Barry Bonds acknowledges that his job as Miami Marlins’ hitting coach may have a quick expiration date.
“By about July, I might. Who knows?” he joked about the possibility of leaving his new post.
Bonds explained his decision to return to Major League Baseball for the 2016 season, years after setting the MLB career record for home runs with 762 amid a federal probe into his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs. In an elaborate interview with MLB.com, Bonds said he’ll give his new position his best shot.
“I’m going to have some struggles, being back in the bus every day, riding everywhere. I haven’t done that in a long time. I haven’t lived out of a suitcase for a long time. But it is what it is,” he told the website.
“I’m going to try it out. Give it my best shot. I’ll see. … Hopping on a plane, getting in at 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning, I don’t know how I’m going to cope with stuff like that. I’m an early riser anyway and I go to bed early. Me being to work at 8 o’clock in the morning, I don’t give a darn about that. But that hotel stuff every single day?”
Such is the everyday life of a major-league coach. He said his mother suggested he try something new, which triggered thoughts about the baseball lives of his late father, Bobby Bonds, and godfather Willie Mays.
“It was something I had no intention of doing And then I started thinking about my dad and everything he taught me. I started thinking about [manager] Jim Leyland and 1986 with the Pirates. We had all these kids sprinkled with a few veterans,” Bonds said. “I need to try this. I’ll never know if I like it unless I try. Baseball, that’s my thing, that’s who I am. With everything I’ve done as a hitter, I’m the best at that. I wouldn’t have been able to do it unless the opportunity came up. So I figured, if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it the way my dad would have done it. I’ve got to be in the trenches with them.
“I could come in for a day or two and give them tips and things, but what happens when a guy really loses it and you’re not there? See what I mean? So I kind of want to honor my dad for what he did. Honor my godfather [Mays] for what he did.”
When Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria contacted him, Bonds was numb. “I didn’t ever think this was something I wanted to do. You know me, when he asked me, it was like I wanted to click on the phone and say, ‘Hello? Are you serious?’” he said. “The more I talked to my mom about it, the more she encouraged me. I told her, ‘I don’t know if I want to go back and do it every day.’
“She said, ‘Why not? You may hate it, but if you don’t try you’ll never know. You might love it and you might be one of the best teachers who ever lived. You don’t know unless you get in the box and find out.’”