Marlins manager Don Mattingly and hitting coach Barry Bonds form a hitting tandem of knowledge that front offices dream of.
Mattingly's accomplishments with the bat in his hands in his 14-year career speak for themself as a six-time All-Star, nine-time Gold Glove first baseman, three-time Silver Slugger and the winner of the 1985 American League MVP. But, Bonds' unprecedented numbers stand alone in the record books with his 762 home runs and seven National League MVP awards, among many other records.
Still, Mattingly outweighs Bonds in a now critical area on the diamond. The former Yankee great is entering his sixth year as a manager in the majors -- his first with the Marlins afer five with the Dodgers -- while Bonds is a first-time big league coach in any capacity.
So, what does Mattingly see as the biggest obstacle for Bonds as a coach?
"I think that will be Barry’s biggest adjustment — the opposing pitchers, time in the cage, that grind. People don’t realize how much time and preparation there is," Mattingly told the New York Times.
Miami's manager isn't worried with how Bonds teaches hitting at all.
"I knew the hitting part wasn’t going to be a problem. ... He’s very simple about it, the way he talks about hitting, and I like that," Mattingly said.
Bonds is already enjoying his time working with Marlins hitters. And with Mattingly, the all-time home run king feels right at home.
"With Donnie and me it’s good because when you sit around and talk about hitting, we’re on the same page, actually can see things the same way.”
As a 22-year veteran, Bonds is old school in his teaching ways. While advanced analytics have overtaken many front offices and managerial strategies, Bonds steers far away from them, focusing on a much more simple approach.
“I think you got a bunch of bookworm people who analyze too much and make it all too confusing to a lot of people," Bonds said on analytics. "There’s just too much unnecessary information.”
Now at 51 years old, Bonds knows his time on the field is something of the past. His focus isn't about what he once did on the field, but helping the Marlins be the best hitting team they can be.
When he has to though, Bonds knows how to put any young player in their place.
“I don’t even care about my career anymore. I let the guys know: ‘This is your time. I don’t play this game anymore.’ They’ll kid around and say, ‘I can outhit you,’ and I say: ‘Yeah, you better. I’m 51 years old. But if we were playing in the same time, that would be a different conversation, I can assure you that.'"