Given his involvement with the BALCO controversies, it seems almost certain that writers will leave baseball's all-time home run king wearing a frown on Jan. 9.
Bonds, however, has offered up a truce flag of sorts before the ballots are officially due, saying bygones should be bygones while shedding the aloof public attitude that he held for most of his 22-year career.
Now, will it help his cause any with a voting base that made up its mind long ago?
But here's what he told Barry Bloom of MLB.com after this year's ballots — which also feature Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and Mike Piazza as first-time eligibles — were issued on Wednesday morning:
"I don't even know how to explain it. The world has become so negative," Bonds said. "One day, I'll be able to say things the right way. But it's tough when you have so many people out there who don't want to turn the page and want to be angry at you forever. I don't understand why it continues on. What am I doing wrong?
"I can sit here and say, 'You know what? Baseball is great. I love it.' I can sit here and say in a very kind way that I'm sorry about the way things ended. I can sit here and say that I respect the Hall of Fame, which I do. But I don't understand all the controversy we're having about it. For what reason? What's there to be gained by all of this? What's the point?"
Barry Bonds currently isn't doing anything wrong. He leads a relatively public life, seems to be happy while riding his $16,000 bicycle and appears to be doing a lot more smiling than scowling. But he also doesn't appear to realize the damage he did to his reputation during his playing days, which included controversies about the cream and the clear, a contentious relationship with the press and a prima-donna attitude in his own clubhouse. Bonds can ask what's to be gained by all the public anger right now, but it's a question we could have asked of him for 22 years.
"I do really care," Bonds said. "I may say I don't, but I do really care. I've been through a lot in my life so not too many things bother me. Making the Hall of Fame, would it be something that's gratifying because of what I've sacrificed? Sure. Baseball has been a big part of our lives. We've sacrificed our bodies. It's the way we made our living."
For better or worse, it's also the way that Bonds made his own bed. And it's going to leave him disappointed when he's left on the outside of Cooperstown by a voting bloc that won't give up the grudge as easily as he might like.
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