Bonds opens up about HOF, home run record, media scrutiny

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Bonds opens up about HOF, home run record, media scrutiny

Barry Bonds is notoriously reserved when it comes to themedia. But right before the five-year anniversary of his record-breaking 756thcareer home run, the long-time Giants slugger opened up about the Hall of Fame,the end of his career, a possible coaching role, and his interactions withreporters.The following is a full transcript of Bonds' interview withMLB.com reporter Barry M. Bloom:MLB.com: It's hard to believe that it'sbeen five years since your run at Aaron.Bonds: It seems like it was right aroundthe corner. It was a good period of time. It was a good time. Despite all ofthe things that were going on, it was still fun. It was fun to perform in frontof the fans. It was great to be in my Giants uniform doing it. I wish at thesame time we could have won the championship. That was important. Through itall was fun, a lot of fun.MLB.com: What do you remember most aboutit?Bonds: We could be here for a long timeif you wanted me to remember everything. All I can remember is trying to remainfocused through the whole thing. Everybody was intense about it. Everybody wasthere. You go from one state to the next. Every stadium was sold out. You tryto give your best for everyone. You try to get as much rest as possible. Youtry and answer the same questions over and over again. You try to give the bestanswers you can at the moment, but at the same time you're thinking aboutwhat's best for you and the team. And then, trying to put on a greatperformance and hopefully things go right. At times, I felt like a personcaught in the middle of it, trying to do something special to help your teamwin, but also doing something inspiring for the fans to see.MLB.com: What are your reflections on thenight you broke Aaron's record?Bonds: I felt relieved a little bit, butat the same time excited, at the same time I felt blessed, at the same time Ifelt grateful to Aaron that he set something so significant there to give ussomething to shoot for. I can go on and on and on with so many different kindsof feelings and so many different kinds of emotions. I don't know if they'reright or wrong. You know what I mean? They are what they are. My family wasthere, my kids, the city. I'm glad I did it in San Francisco.MLB.com: Anything you would have donedifferently?Bonds: I got a ball and I hit it, so inthat way there's nothing I would have done differently. As far as handling themedia, I would have done a lot of things differently. The character I createdon the field was a different person than the way I was off the field. It wasthat person that made me perform. It gave me the push to perform. Whether youhated me or loved me, you came to see that person or that show. And with themedia, I needed space. When the first thing that happens after you get to theclubhouse every day is questions about the chase or how you feel, I'll admit itnow that it was hard for me to deal with and I could've done it a lot better.That's a lot for one individual. You're going to snap. It's hard when you haveto do that every day for 162 days. Add Spring Training. It would be tough foranyone.MLB.com: Because of knee injuries, italso stretched out for almost four seasons after you passed Willie at 660 earlyin 2004. That was a long haul. Had it been a little more condensed, wouldn't ithave been a bit easier?Bonds: I agree with that, but I could'vegiven the media a little more than I did at the time. Back then, I didn't thinkI could. But I also feel that the people around me could have given me somebreathing room to make it easier. When you're just shoved out there by yourselfall the time, I believe some people can do it. I was just not one of them. AndI admit it, I wasn't one of them. I wasn't good at that. I wasn't good for thesole reason of the things I saw as I grew up with my father. And how my fatherand Willie were loved at one moment and then dropped off at some corner andtold, "Good luck!" the next. I wasn't willing to subject myself tothat and I wasn't willing to give them that. Now that I look back at it, itmight have been a lot more fun if I had. It might have been good to do that.MLB.com: Well, you also had a lot ofthings going on off the field, too. There were family issues. There were theBALCO legal proceedings.Bonds: I think it's overwhelming for oneperson to handle. And I always kept going with what my dad and Willie said."Regardless of the problems you have off the field, son, those problemsare still going to be there when the games are over. And if you can't handleyour job, you're not only not going to have a job, but those problems are stillgoing to be there." I was able to stay focused on my job because I knewthe things I was dealing with and those things were going to be there anyway.And I had to deal with all that and perform. It was a lot for one person tohave to deal with. I didn't think it was fair at all. I will never say it wasfair. Never.MLB.com: Do you think it was fair the wayyour career ended?Bonds: No, I don't think my career shouldhave ended that way. I will never agree with that at all. But at the sametoken, I had a great 22 years. Would I have liked things to have beendifferent? Sure, I would have loved them to be different. On one side of it,I'm disappointed. I should have been able to play one more year. That's all Iwanted. Play the one more year in San Francisco. I knew one more year would have been it forme. That's what I wanted to do. It didn't work out that way. I have no animositytoward anyone. I'm very grateful. This is my hometown. I have family here. Idon't have fans, these people are my family and I love