View Full Version : Bonds tells Pujols to shatter record

05-24-2006, 01:15 PM
Bonds tells Pujols to shatter record
Cards slugger cracks 23rd homer; Giants veteran stuck at 714
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com

Albert Pujols and Barry Bonds stand together at first base during Tuesday's game.
(Eric Risberg/AP)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds led off first base after hitting a single the other night and imparted a few words of encouragement to Albert Pujols, who is on an early pace to break Bonds' single-season home run record. "Shatter it," Bonds, the Giants' lefty-swinging slugger, said he told the Cardinals' first baseman and right-handed power hitter in an interview with MLB.com on Tuesday night. Pujols continued his chase of Bonds' 73-homer 2001 season with a three-run shot in his first appearance against former teammate Matt Morris during the first inning. It was Pujols' 23rd of the season, coming in the team's 46th game. Bonds had the same number in 44 games five years ago.

The homer deep into the left-field bleachers was the first for Pujols at six-year-old AT&T Park, coming in his 59th at-bat since the park opened in 2000.

"I don't play for records," said Pujols after the Cardinals beat the Giants, 8-5. "I play to win. If it comes, it comes." Bonds is still in search of his Babe Ruth-passing 715th homer, having gone three games and 16 plate appearances since tying the Bambino at 714 to lead off the second inning at Oakland on Saturday. Including an RBI single in the first inning, Bonds, 1-for-4 on the night, is 4-for-13 with four walks (three intentional) since he knotted up the Babe. "I think he's putting a little bit too much pressure on himself to hit 715," said Pujols, who was 2-for-5 in the game. "Once he does that, hitting 716 and 717 should be a lot easier."

With defending National League Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter going for the Cards against Giants left-hander Noah Lowry in a Wednesday afternoon game after a night game, a decision about whether Bonds would start for the fifth consecutive day was pending, manager Felipe Alou said.
Asked after Tuesday night's game if he expected to play Wednesday, Bonds said: "I don't know."

But before the game, Bonds, 41, said that he's having just as much fun watching the 26-year-old Pujols as he's having in his own pursuit. After all, Bonds has hit just two homers in the Giants' last 19 games and hasn't homered at home since May 2 against the Padres. Pujols has homered in four of his club's last five games.

"I just think the younger guys need that support," Bonds said. "I have to be around for them just like Willie Mays and my father [Bobby Bonds] were around for me. That's what I told [Pujols]. Hey, these records were made to be broken. That's what they're there for. I hope he shatters it. I really do."

Asked how Pujols reacted to the comments, Bonds added: "He said, 'That's very nice of you.' He's a big guy who can really play the game. I'm pulling for him to do all kinds of great things."

It's been a mutual admiration society between Bonds and Pujols this week since the Cardinals came to town for this three-game series. The two have talked on the bases, talked near the batting cage and praised each other to the press.

"Yeah, we talk," Pujols said. "I talked to him a couple of years ago about hitting. I remember talking to him in the weight room about how much better he got hitting against left-handed hitters and some of the tough pitches that they throw. He told me he watched a lot of videotape and that's what helped him.

"He's doing something that's pretty tough to accomplish. I'd like to see him pass Babe Ruth and eventually break Hank Aaron's record. It's unbelievable what he's done in this game. You have 45,000 people at the ballpark every night and we're all here to watch him."

Bonds was 37 years old when he laid waste to Mark McGwire's three-year-old record of 70 homers. McGwire became the first player to hit 70 homers in a single season when he outdueled Sammy Sosa and broke Roger Maris' 37-year-old record of 61 in 1998.

The fact that Pujols, who is only in his sixth season, may not have that kind of experience at this point is meaningless to Bonds, who had 39 homers at the All-Star break in 2001.

"I told him to go for it," Bonds said. "Because this may be his only shot at it. You never know with injuries and everything what lies ahead of anyone."

