IN SPORTS: GI­ANTS BID FAREWELL TO BOCHY

Lodi News-Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Kerry Crow­ley

SAN FRAN­CISCO — In each of the three sea­sons the San Fran­cisco Gi­ants won the World Se­ries this decade, Bruce Bochy was revered for his un­par­al­leled man­age­rial skills.

On the fi­nal day of his 25-year ca­reer and his 13-year ten­ure with the Gi­ants, Bochy made his farewell all about luck.

“I con­sider my­self the luck­i­est man on the face of this earth,” Bochy said, echo­ing the fa­mous words of Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig. “Thank you. Thank you. Thank You.”

In a heart­felt, teary speech he de­liv­ered in front of a crowd of 40,000-plus fans that stayed in­side Or­a­cle Park for an hour-long postgame cer­e­mony on Sun­day, Bochy was the cen­ter of at­ten­tion.

He high­lighted the in­deli­ble mo­ments that shaped his ca­reer, point­ing to Tim Lince­cum’s no-hit­ters, Matt Cain’s per­fect game and Pablo San­doval’s three-home run per­for­mance in Game 1 of the 2012 World Se­ries. Bochy thanked ex­ec­u­tive Brian Sabean for hir­ing him away from the San Diego Padres and giv­ing him a chance to “ex­pe­ri­ence this sto­ried fran­chise,” praised CEO Larry Baer for build­ing a “cul­ture that is truly unique” in base­ball and be­gan to cry as he paid trib­ute to his wife Kim, who has spent the last 44 years as the co-pi­lot on his jour­ney.

“I couldn’t man­age with­out you,” Bochy told his wife.

Bochy’s first home game of the sea­son be­gan when his 2019 club gath­ered in the mid­dle of the diamond and watched its man­ager throw a cer­e­mo­nial first pitch out to San­doval, one of his all-time fa­vorite play­ers.

“The only thing I can say is thank you,” San­doval, who con­sid­ers Bochy a fa­ther fig­ure, told his man­ager Sun­day.

Bochy’s last game of the year started af­ter he went be­hind the plate to catch a cer­e­mo­nial first pitch from his son Brett, who pitched in seven games for the Gi­ants from 2014-2015. It was the first of many sur­prises the Gi­ants had in store for Bochy on Sun­day, who re­ceived vis­its from more than three dozen for­mer play­ers.

Dur­ing Sun­day’s postgame cer­e­mony, all of Bochy’s for­mer play­ers gath­ered at the out­field wall and walked to the cen­ter of the diamond in groups. Mem­bers of Bochy’s first ros­ters in­clud­ing Omar Vizquel, Ray Durham and Barry Bonds rep­re­sented the 2007-2009 teams and were joined by Los An­ge­les man­ager Dave Roberts, who had his blue Dodgers cap ripped from his head and thrown onto the out­field grass by Bonds. “He needed to do that,” Bochy said. Roberts wore the wrong col­ors onto the field, but dur­ing a video trib­ute that played Sun­day, the lead­off hit­ter from Bochy’s first game with the Gi­ants of­fered the right mes­sage to con­nect with the home fans.

“You’ve carved out an amaz­ing legacy that will live on for decades,” Roberts told Bochy. “Coop­er­stown is in your fu­ture.”

Next came mem­bers of the 2010 World Se­ries ros­ter, the team that broke a 52-year cham­pi­onship drought for the Gi­ants in San Fran­cisco. Bochy re­called Edgar Ren­te­ria’s go-ahead home run in Game 5 of the World Se­ries against the Texas Rangers and told closer Brian Wil­son he was re­spon­si­ble for the first stent in his heart.

Play­ers from the 2012 World Se­ries team fol­lowed, led by Marco Scu­taro, Barry Zito and Ryan Vo­gel­song.

“I want you to un­der­stand that all of these guys that are back here and the guys that aren’t here, we’re also your fam­ily too,” Vo­gel­song told Bochy.

The loud­est cheers were re­served for the play­ers who helped the Gi­ants se­cure their third World Se­ries ti­tle in 2014. Af­ter pub­lic ad­dress an­nouncer Renel Brooks-Moon listed the names of six play­ers who would join Bochy on the field, there was a dra­matic pause be­fore Tim Lince­cum emerged don­ning a beanie and a No. 55 jersey.

Lince­cum’s ap­pear­ance marked his first at the ball­park since he lasted pitched for the Gi­ants in 2015 and pro­vided Bochy with an emo­tional mo­ment the man­ager said “put me over the edge.”

Lince­cum was not among the three for­mer play­ers who ad­dressed the crowd, but Vo­gel­song, Gregor Blanco and Jake Peavy all told sto­ries that drew laughs and cheers.

“When I got traded here, I couldn’t ex­plain to you the smile on my face,” Peavy said.

San­doval and Gi­ants catcher Buster Posey rep­re­sented the 2019 Gi­ants, com­mend­ing Bochy on his re­lent­less de­sire to win as many games as pos­si­ble, even when it be­came clear that San Fran­cisco was not des­tined to send Bochy out on with a mir­a­cle play­off run this sea­son.

“The good years, it’s easy to do that,” Posey said. “The down years, it’s much more chal­leng­ing.”

JEFF CHIU/POOL/GETTY IM­AGES/TNS

Gi­ants man­ager Bruce Bochy ges­tures to­ward fans next to his wife Kim dur­ing a cer­e­mony hon­or­ing Bochy af­ter Sun­day's game against the Dodgers in San Fran­sisco.

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