SAN FRANCISCO – Bruce Bochy spoke to a ballpark filled with thousands of lives he touched in some way and thanked them all straight from the heart, no notes necessary.
Bochy bid an emotional farewell following 2 1/2 decades in what is certainly a Hall of Fame managerial career, finishing with a 9-0 defeat to the mighty Dodgers on his last day as fans remained in their seats long after the game ended to celebrate a man who helped bring this city its only three World Series championships.
Los Angeles won its franchise-record 106th game, jumping to a 5-0 lead in the first that held up on Will Smith’s two-run homer right after a bases-clearing, three-run double by Corey Seager.
Chants of “Bochy! Bochy!” greeted him during introductions and son and former Giants pitcher Brett threw out the ceremonial first pitch to his ex-catcher father. Bochy held grandson Braxton in the dugout before the game, too. Fans stood and cheered “Bochy!” again once the final out was made and an extravagant, surprise postgame ceremony ensued.
“This was as tough a day as I’ve ever had,” Bochy said. “I had no idea that this send-off would be like it was today.”
Bochy took one final ride around the ballpark in a classic convertible with wife, Kim, and their grandson.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts ran back out onto the field to join the celebration of Bochy, with home run king Barry Bonds grabbing the blue Dodgers cap from his pal’s head and tossing it into right field as Roberts became a good-natured punching bag in the rival colors.
“His hat should have been thrown … I threw him off the field,” Bochy said of someone he managed in San Diego and San Francisco.
The 64-year-old Bochy, who managed the 1989 Spokane Indians Northwest League champions, guided the Giants to World Series championships in 2010, ’12 and ’14. He finishes 2003-2029 in 4,032 games as a major league manager over 25 seasons, the first 12 with San Diego before 13 in San Francisco. He went 1,052-1,054 with the Giants, who wound up 77-85 in his final year and with four more wins than last season.
Tim Lincecum was among the dozens of former players on hand for Bochy’s farewell festivities, with groups walking out from center field representing various years. Lincecum, a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner with a pair of no-hitters, emerged alone at the very end to huge cheers. He later offered his manager a warm embrace.
“It was was beyond whatever I thought they could do,” Bochy said.
The Giants attempted to make the loudest foghorn call the Bay Area has experienced by having fans turn their phones into a foghorn through the ballpark app or on the team’s website.
“We’ll see you at Cooperstown,” Giants CEO Larry Baer said in wishing Bochy well.
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