Monday, February 26, 2024

PHOENIX — Bruce Bochy barely had time to raise his arms toward the sky. His coaches crowded him with hugs and back slaps as soon as the final pitch of the 2023 season entered the strike zone, ending the 5-0 victory by the Texas Rangers over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 5 of the World Series. When reliever Josh Sborz’s curveball landed in catcher Jonah Heim’s mitt Wednesday night, Bochy disappeared, if only for a moment, re-emerging to join his players on the field. He had thought about returning to nights like this in a dugout in Germany and on his couch in Nashville. He had wondered if he might manage again. Now he had reclaimed his usual place at this time of year: hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy to commemorate a title.

The Rangers can now call themselves champions of the world for the first time in franchise history. Their cast was quite familiar with the stage, with Bochy managing his fourth team to a title and Corey Seager winning his second World Series MVP trophy. Texas GM Chris Young will add a World Series ring to his collection which already includes a ring as a player with the Kansas City Royals in 2015.

Bochy, known for his bullpen management, exuded delight as Texas put together a four-run flurry in the ninth. Despite being 68 years old and dealing with past injuries, his skill has not deserted him.

Bruce Bochy returned to the dugout a little over a year ago, managing the French team in the World Baseball Classic trials. The opportunity to return came from Young, who believed Bochy was the ideal candidate to lead the Rangers. The team faced ups and downs throughout the season but displayed the resiliency and mettle befitting a champion.

Gallen started strong for the Diamondbacks, sitting down the first 14 batters he faced. Eovaldi faced more stress but managed to strand the runners and keep Arizona off the board. Texas taxed Gallen in the fifth but couldn’t score. In the bottom of the inning, Eovaldi faced a bases-loaded situation but did not break, ultimately securing the victory for the Rangers.

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