SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds' preference is simple: He wants
to finish his career with the Giants.
"My choice is not to leave San Francisco."
"That's my choice and you guys make it sound like it's our
decision," Bonds said to reporters before Sunday's series finale
against the Los Angeles Dodgers. "We don't make the final
Given the day off after playing Friday and Saturday nights,
Bonds discussed a number of issues as he sat in front of his locker
watching golf on TV.
Bonds is in the final season of a $90 million, five-year
contract with San Francisco and knows he might have to go
to the American League as a designated hitter next year -- if he
returns at all.
"I've been playing professionally for 21 years," he said. "I
have to start thinking about things. I have to sit down with my
family and my wife. There are a whole deal of mixed emotions. I
have to be fair to myself and to my family's decision."
The 42-year-old slugger's quest to top the home run list -- he's
31 shy of Hank Aaron's 755 -- has been slowed since three knee
operations last year limited him to 14 games in 2005. Sometimes his
back hurts too much to play. He knows he's not the same player he
was in 2004, when he hit 45 home runs and won the last of his seven
"As far as playing every day, I can't do it," Bonds said. "I
have to give my body at least 24 hours to recover. But I can still
hit. I know what I can do on a baseball field. I can still play
this game. I have no doubt in my mind. Unfortunately, I've just had
Bonds also faces an array of problems that have nothing to do
with his health. Government lawyers are investigating whether he
lied under oath when he told an earlier grand jury he didn't know
whether the substances his personal trainer gave him were steroids.
The grand jury investigation also reportedly is focused on
whether Bonds paid taxes on the sale of hundreds of thousands of
dollars worth of sports memorabilia.
This season, he's batting .235, far below his average mark of
.298. With 41 strikeouts he's already matched his total for all of
2004, in which he also walked a major league record 232 times.
"There's no disappointment; my season is what it is," he said.
"I'm still playing baseball. My mind is not on those other things
right now. My mind is on trying to come back and win this damn
Bonds' next game will be his 100th this season and the 2,830th
of his career, matching Harold Baines for 16th all-time. He needs
three doubles to match Robin Yount (583) for 15th and nine homers
for 733, which would match Aaron for the National League record.
He knows becoming a DH would allow him to play more often. But
he's also committed to the fans in San Francisco, the only ones in
baseball who treat him as an icon.
"My choice is not to leave San Francisco," he said. "I'm
going to wait though, do some things. I'll let you guys know, and
I'm pretty sure [the Giants] will let you know, too."