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October 7, 2001
SAN FRANCISO, CALIFORNIA
Q. As you approached the home run record, how did you feel about getting cheered at all of the away ballparks?
BARRY BONDS: I've been watching baseball since I was a kid and never seen anything like this in my life. You couldn't dream of anything like that, ever. It's nice.
Q. Can you talk about the home run today? I'm not sure whether you've hit a home run off a knuckleball pitcher this year; if you could talk about the at bat?
BARRY BONDS: I've hit a home run off him before. Everybody wanted me to bunt . (Laughter).
But, I'm happy for the guy who got it. Very happy.
Q. When you swung at it, it looked like you took a couple hitches to slow down your swing, was that like slow-pitch softball today?
BARRY BONDS: I made some adjustments. I had to change up a little bit, sit back a little bit on my back leg and allow the ball to get to me. Took the plate away a little more, moved up in the plate, just to allow his 75-mile-an-hour fastball just to be 80, at least.
You have to make adjustments with different pitchers, but I'm glad we won. It's over.
Q. When you crossed home plate, you said something to Kreuter before you went into the dugout. What did you say to him?
BARRY BONDS: I don't even remember, I really don't.
Q. Would you be surprised if this record is broken within three years?
BARRY BONDS: No, I wouldn't be surprised. I tell you one thing, if you break 73, I don't know what anyone's going to break that, whatever that number is going to be, because that's a lot of home runs. That's a lot of home runs.
Q. Jim Tracy said that if you were pitched to consistently this season, you would have hit 100 home runs. What are your thoughts on that?
BARRY BONDS: I'll take 73.
Q. When you look at the number 73, does it startle you that this milestone has been achieved this year?
BARRY BONDS: It's really impressive. I mean, I'm glad I did it at home. That was the key. Today's home run, I was more just in shock. You know, your chances of hitting the home run on someone that throws that slow is so slim, and when I did, I was just -- "What else can you give me, God?" It's just, "What else can you give me?" Enough is enough. (Laughs).
Q. When you got to 30 and 40 home runs this year, people were talking about you getting a shot to break McGwire's record. At what point did you think you had a shot?
BARRY BONDS: I thought I had a pretty good shot when I hit three in Colorado. When I got to 63 I felt pretty good about it, but then I had doubts when I got to Houston. I figured if I got stuck on 69 in Houston and we played the Dodgers, it would be really, really tough, just due to the fact that I have not hit the ball that well against them all year, so I was really concerned.
When I tied it in Houston, I kind of felt relieved and I said, you know, "I've got a chance to keep going."
BARRY BONDS: I was proud of us. We played well.
Q. Were you more relaxed today? Since you've already set the record , was this more fun today?
BARRY BONDS: I think I've been pretty relaxed all year. You know, we've been in a pennant race, and I think the relaxation came after we were eliminated all the way around. And I had the day off yesterday, and today was just to have some fun; this was our last day.
Q. Have you heard from Mark McGwire in the wake of setting the record?
BARRY BONDS: No, I haven't.
Q. So much focus has been on the home run record. Today you broke the slugging percentage record that stood for 87 years. What are your thoughts on that?
BARRY BONDS: That's the one that I don't think is going to be broken. (Laughs).
Q. When we go through uncertain times in our future, often you look at, "This is going to be the last time I do this, the last time I do that." Did you have any of those feelings today when you ran out on the field and shook your teammates' hands after the game?
BARRY BONDS: A little bit, but I just -- I don't know what to think right now. That situation, I don't know what to think right now. I'm just going to go on vacation, spend time with my family.
Q. Are you going to Disney World?
BARRY BONDS: I go to Disney World every other year. I've been going to Disney World every other year and I will continue going to Disney World. My kids enjoy it.
Q. Today during the sixth-inning break, you were looking at the highlight of all the home runs on the scoreboard in center field. Have you had time to look at the highlights of your home runs, especially the last four?
BARRY BONDS: No, I haven't yet. I got a videotape and they are going to make me DVDs for all of my at bats throughout the year. I'm pretty sure I'll watch them all.
Q. How long do you think it will take for all of this to settle in, 73 home runs and that's been going on the last few weeks?
BARRY BONDS: Probably when I retire and it's still existing. I don't know if it is going to exist next year. The only thing is I know I'll hold on it until the end of 2002 and that's it, so I'll have plenty of time to think about it if it doesn't happen when I retire.
