SAN FRANCISCO -- The final press conference question Bruce Bochy ever answered as manager of the Giants brought tears to his eyes. After his last game, Bochy was asked what he would tell his successor.
"He's got the best job in baseball," he said, his voice cracking. "And I mean that. I talked about the owners and our front office and this city, the surrounding areas, the ballpark and the fans. He's getting the best job in baseball."
As it turns out, Bochy had an opportunity to deliver that message in person. Bochy, who will remain with the Giants as an advisor, met with all of the managerial candidates, including Gabe Kapler, who was introduced at Oracle Park on Wednesday. According to a source familiar with management's decision, Bochy's recommendation was that Kapler was the best choice.
The two are polar opposites as managers, but they found common ground during the interview process.
"One of the things we talked about in our conversation was (that) his second time managing was better than his first time," Kapler said. "He made a lot of adjustments on the way and I can look for cues. One of the things that I'm going to set out to do is spend a lot of time with Boch and learn as much as I can about the things that he learned. That's one of my major initiatives."
Before he won three titles with the Giants, Bochy spent a dozen years in San Diego, posting a .494 winning percentage and getting to the World Series once. Kapler had a .497 winning percentage in two seasons in Philadelphia. He was fired last month, but quickly became a frontrunner for the Giants. He said he spent a couple of hours discussing the job with Bochy, but he's not coming in here just looking to follow the recent path.
"It is going to be impossible for me to fill Bruce Bochy's shoes -- it's not something that I'm going to set out to try to do," Kapler said. "He's a Hall of Fame manager, beloved in this city and across baseball for so many totally appropriate reasons."