Bochy still chewing at age 55

Bruce Bochy made it almost a month
this time in his quest to finally quit dipping. He thought he had kicked the
habit at last, then the San Francisco Giants began to struggle and the manager
quickly reverted back to his old ways. Bochy reached for his longtime go-to
stress reliever: that tiny round tin that’s been a staple in his life going on
40 years.

Even though Bochy agrees with
Congress pushing baseball to stop major leaguers from using chew, dip or
similar tobacco products during games, he knows it’s going to be a chore,
especially as he has been dipping since he was 18.

“It’s tough, man,” he said. “You
don’t know ‘til you’ve tried it. I’m going to try it. The coaches said they’re
going to the other end of the dugout. I’ve tried to quit in the middle of the
season. I looked at myself spitting and said, ‘Come on, Bruce,’ I told my boys
I don’t want them doing it and I’m doing it. I’ve taken the fake stuff and put
a little bit of tobacco with it to wean myself off. The trainers did it for
me.”

Bochy’s not proud of the fact he
can’t seem to kick it. He has urged his two baseball-playing adult sons never
to start. The skipper typically stops dipping each winter, when he’s away from
the day-to-day pressures of a 162-game season. The dip, he has repeatedly said,
gives him an edge and makes him feel sharper to make all the tough in-game
decisions.

So far it has been a decent
campaign for the 32-27 Giants. They’re a step behind Joe Torre’s Los Angeles
Dodgers and Bud Black’s San Diego Padres in the NL West though pitching has
been great behind reigning two-time NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum (5-2, 3.20
ERA and 89 strike-outs).

Nevertheless Bochy, 55, is
hard-pressed to break a habit that began when he played in a summer league in Virginia. His roommate
from North Carolina
chewed every day and influenced him to start the habit.

“I said, ‘Let me try it,” Bochy
recalled. “Like everybody, the first time I got sick. The second time, I
tolerated it. And by the third and fourth time, I was fine.”