Bruce Bochy and the 'Mega-Bunion of Truth'

Bruce Bochy and the 'Mega-Bunion of Truth'
February 16, 2013, 2:30 pm

With two World Series titles has San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy built himself a Hall of Fame career? (USA TODAY IMAGES)

SCOTTSDALE, AZ. -- Bruce Bochy has a growth on the inside of his right foot, and he clearly likes it. After all, he’s had it for two years and change, and has passed on numerous opportunities to have it removed, reduced or revised.

“Hey, it doesn’t hurt,” he rationalized with a smile Saturday. “And as long as it doesn’t hurt, I don’t need to worry about it. Six weeks in a boot . . .”

This wouldn’t be a big deal. Bochy, after all, was a catcher, and most catchers have feet that come far closer to being hooves anyway. But he said the same thing two spring trainings ago, the first time he was the smartest manager in baseball, and now that he’s the re-smartest manager in baseball, maybe he figures he’s holding the Mega-Bunion Of Truth.

Of course, that would presume that he has a sentimental or superstitious streak, and he has been around baseball too long to believe in anything other than this:

“This game will turn on you as soon as you think you’ve got it. Success has to be re-won every year.”

That is what he said when it was suggested that all the praise he had received after guiding the Giants to their second World Series title in three years might not only make him an elite contemporary manager but a solid Hall of Fame candidate.

“I saw that, and I couldn’t even think about it,” he said.” That just didn’t really make sense to me. That’s for the truly greatest players and managers, and I’m humbled by the mention, but I can’t wrap my head around the idea at all.”

So he doesn’t. As he preps for his 19th year of major league managing, this one with a team that has undergone fewer changes than any other champion in decades, he is back to square one in his head, knowing full well that for everyone who wants to talk about 2010 and 2012, there is someone who remembers 2011.

The Year Nothing Happened.

This Bochy year is already marked by two stories, one a hardy perennial (Pablo Sandoval’s weight) and the other a fairly new one (Does Timmy Like Buster?). Sandoval is still bigger than he should be, and probably will be so for his entire career, while Lincecum has come to see that worrying about Posey is far down on his list of concerns.

But in every other meaningful way, Bochy is back at the job as though he had won nothing at all. He is bad at preening--well, we think he is, anyway, because he’s never actually been seen doing it--and when he is asked if he notices that he is now perceived differently, he smiles.

“My wife says, ‘Take out the trash,’ and that pretty much reminds me how it works,” he said.

But he did notice something else.

“At the Winter Meetings two years ago, a lot of (managers) came up to me and congratulated me and said how happy they were for me. This time, they came over, but they weren’t saying how happy they were. Mostly they said, ‘Okay, now you’re being kind of being a ball hog.’”

And he plainly preferred the second one, because (a) he’d won again, and (b) because he lives in a world of left-handed compliments and right-handed snark. He is in fact quite good at it himself, noting the other day while coach Ron Wotus was working with pitchers tagging up at third base, “If that ever happens in a game, I’ll be fired for not having pinch-run for the pitcher.”

In short, Bochy is back as he was 12 months ago, and 24 months ago, and 36, and 48, and 228 months ago. He starts from scratch every year, and his legacy is still too amorphous for him to worry much about it. He is 57, and surely has another six to eight years ahead of him. Perhaps even in San Francisco if the Giants can stop picking up options and granting the long-term deal he frankly long ago deserved.

Or to be more frank about it, that he and his lucky foot deserved.

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