Asked what kind of advice he gave Pujols, Bonds said the Dominican Republic native didn't need any. "Not from me," Bonds said. "Just play your game, exercise, eat right and stay strong. He's well aware of all those things and what it's going to take for the long run."

For his part, Pujols said he's not concerned about keeping up with the record pace. Winning day in and day out is the most important thing. "What pace are you guys talking about?" he said. "I don't think about it. I'm just doing my job. I just come here every day and try to get ready for the game. I've just been trying to take advantage of the situation. Just trying to get a good pitch to hit and just putting my best swing on it. I'm just looking for ways to help my team win."

05-24-2006, 01:43 PM
Its funny what pujols said about breaking the record that hes more interested in just winning thats what Maris said when he started hitting home runs in 61 and as he got closer thats all he was swining for, and look what happend then!!!

05-24-2006, 01:52 PM
It is just plain scary what this guy might accomplish if he stays healthy and has the drive and determination to play 12 to 15 more years. I did a piece of comparrison between Pujols and Arod in their respective careers over their first 5 seasons and Pujols is ahead of Arod in almost every catagory. ARod was the measuring stick in recent times to start a career but nobody in league history has had a better start to their career. IF Pujols hits 73 that is just plain ridiculous. The man is quite a talent.

05-24-2006, 02:11 PM
But of course here comes the naysayers already. You mean to tell me that players can still cheat. What is the world coming to?:D

The Great Unknown

posted: Thursday, May 18, 2006 | Feedback (http://proxy.espn.go.com/chat/chatESPN?event_id=6999)

Albert Pujols tells Derrick Goold and others that he's clean, in the face of all the steroid rumors (http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/sports/stories.nsf/cardinals/story/5591149A7F22D5EE86257172001FC861?OpenDocument), while also insisting that he's the age he says he is.

With Pujols breaking all kinds of marks with his fast start this season, I've gotten all kinds of e-mails asking why we don't give the Cardinals' first baseman the same kind of steroid scrutiny that we give Barry Bonds. Some readers have referenced a piece I wrote in April about how I did a terrible job reporting the steroid story, particularly in the '90s; you know you missed it the first time, the readers write, so why don't you report on the rumors about Pujols?
Here's the thing: There is no proof that Albert Pujols took steroids. He has been tested, under threat of suspension, since the start of the 2004 season, and as far as we know, he has never tested positive. To date, there is no information available that would put the media in a position to question fairly -- even to speculate -- whether Pujols took steroids. The only reason I feel I can write about it today is because Pujols is talking about it openly.
I think it would be completely irresponsible to suggest that Pujols is taking steroids or human growth hormone; we have no evidence of that whatsoever.
But in this day and age, there is another side to this as well. I think it would be just as irresponsible to write with certainty, or say out loud, that Pujols is clean. Because I don't know. Only Pujols knows, for sure.
I don't know, with 100 percent certainty, who among the 1,200 or so players on the major leagues' 40-man rosters is clean. From the front of the alphabet, Dave Aardsma, to the back of the Z's, Joel Zumaya, I mostly don't know who has taken steroids or other performance-enhancers -- and who hasn't.
We can say, with absolute certainty, who was busted for steroids, from Rafael Palmeiro to Ryan Franklin to Alex Sanchez. But we also know that anybody blessed with just a handful of brain cells can beat the current testing system. You could stab yourself with a syringe full of human growth hormone in the middle of any packed stadium, and you won't get busted because there is currently no test for HGH, and test samples are not being retained indefinitely to be checked again when there is a test. There are new steroids being designed all the time to beat the testing.
There is widespread belief among players, scouts and executives that there are active players who are benefiting from HGH or other performance-enhancers. Don't ever confuse diminishing rates of positive tests as absolute proof that the game is clean -- players who want to cheat still can cheat.
Talked with a former player recently about what happened during The Steroid Era, and mostly, he is astonished. "The thing that shocks me is how many players were doing it," he said. "I'd like to know -- where were they getting steroids? When were guys having conversations about them? How were they learning about them? I didn't know any of that was going on."
In other words, players who he thought were clean actually we taking the stuff. And we know now that body size is not a true indicator of who uses and who doesn't use. Would anybody have guessed that Sanchez would get busted for steroid use? What about all the pitchers?
There is a particular pitcher who I always assumed to be a steroid user (for years) because he fit some of the classic parameters: a fringe pitcher, gained a lot of velocity and weight around his 30th birthday. But I learned something about him this year that makes it somewhat apparent that he probably is not a user of performance-enhancers, and a friend of his agrees. Again, I can't say for sure. I can't vouch for the guy with 100 percent certainty, but for me, this was a reminder of why we can't confuse our speculation with the truth.
Albert Pujols says he's clean, and we have no evidence to the contrary. His statement stands unchallenged.
But I will never vouch for any player, from Aardsma to Zumaya to Pujols, and I don't think any journalist should, beyond a columnist indicating he or she believes what a player says. If the esteemed Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote a piece saying he believes Pujols is clean, after years of being around the player, I would absorb that information and take it into account and have great respect for his opinion.
But if Bernie wrote definitively that Pujols is clean, I couldn't take that seriously. Because none of us know for sure -- with 100 percent certainty

