Bochy puts focus on another championship run
Giants manager feels great, won't dwell on health issues
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The sounds of Waylon Jennings, with an occasional offering from Dwight Yoakam and Jamey Johnson and even a version of Jimmy Dean's "Big John" rang out over the public address system at Scottsdale Stadium on Sunday. Bruce Springsteen was put back on the shelf.
Three days after having two stents placed in a heart artery that was 90 percent blocked, Bruce Bochy, the Giants' field boss, is back. And his tunes were back on the sound system.
"It's his show," said bench coach Ron Wotus, who oversaw Spring Training, including the workout music, while Bochy was away. "We're glad he is back."
Bochy is, too.
"I'm good to go," he said. "I've got another couple hundred thousand miles on this old truck."
It's a good thing, too, as far as the Giants are concerned.
There is plenty of attention paid to the skills of catcher Buster Posey and a rotation that includes Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum.
There is, however, no overlooking what the presence of Bochy has meant to these Giants. He is a big man with a small ego and a gigantic ability to keep everybody focused on the challenge ahead, which is why the Giants have won three of the past five World Series.
There is not once you could say that, broken down on a man-to-man basis, the Giants were close to the best in baseball. They were, however, the best team, and that's because of the job the understated Bochy did. Sooner or later, people outside the Bay Area are going to take notice.
In 20 years as a manager, Bochy has won the National League Manager of the Year Award once -- in 1996, when he was filling out lineup cards in San Diego.
In 2010, '12 and '14, when the Giants were winning the last big league game played, pouring champagne and celebrating, Bochy finished third in the NL Manager of the Year Award voting. Bud Black won the award with the Padres in 2010, Davey Johnson with the Nationals in '12 and Matt Williams with the Nats in '14.
Not that it matters to Bochy. He got the ring. And he had the ultimate satisfaction.
Now, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Bradley Oswood, the cardiologist who implanted the stents, Bochy is ready and eager to add another ring or two, which only strengthens the Hall of Fame managerial case that Bochy Believers already feel he has earned.
Bochy is one of 10 managers to have overseen at least three World Series champions, and the other nine are all enshrined in Cooperstown -- Joe McCarthy, Casey Stengel, John McGraw, Connie Mack, Walter Alston, Joe Torre, Sparky Anderson, Miller Huggins and Tony La Russa.
Bochy is not the type of discuss those issues, however. With that soft Southern drawl and big smile, he prefers to sit in the background and let the others pick up the hardware and fill up the airwaves.
A former catcher, Bochy just likes doing what he is being paid to do, no fanfare needed nor wanted. Three days removed from the procedure, he was walking around the pitching mounds behind the right-field fence at Scottsdale Stadium, watching the pitchers in their side sessions.
"I feel guilty, I feel so good," said Bochy. "I feel like I could go up Camelback [Mountain]."
Right now, the doctor has Bochy on cruise control. He can be in uniform and walk around the fields during practices, but the daily personal workouts have been put on hold, giving time for the healing process to take place.
Bochy said he wasn't even given dietary restrictions.
"But it's not like I am crushing barbecue all the time," he said. "I did get a message from some folks up in Napa that it was evident I hadn't been having enough red wine."
Bochy smiles that Cheshire cat smile of his.
"It was an easy procedure," he said. "I watched the whole thing. I felt like I was in good hands."
The only disappointment, Bochy said, was that they made him stay in the hospital for two nights.
"I could have walked out right after the procedure, but they wouldn't let me," he said. "That's how good I felt. The doctor asked me to give them a day or two and then told me to take a couple of weeks without overdoing it."
No problem, said Bochy. He understands the seriousness of it all.
Bochy's father was in his 50s when he died from heart issues. That, said Bochy, who turns 60 on April 16, has been something he has kept in mind over the years, although he has not allowed it to control his life.
"You know, it has been a problem in past generations and it did play a part in me seeing a cardiologist as part of my regular checkups," admitted Bochy.
It paid off. During Wednesday's annual spring physical, Bochy "felt some symptoms … and the next thing I knew, I was going in [Thursday] to have stents put in me."
Three days later, he was back in uniform, walking about the ballpark, health issues behind him and the quest for a fourth World Series championship on his mind.