By: Will Burchfield
Brad Ausmus and Bruce Bochy are close friends.
Bochy, now the manager of the Giants, was the third base coach on Ausmus’ first MLB team, the 1993 Padres. He became skipper in 1995 and presided over Ausmus for two seasons.
The two have kept in touch over the years and meet up for lunch, along with Alan Trammell, at least once every offseason in San Diego.
Theirs is a special friendship, founded on mutual respect.
Of course, there was that one time…
“He yelled at me once at Dodger Stadium,” Ausmus said with a grin.
Here’s the story.
“We were playing in San Diego against the Dodgers,” Ausmus recalled. “Tim Wallach was playing third base, I was on second base. Somebody hits a slow roller up the third-base line, Wallach comes up, fields it, I come around third thinking I might be able to score if he makes a bad throw. (Wallach) pump fakes, I take a step, he turns and tags me out. You know, happens — young player, make a mistake, learn from it.
“Week later, we’re playing at Dodger Stadium. I’m on second base, slow roller up the third-base line.” (You see where this is headed.) “Tim Wallach fields it, I round third, Wallach pump fakes, tags me out.”
“Boch wasn’t real happy about that,” Ausmus said, adding that Bochy “snapped” at him more than yelled. “He probably doesn’t even remember it, but I remember it.”
It’s why Ausmus, as a manager, is empathetic of young players who commit similar blunders.
“When a guy makes a running mistake here, especially a young guy, you talk to him about it and let him know, ‘Hey, this is what has to happen or shouldn’t happen.’ But I remember when I did things like that. It happens, and they do get better at it and they do learn from it. I never did that again — only took twice,” he laughed.
Of course, Ausmus doesn’t always let his guys off the hook.
“I’ve snapped at people before. Sometimes you reach that boiling point, and it might just be two sentences, but they know you’re not real happy about it,” said.
Ausmus learned a lot about managing by watching Bochy over the course of his career. The longer he played, the more he took note.
“When I played for him, I was trying to establish myself as a player and I don’t know that I even knew what type of manager he was,” said Ausmus. “I probably learned more watching him as I played longer and played against his teams when he was in San Diego and then San Francisco, and now I really appreciate the type of manager he is strategically.”
Bochy, 62, has managed in the big leagues for 23 years. He has captured three World Series and four National League pennants.