them to death. I playedfor them and performed for them. I was lucky. My father performed for them. Mygodfather performed for them. For me to be the final link in that legacy issomething I'm very proud of. What more could I ask for? When I was a boy, Iwanted to play in the same uniform as my godfather. I wanted to be the leftfielder. Willie played center, my father played right, and I wanted to be theleft fielder. And I got to fulfill that. So, hey, you know what? In the end, Iwin. I got to do the things I wanted to do. I feel grateful and I loved it.MLB.com: The Hall of Fame vote is comingup with you on the ballot for the first time. How do you feel about that?Bonds: I respect the Hall of Fame, don'tget me wrong. I really, really, really respect the Hall of Fame. And I think weall do. I love the city of San Francisco and to me that's my Hall of Fame. I don'tworry about it because I don't want to be negative about the way other peoplethink it should be run. That's their opinion, and I'm not going to be negative.I know I'm going to be gone one day. If you want to keep me out, that's yourbusiness. My things are here in San Francisco. These are the people who love me. This iswhere I feel I belong. This is where I want to belong. If the voters want toput me in there, so be it, fine. If they don't, so be it, fine.MLB.com: Do you feel you belong in the Hall?Bonds: Oh, without a doubt. There's not adoubt in my mind.MLB.com: How do you think the writers aregoing to handle you and the players of your era who are linked toperformance-enhancing drugs?Bonds: You have to vote on baseball theway baseball needs to be voted on. If you vote on your assumptions or what youbelieve or what you think might have been going on there, that's your problem.You're at fault. It has nothing to do with what your opinion is. Period. Ifthat's the case, you better go way, way back and start thinking about youropinions. If that's how you feel life should be run, I would say then you runyour Hall of Fame the way you want to run your Hall of Fame. That's what Ithink. That's my personal opinion. If you want to do the Hall of Fame the waythe Hall of Fame is supposed to be done, then you make the right decision onthat. If you don't, that's on you. To stamp something on your assumptions, itdoesn't work for me.MLB.com: What are your thoughts on howthe Clemens trial wound up?Bonds: I was overwhelmed with happinessfor Roger. Very happy. Roger is a great athlete and a great pitcher. I thinkRoger Clemens is telling the truth, and I don't care what anyone else thinks.He's acquitted. Now everyone leave him alone, let him be. He went through thesystem just as I did and he deserves respect and forgiveness and move on. Wehave sacrificed our lives and bodies for this game. We have beat our bodies upfor something that we love to do. OK? They accused him. They accuse whoever.Who cares? He was acquitted. He deserves the same rights everyone else does.And he deserves the same respect he's always had. I love him. He was one of thegreatest pitchers I've ever faced. He's always been a good friend of mine. I willgo to the end of the earth for that man.MLB.com: And what about your legalsituation?Bonds: Mine is on appeal for obstructionof justice. So what? I have to say I'm a felon of obstruction of justicebecause that is my title. That is it and hopefully (the 9th Circuit Court ofAppeals) will see the light and overturn it. And if they don't, I will acceptwhat my punishment was and will have to move on. But I would like for thosesame people to respect me in the same fashion. I went through that system justlike a lot of people have done. I fought for what I thought was right. I got aconviction for obstruction of justice. What that means, I don't understand it.But it is what it is. I accept it. And that's the end of it.MLB.com: You talked to the Giants aboutpossibly coming back as a coach. What do you envision your role might be forthe organization?Bonds: I'd just like to do what I'mtrained to do, and that's teach players how to hit. I'm an expert at it. I amone of the best experts you will ever find in this game, and I would love toteach professionals about something I'm an expert at doing. I'm not a computerperson. I'm trained to do what I do and that's what I deserve to do.MLB.com: You don't want to coach on aday-to-day basis do you?Bonds: No, I don't want to do that. Idon't want to be on the bus every day. I don't mind doing it once in a while. Idon't mind going sometimes, but I don't want to go on the day-to-day grind. Mymind could change when I start doing something. Maybe the guys might need memore out there. It's going to be based on how it is. I'm not begging for a job.If they don't like what I'm doing then get rid of me. I'm just saying that itwould be a shame for what I know, to what I can give, to what I can offer, tolet it go to waste or for me to get too old so I can't offer it anymore.MLB.com: Where do the Giants stand in allthis?Bonds: We all basically agree on what wewant to do. When you're behind closed doors communicating you want to keepthings private and personal. To me, that's a good code of ethics. But we bothhave a good feeling about things. That's where it stands. Now where it goes? Wecould've had a good feeling at dinner and that's as far as it went. So there'sno timeline. I just want to get back involved as soon as I can. I just want tohelp before it's too late. I can still hit. I can still show and tell. Butthat's the way I am. My dad was like that. Willie was like that. I'm hands on.If I can grab a bat at 48 years old and still do it, than son, you better nottell me you can't do it at 22 years old. If that's the Giants' choice not tohire me, it's OK. I'll still love them just the same.

