Gabe Kapler says he spoke to his mom about Dodgers sexual assault incident

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Gabe Kapler was named the Giants new manager last night. Today he met the press.

Most of it was pretty run-of-the-mill. He wants to win. He knows he’s following a legend in Bruce Bochy and knows he can’t fill those shoes immediately, if ever. Kapler is usually pretty polished so it’s not surprising he said the right things about the job ahead of him.

But he did say something profoundly odd about one of the jobs behind him. The player development gig in Los Angeles during which he, infamously, tried to handle a sexual assault incident involving two Dodgers minor league players without telling police. It was an irresponsible decision at the time and it only came to light way after it happened and way after he got his job managing the Phillies. Today, then, was the first time he had to address it as a new hire, and this is what he went with:

The first and third comment are, superficially, what you expect to hear someone say in such a situation. That second one is, well, I have no idea what it is.

Kapler and I are about the same age. I’m struggling to think of any mistake I could’ve made in the past 25 years of my life in which, “hey, I talked to my mom and now I get that I was wrong” would be considered an acceptable answer. I’m also sort of struggling with Kapler’s hypothetical. Like, back in 2015, when the sexual assault allegations arose, would the then-40-year-old Kapler’s process have been better if he had . . . called his mom?

Obviously not. What’s missing here is why he didn’t call, say, police. Or take the matter further up the chain in the Dodgers organization to someone who would make that call. Those are questions no one has really answered to anyone’s satisfaction yet. We’ve heard a lot of “we regret we did not do the right thing” and very little to establish that anyone, in fact, knew what the right thing was then or knows what the right thing would be now if such an incident once again occurred.

Which makes all of this sound like a bunch of fake-woke eyewash, not unlike the kind of thing you hear when politicians claim to be sharply anti-sexual harassment or sexual assault because of their “wives and daughters,” but fail to demonstrate it any way at all with their actions. With Kapler it’s his mom, but it’s the same kind of dodge. Heard ya loud and clear. I have a mom, and I’ve talked to her and now we’re all good. Next question? Anything about how the roster is going to look next year?

This mirrors Farhan Zaidi’s comments about all of this. Zaidi, of course, was with the Dodgers then too and, like Kapler, was not forced to talk about this until years after the fact. As Grant Brisbee of The Athletic noted in an excellent Twitter thread today, before Kapler’s press conference, Zaidi offered the same sort of “hey, we talked to women” comments that Kapler did later. It wasn’t his mom, but rather sexual assault advocates. Shoulda done it before but didn’t. Did it now . . . because we’re hiring Gable Kapler and someone is going to ask us about it, I presume.

Of course, this is all Kapler and Zaidi had to do, right? They know no one in that interview room is going to press them on this for a host of reasons. They know — either consciously or instinctively — that they just gotta answer a question about such things once. They know that the question will be less-than-pointed and that there will be no followup of substance. As such, there is nothing pressing them to actually, thoughtfully examine what they did and what they didn’t do nearly five years ago beyond that which is necessary to get through one press availability.

The odd, less-than-thoughtful reference to Kapler’s mom the get-me-over fastball of answers, heaved in there because all he needed in this instance was a get-me-over fastball after which he can safely assume that he will never be asked about this stuff again.

Yankees star Judge hits 61st home run, ties Maris’ AL record

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TORONTO — Aaron Judge tied Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 home runs in a season, hitting a tiebreaking, two-run drive for the New York Yankees in the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

The 30-year-old slugger drove a 94.5 mph belt-high sinker with a full-count from left-hander Tim Mayza over the left-field fence at Rogers Centre. The 117.4 mph drive took just 3.8 seconds to land 394 feet from the plate, and it put the Yankees ahead 5-3.

Judge watched the ball clank off the front of the stands, just below two fans who reached over a railing and tried for a catch. He pumped an arm just before reaching first and exchanged a slap with coach Travis Chapman.

The ball dropped into Toronto’s bullpen and was picked up by Blue Jays bullpen coach Matt Buschmann, who turned it over to the Yankees.

Judge’s mother and Roger Maris Jr. rose and hugged from front-row seats. He appeared to point toward them after rounding second base, then was congratulated by the entire Yankees team, who gave him hugs after he crossed the plate.

Judge moved past the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927, which had stood as the major league mark until Maris broke it in 1961. All three stars reached those huge numbers playing for the Yankees.

Barry Bonds holds the big league record of 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001.

Judge had gone seven games without a home run – his longest drought this season was nine in mid-August. This was the Yankees’ 155th game of the season, leaving them seven more in the regular season.

The home run came in the fourth plate appearance of the night for Judge, ending a streak of 34 plate appearances without a home run.

Judge is hitting .313 with 130 RBIs, also the top totals in the AL. He has a chance to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012.

Maris hit No. 61 for the Yankees on Oct. 1, 1961, against Boston Red Sox pitcher Tracy Stallard.

Maris’ mark has been exceeded six times, but all have been tainted by the stench of steroids. Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year, and Bonds topped him. 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 the holder of the “clean” record.

Among the tallest batters in major league history, the 6-foot-7 Judge burst on the scene on Aug. 13, 2016, homering off the railing above Yankee Stadium’s center-field sports bar and into the netting above Monument Park. He followed Tyler Austin to the plate and they become the first teammates to homer in their first major league at-bats in the same game.

Judge hit 52 homers with 114 RBIs the following year and was a unanimous winner of the AL Rookie of the Year award. Injuries limited him during the following three seasons, and he rebounded to hit 39 homers with 98 RBIs in 2021.

As he approached his last season before free agent eligibility, Judge on opening day turned down the Yankees’ offer of an eight-year contract worth from $230.5 million to $234.5 million. The proposal included an average of $30.5 million annually from 2023-29, with his salary this year to be either the $17 million offered by the team in arbitration or the $21 million requested by the player.

An agreement was reached in June on a $19 million, one-year deal, and Judge heads into this offseason likely to get a contract from the Yankees or another team for $300 million or more, perhaps topping $400 million.

Judge hit six homers in April, 12 in May and 11 in June. He earned his fourth All-Star selection and entered the break with 33 homers. He had 13 homers in July and dropped to nine in August, when injuries left him less protected in the batting order and pitchers walked him 25 times.

He became just the fifth player to hold a share of the AL season record. Nap Lajoie hit 14 in the AL’s first season as a major league in 1901, and Philadelphia Athletics teammate Socks Seabold had 16 the next year, a mark that stood until Babe Ruth hit 29 in 1919. Ruth set the record four times in all, with 54 in 1920, 59 in 1921 and 60 in 1927, a mark that stood until Maris’ 61 in 1961.

Maris was at 35 in July 1961 during the first season each team’s schedule increased from 154 games to 162, and baseball Commissioner Ford Frick ruled if anyone topped Ruth in more than 154 games “there would have to be some distinctive mark in the record books to show that Babe Ruth’s record was set under a 154-game schedule.”

That “distinctive mark” became known as an “asterisk” and it remained until Sept. 4, 1991, when a committee on statistical accuracy chaired by Commissioner Fay Vincent voted unanimously to recognize Maris as the record holder.