Next year, Barry Bonds will be in a Miami Marlins uniform. He will suit up in a teal-fuschia-aqua-turquoise uniform and put on a turquoise-aqua-fuschia-teal hat. His job will be to help the Marlins win baseball games, even when they play the Giants.
Barry Bonds, Miami Marlin. It rolls off the tongue like a tarantula, and we are all worse off for having to see those names next to each other. As Jeff Passan so eloquently puts it, the Marlins will fail because ...
... no matter how many great baseball men pervade their offices – and there are plenty – the amphisbaena atop the org chart will counteract any positives with its serial boobery.
SERIAL BOOBERY. Man, I'm so jealous he thought of that. The Marlins are continually foisting serial boobery on their team and fans. And Bonds is going to get sucked right in.
Unless he succeeds. Which brings us to the question of the day: What should we root for, here? What would bring us the most pleasure as Bonds-loving fanpersons?
I present three scenarios:
Scenario #1: Unmitigated success
In this scenario, Giancarlo Stanton tears down a palm tree and uses it to hit a boulder into the sun. Except he does it every other night, chasing Bonds's single-season record. After every interview, he praises Bonds.
He sits on top of the spinning-marlin sculpture in left field every day. When I climb it, he allows me to ask him three questions, and only three questions, about hitting. Danged if his answers aren't exactly what I need for that day's game, though.
The Marlins thrive. Bonds is nothing more than a hitting coach. No distractions, no drama. He proves that he's in a better place now that he's removed from the stress of playing, and other teams chase after his services. He's not a pariah anymore. He's a respected baseball person again.
Do you hear me? A respected baseball person. The dude who couldn't get a job after leading the league with a .480 on-base percentage is now back in the good graces of baseball. And he's apparently a lot smilier, too.
Scenario #2: Nothing remarkable
This doesn't sound like a sexy option, but hear me out. In this scenario, Bonds does his job. Some Marlins hit, and some Marlins don't. No one's sure what Bonds is helping with, or if he's helping at all, or what.
You might know this as "what usually happens with every hitting coach."
Remember toward the end of 2014, there was an article on this very website titled "In defense of Hensley Meulens, embattled hitting coach." Talk radio was buzzing about how he should be canned, even though he was the hitting coach for the previous two World Series teams. But no one could really point to his specific successes or failures; it was just about the team not hitting, so someone had to get fired.
That's usually how hitting coaches are judged. It's hilariously unfair, at least until their teams start hitting. Then they're temporary geniuses.
This is also the likeliest scenario. Bonds helps a few players, the Marlins don't do much, and he leaves after a year or three to look for a new gig. He's probably the smartest hitter alive, but that doesn't mean he can fix an entire team. Dexter Fowler was Dexter Fowler after Bonds's tutelage, and he'll probably continue to be Dexter Fowler in the future. The 1972 Rangers couldn't hit a damned thing, regardless of who their manager was.
Scenario #3: CHAOS
Not because we dislike Bonds, but just because we yearn for the inky embrace of absolute chaos. Imagine a season fo Jeffrey Loria and Bonds, each doing maximum Loria and Bonds things. Tongue-lashings and embarrassing leaks for everyone!
- Loria telling the Herald that Bonds isn't having the immediate effects that he had hoped.
- Bonds in the clubhouse after a tough loss, telling reporters that Loria looks like "Randy Newman's sad ass amiibo."
- Loria sending a memo that asks Bonds to look over popular YouTube clips about hitting.
- Bonds filling in a crossword puzzle while Loria yells at him in the dugout in the ninth inning of a tie game.
Really, I don't know how much meddling even the worst owners can do when it comes to hitting coaches other than firing them on a whim. But it's worth it to find out!
Me, I'm going for the first one. I want Bonds to become a coaching legend. I want him to be the most highly sought hitting coach on the market, and then I want him to retire because he feels like it. I want him to take the secret of hitting and eat it because this world doesn't deserve it. Mostly, though, I want him to succeed and bug people who deserved to be bugged.
Even if that means rooting for the Marlins. I know, I know. But considering all of the happy fun-time memories Bonds is responsible for, it's the least I can do.