05.28.12

A Slimmer, Less Surly Sultan Emerges From Exile

Posted in Baseball at 11:49 pm by

Amongst those in attendance for Barry Zito’s solid (7 IP, 2 ER) performance in SF’s 4-2 win over Arizona Monday was the left-hander’s former teammate, 48 year old Barry Bonds. Speaking with reporters, Bonds struck a somewhat softer tone than the sort that typified the end of his playing days, with the SF Chronicle’s John Shea quoting baseball’s all-time HR king as looking for a coaching position with the Giants (“my expertise is baseball…that’s the only role I can have”)

Asked if he had regrets being involved with BALCO, the hub of the steroid scandal involving him, Bonds said, “I’m a convicted felon for obstruction of justice, and that’s who I am. I live with it. … I went through the system. That’s what they gave me. I’m in appeal right now. I was never convicted of steroids.”

Appearing fit, trim and jovial, the seven-time MVP said he weighs from 212 to 215 pounds and added, “When I played, I was not over 238.” He said he biked 400 miles a week before recently undergoing back and hip surgeries.

Addressing his reputation, he said, “I’m an athlete. I gave my life and soul to that game. That’s what’s heartbreaking. I gave my whole life. I did it hard for 22 years. Hard. That’s the hard part of it. You sit at home and go through it. It’s tough.”

At 47, Bonds said he still hasn’t filled out the paperwork to officially retire, and the Giants have made no public commitment to include him on their Wall of Fame or erect a statue.

“Maybe some of us just don’t ever want to retire,” said a smiling Bonds. “I’m not playing anymore, so whatever you want to call it. I’ll let the Giants figure that one out for me.”

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