It’s about time.
If the reports that Barry Bonds has tentatively accepted a Miami Marlins’ hitting coach job are true, that’s the best way to respond to the news.
We must welcome back Bonds, arguably the best hitter of his generation with or without steroids, with open arms.
It would only be fair, especially since Mark McGwire had the same gig with the Los Angeles Dodgers. This season, it’s expected Big Mac will be the San Diego Padres’ bench coach while Manny Ramirez has been a Chicago Cubs roving hitting instructor.
McGwire and Ramirez were caught up in MLB’s steroid scandal, yet both found employment in the game. It’s something Bonds has been seeking for the last few years.
Sadly, Bonds, 51, has basically been shut out from the game he loves and made “must-see TV” during his epic career.
In his 22-year career, Bonds hit 762 homers and is the all-time homerun king.
But truth be told, Bonds was better than just a homerun hitter. He was a damn good hitter. Bonds’ eye and approach at the plate were second to none.
The Marlins have a lot of young hitters that need guidance, including slugger Giancarlo Stanton. That’s why this hire makes total sense.
The last few years Bonds has helped the San Francisco Giants, his former team, and been a spring training instructor. This past off-season he also helped Alex Rodriguez, who wound up having a great comeback season after a one-year ban for performance-enhancing drug use.
“You know how much I think of Barry,” Rodriguez told the New York Post. “He has a brilliant baseball mind.”
“I think he’ll be good for the team, the hitters. I’ll be really excited to see what (Giancarlo) Stanton will do with Barry there to develop (him).”
The time has come for Bonds to come back to the game and help younger players. At some point, we have to move on. Living in the past doesn’t help anyone.
With Bonds getting back in uniform, there will be just one question remaining: Will Baseball Hall of Fame voters eventually forgive and forget as well.
Bonds’ future as a Hall of Fame could be made clearer in early January.
Mike Piazza, the former Los Angeles Dodger and New York Mets catcher, was always rumored to have been involved in steroid use. But, like Bonds, he never tested positive.
Last year, however, Piazza got just under 70%, receiving 384 of the required 412 votes.
The thing to notice is that Piazza’s vote total has steadily increased, giving fans reason to believe that maybe some of the baseball writers have softened their stance against players associated with PEDs.
They only thing worse than not putting in players that clearly belong – Bonds, Roger Clemens, McGwire and Sammy Sosa – is putting in borderline guys simply because they are considered “clean.”
The Steroid Era can’t be ignored or treated as if it didn’t happen. It did.
Check the record book. All of Bonds stats are there.
If the New York Yankees’ and Boston Red Sox’s championships, and all the wins and losses count for teams with players that allegedly used PEDs during this untested drug use history in MLB, than all the statistics by these players should count as well.
And it’s from those numbers that you are supposed to vote for the Hall of Fame.
Either nothing counts from the Steroid Era or everything counts.
You can’t fudge it or pick and chose what numbers you want to say are legit.
Worse than that is the obvious eye test that writers have ignored and turned their heads the other way from.
If you can honestly look at Bonds from the early days until the end of his career and don’t think he’s a Hall of Famer, you have no clue as to an all-time great of the game.
As a card-carrying member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, I have voted for Bonds from his first year of eligibility and will continue until his name is removed from the ballot.
If Piazza finally gets in come January, it will be nearly impossible to deny Bonds.
Being back in the game where he belongs can’t hurt, either.