In an exclusive interview for “Countdown” and for NBC, sports reporter Jim Gray talks to MLB star Barry Bonds, who says that he “will not be there” if he is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, if they display the record-setting home run ball marked with an asterisk. Bonds also tells Gray that the Mitchell investigation can “look all they want, I have nothing to hide.”
Following are excerpts from the interview.
Bonds on the record-setting home-run ball and the Hall of Fame:
BARRY BONDS: I don’t think you can put an asterisk in the game of baseball and I don’t think that the Hall of Fame can accept an asterisk in their Hall of Fame. You can’t, you cannot give people the freedom, the right to alter history, you can’t do it. There’s no such thing as an asterisk in baseball.
JIM GRAY, SPORTS REPORTER: And if the Hall of Fame does accept that ball and display it?
BONDS: I will never be in the Hall of Fame. Never. I will never be in the Hall of Fame.
GRAY: You mean you personally-
BONDS: Me personally.
GRAY:... or as a visitor or your artifacts or your enshrinement?
BONDS: I won’t go. I won’t be part of it, I won’t be there, you can call me but I won’t be there.
GRAY: So your only thought process would be if that occurs then even if you are inducted to the hall of fame.
BONDS: Barry Bonds will not be there.
GRAY: Is that subject being reconsidered or is it definite that if you are elected to the Hall of Fame there is no way you will be there?
BONDS: Like I said at this time I will not be there. That’s my emotions now, that’s how I feel now. When I decide to retire five years from now we’ll see where they are at that moment. We’ll see where they are at that time and maybe I’ll reconsider. But its their position and where their position will be will be the determination of what my decision will be made at that time.
On his future in baseball
GRAY: Will you retire as a Giant?
BONDS: Oh hell yeah, it’s my house, no matter what, that’s my house, no one’s going to take that away, no one ever, no one’s going to take the love of that city of me away ever.
GRAY: And if you had a crystal ball, is 762 going to be the final number?
BONDS: You know what Jim, I wanted to try to do it as 764 to be honest with you but I hurt my toe and I was kind of upset, ‘cause I was born July 64. So I wanted to stop at 764 (laugh) So.
GRAY: So you’ll try to come back somewhere and hit a couple of home runs?
BONDS: I may hit two home runs so I can go home. I just think that I have a lot of game left. I think that I can help a team with a championship, and um, I also thought I was, I’m a hell of a part time player too.
On his alleged steroid use
GRAY: Senator Mitchell is conducting his investigation, will you participate and answer his questions?
BONDS: Not as long as an ongoing Balco case is going on, no, and I leave everything up to my lawyer.
GRAY: It’s been 15 months that the perjury charges are being looked at now by the grand jury, how much longer do you think this will go on?
BONDS: I don’t know. I know it ends in January so a couple more months. But I haven’t been keeping up with it. Not at all. I have nothing to hide, I have said that before and I will say it now and I will look you in the face, I have nothing to hide, nothing. So look all you want to.
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