Warning: the following are two hot takes/overreactions that were being floated by some fans and media members in Philadelphia recently. For those who look at things through a logical, measured lens, these may burn your pupils. Proceed with caution.
• "We don't need Joel Embiid. He just slows down the Sixers' fast-paced offense. They've won 17 in a row, they just took the Heat apart, Miami's done. If it ain't broke …"
• "Gabe Kapler sucks. He's an analytics robot. I don't care that it's only been five games, fire him and get a real 'baseball guy' in here."
You know the guy or gal, I know them, you may have heard them on the radio, seen them on TV, read them on your favorite website, or gotten their scorching take on social media. They're the over-reactor. It doesn't matter if Joel Embiid has shown himself to be a generational player, a game-changer on both ends, an All-Star; the fact that the Sixers won a playoff game and beat up on bad competition to close their season, they were fine without him.
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Or despite the fact that Gabe Kapler played 12 seasons in the major leagues, managed in the minor leagues, and worked in a big league front office, he is not a 'baseball guy' because he utilizes analytics. Perhaps more ridiculous, the Phils had played exactly two series, five total games of 162, when the catcalls for him to be canned started.
The nature of fandom is to wear your emotions on your sleeve, to react. That passion is what makes sports great. And we do it better here than anywhere else. But there's also a fine line between that passion and common sense. The fact that the Sixers had shown they can win without Embiid despite the competition, is an encouraging sign considering his injury history. But to not want to mess up what they had going with a talent like Embiid in a playoff series is absurd.
Kapler pulling Aaron Nola on opening day after he'd thrown just 68 pitches was way over the top and wrong. Calling for a relief pitcher who had not warmed up cannot happen. I called him out for both moves. It was inexcusable. But it was his first series as an MLB manager and two games into the ultimate marathon which is a baseball season.
It wasn't all that long ago that a vocal minority of folks wanted Doug Pederson fired after one season as the Eagles head coach. Giving him that second season has worked pretty well.