DENVER – Brett Bochy remembered the days when he’d run around Jack Murphy Stadium, serve as the San Diego Padres’ bat boy, chew all the free gum he wanted and ride home with his dad at the end of the night.
He let out a familiar, low rumble of a laugh.
“It’ll be different,” said Bochy, who joined the Giants on Tuesday after receiving his first big league call-up. “I was running around stealing all the seeds and gum. Now I’ve got to worry about doing a job, getting guys out.”
The best part is the same, though. It’s still father-son time.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy had a break in his voice when talking about seeing his son in the team hotel for the first time Tuesday.
“It’s really special, an emotional time when I first saw him,” the elder Bochy said. “I mean, what a great day. I couldn’t be prouder. He’s put in a lot of work. To have 30 days with Brett here is something I’ll cherish and always remember.”
Another low rumble.
“I don’t know if I needed the added stress, but I’m glad to have him here,” the manager said.
The younger Bochy did not receive the news from his father. He got word Monday morning from Fresno manager Bob Mariano, instead. He didn’t get any notion this was coming?
“No, he didn’t drop any hints,” Brett Bochy said. “He kept it under wraps. I was surprised and honored and grateful to have an opportunity to be here. It’s pretty special to be here with him.”
Said Bruce Bochy: “You still want to have things done the right way.”
Brett and Bruce Bochy became the eighth father-son, manager-player combination in major league history. The last pair also wore Giants uniforms; Felipe Alou managed his son, Moises, in San Francisco and also with the Montreal Expos. The others: Bob and Aaron Boone, Hal and Brian McRae, Cal Ripken Sr. and Bill Ripken, Cal Ripken Sr. and Cal Ripken Jr., Yogi and Dale Berra and Connie and Earle Mack.
Brett Bochy, 27, was 4-4 with a 3.83 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in 35 games (two starts) for Triple-A Fresno. It was his second consecutive year with the Grizzlies and his fourth in the Giants system after being taken in the 20th round of the 2010 draft after putting up impressive numbers as the closer at the University of Kansas.
The Giants created 40-man roster room by transferring Matt Cain and Marco Scutaro to the 60-day disabled list, and it’s not like calling up Brett Bochy deprived another player of the chance to be here. They weren’t going to purchase anyone else’s contract. After the season, when they need to protect other prospects from the Rule 5 draft, they could take Brett off the roster again and likely get him through waivers.
“I think it’s something he’s earned if you look at what he’s done,” said Bruce Bochy, adding that his son only had one scholarship offer out of high school and wasn’t much of a prospect before his junior year at Kansas.
Brett Bochy also came back from Tommy John surgery his senior year at Kansas and was rehabbing when the Giants drafted him.
“He figured it out, and what ended up being (key to his development) was the work he put in,” the elder Bochy said.
Giants third base coach Tim Flannery still remembers the sight of young Brett running around the ballpark in San Diego. Brett was a batboy on the Padres’ 1998 World Series team.
“We’d go on camping trips together with my son,” Flannery said. “He and my son would throw the ball around, hit in the cages before the game, during the game, after the game … You know, the ones that grow up with it are blessed to have learned the game that way.”
Said Brett: “Every day in summer or every day I was home from school I’d go to the park. I’d drive with him there. I’d go on the plane and take my mom’s spot. I love being around the game.”
This is the first time Bruce Bochy will coach his son’s team. He hasn’t seen him pitch in person but for a handful of times the past two springs in Cactus League games, and twice in college. Such is the itinerant life of a major league field boss.
Brett said he didn’t become a catcher like his father because “I knew early on I couldn’t hit.” The elder Bochy wished his son had taken a little more hitting practice, though. It’s a lot more stressful to watch your son pitch, even when you aren’t the one handing him the baseball.
“Oh, you bet he’ll be nervous,” Flannery said. “And so will I.”