Sweet photobomb, Javi!
Barry Bond walked in the door at 8:55 this morning. It wasn't long before he was back in front of cameras, showing a much different personality. "I was a different character when I was playing," he said. "Now I've had time to slow down. We all do, as you're gone for a while you have a tendency to reflect on certain things. I needed that guy to play. I needed him. It was who I was, but it's not who I am no on a day-to-day basis. I'm the same person, just a different character. I'm more in the middle.
"I can still be crazy, but I've calmed down."
Here's my early story on Bonds returning to camp. Obviously, a lot of stuff didn't get into the story, so here are some highlights from his half-hour with reporters, with some stuff grouped together for clarity:
On being back in a Giants uniform:
"It feels really good, it feels really good."
Why is he coaching?
"I enjoy it. I had time to think about it and I enjoy it. I enjoy baseball, that's why I'm doing this."
On moving back to SF (he's in the city now):
"It's my home, I love it. That's where I belong, in the city."
"Not everybody is suited for the job and maybe I'm not either. I don't know if I am. I have seven days to find out if I am. I'll take what's in front of me. I don't have one philosophy, I don't have on strategy. Every person is built different. Every hitter is different."
On his critics:
"I don't read the paper." (Hey, come on, man!)
What does he miss?
"The day to day. I love to train and I love to work out. Baseball is every day and I enjoy that. I think I miss that a lot. The day to day grind, the waking up when you're tired and have to get through it."
On his career:
"My time is over. And I enjoyed it."
On Alex Rodriguez likely not reaching his HR record:
"God will bless somebody else for that, he always does. I would talk to Alex Rodriguez on a one-to-one basis, we're friends. I respect him as an athlete and always will, but I will not have a press conference about that."
: "I only do it for myself to stay in shape. I'm not good. I get gratification for me, but I get dropped (from the pack) a lot. I compete with myself, I will never compete competitively again. I did that ... I go 30-40-50 miles. They beat me really bad, but I still chase them. We ride together. I like to be competing."
"I don't want to get into that at all."
Did he think he would wear the uniform again?
"I hoped so. You always hope so, but you don't know."
Will he manage?
"I just want to get through seven days and see if I can do that first. I've got to get through these seven days first. I don't know if I'm good enough. Let me do this first ... This is all new to me on this side. I was accustomed to the other side. I'm going to take baby steps now and work on it as hard as I did when playing ... I think its too hard to be manager. I think what Bochy does is too hard for me, to be honest with you. You've got to have a level of patience."
His feelings in 2010 and 2012:
"They did pretty good without me. They won two World Series championships ... I'm not jealous of them. I'm happy, it's my town, my city, my family. I was almost in tears, I was that happy. It's something we've been wanting for a long time. We watch the 49ers now, it's like hurry up and win again!"
On Matt Williams being a manager:
"I think it's great. I can't wait to call him. I cannot wait. That's awesome"
On working with Dexter Fowler:
"Glenallen Hill called me and asked if I could talk to him. I didn't want to at first, I didn't have any desire at first. But Dexter gave me a call and asked if he could come out and talk. I said as long as you're willing to put in the work, I'll be there for you. It was a very good start for me. We have a good relationship. It's like I told him: I can't promise you anything, it takes time. It takes a lot of time. Hopefully I'll be here doing this a lot and won't have too much time."
On current players:
"I love to watch Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols. Now I watch Buster Posey. I like his approach a lot. And I watch the team, the Giants. That's the only team that I really watch. I don't watch much baseball."
On Greg Maddux saying he was the toughest to face:
"It says two minds speak the same. He was the best I've ever seen, the best. Ever. We both knew the same thing, so it made it more interesting. When two people are that good and know the same thing, it just makes the chess game a little longer."
On taking swings:
"I hadn't touched a bat until Dexter came along."
Did he talk to Mays about helping?
"We just talk about normal godson to godfather stuff: How you doing. I love, I miss you."
On the buzz of him being back:
"I hope they feel excited. We can do a lot together. That's what you hope. It was like me with Willie. You didn't have to ask me to go pick Willie's brain. I just did it. I probably didn't get all the answers I wanted, but he made it challenging. He helped a lot. My dad helped a ton. I have this philosophy: two eyes are great, but four eyes are better if you have them. Utilize them, but it'll be up to them."
On the Giants hitters:
"I have to learn them. But that will never take me longer than a minute. All we have to do is go in the batting cage and I'll tell you everything that is going on very fast."
On preparation for this:
"That's all you can do. I don't read statistics, that doesn't work. That's like being in a boxing match and saying I'm going to win, but the other guy punches back, too."
Why didn't he help guys more during his career?
"You're not going to know anything I do when I'm playing. That's not how it works. It was never personal. It's like, why am I going to tell you something when you might wind up on the Rockies or something? It's a business, and I treated it like a business. It was never to not socialize on that level with my teammates and I've seen a lot of players come and go."