Barry Bonds arrived at Spring Training unapologetic, unrepentant, and unwilling to allow the media to control the discusssion or the interview. Nere’s the NY Times, the NY Daily News, and the SF Chronicle covering the super slugger. I like the fact that the SF Chronicle is offering the full transcript of the interview:
Q: Can you explain over the last four or five years your amazing production, your tremendous growth in muscle strength getting stronger as you get older? Can you finally put to rest –
Bonds: Can I? Hard work that’s about it. Now it’s to rest.
Q: As you approach Babe Ruth on the home run charts, is it troubling to you that people are scrutinizing your achievements, particularly home runs?
Bonds: No, you guys don’t bother me. You’re professional at what you do. That doesn’t bother me. That’s part of the game. That’s part of sports, it always has been.
The problem with me, my dad told me before he passed away, he said, “The biggest problem with you, Barry is that every great athlete that has gone on for great records, everyone knows their story. People have made hundreds of millions of dollars off their stories with them and protected them. Nobody knows you and they are pissed off.”
And I’m sorry. It’s not that, you know, to try to just tell you who I am, I was the son of an athlete that also father had some problems or issues. I was raised to protect my family, keep my mouth shut and stay quiet. You don’t just all of a sudden turn off who you are as you grow up. I just never wanted that part of my life as I saw some of the things my dad went through personally, being so outgoing and doing things, and suddenly he wasn’t there and people turned their backs on him and messed him over and all that stuff. That wasn’t something I wanted in my life. I just wanted to do my job and go home. I made my choice. It may not have been the right choice. It may not have been the choice of what America wants or what the people want, but that’s my choice, that’s my decision.
But it doesn’t make me a bad person. It doesn’t make me an evil person. It doesn’t make me that you know I’m some different person or I’m separating myself from anyone else. I am just — I want to go to work. I want to play the game as hard as I can. I want to enjoy the guys that I come across during my career. I have the utmost respect for all of them. I think they are all great athletes. I don’t care what sport you do. I think you guys are good people for what you guys do. It’s your job. I’m not sitting there saying what you guys can’t do your job. That’s your job, that’s what your boss is paying you, even though he’s somewhere in the Bahamas, smiling, collecting his change and all this stuff. But, so what? So be it. It’s OK for him to do it but we’re supposed to justify us.
I’m an adult and I take responsibilities for what I do, but I’m not going to allow you guys to ruin my joy.
Q: You say you don’t care about what the media says; fair enough. What would you say to fans who question your accomplishments?
Bonds: Do you know what? I’m going to tell you, through all this, that’s one question I was waiting for, because I have prob(ably) gotten the best relationship with fans through all of this, than I ever have in my entire career. From all the places I’ve ever gone, and I’ve traveled all over the place and gone places: “Barry, keep your head up, we’re behind you,” we’re this. And I mean, coming over to me — the things that I’ve always wanted, to come over to me and just shake my hand and say, “You know what? Who cares. You’re a good ballplayer. You proved it. You know, you’ve done this, you’ve done that. We’re all supporting you.” I’ve never heard that before.
And the fans come to the game, you have fans that come to the game that are going to boo and fans that come to the game that are going to cheer. That’s part of sports. Boo me, cheer me, those that are going to cheer me are going to cheer me and those that are going to boo me are going to boo me. But they still are going to come see the show.
Dodger Stadium is the best show I ever go to in all of my baseball. They say, “Barry sucks” louder than anybody out there. And you know what, you’ll see me in left field going just like this, because you know what, you’ve got to have some serious talent to have 53,000 people saying you suck. And I’m proud of that.