Barry Bonds held a 25-minute session with reporters Monday morning upon his arrival for a week as a special instructor in the San Francisco Giants’ spring training camp. The story can be found here, but for a more complete picture of the topics covered in Bonds’ news conference, the following is a partial transcript of the conference:
GIANTS MANAGER BRUCE BOCHY: First of all we’re very excited and really look forward to having Barry in camp this week. We have a great mind here that I know has so much to offer to our players, whether veteran or young up-and-coming players. So we’re all going to enjoy this week and use his knowledge. Barry joins a very distinguished group of baseball legends -- Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda and many others who every year make a visit to spring training and serve as instructors to our players. Bringing your former great players, it’s a longstanding tradition in baseball. And we’re so fortunate to have a rich history here and remain closely linked to our great players, and we appreciate their willingness to come back and give back to the players. So again we’re very excited to have Barry in camp here.
BARRY BONDS: First I want to thank Bochy because this wouldn’t be possible without him. I’ve got to thank the Giants organization for bringing me back, but most of all Bochy being the manger, I just want to thank you for your approval of this.
It feels really good to be back. It feels good to participate in this, it feels good to get back to the game that I love. I’m going to have a lot of fun doing this. For all the players too that are here, right now I’m only here for seven days. Hopefully I’ll be a part of this for longer, but in seven days, please do not hesitate. All you guys from the younger guys to the veteran players, come pick my brain and wear me down for seven days at least and hopefully you get to wear me down a lot longer.
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(on how it feels to put on the Giants uniform again): Feels really, really good. Feels really good.
(on why he’s back): I enjoy it. Really. I enjoy it. I had time to think about it and I enjoy it. I enjoy baseball. That’s why I’m doing it.
(on whether he’s hoping to help the Giants in the regular season as well): Right now I’m more nervous at this than I was playing, because it was only my mind and me. Trying to put that into other players, I don’t know. I’m a little more nervous about this side than I was on my side. So hopefully I can just bring some good value to the ballclub, hopefully I can bring value to these guys. And what Bochy sees, I’d rather let them evaluate me, let Bochy evaluate, and hopefully in the future something can come out of this. But right now I’m here for seven days and I just have to see how it works out. I don’t even know if I’m good at it. I just don’t even know. For right now I just want to know if I’m even good at that and I’ll let Bochy determine that.
(on if he’s hoping this can help rehabilitate his image or brand): I don’t know about all that. I just, timing’s better now for me. Back then it just wasn’t right. Right now timing’s just better. There’s a lot behind me now and I just want to look toward the future, that’s all.
(on moving back to San Francisco): I moved back, yeah. Because it’s my home and I love it. And that’s where I belong. In the city and that’s where I belong.
(on what he’ll try to impart to Giants players): Each hitter’s different. I don’t try to analyze too much. I take what’s in front of me. I don’t have one philosophy, I don’t have one strategy. Every person’s built different, every hitter’s different and every teaching would be different.
(on helping Giants first baseman Brandon Belt): I don’t know if I can create power in anyone that already has it. Belt already has power. It’s how consistent can we make it? It’s not, can these guys hit home runs. Every one of them can hit home runs. It’s how consistently can you do it? And that’s the challenge. It’s not the challenge of can Belt do this. He can do it. He’s a major league baseball player. But it’s how consistent can he do it. That’s all of our problems as baseball players is being consistent.
(on how his career ended): I wish it was better. But there’s nothing I can do about it now.
(on what he misses about baseball): What I miss? The day-to-day. I love to train, I love to work out. Baseball’s every day and I enjoy that. I think I miss that a lot, the day to day grind of waking up when you’re tired and have to get through it. The night games, the travel. It’s hard, but it’s gratifying at the same time.
(on whether he wishes he was still in baseball now): No, my time’s over. I had my time and I enjoyed it.
