Editor's note: Tim Flannery is a Giants analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area. Before joining the booth, he was a coach on Bruce Bochy's staff for 16 years, including eight as the third base coach for the Giants. Flannery won three World Series titles in San Francisco before retiring after the 2014 championship season. He shares his thoughts upon hearing about Bochy's impending retirement.
Today, I found out Bruce Bochy will retire from managing after this season with the Giants. I’m thrilled for him. This man never has had even a moment off since he began managing in 1989, in the minor leagues for San Diego. He won all four years in the minors, then began as the major league manager in 1995 with the Padres.
After this season, he will have managed 25 years in the majors. That’s incredible. Along the way, he went to four World Series as the "Skipper," winning three of them as a Giant. He has been voted Manager of the Year, and has made everyone around him better for playing and coaching for him.
It’s an amazing run that will take him into the Hall of Fame. He did it with persistence, hard work, great people skills, and never being ‘’out prepared.’’ He was relentless in his love for competition, winning, and his flat out hatred for losing.
He didn’t care if he was given a team made up of low-budget, last-in-the-league in payroll players. He still honestly felt he had a chance to beat you. He never thought he was outmanned. This was, and is, his strength. It also made the players he had that day on that team play beyond their capabilities. He believed in them, so they did too.
Being a big league manager, the demands seem to never go away. Players, agents, front office, media, fans -- it’s a nonstop, second-guessing pressure cooker that takes years off of your life. It can be so unhealthy, but Boch always had the perfect makeup for dealing with all of it. In the middle of the storm, Boch always made the proper decisions -- not always the popular one -- but the proper one that would make the team better in the long run.
In all my 16 years coaching for him, I never once questioned the sign he put on for me to deliver. I never questioned a move he made. I trusted him because I knew he was smarter than everyone else. I witnessed it time and time again.
In this demanding game of big league baseball, so many are changed by the demands. So many become different people. Personalities can be drained by the relentless schedule, the demands. Managing will do that to you because of all you have to be, and the pressures of winning. Boch never would throw a player under the bus, he always covered for them. He never would finger-point, he would take their flaws and look the other way as he would take the blame.
He didn’t care.
He was, and is, a players' manager. Not managing for the fan, who sees it all from a distance. He protected his boys.
25 years ago, players were different. 25 years ago, the game was different. You either evolved as a coach or manager, or you got spit out. He has dealt with every issue, every personality, every pressure, every kind of team, and all sorts of front offices. His sustainability is second to none.
After winning our first World Series in Texas in 2010, we were flying back West late in the night. The World Series trophy was up with us in First Class, and Boch grabbed me and took me in the galley and said some very special things to me.
Then he said, ‘’Look at that trophy, there’s nothing else I need now."
I knew him well enough to know that he was full of s**t, he wanted another and another. Although this will be his last year managing -- with a team supposedly not to win -- I’d be more frightened to play against Boch and his team now than ever before.
I can promise you this: he will not go quietly in the night. He will not make this his retirement tour. He will leave no stone unturned, and will not end his run without playing every last card he has left in his hand.
Congrats friend, now let 'em have it, and burn it all down. You taught us all that miracles only happen to those who believe in them.