Extra Bases

Barry on Barry

Forgot to mention perhaps the most bizarre part of the interview with Barry Bonds. As he walked into the dugout gauntlet, Bonds turned on a little handheld, digital recorder, much like the ones held by virtually all of the print media members. He explains why — it is a regular thing for him — in the final question of the interview, which I’ve transcribed start to finish (except for one part where someone in the group passed on a greeting from an old friend to Bonds).

What do you think of your first time in Boston?

“I’m trying to see everything. They said the park looks smaller. This looks bigger than Houston, bigger than Philly. That right field’s a long way. It’s nice so far.”

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What do you think your reception is going to be?

“I don’t worry about that. No, I’m here to play a baseball game with my teammates. I’m the opposing player, so I guess opposing players aren’t supposed to get that warm of a reception. You know what I mean? Unless you’re on the other side, you’re supposed to be booed.”

Do you expect to DH all three games?

“Um, yeah. I’m old.”

What did Dave Roberts say to you about playing in Boston?

“He hasn’t said anything about it, really. You know, just said it was nice, he had a great time. He said, ‘You’ve got to love the ballpark.’ I like the city. I mean I went to go see my son here, but I didn’t get a chance to go around the city like I did [that time]. It’s pretty. Really nice.”

When was your last time here?

“Just to visit my son. The year that they won the World Series in 2004. They were playing a game as I was driving right past the stadium. I’ve never seen the inside of the ballpark, so this is the first time.”

Your son was going to school here?

“Yeah. He was going to Valley View.”

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Is this a historic moment, for the Giants to be playing in Fenway?

“I think interleague games are great because if you haven’t played a team in their ballpark in such a long period of time, I think it brings excitement. It’s pretty cool. Pretty great for us, too. When would I have ever come here, to see a game or anything? Never, unless I was playing in one.”

Your father played in the American League. Never saw him in Fenway?

“No, never. Watched on TV. Watched a ton of games on TV. You get the Boston games and Yankee games all the time.”

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to play a game here?

“No, not really, because I’m in San Francisco. Wonder what it’s like to play here in the World Series. But I’ve been a Giant my whole life. I was in Pittsburgh for a short period of time. I’ve been a Giant my whole life. My whole history is in San Francisco, so I’m a Giant.”

Ever thought about hitting one over the Green Monster?

“No, I’m not righthanded. Never had that thought before.”

Are you anxious about breaking the home run record?

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“No, I don’t even think about it right now. We just play baseball as a team, try to do what we can as a team. I don’t even talk about it.”

What was the difference between April and May for you?

“April and May? April I was hitting the ball, May I wasn’t. In June, I’m going like this [makes rollercoaster hand motion]. One day I hit, next day I don’t. I mean, if I get a couple of hits I get walked anyway.”

How are you physically?

“I’m physically OK. I’m all right.”

Will DHing help?

“At 43, sure. Almost anyone at that age. It’s going to be fun, seeing Tim Wakefield and [Julian] Tavarez and stuff, guys I played with too. So Tim Wakefield, if we would have had him pitch the last game we would have been in the World Series as well as that guy pitched for us when he came up with us in Pittsburgh, he threw phenomenal. So we’re both old. And to come back and see him pitch, he’s still out there, is going to be pretty nice even though I don’t do well off him because it’s just too slow. But he’s a good pitcher and he’s always been a good pitcher.”

Is this your last year?

“No.”

How many years?

“I don’t know. As long as my body wants me to play.”

After missing so much time last season, how was getting into the flow from the beginning?

“I’m just happy that I’m being able to be out there for my teammates as much as I’ve been able to be out there under the circumstances with the injuries and the knee surgeries. I worked hard, I worked real hard. Time starts to work against you eventually. So I’m just trying to hang in there the best I can. I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job but we need to do a better job as a team.”

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Are you confident your body will hold up?

“Oh, I’m fine. I don’t see any problems with my body. As of today.”

Do you think you get a bum rap wherever you go?

“I don’t know what you consider a bum rap, when there’s people — I mean, I’m sitting in a group and I probably know five of you. You don’t know me. So I don’t take it personal. I just don’t.

Doesn’t bother you?

“It can’t. I mean, what does it really mean? What’s the motive? What have I ever done to you? So what’s the motive? I’ve never done anything to you, so I just go out here and do my job on the field and play baseball.”

You don’t take it home?

“No, never. I was born in this game. I’ve seen a lot of things with my father. I’ve seen a lot. I was tough-skinned at an early age. That’s the only way I can sum it up.”

Is it important to you to play in the All-Star game?

“It would be important to me because it’s at home. Yes, definitely. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. But it would be important.”

How would you have felt, given you were so close to not playing in San Francisco?

“I don’t know where you got that information from, but I was never unclose because I’m here.”

Why do you have that recorder? Is it a regular thing?

“I just keep it so I can have it for my own personal records. Just like you have yours. You have your cameras and your records, I have mine. All right, I’ve got to go.”

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