Barry Bonds says Major League Baseball has given him a “death sentence,” telling The Athletic that he feels exiled by the sport since retiring in 2007.
Bonds’ comments, published Sunday, were part of a wide-ranging interview with The Athletic, which originally intended to discuss modern hitting trends with baseball’s home run king.
But Bonds, whose career accomplishments have been tarnished by allegations of steroid use, also discussed his complicated legacy. The former San Francisco Giants star told The Athletic that his heart has been “really broken” by MLB, which he says has essentially banished him.
“A death sentence. That’s what they’ve given me,” Bonds said.
The Athletic published Bonds’ remarks less than two months after the seven-time MVP received just 60.7% of the vote for the Hall of Fame. He needs to be on 75% of ballots to be enshrined in Cooperstown.
“If they don’t want me, just say you don’t want me and be done with it,” he said. “Just be done with it.”
Bonds’ final year on the Hall of Fame ballot is 2022, meaning he has two more chances to be voted in.
Bonds, 55, has been working as a guest instructor this spring with the Giants, but his post-retirement role in the sport has been limited to a one-year stint as the Marlins’ hitting coach in 2016.
Bonds also said he feels “like a ghost.”
“A ghost in a big empty house, just rattling around,” he said.
Bonds finished his 22-year career with 762 home runs, still the most all time. He also set baseball’s single-season record for homers in 2001, when he blasted 73.
Bonds never publicly admitted to using steroids, although he reportedly told a grand jury that he used a substance that prosecutors say contains steroids.
“I know what I did out there,” Bonds told The Athletic, referring to his playing career. “I know what I accomplished between those lines. It’s outside those lines that I would have done some things different.”
In July 2015, Bonds said he had a huge “weight lifted” when federal prosecutors dropped what was left of their criminal case against him after a nearly decade-long steroids prosecution.
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