Q. You're a very proud man; how proud are you of what you accomplished this year?
BARRY BONDS: I'm proud to be a Major League Baseball player. I mean, individual achievements I've said numerous years, you play long enough, you are going to put up numbers. You stay healthy and have a long career, it's inevitable to put up numbers if you have talent. So playing baseball is what makes me proud.
Q. Do you see yourself as a better teammate this year, opening up more to your teammates and them opening up more to you than in the past?
BARRY BONDS: I think you guys are just nicer this year. My teammates, we have fun. I think it was because when you're doing so well, you're a part of it and the whole team is a part of it. There's joy with everyone. You know, everybody is having a good time with it. And, sure, I think you tend to have a better time with each other when things are going well, and things were going well for us until the last three days of the season.
Q. You said that we've been nicer to you this year. Do you think you've changed in your relationship with the fans?
BARRY BONDS: Well, I think your articles have made the fans nicer. They believe what they read, most of it. So the nice things that you guys have written about me as helped change their minds.
It's been fun. It's been a lot of fun. But I've been in this controlled environment the whole time, so it's made it a lot easier for me. My biggest problem is I can't deal with anything before a game. And I was very happy because I thought I was going to get kind of in trouble when I said in spring training I'm not going to do interviews anymore before baseball games so that I can prepare myself.
But it worked out very good for me. My thing is I can't handle one person and the next person and the next person and the next person while I'm trying to prepare myself to perform out there. And this has been a very controlled environment. So it's been very easy for me to handle.
Q. But you don't think you've personally changed as the season has developed?
BARRY BONDS: I don't know I've changed at all. I concentrate every day. I play the games. There's times when I ran hard; there's times when I didn't. There was times when I made the play and times I didn't. Just the main focus -- working on those things as I did in the past. The focus was on the accomplishments going on more than your all-around play.
Q. Getting to that comfort level that you have had this year, would that make it more difficult to leave?
BARRY BONDS: I don't make decisions. I don't own a baseball team. I work for the San Francisco Giants. I think those questions, you need to ask them.
Q. At what point do you think you are going to sit down with your agent and decide who you want to negotiate with? How long do you think it will take?
BARRY BONDS: Not too long after my vacation. I'm going to go away for the month. When I get back, then I'll be able to -- I don't even want to talk to him. (Laughs). I just want to get away from baseball, it's been a long year . For at least a month I'm going to be out of the country.
Q. Babe Ruth has been long acclaimed the best player in baseball and you have outslugged him this season, you've outwalked him, had many more home runs than he ever had in a season; where do you think that puts you?
BARRY BONDS: I will leave that to you guys to determine that.
Q. Obviously, you said that the decision is up to the owner, but at some point it comes down to money and your relationship with the fans and those types of things. How is it going to come down?
BARRY BONDS: This is my home. It's been my home since 1968 when my dad came here. This will always be my home. My relationship has been up and down, but for the most part, it's been good. This year has been exceptionally good. It's nice to go places and the whole city is rooting for you and you walk into stores and you've got old ladies that don't even know nothing about baseball and decide to watch a baseball game and telling you what a great accomplishment this is and the things that you're doing.
But this is my home. This will always be my home.
Q. After hitting 73, will 35 and 40 home runs a season be satisfying to you?
BARRY BONDS: 35 and 40 home runs still puts you in the Top 10. That's satisfying for me. (Laughs).
I'm leaving in November. I'm staying until the end of this month. I think the World Series is at the end of this month, so I'll be here until then. Pretty much like the middle of November, if I get back, December.
Q. You've had a lot of milestone home runs this season, your 500th home run, the one to tie the record in Houston, the one to break it on Friday night, quite a few to win some games. Is there one that's your favorite to stick out?
BARRY BONDS: My 500th home run. I never in dreamed of hitting 500 home runs in my career. That's an exceptional class, when you're all of a sudden in a 500-Home Run Club. Everything after that is like icing on the cake.
Today would be kind of special, too, because I ended the last game with a home run.
Q. Do you expect to be back in the country when the MVP awards are announced and do you expect to win an unprecedented fourth MVP?
BARRY BONDS: I haven't even thought of that for numerous years now. It doesn't matter. You guys vote for it. You know, whoever wins, wins. It doesn't really bother me none. I have never gone on vacation by myself. I just want to go on vacation, and, I mean, I'm pretty sure my parents or someone will find me and let me know and if it means coming back, then I'll come back.
