I was fortunate to play with Barry Bonds, one of the best hitters to ever play no matter what the rumors are. Barry was always very professional. He went out and did his job. He was always in the spotlight. Everyone has their opinion about Barry but he always played hard, was a fun teammate.
Coming up through the Giants organization, Barry's dad, Bobby, a great hitter in his era, was our hitting coordinator for about six years. I learned so much from Bobby, stuff that helps me do what I do now. Listening to Bobby teach the game was extremely beneficial. Looking back I learned so much from Bobby.
One thing growing up that you dream about is hitting a home run in the big leagues. My first in the big leagues was a home run off a guy who had just gotten called up like me. It hit the foul pole at Pac Bell (now AT&T Park). It would have been my first splashdown. But hitting the foul pole was even better because it bounced back on the field and I got to keep the ball.
I never had a splashdown (a homer hit into McCovey Cove on the fly). I had a couple bounce in. It's a long way out there. A long way. The list (of splashdowns) is shorter than people think (41 players total, but Bonds hit 37 splashdowns).
Playing at Pac Bell is more like an event, more than just a baseball game. It's like a social event, especially with the teams they've had. They've won a couple of World Series recently. I can just imagine how crazy it was. The fans are great. To be able to play there, with some of the teammates that I had, is an honor, something I'll never forget.
As a Triple-A hitting coach, at this level there are a lot of veteran guys plus a few prospects. To be able to play a lot in Triple-A, and some in the majors, has helped me with my job. I know what players are going through whether it's a slump or hitting really well. At this level guys know their swings. It's just a matter of maintaining it.