Mercury News beat writer Andrew Baggarly was in situ for perhaps the most important event of an otherwise splendid sports weekend: a group interview with baseball's most hated home run king Barry Bonds. Bonds reunited with fellow teammates from the 2000 NL West champion Giants at AT&T Park yesterday and the beat writers were granted a whopping 6 and a half minutes to spend with the deposed slugger. The entire interview transcript is online, but let's focus on the three biggest revelations.
Q: Been swinging a bat?
A: Actually, I went down to Florida to work out with Ryan Howard during the wintertime and coached him a little bit and he's doing very, very well and hasn't said one thing about me yet. (Laughs.) But I love him and I'm glad he's doing well.
Interesting, Bonds worked with one of the most high-profile sluggers in the biz over the winter and we're not finding out about it until today? Why wasn't Meech following RyHo around with a Flip cam and a enormous oversized butterfly net all December long? But most importantly, one can surely sense Bonds' Dangerfieldian frustration that Howard had not given him any credit (until now) for a fast start in 2010 (3 HR, 1.462 OPS).
Later in the interview, when prodded if a job in coaching is in his future, Bonds says that "God gave me a gift and it's nice to let someone else see what God has given to me". So let it be known that Ryan Howard's early season success is an immaculate blessing from above.
Q: What was your reaction to Mark McGwire's steroid admission? (ESPN's Colleen Dominguez wins the question of the day award.)
A: I have a really good friendship with Mark McGwire. I'm proud of him. I have a great relationship through our entire life and career and I'm proud of what he did and I'm happy for him.
Hear that? It's the sound of a million ham-fisted sports columnists pounding away at a million mustard-stained laptops writing "THEN WHY WON'T YOU ADMIT YOU USED STEROIDS TOO, YOU JACKANAPE" a million times over. Seriously, can we, as a species, separate ourselves from the idea that our artificially-enhanced sports heroes need to make the big steroid admission and produce a teary-eyed apology? It's just embarrassing for all parties involved. Especially the parties who demand an apology and then criticize it for not being authentic enough.
I, too, am proud of McGwire, but not for his steroid admission, but rather because his role as hitting coach has inspired Yadier Molina to hit a whopping two home runs in the first week of the season.
In somewhat related news: Marvin Benard admits steroid use OMG!
Q: The Players' Association is preparing a collusion case against MLB. To what extent do you plan to be a part of that case?
A: You know what, I'm sorry brother, this is the first time I heard about this. First time. I'm sorry, brother. I'd help you out but I can't.
This is the nugget I'm most excited about. Don't take my enthusiasm to mean that I think Bonds is lying, but he has most likely shaken his fist at collusion and he is DEFINITELY going to be the star witness of that court case. Can you imagine! Barry Bonds sitting on the witness stand, pointing at Bill Neukom, Brian Sabean and Bud Selig at the defendant's table, and shouting, "Them! It's because of them I had no job!"
And then Zombie Johnnie Cochrane produces a batting helmet that just doesn't fit on Bonds' head, and then Ben Matlock fingers Jeff Loria as the real murderer, and then Columbo comes in and says, "Just one more thing...," and then Lionel Hutz gives out a business card that expands into a sponge. Okay, so maybe my understanding of MLBPA collusion grievances is somewhat less-than-stellar but you get my point: Barry Bonds is going to bust open some heads in front of the arbitration panel. Objection? Overruled.
Bonds also doled out some snoozy answers to pointless questions; my only complaint is that nobody asked him if he felt the need to pop Jeff Kent right in the kisser.