(on Alex Rodriguez and potentially having the career home-run record forever): I think God will bless somebody else with that, he always does. But I would talk to Alex Rodriguez on a one-on-one basis, we’re friends, and I really wouldn’t talk about it in the press at all. I respect him as an athlete and always will. But I will not have a press conference over that.
(on how he has changed as a person since his playing days): Just a different character. I was a different character playing. Now I’ve had time to slow down, do other things. I think we all do. I think as you’re gone for a while, you have a tendency to reflect on certain things. But I needed that guy to play. I needed him. It was who I was at the time. It’s not who I am on my day to day life.
(on who he is now): Same person, just different character. It’s like you have this guy over here that’s crazy and you have this guy over here that’s not. I’m more in the middle. I can still be crazy. But I’m not calmer. Have it toned down a little bit.
(on his passion for cycling): Yeah, I love it. I only do it for myself to stay in shape. I’m not good. I’m good for myself. I get the gratification for me. But I get dropped a lot.
(on whether he watched the Giants in recent years and thought he could help): I don’t know, I think they did pretty good without me. They won two World Series championships. I don’t think I’m going to put a whole lot. But I know the one thing I can do. I can help you do a little better than what you already are. But I don’t know how much I can do and I don’t know what that is. But I will have time here to find out.
(on whether he envisions himself in a coaching role someday): I don’t know yet. This is all new to me on this side of the fence. I was accustomed to the other side of the fence. This is all new to me and I’m going to take baby steps at it. I’m going to work at it as hard as I did my playing, but I’m going to take baby steps from this. Seems like it’s more work.
(on his former teammate Matt Williams being named manager in Washington): I think it’s great. I can’t wait to call him. I cannot wait. It’s awesome.
(on his reaction to learning he’d be returning to the Giants): Well we were always in communication. Timing just wasn’t right. Obviously the circumstances I was dealing with, this wasn’t right. Now that things have calmed down a little bit, we had a talk and obviously we all had to get Bochy’s approval because Bochy’s the manager and everyone respects what he’s accomplished here with this organization. Bochy said it was a great idea and it’s good and he wanted it to happen, and that’s how it happened. Basically it came down to Bochy’s decision.
BOCHY (on whether Bonds could help out during the regular season as well): Well, if it’s something that Barry finds out this week he’s enjoying this -- and as I’ve said we welcome back our former greats and we encourage it and we appreciate the fact they do want to give back to our players. So yes, we would always welcome out there for him.
BONDS (on which MLB players Bonds enjoys watching today): I love to watch Miguel Cabrera, obviously. Great hitter. I’ve always watched Albert Pujols, always throughout his career. I watch Buster Posey. I like his approach a lot. And I watch the team, the Giants. That’s the only TV game really I watch, the Giants. I don’t really watch too many other baseball teams.
(on Greg Maddux recently saying Bonds was the toughest hitter he ever faced): It says two minds speak the same. … He was the best I ever seen. Best ever. … Because we both knew the same things so it made it more interesting. When two people are that good and know the exact same thing, it just makes chess a little bit longer. But it’s a lot more fun. But he’s the best I ever seen, ever.
(on advice for Pablo Sandoval, a year removed from his first foray into free agency): I don’t have anything to say to him. He’s a good player. I think he’s a good player. And consistency’s everything. There’s a lot of things that I simplify, I don’t think there’s a whole lot you need to do. I think there’s little miniscule things that you need to change or little things you need to do but you’re here for a reason. There’s only less than whatever percentage of people that are in this professional game so you’re here for a reason and you’ve had success. We’ll just talk and make it enjoyable.
(on whether it was bittersweet seeing the Giants win the World Series in 2010 and 2012): No, I’m a Giant since my godfather in ’58 and my father. I’m not jealous. I’m happy. This is my town, my city, it’s my family. I’m happy. I was almost in tears, I was so happy. Because it’s something we’ve been wanting for a long time. It’s like me watching the 49ers. I’m like hurry up and win again. Bring back our old tradition. It’s like that.