By Jennifer Currier 3/11/2016
Baseball legend Barry Bonds is spending this season helping players on the Miami Marlins make the most of every at-bat as the team’s new hitting coach.
“Everything I was told about [the Marlins] so far has been exactly right,” Bonds says about his new team. “They get along very well, they work hard, and they’re young. Some of them are still developing, but they got a great attitude and a great approach. That’s what I’ve seen so far.”
Bonds has returned to Major League Baseball full time. However, this isn’t the first time the home run leader has tried his hand at coaching.
In 2014, he spent a week a roving instructor for his former team, the San Francisco Giants, and even though that was nearly a decade after his final game as a player, Bonds said he hasn’t gone anywhere.
“I was always at the ballpark, so, I mean, I was always there,” he says.
The Marlins have a younger team, mixing new players and those with only a few years’ experience into their lineup. For Bonds, it’s exciting to watch this batch of young guys play across the league.
“I was young and I took over, so it’s their turn,” says Bond. “I like the next generation. Times have changed and it’s their time. We had our time. Our time is now gone, so we need to appreciate their time.”
For Bonds, part of this includes not taking credit for his team’s success.
“I’m not getting them ready, they’re getting themselves ready,” he said. “I’m just one piece to a puzzle. They work hard, and they’re professionals. I don’t take credit where credit ain’t taken. They deserve that credit.”
Bonds also isn’t the only former-player-turned-coach joining the Marlins this year. After making a name for himself as a hitter on the New York Yankees and spending seven seasons as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Don Mattingly will call Miami home this season.
Mattingly said so far, Bonds is a positive addition to his coaching staff.
“It’s his first year coaching full time, so I think that’s going to be a learning process for him, but it’s good to have Barry around,” he says. “The guys have responded well to him.”
Bonds, Mattingly and the Marlins will make the short trip back to Miami for their home opener on April 7 against the Washington Nationals.