Bruce Bochy Retirement Announcement Spells End Of Era For Giants
San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy on Monday announced to a group of reporters that 2019 will be his final season. He’ll retire after 36 MLB seasons – nine as a player, two as a coach and 25 as a manager. The announcement signals the official end of the high watermark era of Giants baseball in San Francisco.
Bochy guided the team to their first championship in the Bay Area during his fourth season with the club. That run symbolized what would become a hallmark of those teams. It was an unexpected turnaround by a ragtag bunch of players that Bochy masterfully guided to an unlikely victory over the Rangers in six games.
That was just the first of three championships the Giants won under Bochy – each seemingly less likely than the last. Players came and went, with some mainstays like catcher Buster Posey, but the team was unmistakably Bochy’s. Their even-keeled demeanor and relentless spirit in the face of repeatedly tall tasks can circle back to the man in the No. 15 jersey at the top step of the dugout.
Bochy’s departure officially punctuates an era of Giants baseball that’s been winding down since Tim Lincecum’s departure after the 2015 campaign. Matt Cain retired. Hunter Pence signed with the Rangers. Pablo Sandoval went to Boston, although he returned. Still – no player’s exit carried the feeling of finality that Bochy’s announcement did.
He’ll manage the 2019 season, and all year it will feel like something is officially ending in San Francisco. Even when players would leave, the Giants still felt like contenders because at any point Bochy could morph into King Midas and turn every move he made into gold.
Now that’s changed.
The prominent, common thread of those championship Giants clubs will disappear. Even if Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey stick around beyond 2019 – the former is a free agent next offseason, the latter is coming off an injury-riddled season and turns 32 in March – the feel won’t be the same without Bochy grumbling through a postgame press conference with his signature drawl.
The addition of Farhan Zaidi as president of baseball operations will draw a firm line between the old and new guard in San Francisco. Bochy’s 2019 season is a transition between the two.
Perhaps Zaidi proves to be a maestro in the front office the way Bochy was in the dugout, and the Giants’ next manager will pick up where the previous one left off. Whoever it is will have a big hat, and shoes, to fill.
No matter what, Bochy’s number will likely be retired among other Giants greats, and his run as their manager will likely land him in Cooperstown. At the end of this season, Giants fans will not only say goodbye to their manager, they’ll bid farewell to the most incredible 13-season stretch in franchise history.