Greek Giant

Bruce Bochy Is Going to the Hall of Fame

You can’t make this stuff up! Last night the Rangers and their Manager Bruce Bochy won the 2023 World Series by beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-0 and taking the Fall Classic in Five Games. I predicted a Six-Game victory for the Texans….

There is so much to say about this. Consider:

  • In 2021 the Rangers lost 102 games
  • This is Bruch Bochy’s fourth ring, one of only six Managers with that achievement
  • The Rangers were the oldest MLB franchise without a World Series coming into 2023
  • The Rangers lost eight straight games in August to go into a freefall
  • They lost six of seven to start September
  • They lost thee of their final four games of the regular season to blow the division lead and end up in the Wild Card
  • Corey Seager won his second World Series MVP
  • The Rangers went 11-0 on the road in the 2023 postseason, a new Major League record
  • On November 1, 2010 the Giants beat the Rangers in Arlington to win their first World Series as the San Franciscans (more on that below)

Congratulations to Bruce Bochy.

I want to editorialize here a bit. The Rangers are the textbook example of young studs and veteran stars. They took huuuuge payroll chances in signing Corey Seager, a guy with a serious injury history, Marcus Semien, fast approaching his peak, Jakob deGrom, and Max Scherzer. That latter two did not contribute much in this magical run. That’s the breaks with signing veteran stars or acquiring them via trade. But Semien and Seager, along with Eovaldi and Heaney, were critical to the team’s success. The development and amazing performances of guys like Evan Carter, Adolis Garcia, Jonah Heim and others all under Bochy’s steady hand, was magical. The key was signing players who were still in their prime in Seager, Semien and Eovaldi. The other key was knowing they had a crop of young players on the rise and they trusted them to perform. The Rangers brain trust and Bruce Bochy let them play every day. Evan Carter had a grand total of 20 Major League games to his resume when the postseason started.

The difference-maker in all this was Bruce Bochy. Bochy’s use of the starting staff and bullpen in the postseason once again proved to be a winning formula. Look at the insertion of Jon Gray in Game 4. That was perhaps the moment that turned the series. Gray’s five scoreless innings kept the DBacks at bay while the Rangers pounded the Arizona team after Max Scherzer had to leave due to an injury to his back.

I have said it before and I will say it again, Bochy earns the trust and respect of his players because he gives it to them first. He does not panic when a player slumps or a pitcher gives up a walk or a hit. He will believe in his players to a fault and that trust is a major factor in getting a player to perform his best. No pinch-hitting for guys in the fifth inning. None of that reliever as starter BS. None of that third time through the order nonsense. If a guy is dealing, Bochy will let him pitch. Bochy does not move players around the diamond. His guys play one position and one position only. Bochy is quite the contast from the way our Giants were being managed and built.

It’s fun to be vindicated. I have written all season long that you cannot move players around the diamond on defense like it was your personal chess board. I have raved about the idiotic constant pinch-hitting and using up players in early innings. The one thing I was trying to convey in all this criticism was that a baseball player needs to know where he fits in the line up and on the field. If you keep changing his role and his identity he will never become the best player he can be. That’s something intuitive to baseball and no numbers can teach you. Obviously a Manager like Bruce Bochy knows this.

The time has now come for the Analytics-First Fetish in Major League Baseball to die a quick and horrible death. It’s a cult that ruined the game for fans. It’s a philosophy built by people who never played a game of a catch in their lives, as Tim Flannery said. It’s a mode of interpretation so clearly wrong and so short-sighted that we have reached full absurdity when a player like Joc Pederson gets a $19 million contract and cannot even play left field as a competent Major Leaguer. Don’t get me started on all the reliever BS.

Bruce Bochy and the Rangers, like the Astros and Dusty Baker last season and the Braves with Brian Snitker before them, have proven without a doubt that Analytics will not win you a World Series ring but believing in your players, good starting pitching, good defense, solid hitters hitting in the same spot in the line up every day, will.

Speaking of Snitker, Baker, and Bochy, we are talking about three very old-school baseball lifers here who have won the last three rings. That’s no coincidence, in my humble opinion.

November 1, 2010

November 1, 2010 is a national holiday for Giants nation. On the first of November thirteen years ago the Giants beat the Rangers in Arlington, 3-1 to clinch the World Series in five games, the first for the franchise in San Francisco. Timmy threw a gem and Edgar Renteria hit the big homer. It was a nail-biter of a game. I was on the edge of my seat for every pitch. I remember watching it with my parents and yelling for joy when Renteria’s hit off Cliff Lee cleared the wall in left-center.

This brings back so many great memories:

and this:

“And for the first time since 1954, the Giants are World Champions”!