News Doesn’t Come Out of Left Field
Neither indicted nor entirely free from the entanglement of a grand jury, Barry Bonds stood in left field at AT&T; Park on Thursday night, batted cleanup, hit career home run No. 722, palled around with his son, and pretty much got on with things.
Out of the reach of U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan, Bonds arrived about three hours before the San Francisco Giants would play the San Diego Padres. He notified Giants officials he would not address the news that he’d eluded indictments for perjury and tax evasion or that his good friend and personal trainer, Greg Anderson, had been released from prison after 15 days, time spent after refusing to testify to the grand jury in the Bonds investigation.
His attorney, Michael Rains, told reporters earlier in the day that Bonds not only was willing, but eager to express himself.
Blake Rhodes, the Giants official who deals in these matters, shielded Bonds from reporters, however, stating Bonds might answer questions after the game, but only as they related to baseball, and not his legal issues.
Bonds did address the issue on his website, writing, “First off, I would like to say that what happened today is not a moment of joy for me, but one of temporary relief. This has been an issue that has surrounded me for the past three years and I hope that this is the end.
“An investigation happened and hopefully it is over. I do want to make it clear that there are no hard feelings for the legal process, but I feel there comes a point where everyone needs to move on.”
Standing behind the batting cage as Bonds took batting practice, Giants owner Peter Magowan contended the investigation into Bonds was not necessarily a burden to the organization, but conceded a conclusion to it would be welcome.
“What cloud?” Magowan said. “He hasn’t been indicted.... Until he is indicted, if he is, nothing really has changed from where it’s been.
“I think all of us would like to see a resolution. I mean, everybody in baseball. I’m sure the commissioner would like to see one, I’m sure Barry would like to see one, I’m sure our fans would like to see one.”
Unaware that a new grand jury will be assembled, Giants Manager Felipe Alou said he hoped this was the end of the Bonds complications, and praised Bonds for playing through them.
Asked how Bonds might have dealt with the past week, as speculation grew that he might be indicted, Alou shook his head and said, “I don’t know. Only a man himself knows what it is inside the man. It’s hard to get in.”
Bonds is largely cheered here, as he was when he trotted to left field in the top of the first inning, waving to the folks in the left-field bleachers, and again in the bottom of the first, during his first at-bat.
He homered to center field in the eighth, the first of three in a row off Padres reliever Brian Sweeney, and the crowd chanted his name jubilantly.
Bonds apparently will require at least another season to hit the 34 home runs necessary to break Hank Aaron’s all-time record, and public sentiment will be strong for him to do it here, in the uniform of his father, Bobby, and godfather, Willie Mays.