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Gabe Kapler doesn’t care about the unwritten rules

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Gabe Kapler is here to ruin your pitchers’ arms.

Gabe Kapler is here to ruin your pitchers’ arms.
Image: Getty Images

The buddy cops driving the MLB’s unwritten rules squad car last night were Bob Melvin and Eric Hosmer of the SDPD. The Padres’ manager and first baseman respectively took issue with a bunt single by Giants’ utility man Mauricio Dubón in the sixth inning with San Francisco up nine runs.

Here’s what Hosmer said he told Dubón after the play, and one can only assume his tone was as condescending as the quote implies it was.

“I definitely told him how I felt, how we felt about it. He said it was a sign given to him by their staff. I just told him I think you’ve got to be a little bit smarter in that situation. You’ve been playing professional ball for a good amount of time obviously if you’re at this level. You’ve got to be smarter than that.”

Naturally, Giants’ manager Gabe Kapler was asked about it after the game, and his response was essentially, I’m here to not only beat teams but to grind pitching staffs down to dirt so that, by the final game of a series, they need to fill innings with infielders.

Here’s the full quote if you’re at work and don’t have your headphones in.

Our goal is not exclusively to win one game in a series. It’s to try to win the entire series. Sometimes, that means trying to get a little deeper into the opposition’s ‘pen. I understand that many teams don’t love that strategy. And I get why. It’s something that we talked about as a club before the season and that we were comfortable going forward with that strategy. It’s not to be disrespectful in any way. It’s because we feel very cool and strategic. It’s the best way to win a series. When I say cool, I mean calm. We’re not emotional about it. We’re not trying to hurt anybody.”

Before you say “Yeah, but… ” remember who you’re dealing with here. Kapler is the reigning NL Manager of the Year. His team won 107 games in 2021, a year in which Vegas set their preseason over/under win total at 73. He’s comfortable with the strategy, and the Padres may disagree with Kapler’s “I don’t give a fuck, I’ll rob my mom to win a regular season series” approach, but he’s “comfortable” with it. He may not think it’s “cool” in the context of how he said it, but I do.

Burning through arms has become a flashpoint for controversy, so the Giants manager saying he’s actively trying to do that shows a disregard for the integrity of the game that’s sacred to the Covenant of the Unwritten Rules. (The robot analytics crowd is already constructing a statue in Kapler’s honor, and that part of this pains me. I fall into the category of people who get a kick out of unrepentant gamesmanship.)

Here are a couple of workarounds for San Diego the next time this happens: Don’t let the other team run up the score, or trot a third baseman out to the mound and have him throw BP until all 27 outs are recorded.

The first option is definitely harder to pull off than the second. That said, if you want to nullify San Francisco’s lineup depleting your bullpen, use that same calculated approach against them and kill innings with an arm that doesn’t matter. While it seems like that’d extend the length of the game, have you watched a home run derby? If you’re willing to throw a steady stream of meatballs across the plate, you’ll get enough pop ups and ground balls pretty quickly.

The Padres were down nine runs in the sixth inning. They weren’t hanging around, they were trying to get back to the hotel. If Melvin didn’t want his team further embarrassed, the Queen of Spades would’ve been to forfeit the rest of the game and try again the next day.

That didn’t go over too well for Coach Buttermaker in the Bad News Bears, but that team turned out alright despite his alcoholism and racism. San Diego’s rant about the unwritten rules was every bit as nonsensical as Walter Matthau right before he fell down drunk during practice.

Kapler’s reasoning on the other hand — it was the kind of “I’m going for your throat” strategy that fans praise Bill Belichick for. I hate to go all “This guy’s an evil genius,” but that was boiling it down to Thanos-snap-level simplicity. Bravo.



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Chelsea FC: Brilliant Badiashile leading way for new signings as Thiago Silva partnership blossoms

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C

helsea have not conceded a goal in the first 270 minutes that Benoit Badiashile has been on the pitch since his £35million move from Monaco.

His promising early form at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea will hope, hint at better times to come through their new signings.

The arrival of French centre-back Badiashile at the start of last month kick-started a record January spending spree of more than £300m.

After Chelsea were sent spiralling into crisis with defeats by Manchester City and Fulham, Badiashile made his debut in a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

After the Blues claimed a further two clean sheets in 0-0 draws away at Liverpool and at home to Fulham, he is building an impressive partnership with Thiago Silva.

Impressive start: Benoit Badiashile has formed a promising partnership with Thiago Silva

/ Getty Images

Badiashile was one of five new signings to feature in Friday’s 0-0 draw with Fulham. He started alongside £106.8m Enzo Fernandez, who started well but faded over 90 minutes, £89.5m Mykhailo Mudryk, who struggled over 45 minutes while carrying a cold, and £30m Noni Madueke, who was bright after being brought on at half-time.

“What a waste of money” was the regular chant from the Fulham fans in the away end.

That felt harsh in Badiashile’s case. With his size and speed, he looks like a perfect partner for 38-year-old veteran Silva.

In addition, he showed the ability to play brilliantly out of Fulham’s well-drilled press and he coped in his duels against Aleksandar Mitrovic.

