How Gabe Kapler made impact on Tyler Beede before coming to Giants


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It's a picture Gabe Kapler has taken thousands of times. He spent a dozen years in the majors, played 500 more games in the minors, and even 38 in Japan. Before coming to San Francisco, he managed in Philadelphia for two seasons.

Before just about every one of those games, there was a young kid or a pack of them leaning across the rail, hoping for a quick photo or an autograph. Occasionally, the kid would be bold enough to ask for a baseball, or perhaps a few pieces from the tubs of bubble gum in every dugout. 

This has been part of Kapler's life since he was drafted 25 years ago, as common an occurrence as pulling on his spikes or lining up for the anthem. But one time, that kid in the oversized baseball cap turned out to be a pretty good baseball player.

The kid starred in high school in the Boston area as Kapler was finishing up his playing career. He went on to Vanderbilt and got even better. He was a first-round pick and overcame some hurdles to reach the big leagues two weeks after Kapler made his managerial debut. 

When Kapler was announced as Giants manager, that kid, now 26 years old and 6-foot-3, pulled up his Instagram and posted the picture his dad took at Fenway Park in 2004. 

"Now it's come full circle," Tyler Beede said this week. "It's kind of crazy."

The story would be a cool one if that were it, but Beede didn't actually wait until 2019 to show Kapler the photo. As Beede was breaking into professional ball in 2014, he noticed that Kapler, who won a World Series in Boston the year the photo was taken, was now an analyst for Fox Sports and active on social media. Beede's dad dug up the photo and the young prospect sent it to Kapler. 

"He responded to me and we exchanged numbers, and I met him at the World Series in San Francisco that year," Beede said. "I went to Game 5 with a friend and finally met him in person. He was super personable and friendly."

The two reconnected when Kapler got the job in Philadelphia and promised to catch up if they were ever in opposing dugouts for a big league series. Beede ended up facing the Phillies twice as a rookie. As he was getting his first real shot last season, he made note of what was coming down the line for the organization. Beede said he thought about Kapler after Bruce Bochy announced his retirement. 

"I had a weird gut feeling that Gabe would be in the conversation to come over here," Beede said. "Obviously there's that connection with Farhan, and I was happy about it."

Kapler and Beede exchanged texts again after the hire became official, and then the new manager got to work hiring a young staff. It is one that is as excited about Beede as any player. Kapler stood in during a bullpen session last week at Oracle Park and afterward lit up as he talked of how devastating Beede's is from a hitter's perspective. 

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That kid who used to run down to Pesky's Pole to get autographs and pictures with big leaguers now throws in the upper 90s with a big curve and sharp changeup. He smiled as he talked of the connection he once made with his new manager, but for Beede, there's a serious aspect at play, too. He pointed out how many connections the players have to the new coaching staff, calling it "a cool and unique dynamic" that allows young players to feel a greater sense of comfort. Beede admitted that young Giants might have felt like they were walking on eggshells at times in previous years.

"Maybe this is an opportunity for guys to just feel more comfortable and feel like they can just be themselves. With Kap and the whole staff, they make you feel that right away," Beede said. "There are nothing but positives so far."

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