Bochy on future: This is 'certainly not the way I want to go out'


Bochy on future: This is 'certainly not the way I want to go out'

SAN FRANCISCO — The scene became a familiar one, played out over and over again during the course of one of the most disappointing seasons in MLB history. The Giants would do something bad — hit into a double play to end a threat, give up a three-run homer, let a harmless fly ball drop in the outfield, you name it — and the cameras would pan to the top step of the dugout. 

Manager Bruce Bochy often looked like he couldn’t believe what he was watching. During a loss to the Padres, he gave some signs to a coach and then waved his hands, as if to say, “Oh, what does it matter?” When the Giants were losing to the A’s one night, he was shown sitting completely still, hands at his hips, seemingly shocked by what he was watching. At the end of one inning against the Braves, he rubbed a hand through his hair, tugged his cap back on, and folded into a sleeping pose on the dugout rail. 

Those are scenes that make you wonder if this is still fun. Throw in several health scares over the past couple of years and it’s easy to wonder how much longer a man headed to the Hall of Fame can handle managing this type of baseball. But don’t think about it for long, Bochy said this week. His three-year extension goes through 2019 and those close to him believe there’s no chance he doesn’t see that through. For now, during an interview for this week’s Giants Insider Podcast, Bochy said his focus is on bouncing back in 2018.  

“As we go into 2018, I know this is what I want to do,” he said. “Now, I might change my mind after that year or (my bosses) may change their minds. And you never know when it’s going to hit you, when enough is enough, but at this stage it’s certainly not the way I want to go out. I want to leave the Giants organization better than when I came here and I want to get this team back on track. This is my passion.”

Bochy, who turned 62 in April, recently became the first manager to win 900 games for two organizations. It’s a resume that’s almost unmatched, and while he intends to keep adding to it, he acknowledged that he could feel different next September. 

“It’s hard to say, and sometimes you don’t have a say. I understand that,” he said. “There’s the old joke they may retire me for health reasons because they’re sick and tired of me, which I get. But at the same time, this is what I want to do and I’m looking forward to — after this year — getting ready for spring training.”

The Giants have plenty of holes to fill, and Bochy talked about that during our discussion. He also gave his thoughts on what made Matt Cain special, the future of his outfield, the need to inject some power into this lineup, and much more. You can stream the entire conversation here or listen to it on iTunes here. 

Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role


Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role

SAN FRANCISCO -- A familiar face is returning to the Giants organization to serve a key front office role.

The Giants announced Friday that David Bell, their former third baseman, has been hired as Vice President of Player Development. General manager Bobby Evans said Bell will oversee all aspects of player development, including hitting, pitching, strength and conditioning and the operations of the minor league affiliates. 

"He was the perfect fit," Evans said. "His experience is so strong and encompasses so many aspects of the game. He’s got a really strong base of experience and background and understanding of the game, and he has a passion for the game and working with young players. He really showed a desire to pursue this opportunity." 

Bell, 45, played 12 major league seasons and spent 2002 with the Giants. He hit 20 homers that year as the starting third baseman and scored the winning run in the final game of the NLCS. Since retiring, Bell has served as a minor league manager for the Reds and a big league coach for the Cubs and Cardinals. He spent last season as the bench coach in St. Louis. 

Shane Turner had previously served as farm director, but at the end of the minor league season he was asked to take a role as a special assistant in baseball operations. While Evans did not announce any other changes Friday, there are expected to be other moves within the organization's depth chart. At least one member of the coaching staff is still in the running for a managerial opening. 

Dusty Baker won't be remembered the way he should be remembered


Dusty Baker won't be remembered the way he should be remembered

Firing a manager is easy, and there are lots of ways to do it.

Dusty Baker, for example. He worked this year on the last year of a contract, which usually means there won’t be another one, and he relied on his players to deliver the goods.

Which, as we remember from our reading, they didn’t do. Again.

But Baker was marked for the chop unless those players did deliver, and when they didn’t, general manager Mike Rizzo did the expedient thing.

He fired one person rather than several. And changed exactly nothing.

Baker’s managerial career is probably over now, as most teams don’t look at 68-year-olds to fix their teams. He will never manage a  World Series champion, something he ached for, and he was always be caricatured in part as the guy who didn’t speak metric, and who believed in players as men whenever in doubt.

And the Nats didn’t betray him, either. They were always not as good in the big moments because someone else was, and they became part of Washington’s new fetish – Why Can’t We Win One? It’s as if having a cringeworthy President isn’t good enough for them.

So the time came, and he will be replaced by someone who will either win and get credit for work that was largely his, or he won’t win and the town can continue to wallow in its tedious We’re-The-New-Cubs pity. It is the circle of life.

At least it is for groups of people. For individuals, the circle of life is actually nothing more than a straight line that ends abruptly. For Dusty Baker, as it did for Tony La Russa in Phoenix two days earlier, that day came today. He deserves to be remembered as a very good manager who won a lot more than he lost, made more friends than enemies, and was honest from Day One until the end.

Which, as we also know, doesn’t matter a whole lot on days like this.