The quantum physicist Erwin Schrödinger famously wrote that if you placed a cat and some automatically-released — or maybe not released! — poison in a box and sealed it, you would not know if the cat was dead or alive until you opened the box. As such, until you actually opened the box the cat was, in a theoretical sense, simultaneously dead and alive.
Which brings us to Philadelphia Phillies manager Gabe Kapler.
Kapler is currently the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. He is under contract for 2020 and has not been fired. Like that cat, he’s in that box, totally alive. Yet we read from Matt Gelb in The Athletic this morning that the Phillies and Buck Showalter “have mutual interest” in Showalter taking over the Phillies manager job. The job that is not, actually, vacant.
Which is to say: Gabe Kapler is, in a sense, both fired and not fired.
Now that I think about it, I actually think Schrödinger’s point with his little thought experiment was that the whole idea of quantum superposition — the idea that something can be in two states at once — was ridiculous as applied to anything larger than subatomic particles. He used the cat example to illustrate how silly it is when applied to something bigger because a cat, obviously, cannot be both alive and dead at the same time. It’s one or the other.
Since Kapler is bigger than a cat it means that, according to quantum theory, he’s either a goner as the Phillies manager or not and cannot be both fired and not fired. Hmmm. Is there any way we can determine which of those things he is? Maybe Gelb’s article can help us:
The Gabe Kapler decision is [Phillies owner John] Middleton’s decision and most inside the organization have attempted to broadcast that when possible . . . It’s not a matter of internal debate nor a power struggle.
Know what? Buck Showalter is a guy an owner calls directly. He’s not the guy a modern front office — the sort of which identified Gabe Kapler as their top candidate the last time around — goes for, I don’t think. He’s always had a great deal of power in any manager job he’s held and, I suspect, anything less than totally confident and seasoned GM would be a bit wary of bringing on a guy like Showalter if he could help it. As such, if there’s “mutual interest” between Showalter and the Phillies, I’m gonna bet the engagement is at Middleton’s level and that it’s been sought out because Middleton wants to kick Kapler to the curb, at least as long as he can get the guy he likes.
Which is to say, if I were a betting man, I’d say that Kapler is one dead cat.