home.

But the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has Major League Baseball adjusting its 2020 schedule on the fly, so let's take some time to exploring a particularly quirky connection between Philadelphia and the Athletics' whimsical elephant mascot, Stomper.

You know, this guy:

Stomper dates all the way back to 1902, when professional baseball was still finding its footing, according to a neat little video on a slice of baseball from NBC Sports Bay Area.

It was a different time: Philadelphia had a team called the Athletics, and a man named John McGraw was managing the New York Giants. (Yes, the baseball Giants.)

McGraw, during a press conference, said he didn't think the Athletics' decision to buy up expensive star players' contracts was going to pay off, and said they would be left with "a big white elephant on their hands".

Famed Athletics owner and general manager Connie Mack laughed at McGraw's characterization, and decided to make a white elephant the Athletics' unofficial mascot. Eventually it became official, and before the Athletics and Giants faced off in the 1905 World Series, Mack presented McGraw with a white elephant statuette.

What an unreal Philly zinger.

You can watch the video from NBC Sports Bay Area below:

When the Athletics moved to Kansas City, the elephant disappeared (politics) but after the Athletics moved to Oakland, the team made the decision in the late 1980s to have the elephant make a triumphant - tri-unk-phant? - return.

I'm glad it came back, because now we have a reason to remember a sick 115-year-old burn. Connie Mack forever.