02/18/2003 5:32 pm ET
Bonds on Baker, Kent, Alou, more
Slugger touches various topics upon arrival in camp
By Chris Shuttlesworth / MLB.com
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When the Giants open Cactus League play Feb. 27, Barry Bonds will see a strange sight in the opposing dugout: his manager of the last 10 years, Dusty Baker, wearing a Chicago Cubs uniform.
With a smile and a laugh, Bonds gave his thoughts on that possibility, as well as several others in a 38-minute press conference at the Giants' Spring Training facility on Tuesday.
What if his former skipper decides to utilize the tactic he saw so many other managers use against Bonds and holds up four fingers to his pitcher, indicating an intentional free pass for the slugger?
"If he does, oh, I'll just throw the bat in the dugout. I'm going to bust him right in the eyeballs, because he doesn't intentionally walk hardly anybody, and if he intentionally walks me, I'm throwing the bat at him. Because there were so many times when we were like, 'Walk him, walk him,' and he won't do it. He better not walk me."
On Baker as a Cub: "Yeah, it's going to look strange. He wore blue before [as a Dodger], but when you're so used to seeing him in black and orange, it's going to be kind of strange to see him over there in a Cub uniform. But Dusty's a good manager, and the Cubs got a good one."
On whether the intentional walk rule should be changed: "It shouldn't be changed. That's been in baseball forever -- why change it? If I'm a pitcher and I've got Hank Aaron in front of me and I have to feed my kids, Hank, you can walk. That's my decision. (Laughs). That's a no-brainer, man. If I feel that my situation's better [by walking the batter], I'm going to take the better situation. That's common sense."
On the World Series: "I really had a wonderful time and I enjoyed it a lot, and I'd be very disappointed if we didn't get back there again, very disappointed. But the Angels were great. They were good, it was their time. They played well. ... I don't think that we as an organization have anything to be ashamed of, period. We played our hearts out. Breaks just went their way at the right time. Unfortunately, it just didn't go our way."
On the changes to the team: "If we all do our job, anything can happen. No one really knew how good we were going to be last year and we ended up in that final game of the World Series. I think we got a lot of young guys here, speed, but time will tell. You can't predict the future, so you don't know."
On playing in the All-Star tour of Japan: "I love Japan. I just love the country -- I love it to death. I have the most fun. They treat me great. It's just the time of my life. Hopefully, I'll have the chance to go there every year doing some promotional things with them. I enjoy there. It's great, a great country."
On the departures of Baker and Jeff Kent: "Everybody has to do what's best for them and definitely I hope Dusty has just as much success as he had here. And I hope Jeff Kent does just as well in Houston as he'd done here. I don't really get sentimental over losing people. After Bobby Bonilla left Pittsburgh, one of my best friends in all of the world, I learned to leave business as business and our friendship separate. Dusty and I will always have a good friendship."
On his son, Nikolai, no longer being able to serve as a bat boy: "I guess they changed the age to 14. Stupid. Talking about straight stupid." (Nikolai will be 14 in December.)
On winning the batting title for the first time last season: "Maybe Tony Gwynn will let me be hitting coach now, because I got something he's got." (Gwynn won eight National League batting titles.)
On new manager Felipe Alou: "Felipe, I think, did a great job with a young team and done some wonderful things over there in Montreal with the type of players that he had and the team that he had and under those circumstances. ... Anyone can manage a good team. The manager only needs to manage when you don't have a good team. ... Hopefully, we can take the slack off Felipe and make this a good team and make his job a lot easier."
On getting older: "I don't run like I used to when I was young. I mean, I'll score. Even in the gap, I'll score. Like my dad said, I'm still faster than you, but just once. You want to race me twice, you can have it. (Laughs.) I'll beat you once. You want to race me, I'll get you, but I just need a whole day to recover."
On whether his best year might be ahead of him: "I just hope the expectations aren't as high, but you know what? I'm always up for that challenge. I'm always up for the challenge of what I can't do."
Chris Shuttlesworth is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.