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Bruce Bochy: Mastermind behind Giants' success

San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy, center, is

San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy, center, is greeted by his players during team introductions before Game 1 of the World Series against the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. Photo Credit: AP / Matt Slocum

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Bruce Bochy is impressed with his players.

The Giants manager is impressed with his general manager, his team's ownership and his coaching staff.

But after reaching a third World Series in five seasons, and having the chance to go 3-for-3 on baseball's biggest stage, the one person Bochy doesn't seem all that impressed with is himself.

"I'm amazed at these guys,'' Bochy said on the eve of Tuesday night's Game 1 at Kauffman Stadium. "I've told them that. Again, it's a tough road and you're going through some good clubs. I mean, we had to go through Washington. We had to go through St. Louis. They've amazed me.

"You do sometimes look and go, hey, we're pretty blessed to have a group of guys that just seemed determined to get here.''

Bochy's players, however, speak of the 59-year-old former big-league catcher in almost reverential tones, sounding like Orioles players discussing Buck Showalter.

The Orioles' run, which ended with an ALCS sweep by the Royals, was attributed in large part to their manager, but it seems as if Bochy's abilities only now -- at least outside of San Francisco -- are taking center stage.

"I've really learned a lot about the game of baseball through the way Bochy has managed the game,'' said lefthanded reliever Jeremy Affeldt, also a veteran of the 2010 and '12 Giants world champions.

"He's very intelligent. Man, that guy has the ability to see things . . . Sometimes I feel like he's three steps ahead of everybody else.''

All-Star catcher Buster Posey praised his manager's ability to connect with players of various backgrounds and abilities. "Boch has just got a great feel for his players, and he's not afraid to mix things up,'' Posey said. "He always seems to be a tick or two ahead of most people.''

Bochy, who also led the 1998 Padres to the Series, could join the Dodgers' Walter Alston (1955, '59, '63, '65) and the Giants' John McGraw (1905, 1921-22) as the only managers to win three in the National League.

"It's a lot of fun for me,'' said Madison Bumgarner, who started Game 1. "He's the only manager I've played for, so it's tough to compare him to someone. But it would be hard to imagine playing for a better manager.''

Bochy doesn't seem to want to hear much of that, instead focusing on general manager Brian Sabean, whom he calls the "architect of this club,'' ownership or, most of all, the players.

"You have to look at the talent you have, and I pinch myself that I'm given the resources, the staff and I, to have a group of guys who have that ability to get here, and that's what you're fortunate to have,'' said Bochy, who is 667-629 in eight seasons with the Giants.

"Again, it starts with Brian. Ownership gives us these resources, and of course, getting back to the players; what a group of guys and character. They found a way to do this or have a chance to maybe win the third time.''

Bochy undoubtedly has good players -- no manager wins without those -- but they don't let him off that easily when it comes to spreading the credit.

To Affeldt, "There's a rhyme and a reason for everything he's done, and I probably didn't respect that enough in 2010. I started to really respect it in 2012.

"I have a high respect for that man . . . I've come to really respect who he is in this game. I hope he makes the Hall of Fame, selfishly because I want to say I played under him.''

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