Bruce Bochy

Jon Miller for Giants Manager

The last thing I heard before walking on BART was Jon Miller doing what he might do best: throwing subtle digs at someone while on the radio.

It was the first inning of the Giants/D-Backs game, and Ray Durham was on first base. Aaron Rowand hit a single, and Durham must have jogged to second base slower than Bengie Molina because Miller was annoyed. He didn’t raise his voice, but he said something like this (I’m paraphrasing):

“The Giants probably hope that a guy with Ray Durham’s speed would try to advance another base … he looked like a guy who figured he’d only get as far as second base, and with the speed with which he ran, getting only to second base became a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Great. And you know why Durham’s playing tonight, right? Because Eugenio Velez got too aggressive last night, when he tried to extend a double into a triple with the Giants behind by two runs in the eighth inning. Even though he beat the tag, the umpire called him out, and the fact remained that Velez’s risk far outweighed the reward of reaching third base.

Bochy mentioned it after the game, and Tom Tolbert brought it up with Miller on KNBR’s pregame show. Miller did agree that Velez made a foolish play, but quickly brought up an example of when Bill Buckner got thrown out in the same fashion during the 1974 World Series against the A’s. Miller pointed out that Buckner was a good veteran player for the Dodgers at the time, and seemed to be saying Velez made a mistake that could happen to anybody. He didn’t seem interested in obsessing over the play, and has always been the Giants announcer most vocal about wanting to see what the younger players on the team can accomplish.

But I’m sure Velez’s mental mistake chapped Bochy’s hide quite fiercely last night. Here’s how I figure he told Durham that he was getting the start at second base in tonight’s game:

BB (speaking even slower than usual): Uh, Ray … I wanted to let you know that you’ll be our starting two-bagger tomorrow night. We just can’t have any more of that bad baserunning, that’s what’s killing us this year … more than anything, I think.

RD: Sure man. I’ll play. But don’t even bother giving me the green light to steal. My hammy’s tight, and so is my groin.

BB: That’s fine Ray, that’s fine. No steals, and no stretching doubles into triples.

RD: What about scoring from second on a single?

BB: No.

RD: No sweat. What about tagging up on a sac fly?

BB: No.

RD: Boch, have I told you that you’re a players’ manager lately? The only thing bigger than your head is your heart. Hey, what about running from first to third on a single?

BB: No. Ray, I don’t even want you trotting to first base on a walk. The rookies, they do things so quick, they don’t get the chance to let their noggins send the signals down to their feet (points to his feet)…and their hands (waves his hands slowly, almost like a magician showing that he isn’t holding any foreign objects before performing a trick) … that have to happen to make a smart baseball play. When you get a base on balls, you are under manager’s orders to literally walk to first base. Take 20 seconds if you have to.

RD: I don’t think I’m going to be able to dive for balls in the field, either.

BB: That’s just fine, Ray. That’s just fine.

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