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.
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.
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.