Giants fans are in their feelings right now. It has been a rough last couple of months for us. A nonstop nightmare at times even. Nothing was happening how it was supposed to happen for the Giants. The hitters were not hitting well. The pitchers were having issues pitching well. The coaches suddenly were not coaching well. The manager stopped managing. The president of baseball operations was doing a poor job of president of baseball operations-ing.
It culminated with the unceremonious, and in no way surprising, firing of Giants manager Gabe Kapler. The Giants grand experiment that President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi set the organization of came to a thudding end on an overcast Friday afternoon in the Giants dugout. It was the first in-season firing of a Giants manager since the 100-loss season of 1985. It was bad. But it was over though right?
Then we as Giants fans got to watch the manager Kapler came in after, Bruce Bochy, win a World Series title with the Texas Rangers. You of course remember Bruce Bochy. He was the manager who won three World Series title with the Giants in 2010 (against those same freaking Rangers) 2012 and 2014. The Bochy Era came to an end after the 2019 season. At the time, the Giants had lost 314 of their last 568 games going back to the 2016 All Star Game in San Diego. That is a .447 winning percentage over a three and a half year stretch, the equivalent of a 72-90 season.
But there he was, winning a World Series with the Rangers. It is like seeing your ex get to the altar while you are still stuck on a string of bad rebounds. It was bittersweet to watch. On the one hand, you want to be happy for Bochy. (And you probably are!) But while you are scrolling through Instagram on November 1st, in the minutes after Bochy lifted a World Series trophy for the fourth time, you probably came across the post of Gabe Kapler doing his best impression of the “Unemployed Friend on a Monday” meme, eating masala in a small town of 1,660 in Oregon. You probably thought, “How did this happen??” or some variant of that thought.
When Bruce Bochy announced before the 2019 season that that coming season would be his last, not much was made about why that was the time for him to step down other than, well, it was time. And those are his words, not mine.
"In my mind, it's time," said Bochy, at the time. "It's been an unbelievable ride. There is so much I'm grateful for, with the players, the city, the fans. It's time now."
Welp, that settles it then right? Nope, that is not how sports fans, and the internet, work.
The conspiracy theory floating around Giants fans was that Bochy was forced out unwillingly by Farhan Zaidi. This is backed by comments Brian Sabean has made on several occasions stating that Bochy did not go out on his own terms, most recently with 95.7 The Games own Larry Krueger.
But then Bruch Bochy took to the airwaves on Tuesday and addressed Bay Area radio listeners on his departure from the Giants in 2019.
“I didn't know if I would come back,” Bochy said. “I mean, I took three years off. I've never called anybody, but just watching the game. You just have a deeper appreciation for the game and the things that you've missed.”
Case closed then right? Nope? That is not how sports fans and the internet works? Still?
Regardless, this is not my attempt to justify either side of this debate. I do not to argue in favor or against this theory. I am not going to bore you with all the writers who have refuted this theory. I am not going to allude to any rumors I may have heard to support it. I am not going to make any sort of declarative statement on whether I think Bruce Bochy left on his own accord or not.
The reason why? It. Does. Not. Matter.
At least not anymore. And for two reasons
1. It will not change your opinion on the current group of coaches and executives running the Giants.
2. You only care because the Giants are bad right now.
Regarding the first point, at this stage in the Farhan Zaidi era, the battle lines of the Farhan Wars have been pretty clearly drawn. There are some like me who in the last year have given up on the dream that Farhan Zaidi holds the answers, but for the most part, Giants fans are either all in or all out on Farhan Zaidi. There is no middle ground.
If you are in the all-out crowd, and Bruce Bochy invited you to dinner to explain in person that he stepped down on his own terms to make the transition for Zaidi easier, as nice as that dinner would be (my guess is Original Joes is where it would be at), would it change your opinion on Farhan Zaidi?
But, if during that dinner, Bochy shocked you when leaned in close and whispered that is it all true and Farhan Zaidi has ears everywhere and he was fired for threatening to expose the Big Secret (use your imagination), well, you were already out on Farhan Zaidi to begin with, so what is one more reason to be out on him going to do for you?
Maybe you are all-in on Farhan Zaidi, and during this dinner at Original Joes (Think of all the times this dinner would be interrupted by people wanting autographs and pictures. Bochy is not going to say no to these requests. It is not his style) he leaned in and said there was a multi-faceted effort led by Farhan Zaidi to force him out, it still would not matter, and that brings me to my second point.
You are only mad about this because the Giants are bad right now. If Farhan Zaidi made the 2021 Giants the rule and not the exception, Giants fans would all be eating masala in honor of Gabe Kapler every weekend. If the Giants had names like Aaron Judge or Kevin Gausman or Carlos Correa or Juan Soto, you would spend zero seconds thinking about why Bruce Bochy was not in the Giants dugout. You would give no thoughts to what Farhan Zaidi did or said, if anything, to remove Bochy from the dugout.
If Marco Luciano, Heliot Ramos and Patrick Bailey all finished 1-2-3 in the National League Rookie of the Year voting, it would not bother you that Gabe Kapler was their manager and Farhan Zaidi the president of baseball operations.
The issue is not so much that the Giants moved on from Bruce Bochy. The issue is the Giants have wholly failed to jumpstart a new era of Giants baseball in the wake of Bruce Bochys departure from the team, forced or not.
We were told the Giants were going to bring in “Next-Gen” thinking minds to run their baseball operations. The organization wanted to turn to a more analytically driven model of baseball. Maybe they did it the wrong way. Maybe that was the wrong move to begin with. But if the Giants had hit on Zaidi and Kapler and won lots of baseball games in 2022 and 2023 with a lineup that had at least ONE name people cared about, there is a good chance this conversation is not being had.
Maybe the error was Farhan Zaidi choosing not to work with Bruce Bochy. Perhaps Zaidi should have decided to give the future Hall of Fame manager a chance to work in a more analytical environment, bucking the trend of baseball executives hiring “their own guy” when overseeing an organizational rebuild.
Perhaps, but then the Giants would have had to have navigated the many health issues Bruce Bochy was dealing with. He mentioned three separate procedures he had during his time off on his hips and knees. Then there were the health issues he dealt with while manager of the Giants. The angioplasty to insert two stents into his blood vessel in 2015. The irregular heartbeat in August of 2016. In 2017, there was the minor heart ablation brought about due to an atrial flutter. He had the issue further worked on after that season. He was 64 years old when he announced he was going to step down in 2019.
Maybe the answer is simple. Perhaps the answer is complex. Regardless of what happened, it has no bearing on where the Giants stand now, which is an organization that deems adrift in becalmed waters with no hope for even the tiniest of breezes to move them forward. Bruce Bochy is not walking through that door to save the Giants anytime soon. Someone else is going to have to do that. And until then, it is going to suck that Bruce Bochy is not the Giants manager anymore.