By Steve Ginsburg
DETROIT (Reuters) - San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy is hoping this trip to the World Series in Detroit turns out better than the one he had as a player in 1984.
As a reserve catcher for the San Diego Padres, Bochy came in with high hopes for a title and left wondering what might have been.
"I have great memories of being in the World Series, not real good ones on how it came out," he said before Saturday's Game Three of the Fall Classic between the Giants and Detroit Tigers.
"But what a thrill for any player, and of course myself, when you get to the World Series for the first time."
If San Francisco can win two games in Detroit this weekend, Bochy's memories of the Motor City will change dramatically.
The Giants held serve in San Francisco, winning the first two games of the best-of-seven series before heading to Comerica Park for the next three games, if necessary.
It's a better situation than Bochy had with his only appearance in the World Series as a player.
"We had split in San Diego, then came here and they beat us," he said. "I had a tough memory trying to leave here. It got a little crazy.
"But overall, great experience, good time. And just a tough way to go out of it, after going 1‑1 at home and getting swept here."
Bochy, now 57, was a journeyman catcher who played for three teams over nine seasons in the majors. But he did make an appearance on the sport's biggest stage.
"I got one at‑bat (a single), and I was thrilled that (manager) Dick Williams put me in there," he said.
Nearly three decades later, Bochy is trying to win a World Series ring for the second time in three seasons. The Giants have performed superbly on the road during the second half of the season, going 30-13 since the All-Star break.
The Giants' Ryan Vogelsong, on a postseason tear with a 2-0 record and 1.42 earned run average, was to face the Tigers' Anibal Sanchez at chilly Comerica Park on Saturday night.
"Some things are hard to explain," Bochy said of his team's success away from AT&T Park. "But I will say they've really picked it up the second half on how we did play on the road, and we had to.
"We had some big road trips, and it was critical that we play good baseball on the road. And that helped bring them together."
Right-hander Matt Cain, who gets the call for the Giants in Game Four, believes the series is far from over.
"Our guys are having fun and relaxed and they're focused on what they need to do, and we know that those guys on the other side are doing the same thing," he said.
"They're going to be gunning for us."
(Editing by Gene Cherry)