Significantly trimmer and offering smiles not often seen in his final playing days with the San Francisco Giants, Barry Bonds was back in uniform for the first time in seven years, as he began a seven-day stint as a roving instructor for the franchise.
“I’m more nervous at this than when I was playing, because as a player, it was only my mind, me,” said Bonds, the home-run king who was mired in controversy over suspected steroid use. “Now I’m trying to put that [knowledge] into other players’ minds. I’m a little more nervous being on this side than that side. Hopefully, I can just bring some good value to the ball club. Hopefully, I can bring value to these guys and then let (manager Bruce) Bochy see how I do. I would rather let them evaluate me, and then hopefully something good can come out of this.”
Bonds, as he has been, was evasive about steroids.
“I already went to court, and that’s where I’ll leave it,” he said when confronted on the subject. “And I think anything outside that doesn’t need to be commented on.”
He did say that with 762 career home runs, the most by anyone, he deserves a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame. His said that his only regret was that he did not have a more congenial relationship with the media.
“I was different character playing,” he said. “Now I’ve had to slow down and do different things. I think we all do. I think when you’ve been gone a while you have time to reflect on things. But I needed ‘that guy’ to play. I needed him. It was who I was at the time. It was not who I am in my day-to-day life.
“I’m the same person but a different character. I was like this guy over here who is crazy, and this guy over here who is not. I’m more in the middle. I can still be crazy, but I’m a lot calmer now.”
As for coaching, he said, “I have to learn [about] them. But that will never take me more than a minute. All you have to do is go into a batting cage and I’ll tell you everything that’s going on. Very fast.
“I think they did pretty good without me. They won two World Series championships. I don’t know if I can help. I know I can do one thing: I can help you do a little better than you already are. But I don’t know how much I can do. But I will have time to find out.”