With so much baseball in his blood — his brother Aaron, father Bob and grandfather Ray all played in the majors — it’s easy to understand why Bret Boone couldn’t stay away from the game for long after retiring in 2008. The 41-year-old Boone, a three-time All-Star with 252 career homers, was hired to manage the Golden Baseball League’s Victoria Seals earlier this year. He discussed the career move with Sporting News’ Ken Bradley.
Sporting News: How did you land this job with Victoria?
Bret Boone: I got a phone call from a buddy of mine who was in this league last year, Paul Abbott, who pitched — and I played with him in Seattle in ’01 and ’02. He asked if I was interested. You know, I never really considered doing something like this and I thought this might be interesting and a good experience — kind of get my foot back in the door and find out if this is something I want to do.
The opportunity was for 3 1/2 months versus the usual five- or six-month minor league season, so that worked family-wise better for me. And I think it’s just an opportunity to get some experience and find out if this is something I want to do, and hopefully along the way help a few kids.
SN: For someone who hasn’t been out of the game as a player long and whose family is so much about baseball, was it difficult to step away?
BB: It was very hard. I’ve had a lot of friends who retired and did very well and were happy. For me it was a little different. It was tough. When I walked away from the game I thought it was going to be easy for me, and it was kind of like, Wow, all this stress and stuff I’d been going through for 15, 20 years — finally, I can just relax and step off the stage. But you find you miss it. It’s your way of life for so many years and basically all you’ve done. All of a sudden it’s not there.
It’s definitely been an adjustment for me, especially early. In the last year or so, it’s gotten a lot better and I’ve come to grips with it. I have a lot of great memories and it was a lot of fun. But I’ve been able to turn the page now and move on to the second portion of my life, and maybe that’s going to be in the managing side.
SN: You’ve been able to see your oldest son’s baseball games, among other things, though. That has been a nice change, hasn’t it?
BB: You get to do that part where I’ve never been able to do that. I’ve always been traveling, on road trips and all of a sudden—you can ask my wife, I’m probably driving her nuts being home 24-7. So this is a little break from that. Kind of back in my old life, which was going on the road and traveling and staying busy. … Waking up in the morning and having something to do other than to go get Starbucks and take the kids to school. I mean, that’s great and I’ve been lucky to spend that time with them, but at my age, you need something to get up in the morning and do and hopefully have a passion for.