There is still adaption to be done, as Graham Potter barked instructions about his positioning in relation to Silva.

However, using French to communicate with the former Paris Saint-Germain captain, Badiashile has helped steady the ship in the absence of the injured Wesley Fofana, and with Kalidou Koulibaly out of form.

While still only averaging just 1.05 goals per game in the Premier League, Chelsea will draw more than they win unless their new midfielders and forwards step up.

Arriving in the weeks after Badiashile, the likes of Fernandez, Joao Felix, Mudryk and Madueke have not had as much time to adapt to their surroundings.

With Chelsea still in 10th place and increasingly falling behind in the race to qualify for Europe, they must follow Badiashile’s lead and hit the ground running before time runs out.



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Reporter’s notebook: Jesse Marsch’s Leeds side showed encouraging signs at times but lack of points cost him his job | Football News

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Jesse Marsch was approaching his one-year anniversary as Leeds United head coach before the decision was taken on Monday to relieve him of his duties.

The defeat to Nottingham Forest a day earlier had been the final straw for the Leeds board, who were all aligned in the view that a change was necessary after almost three months without a Premier League win.

The recent statistics paint a grim picture for Leeds. Seven Premier League games without a win and just two wins in the last 17 league games. And against Forest, although they dominated in the first half and created the better chances, a worrying pattern had started to develop which had become a huge concern for fans. Leeds were producing performances with lots of positives, but not enough points.

There is little doubt that a large proportion of the fan base had lost patience with Marsch, and they made their frustrations clear at the full-time whistle on Sunday with calls for a change of head coach.

What is very evident is that Leeds have not kicked on this season. At times there have been really promising signs, but the fans and the board at Leeds wanted more. Marsch will feel that with time he could have delivered more, but he was also realistic enough to know that he was walking a tightrope.

I got to know Jesse well during his 12 months at Elland Road and it was abundantly clear he cared passionately about the club. He understood what it meant to be head coach of Leeds United and what the club meant to the city and the fans. And he has to be given great credit for keeping Leeds in the Premier League last season.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League match between Nottingham Forest and Leeds.

Although it hasn’t worked out for Marsch this season, there is a strong argument to suggest that the next Leeds boss will be in a great position to move the club forward.

Patrick Bamford and Luis Sinisterra are now fit, and the January additions should make the starting line-up stronger. The club has also invested heavily in young players and one of those, Willy Gnonto, has emerged as one of the shining lights of the season.

Those factors have created an expectation that Leeds are better than their current league position, and that means a reluctance to accept another season fighting to avoid the drop. It also means that there are reasons to be optimistic about the future.

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Former Leeds United goalkeeper Paul Robinson believes sacking Jesse Marsch was the right decision as he was given enough time at the club.

The process of finding a replacement for Marsch is already underway and Leeds hope to make a swift appointment. A move for Marcelo Bielsa is highly unlikely, but West Brom boss Carlos Corberan, who worked under Bielsa, is a candidate, while Ange Postecoglou at Celtic has also been linked.

It is also worth noting Leeds have a track record of leftfield appointments, so as they work through their list of targets, there is a good chance that a candidate emerges that could surprise everybody.

In the meantime, Michael Skubala, Paco Gallardo and Chris Armas will take training at Thorp Arch, and will be in the dugout for Wednesday’s Premier League fixture against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Leeds’ next Premier League fixtures

February 8: Manchester United (A) – kick-off 8pm

February 12: Manchester United (H) – kick-off 2pm, live on Sky Sports

February 18: Everton (A) – kick-off 3pm

February 25: Southampton (H) – kick-off 3pm

March 4: Chelsea (A) – kick-off 3pm

March 11: Brighton (H) – kick-off 3pm

March 18: Wolves (A) – kick-off 3pm



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Tom Brady in his underwear is taking over Twitter

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Um .. oh.

Um .. oh.
Screenshot: Twitter: Tom Brady

It’s Super Bowl week, and if you thought Tom Brady was going to let this week go by without being all up in your timeline…well. Just a week after announcing he’s retiring from football (you’ll never convince me he didn’t play an extra year just to stick it to Adam Schefter), Tom Brady has dropped his first thirst trap on Twitter. Or, attempted thirst trap. Actually, IS this a thirst trap?

As will many things Tom Brady, the attempt to be cool and edgy just winds up being sterile, boring, and kinda sad. A beige man in a beige room in beige underwear with a “pleass clap” look on his face.

And because OF COURSE:

Yes, Tom. We all knew the plug as coming. I’m not sure what color “heather crimson” is supposed to be, but I believe this is what we used to call “puce,” which… meh. The fact that there is something called the “Brady Boxer Brief” is enough to make me want to stick my head in the oven, because you know there are guys in New England burning up the internet right now to wear the same undies as their hero. And even more so because no amount of refusing to mask during COVID, vouching for Antonio Brown, stumping for Donald Trump, or getting a PPP loan during a nationwide pandemic is enough to get people to stop buying what this guy is selling. He’s even gotten to Jane Fonda, for crying out loud.

Of course, this entire thing was set up by Brady’s own brand:

So…whatever. It’s Super Bowl week and everyone is talking about Tom Brady, which is exactly how he wants it to be.



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