SAN FRANCISCO -- Bruce Bochy and Madison Bumgarner didn't want to get ahead of themselves. When discussing Game 162, they would only mention the possibility that the longtime staff ace could take the ball in Bochy's final game managing the Giants.
There was no other way this could go, though. The Giants moved pieces around to assure that Bumgarner toes the rubber for Bochy for the 290th time in the regular season. There were also 16 times when they teamed up in the postseason, and in large part because of the duo, there are three trophies lined up at Oracle Park.
Bumgarner and Bochy have seen the highest highs together, and in Part IV of this series of exit interviews -- if you missed it, here are Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford -- Bumgarner talks about a man who is not just his manager, but one of his close friends, as well:
NBC Sports Bay Area: Do you remember the first time you met Bochy and your first impression of him?
Madison Bumgarner: "I remember seeing him. I can't remember if I met him or not, but it was either instructional league or spring training. I saw him there. I remember pitching and seeing him up on the walkway there, him and Rags and Sabean. I remember him not talking much. Sometimes it takes him -- when you say something, 'hello' or something as you're passing by -- it takes him about 30 seconds to get back to you. The first couple of times I thought, 'Man, this guy ain't much for talking,' which is fine with me.
"But I ended up kind of figuring him out a bit and getting to know him and that's just how it is."
How has your relationship with Bochy evolved over the years?
"More than anything, now I just don't give a s--- if he don't say nothing back to me. No, we've gotten to know each other really good. We talk quite a bit. I'll go stop in his office and we'll talk about baseball and other stuff, too, but obviously with what we're doing it's mostly baseball."
What has made him such a successful manager?
"He's just got a really high baseball IQ and the competitiveness. Both of those kind of morphed together is a pretty special combination. The game never gets too fast for him. He's always one step ahead. No matter how far you've thought it out, he's always a step ahead."
Have there been times when you didn't see eye to eye?
"Yeah, often, actually -- like when we put Belt in left field, for example. There have been a lot of times. Just because we're friends and he's the manager, we're not afraid to kind of get after each other a little bit if I think something is better or if he thinks something is better. But we don't get mad at each other for long. We might get frustrated with each other for a minute and then it's gone. We're comfortable around each other and he's always got a reason for everything he does. Same for me, but you don't always agree with everybody.
"I enjoy that part, actually, that we're comfortable enough where we can disagree and talk about something, maybe yell at each other, and then everything is fine. There's no grudge-holding, there's no lingering anger or anything like that."
What's something fans don't know about him?
"He looks like he's always into the game and lives and dies on every pitch, every play, just like we do, but he can also keep it light at the same time. We might be at a really tough spot in the game or something bad just happened and he's mad about it, he's pissed that things didn't go the way we wanted it to, but he'll come up and make a joke to somebody if he feels like that's what the situation calls for.
"He's just got a good feel for the team and all the personalities and stuff."
Do you think he will manage again?
"Can I say maybe? I'll say maybe. I'll say maybe. He's done this his entire life and he still enjoys it. I think it's just, if maybe the opportunity is just right for him, whatever that is, depending on the direction the game goes. It's changed so much over the last 10 years. It's always changing but I feel like the last 10 years it's changed dramatically."