Titanium knee joints have alleviated a lot of suffering for a lot of people, and Bochy's knees were killing him. Thousands of hours of squatting behind home plate had caught up with the 6-foot-4 former Padres catcher. Managing the San Francisco Giants was torture enough, given the team's inability to hit home runs in its own ballpark. Unless Bochy reduced the strain on his knees this year, he'd probably need to have his knees replaced, perhaps as soon as the 2012-13 offseason.
It was a wake-up call for the 57-year-old. Bochy has been managing in the majors since 1995. His solution to hard times, which are inevitable in baseball, is to work harder. Defeats gnaw at him, sapping him of sleep, raising his stress, causing him to ask what he could have done differently. His health habits had suffered.
When Bochy came through San Diego this weekend, he looked healthier than he usually does this time of year. He'd been eating better, had walked more, both on the road and at home, and said he'd been "drinking a little less vino." He'd lost about 20 pounds. "I'm keeping a pretty good routine," he said.
He still appeared in pain when he walked to the mound, but he said his knees are holding up. He called the improvement amazing.
Two years after directing the Giants to the World Series title, Bochy is ready for a pennant race, his team half-a-game behind the first-place Dodgers going into today's game. He loves the grind of trying to get the most out of a ballclub. He admits that he may never learn how to move all the way past the defeats.
"They stay with you longer," he said. "You're always thinking, 'What if I could have done more?' You think, 'What if I had dome something differently, whether it's with a move or the lineup?' "