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Barry Bonds: hitting coach

Mar 2, 2010, 8:30 AM EDT

Barry Bonds headshot.jpgAndrew Baggarly wonders if and when Barry Bonds will return to the Giants’ fold and impart some of his hitting knowledge:

Like McGwire, Bonds’ public
image as a steroid cheat probably is beyond rehabilitation. But many
players past and present continue to hold Bonds’ hitting intelligence,
vision and discipline in the highest esteem. They marvel at his ability
to entrap a pitcher and barrel up the slightest mistake. They rank his
hitting acumen in the highest tier with men like Ted Williams and Tony
Gwynn.

Bonds might be a hitting Einstein to McGwire’s fifth-grade science teacher.

Yeah, but at least my fifth grade science teacher was able to explain photosynthesis and the Doppler effect and stuff to me in basic terms. After struggling to think of how to dumb-down his copious brilliance to my level for an hour, Einstein would probably retreat to the teacher’s lounge for a smoke.

But based on what we’ve heard about him, Einstein would be a better communicator than Bonds, even if he spoke in his native German.  And really, how do you teach Bonds’ batting eye, which was his greatest gift as a hitter? “Schierholtz! Do it again, and this time recognize it as a ball! I could tell that from over here!”

Bonds may be the greatest hitter of my lifetime, but not everyone can teach, and in this capacity I get the sense that Bonds is not everyoner than most people.

  1. ditmars1929 - Mar 2, 2010 at 8:43 AM

    Maybe, and a long shot maybe, I could see Bonds returning as a spring training instructor for the Giants, similar to the way the Yankees are well known for bringing back their former players. But as the Giants’ batting coach, I can’t see it happening. He’s just too toxic. Of course, I’d have thought the same about McGwire, but I think McGwire gets a little more slack because he, at least, was considered “a good guy”. But I still think the Cardinals made a mistake bringing McGwire back. Time will tell.

  2. Jonny5 - Mar 2, 2010 at 8:49 AM

    LOL! Too true! I can see bonds now, “hey dumb muther#^$$*, didn’t I tell you , forget it! You can’t hit for sh#&!!

  3. Mark C. O'Connor - Mar 2, 2010 at 9:59 AM

    You never know who makes a good teacher and who doesn’t. We are dealing with a tiny subset of the population here–professional ballplayers–and what works with them may not be what works with another group. Bonds always appeared to have good relationships with his peers and others in the game like umpires. And when he talked about hitting it was obvious there was a lot more going on than just great eyesight. I’d love to see the Giants bring him back in some way or another.

  4. ditmars1929 - Mar 2, 2010 at 10:27 AM

    Yeah, he got along so well with Jeff Kent, among other teammates. :-)

  5. Rick - Mar 2, 2010 at 11:10 AM

    He has to confess and repent first.

  6. Pandamonium - Mar 2, 2010 at 12:21 PM

    Around the time McGwire was hired, F.P. Santangelo told a story on KNBR 680 about a slump he had once when he was on the Giants. Bonds had the locker next to him and each bad day Santangelo had Bonds would say “whenever you wanna learn how to hit, come talk to me.” So the slump progressed and eventually FP took Bonds up on his offer. He said Bonds was the best hitting coach he ever had, and that everything seemed to click when Bonds was working with him. So yes, I have anecdotal evidence leading me to believe that Bonds may well be a very good hitting coach.

  7. scatterbrian - Mar 2, 2010 at 1:34 PM

    Most of Bonds’ past teammates say he was a good teammate. Kent was one of the few guys who had beef with Bonds, and it appears Kent was the dude people had a problem with. But that’s the media for you, siding with the guy they like and painting Bonds to be the asshole.
    Also, who had a fifth grade science teacher? I had one teacher all day until 7th grade, I thought that was the standard…

  8. Ryan - Mar 3, 2010 at 3:43 AM

    I thought FP’s story might have been old ballplayer talk, but he had the highest OBP of his career in his one season as a Giant.

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