The story -
Hall-of-Famer Willie Mays strolled into the Scottsdale Stadium clubhouse Saturday morning, a small bag hanging over his right shoulder. The next member of the 600-homer club to walk through the door will bring considerably more baggage.
Barry Bonds is scheduled to return to the Giants from March 9-17, serving as a special instructor for the organization’s young hitters. Bonds has long wanted to take on a more active role with the organization, but the two sides have not been connected in an official capacity since 2007, Bonds’ last season in Major League Baseball.
The years since have been filled with performance-enhancing drug allegations, a perjury trial and a conviction for obstruction of justice, but the Giants are not worried about Bonds being a distraction.
“He’s part of what we’ll do here,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s going to be part of the group of instructors, like (Will) Clark, (J.T.) Snow or (Jeff) Kent. He’s going to be like the other guys and help where he can.
“I don’t have any concerns.”
During an appearance at AT&T Park in 2012, Bonds told reporters that he had approached Giants CEO and President Larry Baer about working for the club in some form. The conversations have continued informally since then, and the Giants felt that the timing was finally right to bring back one the best players in baseball history, albeit one with a complicated history.
“Collectively within the organization, we felt that given Barry’s desire to continue to contribute to the Giants, we should be open-minded about giving him the same invite that we have given to other players in the past,” Baer said.
The first thing I thought of, for whatever reason, when hearing this story was Barry’s old recliner. More on that:
The chair in front of Barry Bonds’s lockers at Pacific Bell Park is big and black, a $3,000 Sharper Image leather recliner so large that it appears to block off one side of the San Francisco Giants’ clubhouse. All other members of the team — no matter how well established — sit in dinky folding metal chairs, the kind found leaning against the back wall of high school auditoriums. Sometimes, when San Francisco scribes feel like taking a poke at Bonds’s legendary ego, they will write about his four lockers and his Moby Dick of a recliner.
“You know, it’s just a massage chair,” says Bonds, reclining three hours before a recent Giants home game, an ice pack on his neck as he glances at the movie showing on the 32-inch TV on the floor by his footrest.
I wonder if the chair will be showing up with Bonds this spring training?