Sports Illustrated - Barry Bonds is back in baseball this year, serving as the hitting coach for the Marlins, and he is showing everyone that he still has plenty of gas left in the tank from his legendary playing career.
On Wednesday afternoon MLB’s home run king took on some Marlins players in a home run contest, and beat them all, including Miami’s superstar slugger Giancarlo Stanton.
The GOAT is still the GOAT. It's such a shame the media doesn't celebrate Bonds' accomplishments the way they do for other great players. Yes Barry Bonds took steroids, yes he was a huge asshole and no he isn't going to the hall of fame anytime soon. But none of that should take away from remembering how truly great he was in his prime. It was the baseball equivalent of what Steph Curry is doing to basketball. Just shattering records. From 2001-2004 Bonds set the single season record for home runs (73), slugging (.863), OBP (.609), walks (232), and intentional walks (120). He was once walked with the bases loaded in the 9th inning of a two run game and is the most feared hitter baseball has ever seen.
It's honestly a pretty big surprise to see Bonds working in baseball, considering how unpleasant he was with people during his playing days. But he's all smiles so far in Spring Training and it will be interesting to see if he can have an impact on Stanton as a hitting coach. Stanton is baseball's forgotten superstar due to both injuries and playing for irrelevant Marlins teams (He's played at least 130 games just once in the past four seasons). Already an elite home run hitter Bonds' biggest contribution to Stanton could be improving his knowledge of the strike zone. Bryce Harper's breakout 2015 season was due to his incredibly improved plate discipline (improving his OBP from .344 to .460 in just one year) and Stanton would be wise to try and do the same since his 2015 OBP was his lowest since his rookie year.
Anyways it's pretty incredible Bonds was able to pull this off at 51 year olds, especially considering his arms look just half the size they did from his prime. I mean look at the difference here:
The top picture is from 2004. The bottom is from this year. Clearly the guy isn't juicing anymore so this whole story is a nice reminder of how naturally talented he is. No matter what those ignorant baseball writers think, he was a hall of famer before and after taking steroids. It's awesome to have him back in the game.
PS 120 intentional walks in a single season is just ridiculous. To put it in perspective last year's league leader was Paul Goldschmidt with 29.