When news broke that the Miami Marlins were interested in bringing one of baseball’s most prolific home run hitters in as their new hitting coach, you could be sure that the ol’ information highway exploded. Some people are completely disgusted, others think it’s time. So, should Major League Baseball welcome back Barry Bonds?
If there were any single owner in MLB that would hire Bonds to his first official position in the game since he retired, it’s certainly Jeffrey Loria. I mean, have you ever seen an owner care less what people think, never mind his own fan base.
The Marlins need to fill seats at that stadium. The Marlins — after a season that many felt would see their young team break through and compete, but fell flat on their faces — need some media attention. Hiring Barry Bonds would certainly bring people to the ballpark, whether in a good way or a bad way. And most likely ESPN would have the Marlins as one of their featured teams on Opening Day.
Ichiro Suzuki. Don Mattingly. Barry Bonds. That’s quite the dugout filled with tons of accolades. Throw in Giancarlo Stanton and win or lose, the Marlins certainly become a sight people are interested in, don’t you think?
Simply put — PEDs or not — Bonds was a beast. Well before he became MLB’s most hated persona, Bonds was a stud in Pittsburgh. He had won the MVP Award twice in three years and left for the west coast with a highly impressive seven-year stat line. He slashed .275/.380/.503 averaging 25 home runs, 80 RBI and 35 stolen bases a year. The man could hit.
Steroids and PEDs don’t make someone a good hitter, they make them stronger and give them the ability to heal faster and avoid long layoffs from injuries. Barry Bonds — from a talent and technical standpoint — is a no-brainer as a hire for a hitting coach for any team in the MLB. He worked with A-Rod and Dexter Fowler this offseason. A-Rod was a finalist for Comeback Player of the Year and Fowler hit the most home runs in his eight year career while setting a career high in hits and remaining right on par with his yearly stolen base average. Coincidence?
But — of course — there is the luggage. A lot of people will say Mark McGwire was welcomed back to baseball. They are right. But McGwire — unlike Bonds thus far — made amends. He apologized to Tony LaRussa and the St. Louis Cardinals fan base. He apologized to Bud Selig. And after years of lying to everyone — most likely himself included — he came clean. While he is still searching for that Hall of Fame bid, he has been welcomed back to the game with little pushback, and fans have seemingly forgot that he even existed.
Bonds would be a different story. He holds every slugging record in the history of the game. Single season home runs, career home runs and walks are all his while he is top five in nearly everything else. But he did it all under the suspicion of PEDs.
We have to say suspicion. You know why? It was never proven. He never failed a test. He was never on a list of PED users like David Ortiz was. You know David Ortiz who is going to garner Hall of Fame consideration and have a Farewell Tour despite being on a list of PED users and calling out the Yankees time and time again for PED use? People loved Big Papi because he became a Yankee killer and was the voice of the 2013 Boston Red Sox. I got news for you. He and Bonds are the same type of character, one just took it to a bigger level.
If Bonds wants a job, I do believe he should come clean, but that doesn’t mean he has to. My stance on the Steroid Era has always been the same. While it has been proven that many superstars did in fact ruin the integrity of the game, it also has been proven that a blind eye was purposefully turned on PED usage until it spiraled out of control.
That 1994 strike really hurt the game, and without the 1998 Home Run Chase between two verified PED users who knows where MLB would be. You can’t fault the players entirely for a system that was not monitored, nor controlled.
Many people will say Bonds has no place in the game because he did ruin that integrity. Many of those same people would be less likely to loathe him if he could just fess up and come clean. The thing about Bonds was that he was always a despised figure. He was short with the media, he had an ego that was always larger than his head ever grew to (which was freakin’ huge, people) and he always had haters where ever it was that he went.
Should the Marlins hire Bonds? It’s been eight years since he swung a bat. The Marlins are young and need to learn how to hit. They also are dying for an attendance spike. I have been to one Marlins game since they moved into the new stadium, so whether or not I protest the hire and refuse to ever go back to Marlins Park, doesn’t really matter a whole lot, does it?
What the hell… the Marlins should go for it.
I’m very curious to see what readers think…
2 thoughts on “The Miami Marlins and Barry Bonds: to hire or not to hire”
Your column is right on. I’d hired him without reservation!
Thanks! Why not? Right. It’s part of the history of the game now. Let’s move on.