Can’t keep him away pic.twitter.com/iiZJrAGGbG
— KNBR (@KNBR) February 21, 2020
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Bruce Bochy sat in the dugout, right leg on top of left, 70-plus ballplayers spread out on various fields in front of him for a team that he called his own for so long.
He looked odd dressed in mufti, appeared thinner — healthier — five months after saying goodbye to the Giants and San Francisco, allowed more time to rest than his former life would allow.
He said his hellos, chatting with Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford, Farhan Zaidi and Gabe Kapler rushing over to shake his hand and exchange pleasantries.
Asked his schedule now, a relaxed Bochy joked, “You’re seeing it.” In reality, he will be around the team for another week before leading his next team — the French National squad — into World Baseball Classic qualifying in Tucson.
Bruce Bochy the man was back, overlooking a kingdom that was no longer his, and he looked just fine with that.
His successor, talking to media on the other side of the dugout so as not to disturb the Bochy-Zaidi-Scott Harris-Duane Kuiper corner, then said he hopes Bochy will address the troops once more.
“That’s something I want to talk with Boch about and gauge his comfort level,” Kapler said Friday at Scottsdale Stadium on the eve of the spring opener. “Really happy he’s here. He brings a lot of energy to the fields. It’s nice to look in here and see Boch.”
Bochy has more slid to the back than disappeared, still seen around Giants headquarters, now with a “special adviser” title. He may test the managing market next season as a retirement turns into a sabbatical, but for now he will be around family — even while managing, as his son Brett will be on the France pitching staff.
Kapler said he and Bochy, who endorsed him, have kept in touch, and Bochy reportedly has slunk back and not been in camp previously to allow his heir time and space to make the team his own.
“I think that’s why he is where he is today because he’s so thoughtful,” Kapler said. “He thinks about things on a deeper level. There’s a lot of awareness and sensitivity. … Being on my end of it, I’m super grateful for that awareness.”