Few people are driven by routines like MLB players.
Jeremy Affeldt used to be the first Giant into the dugout every night, sipping on a cup of coffee as he watched his teammates file in to warm up. Nick Hundley would come out an hour before a game and sprint into the outfield to get his juices flowing. Hunter Pence will run all the way to the center field wall as he's warming up and embrace it.
Brad Grems, the Giants' equipment manager, has a different way of setting up each starting pitcher's bats and drinks. Madison Bumgarner, for instance, preferred that his cold water bottles were lined up and wrapped in masking tape to soak up the condensation.
During his weekly appearance on KNBR, new Giants manager Gabe Kapler said it'll be a challenge for players to adjust to MLB's new rules. Kapler knows this because he has had his own routine he has followed every game since 1999, when he was a rookie with the Detroit Tigers.
"When the game begins I start with some coffee," Kapler said Monday on "Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks." "And then I quickly transition to gum, lots of gum. Not a couple pieces, a lot of gum. And what I do is -- I don't like the sweetness but I really like the size of the gum -- so my normal behavior is I spit a lot of the gum juice out. You get it out of your mouth.
"From there I transition to seeds. That's as much as you can fit in your mouth. You're not carrying a cup around, you're just spitting the seeds on the ground."
Under MLB's proposal to players, most of that will be banned. The days of a dugout floor being littered with coffee cups, spit, seeds and gum wrappers are at least temporarily over. For many players, this is all they have known going back to Little League (without the dip and coffee, of course).
Players will adjust and it's a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things, but Kapler knows that the changes will be something he has to deal with in his first season as manager.
"So many players and staff have routines like the one that I just described," he said. "Different but similar, and they're all going to have to stop those routines. That is going to be a tremendous challenge. When you've been doing it your whole life, it's like breaking any habit, and it's going to be hard when things get stressful not to default to that habit, but I can tell you this, everybody is going to be committed to doing it. It's so worth it.
"It's the tradeoff between giving up that habit and getting to play baseball, and I think we'll play baseball all day long."
[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]
Why Gabe Kapler thinks this MLB change will be 'tremendous challenge' originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area