IN SPORTS: GIANTS BID FAREWELL TO BOCHY
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.”
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.