SAN FRANCISCO -- The memories have come flooding back for Bruce Bochy this season, and as the Giants' manager walked into Busch Stadium on Monday, he might have spent a few minutes looking back at one of the most stunning performances of the three-title era.
In Game 5 of the 2012 NLCS, Barry Zito threw 7 2/3 shutout innings to keep the Giants alive. Five days later he would beat Justin Verlander in Game 1 of the World Series, and the Giants would cruise to a second title.
It's a moment Zito's teammates, coaches and fans will never forget, but as Zito thinks about those professional highs, he has a different perspective. This month he's releasing "Curveball," a book in which the former big league star writes honestly about the struggles he had finding true happiness.
That 2012 run was the peak of Zito's professional career, but as he looks back on it, he remembers it almost not even happening. Before the season, Zito considered retiring.
"People would look at the big contract I signed with the Giants and think, 'Man, if I had that money I would never have a bad day.' I was like, I'll give the money back if I can get out of this contract," Zito said on this week's episode of The Giants Insider Podcast. "I mean, I was so miserable I was thinking about retiring a couple of times, specifically before the 2012 season. I was very close to just walking away.
"Thank God I didn't because that was such a special year."
It was a strange one for Zito, who had a rough spring and nearly lost his rotation spot in Scottsdale. But he went out in his season debut and threw a shutout at Coors Field that was so out-of-nowhere that Bochy jokingly asked a team staffer if he should let the media in for his postgame press conference or if they had all passed out in the press box.
The season ended with Zito -- left off the postseason roster two years before -- carrying a heavy load as the Giants edged the Cardinals and then swept the Tigers. His search for fulfillment would continue, though, and it is detailed in his book.
"I'm just trying to be real in conversations and letting people know that there is a real thing, people aren't superheroes just because they're having success," he said. "We're all flawed individuals that have some darkness and some baggage."
Zito talked in depth about the struggles he faced during his career, how he looks back on his years as a pitcher, his time with Bruce Bochy, and how he finds joy currently. You can stream the interview here or download it on iTunes here.