Charlie Manuel, snake-fighting playboy

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This has nothing to do with anything, but it’s a slow news day so far and I’ve been having a lot of fun checking out Baseball-Reference.com’s new Japanese League player pages.

Sadaharu Oh’s career numbers are incredible to look at and Tuffy Rhodes’ page is pretty great too, but my favorite is definitely Charlie Manuel’s stats.

Manuel, who apparently went by “Chuck Manuel” while playing in Japan from 1976-1981, had some monster seasons there in his mid-30s. From 1977-1980 he hit .320 with an average of 42 homers per season, including .325 with 48 homers and 129 RBIs as a 36-year-old in 1980.

And then there’s this, from Baseball-Reference.com’s “bullpen” page about Manuel:

The media fed off of Chuck’s playboy lifestyle, where “[h]is escapades allegedly started early in the evening and concluded right up to the pre-game warm-ups.” Chuck even was pictured in Japanese comic books, using his bat to fight giant snakes.

Chuck Manuel, snake-fighting playboy.

(Complicated handshake to the great Grant Brisbee for alerting me to Manuel’s page.)

Giants hire Gabe Kapler as new manager

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The Giants announced on Tuesday the hiring of Gabe Kapler as manager. Kapler, filling the extremely large shoes of future Hall of Famer Bruce Bochy, inked a three-year deal, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Kapler was one of three finalists for the job, beating out Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays bench coach Matt Quataro.

Following his 12-year playing career, Kapler was a coach for Israel’s team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifier. He then became an analyst for FS1 before joining the Dodgers’ front office as the director of player development in November 2014. He was involved in three scandals there: one in which he tried to handle a sexual assault incident involving two Dodgers minor league players without telling police, one in which he allegedly discriminated against Nick Francona, a veteran and former baseball operations employee, and an incident that implicated most of the Dodgers’ front office concerning the recruiting of international free agents. The Dodgers reportedly kept a spreadsheet of employees and their level of criminality.

Despite Kapler’s background, the Phillies hired him as their manager ahead of the 2018 season. He would lead the Phillies to an 80-82 record that year and then helped them improve by one game in 2019, finishing at exactly .500 before being fired. Kapler’s tenure in Philly was tumultuous, often drawing ire from the local media and subsequently the fan base for not being tough enough on his players. The Phillies also reportedly had a clubhouse issue in 2018 in which players were playing video games in the clubhouse during games, prompting Carlos Santana to smash a TV with a bat.

Kapler has a history with Farhan Zaidi, the Giants’ president of baseball operations. They worked together in the Dodgers’ front office as Zaidi served as GM from November 2014-18.