SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP) — For the last 12 years, Bruce Bochy has lived with the stigma of getting swept in the World Series.
For the rest of his life, he’ll be known as the manager of the 2010 World Series champion San Francisco Giants.
Bochy likes to say he’s just the guy who decides which of his tremendous pitchers starts on a given day, but it’s easy to see his impact goes much deeper. He mixed and matched a collection of “characters,””castoffs” and “misfits,” drawing out enough offense to get by the Braves, Phillies and Rangers this postseason.
“I was just hoping to get one more chance at this,” said Bochy. “That’s what the game is about, being in this moment right now,” he said. “So I’m living a dream.”
Bochy went into October having lost 10 of his last 11 playoff games. He left his highest-paid player, $126 million pitcher Barry Zito, off the postseason roster and hardly used his highest-paid hitter, outfielder Aaron Rowand.
Instead, he relied on guys like Andres Torres, a 10-year minor leaguer, and rookie catcher Buster Posey.
“I can’t say enough about how they accepted some roles,” Bochy said. “I’m sure they weren’t happy with me, guys (who) were used to going out there every day. But they stayed ready, and they had one thing on their mind, and that was to do this. … But it’s not going to work unless they buy into it, and they did.”
Perhaps the best example was World Series MVP Edgar Renteria. He didn’t start until Game 2 of the NL championship series, San Francisco’s sixth this postseason.
“Bruce somehow managed to juggle this roster and put people in position to be successful,” managing partner Bill Neukom said.
Bochy was most proud of the pitchers his supposedly paltry lineup beat — from San Diego’s Mat Latos in the regular-season finale to get into playoffs, all the way to Texas’ Cliff Lee in Games 1 and 5 of the Series. In between, there was Tim Hudson and Derek Lowe in Atlanta, and the Philadelphia staff of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.
“It amazes me,” Bochy said. “I’m sure a lot of people didn’t think that was going to happen.”
Bochy is 55, in his 16th year as a big league manager after nine seasons as a backup catcher. He was NL Manager of the Year in 1996 with the Padres and has been with the Giants since 2007.
After winning Game 4 on Sunday night, Bochy was so excited and so nervous about being one win away from the title that he could hardly sleep. He said he was nervous all day. When Nelson Cruz struck out to end it, Bochy threw both his arms straight in the air, then hugged pitching coach Dave Righetti.
“I was numb at first because you understand how hard this is to do,” he said. “But it makes everything worthwhile, whatever you do when you get to this point.”
IN DEFEAT, A RING ANYWAY: Rangers catcher Bengie Molina is going get a World Series ring anyway because he spent half this season on the San Francisco Giants. How awkward is that?
“There’s a lot of guys that I enjoyed playing with, made myself very comfortable when I was there in San Francisco,” he said. “I’m actually very happy for them. … I think they’re enjoying right now what a special feeling it is.”
Molina said before the Series that he was considering retiring. In the moments after this season ended, he said he hasn’t decided.
“Right now, it’s probably closer to no playing than yes,” Molina said. “I don’t want to decide right now because then something happens later on and I come back. I just want to spend time with my family right now, my mom and my wife and my kids. I’ll spend times and I’ll make a decision.”
Molina was 2 for 11 in the Series, playing four of the five games.
ONLY IN SAN FRANCISCO: Warning: Giants slugger Aubrey Huff is considering a grand unveiling for his lucky red thong.
“I’m probably going to wear it all by itself in the parade,” Huff said. “I better get a spray tan, huh?”
Huff might have been the only San Francisco player happy to win in Texas. He grew up in the area going to Rangers games and had plenty of friends and acquaintances in the stands, plus some of his role models like Nolan Ryan.
“To do this here in front of a lot of people I grew up idolizing: coaches, coaches from high school, friends, all my family’s here, it’s special, man,” Huff said. “Been a long grind for me, nine years. To be here and do this, I can’t believe it happened.”
CRANK UP THE HOT STOVE: About an hour after the game ended, the MLB players’ association sent an e-mail declaring 142 players are free agents, plus 34 more are eligible for free agency pending option provisions.
From the world champion Giants, the free agents are sluggers Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell and Jose Guillen, infielders Juan Uribe and reliever Guillermo Mota.
World Series MVP Edgar Renteria is also eligible for free agency pending option provisions.
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