The 43-year-old home run king heard a long list of his
accomplishments read during a special speaking forum Wednesday
night hosted by the Commonwealth Club, then was asked by KGO Radio
host Ray Taliaferro if he'd really reached all those feats.
Fourteen All-Star game selections. A record seven NL MVPs. Eight
Gold Glove awards.
"I did, and then I got fired," Bonds told a group of about 450
people in the audience. "Shame on me, huh?"
Bonds, who broke Hank Aaron's home run record with No. 756 on
Aug. 7, was told last month by Giants owner Peter Magowan that he
would not be brought back for a 16th season in San Francisco.
Bonds, dressed in a dark suit jacket and tie, entered to a
roaring standing ovation and repeatedly drew loud applause from an
adoring crowd through the nearly 90-minute forum. They chanted,
"Barry! Barry!" One person hollered, "We love you." Others took
pictures on cell phone cameras or sported shirts with Bonds' No.
Yes, this was a glorified pep rally in a swanky downtown San
Francisco hotel featuring five ovations and two of those standing --
for a star baseball player who didn't even stick around when his
team paid tribute to him with a video presentation during the final
home game of the year. Outside the ballroom where he spoke, Game 1
of the World Series between the Red Sox and Rockies at Fenway Park
showed on a TV.
"I don't have fans in San Francisco -- this is my family," said
Bonds, who used to bounce around the clubhouse at Candlestick Park
as a boy while hanging out with his late father, Bobby, and Hall of
Fame godfather Willie Mays.
When Taliaferro asked about Bonds' many splash-hit home runs,
the slugger replied, "They call it McCovey Cove, but I've
rewritten it a little bit."
That part of San Francisco Bay beyond the right field arcade of
the Giants' waterfront ballpark is named for Hall of Famer Willie
Bonds, who just completed his 22nd major league season, has 762
career homers. Taliaferro read select questions from members of an
audience that included actor Danny Glover, one asking Bonds whether
he would play for $5 million and bat fifth for San Francisco if
that were an option for 2008.
"I told Peter Magowan, 'If I'm a part-time player, I'm still
better than your full-time player, and it's a wise idea to keep
me,"' Bonds said. "We still have time. Things might change."
Bonds also said that if he were running the franchise, the
Giants would have won a World Series by now. They fell five outs
short in 2002, and one thing the slugger is still missing on his
remarkable resume is a championship ring.
"They've been here since 1958," Bonds said. "We'd win a World
Series. I know the game so well. I can see talent. I know exactly
what I'd be looking for."
Is the club any closer to winning it all?
"I can't answer that. I don't work there anymore," Bonds
quipped, then howled in laughter. "My philosophy in sports is you
don't break things up. You add to it."
He soon added: "I'm rooting for the Giants. I'm not rooting
against the Giants. This is my hometown."
Where will he land for next season? Bonds doesn't know, but he
doubts it's with the New York Yankees as a designated hitter. A
move to the American League as a DH would be the logical next step
for Bonds, whose balky knees and age have contributed to him being
a step slow in left field lately.
"I would consider DHing for the Yankees. Unfortunately, the
Yankees have two DHs, so that dream would never happen," Bonds
said. "I'm out enjoying my life. I don't know at this point what
my plans are in the future."