Bonds says he’s ‘proud’ of friend Mark McGwire
Home run king Barry Bonds said he is “proud” of slugger Mark
McGwire for returning to baseball as the St. Louis Cardinals’
hitting coach and for admitting his use of performance-enhancing
“I have a really good friendship with Mark McGwire. I’m proud
of him,” Bonds said Sunday. “We’ve had a great relationship
throughout our entire lives and throughout our career. I’m proud of
what he did. I’m happy for him.”
While Bonds didn’t rule out also going into coaching one day,
his six-minute session with the media was stopped after the
question about McGwire.
In January, McGwire ended more than a decade of denials and
evasion and finally acknowledged he used steroids and human growth
hormone during his career, including in 1998 when he hit 70 home
runs and broke the single-season record.
Bonds, who topped that mark when he hit 73 homers in 2001, has
long denied ever knowingly using steroids or performance-enhancers
in his pursuit of the career home run record – arguably the most
prized record in all of American sports.
Bonds was indicted on charges he lied in 2003 to a federal grand
jury investigating BALCO, the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, and
McGwire was told of Bonds’ comments in Milwaukee, where the
Cardinals were playing the Brewers.
“It’s very cool. Barry is a great player, was a great player in
this game, many MVPs,” McGwire said. “The guy could do it all. It
makes me feel really good. It’s really cool to be back in the game.
… I’m a big boy, I understand that things happen in your life and
you’ve got to confront them, and you also have to move on from them
and learn from them.”
The 45-year-old Bonds, back in the Bay Area for a reunion at
AT&T Park of the Giants’ 2000 NL West champion team, said he
doesn’t believe now is the right time to retire. Though he also
insists he’s not in shape to play immediately if an interested club
“I don’t have any plans at all,” he said of trying to play
again. “No, it’s not necessary at the moment (to retire). The
timing isn’t that important.”
Bonds arrived separately – and more than an hour later – from
other members of the 2000 team and walked hand in hand with
11-year-old daughter, Aisha.
“This is weird. Where are the big guys?” Rich Aurilia asked of
Bonds and Jeff Kent, whose flight was delayed because of bad
Bonds, dressed in a dark pinstriped suit and orange paisley tie,
had a heavy security presence around him of police officers and
It was a flashback to a few years earlier, when Bonds was
trailed everywhere by reporters and fans. On Sunday, he signed some
15 autographs on his way into the ballpark then was driven around
on an electric cart. He disappeared into a freight elevator to be
taken to the reception with his former teammates.
“They got me in a freight elevator. That’s the first time,”
the slugger said, sporting a huge smile.
Bonds later got in the broadcast booth.
This winter in Florida, he worked with Phillies slugger Ryan
Howard on his swing.
“I coached him a little bit and he’s doing very, very well and
hasn’t said one thing about me yet,” Bonds said with a chuckle.
“But I love him and I’m glad he’s doing well.”
He appeared to be in great shape and said he is down to about
225 pounds from his playing weight of 238.
“I’ve just been working out a lot, that’s all. I work out all
the time,” Bonds said. “It’s been in my genes my whole life. I
just don’t work out as hard anymore. I don’t lift as heavy weights
anymore to be bulky. I don’t know, I’ve got that Hollywood
The seven-time NL MVP broke Hank Aaron’s home run record on Aug.
7, 2007, and has 762 career shots. Bonds has made only a handful of
public appearances in San Francisco since the Giants decided not to
bring him back following that special 2007 season.
Bonds isn’t sure what he would do if a team called him to play
now, saying, “I would have to work out a little harder to give you
any formal consideration.”
“It goes by quick. The sports world eventually comes to an
end,” Bonds said. “Your body can only do so much. Just be
grateful for the time you have. I’m very grateful. … I’m
AP Sports Writer Colin Fly in Milwaukee contributed to this