Even if it's only temporary, Barry Bonds returned to baseball this week, signing a 7-day contract as a hitting coach for his former team, the San Francisco Giants.
Will it lead to something more permanent? Who knows? At his Monday press conference, Bonds said, "Not everyone is suited for the job, and I may not be either. I don't know. I have 7 days to find out if I am."
|Photo by: Chris Carlson|
It's not his connection to the steroids era, per se. Mark McGwire had the same thing and I was ecstatic that he landed as a coach with the Cardinals a few years ago. Even though I do think that the cloud of PED use hanging over them should keep both guys out of the Hall, if not indefinitely, then at least until the Veteran's Committee is their only option.
And no, this isn't a racial thing. Many of my favorite players of all time were African-American, so that's not it.
If I had to put my finger on it, I'd say it goes back to his horrible attitude as a player with the media, but more specifically, and primarily, with his teammates. His standoffish demeanor with the guys in his very own locker room is well documented. He had his own area blocked off from the rest of them with his own personal TV for crying out loud.
Which begs the question, "Why did the Giants bring a guy who was never a team player back into the fold?"
Maybe they felt they owed him for the incredible things he did on the field (I was under the impression that's what all those millions were for, but what do I know)?
Maybe they believed he's now contrite and finally willing to give back to the sport he's been around since the day he was born (many reporters in camp say he is as humble and genuine as he's been in 25 years)?
Maybe they simply felt sorry for him, since he's been snubbed by the HOF? There are many who believe that's pitiable.
Whatever the reason, and however long he remains back in the game, let's hope that his personality really has changed. As much as I dislike the guy, he certainly has something to offer the sport. His skills were as good, if not better, than any of his peers. But he certainly wouldn't be the first superstar unable to communicate those skills to someone else.
I'm not sure what the final outcome will be from this experiment. I suppose in a perfect world, Bonds would truly be a changed man, come back to the sport he was the king of for so many years with his hat in his hands, apologetic and ashamed, start at the bottom of the coaching rung and work his way up the ladder, eventually managing, winning, and becoming a likable human being.
But we don't live in a perfect world.