Bonds focused on business in trip 'home' to SF

Home run king having 'a lot of fun' in role as Marlins hitting coach

Bonds focused on business in trip 'home' to SF

SAN FRANCISCO -- AT&T Park is more than a baseball venue to Barry Bonds. It's a reminder that he is home.

Having family ties in San Francisco makes the three-game series between the Marlins and Giants special. But in his first season as Miami's hitting coach, Bonds makes it clear that he is on a business trip.

"Like I say, I don't really have fans in San Francisco. This is my family," Bonds said Friday afternoon. "This is where I was raised. This is where I grew up. These are the people who stood behind me through thick and thin. I will always appreciate that."

Bonds returns to San Francisco

Since he became a full-time big league coach, Bonds has tried to deflect attention away from himself rather than reflect on his 22-year playing career, which included 15 seasons with the Giants.

Many wondered how Bonds would handle the daily grind of coaching, the long hours, the travel, the demands of his time. All indications remain he has completely bought into the job, and all it entails.

"Barry is a big personality, and a guy who is good for our young players, I think," manager Don Mattingly said. "When he says something, they listen. He walks in with instant credibility."

Bonds receives a video tribute

Bonds is signed with Miami for just this season. After that, he will see. But he made it clear coaching has been fun.

"I'm taking it one day at a time, one year at a time," Bonds said. "But I do like it a lot. This is a lot of fun. Miami has been great. The people have been great. The fans have been great. The media has been great. I haven't had this much good press in my entire lifetime. I'm liking it. I'm like, 'I should have done this a long time ago.'"

The Marlins job is a challenge for several reasons. The franchise hasn't had a winning record since 2009, and a number of the top players -- such as Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, J.T. Realmuto, Justin Bour and even Giancarlo Stanton -- have yet to reach their full potential.

"You want to keep things positive," Bonds said. "That's what our job is to do. Keep them motivated. Keep them positive."

Already, there have been plenty of ups and downs in Miami's young season.

"You wear it on you because you want them to do well," Bonds said. "It's like a parent. You want your kids to do well. It's like anything. You want them to be successful. That's what they played Little League for. That's what they worked so hard to get here for. You feel that emotion for them."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.