SAN DIEGO — Talk about getting away from it all. Steve Boros arrived home Sunday from his vacation in Tahiti and still hadn't heard the details about Game 6 of the World Series.
"Buckner did what?" he asked. "For goodness sake. Isn't that something."
For eight days, Boros didn't get near a newspaper. Well, while he was away, the Mets won, Larry Bowa replaced him as Padre manager, LaMarr Hoyt went to jail and Terry Kennedy went to Baltimore.
As usual, he took each of these news items in stride.
Especially the part about Bowa. The day before Boros left on his trip, the Padres let him know all about it. Boros had met with team President Ballard Smith and General Manager Jack McKeon that day and they told him he wasn't coming back to manage. Boros said he didn't cry or pout about it. Instead, Smith and McKeon kept telling him about his new responsibilities with the club, and that excited Boros.
"From what I know, I'll sort of be Jack's assistant general manager," Boros said. ". . . I like the idea of having more control and getting a chance to help put together a ballclub from the very bottom, signing a kid, developing that kid."
He didn't sound the least bit bitter, and you knew it because he kept referring to the Padres as "we."
As in: "I think we made a good deal to get Storm Davis."
But in the back of his mind has to be the 1986 season. He was hired to help the Padres win, and they didn't. Players thought he was too nice and that he made too many moves. The front office apparently agreed, which is why Boros is now talking about becoming a general manager someday.
He seems to have given up on managing.
"I don't see how that (managing) would happen now," he said Sunday. ". . . When I picture myself now, I see myself in this new role (assistant GM)."
He refuses to criticize his players or his organization.
"I'm facing forward," he said. "I won't look back over my shoulder and agonize over what happened in the past year. . . . Why am I not upset? I think because it wasn't high on my list of priorities to be a manager the rest of my baseball life. And because I don't have any ambitions about winning a certain number of ballgames or getting into the Hall of Fame as a manager."
But there are so many unanswered questions . . .
--What really went wrong in 1986?
"I still think three things hurt us," Boros said. "Not having the real LaMarr Hoyt all year. And losing Dave Dravecky and Eric Show for most of the second half. That's three of your five starting pitchers."
--How did you sneak out of your final meeting with McKeon and Smith, avoiding the media?
"That's a secret I'll take to my grave," Boros said.
--Do you think you'll ever stop hearing: "That Boros, he was too nice to be a good manager"?
"That's a perception a lot of people have about me, but I know it's not accurate," Boros said. "I think what I'll do is concentrate on this new job and do the very best so that when people think of me they won't think of me as a manager but, down the road, as a successful general manager."