"Hell may have no fury like a woman scorned but heaven hath no sweetness like a sports fan vindicated." - Samcat

Monday, July 11, 2005

Welcome Back!

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(Kapler's the one with the mustache, clearly).

You guys? Gabe is back! Or will be. Soon.

I thought I’d jump right on the “Most Overused Headline for the Next Week and a Half” bandwagon and throw that out there. Plus, I'm delighted to be able to use this picture again.

The thing with this is, I remember saying to my dad, who always loved Kapler, “Why can’t they keep a guy like that around? He’s so great. I hope that if things don’t work out in Japan, he’ll consider coming back to Boston.” But you never think that something like that will actually happen.

I recall back to the first week Kapler was here, when he hit something insane like .750 and I said, “Who the hell is this guy?” He was built like he ate barbells for breakfast and his uncharacteristic, (uncharacteristic for a pro baseball player), intelligence was a refreshing contrast to Johnny Damon’s well, idiocy. I knew I’d miss him when he was gone. And I did. But now, he’s coming back!

This is fantastic news. Depending on who you listen to or what source you’ve been reading, the Sox clubhouse isn’t nearly as buddy-buddy as it was last year and I don’t think I’m the only one to believe that the absence of Gabe Kapler is a big part of that. Witness the difference between Kapler and the recently disposed Jay Payton.

Kapler, so far as I know, and, admittedly, that’s not far, never complained about playing time. Sure, he wished that he could have been a full time player and that’s the reason that he up and left for Japan when the opportunity presented itself but I don’t recall him ever bitching in the media about not playing. I don’t remember ever reading about him getting into tiffs with Tito because he wasn’t being used enough.

Seems that’s all Jay Payton did. Granted, this is second, third or sometimes fourth-hand knowledge so it’s entirely possible that wasn’t how the situation played out either. I don’t know. But what I do know is how lucky we are as a baseball town to be able to serve as a lure to a great team player like Kapler.

Think about it. He’s coming back, of his own volition, knowing full well that he won’t be an everyday player. He knows he’ll back up Trot, mostly. Sometimes Johnny and sometimes Spaceshot, er, Manny. But he knows that he’s not going to claim a starting spot. He had his shot with that in Japan. It didn’t work out and Kapler, swallowing his pride, returns to a team and a city that loved him. And we’re ecstatic that he’s coming back. He’s the kind of player who makes the difference down the stretch run and he’s the kind of player we don’t have enough of so far this season. Here’s hoping he brings with him what we know he’s capable of.

Welcome back, Gabe!