Will Gabe Kapler be fired because fans find him annoying?

Many fans complained when the Phillies hired him. Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images.
Many fans complained when the Phillies hired him. Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. /
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(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

Gabe Kapler couldn’t prevent Philadelphia Phillies injuries and his core players claim to like him, but could he be fired for being too annoying for the fans?

Today we take up, again, the question of whether or not manager Gabe Kapler should be fired with a year to go on his contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. For the record, a number of people in eastern Pennsylvania have already delivered themselves of opinions on this matter, including fans, players and writers.

One of the Philly sports talk radio stations, for example, ran a poll on Twitter the day after the Phillies season ended on whether Kapler should be retained, and 4000-some votes had been cast in about six hours. Seventy-nine percent wanted the current manager to disappear as I type this, and there were 18 hours to go, but that figure hasn’t budged much in the last couple of hours.

On the other hand, Kapler’s players seem to rather like him. Team leaders Jake Arrieta, Bryce Harper, and J.T. Realmuto have all said kind things about their skipper quite recently.

But on the third hand, at least one writer has explicitly pointed out that Kapler has failed in one of his two jobs – keeping the fans happy – and suggests that might matter more. David Murphy goes on to point out the team’s attendance decline, particularly in the season’s final month. He doesn’t but could have added this was despite the fact that the Phillies weren’t technically eliminated from playoff contention until late in September. The fans stopped believing.

At this juncture, then, Gabe Kapler may become a somewhat rare duck in MLB history – a manager who is actually fired for annoying his team’s fans.

No one can fault Kapler for caring. At a last post-game news conference, he became fairly emotional speaking about his squad: “I’m not sure if I’ve ever been more proud of a group of men like these guys. We didn’t get the job done. But it wasn’t for lack of effort. And it wasn’t for lack of character and it wasn’t for lack of grit. I’m truly proud of every one of those guys.”

At another point, he said, “I love managing that group of players. I love working with that staff. Love working with this front office.”