Giants

Giants coaches gush over applying Barry Bonds' techniques to current hitters

Giants coaches gush over applying Barry Bonds' techniques to current hitters

Say what you want about him, but Barry Bonds could hit.

Say what you want about him, but Bonds has heard it all. And yet, we still can't find the words to describe the gift he had when he approached the plate.

Not many players can say they made people at home change the channel and tune in when it was his turn to hit.

Bonds could. 

Beyond the power, he had this way of being patient at the plate. Sure, pitchers wouldn't pitch to him, but 2,558 career walks can't be ignored. It's an MLB record after all -- along with those 762 home runs across 22 seasons.

Bonds' bat put him, and the sport, on the map, and it was something special to everyone, including current Giants staff.

Donnie Ecker, one of the team's hitting coaches, appeared to gush over Bonds.

"The coolest part is sometimes with guys like that, a lot of what they did they can’t explain,” Ecker told The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly. “It was so natural to him. And the thing I don’t think people talk about enough with Barry is how disciplined his training was. That’s the biggest message we want to send to our younger kids: He was mastering the strike zone right away."

Ecker detailed the way Bonds used his body, and how he uses some of the techniques with the guys on the team now. Or at least that's a goal of his.

[RELATED: Bonds feels baseball gave him 'death sentence']

He also couldn't imagine a man of Bonds' caliber playing in today's game.

We couldn't either.

"Pitchers aren’t really trying to fool us anymore," he told Baggarly. "We pretty much know exactly how they want to attack us. And now imagine giving that information to a Barry Bonds."

The velocity of pitchers also has increased across the majors, and with the way Bonds would see those balls coming in ... we wouldn't be worthy.

Ex-Giants manager Dusty Baker reveals his challenge when MLB returns

Ex-Giants manager Dusty Baker reveals his challenge when MLB returns

Dusty Baker has been a part of professional baseball since 1967, and if and when the sport returns in 2020, he will have to kick a few habits he's probably been doing since he was drafted by the Atlanta Braves.

All players, managers and coaches will have to stop spitting, among other things.

In the name of health and safety during the age of the coronavirus pandemic, MLB sent a 67-page document to teams outlining what the players can no longer do.

For Baker, the former Giants manager and current Houston Astros skipper, he isn't sure how he's going to stop spitting.

“Now the biggest challenge is gonna be what my mom has been chastising me about my whole life — spitting,” Baker told The Athletic's Jayson Stark and Doug Glanville. “I am not kidding you. That’s the first thing my wife asked me. She goes, ‘How you gonna stop spitting?’ I don’t know.

“And my mom, I swear — she has been getting on me since I was 10 years old about spitting. Know what I mean? And I used to practice spitting. I’m the most accurate spitter in the world.”

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

If you've seen Baker anywhere near a baseball diamond, he always has a toothpick sticking out of his mouth. Those little pieces of wood have become synonymous with the 70-year-old.

Baker told Stark and Glanville that there was a time in his career where he called a toothpick company trying to get an endorsement. Yes, a toothpick endorsement.

“So they wrote me back,” Baker said. “Nice letter. And they said, ‘Thank you, Dusty. It’s a great idea. But we don’t need you to sell toothpicks.' ”

Only Dusty could try to get a toothpick endorsement.

[RELATED: Zac Efron's epic Dusty autograph story]

Whenever baseball returns, Baker will manage an Astros team coming off a turbulent offseason in which they were severely punished for a sign-stealing scandal. Former manager AJ Hinch was fired for his role, opening the door for Baker get the chance to lead his fifth MLB team to the playoffs.

If Baker gets back to the playoffs, he'll have to do it without his trusty toothpicks.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

Why Giants' Hunter Pence feels such 'deep connection' to organization

Why Giants' Hunter Pence feels such 'deep connection' to organization

Hunter Pence was part of two World Series-winning teams with the Giants in 2012 and 2014. He rejoined San Francisco's roster in February after an impressive comeback season in 2019 that included All-Star honors with the Texas Rangers.

The 37-year-old outfielder joined 95.7 The Game on Friday and explained why he decided to return to San Francisco.

“Obviously I feel a deep connection with the Giants organization,” Pence said. “The city, and these years, you never know which one is gonna be your last. I think everyone thought two years ago was my last year, and I’ve been fortunate that I made some adjustments.

“I want to be a part of passing on a lot of the things that I’ve learned to the young people, and I wanna come and transition back into the winning ways.”

[RELATED: Five Giants hitters who've had much more success when visiting Rockies]

Pence also noted that he’s appreciated getting a chance to work with the organization’s new leadership.

“It’s been really exciting to learn from Farhan, and the new metrics and I learned a lot of that with the Rangers. So I’m excited to share. I wanna pass all that on, I feel right at home, I’m in love with the city and the organization, and in love with everything with the Giants. It feels like home, it feels like family and it means a lot to be a Giant.”

Pence hopefully will be able to once again take the field in a Giants uniform soon.

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]