Rangers' Bruce Bochy ready to resume 'battles' with Dusty Baker in AL West

Bochy ready to continue rivalry, friendship with Dusty in Texas originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

After years of facing each other in the National League, Bruce Bochy and Dusty Baker -- the top two winningest Giants managers in San Francisco history -- now enter a new phase of their storied history in Texas.

Bochy retired from managing in 2019 following his 13th season with the Giants, then made a surprise return last month when he took over as the Texas Rangers’ new manager. Just under four hours away from Bochy’s new home stadium in Arlington, Baker is in his third season managing the Houston Astros.

During an interview with KNBR’s “Murph & Mac” on Friday, Bochy reflected on being Baker’s division rival in the AL West after some great moments “going against each other” with different teams.

“I look forward to having our battles again,” Bochy said. “Now, [the Astros] are good. That’s one thing I’ve stepped into is a tough division. Kind of reminds me of the National League West, with Houston, Seattle [Mariners] in this division.”

Aside from their NL regular-season battles, the most memorable Bochy-Baker duel was when the Giants faced Baker’s Cincinnati Reds in the 2012 NLDS. The Giants famously came back from a two-games-to-none deficit in the best-of-five series, winning three straight games on the road to advance and eventually winning their second World Series in three seasons.

Next season, Bochy might find it more challenging to beat Baker.

The Rangers finished the 2022 MLB season with 94 losses, ending up fourth in the AL West ahead of the Oakland Athletics. On the other hand, Baker's Astros are one game away from winning the 2022 World Series with a three-games-to-two lead over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Houston has won the division five out of the past six seasons, but Bochy believes the Rangers’ brass has a proper plan in place to get back to the playoffs next year. And until the new season begins, he’s happy for Baker’s success with the Astros.

When asked about the Rangers’ hire of Bochy before Game 3 of the ALCS last month, Baker said Bochy is one of his favorite guys but wished his friend “was in the other division.”

“I’m glad he’s back,” Baker said. “... One more for the old dudes.”

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And as Baker tries to win his first World Series as a manager in his 12th visit to the postseason, Bochy can sympathize with him -- though Bochy might have been a bit more nervous on the cusp of his first World Series win back in 2010.

“I’m very excited for him,” Bochy said. “One game away. He’s been there, he’s been at this point, so I’m sure he slept fine.

“But I’ll never forget 2010 when I was a game away. I didn’t sleep at all that night, just thinking [about] the things you need to do or things you need to say, whatever. But I’m really excited for Dusty and they’re going home, he’s got to feel good about his situation.

“I’ll give him a text here when this thing’s all over.”

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