05-24-2006, 03:14 PM
But we also know that anybody blessed with just a handful of brain cells can beat the current testing system. You could stab yourself with a syringe full of human growth hormone in the middle of any packed stadium, and you won't get busted because there is currently no test for HGH, and test samples are not being retained indefinitely to be checked again when there is a test. There are new steroids being designed all the time to beat the testing.
There is widespread belief among players, scouts and executives that there are active players who are benefiting from HGH or other performance-enhancers. Don't ever confuse diminishing rates of positive tests as absolute proof that the game is clean -- players who want to cheat still can cheat.

Brett - Wow. What a great article! He is right on so many levels. I hope Congress reads this article because it is amazing to me that samples aren't retained for 3 to 5 years so they can catch the cheaters down the road when they have the ability to test for the newest "designer" steroids.

The thing with McGwire and Sosa and many others is that 100% proof. If you had retained samples, then you would know. Innocent until proven guilty. MLB sure hasn't gone far enough!!!!

05-24-2006, 05:40 PM
Despite the fact that MLB has toughened the steroid policy perhaps forcibly from Congress, the point that everybody keeps forgetting about is that HGH is not tested for because it requires a blood test which is never done in MLB. If the grocery list of purported steroids and pills that Bonds was supposedly taking according to the Game of Shadows book is anywhere near correct, he could still be taking probably several of these substances as could anyone else for that matter and nobody would be the wiser. That is why I highly doubt we will ever know the real truth behind what happened over the past fifeteen years during the steroid era.What stiill perplexes me is that taken over time steroids supposedly break down ones body. It is any coicidence then that Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Canseco, and others who were whispered to have done steroids, Bret Boone, Ken Caminiti started breaking down really quick? What is strange though is that Palmeiro who actually tested positive never really missed any significant playing time throughout his career. Despite the accusations by many including Canseco that he started taking roids in the early 90's when coincidentally his homer and power numbers went through the roof, if Raffy was on the juice all those years he either is very lucky or he never was taking them all that time. I will say one thing, roids are supposed to help reduce recovery times and aid in workouts. If Raffy was on them it sure did not do much because he hardly looks like Mr. Universe nor did he at any time in his career. If people are accused of taking steroids on power numbers and their bodies breaking down is there any better case than Griffey Jr.? I don't think Jr. took roids in fact he is always talked about as one of the good guys but when you look at the way this guy has been perpetually injured throughout the past five to six years it almost makes you wonder just how unlucky he is? Brett

05-25-2006, 12:26 PM
Updated: May 25, 2006, 3:15 AM ET
Bonds is cheering for Pujols, and he has some good reasons why

Associated Press
Major League Baseball News Wire (http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/wire?sportId=10)

It's no secret Barry Bonds doesn't have a lot of friends in baseball. Ask him the names of his teammates on the San Francisco Giants, and he might be lucky to guess half of them.

