Major League Baseball’s home run king is officially back in the game. On Dec. 4, Barry Bonds joined Don Mattingly and the Miami Marlins as the team’s new hitting coach. But why not San Francisco? Bonds spent the final 15 seasons of his career wearing orange and black.
During a Q&A interview with MLB.com Bonds spoke about leaving the city by the bay, and why the Giants never offered the slugger an official coaching position within the organization; he’d previously served the organization as a guest instructor during Spring Training.
It seems, at least according to Bonds, the idea of him becoming a coach in San Francisco was something that was never considered by club brass. He said in the interview, he never fielded a single call from the Giants about becoming a hitting coach, only a regular call each season with the Giants parading Barry to the public in some type of PR role.
“That opportunity never presented itself. Like I said in my press conference, I’d have loved to have stayed in San Francisco,” Bonds said. “But the opportunity never presented itself, not in the sense of being a hitting coach, I wasn’t trying to be a hitting coach there. That wasn’t the thing. There just was never any conversation. No one ever called me.”
Apparently, the Giants weren’t the only club to ignore the services of Bonds — who walked away from the game with a lifetime average of .298, 762 home runs and 1,996 RBIs. The Marlins were the only team to solicit his services, he said during the interview. Regardless, he doesn’t harbor any ill will against the city of San Francisco, or the team.
“The job with the Marlins] was the only opportunity that presented itself. And that’s the truth,” he said. “Everyone knows that I love San Francisco. I would never deny that. This is my home. This is my first love. This is the job opportunity that came to me. And this was the only one. And I took it.”
Another reason Bonds may not have received very many calls, is because he simply wasn’t looking for work. His life since he left the field has perpetually become more quiet and quiet, aside from his legal matters. Those are now behind him; in July, federal prosecutors dropped what remained of a criminal case from a 2011 obstruction of justice charge. In August, an arbitrator ruled against Bonds in a collusion case stemming from his final season in the majors. Regardless, he was content with the retired life, he said.
“It was something I had no intention of doing, but he [Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria] asked me to think about it. And then I started thinking about my dad and everything he taught me. I started thinking about [manager] Jim Leyland and 1986 with the Pirates.”
How well will Mattingly and Bonds mesh? Bonds of course was incessantly subject to his antics with his teammates, as much as he was with the media. Bonds said he really only knows the manager from the other side of the field, but he’s had plenty of interaction with the rest of the Marlins coaching staff, and that helped make his decision easier.
“Only from the other side of the field. I mean, just from my playing days. He’s a nice guy. Really mellow. It helps that I know so many of the coaches. [Bench coach] Timmy Wallach I’ve known forever. A lot of guys I’ve either played with or against, had dinner with, had some laughs with. That makes it a lot easier.
David Barclay is an byteclay.com staff writer. E-mail: email@example.com Twitter: @DJamesIII