By MARC BRODSKY
(JTA) — Like the rest of the world, San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler is on hold waiting for his life to resume. But he’s trying to make sure the sitting around prepares him for a Major League Baseball season he hopes will take place.
Kapler is playing video games, specifically “MLB The Show 20,” to keep his managerial mind sharp amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s just kind of a cool way to stay connected,” Kapler, a Jewish ex-major league outfielder and one-time coach for Team Israel, told the San Francisco Chronicle, according to Yahoo! Sports. “People are using it as an advance tool to stay familiar with the league. I’ve been playing several games a day.”
Playing the video game was a suggestion of one of his coaches, and they now compete against each other daily.
Kapler’s focus is in-game strategy, so he’s going with the “quick manage” mode to hone his decision-making prowess. “MLB The Show 20” provides a realistic simulation of circumstances that big-league managers often come across, even handling the bullpen.
It’s a great way to evaluate opposing players, too, Kapler says, though he’s seen plenty of them in his two seasons as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Kapler, who has a Jewish-themed tattoo on each leg, was hired by the Giants shortly after being fired by the Phillies, who failed to make the postseason despite high expectations.
The baseball season is on hold until at least the end of May, and it’s unclear whether the pandemic will abate enough for games to be played then, or under what circumstances they might be played if a shortened season does take place.