Barry Bonds, Summer of Love: Part II October 4, 2007Posted by Marquis Chapman in Baseball, MLB, Sports.
This is Part II, and the final installment of Mr. Insider’s “Barry Bonds, Summer of Love.”
Barry Bonds, “Summer of Love” Part II
Later, on June 11, I chatted with Barry as he stood on the dugout steps at AT&T Park. As he returned to step down, I thanked him again for what my friend Larry Beil the Sportscaster calls “A Random Act of Kindness by Bonds”. Barry looked at me, smiled and said, “No problem and you are welcome.” He then missed a step, tripped and nearly fell into the dugout. I was horrified, but he caught himself before flopping onto the cement! I apologized for taking his attention and said, “Gee Barry, I can see the headline now. Sports Columnist causes Barry Bonds to trip and pull a muscle. The writer’s body was later found floating in McCovey Cove”! Bonds chuckled and replied, “No sir, it was my fault. No problem, It was me, not you that tripped. I’m ok.”
Friday the 13th. Another perfect San Francisco evening with blue skies, white scudding clouds and 68 degrees. Once again Barry was leaning against the dugout railing. I approached him and said “How’re doing now”? He shook my hand and replied, “Not bad for Friday the 13th. How are you doing?” Flummoxed, I stuttered that I was great! I then asked, Barry, “Why do you seem more grounded, more comfortable, this season? I cannot imagine the pressure from expectation.”
“Yes, well, I am feeling good. As long as I feel good I want to do this. I dont have to do this. I do it now because I want to now.”
I replied that it seemed a positive way to perform under the press, the hoopla and pure pressure by the sporting world. Then asked if he would consider being a DH for the Athletics or AL in the future.
Laughing, Barry replied, “I don’t know. Right now I really am doing what I want to do, as I said. Can’t say at this point. My focus is to stay healthy and help my team out of it’s slump.”
OK, but what about breaking the most hallowed record in sports?
“Well, there is someone coming right behind me who is pretty darned good. A-Rod (Alex Rodriguez) is a great talent and should be the next one to set the record.”
Sure, and at his current pace, barring injury, A-Rod could hit 850+ home runs. What about Jr. (Ken Griffey, Jr)? The baseball pundits had pegged him to hit over 800, but he lost three years to injuries.
Bonds replied, “Yeah, if not for being injured, Griffey would have 700 homer right now! Maybe more. He lost 3.5 years plus. Let’s be conservative and say he lost at least 90 home runs. I really thought that Jr. would be the one.”
Barry, is the home run record weighing on your mind?
“Not really. I am having a good time.”
“Thanks for the chat Barry.”
Talking a few days later in the pressbox with former A’s Rookie of the Year and Allstar Ben Grieve, I relayed this conversation to him. He had two comments. “First of all, Barry is a great talent accused of everything in the papers. I believe he was a better player and a lot more agile, plus faster before the steroids issue. I really don’t think it is any player’s place to talk about steroids and Barry. And as for the reputation of being cold, I just wish I had been one of his teammates so I could have known the real person, Barry Bonds.”
Walking off the field Friday the 13th, my friend Larry Beil said to me, “Hey, I saw you talking to your “buddy” Barry Bonds.
“Yup, and he seemed happy, smiling that infectious grin.”
Larry responded, “Well he usually pulls within himself, closes off the media. You caught him on a unusual day!”
Nope, I replied, I caught Barry Bonds in his Summer of Love.