Q. When the decision is made about where you're going to sign, how much of that decision will be yours and how much of that decision will be your agent's?
BARRY BONDS: My agent works for my. I always make the final decision. He's paid to do his job, just like organizations have their representatives that do their job. When it comes down to it, we'll all make that decision when that decision comes.
Q. Have you spoken to Willie Mays since the other night and what did you think of his speech?
BARRY BONDS: Funny. I think he's the only person there that told everybody to shut up and they all listen. I'm going to try that. (Laughter.)
Q. You say you're more relaxed this year, but there have been -- can you look back on any of the misconceptions that fans might have gotten about you through the media?
BARRY BONDS: I feel the problem with me and the media has always been -- I can't handle things before the baseball game. I'm just not a person that can handle those type of situations when one person come up to me, the next person asks me the same question or everyone is trying to get their hidden stories by themselves.
I'm the type of person that likes to prepare himself for the game, concentrate for the game and when you do something positive and you all want to do it at the same time, I feel a lot more comfortable with that.
I only like talking when I deserve it. I don't like talking when I don't deserve it. When my teammates do other things and I have nothing to do with it and not a part of it, I don't want to be the center of focus at that time. And I've learned that that makes me happy when they get the respect for the things they deserve when they do; and when it's my turn, I can handle that. I have a problem of handling topics of conversation that have nothing to do with me and it's unfair to my teammates.
Q. You passed nine Hall of Famers on the career home run list this season. You cannot do that again because there are not nine people ahead of you. What does that mean to you?
BARRY BONDS: It means a lot because when I got to 500, I just wanted to get to Mike Schmidt, because I respect him and love him and he was the first mentor in my career that helped me concentrate a little bit more and gave me a lot of confidence in my ability.
Then when I got there, my cousin Reggie -- when I came out ,there I just wanted to pass my cousin and be first in my family. I think I accomplished all that.
A lot of the guys on the team said, "You know, Barry, you're just going for 500 home runs this year and next year you've got a chance to get to 600." That's just amazing. I'm just glad they were a part of it.
Q. Basically, how much will the Giants be willing -- being able to put a team that could be competitive to a World Series level, as opposed to the poor team who would have the money that you would probably be looking for, and they most likely are World Series possible teams, how much does that weigh into your decision?
BARRY BONDS: I can't answer that right now. I don't know. We'll see. Time will tell. Winning is going to come first for me. So that's going to be the key, putting a team together that's going to win, and then I'll make my decision.
Q. No Kangaroo Court?
BARRY BONDS: Kangaroo Court? (Laughs). We didn't play that game over here.
Q. Do you have messages for the fans in McCovey Cove who waited out in their rafts for your home run ball?
BARRY BONDS: After about 160 games, you've got to get a little closer than that. I can't hit it that far. (Laughter.)
Q. Have you talked to the guy who got the ball?
BARRY BONDS: No, I haven't.
Q. What do you think is the biggest reason that you had this season?
BARRY BONDS: My trainers, my father, Willie, keeping me focused all year. But my trainer, the most part, because they were there every day. As irritated as they made me every single day, I got in that gym, I did the little things that I needed to do for my body, and I stayed healthy. I was able to play at the level that I was proud about and I think the team was proud about and I think San Francisco was proud about. But they worked real hard. They are with me for life.
Q. Is there anything your dad said after the record that you can share?
BARRY BONDS: We talked on that cell phone, and he just congratulated me, and it was tough for him to him talk due to the fact the fans wanted me out on the field at the same time, so he congratulated me. He's still at his golf tournament on his way back home and he was trying to make it here today, but just due to the fact of his tournament and the time difference from getting to New York back to here just wasn't enough time for him. I'm pretty sure I'll see him tonight when he gets home.
Q. What do you think about next year going into the season as the new home run king, more people are going to want to talk to you, do you think you are going to need to adjust to the way you deal with the media?
BARRY BONDS: I tell you one thing, wherever I may be, it definitely will be in my contract that their public relations people will control it, I promise you that. Because I can't do it by myself. I don't think anyone can do it by themselves and be able to produce. But I guarantee you, I will have a lot of help in trying accommodate everybody the best I can and making it easy for both of us.
End of FastScripts