Photo: Brian Blanco (Getty Images)

It’s too early in the baseball season to make any meaningful judgments about the strength of any teams, but one takeaway from the first couple of weeks is that rookie Phillies manager Gabe Kapler is one of a kind.

Beyond the overzealous in-game strategy and the blogs about testicle tanning and masturbating with coconut oil, a new profile from Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci adds to the constantly growing Kapler mythos. Most importantly, Verducci brings up an anecdote from this 2017 Philly.com story, in which a former player for Kapler lays out the manager’s disturbing way of eating ice cream:

“He was so into health,” [Greenville catcher Jon] Still said. “He’s addicted to ice cream. So he would sit there and lick ice cream but have a cup and spit it into it. He would lick it just for the taste but didn’t want to eat it. I told him, ‘Dude, that’s like Unabomber type stuff.’ That’s a thing he did.”

Kapler clarifies, however, that this was no locker room habit. Actually, the manager, notes, he did this on a date, which is honestly so much worse:

“It never happened in Greenville,” he says. “It happened with my girlfriend at the time, who became my wife, who’s now my ex-wife. We were walking together and I was on a very strict chicken-breast-and-beans diet, and she was eating an ice cream cone. And I was like, ‘That looks amazing.’ I took a bite of it and spit it out, because I wanted the flavor but didn’t want to go off track. That story got told by somebody else, and it became their story that they saw it happen.”

The entire profile is worth your time, if only to observe all the characteristics the Phillies’ chipper fitness fiend shares with Chris Traeger. He won’t use the fluorescent lights in his office. He’ll begin responses to questions with, “To answer your question succinctly and directly...” He has a Simón Bolívar quote about destiny on his office chalkboard. There’s an unconfirmed story about Kapler one time running alongside rather than riding in the bus of the single-A team he managed. He enjoys eating grasshopper and goats. His “dream life” involves hunting in the Santa Monica Mountains; killing and eating deer, rabbits, and mountain lions; and raising sweet potatoes. And his hobby is “scouring information”:

“If you ask me what my hobby is, I don’t have a traditional hobby,” he says. “I’m not a golfer. I don’t fish. I don’t even watch TV. You give me a block of two hours? I want to sit down and drink coffee and scour information, just because I’m interested in it. That is my happy, fun time. I might research whether people really enjoy coming to work more when there’s music playing. The answer in my opinion is yes. And what I’ve come to find is there is some science to back that up.”

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If Gabe Kapler ever asks for a bite of your ice cream, just throw an encyclopedia at his head.

[Sports Illustrated]