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Kipper : Opening Day From PNC Park Thought - Bring Bonds Back As A Hitting Coach?

By Kipper @pghsportsforum
Dale's iPhone 04.26.14 306.jpgAs myself and Steelreign (@PSF_Stelreign), roamed the city of Pittsburgh in panic on Opening Day looking for a parking spot, the panic wasn't about food. It wasn't about missing the first pitch. The panic was seeing the Awards ceremony. It was about seeing Barry Bonds back in Pittsburgh, along side Andrew McCutchen. It was a mad dash from the old Civic Arena parking lots to PNC Park via "The T", but we got there. We made it! We saw a guy parachute down onto PNC Park... so we knew we had time... and maybe enough to get a beer while we were at it!
Whew!!
As we made our way in, they were starting the Awards ceremony, so we found the nearest rotunda to get a glimpse of the scoreboard. There was Jim Leyland presenting to Clint Hurdle. The ovation Leyland got was excellent as expected!
..but what would Bonds get?
A guy that Pittsburgher's never forgave for leaving despite ownership deciding to not extend him. Despite the rumors that Leyland and him didn't get along that forced that decision. Nobody forgave Bonds for being the Grade A ****** that he was, but Pittsburgher's have forgiven others for the same reasons (how long did Terry Bradshaw dump on Pittsburgh?).
Barry Bonds' name was announced and it was a pretty even mixture of Boo's and Cheers, maybe even more Boo's.
I was shocked!
Dale's iPhone 04.26.14 317.jpg
I figured Bonds would get more cheers than he did. That he would be forgiven. Then again, the guy is more known now for steroids and cheating, that a lot of the crowd probably barely remembers him as a Pittsburgh Pirate.
Back in 1986, I was fortunate enough to be at Barry Bonds' debut game at home in late May against the Dodgers . The Pirates lost as I was accustomed to in 1985 and 1986 and Bonds was held hit-less. Scrawny #7 (A #7 Bonds jersey would be pretty sweet to own!). So, at PNC Park for opening day, I may have gotten to witness one of Bonds' last times on a Pittsburgh Pirates ball field, just like I witnessed him for his debut on one. The thought ran through my head a few times. It's a unique circumstance to be part of!
... and then Steelreign says, "Why not bring Barry Bonds in to be the Pirates Hitting Coach?"
I never gave it much thought.
Hitting Coach?
Steelreign proceeded to tell me how he had been doing some batting instruction with the San Francisco Giants. That he enjoyed it. The players had enjoyed it and that Hitting Coach was probably not too far away for him in the future. Following in the footsteps of Mark McGwire who has had success with it.
We had a good discussion about it as we usually do about sports topics but the thought never came back to me until last night. After watching the Pirates get shut out again and seeing this Offense as lifeless as it's ever been. The talent level is so much greater than the production. It's maddening right now. Someone just needs to squeeze the ability out of them.
Why not Bary Bonds?
Yes, it's too late in the season to change Hitting Coaches, but the possibility in the offseason, especially if the Pirates offense continues at this pace, shouldn't be far outside of any realistic realm. The Pirates could want to make a change, and Barry Bonds will be there.
Currently the Pirates Offense ranks :
13 of 15 in the NL in Batting Avg.
10 of 15 in the NL in Runs Scored.
11 of 15 in the NL in OBP
While their Walk rate is Top of the NL, their Strike Out rate ranks 10 of 15.
More worrisome is that they're generating their runs off of Home Runs and this isn't a team with enough long term power to sustain that. The Pirates are dead last in Doubles in the NL and 2nd to last in Triples in the NL. Their overall hitting isn't getting it done, nor is it generating extra bases or runs.
Dale's iPhone 04.26.14 314.jpgEven before he started juicing, Bonds was quite possibly one of the best hitters of this generation. Perhaps all around players of this generation. He could do it all (except throw a 1 legged Sid Bream out at home plate or hit in the 1990-92 Playoffs). The maturity level he had as a player in his early 20's isn't a reflection of the man he is now. Working with the Pittsburgh Pirates bats, their approach at the plate and a plethora of other possibilities are exciting options that Bonds could bring to the Pirates.
What worse could the Pittsburgh Pirates do?
Bonds isn't a locker room cancer. If he were, the Pirates wouldn't have made it to 3 straight Playoff appearances with him on the roster. The Giants wouldn't have made it to the Playoffs with him on the roster.
What about the fans?
Who cares!
Pittsburgh fans will turn on someone or claim them quicker than you can say "yinz". If you bring back Barry Bonds, the city will treat him like a long lost brother, not the 50% negative reaction he was given at PNC Park.
How ironic would it be if the same Barry Bonds who failed to nail Sid Bream at home plate and catapult the Pittsburgh Pirates into the World Series, is the same Barry Bonds who decades later helps the Pittsburgh Pirates get there?
He just needs a willing taker.
I would say there's a better chance the Giants take him, but I would love to see him try to help this putrid offense.

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