It's hard to imagine Charlie Manuel writing a blog post about the nature of guilt.
In selecting Gabe Kapler as their next manager, the Phillies have essentially selected the anti-Manuel: a zen-spouting, analytics-loving workout rat who waxes poetic about the need to exercise outdoors and the virtues of coconut oil.
"No one… ever wanted to ask Larry Bowa, Charlie Manuel, or Pete Mackanin about his dietary restrictions inside the clubhouse or his lifestyle and health website," my colleague Bob Brookover wrote about the questions Kapler will face at his inaugural news conference. "Additionally, advanced metrics never came up in pregame discussions."
Kapler had been the director of player development for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He also spent time as a baseball analyst for Fox Sports, and played 12 years in the league on seven different clubs, ending his career with a .268 batting average and 82 home runs.
But another side of Kapler appears in his posts on Kaplifestyle, the health and well-being blog he launched in 2013. In hundreds of posts (the most recent is from February 2017), Kapler wrote about traditional and decidedly non-traditional wellness topics. There's also poetry. According to Kapler, "Writing strengthens humans."
Here's a sampling some topics Kapler covered on his blog over the years:
Men should tan down there
"If you want to be your strongest, get some sun on your boys. And by boys, I mean your testicles."
That's how Kapler began an August 2015 post extolling the virtues of male athletes getting sun down below. As Kapler explains, fully-clothed and capped baseball players don't get enough Vitamin D from the sun, which limits testosterone production.
More sun makes some amount of sense, but why the testicles specifically? Kapler cites a nearly 80-year-old observational study:
"A 1939 study exposed men to UV radiation over the course of 5 days. The study noted that it was sufficient to turn the skin red. When the UV radiation was aimed at the chest, testosterone levels increased by 120%. When the genitals were exposed, testosterone increased by more than 200%."
Next time you order wings, eat the bones
You know those bones you discard every time you pound down a plate of wings? According to an April 2014 post, you might be missing out on the best part.
Kapler baked a whole chicken and wrote about eating every piece of the bird, including its bones, in order to consume as much bone marrow as possible.
"I can honestly say I enjoyed eating the softer, edible bones of the chicken that I just now devoured more than the meat," Kapler wrote, comparing the energy spike he experienced afterward to drinking a can of Red Bull.
"Fatty and rich, the marrow of said bones left me feeling satiated and satisfied. Knowing this was something I was going to write up had me totally present in the moment. I crunched through the neck bone and delighted in the delicacy. Wow. I was (and sort of still am) completely locked into the experience. Now I'm listening to Native American drumming, my eyes wide. I may paint my face and begin to chant."
Zen when you kill a squirrel
Kapler began a February 2017 blog post: "The other day, I ran over a squirrel."
He went on to explain the lack of guilt he felt after running over the animal.
"Perhaps the reason I felt no guilt is because I know that I didn't intend to kill the squirrel," Kaplan reasoned. "I didn't intend harm, I was unable to avoid it, and there's no action to be taken to fix what happened. Thus, in my mind, there's nothing to feel guilty for."
Kapler discussed his feelings with a former editor named Stephanie, who indicated that she would have felt guilty for hitting the squirrel and offered her own interaction with animal mortality, replacing a squirrel with a rat.
"Steph shared with me another anecdote – she came across an injured rat in her yard. Knowing that the rat was suffering and going to die soon, she was still unable to kill the rat. Perhaps this goes back to intentions – I did not intend to kill the squirrel; Steph would have had to intend to kill the rat. She refrained knowing the guilt she would feel, but ultimately, the rat experienced more suffering than it otherwise would have."
Drink scotch when you exercise
If the worst part of exercising is being sober, then Kapler has some good news.
"Drinking alcohol and training for performance and lean tissue are not mutually exclusive," Kaplan wrote in a May 2016 post, noting that his energy levels were above average while exercising the morning after staying up for "a late night sampling session" with a friend.
According to Kapler, dry wines and straight spirits like whiskey, tequila and vodka derive the majority of their calories from alcohol, so it's nearly impossible for them to add to the body's fat stores. Kapler said he prefers scotch, which is apparent from the way he describes drinking JWB and Glenrothes:
"On the nose of the Glenrothes, I get honey and orange. Taking a sip, my palate receives vanilla and coconut notes. By contrast, the JWB offers a perfume-y, woodsy and smokey bouquet. Upon tasting, I sense a bolder sip with smoky and peaty notes (peat is partially decayed vegetable matter and is cut and used as a fuel source, a note you'll often see in Scotch)."
Coconut oil is good for… everything
Kapler wasn't afraid to broach any subject on his blog, including what Seinfeld once referred to as being the "master of your domain."
In a June 2014 post, Kapler extols the virtue of coconut oil in an attempt to save readers "at least $39" by tossing products they no longer need: skin moisturizer, mouthwash, lip balm and cooking oil.
Oh, and this:
"You're moisturized and smelling tropical, your teeth are white and your face looks like you've just visited a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. The sun has set, and the moon is out. Perhaps you have a friend nearby, perhaps it's just you by your lonesome…well, this is awkward. I've promised you authenticity, honesty and openness. Take this how you wish and I'll spare you the step by step. Coconut oil is the world's greatest lubricant. I can't help where your mind goes with this. Once the ball leaves the bat, I can't steer it."