Recent Pittsburgh Pirates hitting coaches are Jeff Branson, Jay Bell, Gregg Ritchie, Don Long, Jeff Manto, Gerald Perry, Dave Clark and Lloyd McLendon
Barry Bonds is going to be a special instructor for the San Francisco Giants from March 9-17. It is a similar position to what Bill Mazeroski, Kent Tekulve, Bill Virdon and others do now for the Pirates. Bonds has expressed a desire to work with the Giants for quite some time and finally Giants CEO and President Larry Baer thought it would be a good idea.
The story was an exclusive by the San Jose Mercury News and Baer said this to Alex Pavlovic about the decision.
"“Collectively within the organization, we felt that given Barry’s desire to continue to contribute to the Giants, we should be open-minded about giving him the same invite that we have given to other players in the past.”"
The Pittsburgh Pirates desperately need to improve their offense in the 2014 season. We understand that the first job of a hitting coach is to earn the trust of the players. New hitting coach Jeff Branson has been around Pittsburgh Pirates hitters for some time now, so maybe he won’t need to ‘earn their trust.’
How long do you think it will take Barry Bonds to earn the trust of the Giants players?
Bonds is free to work in any job in Major League Baseball he wants to.
Should the Pittsburgh Pirates want to flatter Bonds, they could offer him a job as a special instructor. I doubt Bonds would take it. But they could make a call.
I doubt the Pirates would have the balls to even comprehend why it might make sense.
We aren’t sure Clint Hurdle’s ego could handle Barry Bonds. Hell, we aren’t sure many people in the Pirates organization could handle it. Bonds is viewed as an outcast. Even coming back and throwing out a first pitch would make some execs twitch.
Some fans can never get over the shitty throw against the Braves. Others didn’t like how he spoke to Jim Leyland who is pure gold as a coach and a man. But if Clint Hurdle wants to re-bond a city with its baseball team–getting Barry Bonds back around the team is a must do, not something that can simply be avoided year after year.
We think three things holds Bonds back.
1. He was a jerk. This town had absolutely no problem cheering for Marlon Byrd who was caught cheating. It’s not that Bonds is thought to have cheated, it’s the fact he is/perceived as a jerk.
2. He is a convicted felon as he said during his last media session in May of 2012:
"“Do I have any regrets? What happened, happened,” Bonds said at the time. “It’s there. It is what it is. I live with it. I’m a convicted felon for obstruction of justice, and that’s who I am.”"
3. And this one is the biggest. The baseball writers in town and some around the country can’t stand Barry Bonds. (Example One: Ron Cook spews venom when the topic of Bonds comes up. (But his flat bill hat around the :55 second mark is glorious)
Hell, 60 plus percent of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America won’t even vote for him.
As Buster Olney said in his article, The incongruity of Bonds’ HOF exclusion ESPN Insider, “the only group treating Bonds as an outcast now is the Baseball Writers’ Association of American, currently positioned as the steroid police of the industry….”
Even thinking about bringing Barry Bonds back to Pittsburgh will piss some of you off.
It wouldn’t piss me off a bit. We think it would be beneficial to an offense that is going to need to make great strides in 2014 and beyond. (You do realize that slugging shortstop Jhonny Peralta could bat seventh in the St. Louis Cardinals lineup…seventh, seven-th.)
Buster Olney said it well regarding Bonds in the conclusion of his article:
"The majority of the baseball writers regard Bonds very differently than how the rest of the institution of the sport does. In Bonds’ first year of eligibility, he received 36.2 percent of the vote from the body of writers, and in his second year, he received 34.7 percent.School crossing guards could only pray for a higher degree of effectiveness.The Hall of Fame already includes players who used performance-enhancing drugs, had police records, drank enough to be incapacitated in their jobs and openly cheated against rules on the books, and a former commissioner who worked diligently to keep the sport segregated.But not Barry Bonds."
So while we stare at some very important Pirates serving as special instructors in Bradenton, do you think any of the current Pirates stare at them as much as they would Barry Bonds?
One player who is really looking forward to working with Barry Bonds is Buster Posey.
"“From talking to people that either coached him or played with him, everybody said he had a very straightforward, simple approach. To me, that’s a huge part of hitting — trying to keep things as simple as possible.”"
I’m curious how much Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker, and Starling Marte would enjoy listening to what Bonds has to say? The Pirates seem to have an open invitation each season to their special instructors.
Just like Posey said, learning from Barry Bonds is something players would really look forward to. Bring Bonds around some of the talented Pirates players and ears would perk up immediately.
Maybe a convenient time to have Bonds appear would be next season when the messages of Hurdle, Banister, Branson and others begin to fade, but we think there is no time like the present.
Of course, many will say hitting coaches and instruction is really overrated. Do you remember who the hitting coach was during the 90’s when Bonds was tearing up Three Rivers Stadium?
Milt May was the hitting coach when Barry Bonds was a Pirates phenom.
It was Milt May, so maybe hitting coaches don’t really matter after all. But a call by Frank Coonelly to Bonds doesn’t cost Bob Nutting much, does it? Hell, if it’s that big of an expense, I will let you borrow my phone Frank.
San Jose Mercury News. Pavlovic
ESPN Posey Excited About Bonds