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Major league baseball preview: Kickin' back with Tampa Bay Rays' Gabe Kapler

Don’t ever expect to see new Rays outfielder Gabe Kapler ordering a pizza at your local Domino’s.

BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

Don’t ever expect to see new Rays outfielder Gabe Kapler ordering a pizza at your local Domino’s.

Gabe Kapler, 33, the Rays' new deep-thinking outfielder, discusses his eclectic interests, from punk rock and reality TV to sustainable farms and stopping domestic violence.

I know you're big into music; what's your favorite band?

For me it goes in cycles. Right now, it's Social Distortion. They're like old-school punk.

So what are your go-to tunes on your iPod?

Metallica. Tupac. Guns N' Roses. Rage Against the Machine. The Clash. Dropkick Murphys are on my list, too.

You play, too, right?

I'm learning to play the bass guitar, and I play the drums a little bit.

Can you play any songs?

The one I'm working on right now is probably Bro Hymn by Pennywise. It's going to take me some time. I practice diligently. But I don't know that I'm gonna be at a show anytime soon.

One of your passions has been nutrition and fitness. When did that start?

I think I'm just drawn to articles, books and research about food, the way the heart works, the way our bodies respond to certain stimuli. Especially food and nutrition. And not just how to lose or gain weight. But more what food does in our body, why it's important for us to eat locally grown food that's raised without pesticide and hormones. Those things are fascinating. If I had it my way, I'd have a farm. I'd live in an area where I could have my own organic garden, have chickens and cows. And that'd be kind of cool.

What would be your last meal then?

Probably pizza. The way I see it now, just a natural, some sort of incredible cheeses, organically produced tomato sauce. But something spectacularly tasty. I'm not talking about calling Domino's and ordering a pizza. When I say pizza, I mean like a homemade pizza somewhere. That'd be awesome.

What's your favorite TV show?

I love The Office. I enjoy the guilty pleasure of the reality shows. I'd say Top Chef is definitely one of my favorites. I also like Celebrity Apprentice. There's one called Parks and Recreation with Amy Poehler, looks like Office-style sitcom, it looks hilarious.

Your favorite movie?

Right now the one that comes to mind is Doubt. I thought it was amazing. Loved Good Will Hunting. Loved A Beautiful Mind. I loved the Michael Moore documentaries. Probably Training Day would be one of those. … (Denzel Washington) is probably my favorite actor, from a power standpoint, he just commands attention.

The Web sites you go to most often?

Yelp.com and vrbo.com. I'm kind of a nerd like that.

What's vrbo?

Vrbo is vacation rental by owner. I like to browse. So I'll take a day and just go through Central America and see Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica and check out all the houses and where they're located, and daydream for a while.

You've been on covers for fitness magazines; would you take more pride in that or in a Sports Illustrated cover?

Sports Illustrated all day. … I'd much prefer to be recognized for accomplishing something great on the field. Winning a World Series or whatever the case may be … or off for that matter. Make an impact somewhere else on the world.

One of the things your foundation (The Gabe Kapler Foundation) has done a lot of work with is domestic violence. Is that something you plan to continue the rest of your career?

My wife (Lisa) is taking domestic violence courses; she was in a badly abusive relationship in high school, which is what started what were trying to accomplish. So she's gonna become more educated, so I'll become more educated. I think baseball has provided us with a platform to talk about it a little bit and raise awareness. I think it's one of the arenas that's looked at as less important than, let's say, curing cancer or environmental organizations. It's just not out front so we're trying to help put it out front.

Speaking of issues, what you do you think about Barack Obama? You vote for him?

I'm an Obama fan. We're not going to know really what Obama is going to accomplish for four years. But I know he's a strong, likable, easy-to-listen-to guy we can get behind. That's the superficial part to it. And, deep down I think he'll accomplish great things.

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com.

Major league baseball preview: Kickin' back with Tampa Bay Rays' Gabe Kapler 04/03/09 [Last modified: Friday, April 3, 2009 6:58pm]
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