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Bochy saluted by Padres in last San Diego trip

@oapostrophesd
July 26, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- The Giants are fighting for elbow room in the mosh pit that is the National League Wild Card race, so manager Bruce Bochy wants to concentrate on the here and now. That's always a challenge for him at Petco Park, where memories of his 12-season tenure as

SAN DIEGO -- The Giants are fighting for elbow room in the mosh pit that is the National League Wild Card race, so manager Bruce Bochy wants to concentrate on the here and now.

That's always a challenge for him at Petco Park, where memories of his 12-season tenure as the Padres' manager inevitably bubble up as fans, reporters and Padres stalwarts want to talk old times. This weekend presents an even greater challenge to staying in the moment because it marks Bochy's final visit to San Diego as the Giants' manager.

"I'm really concentrating on what's going on with this team," he said Friday before the Giants started a three-game weekend set against his former employer.

When he announced in Spring Training that this would be his final season at the helm, Bochy knew it would be impossible to keep the blinders on all season. He didn't want a grand going-away tour, but he has acquiesced to some simple acknowledgements in visiting cities.

"I made this call back in Spring Training," said Bochy, who has won three World Series crowns in his 13 seasons managing the Giants. "I said then that I wanted to put it behind me and keep the focus on the field, and that's what I'm trying to do."

The Padres held a pregame ceremony Friday to salute Bochy. He led the Padres to four division championships and the 1998 NL pennant. He also was a backup catcher on the 1984 Padres club that reached the World Series. So Bochy has been in uniform for every postseason team in Padres history.

Bochy received a rousing ovation when he came to home plate, where he was greeted by former players Carlos Hernandez, Mark Sweeney, Steve Finley and Andy Ashby. The Padres added several items to his retirement gift collection -- fishing reels, a custom bottle of Silver Oak wine from Napa Valley and a framed photo collage of his Padres highlights.

As much as he wants to downplay the pomp and circumstance, Bochy acknowledged the 25-minute drive from his offseason home in the northern San Diego suburb of Poway to Petco Park on Sunday will be different than all others because of its finality.

"There's no question, it's going to be a drive down memory lane," Bochy said. "This is where I made my start. Back in 1995, a young general manager, Randy Smith, took a chance on me. And I'm forever grateful for that. A lot of great memories here."

The World Series championships have filled his San Francisco memory bank, but he is creating more room with a 17-4 hot streak entering Friday that vaulted the Giants into contention this season. With things going so well, it was inevitable a San Diego reporter would ask Bochy whether he has had second thoughts about his retirement plans.

"No. I'm good right now," he said, breaking into a smile. "I'm in a good place."

Notable

Outfielder Alex Dickerson was out of the lineup for a second straight game but not because of the back tightness that has bothered him this week. Bochy said it was a matchup decision, with left-hander Joey Lucchesi starting for San Diego.

Shaun O'Neill is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in San Diego. Follow him on Twitter @oapostrophesd.