ORACLE PARK — Bruce Bochy has repeatedly said he’s at peace with his decision to retire. Until he isn’t.
While speculation that he’ll take the now-vacant job in San Diego — where he managed for 12 of his 25 years at the helm, and where he played — is perhaps far too premature, Bochy has expressed at least a bit of uncertainty as to his long-term future.
“I’ve said I’m good, but later on as you get away from the game, who knows how you react,” Bochy said before the start of Thursday’s game against the Colorado Rockies. “I don’t think anybody knows until you get to that point.”
Bochy sure seems not to want to hang on too long, citing his former Padres boss Jack McKeon’s constant retiring and leaving, and his so-far futile attempt to get back into the game yet again to become the oldest man to manage a big league game.
McKeon was the Padres’ general manager when Bochy played in the 1984 World Series, and in 1988, hired himself to manage, before taking a six-year break and then taking over the Reds. He took another two-year break before managing the 2003 Marlins to a World Series title. He last managed in 2011, at 80 (record-holder Connie Mack last managed at 88).
At 64, Bochy’s certainly got some years left.
He’s said he’ll miss the daily grind, the chess matches, the bullpen management, the close games. He’s said he’ll even miss the daily media scrums an odious and tedious obligation to many.
“You guys listening to me, that’s not easy. I’ve said it, my wife can do it,” Bochy said. I’m gonna miss you guys. I’ll get weaned off here. Not twice a day, but once a day for the next couple weeks. It’s kind of like getting off of nicotine, then we’ll go to once a week, and I’ll get off.”
On Sunday, the Giants will treat Bochy to a “Foghorn Salute” — involving whatever boats they can muster in McCovey Cove and beyond — and Mayor London Breed will present him with a key to the city.
As the season has gone on, the feelings have gotten stronger. Bochy received a two-minute standing ovation between innings on Thursday, as video messages were played from 49ers greats Roger Craig and Jerry Rice, and tried to retreat back into the dugout after giving a few waves, clearly emotional.
“It’s going to be being around the players, the relationships, the camaraderie, walking through the clubhouse with players and staff. That’s what I’ll miss the most,” Bochy said. “Sure, the game, the competitive part of the game that’s going to be right there, but it’s more the players I’ll miss.”
He’ll almost certainly manage again this fall in Arizona; multiple reports have stated that he’ll skipper the French entry in the World Baseball Classic Qualifier (he was born in Landes de Bussac, where his father was stationed in the army). Beyond that, even Bochy — the surest hand in baseball over the last 25 years — won’t speculate.
“I’m good with my call and I’d be lying if I didn’t say it’s been tough here, toward the end of the season, but I’m fine with it,” Bochy said. “I can’t tell you what’s going to happen in the future, because I don’t know. I appreciate everything about this game. But, like I said, things are coming to an end.”
La ultima Dia de Cueto: Johnny Cueto will throw his final start of the season on Friday. He’s slated for about 85 pitches after getting through a bullpen and the next two days without any residual soreness in his left side.