Bruce Bochy looks great. In town getting inducted to the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame, the Giants’ former skipper certainly appeared tan and rested. Ready to get back in the dugout and manage? Not just yet.
At least that’s what he told The Examiner in a quick conversation the other day, adding that he’s perfectly happy enjoying his time away from Major League Baseball’s pressure cooker environment. Who can blame him? The three-time champion used to spend this time of year sweating through torturous games that would melt a lesser man. But Bochy always handled things with a shockingly calm demeanor, guiding his troops through the fray and making all the right moves.
For that reason, and many more, he joined an impressive group of inductees at an Oracle Park ceremony this week, including baseball legend Rickey Henderson, the 49ers’ Bryant Young, local sailing giant Paul Cayard and Olympic swimming hero Natalie Coughlin.
It was great to see all the star power at the ballpark that night, including Bochy’s longtime friend and fellow coach, Tim Flannery, who gave the induction address for his former manager. Let’s just say this was good practice for a future ceremony in the town of Cooperstown.
Let’s roll the tape and hear what Boch had to say.
Thanks for taking some time, Bruce. Pretty big night for you, going into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame. Have you had time to reflect on the honor?
Oh, I’m excited and honored. I mean, to be a part of the Bay Area Hall of Fame that has so many just tremendous people in there. You go back to Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, a lot of them more recent — even a pitching coach of mine, Dave Righetti. Rickey Henderson is going in with me, which is really special because he played for me two different times.
Rickey played for you when you managed the Padres, right?
That’s right. Down in San Diego. Both times.
Well, that must have been the easiest thing you ever did, writing his name in the lead-off spot every day, huh?
Oh, yeah. Greatest lead-off hitter of all time. I’ve said this many times: Nobody impacted the game more than he and Barry Bonds did for years. Good to go in with (Rickey). I should say all of them, it’s just an honor.
It’s fantastic to see you back at the ballpark. A lot of us have been here this week watching the Giants close out an amazing season. Have you been watching the games? What do you have to say about this success?
Oh, of course I have! It’s unreal. It’s just unbelievable the season they’ve had and the job that they’ve done. … Gabe (Kapler) and his staff, they’ve hit every button right. They’ve out-classed teams. The amazing thing is, they didn’t let off the gas because the team behind them would never get beat. And they still did it. I just told Larry (Baer), I said, “Congrats on taking it to the last day and making it even more exciting.”
That certainly kept this team sharp. I was wondering if that would be the case if they clinched the division two weeks ago. That’s always the question for a manager, right? Clinch early or stay sharp?
Yeah, it’s good to stay sharp. That game … was big for them. Reminds me of 2010. We had to win the last day against the Padres. You’re going full speed the whole season, so it’s good experience for them.
It seems like it’s always the Padres at the end of the season for the Giants. Which brings me to the big question: Are we going to see you on the bench anywhere managing for another team? Have you thought about it?
Oh, I don’t know. I’m really not thinking about it right now. I came out and I said, you know, the “never say never” thing. But I’ve been working with the Giants. I went to spring training. I go to the minor league fields. I’m really enjoying what I’m doing right now, so it’s not something I’m thinking about right now.
Fair enough. What’s your prediction for the Giants in the postseason?
I really like this team, I do. It’s such a deep roster. They made tough decisions. There are some guys who won’t be on that roster the first round. But still, they got pitching, starters, bullpen, great lineup, defense. I really like this team.
How about all those home runs? I bet you wish you had those kinds of numbers when you were managing…
It’s unbelievable! Right? (Laughs) A couple guys said, “You got cheated!” Yeah. Well, we got our runs back then, too. We did all right.
I was wondering what Matt Cain must be thinking, right? Seemed he always had to win 1-0 or 2-1 games.
That’s right. I saw him out at the game the other day. He probably was thinking about that. (Both laugh.)
All right, thanks a lot Bruce. And congratulations once again!
All right, Al, good to see you.
This conversation has been edited for content and clarity.