By Doug Bruzzone
Special to S.F. Examiner
ORACLE PARK — The Giants spent all of September setting their rotation up so that Madison Bumgarner would be able to start the final game of the season, but Bruce Bochy announced on Saturday that Dereck Rodriguez will make that start instead.
Bochy and Bumgarner both insisted that nothing is wrong with the big lefty, who will be a free agent after the season, with Bochy mentioning that he wanted to protect Bumgarner.
“We talked about it for two or three days, and both come to the same conclusion. Thought that was what made the most sense for both of us,” Bumgarner said, who insisted that he wasn’t disappointed by the decision.
Bumgarner doubted that he would pinch hit on Sunday, though Bochy was a little cagey about whether he would find his way into the game. “You never know,” he said. “He’ll have his spikes on, I’ll put it that way.”
“It’s definitely special,” Bumgarner said when asked what being a Giant has meant to him. “But I’m not gonna sit here and talk about it like [I’ve made my last start as a Giant]. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
MAGOWAN HONORED: The Giants paid tribute to former managing general partner Peter Magowan in a pregame ceremony outside the park, with past and present Giants gathering to honor the driving force behind the construction of Oracle Park.
Not only was the ballpark Magowan’s baby, but so too was the Wall of Fame on King Street outside the park, where Magowan, who passed away on Jan. 27 this year, became the first non-player to be honored with a plaque.
“Can there be a better tribute?” asked current owner Larry Baer about the plaque, wearing an orange tie and cufflinks, Magowan staples, as he addressed the crowd.
Baer mentioned the “handwritten dossier” Magowan gave him a year or two after the park opened about the Wall of Fame, a five-page legal pad of notes on the Wall that Magowan had been assembling for five months.
The requirements for induction onto the Wall of Fame were originally to have played either nine years with the Giants, or five years with at least one All-Star appearance. The ownership group changed the requirements to also allow those who had made significant contributions to the Giants in San Francisco, which Magowan certainly qualifies for.
“He stepped up when he saved the Giants while others stayed on the sidelines,” said former Giants starter and current broadcaster Shawn Estes. Estes later mentioned that during his own Wall of Fame ceremony in 2010, he couldn’t help but reflect on how wonderful it was that Magowan had brought into existence the Wall of Fame, which allowed players to be remembered after they rode off into the sunset.
Barry Bonds praised Magowan for preventing the Giants from leaving San Francisco, which they almost did before his ownership group acquired the Giants in 1993. “None of us who grew up here could ever see our Giants going to Tampa,” Bonds said.
Bonds also had specific praise for the ballpark and the way it revitalized the area around it. “When I was growing up, we weren’t supposed to come in this neighborhood,” said Bonds, who went on to praise Magowan’s vision of bringing the Giants to downtown San Francisco.
Pointing to new local landmarks like Chase Center, Safeway and Barry’s Bootcamp, Bonds said that Magowan “created more than just this ballpark with his vision. He changed China Basin.”
Broadcaster Mike Krukow, one of the co-emcees of the event along with Duane Kuiper, had perhaps the most fitting tribute though. He mentioned that Magowan had asked him to do something in his speech: “I don’t want you to say that I built this ballpark,” Magowan told him.
And then, less than a minute later as he was discussing Magowan and his ownership group keeping the Giants from going across the country, Krukow said, “First, before he built this ballpark, he saved the team.”
Even when Krukow was trying not to, he couldn’t help but think of Magowan as the man who built Oracle Park.