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

August 7, 2012, 1:31 am
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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.