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September 28, 2001

Barry Bonds


Q. Have you had any sleep?
BARRY BONDS: Yeah, not much.

Q. What does it feel like for you and the rest of the team coming back to the Bay Area where the whole city seems to be in a buzz?
BARRY BONDS: Good because we are only two games out of first place and the City has a lot to be excited about, and hopefully we can win a game for them.

Q. When McGwire hit 70, do you recall thinking, "Will anybody ever break this record?"
BARRY BONDS: No one has. (Laughter.)

Q. Even though it's short down the line, can you talk about the difficulty of being a home run hitter here at Pac Bell Park?
BARRY BONDS: I'll tell you about it after the season. I don't want the Padres to know the secrets yet.

Q. You seem a lot bigger this year than previous years; how much weight have you put on, and was it for the purpose of hitting with more power?
BARRY BONDS: First of all, I'm smaller this year than I was last year. I'm probably five pounds lighter than I was last year to this year; so I'm a lot lighter, which is due to the fact that I had to lose weight because of problems with my back, and it's helped out a lot for me right now. It's improved the speed, quickness of my batting hand. It has taken a lot of pressure off my back, and I've really lost weight. I'm not bigger; I'm smaller.

Q. Is this the most fun, being in a pennant race than all of the other stuff in your career?
BARRY BONDS: This is a lot of fun. When you have an opportunity to do or be in a position to do something like this, and your team happens to also be in a pennant race -- it's really gratifying. It really feels good. I think it feels good all around because I can feel good, and the team can feel good, as well.

Q. You mentioned your back. How much maintenance do you need on a daily basis to keep it in shape, and has it worried you that it might cut short your season?
BARRY BONDS: No, it hasn't bothered me at all. I figured out how to deal with it, and I don't really -- I feel better now than I ever felt a year ago, two years ago. I feel better now than I have ever felt in my entire life.
So I'm not worried about anything. I know my body better than anyone, and I'm just happy because I've played this game a long time.

Q. A lot of players and coaches have said that one of the reasons for your success is your patience at the plate. How long has it taken you to develop that patience?
BARRY BONDS: It took me from 1986 -- and 1990 was the year of my first MVP season, and I think the 1990 patience kicked in because that's when all of the walks pretty much started. I didn't really have much of a choice. I think there's a lot of players that helped me along the way, to help me develop ito the type of player that I am.
I'm just blessed. My father is a gifted athlete. I get a lot of information from someone who I consider one of the best all-around baseball players, Willie Mays. So I get a lot of information from a lot of great athletes , from Hank Aaron to my cousin, Reggie, and my father. Really, like I said before, I'm constantly being reminded of things on a day-to-day basis or a week-to-week basis, or it could be once a month, depending how things are going. So I'm constantly being reminded on what I need to do, how to have patience, how to prepare myself, and so I'm constantly having instructors around me. So, it's really good.

Q. In '98, Mark McGwire had talked about the fact that only he and Sammy Sosa would understand the kinds of pressure they went through. Are you beginning to get an inkling of that, and what have you learned from this situation?
BARRY BONDS: I don't know if I really understand the question. I think we've gone through some hard times as a country right now, so my main objective is just winning. I don't know what I'm supposed to learn. I don't know what I haven't already learned. I'm open for any suggestions, though. I've hit them throughout the course of the season. I did things -- I don't think that I learned; I think there are things I forget to do or remind myself to do.

Q. A couple of times this year before you hit 500 and most recently last week, in some ways you've been a little star struck because of the people you have been chasing. Just wondering what you are going to do to keep your focus?
BARRY BONDS: Right now, I'm trying to just relax.
One of my friends, I lost yesterday. So it kind of -- added a little bit. I play baseball because I love baseball, and I have a lot of respect for what Mark McGwire and Sammy did. And I have a lot of respect for Tony Gwynn and Rickey Henderson and Cal Ripken and some of the other great baseball players and our future stars that are going to come up well after they are gone, I'm gone, so forth and so on.
Right now, I just have a lot of emotions right now about everything that's gone on for me off the field, and there's been distractions for us all. I'm just praying real hard that we get a chance to win here. I've got a lot of things going on in my mind right now, and I'm just trying to stay as calm as I can and as relaxed as I can and not cause any distraction amongst the team. I hope I've answered your question properly.

Q. With this weekend back here, with Rickey Henderson on the verge of passing Ty Cobb, Tony Gwynn's last games here, have you had a chance to breathe or are you just taking it all in?
BARRY BONDS: Every time I have the opportunity to exhale or breathe, whatever you want to call it, something has come up that has been difficult for me right now. I had a very disappointing article that came out, what happened with the tragedy and some other issues, and I lose one of my best friends yesterday. I haven't had time to think about anything right now. I really haven't had a lot of time right now to do anything, and every time I want to enjoy it for a minute, something else happens. When I really want to give you guys the story I want, it seems like I can't. I just can't. I haven't had time.

Q. Your father played almost every year from the time you were 10 to 17 years old. What impact did that have on you emotionally and what are your thoughts on baseball as a business?
BARRY BONDS: I didn't have any problems with it. I had an opportunity to go to St. Louis and New York. As a child, I was just of traveling through all of these different cities with my father and I thought it was wonderful.
Obviously, I was just a kid, but to me baseball is a business. It's a job, just as your job is your job. I have a family to support and this happens to be my job.

Q. Are you impressed with any up-and-coming home run hitters right now?
BARRY BONDS: I think the most impressive person right now to me is Alex Rodriguez. He's hit 40 home runs I think throughout his career almost. Jason Giambi has developed into an outstanding power hitter, as well as average. Obviously, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire are in an elite class by themselves.
These young guys are big kids and they are strong kids, and with the new additions at the new stadiums being converted to a little smaller than in the past, things like that, you guys are going to see a lot of wonderful things happen in this game of baseball in the future.

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