SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Barry Bonds believes these Giants can give San Francisco the World Series title he was unable to deliver in his 15 years with the team.
“They don’t need me,” Bonds said before the game. “They’re fine by themselves.”
They were in Game 1 against the Texas Rangers, hitting their way to an 11-7 win Wednesday night with Bonds cheering from the stands.
“I love being home. I love being here,” he said.
Bonds talked briefly just after leaving the Giants clubhouse about a half-hour before the game. When asked if he’d like to do more than just cheer on his former team, Bonds said he would be interested in becoming a hitting coach in the future like Mark McGwire is doing in St. Louis.
“I have a gift and sooner or later I have to give it away,” Bonds said. “I have to share it. Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity here.”
Bonds broke McGwire’s single-season home run record with 73 in 2001 and went on to surpass Hank Aaron’s career mark of 755 in his final season in 2007. The seven-time NL MVP hit 762 career homers.
McGwire, who retired in 2001, returned to the game this season, back in uniform as hitting coach for the Cardinals. The team announced earlier this week that he would be back for a second season.
Before the start of his first spring training as a coach, McGwire ended years of denials and a self-imposed exile by admitting that he had used steroids and human growth hormone on and off for a decade, starting before the 1990 season and including when he broke Roger Maris’ single-season home run record in 1998.
Bonds, 46, has also been accused of taking steroids. He is scheduled to go to trial in March on charges that he lied to a federal grand jury in 2003 when he denied knowingly taking steroids.
Bonds, who has never officially announced his retirement, still holds season tickets in San Francisco but has made infrequent visits to his old ballpark. This was his third trip this season. He came back in April for a reunion of the 2000 NL West champions and last week to throw out the ceremonial first pitch during the NL championship series against Philadelphia.
While there are only a handful of Giants left from his final season in 2007, Bonds said he knows most of the players and has enjoyed watching the team make the postseason for the first time since his departure.
He said it would mean a lot to the city if the Giants could win their first World Series title since moving to San Francisco in 1958. The Giants fell short in their only trip to the World Series with Bonds, losing in seven games to the Angels in 2002.