San Francisco Giants baseball team manager Bruce Bochy, left, joins former player Barry Bonds at a news conference before a spring training baseball game in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Monday. Bonds starts a seven day coaching stint today. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, March 13, 2014 2:45 PM
Barry Bonds is back.
In San Francisco his return to the Giants family was greeted with joy and cheers.
The rest of baseball responded to the news with laughter and jeers.
Either way, Bonds is back in the Giants dugout, if just for a week.
Call it a test drive for the man with the most home runs in history as well as the biggest sore spots the game has ever known.
During his meeting with the media, Bonds refused to talk about steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs. He only talked about what Barry wanted to talk about.
Maybe for his next gig he could be the White House press secretary. They, too, seem good at avoiding subjects.
Bonds was in total spin control.
He almost, almost sounded sincere when he talked about being sorry for how he treated the media during his playing days.
Back then Bonds would give few the time of day and even fewer a straight answer.
If you could not do Barry any good, Barry wanted no part of you.
Every time you tried to approach Bonds you felt like you were headed to the principal’s office, or maybe the dentist’s chair.
Either way, you knew it was not about to be a pleasant experience.
Not so Monday, as Bonds smiled, joked and seemed in good spirits.
No ‘roid rage or anything close.
This was either a new Bonds or a man who now has come to realize he needs the baseball media more than ever.
How ironic it is, the guy who would rarely be nice to the media now needs them to forgive him if he ever wants to make the Hall of Fame.
Which really gets us to the point of this media blitz. Bonds is looking for forgiveness but is far too proud to ask for it.
He wants to be in the Hall of Fame. He said as much when asked if he should be voted in.
But in order to make the Hall it is the very baseball writers he tormented for years who must put him in. And they must do so by overlooking the basic fact that Barry Bonds used PEDs.
He surely would have been a Hall of Famer without the extra help, but he would not hold the home run records.
Bonds became that spoiled kid on Halloween who not only wanted to have the best costume, but also the most candy even if he knew it was not good for him.
Now he wants everybody to either forgive or forget.
He sees Mark McGwire, also not the nicest guy when it came to dealing with the press, except for his record summer of 1999, and notices baseball has welcomed him back. But McGwire admitted he was a steroid user, gave a long sit-down interview asking, almost begging for forgiveness.
McGwire also knows he isn’t going in the Hall soon, if ever.
Bonds had his chance Monday. He could have admitted what he took, said he needed to in order to keep up with others.
Americans have forgiven our fallen stars for much worse. But Bonds stayed true to his personality when PEDs use came up.
He never took a step back.
For one, I think Bonds and the rest should make the Hall, but it should always be noted that their numbers were helped by what they used.
Most will never forgive them. Either way, Barry Bonds found his way back into the spotlight just when we were starting to forget about him.
And if coaching the Giants doesn’t work out, there is always public relations.
Jim Gazzolo is managing sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org