| SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO Bruce Bochy is considered a player's manager and the clubhouse demeanor of the popular longtime skipper is paying dividends, with the San Francisco Giants seeking their second World Series crown in three years.
Bochy's players speak glowingly of him, a 57-year-old former big-league player who has been in the Giants' dugout since 2007.
The Giants have overcome an injury to closer Brian Wilson, a 15-loss season by two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, and the league-mandated, drug-related suspension of 2012 All-Star game MVP Melky Cabrera.
Southpaw Barry Zito, who has seen his once-flagging career resurrected this season, tipped his cap to his manager.
"Bochy has just been unbelievable," he said. "I mean, wow. He gets the credit. He gets a lot of credit. But I think he's due even more."
Zito said Bochy's handling of the bullpen without Wilson has been amazing.
"For a team to go out there without a definite closer for most of the season, it's just unreal what's going on," he said.
"We're doing matchups in the eighth, matchups in the ninth, one‑run games, extra‑inning games, pulling these games out.
"It's much easier on a manager when you have your obvious seventh, eighth and ninth setup guys, and your closer, and Bochy didn't have that luxury."
Bochy deflected the praise, saying San Francisco was a popular big-league destination because of the Giants' culture of making players comfortable.
"As a club, not just the players, the staff, myself, but the front office, everybody, the Giants just do a tremendous job of trying to just make the player feel at home, comfortable, and they're great at just creating tradition here," he said.
"Any player that's ever been a Giant is always welcomed back here, and usually there's a lot of Giant players in the clubhouse or coming out to see us."
San Francisco beat the Texas Rangers in five games to win the World Series in 2010 and will play the Detroit Tigers in this year's Fall Classic.
Bochy, who managed the San Diego Padres for 12 seasons before coming to San Francisco, said he was still learning his craft.
"I don't think you ever arrive as a player, I don't think you ever do as a manager," he said.
"You keep trying to get better and work on things, whether it's in‑game strategy or managing your players or even dealing with the media or front office, whatever it is."
(Editing by Julian Linden)