Dodgers fete Giants manager Bruce Bochy in final visit to LA
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Dodgers set aside their fierce rivalry with the Giants for a few moments to honor San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy.
Before Friday’s series opener, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts welcomed Bochy onto the field behind home plate.
Bochy is retiring at season’s end, which is Sept. 29 since at 67-73 the Giants won’t be making the postseason.
They beat Clayton Kershaw and the NL West-leading Dodgers 5-4.
Retired Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully narrated a video montage of Bochy’s career, telling the crowd “hold your breath” before mentioning Bochy has the most wins by a visiting manager at Dodger Stadium.
The fans applauded anyway.
“That was awesome,” Bochy said.
Scully mentioned Bochy wears a size 8 cap but he said the 64-year-old skipper “can never be accused of having a big head. A big heart, yes.”
Roberts unveiled a framed and signed No. 32 jersey from Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax. Roberts said the Dodgers found out from Bochy’s brother that Koufax was his childhood idol.
“With the greatest respect for your past, I wish you health and happiness in the future,” read Koufax’s message.
Bochy lived not far from Vero Beach, the Dodgers’ old spring training complex in Florida, and he’d go there to see Koufax.
“I never went up to him but when you saw him, it’s a feeling. It’s hard to describe,” Bochy said after the game.
He’s since had a chance to talk with Koufax a couple times.
“What a class man. What a gentleman,” Bochy said. “That was a very, very nice gift and gesture by the Dodgers.”
Roberts, who at 5-foot-10 is 5 inches shorter than Bochy, hugged his former manager.
Bochy doffed his cap. He didn’t address the crowd even though Roberts urged him to.
“I was afraid lightning would hit me,” Bochy joked later. “Here’s a Giant, talking to a Dodger crowd. I said, ‘There’s no way.’”
Bochy did whisper in Roberts’ ear.
“Bruce said if Tommy Lasorda was presenting this gift he wouldn’t be getting a gift,” Robert said, “so he understands the rivalry, too.”
Bochy has 1,994 career victories, putting him 11th all-time among MLB managers. The 10 men ahead of him are all in the Hall of Fame.
Bochy has a career mark of 219-204 against the Dodgers in his stints as manager of the Giants and previously the San Diego Padres.
“I’ve had a lot of battles here. Some good ones and some tough ones,” Bochy said before the game.
His favorite was in 1996.
San Diego came into Los Angeles trailing the Dodgers by two games in the NL West standings with three remaining. The Padres swept the series to win the division by one game.
“I thought about it a little bit coming in today,” Bochy said. “The battles we’ve had here, the great games. Rivalries. Not just here but down south, San Diego. Probably last day I’ll think about it a little bit more.”
Roberts played for the Padres in 2005 and 2006, which coincided with Bochy’s final two years in San Diego.
“I haven’t been around anyone that has that feel (for the game),” Roberts said.
Bochy will see the division-leading Dodgers one more time. They visit San Francisco to close out the regular season.
Bochy announced in February that this would be his final season, ending the tenure of the longest-serving active manager in the majors.
“I know there’s a lot of things I’m going to miss,” he said.
He seemed to leave the door open a crack, saying, “Will I step back and say, ‘You know what, I’ve got to see if I can still do it or not?’ I don’t know. I’m good with it right now. I mean, you never know.”
Freelance writer Jolene Latimer contributed to this story.