He does know who Albert Pujols is, though. He even seems to like the guy.

Turns out it's a mutual admiration thing. When he's not hitting home runs, Pujols likes to watch the Bonds soap opera play out on the soon-to-be-defunct "Bonds on Bonds."

The other night in San Francisco, Pujols went so far as to lecture reporters about dragging Bonds down.

"You still need to see the ball and hit it," Pujols said. "I get so angry with you guys wiping the floor with his name. The guy hasn't done anything and you're wiping the floor with his name."

Apparently Pujols has more of an understanding of the strike zone than he has of the BALCO investigation. Remember, it was Bonds himself who admitted using steroids - though he says he did it unknowingly - when he testified before a grand jury, and another grand jury is investigating whether he didn't fess up fully.

Then again, Pujols gets paid to hit home runs, not read grand jury testimony.

What's interesting here isn't so much that Pujols is defending Bonds, because players have an unwritten code (one David Wells apparently didn't hear about) that they protect each other at all costs.

More interesting is that Pujols may end up doing a lot for Bonds this season. Not with his mouth, but with his bat.

Pujols is already taking some of the heat off Bonds by putting up numbers that even the best juiced players of their time couldn't reach. He hit a record 14 home runs in April and has 23 in 47 games.

Imagine - and the way Pujols is hitting home runs it doesn't take much imagination - if some time in late September the Cardinal slugger steps up to the plate at the new Busch stadium and hits home run No. 74.

He'll do it in a year when Major League Baseball players are being tested for steroids. And he'll do it in the same city where just eight years earlier Mark McGwire broke the mark of 61 held by Roger Maris.

Baseball won't just have a new single season home run king. It will have reason to celebrate like never before, with the stench of the steroid scandal pushed aside by a slugger who did it without the cream or the clear.

Bonds would have reason to do a little celebrating of his own, assuming the federal grand jury hasn't gotten him by then.

Bonds can point to Pujols as evidence that human beings can hit more than 70 home runs a season in an era of small ballparks and overstretched pitching staffs. He can argue that, like Pujols, he has never tested positive for steroids and that he was clean when he hit 73 home runs in 2001.

And without lab reports from BALCO and with Victor Conte Jr. saying he never gave Bonds anything, who is going to prove him wrong?

Maybe Bonds was thinking along those lines when the Cardinals came to town this week and the center of attention shifted from his 714 home runs to the pace Pujols is on this young season.

"I love it!" Bonds said. "I hope he shatters it."

Any slugger these days is suspect, of course, and there are already those who whisper that Pujols is older than he says he is and that he must have bulked up on something to be able to hit line drives out of the park the way he does.

It's true that baseball is testing for steroids, but it's also true it is an imperfect system. And there is no testing at all for human growth hormone, which is said to be the best performance-enhancing aid of them all.

The real truth is, no one knows what is real in baseball or any other sport anymore. So maybe Pujols has a right to get angry, as he did the other night, when Bonds is linked to steroids and the natural inference is that Pujols must be using something, too.

Life works in funny ways. If Bonds began juicing around the turn of the century, as alleged in the book "Game of Shadows," it certainly wasn't with Pujols in mind because Pujols was an unknown just trying to make the St. Louis roster.

Bonds, the book says, was trying to catch McGwire and Sammy Sosa, who were hitting everything out of the park.

Now McGwire and Sosa are out of baseball, their home run marks tainted by suspicions that more than just corked bats and tightly wound balls were responsible. Bonds is struggling and has been scorned and mocked by fans around the league.

Pujols, meanwhile, is on a pace to hit some 80 home runs this year, a feat that would have been unimaginable until recent years.

Bonds says he'll be rooting him on, and he just might be telling the truth.

The record may help Bonds sell more memorabilia. But having Pujols break it would be even better.

It will help Bonds sell his story.

Can big Al hit 80? Can big Al reach 800 for his career? Stay tuned for the next 15 years.