I couldn’t watch much of the World Series game last night. Obvious reasons, but also I’m still dumbfounded about the Giants. I don’t understand how they score 11 runs off anyone, let alone Mother Lovin’ Lee. I wasn’t one of the haters rooting against Cliff, but that never-ending string of doubles he gave up was one of the more surprising things I’ve seen in a long time. As a bonus to the Giants scoring run after run we were treated to several gratuitous shots of Barry Bonds having a ball in the stands. Root ’em in, Barry. So, adding to the list of why I despise the Giants, we have the reappearance of Barry Bonds.
I don’t quite understand the love affair with Bonds in San Francisco. Does a single season home run record carry so much weight? Is the city that laid back, that starved for baseball history? Bonds never led the Giants to a World Series title. For much of his career his post-season shortcomings were the biggest knock against him, but I guess all those MVP seasons in San Fran have won the fans over forever. Just like Mark McGwire in St. Louis there isn’t any of the resentment that other baseball fans feel. I remember watching Bonds in ’02 and I wasn’t necessarily a fan, but I was amazed at what was happening. I suppose it was quite a ride for the Giants fans to go on, and I hope that is what they appreciate. I hope they are aren’t out there still in denial.
Bonds has been scarce at Giants games since his playing days ended, but he’s recently begun showing his face. He has already thrown out a first pitch (were Jeffrey Leonard, Robby Thompson and Atlee Hammacker not available), and last night he was in the crowd acting like one of the newly minted die-hards. Ulterior motive? Of course, this is Barry Bonds we are dealing with, and so it is no surprise that Bonds took the occasion of the Giants winning game one to declare he’d like to be a hitting coach in the big leagues. Essentially, he’s lobbying for the Giants’ job, because there is no way in hell anyone else is going to hire him. Hensley Meulens look out there is a man with a giant head nipping at your heels. It’s a classless move and classless timing by Bonds, not that it should be a surprise.
The quote from Barry could be a poster for egomania. “I have a gift. Sooner or later I have to give it away.” If I could pick one sentence that would turn me off to hiring someone as a hitting coach, that might be it. The problem will be that Barry’s gift cannot be given away. There are probably 2 or 3 hitters alive at any moment that can hit like Bonds (pre or post-enhancement). Bonds clearly could hit, but he hit so well that it actually could impede his ability to help young hitters. In Philadelphia we know that Bonds has had a relationship of some kind with Ryan Howard. It included talks about hitting and some off-season work, but aside from that Bonds has zero coaching experience that I am aware of.
The Bonds announcement or declaration, continues the parallel with Mark McGwire. McGwire wasn’t half the hitter Bonds was, and it was Tony LaRussa who provided the Bonds-like quotes on McGwire’s behalf, but it would be a similar process if Barry followed McGwire into coaching. The distraction Bonds could cause would dwarf that of Big Mac, plus we’d have to wonder if his return would require some type of confession regarding his PED use. McGwire finally spit out some details to attempt to clear the air about his tainted record, but I’m not sure Barry would have any interest in that type of admission. McGwire survived his first year, has been asked back for a second, and the Cardinals scored 6 more runs than they did in 2009. That’s a .037 runs per game improvement under Dan’s brother. So, maybe the Balco school of hitting coaches is the way to go. We’ll find out. If the Giants are smart, they’ll leave Barry in the stands.