Home-run king Bonds wishes he had one more year

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - JANIE MCCAULEY

SAN FRAN­CISCO — Barry Bonds so badly wanted to play one fi­nal sea­son.

On the week of the 10th an­niver­sary of break­ing base­ball’s all­time home run mark, Bonds told The Associated Press he be­lieves he would have reached 800 homers or come very close.

Bonds said it “stung” to walk away from a dec­o­rated 22-year ca­reer with lit­tle no­tice im­me­di­ately af­ter a record-set­ting 2007 sea­son with the San Fran­cisco Giants, when he topped Hank Aaron’s mark.

Bonds said there were never dis­cus­sions about him play­ing for the Giants in 2008. He also said he didn’t push for it be­cause, “I was just told I’m not com­ing back and that was it.”

The 53-year-old Bonds now works for the Giants. He was at AT&T Park on Mon­day night, the same place he hit No. 756 to pass Aaron.

Bonds fin­ished with 762 home runs, and the seven-time NL MVP ended his ca­reer un­der the cloud of steroids al­le­ga­tions.

“Yeah, it should have only been nine (years ago). I should have played one more year, I should have had the chance to,” Bonds said, stand­ing be­hind the bat­ting cage.

“It’s all right, though. Those 22 were still good. I wish I could have got­ten to re­tire bet­ter, or just walk away bet­ter, what­ever it was, how­ever you want to call it.”

Bonds waved from the broad­cast booth when he was shown on the big board be­fore the top of the third in­ning, when high­lights of his record-set­ting homer were played.

“I was what (38) away from 800? I’d have been real close. I would have never hit un­der 20-some­thing, no mat­ter what,” Bonds said.

Hours ear­lier, Bonds spent time chat­ting up his 2007 man­ager, cur­rent San Fran­cisco skip­per Bruce Bochy, and giv­ing some guid­ance to Pablo San­doval and Jar­rett Parker be­tween their turns tak­ing bat­ting prac­tice.

Bonds said he hadn’t even thought about this be­ing 10 years since his mile­stone home run un­til hear­ing from the team with an in­vite to the ball­park Mon­day, when the Giants hosted the World Se­ries cham­pion Chicago Cubs and lost 5-3 in the se­ries opener.

“I didn’t know it was 10 years,” he said. “I didn’t even know I was out of base­ball 10 years. It feels like just yes­ter­day.”

Later, he posted on Twit­ter: “Thank you @SFGiants for go­ing down mem­ory lane with me to­day. Who was there for 756? #10yearsago­to­day.”

In July 2015, Bonds said he had a huge “weight lifted” when fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors dropped what was left of their crim­i­nal case against him af­ter a nearly decade­long steroids pros­e­cu­tion.

Bonds was on 53.8 per cent of Hall of Fame bal­lots in this year’s vot­ing, up from 43.3 per cent of bal­lots last year and 36.2 per cent in his ini­tial ap­pear­ance.

“I went to court, I won. Ma­jor League Base­ball’s not pun­ish­ing me for any­thing,” Bonds said. “If I did some­thing wrong, then MLB can take it down. If you think I did some­thing wrong or I vi­o­lated a rule, which I never vi­o­late any rules in base­ball, MLB’s not the one pun­ish­ing me. The me­dia’s pun­ish­ing me, which is all right. If that’s what they want to do, go ahead, do your thing.”

Fit and friendly, Bonds is now an avid cy­clist. He fi­nally got a plaque on the Giants Wall of Fame this spring.

A jury found Bonds guilty in 2011 for giv­ing a me­an­der­ing an­swer to a fed­eral grand jury in 2003 when asked whether his per­sonal trainer gave him any­thing that re­quired a sy­ringe for self-in­jec­tion. An 11-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals overturned that con­vic­tion in April 2015.

Bonds was charged in 2007, four years af­ter his tes­ti­mony be­fore the grand jury af­ter re­ceiv­ing a grant of im­mu­nity. He didn’t dis­pute that he took steroids, but tes­ti­fied to the grand jury that his for­mer trainer, Greg An­der­son, told him they were flaxseed oil and arthritic balm.

Bonds hit 28 home runs and led the ma­jors with a .480 on-base av­er­age in 2007. He never played af­ter that.

MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Barry Bonds, left, waves to fans from the broad­cast booth on Mon­day.

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