When the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot is released this November, Barry Bonds’ name will be on it for the first time. The final voting will be announced in January, and Bonds feels his name should be one of those announced as newly elected. Obviously, Barry Bonds has the numbers to get into the coveted Baseball Hall of Fame. Just as obvious is the performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) scandal that still lingers in people’s minds. What is sometimes lost amid the PED story is the fact that Bonds had a broken relationship with the media. Many of the same media members who covered Bonds will be the ones who vote on the Hall of Fame candidates. In a recent interview with MLB.com, Barry Bonds addressed his feelings regarding the Hall of Fame, his time in San Francisco, and admits that if he could do it over, he would change his relations with the media.
When asked if he would have done anything differently during his career, Bonds had this response:
I got a ball and I hit it, so in that way there’s nothing I would have done differently. As far as handling the media, I would have done a lot of things differently. The character I created on the field was a different person than the way I was off the field. It was that person that made me perform. It gave me the push to perform. Whether you hated me or loved me, you came to see that person or that show. And with the media, I needed space. When the first thing that happens after you get to the clubhouse every day is questions about the chase or how you feel, I’ll admit it now that it was hard for me to deal with and I could’ve done it a lot better. That’s a lot for one individual. You’re going to snap. It’s hard when you have to do that every day for 162 days. Add Spring Training. It would be tough for anyone… I could’ve given the media a little more than I did at the time. Back then, I didn’t think I could. But I also feel that the people around me could have given me some breathing room to make it easier. When you’re just shoved out there by yourself all the time, I believe some people can do it. I was just not one of them. And I admit it, I wasn’t one of them. I wasn’t good at that. I wasn’t good for the sole reason of the things I saw as I grew up with my father. And how my father and Willie were loved at one moment and then dropped off at some corner and told, “Good luck!” the next. I wasn’t willing to subject myself to that and I wasn’t willing to give them that. Now that I look back at it, it might have been a lot more fun if I had. It might have been good to do that.
Barry was specifically asked about how he felt about his name being on the ballot for the first time and the upcoming vote. Bonds said:
I respect the Hall of Fame, don’t get me wrong. I really, really, really respect the Hall of Fame. And I think we all do. I love the city of San Francisco and to me that’s my Hall of Fame. I don’t worry about it because I don’t want to be negative about the way other people think it should be run. That’s their opinion, and I’m not going to be negative. I know I’m going to be gone one day. If you want to keep me out, that’s your business. My things are here in San Francisco. These are the people who love me. This is where I feel I belong. This is where I want to belong. If [the voters] want to put me in there, so be it, fine. If they don’t, so be it, fine.
Also making an appearance on the ballot will be Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. There no doubt that all of the above players have the numbers to reach the Hall. There is also little doubt that Bonds was the best of all four players. Bonds hit 762 career home runs and won the National League MVP Award seven times. Nonetheless, all four players have been implicated in the PED scandal, and feelings about the subject are strong in baseball circles. When Bonds was asked if he felt he deserved to be in the Hall of Fame, he made his feelings clear with this response:
“Oh, without a doubt. There’s not a doubt in my mind.”
One reality that MLB fans must face is that we don’t know which players used PEDs. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that during this time, the percentage of players using was a large percentage. The arguments on whether these players should be allowed in baseball’s Hall of Fame will last lifetimes. What can’t be argued is whether Barry Bonds was among the top-tier of his contemporaries, as he surely was. The only argument regarding Bonds and where he stands among the players of his generation is whether Bonds was the absolute best. Most would say that he was.