Former San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy joined myself and Todd “Parney” Parnell of the Flying Squirrels in a virtual chat this week.
Question: How do you feel about baseball after both sides, the owners and players, couldn’t agree on terms and the commissioner had to order a 60-game season?
Answer: You know what? It’s a shame that the negotiations went the way they did, but that’s the history of our game.
I don’t know how many strikes or lockouts we’ve had? I think nine? This was different, or at least it started out different, but it came back to economics, and we saw what happened when these two [sides] were butting heads.
I think with what was at stake, you hated to see the two sides going at it like this, but bottom line is they got something settled. Sixty games, is it perfect? No. But I don’t think there was a perfect answer or compromise to this thing and to make everybody happy, but at least we’re going to have baseball.
Now, I’m still concerned with the surge of this virus. California, Florida, and Texas, players have been getting it, so we’re still not there yet. This isn’t a guarantee that we’re going to play so I still have a little concern.
Question: If you were still managing, would you have concerns about going back?
Answer: I wouldn’t really be more concerned than where I am at now. I think [the teams] are going to be so overly cautious with the medical protocol. Just to give you an example of what they’re doing in San Francisco, they moved our weight room, which was inside, to out in the parking lot out in left field. The bullpens are getting moved out to center field and the batting cages are inside, behind the dugout, and they are moving them to center field as well.
They’re going to get tested three times a week. Every day they have an app on their phone to log how they feel, and only a small number of people can be in the training room. They’re washing baseballs and they aren’t going to throw the ball around the horn when they get an out. They’ve changed everything.
All the coaches and managers and nonplaying personnel will wear a mask during the game. It’s going to be a different game.
Question: How critical are these next three to four weeks of preparation?
Answer: Who knows how much these guys have been working out, but most of the clubs have stayed on top of this. But three weeks is not a long time.
There going with the 30-man roster at first then two weeks they get down to 28, and then after a month than it’s 26, which is the normal roster. I don’t know if we’ll have a rotation. You’ll have so many matchups, and people think you’ll be able to throw out there [Buster] Posey for 60 games? No. He’s going to need his breaks. All of those guys are, especially at the beginning as to take away the risk of injury. Then about a month in, then you’ll see the sprint to the finish.
Question: What could baseball look like in a 60-game season?
Answer: This will favor the teams that aren’t the better clubs. The teams that are expected to win, this is to their disadvantage because it takes a while for the cream to rise to the top. You saw what happened with the Nationals last year.
I think this gives something to a lot of the smaller-market teams who’ll go “Wait a minute? We can get hot!”
[The Giants] weren’t really good last year, [but] we went 19-6 in July. You do that in a 60-game schedule, you have a good chance of making it to the playoffs. So, there is a lot of optimism for some of these clubs, too.