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Exploring Miami: Gabe Kapler’s Reflections and Future Endeavors

San Francisco Giants skipper Gabe Kapler (19) casually blows a bubble from the dugout during the second inning of their MLB matchup at Oracle Park in San Francisco, California, on Friday, July 7, 2023.

MIAMI — As the Marlins wrapped up their pregame batting practice on Monday, a robust figure made his way behind the batting cage. Dressed in a black Miami ballcap, a teal shirt with a couple of top buttons undone, and white linen pants, Gabe Kapler stood there for the next hour while his former team took their swings.

Bob Melvin, his successor, was among the first Giants to greet him, with the rest of the players and staff he once led also taking a moment to reconnect with their former manager of four years.

Reflecting on the reunion, Kapler expressed, “I loved it,” leaning against the third-base dugout railing the following day before the first pitch on Tuesday.

In a brief 10-minute conversation, the former manager chose to focus on the present and his new role as an assistant general manager in Miami, returning to a front office position for the first time since his tenure as the Dodgers’ director of player development.

Bay Area News Group: Can you share your experience living in Miami? You fully embraced the San Francisco culture, residing in North Beach and biking to the ballpark. How does your current lifestyle compare?

Gabe Kapler: I now reside in Edgewater. It’s close to Wynwood, the vibrant Miami neighborhood known for its street art. Wynwood is slightly inland, while Edgewater, as the name suggests, is right by the water. I’m enjoying it here. Miami is incredibly diverse and international, even more so than San Francisco. I appreciate the abundance of good food and rich culture that Miami offers.

BANG: Moving on to your new role as assistant GM under the new president of baseball operations, Peter Bendix, what are your primary responsibilities?

GK: My role is quite varied. I’ve been involved in a wide range of tasks, from working closely with Rachel Balkovec, our farm director, to assisting in hiring across different departments. We have a leaner staff in baseball operations, so part of my focus has been on familiarizing myself with various departments that I’m less acquainted with.

BANG: The baseball ops department in San Francisco is known for its size. How do you compare the two organizations?

GK: The disparity in staff size between a large baseball operations department and a smaller one can be substantial, differing by hundreds of individuals. Currently, we are on the leaner side but have plans to expand and strengthen our team.

BANG: How did this opportunity come about, especially considering your initial plans for a year of travel after being let go?

GK: I was all set to embark on a year of travel, with Chile being one of my early destinations. However, a conversation with Peter led to this unexpected opportunity. I found Peter to be a great leader with a unique background, and Miami, as a market, presents its own distinct challenges and charms compared to my previous experiences in LA, Philly, and San Francisco.

BANG: Given your diverse interests outside of baseball, why dive back into a demanding role rather than take time off?

GK: The competitive nature of baseball is incredibly enticing. The thrill of strategizing for success is a major draw for me. Additionally, Peter’s vision and my own desire for long-term success played a significant role in my decision to return to a baseball executive role.

BANG: Do you see yourself managing a team again in the future?

GK: While I’m open to the possibility of managing again, I’m in no rush. I believe that gaining a comprehensive understanding of baseball from various perspectives will only enhance my capabilities as a baseball executive or manager in the future. My focus right now is on being fully invested in my current role without feeling pressured about what lies ahead in the next few years.