During his playing days, Barry Bonds never worried much about getting chummy with baseball writers.
Now those scribes hold the key to a place he'd love to enter: the Hall of Fame.
Bonds was announced Wednesday as one of the first-time candidates for the Hall, and baseball's all-time home run king said he hopes the Jan. 9 announcement will include news that he will be inducted.
His odds, however, are considered long due to his alleged association with performance-enhancing drugs, charges Bonds has repeatedly denied.
"I do really care," Bonds told MLB.com about making the Hall of Fame. "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."
Bonds' records include 762 career homers and a 73-homer season. He was a seven-time National League Most Valuable Player.
His legacy is largely in tatters, though, due to his alleged involvement with PEDs. Bonds is appealing a federal conviction on an obstruction of justice charge that was related to his denial of involvement with illegal drugs. He was acquitted on other charges.
As for his image problem, Bonds told MLB.com, "I can't turn back the clock now. Time has passed. Wounds for me have healed."
The controversy makes it unlikely Bonds will receive the necessary 75 percent of the vote from longtime members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America to make the Hall of Fame.
"I don't even know how to explain it. The world has become so negative," Bonds told MLB.com. "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?"
In addition to Bonds, two other controversial figures from baseball's so-called "steroids era" are new to the Hall of Fame ballot: pitcher Roger Clemens and slugger Sammy Sosa.
Other candidates who might have a better chance of induction include Craig Biggio, Curt Schilling, Jack Morris and Jeff Bagwell.