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Back in San Francisco, Bruce Bochy reminisces on storied SF Giants tenure

Back in San Francisco, Bruce Bochy reminisces on storied SF Giants tenure

SAN FRANCISCO — It’s rare to see a crowd gathered around the visiting dugout before first pitch. But for Bruce Bochy, fans arrived early toting signs and cheering his name hoping to catch their beloved former manager’s attention Friday night. Then they gave him a long standing ovation when Bochy was announced with starting lineup.

For the first time since 2019, Bochy was back at Oracle Park. For the first time since 2006, his last with the San Diego Padres before joining the Giants in 2007, Bochy managed from the visitor’s dugout.

“I’ve had some rough games here, too. I’ll add that,” he said. ‘Who Let the Dogs Out,’ heard that a couple times here.”

That’s a throwback: In the early days of then-Pac Bell Park, when the Giants led at the top of the ninth, the speakers would blast funeral bells leading into a rousing rendition of the Baha Men’s classic song. It serves as a reminder of how much of baseball’s history Bochy has seen in the 26 seasons he’s managed for three different teams.

But the fans at Oracle Park on Friday afternoon for Game 1 of the Giants’ three-game series against the Texas Rangers, Bochy’s newest team after a three-year retirement, showed up to remember some of the best times in franchise history in which Bochy was at the helm.

Asked for his favorite memories at this ballpark, Bochy had a simple and powerful answer.

“It’s hard not to mention the World Series,” he said. “That’s what you play for.”

Bochy’s San Francisco legacy is printed all over Oracle Park. The three World Series flags on the left field wall representing the Giants’ titles he won with the team in 2010, 2012 and 2014, chief among them. Now 68 years old, he’s moved on to a different team as the Giants have moved in a different direction, post-dynastic years. But the memories are still fresh.

Bochy walked by his old home on Second Street, walked a little further down the familiar halls underneath the ballpark to the visiting clubhouse. An off day between series against the Oakland A’s and Giants gave Bochy a chance to go fishing at Half Moon Bay with his son and Rangers first base coach Corey Ragsdale in tow. He was back in a familiar space.

“It’s special to be back in this ballpark,” he said. “I can’t say enough about my tremendous time here, 13 wonderful years. My wife and I had the time of our life here. We lived across the street and those 13 years impacted me more than any time in baseball. I’m so thankful for those years. We had a lot of fun, a lot of great memories, a lot of great celebrations. It’s good to be back.”

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What faces Bochy in his old home dugout looks a lot different than what he left four years ago. Brandon Crawford, Austin Slater, Mike Yastrzemski, Tyler Rogers and Logan Webb are the only Giants that remain who played under Bochy. Of course, Crawford, 36, spent his first nine seasons playing for Bochy, who has a favorite Crawford memory.

“It’s hard to pick one because he was so clutch in so many different ways, offensively and defensively” Bochy said. “If I could pick one, it would be the wild card game in Pittsburgh when he hit the grand slam. That one is always going to stand out.”

Notes

Giants fans hoping to go to games at Oracle Park this month should note that Caltrain is suspending suspending service from Millbrae to San Francisco from August 12-13, 19-20 and 26-27.

Top pitching prospect Kyle Harrison has had trouble with his command since recovering from an injury. But made significant improvement in his latest outing with Triple-A Sacramento, going 3.1 innings with 1 hit, no walks, 1 unearned run and 4 strikeouts.