Gabe Kapler soliciting feedback from coaching staff in form of anonymous surveys

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Yesterday, I discussed the recent clamor among Phillies fans for manager Gabe Kapler to throw a temper tantrum and get ejected by an umpire to fire up his team, which is on its way to its eighth consecutive loss. Kapler is anything but a hothead, so getting ejected — especially for no legitimate reason — is not in his nature. He said as much, saying, “it would’ve been really contrived to go further,” referring to a disagreement he had with an umpire recently where he felt he had done enough to warrant an ejection.

Kapler’s rational approach, which includes heavy usage of analytics, rubs the largely blue-collar contingent of Phillies fans the wrong way. They like tough, hard-nosed guys who are willing to get into a fight. Kapler won’t overturn postgame spreads and get in his players’ faces the way Larry Bowa did; instead, he’ll pull them in individually into his office to offer constructive criticism.

With his team spiraling out of control to end 2018, Kapler is looking towards next season and is already seeking ways to improve. He is soliciting feedback from his coaching and support staff in the form of anonymous surveys, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Kapler said, “I have a lot of room to grow and improve. The first step I’m taking is seeking out feedback from others on my performance and areas where I fell short.”

The idea was quickly mocked by Phillies fans on social media, but it’s actually brilliant. No, it’s not a novel idea by any means, but it is a terrific way to get honest and constructive feedback from people who rank below oneself. It is tough to honestly criticize a superior because it could sour the relationship, putting one’s job security in jeopardy. It is way easier and safer to be a brown-noser.

Kapler screwed up a few times very early in the season, including one incident in which he tried to bring in a reliever — Hoby Milner — even though he hadn’t warmed up. The criticism came in loud and en masse from all directions. Kapler, to his credit, took the criticism in stride and made concerted efforts to improve the way he communicates with his team. His latest effort, anonymous surveys, is laudable and indicative of someone truly committed to winning and doing the best job he can. Many managers are recalcitrant, unwilling to change their ways. Kapler clearly is not. One would think that would be a personality trait fans would love, but not Phillies fans and certain media types in Philly for some strange reason.

Yankees star Judge hits 62nd homer to break Maris’ AL record

New York Yankees v Texas Rangers - Game Two
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ARLINGTON, Texas – Aaron Judge hit his 62nd home run of the season Tuesday night, breaking Roger Maris’ American League record and setting what some fans consider baseball’s “clean” standard.

The 30-year-old Yankees slugger drove a 1-1 slider from Texas right-hander Jesus Tinoco into the first couple of rows of seats in left field when leading off the second game of New York’s day-night doubleheader.

Maris’ 61 for the Yankees in 1961 had been exceeded six times previously, but all were tainted by the stench of steroids. Mark McGwire hit 70 for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year. Barry Bonds hit an MLB-record 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001, and the Chicago Cubs’ Sammy Sosa had 66, 65 and 63 during a four-season span starting in 1998.

McGwire admitted using banned steroids, while Bonds and Sosa denied knowingly using performing-enhancing drugs. Major League Baseball started testing with penalties for PEDs in 2004, and some fans – perhaps many – until now have considered Maris as holder of the legitimate record.

A Ruthian figure with a smile as outsized as his body, the 6-foot-7 Judge has rocked the major leagues with a series of deep drives that hearken to the sepia tone movie reels of his legendary pinstriped predecessors.

“He should be revered for being the actual single-season home run champ,” Roger Maris Jr. said Wednesday night after his father’s mark was matched by Judge. “I think baseball needs to look at the records and I think baseball should do something.”

Judge had homered only once in the past 13 games, and that was when he hit No. 61 last Wednesday in Toronto. The doubleheader nightcap in Texas was his 55th game in row played since Aug. 5.

After a single in five at-bats in the first game Tuesday, Judge was 3 for 17 with five walks and a hit by pitch since moving past the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927, which had stood as the major league record for 34 years. Maris hit his 61st off Boston’s Tracy Stallard at old Yankee Stadium on Oct. 1, 1961.

Judge has a chance to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012. He leads the AL with 131 RBIs and began the day trailing Minnesota’s Luis Arraez, who was hitting .315.

The home run in his first at-bat put him back to .311, where he had started the day before dropping a point in the opener.

Judge’s accomplishment will cause endless debate.

“To me, the holder of the record for home runs in a season is Roger Maris,” author George Will said earlier this month. “There’s no hint of suspicion that we’re seeing better baseball than better chemistry in the case of Judge. He’s clean. He’s not doing something that forces other players to jeopardize their health.”