How do you lose a hitting coach job after just one year? And you do it when you’re a pariah who could have very easily been blackballed from the game, yet were thrown a lifeline and given a shot by a major league team?
For the Marlins very forgettable record of 79-82, they had one of the most unforgettable season’s in baseball history. That clubhouse has been through a lot together this season and one, Barry Lamar Bonds was there for all of it.
Which was an upset in itself. Here’s the guy that cheated, (allegedly, probably, almost certainly, pretty much did) but unlike Mark McGwire, never copped to any of it. And at the same time, alienated virtually every human being he had ever come in contact with: the opposition, his own teammates, the media, fans, everyone. Yet through it all, the Marlins threw him a bone, thinking the man has a ton to offer in the way of knowledge and experience; he was a Hall of Famer before he took the spike: maybe, the guy really has learned his lessons. Maybe the guy really has changed. Maybe he’d really appreciate an opportunity like this. And for a minute it appeared he did.
He was often seen at the top of the dugout steps smiling and hugging guys. Barry as a top stepper?! No one saw that coming! He actually looked like a dude, grateful for the opportunity and happy to be back in the game. He looked like a dude that wanted to be there.
And, the guy actually did his job. Did it pretty well. If you look at the numbers, the Marlins were fourth in all of baseball with a .263 team batting average. Fourth! And they still whacked him?! How does that work?!
How does a hitting coach get fired for overseeing a team that hits better than 26 other teams? And remember, Bonds was getting these numbers without Dee Gordon who missed 80 games for popping PEDs and without Giancarlo Stanton whose groin injury caused him to miss almost the entire second half of the season.
The only thing more surprising than Bonds getting that job, is getting whacked from it just one year in .
Or is it? Who are we talking about here? Barry Bonds. And generally, people don’t change. Especially people like that.
And it didn’t take a lot of digging to find out that he really hadn’t. And that folks still don’t like him. And that he still manages to get on the wrong side of anyone standing in front of him.
For instance, according to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, manager Don Mattingly would have stepped down as manager if Bonds was still there next year.
It doesn’t stop with Mattingly, either.
MLB Insider and Sirius XM host, Chris Mish, tweeted today that Barry Bonds was openly critical of Giancarlo Stanton, many times for anyone and everyone to hear. Mish also tweeted that Stanton had tuned Bonds out.
I’ve never been a hitting coach in the big leagues, but I’m pretty sure getting on my manager’s bad side, and pissing off the team’s best hitter isn’t good for your job security.
The more things change, the more they stay exactly the same.
Barry had exactly what he wanted: the thing most thought he’d never get: an opportunity to get back into the game. And to do it under a manager who’s pretty laid back, and to fly under the radar in a beautiful city with a decent ball club and make some money doing it.
But he managed to blow it all in just one year just by being himself all over again.
The Marlins can stop special ordering size 8 fitted lids now and Barry Bonds can retreat to the only place in America that still tolerates him—San Francisco.