San Francisco – In front of a sellout crowd, Bruce Bochy tipped his cap for the last time. Bochy announced his retirement at the start of the season, so the Giants prepared a send-off that was more than the Skipper could handle.
“This was a tough a day as I’ve ever had,” Bochy said. “I had no idea that this send-off would be like it was today.”
Despite San Francisco being shutout 9-0 by the Los Angeles Dodgers. The final game of the season was more about the thirty-sixth manager of the organization than the loss. Throughout the game there were video tributes on Bochy’s astounding forty-four years in the Majors. But what brought the tissues out during an emotional ceremony was who showed up to say their final farewells.
The Giants had a few surprises up there sleeves and I have to be quite honest. It blew me away as well. After the game, Bochy’s retirement ceremony began with the “Forever” Giants in attendance, Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Felipe Old and Juan Marichal to name a few.
Former players, including Dodgers manager Dave Roberts jogged onto the field to greet his former teammates. Barry Bonds took his cap and tossed it on the field. The crowd roared with laughter and excitement. After Roberts (who played for Bochy in 2007) embraced Bochy with a hug and handshake he headed back to the dugout.
“His hat should’ve been thrown,” said Bochy with a smile.
“I wish we would’ve played better for him the entire year,” Brandon Belt said.
Dereck Rodriguez didn’t have the start he would’ve liked on Bochy’s final game. Rodriguez loaded the bases after giving up a walk to Chris Taylor and two back-to-back singles to A.J. Pollock and Cory Bellinger.
Cory Seager knocked a single down the right field line and cleared the bases with a three-run double. Will Smith followed with a two-run homer to center field to make it a 5-0 game in the first frame. After Rodriguez put two on in the second, Bochy decided his time on the mound was done.
Sam Selman replaced Rodriguez who walked Bellinger to load the bases again. Selman forced Seager to ground out to end the threat. Rodriguez tossed 1.2 innings, allowed five hits, five runs, one home run, struck out two and walked two. While San Francisco’s defense kept the Dodgers off the board five more frames.
They added three more runs in the seventh and the eighth inning. After loading the bases for the third time, Sam Coonrod walked Matt Beaty, gave up a single to Kristopher Negron and hit Will Smith with a pitch. Coonrod walked in a batter after he walked Gavin Lux.
By the eighth, Joc Peterson led off the frame with a single and back-to-back walks to Chris Taylor and Max Muncy loaded the bases. Austin Barnes singled Peterson and Taylor score. Muncy scored on a fielding error by shortstop Mauricio Dubon to make it a 9-0 game.
Players from the 2010 championship team walked out on the field, Nate Schierholtz, Cody Ross, Edgar Renteria, Brian Wilson, and Aubrey Huff. The 2012 team, Angel Pagan, Barry Zito, Ryan Vogelsong, Santiago Casilla and Marco Scutaro. And finally from the 2014 team, Javier Lopez, Gregor Blanco, Jake Peavy, Jeremy Affeldt and Tim Lincecum. Many of these players played all three years but it was Lincecum’s arrival that really choked Bochy up.
“It was just gradually building,” Bochy said on his emotions unraveling during his ceremony. “And, at the end, Timmy… When he was announced, that put me over the edge. Timmy’s somebody that’s really close to my heart and for him to come down here, that’s a pretty big deal for me.
He’s a tough one to get a hold of. I’ve tried to text him. I’ve tried to see him in Seattle.”
Lincecum never returned to the Giants after leaving almost four years ago. Invites were unanswered and the guy once known as “The Freak” moved on to play for the Los Angeles Angels and the Texas Rangers. But what Lincecum did as a Giant was one for the history books.
Three World Series, four National League Pennants, and twenty-five years as a manager in the Majors. Bochy’s 2010 championship team was the first to bring a World Series to the organization in fifty-two years. He’s the fifth manager to to lead a team to three titles in a five year span, joining Connie Mack, Joe McCarthy, Casey Stengel and Joe Torre.
“Seeing Boch get emotional throughout the day, definitely made it hit home,” Buster Posey said on Bochy retiring. “See him talk a lot. I’ve never seen him get emotional before. So, obviously this was a big day for him to say the least.”
“The team called me about this event and I couldn’t have picked a better day to make it special for him,” Former Giant Pagan said. “It’s his time, it’s his moment and I wanted to be there to thank him personally for everything that he did, not only for me but for all the teammates that I’ve had and all the players that have come through his hands. So I cannot feel any more grateful to be here and this will make me come back more often.”