It was a reunion of sorts on Monday at San Francisco Giants’ spring training camp in Scottsdale, Ariz. where Barry Bonds made his debut as a Giants hitting instructor.
There, just as they had been during the 2005 and 2007 baseball seasons, were reporter Pedro Gomez and producer Charlie Moynihan covering MLB’s controversial home run king. Gomez became synonymous with the “Bonds beat” during those years.
“This was inevitable,” Gomez said of Bonds putting on a Giants uniform for the first time since his final game as a player in 2007. “The Giants and Barry Bonds will be linked forever. There’s no denying that. Bonds accomplished his greatest feats in a Giants uniform, so having him be a guest instructor is a no-brainer.”
Moynihan agreed that there was calm within Scottsdale Stadium, unlike the aura surrounding Bonds in the mid-2000’s when his pursuit of Ruth and Aaron, coupled with his alleged use of steroids, validated full-time coverage.
“I think Bonds as a guest instructor is part of a larger plan — the Hall of Fame means a great deal to him as evidenced yesterday when he said emphatically that he belongs there,” Moynihan said. “This is Bonds re-branding himself from the formerly polarizing, loathsome [at times] baseball player to a serene, mature adult who is approaching his 50th birthday. There is no doubt he has a reservoir of baseball information to pass along to the younger players, and as we saw Monday, he can charm the media when he wants to.”
“He was warm towards me today, reaching out to say hello and shake my hand,” said Gomez. “That was, to say the least, not always the case during my seasons of covering Bonds. He admitted [in Monday’s news conference] that was a ‘character’ that he may have needed [to portray] to play at such a high level.”
“I got a nod from Barry, which from him is an acknowledgement,” Moynihan said.
While the reportorial reunion was a one-day assignment, Gomez said, “As of now, I have only been assigned [yesterday], however, as we’ve learned from Bonds over the years, he is a lightning rod of sorts, so it would not be surprising if I received a call from Bristol asking me to head back out to Giants camp. It’s always great to be assigned to a high-profile story.”