Giants notes: Bumgarner to take next step in rehab; no skipping Moore

Giants notes: Bumgarner to take next step in rehab; no skipping Moore

SAN FRANCISCO — It wasn’t until a few days ago that Madison Bumgarner was cleared to swing a bat, but he certainly hasn’t appeared to miss a beat. In his second round of BP back at AT&T Park, Bumgarner started peppering the park with line drives. 

It was a pleasing sight for players and coaches who watched, and the next step will give them a bit more to be excited about. After throwing a bullpen session Tuesday, Bumgarner will take the next step in his rehab. He’ll start for the Sacramento River Cats on Friday, kicking off what could be a tour of the organization’s California affiliates. 

Bumgarner will throw every five days as he normally would, but the Giants aren’t sure it’s necessary to send him to Albuquerque for his second start. Manager Bruce Bochy said nothing is final, but Bumgarner’s next start could come July 5 in San Jose, where he hasn’t started since five dominant appearances in 2009. His next start after that could also be in San Jose, since Triple-A has an All-Star break when he’s scheduled to go July 10. 

After that? Well, how ‘bout the big leagues? 

Team officials haven’t shut the door on Bumgarner returning as early as July 15 in San Diego. That would be the second game out of the All-Star break, and would have Bumgarner back about two weeks earlier than first expected. The Giants do not want to rush him, but they’re proud of the way he has attacked the rehab process, and at some point they won’t hold him back if he's deemed 100 percent. 

First things first, Bumgarner needs to get through Friday’s start. The early returns have been positive. He threw three innings in an Arizona Rookie League game Sunday and was so dominant that he had to go down to the bullpen to get his pitch count up. Bumgarner threw 16 fastballs, 14 for strikes. Javier Lopez was on hand keeping an eye on Bumgarner and said the ball was coming out of his hand as it always has. 

--- The Giants have a couple of off days coming up, but Bochy said he is not considering skipping Matt Moore, who has a 6.04 ERA. 

“Right now, we’re better off pitching him,” Bochy said. “He was so good in Atlanta. It’s really important to keep him going. There’s no health issue. I think he needs to keep pitching. I think he's really close, I do. Some of these starts, he’s probably trying to establish his fastball too much and he didn’t have great command of it.”

--- Austin Slater (hip flexor) is expected back in the lineup Wednesday. He didn't play Monday, but he was cleared to pinch-hit if needed. 

