SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A few longtime Giants knew what was coming Monday morning, but for most of the players gathered in the clubhouse at Scottsdale Stadium, Bruce Bochy’s announcement was a stunner.
Bochy gives a speech every year before the first full-squad workout of the spring, and he started Monday’s by telling his players that he’s retiring at the end of the season. He then quickly moved on to discussing the spring schedule. As players started to digest the news, many came to the same conclusion.
“The main thing definitely is that we’ve got to end this on a high note,” left-hander Derek Holland said. “We’ve got to take him to where he needs to be and get him that last game in October, not September.”
Despite what happened the past two seasons, veterans have spent the last two weeks talking about getting back to the postseason. They now have a rallying cry: Win one for the skipper. Make sure Bochy's career doesn't end Sept. 29 with the final game of the season. All three veterans who spoke after Monday’s announcement gave some variation of “we have to help Bochy end on a high note.”
It was an emotional day for the Giants, and Holland, Brandon Belt and Pablo Sandoval spoke of what Bochy has meant to them. Holland pointed out how cool it was to face Bochy with the Rangers and then get to pitch for him. Belt pointed out that Bochy is the only manager he has played for. Sandoval chose to honor Bochy at the Coaching Corps Game Changer Awards last month, and he was hit hard during the Monday morning meeting.
“It was emotional,” Sandoval said. “But at the same time, we’ve got to go finish strong for him.”
Sandoval said he’ll stop by Bochy’s office soon to reminisce a bit about their time together. That will continue all year, especially for players like Belt, Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Madison Bumgarner, who have never known anything but a Bochy clubhouse.
Those who have played for Bochy for years thought this news was coming, but that didn’t soften the blow.
“I was a little shocked,” Belt said. “You think it might be coming, but it’s still a little surprising to hear coming out of his mouth.”
Belt said Bochy told the Giants how much he believes in the group. Bochy is happy with the free agent additions, and the Giants believe they’re flying under the radar. That would add to one last Bochy run.
“Nobody is expecting us to do it,” Holland said. “That makes this story even better.”