Barry Bonds seemingly has gained a sense of self-awareness since last playing in a Major League Baseball game in 2007.
Bonds, now the co-hitting coach of the Miami Marlins, often was seen as a jerk throughout his 22-year MLB career, and that’s without factoring in any steroid suspicions. Terence Moore of Sports On Earth has a much different view of Bonds, though, and the all-time home run king recently opened up when asked who’s to blame for his negative image.
“Me. It’s on me,” Bonds told Moore last week. “I’m to blame for the way I was (portrayed), because I was a dumbass. I was straight stupid, and I’ll be the first to admit it.
“I mean, I was just flat-out dumb. What can I say? I’m not going to try to justify the way I acted toward people. I was stupid. It wasn’t an image that I invented on purpose. It actually escalated into that, and then I maintained it. You know what I mean?
“It was never something that I really ever wanted. No one wants to be treated like that, because I was considered to be a terrible person. You’d have to be insane to want to be treated like that. That makes no sense.”
In addition to belting more home runs (762) than any player in MLB history, Bonds earned 14 All-Star selections, reeled in eight Gold Gloves and won seven MVP awards. No matter how you slice it, Bonds was one of the best players the game has ever seen. If not for performance-enhancing drug suspicions and his link to the BALCO scandal, he would have waltzed his way into Cooperstown on the first ballot.
Still, Bonds never was a likable superstar. Even his teammates had issues with him over the years. But Bonds now admits that mounting pressure and crazy expectations proved too much at times. It caused him to be the jerk that everyone came to know and hate.
“Hell, I kick myself now, because I’m getting great press (since being more cooperative), and I could have had a trillion more endorsements, but that wasn’t my driving force,” Bonds told Moore of the misconceptions. “The problem was, when I tried to give in a little bit, it never got better. I knew I was in the midst of that image, and I determined at that point that I was never going to get out of it.
“So I just said, ‘I’ve created this fire around me, and I’m stuck in it, so I might as well live with the flames.’ ”
The flames seem to be dying down. Love him or hate him, Bonds seems like he’s in a better place now.
Thumbnail photo via Neville E. Guard/USA TODAY Sports Images
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