--- Cody Hall, a former Giant, is back with the organization. The Giants traded Hall to the Diamondbacks last January and he was briefly a Marlin later in the year. Hall was playing independent league ball when the Giants signed him to a minor league deal. He’ll likely head to Double-A as depth. There have been some injuries and promotions at the higher levels of the organization. 

--- Steven Duggar was in camp for the first time and he might have been an outfield replacement had he stayed healthy. After dealing with a flexor strain and hamstring tightness, he returned to rehab games last night. He should be in San Jose soon, and then it’ll be back to Sacramento at some point. Duggar is the center fielder closest to the majors, so it would be nice to get a look at him in September. 

--- There was something new Monday night, and it wasn't just the victory. Sam Dyson pitched the eighth, striking out Nolan Arenado, Raimel Tapia and Ian Desmond around a single. Bochy said after the game that Dyson is his main eighth-inning guy right now. That's quite the ride for a guy who was DFA'd not long ago, and it's another feather in Dave Righetti's cap. Remember, the Giants basically got Dyson for free. 

Giants put it together in all phases, get back in win column

Giants put it together in all phases, get back in win column

SAN FRANCISCO — In the bottom of the eighth inning Monday, with the Giants finally running away with one, Johnny Cueto started blowing into a giant wad of bubble gum. He held two hands out, ready to catch remnants of an explosion as Brandon Crawford and Kelby Tomlinson looked on and smiled. 

A few minutes later, players started migrating to the dugout rail as they have done in each of the three starts Ryder Jones has made. They are ready to cheer on a rookie’s first big league hit, even if the wait has been an excruciating one for the third baseman. 

Bruce Bochy likes to say that your personality is better when you’re winning, and his players certainly showed that Monday in snapshots here and there. They woke up to a report that there were fractured in the clubhouse, caused in large part by the new closer. They denied it, they met as a group, and then, finally, they won. 

Jeff Samardzija pitched as he has for two months, the top of the lineup came through over and over again, and Brandon Crawford paced a golden night with the gloves. A 9-2 win over the Rockies was just the second since June 11 and it snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Rockies. Any win is meaningful at this point, but this one seemed to mean just a little bit more given the drama of the day. 

“Despite what people might think, we still have a pretty good group here and we get along just fine,” Crawford said. “We’re all rooting for each other.”

It’s one thing to support teammates off the field, and there’s been no indication that the Giants aren’t doing that. It’s quite another to be hand-in-hand between the lines, and for much of this season, Samardzija has been on an island. 

The right-hander has been Bochy’s best pitcher since Madison Bumgarner went down in the hills outside Denver. But he entered Monday with a 2-9 record and 4.74 ERA inflated by faulty defense. He hasn’t grumbled, but he has grown accustomed to the worst, and when Nolan Arenado bounced a ball deep to the hole in shortstop with two on and two outs in the third, Samardzija figured the game was probably tied. 

“I’m thinking maybe they charge it in the outfield and maybe make a play at home,” Samardzija said. “But with a guy like that at shortstop, things change so fast.”

Crawford scooped the ball on the edge of the grass. He would have liked nothing more than to make an otherworldly throw to first to nail his World Baseball Classic teammate, but he knew the best chance was at third. A couple of days ago, Crawford and Jones discussed how the rookie should cover third on such a play. Jones played it perfectly, retreating in time to catch Crawford’s inning-ending throw. 

“The best thing (about Crawford) is he doesn’t even talk about it,” Samardzija said.

No, Crawford put the spotlight on Jones.

“That’s a pretty heads-up play,” he said. “We talked about it and he was there. It was a funny coincidence.”

The play held the lead, and the Giants kept pushing. The top four hitters in the lineup finished with 10 hits, six RBI and six runs. Brandon Belt had an RBI triple in the five-spot. Crawford drove in a run behind him. Gorkys Hernandez and Kelby Tomlinson added insurance from the bottom. Bochy watched it all from the top step and saw a group collectively relax.

“Just quit fighting it so much,” he said. “There’s a lot of talent in this offense. There’s no reason they can’t put consistent runs on the board. Tonight I just thought the at-bats were so much better and the focus was. Once it started rolling, guys felt better about themselves, and it just got contagious.”