Barry Bonds is one of the greatest players who ever played baseball. So it's fitting that he hit his 500th home run in such a dramatic way, into McCovey Cove to win the game.
|Barry Bonds will be looking to go deep tonight.|
It was a pleasure facing him and, even now, it's a pleasure as a broadcaster to watch him excel as he gets older. One of the toughest things about Bonds is he won't be intimidated at the plate. Whether you throw 100 mph, left-handed or right-handed, he stands in and battles on every pitch. He is a relentless hitter. The thing I respect the most about him is he gives a pitcher his best at-bat every time. He never cheats himself.
As a pitcher I gave every outing everything I possibly could. I never went out there, even if my arm was killing me, and tried to just get by a hitter. Barry approaches hitting the same way. Whether he strikes out, gets a base hit or hits it out, he battles. He's a perfectionist. He could have rested on his MVP awards and his great statistics but he's worked harder over the last half dozen years than he ever did. He's hired a personal trainer and watched his physical condition closely and he's tinkered with his swing to improve.
Against me, Barry was 2-for-5 with a home run. But facing him was the type of battle I looked forward to when I was playing. Kirk Gibson and Tony Gwynn were the same way. His book on opposing pitchers is tremendous. He has worked very hard to accumulate knowledge of the guys he'll be facing. He's so in tune with what he's doing and so informed about who he's facing that he's very difficult to pitch to.
I also want to stress this point: As good a hitter as he is, he's just as good defensively. There's no facet of his game that's weak. Bonds can hit for average, he can hit for power, he can steal bases and he plays a mean left field. He can do just about whatever he wants.
The only thing missing from his resumé now is a world championship. He wants that more now than even the 500-500 record (home runs-steals). If he stays around a few more years I truly believe he could go 600-600. When he hit home run No. 500, he was at 472 career steals.