BASEBALL

Bruce Bochy returning to Giants’ ballpark and what is likely to be a loving reception

Aug 11, 2023, 7:00 AM

Manager Bruce Bochy #15 of the San Francisco Giants, center, gestures toward fans next to his wife ...

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 29: Manager Bruce Bochy #15 of the San Francisco Giants, center, gestures toward fans next to his wife Kim during a ceremony honoring Bochy after a baseball game between the San Fransisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 29, 2019 in San Fransisco, California (Photo by Jeff Chiu - Pool/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jeff Chiu - Pool/Getty Images)

Bruce Bochy landed in San Francisco on Sunday night with plenty of sunlight left to recognize his old surroundings and ponder the fond memories.

And three World Series trophies.

The Texas Rangers manager began thinking about the long list of people to thank for his special time guiding the Giants over 13 years that included those every-other-year titles in 2010, ‘12 and ’14.

“A lot of great memories have gone through my head,” Bochy said this week in Oakland. “I have a lot of thank yous for everybody that played a part of my life here and made it such a wonderful 13 years. They’ve been so good to me, all the fans and friends here.”

Bochy returns to Oracle Park this weekend as the Rangers play an interleague series with the Giants. Still beloved in the Bay Area, he will surely receive a rousing ovation.

“We just played in San Diego and it was great, so I can’t imagine what San Francisco’s going to be with three rings (won). I have memories of going and watching him manage,” Rangers second baseman Marcus Semien said. “Those teams saved baseball in San Francisco. Once Barry (Bonds) left there was kind of a little lull. With those teams, the fan base now is unbelievable.”

Bochy helped bring the city its first World Series championship since moving West in 1958 with an improbable title win against Texas in 2010 — then two more in 2012 and ‘14 in a stretch that became the Giants’ even-year magic.

Bochy came to the Giants after 12 years as the San Diego skipper just in time for Bonds’ final season in 2007, when he passed Hank Aaron to become baseball’s home run king. Bochy posted a 1,052-1,054 record in San Francisco for the second-most wins as a manager in franchise history behind John McGraw’s 2,583-1,790 mark from 1902-1932.

“He’ll get a great reception I’m sure, deservedly so, one of the best managers in Giants history, winning those three World Series and being here for a long time, a lot of wins,” Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford said. “So it’ll be a lot of fun to see the crowd’s reaction and have him get the great reception that he deserves.”

Before Crawford evolved into a sure-handed, Gold Glove-winning shortstop, Bochy always stuck by him. Bochy continued to write Crawford’s name into the lineup day after day despite Crawford’s inconsistent play early on as a major leaguer.

Crawford still remembers that faith Bochy showed in him all these years later and cherishes his time playing for a manager no doubt headed to the Hall of Fame.

The 68-year-old Bochy has long taken great pride in not only his on-field decisions but the care he shows his players through honest communication — “I try to treat players the way I would want to be treated,” he always says.

“Boch is a legend, right, a future Hall of Fame manager,” said A’s manager Mark Kotsay, who played for Bochy in San Diego. “He is a fierce competitor, he’s a mentor and I always enjoy those moments when we get to align and watch him work and work against him from the other side. It’s going to be a pretty wild weekend for Boch.”

Only a handful of players remain from Bochy’s last San Francisco team in 2019: Crawford, Tyler Rogers, Austin Slater, Logan Webb and Mike Yastrzemski.

The 36-year-old Crawford was part of the 2012 and ’14 title teams.

“Obviously, he did a great job managing those teams, the two World Series teams that it was like he never pressed the wrong button,” Crawford said. “He would always figure out which guy to bring in in the right situation and I think that’s what makes him one of the best in-game managers of all time.”

Bochy hoped to go fishing during Thursday’s off day — and knew he would be overcome by so many feelings being back at the waterfront ballpark. Even fans were planning early arrivals with hopes of saying hello to the skipper.

“The emotions will be flying,” Bochy said. “But still, we got work to do. Both teams are playing for a lot, so that’s where the focus has to be.”

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