(AP) Barry Bonds angrily avoided inquiries about his role in baseball’s steroid scandal upon his arrival at spring training Tuesday, pronouncing himself weary but ready to resume his pursuit of Hank Aaron’s home run record. He called reporters liars, and pointed to problems in the world he considers much more important than steroids, such as alcoholism and drug abuse.
Bonds was entertaining as usual. Asked directly whether he’d ever used illegal substances, he said:
“I’m not a child. You repeat those things to children and then eventually they tell you. I don’t.”
In Bonds’ first public comments since his grand jury testimony was leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle and reported in December, he had nothing to say about it, citing legal constrictions. But he had harsh words for the media and fans still consumed by the circumstances of his record-setting home run binge.
“You guys are like re-running stories,” Bonds said to more than 100 reporters in attendance. “This is old stuff. It’s like watching ‘Sanford and Son.’ It’s almost comical, basically. … Are you guys jealous, upset, disappointed, what?”
Bonds, dressed casually in a black shirt and jeans, was asked whether he thinks using steroids is cheating.
He said the key to his continued success and strength, even in the later years of his career, has been “hard work, that’s about it.”
According to the Chronicle, Bonds testified to the grand jury in December 2003 that he used a clear substance and a cream given to him by a trainer who was indicted in a steroid-distribution ring, but said he didn’t know if they were steroids. Prosecutors believe the substances were two steroids at the center of the BALCO scandal.
He isn’t convinced any of this will affect his legacy.
“All of you guys have lied,” he said. “Should you have an asterisk behind your name? … Yeah, I lied to my parents when I was growing up. Lied to my friends. Have I lied about baseball? Yeah, I told a couple of stories that I hit a couple of balls places that I really didn’t.”
Bonds believes he’s being scrutinized more since he’s closing in on Ruth.
“Because Babe Ruth is one of the greatest baseball players ever, and Babe Ruth ain’t black, either,” he said. “I’m black. Blacks, we go through a little more. … I’m not a racist though, but I live in the real world. I’m fine with that.”