Friday, September 21, 2007

Giants won't bring back Bonds

By Sean Pollard
The Phanatic Magazine

The San Francisco Giants have decided not to bring back home-run king Barry Bonds for the 2008 season.

The Giants officially announced the decision at a Friday press conference.

"No one is more aware of what Barry has meant to the Giants and San Francisco than I am," said Giants president and managing general partner Peter Magowan. "He gave our ownership group instant credibility when we bought the team in 1993 and he helped transform the Giants into a consistent winner. For the first 11 years that he was here, the Giants had the third best record in baseball and Barry was a huge part of that success. Most importantly, Barry helped San Francisco become a baseball town again. I will forever be grateful for all of the success, excitement and memories that he created for our fans. However, all good things must come to an end and now seems like the right time to move on."

Hours before the press conference, Bonds confirmed the news on his web site.

"I was told by the Giants that they will not be bringing me back for the 2008 season," said Bonds. "During the conversation with Peter McGowan I was told that my play this year far exceeded any expectations the Giants had, but that the organization decided this year would be my last season in San Francisco.

"Although I am disappointed, I've always said baseball is a business -- and I respect their decision," Bonds continued. "However, I am saddened and upset that I was not given an earlier opportunity to properly say goodbye to you, my fans, and celebrate with the city throughout the season as I truly believe this was not a last minute decision by the Giants, but one that was made some time ago. I don't have nor do I want any ill feelings towards the organization, I just wish I had known sooner so we had more time to say our goodbyes and celebrate the best 15 years of my life."

Bonds returned for his 15th season with the Giants after signing a one-year, $15.8 million contract prior to the season. Then, on August 7, Bonds took Washington left-hander Mike Bacsik deep to pass Hank Aaron as baseball's all- time home run king.

For the season, the 14-time All-Star is hitting .279 with 28 home runs and 66 RBI. Bonds is currently at 762 home runs, with a career-average of .298 in 22 seasons with Pittsburgh and San Francisco. The 43-year-old has 2,935 hits, 2,227 runs scored (third all-time), 601 doubles, 514 stolen bases and 1,996 RBI (tied for second all-time). He is the lone member of baseball's 500 homer - 500 steal club and also holds the major league record for walks (2,558).

"There's no question about what Barry has meant to this organization and to our success over the past 15 years. He is the greatest player of his generation and one of the very best of all time," said Giants senior vice president and general manager Brian Sabean. "Barry has been the cornerstone of our franchise and his amazing contributions will be sorely missed."

The seven-time MVP, eight-time Gold Glove winner and two-time batting champion owns seven single-season major league records, most notably a 73- homer season in 2001.

However, the last several years in San Francisco have been littered with controversy for the slugger. In December 2004, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Bonds used a clear substance and a cream given to him by his personal trainer Greg Anderson during the 2003 baseball season. Bonds, though, denied he knew they were steroids during his testimony to a federal grand jury in December 2003.

Bonds has been linked to performance-enhancing drugs and is under investigation for possible perjury chargers for lying under oath about steroid use relating from the Balco scandal.
In January of this year, the New York Daily News reported that Bonds failed a test for amphetamines in 2006.
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