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Bruce Bochy takes moment to reflect as he visits D.C. for final time

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Bruce Bochy takes moment to reflect as he visits D.C. for final time

WASHINGTON D.C. -- More than 50 years later, Bruce Bochy is still holding the grudge. 

As a 12-year-old growing up in the D.C. area, Bochy had a paper route for "The Evening Star." He still can't figure out how he didn't win when the paper held a contest that promised free Washington Senators tickets to the five kids who solicited the most customers. Adult Bochy said young Bochy was "hustling."

"It was fixed," he said this week. "Because I got a lot of customers."

Those memories came flooding back Tuesday when Bochy walked into Nationals Park, which was built decades after his father took him to his first game at RFK Stadium. Bochy remembers seeing the Cleveland Indians visit that day in 1966. He sat in the upper deck, along the third base line. The next year, he got an up-close view of Mickey Mantle and the New York Yankees.  

Bochy has tried not to think of this season as a farewell tour, and there were no signs of that on the season-opening trip. But the Giants visit San Diego and Los Angeles again. This was, barring a surprise playoff matchup, Bochy's final trip to Washington D.C. as a manager, and he admitted that he gave that some thought, calling the city "a special place for me."

"This is a city and ballpark that I have thought about because this is where it probably started for me as far as really having that passion and desire to play baseball," he said. 

The Giants entered the series with a 15-20 record at Nationals Park, but this is where Bochy's team had one of its most spirited wins en route to a title. It's impossible for anyone affiliated with the organization to walk into the clubhouse and not think about Brandon Belt's 18th-inning homer in the National League Division Series in 2014. Before Wednesday's game, a couple of Giants employees fondly remembered Yusmeiro Petit's herculean effort that night.

[RELATED: Giants pitchers dig too deep a hole for hitters in loss to Nats]

That night was a special one for Bochy, too. He spent several years living 20 minutes away in Falls Church, and this is always a homecoming. Much of Bochy's pregame time Tuesday and Wednesday was spent greeting family members and friends who drove into town to watch Bochy manage one last time. 

"I was amazed at how many of them came out," Bochy said. 

Why Giants' Hunter Pence feels such 'deep connection' to organization

Why Giants' Hunter Pence feels such 'deep connection' to organization

Hunter Pence was a part of two World Series-winning teams with the Giants in 2012 and 2014. He rejoined the Giants roster in February after an impressive comeback season in 2019 that included All-Star honors with the Texas Rangers.

The 37-year-old outfielder joined 95.7 The Game on Friday and explained why he decided to return to San Francisco.

“Obviously I feel a deep connection with the Giants organization,” Pence said. “The city, and these years, you never know which one is gonna be your last. I think everyone thought two years ago was my last year, and I’ve been fortunate that I made some adjustments.

“I want to be apart of passing on a lot of the things that I’ve learned to the young people, and I wanna come and transition back into the winning ways.”

[RELATED: Five Giants hitters who've had much more success when visiting Rockies]

Pence also noted that he’s appreciated getting a chance to work with the organization’s new leadership.

“It’s been really exciting to learn from Farhan, and the new metrics and I learned a lot of that with the Rangers. So I’m excited to share, I wanna pass all that on, I feel right at home, I’m in love with the city and the organization, and in love with everything with the Giants. It feels like home, it feels like family and it means a lot to be a Giant.”

Pence hopefully will be able to once again take the field in a Giants uniform soon.

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Travis Ishikawa didn't expect Giants call-up before 2014 MLB playoffs

Travis Ishikawa didn't expect Giants call-up before 2014 MLB playoffs

Travis Ishikawa provided one of the most memorable postseason moments in Giants history, blasting a three-run walk-off homer in Game 5 of the NLCS to advance San Francisco to the 2014 World Series.

It was Ishikawa’s second stint with the organization after making his MLB debut with the Giants back in 2006. In a recent appearance on 95.7 The Game, the now-retired first baseman said he wasn’t even sure he’d get a chance to play in the majors during that 2014 season.

“At that moment, I felt like there was no possible way I was getting called up,” Ishikawa said Friday. “I was struggling, [and] at one point, I was actually benched. I was a backup for about two weeks in Fresno, wasn’t even getting starts. Being a defensive replacement for somebody else at first base.

“They’ve got other guys that kind of do what I do, they don’t need me. I mean, there’s no way I see myself getting called up.”

[RELATED: Giants extend stipends for most minor leaguers but release 20 players]

Ishikawa ended up being called up to the Giants on July 29, and the rest, as they say, is history. The Giants' Triple-A team at the time was the Fresno Grizzlies, and the organization switched over to the Sacramento River Cats in 2015.

Ishikawa ended up winning two World Series titles in San Francisco (he also was on the 2010 Giants roster), but there likely isn’t a more thrilling moment in his baseball career than that fateful night in McCovey Cove.

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]