Meghan Montemurro of The Athletic continued her “10 questions” series with new Phillies manager Gabe Kapler. Many of the questions pertained to Kapler’s first month-plus on the job and what he expects going forward with the Phillies. One question, however, was about a moment in 2009.
Kapler, then with the Rays, led off the top of the ninth inning as White Sox starter Mark Buehrle attempted to get the final three outs for a perfect game. With a 2-2 count, Kapler hit a fly ball to deep left-center. Center fielder Dewayne Wise ranged back and leaped at the wall, robbing Kapler of a home run and preserving Buehrle’s perfect game, which he would go on to complete.
Montemurro asked, “What went through your mind in that moment?”
Well as a competitor, the first thing is I want that ball to go over his head and over the fence. What I remember, what I shared not that long after is, I’m really glad he made the catch. And I’m still glad he made the catch. If he didn’t make the catch, I would have one more home run, and that moment never happens for Mark Buehrle. That moment never happens for the city of Chicago. Dewayne Wise, that’s his moment for the rest of his life. It was meaningless for me. It would’ve been cool to have the home run. But it wouldn’t have gone anywhere. It would’ve been forgotten. And now it gets to live on forever, and it’s his moment.
I thought it had a chance [off the bat]. I remember it was a changeup away, and I had pretty good success waiting on his changeup and sitting on it. I knew that I hit it square. I probably would’ve been very comfortable predicting it would’ve been a double. The fact that it almost went out was cool.
I don’t think I’ve ever run into them or had a chance to have a conversation with them. They don’t even remember me. I get to remember them. Again, it’s their moment, and I love that about it.
Pretty cool perspective from Kapler. Kapler is already well-known for thinking outside the box, so it’s not surprising he would have this response. He’ll make his regular season managerial debut on Thursday afternoon as the Phillies open against the Braves in Atlanta.