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The San Francisco Giants and Gabe Kapler are currently facing criticism from across the MLB for making aggressive plays when they already had a big lead.
Good sportsmanship is not always explicitly defined, but the ethos of the term is implicitly and universally understood throughout sports. One tenet of good sportsmanship that is often up for debate is whether or not a winning team should run up a high score, an unspoken rule that San Francisco boldly tested during their 13-2 win over the San Diego Padres.
The San Francisco Giants were nine runs ahead of the San Diego Padres when Giants shortstop Mauricio Dubon decided to bunt. Prior to that, Giants outfielder Steven Duggar stole second base in the second inning. The Padres were upset with these decisions, but Giants coach Gabe Kapler thought Dubon and Duggar made good decisions.
“I fully support both of those decisions. I support the decision that Duggar made, I support the decision that Dubon made to bunt right there. Our goal is not exclusively to win one game in a series, it’s to try and win the entire series. Sometimes that means trying to get deeper into the opposition’s pen and 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 we were comfortable with that strategy. It’s not to be disrespectful in any way, it’s because we feel it’s the best way to try and win a series.” -Gabe Kapler, via KNBR
San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler supports bold moves
Prior to Kapler’s supportive statement, there was speculation that he was disappointed in Dubon’s decision to bunt and spoke with him against it.
In truth, Kapler clearly supported Dubon’s decision to bunt, which was made clear in post-game interviews. Kapler saw it as an opportunity for the Giants to score more runs and utilize their skills.
Though there is a persistent ethical question about the nature of running up a score on a hapless opponent, Kapler makes a valid point in using this game as an opportunity to develop his Giants roster as they hope for another historic run.