Amy Gutierrez

Brian Sabean amazed by unique aspect of Bruce Bochy's farewell speech

Brian Sabean amazed by unique aspect of Bruce Bochy's farewell speech

Bruce Bochy spoke for 15 minutes and nine seconds, bringing tears to eyes and hitting every last note perfectly as he thanked Giants fans, executives, coaches, broadcasters, family members and the dozens of players who had flown into San Francisco to surprise him. 

This wasn't a surprise, of course. Bochy always knew the right thing to say to his team, the perfect way to motivate players before a big game. Whether he was talking about good times or discussing losing streaks, suspensions or a player putting his fist through a clubhouse door, he always seemed to know exactly what to say in front of cameras, too. 

But on Wine Wednesday with Amy Gutierrez, Brian Sabean revealed a fun fact about that speech. He said it wasn't written in advance. Bochy had no idea what the Giants had in store for him after his final game, and he watched the emotional ceremony from the corner of the dugout, stunned that so many former players had shown up

"I don't know if you remember, but he was alone in the dugout when everybody was coming on the field," Sabean said. "There wasn't a person around him, sitting in the corner of the dugout by the bat rack. I remember as we had walked out, he turned to me and said, 'You know, I've got nothing ready. I've got to get my thoughts together.' To think that he was able to do that and methodically go through the whole ball of wax, including the people that were in attendance, it's still amazing to me. 

"I just listened to it the other day. It's a tearjerker, really."

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That speech, given with players like Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum standing behind him, strangely might end up being the last moment at Oracle Park that includes fans for quite a while. If you've forgotten how it went, you can read the whole transcript and watch it here. Sabean said Bochy's ability to take the mic like that saved others on an emotional day. 

"There's no way in hell I could have spoken on that last day," he said. "I would have been a babbling fool. He did such a tremendous job and got everybody off the hook, including me."

Even with their magical run in San Francisco having come to an end, Sabean and Bochy still are working in tandem. Sabean's surprise appearance on the Instagram show came about because Bochy nominated him after appearing last week. The two became extremely close friends after Sabean brought Bochy from San Diego to San Francisco. They lived in the same building across the street and sometimes found themselves crossing over when the sun was coming up. Bochy has spoken often about how they would open a bottle of wine and spend hours upon hours discussing games in his office. 

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Both now serve in advisory roles in the front office. Sabean, who backed away from the spotlight a few years before Bochy did, said it was difficult getting through that final season. He was emotionally spent by the time Bochy took the field one last time. 

"Last year was rough on me, especially that last homestand because of the finality," he said. "I really had a hard time knowing this was the end and that our tandem, so to speak, and more so his career with the Giants, was going to be officially over."

Joe Panik calls end of Giants tenure 'tough moment' of his MLB career

Joe Panik calls end of Giants tenure 'tough moment' of his MLB career

The rebuild of the Giants organization over the past 20 months has been swift, with a new front office taking over, a new manager in place, and plenty of Forever Giants wearing new colors. 

Over time, fans have somewhat gotten used to the culture of change, but last August, most of the championship crew was still in place, which made the decision to DFA Joe Panik so hard for so many people to take. August 6 was an emotional day at Oracle Park, and in a Zoom interview with NBC Sports Bay Area's Amy Gutierrez, Panik said it was "probably the toughest moment" of his career and called the move a "gut punch."

"That conversation with Boch -- Boch has meant so much to me in my career," Panik said. "I remember walking into my first spring training at 21 years old and meeting Boch in 2012. He's the only manager I've known, all that stuff. That was a very, very tough conversation."

Panik was having a down year at the plate and the Giants had just traded for Mauricio Dubon and Scooter Gennett, a veteran they were eager to take a look at. Bochy was emotional when he met with reporters after the move, saying it was one of the more difficult conversations of his lengthy career. 

"It's always tough when you see one of your guys go," Bochy said that day. 

As hard as in early August, Panik said he's now in a good place, in large part because of what happened next. Panik, who grew up and lives in upstate New York, signed with the Mets and saw immediate improvement, hitting .273 the rest of the way and raising his OPS more than 100 points. 

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Panik told Gutierrez he was fortunate to end up back home, and he has continued to build on that late run in New York. After signing with the Blue Jays as a non-roster invitee, he went 8-for-21 with a couple of spring homers. As the sport was shutting down because of COVID-19, Panik was added to Toronto's 40-man roster, a sure sign that he's in their Opening Day plans. Whenever play resumes, he'll supplement what is perhaps the most exciting group of young position players in the league. 

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"I would love to have played 10, 12, 15 years in San Francisco, but sometimes you need to hit the reset button," Panik said. "For me, coming back to New York, I hit the reset button with a fresh start."

What Bruce Bochy did with gifts he received during final Giants season

What Bruce Bochy did with gifts he received during final Giants season

Bruce Bochy hated to think of last season as a retirement tour, but there was so much respect around baseball for his accomplishments that there was no chance his fellow managers were going to let him leave their cities without a going-away gift.

Just about every time the Giants landed back in San Francisco, the former Giants manager was carrying an extra bottle of wine, or personalized drinkware, or a certificate for a fishing trip. 

You would think he's had plenty of time to get through all those gifts since managing his last game in September. But Bochy has stayed busy, working for the Giants as a special advisor and managing Team France before the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak ended World Baseball Classic qualifying. On "Wine Wednesday" with Amy Gutierrez, Bochy went through the list of going-away gifts. 

The bottle of wine that A's manager Bob Melvin gave him?

"Gone. Drank it," he said. "Shared that with the staff."

The 1942 Don Julio that Sergio Romo brought to his office in Miami? He got into that, too.

"It's still there," he said, "But partly used."

Bochy said the unpacking process has been slow because he has been sheltering in place with his son's family in the Bay Area, not at his home in the San Diego area. There are bottles of bourbon and personalized rye glasses that did survive the 85-loss season, and he hasn't had a chance to go on the fishing trip the Padres gifted him. That was planned but got canceled when quarantine rules went into effect, along with the fly fishing trip the Arizona Diamondbacks gave him. 

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This was going to be the first season in 26 years without Bochy on the top step of a dugout, and he told Amy G that he was enjoying his time away. While some have compared this layoff to the 1994 strike, Bochy, who began his managerial career the next season with the San Diego Padres, said it's much different.

"This thing is scary," he said. 

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"What's happening now is, of course, the health of everybody," he said. "Health was not the issue then. It was a business decision. That's what makes this probably a little more difficult, too, the fact that you can't do anything."