SAN FRANCISCO — Retiring Giants manager Bruce Bochy always pushed all the right buttons on the way to three World Series championships. It was no surprise that he also had all the right words after his final game.
Bochy gave a long and emotional speech to a sellout crowd at Oracle Park that stayed standing, dozens of former players, and close friends and family. Here’s what he had to say after his final game:
"This is going to be hard here. I never wanted to go out and wear out my welcome. But now I'm afraid I'm wearing out my goodbye with all this stuff. When I made this call to step down, I knew it would be hard. I didn't know it would be this hard. You guys crushed me with your kindness on opening day. It was so unexpected but appreciated. It took me off-guard emotionally because it hit me then that was my first of many lasts. My last opening day, last time in all these ballparks I would come to love, and my last time I would be standing here in your presence in this ballpark.
"I have struggled getting through this. You've been patient with me for 13 years -- most of you, anyway. Don't stop now, ok. When I came here in 2007, I was wowed by how the ownership group trusted us and supported us on the field here, because baseball is a big business. There's a lot of pressure to win and they never wavered from giving us the resources that we needed. So I thank you for that, all the owners. They let us do our job without interfering or questioning. Larry, you have set a tone and created a culture here that is truly unique in baseball. Thank you for letting me be part of it. Farhan, I thank you for your time this year, and I know with you this club is in good hands.
"For those who watch car racing or follow it, you know a race is won in the pits, not on the track. I think the same can be said in baseball, so from the likes of Tim Flannery, Dave Righetti, Ron Wotus, Hensley Meulens and my current staff, to Dave Groeschner and his team, I've been blessed with an incredible staff. And Murph, that goes for you, too. I can't tell you how important they have been to what we have achieved. They're the best in the business and they are the unsung heroes. I thank you for your support that allowed me to focus on where I needed to focus on. It's been an honor to have been in the trenches with you. Thank you.
"When I look and see why Giants baseball is so entertaining, it just wouldn't be the same without Jon Miller, Dave Flemming, and of course Kruk and Kuip. In my heart, I know that they are the best broadcast team in baseball. So thank you guys for being fair and being so good with what you do, and all your visits to my office to lighten the mood and make me laugh. Renel, I will miss your booming voice and how you get the crowd going. Amy G., I will miss you in the dugout.
"When you look back upon your career there are those pivotal moments that blow your mind. There are things you're really thankful for. For example, the las few weeks there have been some stats on the scoreboard and I've seen over 2,000 losses, and I'm thankful I wasn't fired. But seriously, one of those pivotal moments for me was when Brian Sabean brought me up here to manage this club. Brian, I've said this once before and I'll say it again. You are a world-class strategist, you've been a courageous buffer when I needed it, and a critic when I needed it. But most of all I'm proud to call you a friend. And friend, without you I would not have experienced this great city, these great fans, and this storied franchise. I'm just grateful that we got to fight so many battles together and create so many memories together. Thank you for caring about the players, the fans, and about winning.
"It's no secret you can't win a championship without talented players who love the game and love to compete. I've been blessed to manage some of the best players in the game. I've always looked at players as people first. Fellas, you have taught me to look beyond impossible, to never say die, to never stop believing, and never, never give up on what you're trying to accomplish. When I look at these players I'm just reminded how good I've had it. I think of those nail-biting ninth innings with The Beard on the mound. Brian Wilson, I should thank you for this first (heart) stent. Jeremy Affeldt, you have one, too. I'll also thank Tim Lincecum, The Freak. I think of Matt Cain's perfect game, I think of Pablo Sandoval's three home runs in the World Series, I think of Edgar's home run in Texas. And nobody loved those Buster Hugs more than me. And I think of watching Bum do something I don't think we'll ever see in the game again. Fellas, you've challenged me, you've entertained me with your backwards personalities, and you've had me in awe of your talent. Managing you guys has been one of the greatest joys of my life. Thank you for making me a better manager and a better person.
"This game can be difficult. It’s a long season and you're gone a lot. But I’ve been blessed, I’ve been fortunate to have the love and support from my incredible family. My brothers, Joe and Mark, my sister, our good luck charm in the postseason. You’ve always been there to celebrate our successes. My boys, Greg and Brett, they never complained about the games I missed or the time I missed. Guys, I couldn’t be prouder of the men you’ve become and the wives you chose.
“Then there’s the rock and anchor of our family. Kim has been on this journey for 44 years. Kim, thank you for your unselfishness, your willingness to sacrifice, and being a great partner on this journey. I couldn’t imagine doing this without you.
“Now if I can speak to the fans for a moment. Without you, there's no baseball. There’s no business, no television, no talk radio, no chance to compete out here. When I think of those years that we didn't come through for you, I apologize for disappointing you. But when I think of our championship years I feel gratitude, because we did it together. It’s so difficult to put into words the impact that you've had on me personally. You guys brought so much love to this team. I can't tell you how many times we walked into this ballpark and your energy transferred to me and these players. You made a difference here. Whether it was in 10, 12, 14 or years when we were trying to get our mojo back, you've always been faithful and behind me. I never took for granted or tired of leaning on that rail and looking up and watching you pack this house. Thank you for making it an incredible journey here. Thank you.
“Like any kid, my childhood dream was to play this game. Never in my dreams did I think I would be in it for 44 years, and this is what makes this moment so much more difficult. But to manage here with these players, in this city, with you fans, has been one of the greatest blessings in my life. This place has enriched our lives with friendships, experiences and memories beyond what words can express. Maybe i'll just echo the words of the great Lou Gehrig. I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”