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Another day early in the process, Bochy was a little uneasy with a night game still several hours away.
Broadcaster Duane Kuiper, a former major leaguer himself, walked into the dugout and gave the skipper an earful. The usual, good-natured pregame banter that's part of the game.
"You got a dip in? Or you got that big wad of gum in, Nicorette?" Kuiper asked.
"I wonder what would happen if I put four Nicorettes in," Bochy quipped.
The family on the side of Bochy's late mother, Melrose, lives on a tobacco farm in tiny Wade, N.C. He used to work on the farm in the summers and his grandmother, Mamie, "always had a dip in."
So, he comes by this fairly naturally.
And being in baseball, it's been hard to avoid over the years. If he didn't have his own can, somebody nearby always had enough to share.
"I don't go home and dip," he said. "The triggers for me are at the ballpark. The last five years I quit during the winter. I made it deep into spring training this year."
By April 27, Bochy had gone six days without tobacco. He pulled a can of non-tobacco, herb-blend snuff from the front pocket of his Giants warmup jacket and nervously fiddled with the cap.
"It's got spices, grape leaf, glycerin. Is glycerin good for you?" he asked. "They actually say when you're quitting, the best way is the mix (with some tobacco). I kind of cold-turkeyed it."
Bochy realized in late April while back in his old San Diego stomping grounds he was ready to do this.
"That's when I said 'enough,'" he recalled.
Colorado came into town in late April and Bochy had company: Rockies manager Jim Tracy quit dipping earlier this year -- "cold turkey." He wasn't planning on it, per se.
Tracy stopped after the final play of the Super Bowl because it "was snowing the size of half-dollars" in Pittsburgh, he was in his pajamas and unwilling to brave the weather -- or take his truck down the hill in the snow -- for a trip to the Sunoco Station to get himself a new can.
So, that was it.
"The next morning, I said, 'This is going to be hard, but I'm going to do it,'" Tracy said. "Now, I only think about it when (Todd) Helton comes by with a can under my nose."
Like Bochy, Tracy had dipped since he was 18. He took his first dip of Beech-Nut as a college freshman.
"My lips are getting chapped from all the sunflower seeds," Tracy said, smiling.
By the time Bochy was back from a tough road trip to Florida and New York, he was dipping again.
In the Giants' third game with the Mets on May 9, San Francisco went ahead 4-0, blew the lead only to win after Aaron Rowand's two-run homer in the eighth. Bochy asked shortstop Edgar Renteria for some dip.
"I cheated," Bochy said. "The last game, in the eighth inning, I lost it. I put one in. I was beside myself the way the game was going -- up 4-0, then we're losing. I put one in and it brought us luck. One, that's pretty good, wasn't it? That was it. I had to calm down."
Bochy is still trying to kick the habit, and has cut back once again.
"I'm doing gum," he said. "Instead of the regular stuff, I'm doing the fake and half and half."
He hopes it works, but is realistic at the same time.
"It's a hard game. It wears on you," Flannery said. "At the end of the season, we all have our little detox programs, Chinese herbs. We have to get healthy again."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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