Capping off a legendary career, Bruce Bochy retires as manager of the San Francisco Giants
When Bruce Bochy got his job as manager of the San Francisco Giants in 2007, the Giants hadn’t won a World Series title since the franchise moved from New York in 1958. The Giants weren’t necessarily a lousy franchise since moving to San Francisco, reaching the World Series in 1962, 1989 and 2002 but they were never able to claim baseball’s ultimate prize.
Bochy’s first few years as manager of the Giants were subpar, but in 2010 Bochy gave San Francisco something the city had waited for decades to get: a World Series title.
As a die-hard Giants fan, things have gone pretty well over the last decade with Bochy at the helm (with the exception of the last few seasons). The Giants won the World Series three times in a span of five years: 2010, 2012 and 2014. Which is something the Giants’ blue colored rivals to the south haven’t done since before I was born.
Bochy ended his hall of fame career today after the Giants played their last game of the regular season at Oracle Park in San Francisco. It’s been an emotional day for every single person that is a fan of the Giants or has been a part of the organization. There have been tributes from players and coaches past and present. I guarantee that tears have been shed, including my own.
It may be hard to understand what Bochy has meant to San Francisco and the game of baseball if you’re not a Giants fan. The impact he has made on both the franchise and the game of baseball is hard to put into words. It starts with the way that he treats his players and the way that he situated his players to win three World Series titles.
In 2010 the Giants had few superstar players and no one expected them to make the postseason, much less win the World Series. The team had a budding superstar as catcher, Buster Posey, and Tim Lincecum, a Cy Young Award winner, as its pitching ace. Outside of that the Giants were never expected to be a World Series contender.
After winning the division and beating the Braves and Phillies, the Giants found themselves in the World Series against the Texas Rangers and were able to beat them in five games to capture the title.
The players are the ones that win the game, but the manager moves the pieces around so that the team has the best chance to win. Baseball is a very detail-oriented game, and Bochy was able to create lineups and use his pitching rotation to put his teams in the best position to win. It also speaks to Bochy’s character that he treated his players with respect. In every World Series team that Bochy managed, his players bought in and played their absolute hardest for him.
Another aspect of Bochy’s style that is unique in this day and age, is that he manages with his gut. Nowadays, baseball is about advanced metrics and stats. Almost every lineup and pitching decision is made off of computer data. Bochy still manages the game the old-fashioned way, using his knowledge of the game and scouting reports of opponents to set his lineups and make pitching changes.
The entire 2019 season, at every ballpark that Bochy visited for the last time, he was presented with a gift from the opposing manager and given a standing ovation by opposing players and fans. But there was one moment in particular that stood out to me during Bochy’s farewell tour.
On Sept. 7th at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, a place where pure hatred of the Giants is felt every time they make the trip down, the Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts presented Bruce Bochy with a gift. A montage of Bochy’s highlights played on the big screen, including his World Series highlights.
For those who don’t understand the rivalry between the Giants and the Dodgers, the teams and the fans hate everything that has to do with the other. When the presentation was shown at Dodger Stadium that night, fans cheered. In a rare moment, the SoCal team and its fans showed respect for the Giants and their manager that had been their adversary for so long.
Bruce Bochy will forever live on as one of the greatest managers in San Francisco Giants’ history. After today, the Giants will search for a new manager and hopefully return to the glory days of beating the Dodgers and parading the World Series trophy through the streets of San Francisco.