It’s been seven years since Barry Bonds wore a San Francisco Giants uniform as a player.
It’s been so long, it took me a while to remember if Bonds ever played for manager Bruce Bochy. He did for one season in 2007.
There are only three players on the current roster who were teammates of Bonds — Tim Lincecum (2007), Ryan Vogelsong (who played in four games with Giants in 2000) and Matt Cain (2005-07).
For Cain, the arrival of Bonds to camp, and the accompanying media throng, brought a familiar feel.
“It just became a zoo like normal,” Cain said. “Same as before. If you want to get some TV time, go near him.”
It’s a scene that was long overdue in Giants camp. The team has a long history of bringing back veteran stars to share knowledge with their current players in the spring.
Bochy said the timing was just right for this. And Bonds is just one of several former players to make appearances in Scottsdale this spring.
“Jeff Kent just left (coincidence?),” Bochy said. “J.T. Snow is here, Rich Aurilia is here, Randy Winn is here. Will Clark is coming in later.”
Bonds is in Giants camp for seven days. He intimated that he’d like it be longer, that perhaps this visit could grow into something more.
“But I’m just here for seven days,” Bonds then cautioned. “I don’t even know if I’m good at this.”
Bonds has had some experience with tutoring hitters like Ryan Howard, and this past offseason, Dexter Fowler.
With his legal issues behind him, Bonds has his focus on the future, deflecting most of the media’s queries about his playing days and PED connections.
“I’m not the focal point anymore,” he said. “I’m here for the team.”
Bonds said he recently moved back to the Bay Area from Southern California “because it’s my home, and I love it and I belong (there).”
When asked if he thinks he’s worthy for election in the the Hall of Fame, Bonds answered: “Without a doubt.”
But he wouldn’t offer reasons to the media on why they should elect him to the Hall. “You guys are all adults. I have no advice for you.”
Bonds was a more warm and fuzzy version on Monday than the grumpy, cocky person he was in his playing days. The constant questions and criticism he faced late in his career amplified that personality in him.
“I was a different character when I playing,” Bonds said. “I needed to be that guy to play. But it’s not who I am now. … I’m the same person, just a different character. I can still be crazy, but I’ve toned it down.”
Then he directed a comment to the media.
“The only regret I have is that I wish we all had a better relationship,” he added.
As far as how he can help the Giants, he said these next seven days will reveal that.
“The one thing I know I can do is I can help you do a little better than you are doing now,” he said. “But I don’t know how much I can help. That’s what I’m here to find out.”