Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Gabe Kapler(notes) traveled through time, in a way, when he retired as a player, became a manager in the minor leagues for a season, and then returned to the majors to play again.
But one of the risks of time travel, as any fan of "Back To The Future" could tell you, is interacting with an earlier version of yourself. Such a paradox could rupture the fabric of time/space — or, at the very least, cause your image to fade from family photos.
Risking his very existence, and that of another, Kapler on Tuesday night faced Boston Red Sox left-hander Felix Doubront(notes) — whom he managed in Boston's minor league system with the Greenville Drive three years ago.
Whoa. This is heavy, Doc!
Right after Kapler's first at-bat to lead off the second inning, the confrontation caught the attention of NESN-TV announcers Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy. They knew, if Doubront reached at least 88 mph on his fastball, we might see some serious [stuff].
Orsillo: "I got one for ya', Jerry. Felix Doubront ... was managed in '07 by the player he just walked."
Remy (in thick New England accent): "Gabe Kapluh? Now that is strange; that really is strange. ... Imagine Doubront standing out thayuh and saying, "I'm facing my fawmuh manajuh?"
Kapler drew a walk in the first duel and finished 0 for 1 with two BBs against Doubront on the night.
Just three years ago, Kapler and Doubront were together at Class A Greenville (S.C.) in the South Atlantic League. The major league reunion seemed to amuse the players, who were now equals after playing the roles of superior and subordinate. From CSNNE.com:
"He was another hitter I wanted to strike out,'' said Doubront, smiling.
And for Mr. Kapler, who turns 35 this month, it was like facing one of his old Sweathogs. From the St. Petersburg Times:
"He's a different pitcher now,'' Kapler said.
Kapler managed a few other future Red Sox in '07, including Daniel Bard(notes), Josh Reddick(notes), Dustin Richardson(notes) and — somewhat comically — Jon Lester(notes), who was on a rehab assignment.
Kapler had never faced the kids in competition until Doubront. And it's good thing Kapler didn't fall in love with his own mom while he was in the minors, too.
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