Are you better at throwing with a longer bat? Are you bigger with an extra bat?
“If it comes down to it, how much do you have?
“It’s more about the swing. In any baseball game, we know that’s what counts. The whole game.”
Barry Bonds has thrown 1,853 pitches in his career, including 449 this year. Photo by Jeff Fong/Getty Images
Baseball is a physical thing. You can do all the numbers you want, as Bonds did when asked the same thing in 2006. “That’s right,” he said. “If it’s not going up, it’s not going to reach the wall. The number of days on a mound is another stat. You can play 10 baseball games and throw 250 pitches and they would have the same number of days on the mound. If you throw 250 pitches, you get a certain number of days on the mound. You still get paid for every pitch.”
You certainly get paid for every pitch, even if the average has not changed very much since 2002, and even if many of the days on the mound for the average pitcher have been spent in the bullpen.
Bonds’ statistics have changed slightly since then, but his swing hasn’t. His exit velocity is back, but so is his home run rate.
“That’s been the same,” Bonds said. “I’m still going out the same but I’ve also been working on my delivery. The biggest thing is to get the ball up in the zone. There’s going to be times where you can’t get it up in the zone, and sometimes it’s going to depend on how the hitter is going to swing.
“If you can’t get it up in the zone, then you will have better success. The more you can get in the zone, the longer you are going to get the ball up. That’s just the way it is.”
The mechanics have made a difference, and their impact was evident in Sunday’s 14-2 Mariners win. Bonds was more accurate, his control better, and it came in bunches.
You can see him on the video. On his first pitch of the night to Justin Smoak, he was at 93 mph. With no time on the clock, he was hitting 97. The next two times down, Bonds hit 96 and 98 mph.
His swing moved on purpose, too — there was no hiding his speed.
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