Bonds discusses next season, home run chase

Maybe all it takes is gingersnap cookies.

After a morning when Giants slugger Barry Bonds was surrounded by reporters and cameras six and seven rows deep, the only person who caught him as he warmed up was an elderly woman from Minnesota who baked gingersnaps.

And yes, he ate one.

While Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game has brought together the most skilled players on the field, it is clear that the location and the timing of this year’s event make it Bonds’ show.

When Bonds came onto the field at AT&T Park to warm up, fans chanted his name, and after he smacked seven balls out of the yard during batting practice — one of which took a dip in McCovey Cove — they gave him an ovation.

Earlier Monday, the superstar fielded questions from a media horde for 50 minutes atthe Westin St. Francis downtown, with reporters running to snag a spot close to Bonds.

“To be able to be at your home, on your stage, it’s amazing,” Bonds said of having today’s All-Star Game in San Francisco. “To be able to live and dream, to wait 22 years to actually have the opportunity to have an All-Star Game in my hometown is a great feeling.”

Many wanted Bonds to take his cuts during Monday’s Home Run Derby, but he said the new format for the competition, with its three rounds, is too much for his body at this stage of his career.

“You know, I could give a good effort, but we’re in San Francisco,” he said, noting the wind and the cold.

As for chasing Hank Aaron’s home run record and whether he will play again next year, Bonds said he lamented how the debate about whether baseball commissioner Bud Selig would be in attendance has “gone down.”

“That’s up to Bud, it’s not up to me,” Bonds said. “Bud is his own man and I respect him.

“Whether Bud shows up or he doesn’t show up, I’m still going to play baseball.”

Bonds, who sits at 751 homers, said he has played more than he expected during the first half of this season and was actually enjoying the chase of Aaron’s career record of 755 home runs. He says he is not itching to break the record yet, but perhaps when he reaches 754, he will “really feel it” — and then “it depends on how many games are left.”

“But I’m not quitting, so I might make you wait until next year,” Bonds said. “I got some time, brother. My skills ain’t that bad.

“If I walk away from the game knowing I can still play the game, I wouldn’t have a happy ending. I have to walk away when I know I can’t do it anymore.”

But just standing outside the indoor batting cage at AT&T Park and listening to Bonds take some swings, he doesn’t appear to be going anywhere — especially if you have gingersnaps.

dsmith@examiner.com


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