Peter Gammons: Barry, given your relationship with these fans of San Francisco, was it hard for you to not participate in this Home Run Derby?
Barry Bonds: Oh, definitely, Peter, because this is my home town, these fans have supported throughout my career. It's just that I'm almost 43 years old, I wanted to do it, in my heart, I just can't do it anymore. It's just something I'm not capable of doing anymore. Y'know, everyone sits there and says, "Don't think about yourself," and I can't think about myself, I think about my team. And I'm just grateful I've been able to play as many games as I've been able to play this year, and I want to continue playing and partici/forming for my team, and that's the most important thing, is being able to participate for your team. I'm very thankful that they voted me into the All-Star game, and to have an opportunity to start here at home in front of San Francisco fans, I'm forever grateful for that.IDWT: Given what about his relationship? With what fans? The one quoted in SI's Bonds cover story in May who said, "People here don't give a shit about Bonds and his record. Who cares? I'd rather watch my grandchildren play than that asshole"? Or the ones who decried his one-year, $15.8 million extension? Or those born out of counterculture who would embrace what others reject for the sake of satisfying some psychological aversion to orthodoxy, or common sense?
And Barry: please, please spare us from your "team is most important thing" spiel. Your team is 38-48 and 10.5 games out of first. Your team's fans, on the other hand, cared enough about you to vote you in as a starter, even if they did it fraudulently. Now let me get this straight: you can't take one hour out of your night to take a few swings? Because that's all they want, Barry: to see you take a few swings, perhaps launch one into the Cove, to give you a standing ovation because, damnit, sports fans are like the rest of us, always searching for a familiar face in a familiar place to chat with or pat on the back. And you choose -- on the most-watched pre-postseason baseball event -- to deny them that chance. Okay, Mr. Team First.
PG: At your age, what's the most difficult thing about playing every day now?
BB: The 5th inning. [Laughs.] You can feel okay the first five innings, and then it really starts weighing on you a little bit. It's trying to last the entire game, and that's the hardest part.IDWT: Boohoo, waaaa, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, I want my greenies back! waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
Oh, and you're making $15.8 million, dickhead.
PG: How much has the home run record been on your mind?
BB: It really hasn't, Peter, at all. It hasn't been... My teammates have been great, the city's been great, everyone around throughout the league and wherever I go has been great, and I haven't really thought of it. The only thing that gets me is when they change the balls. As soon as they change the balls, I haven't hit a home run, since they did it in Cincinnati. I gotta try to not see that change, because then that's what's in your mind, you know that there's something going on, and when there's no change of baseballs, then you know your mindset is just focused on the game. So I have to really try to focus myself away from that ball change.IDWT: Everyone wherever you go has been great? Really? You sure about that?
PG: Now, have you been surprised, the reaction of fans around the league, and did you worry a little bit about it before the season?
IDWT: Uh oh, here we go. Now you've done it... and it was going so well! What's Barry going to do here? Play dumb? Give Peter the stare? Patronize him some more? Tell him to f### off?
BB: Um, what reaction are you talking about?IDWT: Play dumb it is!
PG (his stammering): Just th-the fans, y'know, th-that fans, because of so much controversy t-that has surrounded this, did you worry that before the season that there'd be booing, there'd be a lot of, a lot of fans would get on you?
BB: Peter, I don't worry about that because, y'know, it's the same thing when you say "people." You know? It's the same thing like me sitting here saying "a third party." The thing is is that I am disappointed at people that are judging me by a third-party's comment. And actually.... The people of San Francisco know me, see me walking the streets, they know the type of person... I don't go to clubs, I don't hang out, I don't do crazy things, they know that I work hard. Everyone sees me in the gym as everyday people, stuff like that, and they actually get to see me. I feel disappointed and I feel sad about somebody that judges another person over a third-party's comments. You're allowing that person to dictate your opinion about me. And that's sad for me. That would be me, if someone said, Hey, Peter Gammons is doing so-and-so something, I'd be like, "Hold on, man, I don't know the guy, so I'm not going to jump to that conclusion." If I then have an opportunity to meet you and I do meet you, I can sit there and say, "You know, you're wrong. He's a nice man, I've had an opportunity to meet him."IDWT: You don't want to be judged by a third party? What could you possibly mean?
The people of San Francisco know me, see me walking the streets.
IDWT: Oh yes, Barry, they see you all the time walking down Market Street and jogging in Lincoln Park. You're a true man of the people.
They know that I work hard.
IDWT: I've always felt insecure over my head size and unsure of my ability to attract fetching companions of the opposite sex, for fear my noggin's too small. Your secret, Barry. Share?
And that's sad for me.
$15.8 million and soon the most hallowed record in baseball. God you're a fucking prick.
I'd be like, "Hold on, man, I don't know the guy.
IDWT: You don't know Peter Gammons? And yet you act so familiar, addressing him by his first name.
If I then have an opportunity to meet you and I do meet you, I can sit there and say, "You know, you're wrong. He's a nice man, I've had an opportunity to meet him."
IDWT: Would you like to meet Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, Barry, who had their livelihoods suspended for doing their jobs without complaint past the metaphorical 5th inning? Maybe they can give you a couple pointers on how to pass the time in jail.
PG: Do you care if Bud Selig and Henry Aaron are here when you break the record?
BB: You know, I said it earlier today, as far as Hank Aaron goes, Hank has a life. You cannot predict a home run...IDWT: Blah blah blah, whatever. Just whatever.
One last thing, B: you know the difference between your situation and your hypothetical, the one where, say, a former girlfriend accuses Gammons of, oh, reading Sports Illustrated past his bedtime?
ev·i·dence (ěv'ĭ-dəns), n.: that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.
Try that on for size. It's big, even for you.