Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Bonds says he's standoffish because of threats
ESPN.com news services
In a candid interview with KGO Radio in San Francisco, Barry Bonds on Tuesday said he receives death threats and just tries to keep a level head as he attempts to break Hank Aaron's all-time record of 755 home runs.
Bonds didn't elaborate on the nature of the death threats in the approximately 90-minute interview.
Asked again Wednesday about the death threats, Bonds again declined to elaborate.
"We're not going anywhere with that," Bonds said while walking
off the field following Wednesday's workout at Scottsdale Stadium.
Bonds told KGO that he's sorry if he appears standoffish, but he's just trying to be careful because of the threats that are circulating within his camp.
"There's a lot of times I want to say I'm sorry to some of the fans. You're only strong to a point and then you get nervous," Bonds told KGO. "I'm kind of standoffish and stuff and you can't really explain that."
"I'm mostly gun-shy of what can happen. Once this is all over and done, whether I get lucky enough to do it or not, I'll be able to release just a little bit of the anxiety and fear of what can happen.
"You don't want anything to happen to yourself. You don't want anything to happen to your family," Bonds told KGO.
Bonds said he tries to tune out criticism and handle himself in the right way, so that he makes it easier for the player who eventually will challenge his record if he surpasses Aaron's mark.
"If I don't keep a level head, how's the next person going to handle it? If Hank didn't keep his head clear, how was I going to deal with it?" Bonds told KGO.
"If someone doesn't deal with it the right way, it sets up a very bad ending for anybody else who comes along and tries to do this."
When asked if he's bothered by racial overtones associated with his pursuit of Aaron's record, Bonds said it's out of his hands.
"I never get mad at things I can't control. There's nothing you can do about it anyway. You've got less than 8 percent of African Americans in the game of baseball. That's scary," Bonds told KGO.
However, the slugger said he is thankful to be playing in San Francisco and to have Giants fans behind him. He opened the interview with a salute to his supportive fans and called Giants fans "the most forgiving fans on the planet."
"San Francisco is a great city," Bonds told KGO. "I try to tell the new players that you'll never play in a better city."
Bonds has been closely guarded by a Major League Baseball
security official throughout spring training for the second
straight year. The seven-time NL MVP is scheduled to play his first
exhibition game Friday in Scottsdale against the Milwaukee Brewers.
"It's always a concern it's happening," manager Bruce Bochy
said. "It's certainly unfortunate that you have to deal with
something like that. There's always going to be some concern. We
Aaron himself, who like Bonds is black, dealt with death threats
and hate mail as he approached Babe Ruth's then-record of 714
homers. Aaron passed Ruth on April 8, 1974.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
"You don't want anything to happen to yourself. You don't want anything to happen to your family."
-- Barry Bonds