The Interview With Raj Mathai

The Interview With Raj Mathai

In-depth interviews that go beyond one or two soundbites

The Interview: Barry Bonds

Former San Francisco Giants Slugger focusing on the future not the past

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Barry Bonds is ready for a fresh start with the San Francisco Giants, not as a player, but as a hitting coach. He sits down for an exclusive one-on-one interview with NBC Bay Area's Raj Mathai.

    When it comes to Barry Bonds, there is no orange and black.

    It's simply gray. He's a polarizing superstar who's still villainized by many because of his role in the steroids era of baseball.

    Even now, years removed from the spotlight, Bonds says he feels like he was unfairly targeted.

    "It doesn't take one person to cause too many problems. I think it takes two, three, four, five," Bonds said. "It’s time to start over and start something different."

    Starting over is hard to do, not just for Bonds, but for the game he cheated and the countless people he alienated.

    Back in 2005, during the height of the steroid scandal, he lashed out at the media.

    "All of you lied. All of you have said something wrong. All of you have dirt. When your closet's clean, then clean somebody else's," he yelled during a press conference.

    Those explosive days are over. The soon-to-be 50 year old is fresh off his second divorce. He's looks noticeably slimmer and sounds more engaging and humble.

    "I was going through a lot in my life in that time, and like I said no one is above trials and tribulations and I went through them and  it was good," Bonds said during an exclusive one-on-one interview. "It was a time I don’t want to think about, but you know I got through it and it’s time to move forward in and you always have to move forward in life. You can’t always sit back and think about the past so, I’m ready to go forward."

    With time to reflect on his days playing for the Giants, he sees himself as two people.

    "I had two personalities," Bonds recalled. "I needed that one guy to play. That was the one character that was always over here."

    The crazy character is still there Bonds admits.

    "He’s still crazy, he just toned it down, but he can come out every once in a while if he has to, but it’s only in competitive things."

    Even now, Bonds doesn't apologize for his attitude on the field. He saw it as part of his job as one of the best hitters in baseball. Now he just wants to help the Giants any way he can.

    For now, that means spending a week in spring training as a hitting coach.

    "I’m here to help these guys," Bonds said.

    As far as the impact he's had on the game of baseball, Bonds took his role very seriously.

    "I wanted the person who sat up in the upper deck to enjoy himself. I wanted that person two hours or three hours into the game to be awake and excited. I felt like that’s what we owed. To perform that was our job, that was our duty and I wanted to perform and that’s what I wanted to do," Bonds said.

    Perform he did, but while many question whether he deserves to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame, in his mind there's only one answer.

    "Without a doubt," Bonds said. "Without a doubt."