The San Francisco Giants never seemed to be the favorite to win the World Series during last season or during their remarkable postseason run, but they found a way to get it done. Now, as spring training begins, Giants manager Bruce Bochy can reflect on winning a second title in three years and says that should help defend the Giants against naysayers who like to say they got lucky the first time. Bruce Bochy joined XX Sports Radio in San Diego with Darren Smith to discuss what it meant to win a second World Series ring, silencing critics who called the team lucky or the first title a fluke, what’s different about his team this year, stadiums shrinking their dimensions and the roles of Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum.
What did winning a second World Series mean to you?
“I think a couple things. One, it kind of validates the first one. A lot of times, well, you were lucky or it’s a fluke. That really I think helps take care of that part of it and really shows the public how talented they are. For me, I didn’t want to just do it once. Now that we’ve done it a second time, I don’t want to stop. I think we all realize how hard it is to get there, much less to win it.”
Did you ever let it get to you when people would call your first championship a fluke?
“Oh I did. And I did this past season, because we just kept hearing the ball is bouncing our way, we’re lucky. … The little things that happened during the postseason was us executing good baseball. I kept hearing we’re lucky, and you don’t win 94 games during the regular season if you’re lucky. You don’t go through the postseason the way we did. It takes more than luck. You’re facing elimination six times. … It does get to you when you hear it because these guys are getting the credit they deserve.”
What’s different about your club from last year to this year?
“Well, actually, we’re fairly similar. We signed Pagan back, we signed Scutaro back. If you look around our positions, we’re pretty much the same. Now, in left field, it will be competitive. Pitching’s pretty much the same, with Timmy going back to the rotation. Right now, Romo’s our closer. We’re very similar.”
With the Padres and many other teams recently bringing in their fences in a pitchers’ ballpark, has there been any thought of doing that in San Francisco?
“Yeah, sure, there’s some hitters that want us to change it a little bit. … It’s the personality of our ballpark, a signature look, I guess, when you look out in right field. But there’s nothing that’s going to happen right now. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen. It’s big out there. I wouldn’t be surprised, now that Petco is being moved in, if talks pick up.”
On pitchers Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum:
“It is amazing what happened last year when you look at how those roles reversed. You talk about a 360 here. Zito, first, let’s start with him. The remarkable job he did of getting back on track is one of the more impressive things I’ve seen in baseball. … He got his confidence and carried that through the postseason and of course pitched that big game against Verlander in the World Series. And then Timmy, who would have thought that we would have had to deal with his ups and downs that he had last year? But that’s what it takes to win. … Now that we’re starting the season, you have to like where Barry’s at with his confidence, and I think Timmy, with the job that he did in the bullpen in the postseason, that our starting pitching should be in great hands right now. I know I’m fortunate.”